The red states lag behind the blue states on every quality-of-life statistic. John Kozy asks
So what motivates the conservative nature of the people in the red states?
What motivates these people even today, though most likely they don’t recognize it, is an unwillingness to accept the results of the Civil War and change the attitudes held before it. When a society inculcates beliefs over a long period of time, those beliefs cannot be changed by a forceful imposition of others. The beliefs once practiced overtly continue to be held covertly. Force is never an effective instrument of conversion. […] By the force of arms, you can compel outward conformity to political institutions and their laws, but you cannot change the antagonistic attitudes of people, that can remain unchanged for decades and longer waiting for opportunities to reassert themselves.
I suppose it’s possible that they still cling to their backward attitudes out of resentment for losing the Civil War. But where did they get these attitudes in the first place? And what would have been an effective instrument of conversion for such people? How much of the progress of the blue states can simply be attributed to the benefits of immigration, including the Great Migration of the descendants of Southern slaves?
And how does this theory explain states like Indiana, long a hotbed of KKK activity with lynchings as recently as 1930, that were not part of the Confederacy, but are as red-state as they come?