The problem with not getting out and about is that you can form some pretty insular about people far away. In a recent discussion it was remarked that (my remarks quoted from a previous comment in italics):
I actually personally don’t know any GOP members who “hate gays”, perhaps they are a mythical bugbear put forth by the left or a small minority?
I think you’re in some serious denial about the Republican base. You stick to your elitist blogs and big-brained philosophers and tune out the Rush Limbaughs and the Michael Savages and the Joe the Plumbers of the world. The people who make up and rally the real base.
Now, this is reminiscent of a liberal diatribe/book I read some time ago about fundamentalism and conservative theology “stealing” Christianity from the liberals. The salient point I’m drawing here is an intended non-ironic remark the author made upon discovering during a conversation with a person at a gathering … when they found out that the person with which they were conversing was exactly one of those people. And to the authors surprise the person was intelligent and quite nice. This, I suggest, is a more generic phenomena. That those one the left, who characterize as those on the right, especially conservative Christians, as “haters” and “bigots”. When they actually, meet those they despise, in non-confrontational social settings are surprised that they are actually quite nice.
Church pot-lucks as social interaction, personal involvement in charity, and in general an open and friendly manner these things characterize rural and small town flyover communities. These are the people who make up the real base. If they also posses a natural suspicion of academics and the East and Left coast elitist intellectual movement who simultaneously would tell them how to think and act and despises them, I would suggest that intuition is not just natural but that it is right. Northern Europe is much further along in their social experiment and progressive change that those same said elitists want to implement. It is also undergoing catastrophic demographic collapse, has been hit harder in general by the recession, and in general if held up as an “example” of the benefits of progressive practices put into play serves as more as a really good … bad example.