Another opinion on the geography of voting: the role of culture

A friend of mine facebooked an NYT article about the red-blue divide among American states.

The author is a psychologist, who seems to be in favor of the Nisbett-type cultural argument. See the concluding paragraph:

“If this history is right, the American political divide may have arisen not so much from different conceptions of human nature as from differences in how best to tame it. The North and coasts are extensions of Europe and continued the government-driven civilizing process that had been gathering momentum since the Middle Ages. The South and West preserved the culture of honor that emerged in the anarchic territories of the growing country, tempered by their own civilizing forces of churches, families and temperance.”

To me, this is a less cute argument compared to Rodden’s (see my previous post), but I agree that there is some important truth in the cultural argument. For sure, my personal preference of Rodden’s work over the cultural argument is a matter of taste. Yet, there is some practical reason: the cultural argument is more difficult to test.

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