'The Texas Liberal Detector'
Writing at RealClearPolitics, Heather Wilhelm says that she's moving from Chicago to Austin, Texas soon. Howdy and welcome! Her move has generated the usual liberal reaction -- "Oh, good, because Austin is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the rest of Texas." Implying, or often outright stating, that the rest of Texas is a relic of the Neanderthal era with a strong dose of that old time religion that liberals fear and loathe so much. The reaction amuses her, as it should.
This deep-seated fear of the ills of religion is intriguing, given that in both books, said ills don’t significantly play out in reality. Texas, as Thompson writes, may be “batshit religious crazy,” but, as Grieder reluctantly notes, “the typical Texan doesn’t, for example, seem unusually homophobic, even when you leave the liberal enclaves such as Austin. Even in the eastern part of the state, which is conservative and heavily religious” -- watch out, humanity! -- “Texans have pushed back against the worst displays of bigotry.” Oh. OK.
That would be East Texas, where black conservative Republican James White recently drove out the last Democrat in the region's state House seats.
This fear of religion is also rather ironic, given that the supposedly superior, more sophisticated blue-state model is, if anything, built on the craziest type of faith -- the kind that persists in spite of direct evidence to the contrary. I hate to break it to the haters, but Austin is a smashing success largely because it’s a part of Texas.
Indeed. Austin is a great town to live near, not necessarily in. Its politics are insane, but the food and music can't be beat.
Yes, it’s a fun, liberal city. It embraces progressive stances on banning plastic bags (which, let’s face it, just collapse in the back of your car, letting all the groceries tumble out), promoting sustainable energy (solar panels actually work down there, by the way), and banning smoking in parks (as an aside, I often infuriate my libertarian friends by professing my love of public smoking bans, and I shall do it again here). But Austin, like the rest of Texas, also has a friendly business climate. It does not have a personal income tax. It also happens to be governed by a guy named Rick Perry.
The plastic bag ban is unsanitary and stupid. It's driving some business in north Austin out into the saner enclaves of Round Rock and Cedar Park (Austin's motto is "Keep Austin Weird," while Round Rock's is "Keep Round Rock Mildly Unusual"). Those red county towns are happy to benefit from Austin's blue moonbattiness.
There's a fact about Texas that ought to unsettle liberals. Barack Obama's economic performance as president would look a whole lot worse without Rick Perry's economic performance in Texas. Texas' size means its low unemployment rate greatly impacts the national rate. Take Texas out of the national picture, and just what kind of numbers would Obama have? Barack Obama needs Rick Perry and his successor next year to keep Texas strong. Push blue policies here and you'll wreck the national jobs picture.
Here are some more facts that ought to unsettle liberals. If Texas were its own country, it would easily be in the top 20 world economies. Because it shares a border with Mexico, it already has foreign policy chops. Texas is the only state with its own complete power grid. Cut us off from the rest of the country, as many tolerant, loving liberals would love to do because they hate how we live, and the lights will stay on. Texas is also capable of building its own nuclear weapons. You can mine the uranium here and you can build the weapons in Amarillo. Guess where an outsize chunk of the US military comes from? If you guessed Texas, you guessed very well.
And look which regions aren't pulling their weight in our nation's defense: the coastal blues. The same regions that are broke due to liberals' religious zeal for statism and centralized government control by unionized bureaucrats.
The biggest fact that really ought to unsettle liberals: Washington needs Texas a whole lot more than Texas needs Washington.
More: Michele Samuelson says Austin couldn't exist without Texas, and it's essentially Texan in attitude despite its blue politics.