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But all of this is beside the point. Kansas has always been a conservative Republican state, as Frank well knows because he grew up there. Frank's argument is that the nature of that conservatism has changed in the last 15 or 20 years, from a sort of "Main Street" conservatism to a more radical version defined more by the religious right and cultural/social issues than economic ones.

Your forgetting that back in the day of 'Main Street' conservatism traditional values regarding sexual morality were the established consensus. Over the past forty years the US (and Europe) has seen a dramatic change in how sexual behaviour is judged by society. It is natural that conservatives should become a lot more militant about such issues when that social consensus has crumbled.

With regard to economic issues I'd say it would make more sense to see the period from the mid fifties to the mid seventies as a temporary swing to the left by the Republican party. They opposed all government programs from Social Security to Medicare and Medicaid when they were proposed. So their views on that part of the political battlefield are also consistent with the past.

To sum up - not much has changed except a feeling by conservatives that their ideology is being undermined by a changing world, and it is the very essence of conservatism to become upset under those circumstances. Before you could have a de Maistre you needed the Revolution. The precondition for the rise of the Christian Right was the sexual revolution.

by MarekNYC on Mon Oct 31st, 2005 at 02:46:27 AM EST
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True, but there were other social issues that divided the country along similar lines - immigration, prohibition, the Catholic issue. The fundies always find something to bitch about.

You know, "rum, romanism, and rebellion."

It may be, though, that during the immediate-post WWII period American society was as secular as it ever has been.

by TGeraghty on Mon Oct 31st, 2005 at 11:47:40 AM EST
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