I've been browsing Sarah Palin stories all weekend, not sure why -- some political soap operas just grab my attention for reasons that are not always clear to me. Moldbug has put up a special post analyzing the class issues in play. As usual, his approach is incredibly reductive, but he's probably onto somsthing nevertheless. Palin seems like an incredibly weak play from the Democratic (aka "Eloi/Brahmin") perspective. But the right is crowing about how wonderful she is, how she's going to show all those tofu-eating elitists what real Americans are like, etc. Who is right?
The real red/blue split in this country is not betweeen economic classes so much as it is between urban and rural values ("rural" is a misnomer, since the locus for these values has long ceased being actual farm country and is more like exurban sprawl). The former are cosmoplitian, multicultural, worldly, intellectual, and transnational. The latter are traditionalist, nationalistic, religious, and jingoistic. They are based on entirely different value systems, and even though the platforms of the two parties are not all that different, when compared to the range of possible political opinion, their emotional and values appeals seem to be poles apart and getting more polarized over time.
From this standpoint, Palin is an inspired choice. She is lively, and adds a spark of vitality to the McCain image which otherwise seems to have one foot in a rest home if not the grave. She makes rural values seem dynamic and attractive, rather than old and fusty. Her inexperience and fecklessness is no handicap to getting Republicans elected, as demonstrated by the last two cycles. Weird stuff about Palin has been breaking all weekend, culminating with the recent revelation that her 17-year old daughter is pregnant and unmarried. But I don't think that's going to hurt her, nor are the fact that she herself has a young child. Contrast it with the carefully controlled reproduction of the Clintons, or Obamas. These rugged Alaskans rut and reproduce in the all natural way. If a Down's baby or teenage mother is the result, well, la-di-da, that's part of the circle of life.
So all these baby eruptions are going to help her image and appeal, I predict. It's going to interfere with Obama's somewhat ethereal charisma by presenting a much more primal variety. Obama was poised to be a unifier, and might have pulled it off, but this brilliant play has boxed him into his native urban elitist demographic. His appeal ultimately is to the head, Palin's is rooted somewhere south of that, in the lower chakras.
This feeds into another idea which I don't have time to treat, which is that the religion of the Christian right is not particularly Christian from my perspective. The Jewish and universalist aspects of Christianity (which are the only ones that resonate with me) have been largely discarded, and replaced with a variety of authoritarian, militaristic paganism. Blue Christians seem to have largely disappeared from the political scene. The "pro-life" movement has little basis in historical Christianity but makes a lot of sense as part of a nationalistic fertility rite.
[Update: ah, here we go.][and here][Oh, yuck, Steve Sailer is on to the same idea. I feel dirty.][I wish I had come up with this post title.]