A Harvard-educated UC Berkeley philosophy lecturer is catching flak for bashing rural Americans as parasites on more “efficient” city-dwellers. He has since apologized for the tone of the original tweets, but not their substance.
Disdain for “flyover country” by the coastal elites is a trope of American politics and culture wars at this point, but Jackson Kernion apparently sought to embody it with a series of tweets this week, declaring that Americans living in the countryside should not be “subsidized by those who choose a more efficient way of life.”
“Rural healthcare should be expensive! And that expense should be borne by those who choose rural America!” Kernion argued in now-deleted posts. “Same goes for rural broadband. And gas taxes.”
It should be uncomfortable to live in rural America. It should be uncomfortable to not move.
Another user screenshotted several more now-deleted tweets, which include statements such as “I unironically embrace the bashing of rural Americans. They, as a group, are bad people who have made bad life decisions,” and “We should shame people who aren’t pro-city.”
While some people online did agree with Kernion, his tweets mostly drew an avalanche of disapproval and bewilderment. He was dubbed “philosophy bro,” and one user even called him a “reverse Pol Pot,” referring to the notorious Cambodian dictator blamed for over a million deaths due to his campaign of forcing people from cities into the countryside.
The most common response was people pointing out that rural America is where all the food for the cities is grown. “Is this satire?” and “How is this person a real person?” were other frequent reactions.
The answers to those questions appear to be no and yes, respectively. Kernion’s Twitter feed is filled with praises of Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and her “wealth tax” proposal, as well as the “Great Awokening,” so-called “woke capitalism,” and “LIBERAL SOCIETY.”
In his official biography, Kernion says he graduated from Harvard in 2012 with a degree in philosophy and is currently earning his PhD at Berkeley while teaching as an assistant. Following the backlash, he offered an apology of sorts for the tweets, saying that “my tone is way crasser and meaner than I like to think I am.” He did not appear to disavow their content, however.
Kernion is hardly the first to express disdain for Americans living in the US countryside, dubbed “flyover country” by the coastal elitists. The enmity has taken on political overtones in recent years, however, as Democrats who dominate in urban environments have lashed out at rural Americans who have overwhelmingly supported President Donald Trump.
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