Monday, March 15, 2010

What's Up With Texas? One Man's Theory

Texas has been in the news a good bit lately, mainly for their bizarre insistence on rewriting every textbook in the country to conservative standards. (I could go, at this point, onto a tangent and point out that this is typical conservative thinking--"The facts say we're wrong...but what if we make up our own 'facts' that say we're right?" But I'm trying to stay on-topic.) They're also one of only two states that are refusing to take part in the effort to establish a national set of educational standards, insisting that only Texans should decide what gets taught in Texas schools. (I could also tangent here by pointing out that this is why, in the long term, this kind of Lysenkoism does more harm to the people who believe those fallacies than to those people they attempt to ostracize--"Oh, I'm sorry, Oxford won't accept people who went to a Texas school..." But again, staying on-topic.)

And that topic is, "Why does this always seem to happen with Texas?" I understand the value of self-reliance and independence, but Texas always seems to have an inexplicable belligerence about its relationship with the United States and the other states therein. No matter what the country proposes, from health care to education to taxation, the response from Texas always seems to be, "Yeah, well, maybe we don't even wanna be part of your country! We could totally do this without you, you know!"

Since I have family in Texas, I've had both reason and occasion to think about Texas and the chip it seems to have on its shoulder from time to time. And on thinking about it, I've decided that Texas has a clear case of Short Man's Disease, or the political equivalent thereof. (Yes, I'm aware that the actual psychological disorder of Napoleon Complex has been discredited, and that the historical Napoleon probably wasn't all that short to begin with. But the analogy works on the political scale.)

"No, it doesn't," you might well say. (Especially if you're from Texas.) "Short Man's Disease is the tendency for short people to compensate with aggression, and Texas is one of the largest states in the USA!" (That last part gets mentioned by Texans a lot.) But while Texas is large for a state, they're small for a country. And not just small, but short-lived. The Republic of Texas only lasted ten years before volunteering to let the United States annex them.

Ever since, I think that Texans have felt the need to prove that they could have made it on their own as a nation if they really wanted to, and that they're only really in the United States because they feel like it, not because they need to or anything. They might be a small, sub-ordinate political entity, but theyr'e tough enough to kick anyone's ass! They could secede, you know--anytime they felt like it!

I think the whole "secession" thing is the political equivalent of elevator shoes.


Eric TF Bat said...

If it helps you to put this further into proportion, Texas is smaller than all but two of the Australian states, and probably about the same size as some of the more respectable sheep stations...

vampy said...

I wouldn't say Texas is small for a country though, it's bigger than the European countries.

Texas's problem isn't so much that it's small for a country, it's that it isn't a country. It's a state, which since the Civil War settled things is the equivalent of a province of the United States.

Michael Hoskin said...

Isn't this a set-up for an SCTV sketch? "What Fits Into Texas?"

Caine said...

I just like Alaska's response to just about anything Texas throws a tantrum about.

"Shut your mouths or we'll divide in half and make you the third largest state."