Goodbye Cities, Hello Small Towns: Why Conservative Patriots Should Return to Rural Living


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“Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators [farmers] is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example…The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body.  It is the manners and the spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the hearts of its laws and constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson

According to the official results of the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden won 509 of America’s counties – out of 3,056.  The 2016 election results, which were less controversial than the 2020 returns, show Hillary Clinton having won just 472.  Between them, Biden and Clinton averaged about sixteen percent of counties for a ratio of over five to one in favor of Donald Trump. 

A handful of big cities and counties, then, make up most of the Democratic party’s base.  As a result, they control our nation’s destiny whenever Democrats gain control of our national government.

New York City provides an example of how dramatically these places affect American politics. 

In NYC, Biden received 1.63 million more votes than his opponent, and won the state of New York as a whole by about sixty-one percent against Trump’s thirty-eight.  If the NYC results were taken out, the gap between the candidates in New York would narrow by nearly five points, even if NYC’s metropolitan area (the surrounding suburbs and towns that rely on the city economically) were still counted. 

If the counties that directly border NYC were also left out of the tally, Biden would lose over 200,000 additional votes, turning New York from a dark blue (heavily Democrat) state to a light blue or even purple (swing) state. 

But the larger effect of losing NYC’s influence – not to mention that of any other major city – would be simple – the destruction of the Democratic party. 

First, the United States House of Representatives would currently be controlled by Republicans.  NYC, disregarding the surrounding area, currently gives Democrats a net gain of twelve seats – with Republicans needing only eleven to take control of the chamber (whether Republicans would do anything worthwhile with their majority, given their feckless record, is another matter).

Second, if the NYC metropolitan area were out of the picture, at least nineteen of New York State’s twenty-nine electoral votes – which are largely dependent on population – would be gone, meaning that – at least in a free and fair election – conservatives would gain an enormous advantage at the presidential level. 

Third, Democrats would have to work much harder – and spend more money – to win the remaining part of New York, taking time and funds away from their efforts in other swing states.

Combined, the factors resulting from the loss of this one city’s influence would change our politics forever.

If we were to similarly imagine that the Los Angeles metropolitan area in California was absent from the political scene, Democrats might never win anything in America again.

In terms of combined electoral college effect, and considering the amount of money these areas pump into presidential elections, the absence of NYC and LA would likely mean that Biden would not be occupying the White House – even if one takes the official election “results” at face value. 

Hollywood’s influence on our culture would decrease without those places.  So, too, would much of our nation’s drug abuse and violent crime.  The mainstream media, based in New York City, might have to find a new home, as might those illegally within our borders who take shelter in “sanctuary” cities.

Does this level of influence by just two cities, with 2,500 miles of land between them, make sense for America?  Does discussing a scenario where their influence wanes accomplish anything, since their votes cannot be simply discounted?  And do large cities truly act as corrupting influences?

Although many good Americans live in major cities, I believe that common sense should preclude sixteen percent of America’s counties from governing the other eighty-four percent. 

Even though we live in an age of global connections, officials whose voters live in thirty-floor apartment towers should not determine the fate of small towns.  Moreover, it is precisely the global nature of communications that is finally giving us a very real chance to return our families to open spaces and close-knit communities where they can breathe the clean air, be accountable to neighbors who know their names, and avoid the temptations that have always gone hand-in-hand with cities.

If the pandemic (which World Health Organization officials, an hour after Biden’s inauguration, admitted wasn’t as widespread as they had claimed) has taught us one thing, it is that most of the work done in places like NYC can be done remotely. 

In the spring of last year, cell phone data showed half a million of NYC’s wealthiest residents disregarded travel restrictions to live and work from suburbs and neighboring states.  As an attorney, I can attest that nearly all legal work can be done at a distance, with the exception of some criminal law.  Other fields are similar.  Technology has eliminated the need for a central stock-exchange location.  Business deals can be conducted virtually.  Professional writers and editors mostly work from home now.  Telemedicine for routine ailments has become commonplace.  And if NASA can control its Mars Rover from millions of miles away, it’s probable that many factory machines can be operated by an American living in a different town (though such advances require strong protections against outsourcing). 

In fact, one of the only big sectors of city work that requires an in-person staff is the tourist industry, which is dead anyway due to Covid.  When tourism revives, I will be happy to spend my money on trips to the Grand Canyon or Colonial Williamsburg, instead of on trips to America’s urban population centers. 

America’s big cities, having had their day, are now settling for – and must continue to accept – a more reasonable place in our national landscape.

Just as Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire recently took its 75 or so employees out of LA, it’s time for us – as conservatives and patriotic Americans – to start re-locating our businesses and lives to small-town areas, even if it requires planning and sacrifice.  It’s high time we stopped sending our sons and daughters to big-city universities as well.  And it’s time to stop vacationing in large urban areas, and forgetting all that America has to offer between New York and LA.    

So yes, we can reduce the influence of our big cities – and not just the two I’ve already mentioned.  For example: America’s tenth-largest city – San José – is heavily financed by big tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, and Google.  Patriotic Americans are already abandoning those companies in droves, and if we continue down that path, another leftist city will diminish. 

But will the decline of such metropolises help?  Would their breakup simply disperse their more left-leaning residents to the countryside, changing how rural areas vote?

In my opinion, probably not, at least not in the way one might think.

If Conservatives were to make an effort to leave leftist cities and states, those areas would continue to be represented by Democrats – but with fewer congressional districts and electoral college votes, as discussed above.  Meanwhile, rural areas would increase their representation in Congress and in presidential elections. 

While the decline of cities would eventually cause some liberals to leave, most would stay for the time being.  The poor urban masses, made poor by leftist policies, would not immediately be able to leave the government support systems that large cities have in place – but the departure of conservative money would force those cities to embrace welfare reform and self-sufficiency – or go bankrupt.

As some liberals did move to rural or suburban areas, the lives of their sons and daughters would change for the better. 

As Thomas Jefferson knew, small towns and country farms are the backbone of our Republic, because they encourage virtue.  Homeownership is much more affordable outside of big cities, and private ownership brings upkeep efforts and personal pride.

Everyone knows their neighbors in small towns, and it is much harder to hide substance abuse, adultery, and crime.  Wealth and arrogance are not as flaunted, because small groups are less likely to tolerate one person setting themselves above the rest.

Small businesses – or even a simple garden – are easier to begin, and less subject to regulation.  Perhaps most important of all, churches and God are everywhere in the rural landscape, along with God’s creation – the sun, the trees, and the fresh air.  It is far better to be surrounded by these than by smog and the bleak “modern architecture” offered by urban skyscrapers.

Large cities, by contrast, offer every kind of temptation imaginable, because whatever someone may desire, it can be found there.  Drugs, inappropriate forms of entertainment, gambling, overpriced luxury items, everything that can corrupt the human mind and make it forget God, loved ones, and friends.

Moreover, most small cities and towns have plenty of wholesome entertainment to offer.  Having lived in many, I can testify that nearly all have semi-professional acting groups, live bands, museums, and colleges within a thirty-minute drive.  Quite frankly, it takes at least that long to get anywhere in a crowded city.

If big-city influence cannot be reduced or is maintained due to illegal immigration, I believe the other eighty-four percent of America’s counties will have to find a way – perhaps through greater political autonomy – to prevent their decisions from being controlled by the interests of America’s urban elites.

Time and our efforts will tell.

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