Climate & Culture

I stumbled upon a very interesting article on a hypothesis I’ve ruminated upon for some time: the idea that climate and geography profoundly affect culture. It may seem obvious, but few thinkers allow its implications to color their judgments.

America is a great case-in-point. Founded under a universalizing, Enlightenment-era liberal ideology, Americans have internalized a peculiar lack of attachment to place. (For more on this, visit the wordsmiths at Front Porch Republic). However, I have noticed in my late-night, pajama-clad research sessions, that warm States are different than cold, and coastal States different than inland.

I determined that despite my love of warm weather, the trade-offs were intolerable: high crime, corruption, dishonesty, and disease.

Meanwhile, coastal areas appear to be wealthier, more sophisticated, and to have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes their cultures widely envied and imitated.

Anyway, making such generalizations is certainly a troll-baiting exercise, but it’s just food for thought.

For the record, I admire the politics of the Mountain West, which is not coastal, and Texas, which is not cold. But we’re looking for tendencies here…

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