Tinotopia (Logo)
TinotopiaLog → Cause and Effect, Part III ( 2 Jul 2005)
Saturday 02 July 2005

Cause and Effect, Part III

Apropos of this and this, the Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal Best of the Web yesterday remarked on a blog post that correlates Republican voters and low real-estate values.

The point you’re supposed to get, I suppose, is that Republicans Spoil The Neighborhood or some such thing. This is, of course, nutty. The worst slums tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic, and the fanciest suburbs tend to be Republican strongholds.

Best of the Web (correctly, I suspect) suggests that the difference in real-estate values is because:

First, Democrats help produce rising home values by supporting development and labor regulations that suppress new construction, thus limiting the supply of housing.

Second, geography produces both Democrats and rising home values. That is, Dems tend to prefer living in old cities that are already built up and that often have physical barriers to sprawl (i.e., oceans, lakes and rivers). The housing supply in these places is less elastic than in Republican-leaning cities like Phoenix and Dallas.

They also leave out the fact that rural ‘Republicans’ will tend to value individualism and self-reliance more, while urban and suburban ‘Democrats’ will value interdependence and ‘community’ (i.e. low taxes and few services vs. the opposite). When you live in the boonies, you have to be self-reliant, because anyone else you might think about relying on lives too far away.

In fact, this might do as a symbol of rural and semi-rural America:


The truck and the generator. When big storms, often the remnants of hurricanes, come through the greater Washingtonia metro area (which stretches all the way to West Virginia), the newspapers are full of stories of suburbanites who are left with their streets blocked by debris, and their houses unpowered, for weeks. Here in the boonies, our roads are cleared before it even stops raining, because we go out there ourselves with chainsaws.

And here is the chief irony, as I see it anyway: out here in the solidly Red sticks, when neighbors are in need, everyone shows up and pulls together. (That this generally involves power tools can’t hurt, either.) In the Bluer and presumably more communitarian suburbs and city, everyone meekly waits for the public-works crews to come solve the problem for them — and they probably call the police on their neighbors if they start cutting something without the proper permit, too.

Posted by tino at 13:21 2.07.05
This entry's TrackBack URL::

Links to weblogs that reference 'Cause and Effect, Part III' from Tinotopia.