Political culture is a system of values, beliefs, and habits of behavior that are related to government and politics. Multiple cultures are able to coexist in a society, but usually one culture is dominant and those dominant values, beliefs, and habits of behavior affect all members of society.
Now, let us identify on how traditional conservatism manifests in Texas political culture.
- The respect of traditional conservatives for the Bible provides an advantage to candidates who propose policies based on Biblical morality.
- The respect of traditional conservatives for hard work and personal responsibility provides an advantage to candidates who propose cutting taxes and social programs.
- The trust of traditional conservatives in established power structures provides male candidates an advantage as conservative voters often feel it is more appropriate for a man to be in power.
- The desire of traditional conservatives to go back to the way things used to be provides an advantage to Democratic candidates who want to repeal civil rights laws.
Apparently, Texas combines the traditionalistic and individualistic political cultures. A legacy of the state’s western frontier heritage, the individualistic political culture in Texas celebrates individual achievement. The only cowboy riding the range, the singular sheriff, and the one fight or one ranger attitude. In fact, Government activity is pushed only to the extent that it makes the chances for individual achievement.
The traditionalistic political culture that accentuates deference to elite rule within a hierarchical society and traditional moral values, it represents the values of 19th century Southerners who migrated to the rich cotton land of East Texas. The government activity is discouraged unless it reinforces the power of society’s dominant groups.
The traditionalism and individualism taken together create Texas a state that conservative politically, hostile to government activity, particularly government interference in the factor of economy. Aside from that, Government is expected to stay out of people’s affairs. Once it does get involved, it must be controlled locally. Unemployment Government has to spend little and a tax little. Also, individual businessmen or businesswoman have to control their own fate and the economy.
We are able to say that political culture in Texas mixes economic conservatism with a conservative approach to social life, in which the government becomes a barrier against any change to the political and socioeconomic hierarchy which may result from individual competition. But, generally, traditionalism and individualism strengthen a conservative political environment. They are also able to exist in uncomfortable tension with one another. Whereas the thread of individualism in Texas culture emphasizes individual freedom from government intrusion, the thread of traditionalism is able to push the promotion of government for particular moral values upon those extremely same individuals.
According to the research, at their most extreme, the individualism and traditionalism in Texas alloy with a philosophy of social Darwinism, a belief in survival of the most compatible without the governmental interference. Those who reach to the top deserve it, and those who fall to the bottom also deserve it. In this case, it is not the responsibility of the government to pick them up. Social Darwinists believe that poverty results from natural selection. Therefore, it is not something to be solved by the government. With individual occasion comes individual responsibility, so a sentiment captured in the expression urging a person to pull oneself up by one’s own bootstraps.
But, there is also a solid populist streak in Texas political culture which believes that the government power must be used to protect individuals from exploitation by the powerful corporations, the excessive wealth, or the government itself. Sometimes, this populist dash mixes with liberalism, that endorses the government intervention as a welcome force in society. As we know that Liberalism and Populism are the real parts of Texas political culture which influence the state’s government and politics. However, usually they have remained subordinate to the dominant conservative political culture that is rooted in individualism and traditionalism.
Some people say that Political culture likes bowls of chili, which are not homogeneous throughout the United States. For instance, there is a bowl of moralistic political culture famous in the northern portion of the United States, in which the government is the main ingredient for promoting the public welfare and using its authority to increase the social and economic of its citizens. If you live in the central part of the nation, you may will prefer a bowl of individualistic political culture. Actually, this recipe decreases the government involvement in private activities of citizens. It is heavy on the importance of individual and private initiatives. The residents in the southern tier of the states from the East coast to New Mexico savor the traditionalist political culture. In this culture, the government acts as a preservative. It keeps traditions and the existing social order safe from transformation. Only top chefs from established families or influential social groups that make this chili.
As far now, Texas has its own unique bowl of political culture. It combines a mixture of individualistic and traditionalistic ingredients with a dash of the ‘Old South’ and the frontier experience. This action focuses on how the ingredients which make up Texas political culture are reflected in its public policies and practices.
Simply, Individualistic culture is described as a culture that looks to government to maintain a stable society but with minimum intervention in the lives of the people, while the traditionalistic culture is described as a culture which is a product of the Old South, that uses government as a means of preserving the status quo and its leadership. Daniel Elazar confirms that the political culture of Texas is strongly individualistic in that the government is supposed to maintain a stable society however intervene as little as possible in the lives of people. He identifies the state’s politics with economic and social conservatism, distrust of political parties, strong support of personal politics, and minimization of the latter’s importance.