White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy

This book gives an astonishing picture of a slice of American society – a picture of arrogant, racist, ill-informed liberal commentators who are happy to deliver a patronizing diatribe on a section of society against which they make sweeping judgments based on little apparent research or first-hand knowledge.

This book helps to explain the startling divide in America by showing how profoundly uninterested such people are in understanding or accepting the views of anyone who does not accord with their own orthodoxy and must, therefore, be dismissed as anti-democratic.

They know that they are on safe ground here precisely because of the race and conservative beliefs of their target. It should be a warning sign for any society when any group becomes an acceptable target for offensive generalizations.

The authors have made little apparent attempt to understand the people they are writing about, dismissing them largely through the use of cherry-picked statistics.

The authors hew to an idea that government is good, so if you want less government, that isn’t good. The idea that everyone might not be out to hog the biggest government benefits possible is inconceivable. Everything progressive is good, and if you oppose it, it’s not just that they will disagree with you, but you will be branded a bigot and an enemy of democracy.

Well-meaning, the authors no doubt are. What they can’t be forgiven for is intellectual laziness. You would think that a book on White Rural Rage would focus on the accounts of white, rural people who are enraged. But no. Academics who agree with the authors are quoted at length. So are a handful of people they spoke to in rural America – people who generally share the authors’ views.

Don’t read this to understand rural America, white or otherwise, better.

By all means, read this to understand just how ill-informed and how uninterested in informing themselves a slice of arrogant, White coastal commentators in America are. This book could go some way to helping explain Donald Trump’s popularity in rural America and beyond – but probably not in the way the authors intended.

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