Many conservatives like to say economics is downstream from politics, and politics is downstream from culture. Religiously inclined conservatives go a step further to add that culture is downstream from piety or religious devotion. I tend to agree that culture is more fundamental than politics or economics, but I break from conservatives in often turning to psychology instead of faith in trying to understand culture.
What if the political chasm separating so-called blue and red America — and maybe even the yawning gender gap within and across regions — ultimately comes down to cultural differences that have their roots in the way parents and schools and broader cultural milieus shape the psyches of children, and especially boys, who grow up there?
I’m often prompted to reflect on this question by my encounters, as an ideological centrist, with people on various sides of our country’s deep divides — and never more so than in witnessing wildly different reactions to our polarizing president.