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They were reverse snobs, and were at times really mean about it. That said, the fact that I was far more comfortable moving in cosmopolitan settings, and had more cosmopolitan tastes, meant that I had doors open for me, professionally and otherwise, that they would not have had. I remember once in the early 1990s returning from a trip to France and visiting my parents to tell them about it. “Checked in and spent the next few days exploring Paris on my own,” I said, as if it was no big deal. And they feel the same way that we would about finding our way through the swamp back to civilization. A few years back, Will Wilkinson wrote a good piece about country music and the psychology of culture war.

I mentioned that when I arrived in Paris, the Dutch friends who were supposed to meet me had left a message at my hotel saying they had to cancel. He talks about social science findings that conservatives tend to be “low openness” individuals — that is, people who are much less willing to try new and unfamiliar things.

Even a little change, like your kids playing with different toys than you did, comes as a small reminder of the instability of life over generations and the contingency of our emotional attachments.

This is a reminder low-openness conservatives would prefer to avoid, if possible.

Mind you, I was raised in a working-class cultural environment, but I’ve been out of it culturally for so long that I’ve lost the ability to perceive how trivial words and things like is a kind of tomato.