msw1Too many hicks out in the sticks that are sheltered/isolated from information and education and get wacky religion and local culture stuffed into their heads to where they can't think for themselves any longer.
Bingo! Often, that isolationism and willful ignorance is worn like a badge of honor. Hello, Sarah Palin.
Exactly. If you look at progressive states or even progressive cities in the United States, they're all around major population centers -- lots of people coming and going, dynamic economies, international commerce, tourism and universities. There's an influx of new people and ideas. In the red states, marooned in the middle of the country, it's a backwater -- the same people and the same ideas reigning unchallenged and unquestioned year after year and nothing ever changes.
As if urban dwellers don't have wacky religions and superstitions...
"Scientology," "organic foods," "lysenkoism,"homeopathic medicine," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
The fact is that most "new ideas" are wrong. New ideas are the fodder of science: in that process, they are tested empirically and the vast majority are rejected. However, the lunatics of the left tend to eschew the hard part and move directly to religion-ization and legislation. The result has killed hundreds of millions of people.
A little conservatism is a good thing. People who actually work the land and make real things are steeped in empiricism. (Though they may be a little weak on theory.) They are resistant to wacky new ideas for a reason.
I suppose one could make the argument that city dwellers are more steeped in the empiricism of social relations, as opposed to physical reality. There would be far more opportunities for social experimentation and evaluation in cities. (Of course, it doesn't seem to matter how many times socialism is tested to failure. Someone always wants to try it again.)
But back to the original question: my observations, though limited, are that Europeans are more conservative than Americans in many ways. I've worked with a fair number of them, on both continents. There seems to be a certain "can't do" attitude over there. For example, I've worked on projects where my European colleagues literally sat around doing nothing for weeks, waiting for factory reps to come set up their (relatively simple) equipment. They were shocked when Americans arrived on site, opened boxes, and started working. One time, I almost got dog-piled on, when a pump arrived with the wrong end fitting. I cut it off and put the correct one on. "How do you know to do that? Shouldn't you send it back to be done at the factory?"
Hmm... need a succinct conclusion here, but I'm tired.