I just saw this list of the states with the largest percentage of college graduates:
- North Dakota
- New York
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
See any pattern there? Kinda blue, isn’t it. I don’t have, at my fingers, the states with highest incomes but most of these are in that list too. No wonder the Repugs are always wanting to cut funding for college, either at state or federal level: keep the peasants ignorant so they’ll vote right.
Now contrary to the tea bagger opinion college doesn’t make people more liberal, at least as some indoctrination program the Repugs might believe exists. But college attendance does correlate with some other factors (smarts, ambition, belief in knowledge as key to personal success), plus college does require some critical thinking skills that are inconsistent with right wingnut views. Simply put people who have had to think to get a credential don’t make as credulous believers in right-wing nonsense. Of course there is another correlation and that these states are also some of the least religious in the U.S.
So how about that, the party of the rich requires the non-rich and poorly educated mob to stay in power. No wonder their voters consistently fall for trickle-down economics (not much is trickling to the red states). So, simply put, ignorance is a key requirement for Repug voting. Big surprise the red states are also the big creationist states, the global climate change deniers, the most otherist, and otherwise the least advanced.
Now also interesting is the omission from the list of traditional “blue” states: California, Oregon, and Washington. With all the tech on the Pacific coast one might have expected a different result. But that’s one of the shocks having lived in California most of my life – yes, there are pockets of well-educated people, but the bulk of the state is pure redneck country (go visit the central valley sometime).
I remember, not long after moving to California, seeing a large “Impeach Earl Warren” billboard out near Manteca on the way to Yosemite. I commented on this to office mates, joking that whoever put up the billboard didn’t even know Earl Warren was dead. But the real joke was that the billboard had been there since Earl Warren had been governor of California (and rather right-wing). Yep, real liberal state.
But I think the other thing that college implies is that its graduates know something about the bigger world and not just their local swamp. For better or worse it’s 2012, not 1912, and the U.S. is no longer an island isolated from the rest of the world living off agriculture and natural resources. So the red states can hope to “take back America” and go back to 1912, but that’s just not going to happen. The only consequence of a retreat to 1912 would be to also drive the U.S. to 3rd world status, which of course, many of of the red states already are (drive around geodashing in the rural south if you don’t believe me).
So it’s amazing to me that the most advanced country in the world has gotten there, largely because of education and its enabling technology, and yet we’re headed backwards. The consequences should be obvious, but of course that requires critical thinking skills to recognize.