All things considered, Jonah Goldberg really is your best entertainment value. His latest stroke of genius is to elucidate the political differences between "dairy states" and "beef states":
When you think about it, cow-rich states dedicated to dairy seem to have more left wing politics than cow-rich states dedicated to meat production.Where's the evidence for this? There isn't any. Goldberg has done "no research whatsoever and [is] merely going by stereotypes about cheese and steak...." In other words, he's using his patented brand of know-nothing laziness as a shield against criticism. He's just throwing some ideas out there, you see. If people like them, he can go further and fare better. If people criticize them, he can claim that he was just being funny and frolicsome. It's kind of amazing that his pals at the Corner haven't noticed this hedging strategy yet, 'cause he indulges in it pretty often.
Goldberg may have no evidence, but he's got three explanations, and each one's a winner.
First, the sorts of people who historically went into dairy production were Scandinavian socialist types while the people who went into meat production were Scotch-Irish cowboy types.Regarding "Scandinavian socialist types," I'd direct Mr. Goldberg's attention to a book called Wisconsin Death Trip, which paints a somewhat dour picture of how the 19th-century nanny-state functioned in the environs of Prairie Du Chien. Had Goldberg lived there and then, I'll bet you dollars to donuts he would've been the very first inmate of the mental hospital at Mendota.
Before I move on to Goldberg's theory number two, I suppose I should mention that both dairy and beef farmers have been and continue to be recipients of government subsidies and other taxpayer-funded handouts.
Two: Perhaps dairy regulation occurred a lot earlier than meat regulation. This generated a culture of state-intervention and therefore a politics to match (or vice versa).It didn't, and it'd actually be pretty weird if it had. Slaughterhouses have always posed a much greater public nuisance and health hazard than dairies, and have accordingly been the subject of more public complaint.
State regulation of cattle goes all the way back to the colonies. However, the first Federal Meat Inspection Act was passed in 1906, replacing a relatively toothless law passed in 1891; the National Cattlemen's Beef Association says that the 1906 Act was "welcomed by cattlemen," and that the Association "successfully lobbied for the inspectors to be paid by the federal government."
Go figure, eh Jonah?
There's also a more metaphorical - i.e. b.s. - theory: dairy is nurturing. It's about sustainability. Dairy farmers can afford to fall in love with their cows. Making cows into steak, handburger and wallets requires more tough-mindedness. Dairy is soft America. Meat is hard America. Or Something Like That.Hard versus soft...it's amazing how often ideas are accepted or rejected not on their virtues, but according to their imagined position on this vague continuum. At any rate, Goldberg's unblushing invocation of "hard America" provides further evidence that conservative ideology is a sort of patent medicine designed to improve the self-confidence of psychosexual cripples.
Some might argue that sustainability is tough-minded, inasmuch as it requires discipline, careful attention to detail, and occasional acts of self-denial. But Goldberg doesn't see it like that. To him, being "hard" means vacuously catering to and coddling himself, while getting a vicarious thrill - felt mainly in the sweaty creases of the perineum - from the thought of the big boys working the bolt gun down at the slaughterhouse. Moderation and gluttony have somehow switched places in the conservative moral firmament, and the result has been a flock of Goldbergs: a gaggle of pudgy, self-satisfied, willfully ignorant layabouts with the attention span of a squirrel.
Incidentally, Goldberg doesn't realize that cattle ranchers generally didn't kill their animals. Instead, they sent them to meatpackers:
Stockyards provided the accumulation points for cattle coming in on the rail cars. Cattle were not fed as in today’s definitions, but rather sorted and distributed out to packers. There were no feeder or stocker cattle, and heifers were never slaughtered.Chicago, despite its legendary status as "hog butcher to the world," seems to be comparatively progressive nowadays. Maybe the fact that meatpacking plants were an important breeding-ground for unionism had something to do with it.
And of course, dairy ranchers routinely slaughtered cattle. Still do, in fact.
All the same...outside of being completely ill-informed, and finding absurdities plausible simply because they crept into his empty skull to die, Goldberg's really hit on something.