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thinkinginpictures
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28 Nov 2020, 11:55 am

People from rural areas are generally speaking more conservative (in every nation) than people living in larger cities.

I'm wondering why. What makes people become racists, right wingers and more authoritarian and selfish - by not living in cities? Why do people in rural areas tend to be against ie. abortion and become pro-death penalty, compared with people who live in cities who tend to be more pro-abortion anti-death penalty?

Also, there are more religious people in rural areas, compared with cities.



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28 Nov 2020, 12:21 pm

Some of it is being "a product of your area". So if your parents have a certain political affiliation, and so do most of your friends, you probably will as well. Look at Indiana compared to Michigan or Ohio - it's much more conservative but that can't be explained by demographic reasons, as far as I know. In terms of race, age, and urbanisation, Indiana is not out of line with the upper midwest. It has relatively poor educational attainment levels, which might explain some of it.

And on educational levels - jobs in rural areas don't tend to be as highly skilled as in urban areas. Most graduate-level jobs are based in cities. So there's an element of educational sorting, as well as (to an extent) income sorting.

Most importantly, though, people who live in rural areas tend to live rather sheltered experiences. A person who lives in a city will come into contact with a large number of different people, from different backgrounds, races, nationalities, sexualities, etc. In a rural area you'll meet fewer people, and probably won't expand your horizons as much, and things we don't know are scary to us. The flip side is that in smaller communities you might not know as many people, but you'll usually get to know them much better. When I run into someone in London, it's rarely someone that I know, but in a rural community it might be that everyone you meet is someone you know. Rural people might look at cosmopolitan city dwellers and think "how can these people care so little for their neighbours?". In urban areas, you have many shallow experiences, you know a little about a lot of different people, you're very accepting of other people but you might not want to talk to them. In rural areas, you have a narrow range of experiences, but you can afford to invest time and effort into getting to know individuals because you're likely to see that person again quite a bit.



thinkinginpictures
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28 Nov 2020, 12:57 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Some of it is being "a product of your area". So if your parents have a certain political affiliation, and so do most of your friends, you probably will as well. Look at Indiana compared to Michigan or Ohio - it's much more conservative but that can't be explained by demographic reasons, as far as I know. In terms of race, age, and urbanisation, Indiana is not out of line with the upper midwest. It has relatively poor educational attainment levels, which might explain some of it.

And on educational levels - jobs in rural areas don't tend to be as highly skilled as in urban areas. Most graduate-level jobs are based in cities. So there's an element of educational sorting, as well as (to an extent) income sorting.

Most importantly, though, people who live in rural areas tend to live rather sheltered experiences. A person who lives in a city will come into contact with a large number of different people, from different backgrounds, races, nationalities, sexualities, etc. In a rural area you'll meet fewer people, and probably won't expand your horizons as much, and things we don't know are scary to us. The flip side is that in smaller communities you might not know as many people, but you'll usually get to know them much better. When I run into someone in London, it's rarely someone that I know, but in a rural community it might be that everyone you meet is someone you know. Rural people might look at cosmopolitan city dwellers and think "how can these people care so little for their neighbours?". In urban areas, you have many shallow experiences, you know a little about a lot of different people, you're very accepting of other people but you might not want to talk to them. In rural areas, you have a narrow range of experiences, but you can afford to invest time and effort into getting to know individuals because you're likely to see that person again quite a bit.


Thanks. That actually makes sense.



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28 Nov 2020, 1:07 pm

People tend to have really small attitudes living in villages.

It's a shame cos in another world/time, villages would be more left wing, or at least more liberal. But I've only been to one such village - deliberately founded for disabled people & a lot less ableist than the 'real world' in terms of finding employment etc and a lot of socialist policies at local level.

Villagers tend to think of the nearest city as 'far away'. What I mean by that is five miles down the road city. Mum asks 'do your family live local' and they said 'no they live in [local city]'. That is local but they don't see it that way.

So someone from London or wherever is a massive shock to them. Now imagine that but with another country... No wonder certain attitudes develop around immigrants when you're more likely to read the Daily Mail on a regular basis than have friends from outside the country.

Someone who's not white will be really rare. If you don't mix with people, you don't naturally develop attitudes around them of just 'oh they're just regular people' leading to 'oh that's so and so'.

Villages don't tend to attract LGBT people to moving to them either, so again it will lead to that kind of attitude. And gossip is the lifeblood of places where 'everyone knows everyone' so coming out is harder - although of course gay/trans people will be born to parents who live in villages as much as anywhere else. The gossip thing probably leads to sexual conservatism amongst young heterosexual types too - would you really want your mum hearing you're engaging in 'hook up' culture when she's talking to the neighbours? Neighbours in the city wouldn't know/care, as long as you keep the noise down a bit.

A left wing village could develop. They have developed in the past and some do exist today. But it would have similar attitudes to conservative ones in some ways. Instead of shame, there'd be cancelling like in online culture. Gossip would still run rampant. There'd still be a 'correct' way to act. It's hard for me to imagine a liberal - libertarian, 'I don't care about who my neighbours are or what they get up to' attitude - in a village. And most left wing villages - past and present - I know of are deliberate left wing social projects, like overgrown communes.


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28 Nov 2020, 2:27 pm

The_Walrus wrote:

Most importantly, though, people who live in rural areas tend to live rather sheltered experiences. A person who lives in a city will come into contact with a large number of different people, from different backgrounds, races, nationalities, sexualities, etc. In a rural area you'll meet fewer people, and probably won't expand your horizons as much, and things we don't know are scary to us. The flip side is that in smaller communities you might not know as many people, but you'll usually get to know them much better. When I run into someone in London, it's rarely someone that I know, but in a rural community it might be that everyone you meet is someone you know. Rural people might look at cosmopolitan city dwellers and think "how can these people care so little for their neighbours?". In urban areas, you have many shallow experiences, you know a little about a lot of different people, you're very accepting of other people but you might not want to talk to them. In rural areas, you have a narrow range of experiences, but you can afford to invest time and effort into getting to know individuals because you're likely to see that person again quite a bit.



I lived in Montana for 8 years and people there were so sheltered they had no ides what big city life is and what a big city is and were very ignorant and there was even someone at my work who bragged she never watched the news because she didn't like negativity.

Lot of people in my area were low income too so their reason for never traveling. Also the meaning of wealth is different there than it is in a big city or in California. People in Montana thought my parents were rich. That was because they had several cars they had and had a 4,000 sq home and a big land we lived on, they had rental property. Of course people will think they are rich. If you could go to Glacier Park, that was wealth lol. My mom worked as a nurse and my dad worked as an appraiser. Plus prices there are lower but so are the wages. My son thought everything in Montana was so cheap and wanted to live there. I had to tell him that people make less money so that is why prices are so low but it is still expensive to live there because of low wages.

And there were no POC in my area, only Native Americans and whites. We did have someone at my work who came from Tiawan but it was very rare to see an immigrant. We had foreign exchange students at my high school so that was how I saw a black person in many years I had lived there.


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28 Nov 2020, 3:55 pm

thinkinginpictures wrote:
People from rural areas are generally speaking more conservative (in every nation) than people living in larger cities.

I'm wondering why. What makes people become racists, right wingers and more authoritarian and selfish - by not living in cities? Why do people in rural areas tend to be against ie. abortion and become pro-death penalty, compared with people who live in cities who tend to be more pro-abortion anti-death penalty?

Also, there are more religious people in rural areas, compared with cities.


I thought that more liberal people were authoritarian though, because they want more things in government such as more restrictions like gun control, or cancel culture, so isn't that more restrictive or authoritarian?



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28 Nov 2020, 5:46 pm

Liberal and left wing are different.

Authoritarian and liberal are opposites.
Right wing and left wing are opposites.

Liberal is a desire for freedom. On a left wing pov, that means social freedoms. On a right wing pov, that means economic freedoms (free trade/capitalism).

I think the environment of a village being different to the environment of a city is more structured around the social aspect rather than the capital aspect. I think you're as likely to find a capitalist in a city as in a village. You're more likely to find someone who really doesn't mind that their gay neighbour is hooking up with guys in a city than in a village. That would be normal 'none of my business' in an inner city environment and scandal of the year in a village.

Heck even just a Muslim and a Christian with similar conservative values living next door to each other is rare in a village.


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28 Nov 2020, 6:08 pm

It goes into how conservatives can be more intensely friendly to smaller groups or communities, which is to people who are more familiar. Smaller population diversity which means a smaller worldview that they might not understand what the deal is with social problems that the Left might champion, most people are the same race and most LGBT people are more likely to be in the closet due to the nature of being isolated from more like themselves. People are more likely to be spread out and not getting into each others faces like can be in a city, which means they can also appreciate more conservative freedoms of pushing the community accepted religion and parties that are not going to bother neighbors as much.

And to try and say it without sounding too mean, more educated people tend to be more Left or progressive, and the more rural areas tend to be lesser educated.


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28 Nov 2020, 7:56 pm

Why is that though do you think that more educated people are more progressive? I worked a factory environment with hugely conversative people, who just seemed to hate everyone. I was told it was because they are uneducated and do not know any better. But I don't understand how lack of education amounts to hate though, or how the two are connected, if that's the case.

But there are also a lot of educated people who seem like bad people such as politicans or successful celebrities or business people, so maybe education doesn't help?



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28 Nov 2020, 8:01 pm

Living in the Spokane, Washington, area, people often have what we term "Space Needle envy," constantly shorting ourselves for being too conservative and provincial compared to Seattle. But, of course, everything is relative. A friend married to a transwoman told me how he had met a transwoman and a lesbian, both from Montana, who believe Spokane is a paradise of tolerance since moving here.


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28 Nov 2020, 8:11 pm

The simple answer is isolation/lack of exposure.
Rural areas lack diversity and people develop distorted/paranoid views of outsiders.

Having said that, regional university towns are islands of tolerance where the community is more exposed to open minded individuals, international visitors etc....



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28 Nov 2020, 8:16 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Some of it is being "a product of your area". So if your parents have a certain political affiliation, and so do most of your friends, you probably will as well. Look at Indiana compared to Michigan or Ohio - it's much more conservative but that can't be explained by demographic reasons, as far as I know. In terms of race, age, and urbanisation, Indiana is not out of line with the upper midwest. It has relatively poor educational attainment levels, which might explain some of it.


I find when comparing midwest states politics it makes sense to factor in how much of their population is in their major cities.

For examples Illinois has a population of ~13 million, but the population of Chicago metro is ~9.5 million. With 73% of the population in a single metro area, the politics of state tend to resemble those of Chicago.

Compare neighboring Indiana, population of ~6.7 million. Indianapolis metro area is ~ 2 million, and the next largest is fort wayne at 400,000 followed by south bend at 300,000. Add those up and you're at 40% of the state's population. Factoring in the politics of mid-sized cities being quite a bit different from large metropolis' and its easy to see why Indiana is fairly conservative while Illinois is pretty liberal. You'll find a less extreme but similar disparity when comparing with Ohio, and Michigan and their respective large population centers. BTW I first noticed this when comparing the Twin Cities' share of Minnesota's population to Milwaukee-Madison-Green Bay's population share of Wisconsin.


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28 Nov 2020, 8:39 pm

What I find hard to understand in this context is where sexism comes from. In rural conservative areas you can see nonwhite or queer or trans people as foreign and be uncomfortable with them but there are women everywhere. Most people are raised by women and yet prejudice against women is still a thing. My mom told me it may have started with men seeing women as weak because they bleed every month during their periods but sexism seems to be more pervasive than that (there are a lot of men who understand that physical strength isn't everything).



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28 Nov 2020, 8:52 pm

ironpony wrote:
Why is that though do you think that more educated people are more progressive? I worked a factory environment with hugely conversative people, who just seemed to hate everyone. I was told it was because they are uneducated and do not know any better. But I don't understand how lack of education amounts to hate though, or how the two are connected, if that's the case.


Because an educated person is likely to have been exposed to more complex information that is likely to challenge them on preconceived easy information they had been fed before, and see how things can move more positively in a progressive way. lacking in education means more likely to be entrenched in conservatism of keeping things the way they are and hating things that are strange to them as scary.


ironpony wrote:
But there are also a lot of educated people who seem like bad people such as politicans or successful celebrities or business people, so maybe education doesn't help?


I would say that the biggest of such bad and educated people are the ones who may even wish to use ignorance like a weapon. A business person who wants to use knowledge of marketing to trick people into buying things that they don't need, or play the finance game to take advantage of a system by making money without contributing anything to it. Of course many politicians super play into this where many of them are mostly just trying to manipulate people by playing on their ignorance that if they vote them things will be better, as if trickle down economics might at a glance make sense, when really it doesn't. Often politicians and business people play hand in hand where a politician is going to receive some money from businesses, with a faint excuse like doing speeches.

Not sure what kind of "successful celebrities" are being referred to as.


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28 Nov 2020, 9:05 pm

Starlight2001 wrote:
What I find hard to understand in this context is where sexism comes from. In rural conservative areas you can see nonwhite or queer or trans people as foreign and be uncomfortable with them but there are women everywhere. Most people are raised by women and yet prejudice against women is still a thing. My mom told me it may have started with men seeing women as weak because they bleed every month during their periods but sexism seems to be more pervasive than that (there are a lot of men who understand that physical strength isn't everything).


It is traditionalism, a lot of stock is placed on traditional values, and traditional values tend to put men at top and women as home keepers, which changes even in these rural areas where women are shown that there is more, and so you get sexism.

You will still get places where they will say that you shouldn't use certain language against ladies and should cherish them, but as studies show these are often just a flip side to sexist opinions. Like incels who are told that if they just act like a nice guy they will earn the woman, and act out when things don't work that way. There being a specific idea of how a woman should be in a conservative area, and when a woman does not they can get angry. Often times just being in a position of power is enough to be seen as an affront, because they think that men are the natural leaders.


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29 Nov 2020, 5:46 am

Lack of different influences. If you live in a city, you're likelier to meet different people. The more different people you meet, the wider the range of values and ways of life the people around you can teach you is. Considering that, if someone who's lived in a very rural area all their lives is very old fashioned and has poisonous views because of it (not all conservative ways are automatically bad of course, but many are), one can say that a person like that isn't bad at the core, they just don't know any better. But if someone who's lived in big cities and met lots of different people is like that, well, then they're poisonous by choice, at least according to the logic above.

As for how they became conservative, pretty much everyone used to be like that. It's just that in cities, attitudes and ways developed with time when lots of likeminded, different people came together. This however, didn't happen in rural areas with less people. Even if someone with a different mindset came, they either hid their ways for safety reasons or left voluntarily/were smoked out.