The Idiocy of Rural Life


A REAL Discussion with Flyover Man

Monica Potts, In the Land of Self-Defeat: What a fight over the local library in my hometown in rural Arkansas taught me about my neighbors’ go-it-alone mythology — and Donald Trump’s unbeatable appeal.

An outstanding article. Everyone needs to read it. Especially David Brooks.

I expect that in ancient Babylonia, the more enterprising part of the population that happened to be born in farming villages would find a way to move to the big city of Babylon, while the less enterprising would tend to just stay put. In these modern times, the same thing happens, but I suspect it’s happening much faster right now than it used to.

Ms. Potts comprehensively and persuasively documents how the process is working itself out in Van Buren County, Arkansas—population, about 17,000; median household income, about $27,000. It’s a miserable place to live. The more enterprising and intelligent among the people unlucky enough to be born there escape as soon as they can. Which makes a miserable situation miserabler. And leads to the mindset described in the article.

I do not know anyone in Van Buren County, but I feel that, through Ms. Potts, I have met them. I do not hate them. I do not feel morally superior to them. We are what we are. But I feel profoundly sorry for them. And I absolutely do not want them to exercise a dictatorship over me, through their support of Donald Trump.