Trust me, as I normally do, I'll wind these things all together.
At a recent presentation about small-town revitalization, the presenter, representing a regional para-government organization, talked about people "choosing" to be in this particular city, with its struggles and all.
I'm sorry, but this is wrong on so many levels.
First, as I noted in an essay at Scientia Salon, with a follow up on this blog, here, this does not take into account issues of "psychological determinism" that constrain our actions to some degree.
Related to that, while not deterministic in the volitional sense, the Great Recession has of course battered the economy, and, as this presenter knows — since that's part of the reason for the meetings she's held in several counties, and has been explicitly mentioned by her — most small towns have had slower recovery, and more incomplete recovery, than big cities.
That said, the presenter mentioned prosperity/success gospel wealth guru Dave Ramsey in the next sentence, so she probably believes we can transcend such things. Of course, the prosperity gospel is just New Ageism with a Christian baptism.
That said, showing how well the Jesus dross works, say something wide-eyed, and attach the name of Ramsey, or Joyce Meyer, or whomever, and lots of Christian folks will swallow it whole. Attach the name of Oprah, and some conservatives might balk, but some more liberal Christians might buy in. Attach the name of the late Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh, and we're in a whole different ballpark. After all, if a place can have people seeing magic as witchcraft, seemingly not so uncommon in this state, dividing lines can be firm, yet still perhaps hypocritical.