That's the title of a recent op-ed column in the Los Angeles Times by Victor Davis Hanson. Here's an excerpt.
The urban-rural divide can be experienced within hours. I live half the week in a 140-year-old farmhouse in the rural Central Valley, the other half in a studio apartment in Palo Alto near the Stanford University campus.
At my house, I worry about whether the well will go dry. I lock the driveway gate at night, and if someone knocks after 10 p.m., I go to the door armed. Each night, I check the security lights in the barnyard and watch to ensure that coyotes aren't creeping too close from the vineyard. I wage a constant battle against the squirrels, woodpeckers and gophers that undermine the foundation, poke holes in the sheds and destroy irrigation ditches.
At my apartment, I have few concerns about maintenance and more time to read, brood and mix with others. Urbanites may work long hours at the office among thousands of people, but they often remain in a cocooned existence shielded from the physical world. Essential to the neurotic buzz of 24/7 cable news, Twitter and Facebook is the assumption that millions of Americans are not busy logging, hauling in a net on a fishing boat or picking peaches.
These differences wouldn't matter so much if it weren't for the fact that the nation's urbanites increasingly govern those living in the hinterlands, even as vanishing rural Americans still feed and fuel the nation.
The elite that runs the country in politics, finance, journalism and academia is urban to the core: degrees from brand-name universities, internships at well-connected agencies, residence in New York or Washington, power marriages. The power resume does not include mechanical apprenticeships, work on ships or oil rigs, knowledge of firearms or farm, logging or mining labor — jobs now regulated and overseen by those with little experience of them. Few in Silicon Valley know where in the High Sierra their Hetch Hetchy water comes from or where in the bay their sewage is dumped. Food, too, is an abstraction. I doubt that most of my Stanford colleagues know that a raisin is typically a dried Thomson seedless grape, or whether a peach or plum needs to be cross-pollinated.
There's more at the link.
I've found this same point troubling for many years, in both Europe and the USA. One's much closer to nature if one lives outside the city, closer to the 'real world' instead of the 'concrete jungle. One is much less insulated from reality outside the 'concrete jungle', no matter what continent one's on. A suspicious African elephant losing its temper because some dumbass driver sounded his horn? Check. Hikers in Hawaii who didn't realize the danger of getting caught in flash floods? Check. A freak wave sinks a whale-watching boat, killing some of the tourists aboard? Check. All these hazards will be well-known to those who live among them on a daily basis . . . not so much those who don't.
Trouble is, most city dwellers are so insulated from these realities that they don't realize how cocooned their lives have become. Take the young woman who, when informed that the beef she was buying in the supermarket came from slaughtered cows, said in disbelief, "You mean beef comes from moo cows?" and burst into inconsolable tears. (No, I'm not making that up.) If one lives closer to predators, one understands what they are and why they behave that way, and takes appropriate precautions; but city-dwellers go for a run in the country without realizing that joggers can - and sometimes do - trigger a predator's chase instinct, with lethal consequences. They also fail to recognize the predators in their midst; criminals, who prey on other human beings and their property as ruthlessly as any predator in nature. One's defenses against criminal predators are precisely the same as those against natural predators; awareness, preparedness, and the tools and mindset to stop their attack in any way necessary. However, far too many city dwellers walk around like sheep, content to be in the 'security' of the herd, relying on others to protect them (and forgetting that those 'others' in their police uniforms can't be everywhere at once).
That, to me, is the greatest danger of the urban-rural divide that Mr. Hanson highlights. We've forgotten how to be safe in the midst of predators. We've become sheep. We feel rather than think. That's why some of the 'Black Lives Matter' protestors can be so ludicrously wrong, yet believe with all their hearts that they're absolutely right, and fully justified in their wrongheadedness. That's why some can argue to admit tens of thousands of (allegedly) Syrian refugees whose backgrounds and intentions can't possibly be checked, and who may - almost certainly do - harbor thousands of jihadists and potential terrorists among them. Certainly, their demographics aren't those of 'traditional' refugees! Common sense says that we shouldn't admit them to our own countries, but rather offer them support, shelter and aid where they are, keeping the potential danger as far away from our people as possible; but misguided (and largely urban) compassion, based on emotion rather than reality, condemns those who want to ensure the safety of their own society.
So much that's wrong with our society is wrong precisely because those who espouse and expound it are isolated from reality. They've grown up in their urban cocoons, knowing nothing else, and they're campaigning and legislating out of that 'cocoon mind' . . . even though it has little or nothing to do with reality. They're blind. That makes them incredibly dangerous in their ignorance. (How many senior members of the present Administration come from anything other than urban backgrounds?)