15
   

The Bubble that is New England

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 04:02 pm
We are a liberal group of states. Even more so, we are an educated group of states. I have been shocked to find in the past that so many in the US are aligned no where near me, politically. More recently I realized that religiously I am even further adrift. I find that, because of the insular nature of NE, I don't 'get' the other side at all. I become frustrated and irritated by their point-of-view and argumentative style. Why the put-downs? How can you say you care about family values when it comes to gay rights, but accept Palin and her family open arms even though her daughter has fallen to the all-to-common teen-aged pregnancy?

last night I sat for an hour with my landlady, dogs in laps or hunting the city soundscape that surrounds our property. We are in our own bubble. I know that, generally, higher education leads to more liberal and less religious people. Her we sit between MIT, Boston U, Harvard U, Tufts U as well as almost countless lessor-known higher education institutions. In the US, about 25% of our populace has a college awarded degree. The landlady suspected MA may have a near 90% college degree rate. Not so. We're at 34% or so. Who's on top? NH, VT, MD and DC. CO is up there too.

Another shock.

How could MA have such a low rate of college degree attainment? We're not even talking about Masters, or Doctorates (I think MA has a better ratio with these, but it's still not top 5%).

I like stats. I know they don't work well in specific instances, they're stats after all. But, they are useful all the same. It doesn't seem that, in general, the degree of education has that clear a relationship with liberal vs conservative perspectives. At least not when you look at the way in which states vote during elections.

So, where does that leave us? What about other countries? Any insight from Europeans, Asians and those in other Americas countries?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 15 • Views: 5,260 • Replies: 75

 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 04:08 pm
@littlek,
Erm...insights about what, exactly?


You know, I was fascinated while en-route to the states about the attitudes of Americans I came across to the NY/Boston etc "corner".

We were flying straight into NYC from Japan, and there were lots of Americans on the Oz/Japan leg, and the Japan/US leg.

A lot of the US folk were friendly and curious, but recoiled when we said we were off to NYC.

The theme was "That's not America!!!", "You don't want to go there!"...and so forth.

'Twas interesting.

littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 04:10 pm
@dlowan,
Insights on, I dunno, statistics. They don't seem to be supporting the popular view of them.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 04:16 pm
@littlek,
Hi LittleK

In Canberra (Australia's capital) I was very aware of the same phenomenom. I think I've mentioned it before but about 50% of Canberra's population had at least an undergraduate degree (and that was 50% of total poplulation - children included).

We definitely leant to the left more than other Australian states on gay rights, decriminalising marijuana, etc (and the only place in Australia you by porn videos and fireworks (and booze in fish and chip shops)). It's a city of 300,000 and the government's administrative hub. I found they were more politically savvy about the mechanics of government. On the whole they voted for leftish mainstream party, not due to ideology, or a belief in the quality of the politicians, but because having worked for/with Ministers they generally sensed a 'heart's in the right place' about ALP pollies.

Of course the rest of the country considers Canberra to be cloud cuckoo land, AND, interestingly, extremely boring (which is odd given the porn, fireworks and marijuana).
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 04:17 pm
@littlek,
The most recent stats I can find put MA as #2 (after only DC) in the percentage of people over 25 with college degrees. The New England States all rank pretty high compared to the other states.

I don't think 35.4% is a low figure at all. Not only is it high compared to the other states, but it is also certainly a high figure by any historical measure.

This figure only includes the number of people who have a Batchelor's degree, meaning that it doesn't include trade schools, or internships, or vocational training.

The idea that everyone should go to college unreasonable. A society needs plumbers, cooks and drivers.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:13 pm
@littlek,
That's a fascinating thread-starter! I wish I could do it justice thirty minutes after midnight, but I can't. Instead, here's an list of thoughts that come to my mind, to come back to when I'm more awake.

1) New England feels very European to me, from what little I've seen of it yet. You guys still are more economically libertarian than my friends in Munich. But generally speaking, your thinking is similar to ours on social issues, on the value of grasping reality, and on learning. Put the other way round, the people I met in Boston would fit in well in Munich.

2) I hear you on not "getting" the other side at all, and think it's a completely separate issue from being politically right or left. I'm a libertarian (albeit more soft-core by American standards than I used to think), so I frequently disagree with Americans who call themselves liberal.

But with the conservatives I meet in real life in New Jersey, I very rarely have a debate. They, generally speaking, like to talk in terms of good and evil. I like to talk in terms of nuts and bolts. That way, we often don't reach enough common ground even to disagree.

3) I'm not sure education correlates with liberalism in Germany as strongly as it seems to do in America. I think that's for one, because our conservative's philosophies typically go back to either classical liberalism or Catholic social teaching, both of which harmonize well with education. Second, we have a very active religious left in Germany (maybe not as active as in the 70s and 80s, but still active.) They are anti-gene-technology, anti-stem-cell-research, anti-chemical industry, and as self-righteous in all this as Pat Robertson.

So that part of the American experience I can't really see in Germany.

4) Where does that leave you? Well, why don't you live in Western Europe for a while, see what it's like to live in a country where your obscure political views are the mainstream?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:20 pm
@littlek,
As to your question about stats: New England is just six states, and the rule of thumb is that statistics begins with twenty. But if you were to take your stats of college graduates for each state and plot it against the difference between Bush voters vs. Kerry voters in that state, I'd predict you'd see a positive correlation. Same if you plot percentage of college graduates over percentage of atheists (if statistics on atheism are available).

***
and on yet another totally different note, I need to make a disclaimer.

Quote:
But with the conservatives I meet in real life in New Jersey, I very rarely have a debate. They, generally speaking, like to talk in terms of good and evil. I like to talk in terms of nuts and bolts. That way, we often don't reach enough common ground even to disagree.

This paragraph will so come back to bite me in the ass when Fishin or Georgeob1 show up in this thread. They're not the kind of conservatives I mean. I just think this other kind is more typical.
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:21 pm
@littlek,
littlek, my best suggestion is that you move away from the NE for a few years and gain a different perspective.

There is a different world outside your bubble and inside our borders.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:35 pm
@H2O MAN,
Actually, she has lived away from NE for 10 years. So maybe it isn't lack of perspective on her part. Maybe you guys just are genuinely weird.
H2O MAN
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:40 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Actually, she has lived away from NE for 10 years. So maybe it isn't lack of perspective on her part. Maybe you guys just are genuinely weird.


Moving back to the NE is genuinely weird.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:46 pm
@littlek,
Quote:

How can you say you care about family values when it comes to gay rights,
but accept Palin and her family open arms even though her daughter has
fallen to the all-to-common teen-aged pregnancy
?

Because UNLESS u think that the pregnancy was Mrs. Palin ' s idea,
accomplished at her behest,
the pregnancy is 100% IRRELEVANT, and is the private, personal issue
of a citizen who is not running for any office.

It boggles the mind how an educated person
can seek to hold another person accountable for something that was
(apparently) done without her knowledge nor approval.

How do u prevent a girl from getting pregnant ?
How woud YOU have handled the same situation ?
a welded iron chastity belt ?

( I do not mean to imply that I am committed to the "family values" filosofy;
I take a more libertarian point of vu. )




David
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:53 pm
@H2O MAN,
H2O, remember that part about me living in GA? I've lived there and New Mexico. I've traveled through many states, but not spent much time in any but CA.
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:55 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
It is not a private issue. She pushes her family orientation more than anyone else. She introduced it, we just walked in the door.

In my family, the pinko liberals never got pregnant by accident. It was the conservative religionists who did. How did that happen? Family values, I guess.
cjhsa
 
  0  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 06:04 pm
@littlek,
Taxachusetts has fallen down the slippery slope of liberalism, and rejected the ideals that our revolutionary founding fathers embraced.

I went to BU. Whenever I got out of science and math classes into the required (and much hated) liberal arts, I was exposed to some of the meanest, far left wing douchbags ever to grace a college campus. The problem - lk - is that it's not just Boston or MA, it's this way throughout much of our colleges and universities. Being "educated" means you entertain liberal thought these days. And while I don't mind an opposing point of view, it's one thing to be stupid, and quite another to actually practice being stupid.

Stand up for your rights. Stand up for yourself. The government owes you nothing. Learn that, and you will reject the left (and quite possibly, much of the right and the middle and anyone who is a lifelong politician). Your idiot Ted Kennedy is a prime example. Bostonites even refer to him as "their idiot". Politics for the sake of politics is bad news. So's the rejection you have for the separation of church and state. This is a judeo-christian republic, whether you like it or not.

Happy fall!
fishin
 
  3  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 06:08 pm
@littlek,
littlek wrote:

We are a liberal group of states. Even more so, we are an educated group of states. I have been shocked to find in the past that so many in the US are aligned no where near me, politically. More recently I realized that religiously I am even further adrift. I find that, because of the insular nature of NE, I don't 'get' the other side at all. I become frustrated and irritated by their point-of-view and argumentative style. Why the put-downs? How can you say you care about family values when it comes to gay rights, but accept Palin and her family open arms even though her daughter has fallen to the all-to-common teen-aged pregnancy?

last night I sat for an hour with my landlady, dogs in laps or hunting the city soundscape that surrounds our property. We are in our own bubble. I know that, generally, higher education leads to more liberal and less religious people. Her we sit between MIT, Boston U, Harvard U, Tufts U as well as almost countless lessor-known higher education institutions. In the US, about 25% of our populace has a college awarded degree. The landlady suspected MA may have a near 90% college degree rate. Not so. We're at 34% or so. Who's on top? NH, VT, MD and DC. CO is up there too.



A slightly different perspective:

I grew up in New England, moved away and lived in TX and OK as well as the farthest north reaches of New England and then ended up in the heart of New England.

While New England is considered politically "liberal", in my experience, it really isn't. Sure, there is a core group that tends to control MA politics that is very liberal but there is also a huge contingent of people in MA who claim to be liberal but act very differently.

But as I commented once long ago, I knew a lot of people in OK that called themselves "conservatives" and they were far to the left of many of the "liberals" I've met here in MA. It seems that people adopt the label of the local "feel" no matter where they actually stand.

For an interesting perspective, go read the "Rants & Raves" section on Craigslist for Boston. Considering the Boston/Cambridge area is supposedly one of the most liberal areas of the country the number of racist, homophobic and mysoginist/misandrist posts is astounding and that pretty much matches my personal experiences. There are several hundred "liberals" spewing nonsense and making arguments that contradict the the popular notion of what a "liberal" stands for.

In the 6 years I lived in OK - smack dab in the middle of the bible belt- I heard very few, if any, homophobic/racist comments and saw or heard of almost no acts against gays or people of color (and, contrary to popular opinion, there are plenty of gays/lesbains in the "red states".). The same could be said of Northern New England.

The same CAN'T be said for Greater Boston. Perhaps it isn't the "insular nature of New england" and much as it is the "insular nature of Cambridge". Wink
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 06:14 pm
@littlek,
Quote:

It is not a private issue. She pushes her family orientation
more than anyone else. She introduced it, we just walked in the door. /quote]
With all respect,
the result that u have condemned came from the private and independent acts
of a person who is not running for election to any office. The daughter did not
become precome pregnant because of her mother.
There was nothing that her mother (the candidate) coud have POSSIBLY done to stop her from being impregnated, yet you hold her responsible for it.
That is not logical ; that is not fair.

I notice that u did not answer what YOU 'd have done to more successfully
avoid such a pregnancy in your daughter; maybe my question was unfair
in that obviously there is nothing that u or anyone can do to prevent this.

Quote:
In my family, the pinko liberals never got pregnant by accident.
It was the conservative religionists who did. How did that happen? Family values, I guess.

It happened by chance.
It happened by bad luck.
It happened by LUST.

Is it your considered opinion
that political decisions of the voters shoud be made upon the basis
of the lust of people who are not running for election to any office ?

littlek
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 06:15 pm
@fishin,
Hey fishin. No, it's not just Boston. I know there are plenty of districts here that voted red, but they were often more merely pink. I know NH is leaning Blue because we are moving up there in droves. I did through in the word 'generally' a few times. Also, I know that labels aren't absolute.

Do you think that some liberals in MA are voting blue just because? And vice versa for conservatives?
littlek
 
  3  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 06:17 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
I see: We have luck, you have family values. What we really had was contraception that we weren't too spooked to use correctly.
OmSigDAVID
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 06:19 pm
@cjhsa,
Quote:
Taxachusetts has fallen down the slippery slope of liberalism,
and rejected the ideals that our revolutionary founding fathers embraced.

Stand up for your rights. Stand up for yourself.

Well said; so stipulated




David
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 06:20 pm
@littlek,
Vicious, mean, typical liberal response. You value renewable food resources more than human life. It's what I cannot understand, or stand, about you.
 

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