Saturday, November 12, 2011


Prevailing political trends suggest that small-town white Protestants feel besieged.  It appears that has been true for quite a while.  Here  is a link to a new New York Times story about how the tax system favors those who don't live in New York City or Palo Alto.  From the article:
"The debate over regional differences is nothing new, Dr. Thorndike said. When the modern tax code went into effect in 1913, “it was viewed as a way to tax those rich Northerners, and to be fair, that’s what it was,” he said."

It's clear that the political system favors those of us citizens who live in the central part of the country.  My conservative friend who talks with me about such things has an attitude that published accounts victimize conservatives.  Sarah Palin and Rick Perry carry that chip on their shoulders, too.  Why those fortunate, rich, white people should think of themselves as victims continues to puzzle me, but that's an honestly held point of view, regardless of the irony.  It comes out in the integration cases and other public points of conflict when those fortunate, rich, white people think somebody is getting away with something, and so we shouldn't help our neighbors in an organized way. Think of the Bush Administration in New Orleans after Katrina.  Think of the current Congress talking about Amtrak.  Think of Florida governor Scott turning down the money for the high speed rail line.

When PBS showed Ken Burns' excellent program on Prohibition recently, the historical link to small-town, white America came to my attention.  Of course, it's true.  I know that from my own upbringing, but I hadn't really previously articulated in that way.  Now, we have a book that elucidates the idea.

The author is Daniel Okrent, who has an interesting Wikipedia entry.   I hadn't realized that Okrent invented fantasy or "rotisserie" baseball.   Apparently he and Ken Burns both are interested in baseball and the Prohibition era. 

Here is a review of a book about the Prohibition amendment to the US Constitution that reviewer David Oshinsky describes as "remarkably original."  Here is the book:


The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
By Daniel Okrent. Illustrated. 468 pp. Scribner. $30


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