The Transformation of Vermont

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Take it as a warning or as an illustration of opportunity, but Rick Holmes’s history, in the Fall River Herald, of Vermont’s political transformation is a worthwhile read.

Basically, the interstate highway system brought “flatlanders” to the state for foliage viewing, skiing, and indulgence in a hippy aesthetic.  By the time the indigenous conservatives tried to push back, it was too late:

“The hippies won,” says John Gregg, a Vermont journalist whose office is a short walk from the Connecticut River. In a small enough place, the influx of new citizens, even in modest numbers, can change a state’s political trajectory.

Rhode Island is different, of course.  Our population is a bit bigger, and the particular flavor of progressivism isn’t hippy socialism as much as insider socialism.  An historically different flavor of immigration brought with it a little more cultural conservatism and a little bit less libertarianism.  Moreover, the “influx of new citizens” affecting Rhode Island isn’t the migration of relatively privileged progressives, but rather the deliberately lured clients for the company state/government plantation.

These differences bring with them unique challenges, but in both places it’s too late for an ordinary political campaign to change things.  Instead, we have to change the local culture, which is no easy task when the people who see the right way forward tend just to leave.



  • Rhett Hardwick

    Vermont has been “gone” for a long time. A friend has a house (one of six) on a street off the access road to Killington. Four of her neighbors are on some form of welfare. Ain’t it great. On the other hand, they are all taxed for a “view” of the mountain. I haven’t figured out how they pay the taxes, which are substantial.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      My curiosity was aroused on how the welfare recipients payed the taxes, and I thought it was worth a call. It seems they work “under the table” at restaurants during the “season” to pay the taxes.

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