"American voters increasingly split along religious lines"

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Tue Dec 16 08:48:35 PST 2003

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:

>On 12/14/03 2:58 PM, "Russell Turpin" <deafbox at hotmail.com> wrote:
>>Is the sagebrush region more or less religious
>>than average?
>Possibly a little less than average overall, but it depends on the
>sub-region and how you figure the math.  You have to realize that most of
>the people who live in the sagebrush region are not natives, but come from
>places like Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.  My ranch in Nevada is remote
>(an hour from the interstate on dirt roads and a long way from anything
>urban), and yet the closest fulltime rancher is a GenX guy from Cupertino in
>Silicon Valley.  Even a lot of the people who live in the remote parts and
>small towns are not as native as they appear.  And the truly domestic
>population in that region doesn't seem to be very religious either.
>The most religious sub-region of sagebrush country is the band across the
>Canadian border, including eastern Washington, Idaho, and western Montana.

Um, isn't Utah in this region?  And how do reconcile the Mathew Shepard 
(and the people who want to be up a monument celebrating their belief 
that he is burning
in hell) to your view of this libertarian paradise?

>But they have such a crazy and diverse mix of religions even in small towns
>up there that it is very much a live and let live because even neighbors are
>at odds on matters of religion.  Even though I would say that religion is as
>important to people in that part of the sagebrush region as it is in the
>South or Appalachia, I've never felt marginalized for not being religious
>(unlike in the South) because religion is understood to be a strictly
>personal choice and they treat it in a pretty libertarian fashion.  They are
>pretty religious, but you won't be treated any differently if you aren't.  I
>have friends who are militant atheists who enjoy the people up in those
>parts immensely.
>The rest of sagebrush country is not particularly religious at all, no more
>than Silicon Valley.  There is no creepiness to living in most of it (and
>I've lived in several parts of it in my life), because as far as I could
>ever tell, most of the people don't go to church nor do they have a religion
>that I ever knew about.  The exception being in the band along the Canadian
>border, which is where I grew up, and even those folks are very palatable.
>I've also lived in the South and the Mid-Atlantic regions, and THOSE places
>are uncomfortably religious for me.
>I've lived in most parts of the US at one time or another, and the areas
>that were the most "religious" in the usual sense were the South,
>Mid-Atlantic, and the entire "midwest" east of the Great Plains (e.g greater
>Appalachia).  The "ultra-liberal" regions also have their own "religion"
>thing going, though it normally isn't identified as such even though it has
>all the symptoms.  In all these regions there was obvious social
>marginalization if you weren't part of whatever the local religion was.
>Everything west of the Great Plains inclusive (excluding the South) is
>either not very religious, or sufficiently libertarian about it that it
>doesn't really matter.  Same with New England.
>To sum up sagebrush culture succinctly, it is a fusion of socially liberal
>sensibilities brought from California and bred with the fiercely independent
>and libertarian attitude native to the mountain west.  The net result is a
>culture that doesn't have much of a real religious tendency in most regions
>and has a strongly libertarian attitude toward politics and government.  I
>still maintain that of all the places I've lived, the one with a culture
>that appealed to me most was the culture of northern Nevada, a mere 4 hours
>east of Silicon Valley.  The closest thing to a classically libertarian
>culture we have in the US in my opinion.
Governments refer to it as the problem of "leaving the deficit behind." 
I guess
I see the "libertarian attitude" as pretty superficial - it usually 
amounts to "I'm not
paying for that" because I can go somewhere else and run up some more debts.
 Government debts that is.

30 years down the road the "sagebrush" region will look exactly like 
financially. Except of course for Nevada, whose economy and apparently 
tax structure
is based on - hey - guess what - a government-protected monopoly. 
Legalize gambling
in all 50 states and Nevada will look like California (in debt) in 20 

And here is a quote I like -
"A series of S-words summarizes how dramatically the state budget 
picture has changed in
the past 4 years. As recently as 1999, state governments were able to 
spend money. In 2000
they started to scrimp, and by 2001 they needed serious savings. 2002 
saw them scouring budgets
for every efficiency they could find, and in 2003 they need to slash 
(the states are not entirely in the sagebrush region, but include 
Nevada, Idaho, a few others).

In my opinion "libertarians" are usually massively subsidized by the 
rest of us, once you dig a little.
In this country Alberta is a hot bed - and they forget history. The 
poorest part of the country in the depression, they now conveniently 
forgotten the words "Crow's Nest Pass Rate" by which the rest of the 
country subsidized them for for 50-60 years, now that the money has 

All those crown lands I think are a clue - according to this chart most 
of these states are subsidized by the Federal government (but not Nevada 
- its got gambling). And looking at the coast - the writer seems to have 
chopped off all the coast (which probably are net payers) leaving all 
the inland (subsidized).


How many federal dollars the state gets for every dollar it sends off in 
taxes to DC:
Arizona $1.18
Colorado $0.85
Idaho $1.30
Montana $1.59
Nevada $0.69
New Mexico $2.03
Utah $1.09
Wyoming $1.09

I think by this measure, New Jersey looks like a libertarian paradise - 
since it gets the least from the federal government (.66 for each 
dollar) - ah, legalized gambling again. I am sure there are some 
Jerseyites who would not be impressed to see how much money they send to 
"libertarians." And the fact that New Jersey takes less cash from the 
national government than Nevada - well that says something. To me it 
says that they are more efficient at running a gambling operation to 
benefit all the people in the state. But then they don't have to worry 
about "libertarians."


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