Best places to live tend conservative

Just as conservative values are more conducive to lasting happiness, and promote a deeper sense of satisfaction and well-being, it appears that our best places to live thrive in a conservative ethos.  

Money Magazine just published its 2017 rankings of the Best Places to Live.  The magazine lists 100 places meeting these criteria: "[W]e looked only at places with populations between 10,000 and 100,000. We eliminated any place that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85% of its state's median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity." 

I noticed some common threads among their top choices: respect for the law enforcement community; respect for private property and entrepreneurship; outreach to businesses who create jobs; low tax burden; and vibrant schools with an emphasis on children, while employing vigorous teacher evaluation systems (I confirmed this by contacting several of the school districts). 

I clicked quickly through the slideshow in search of a town in my state, but after slide 9, the conservative theme grasped me so intently that I felt compelled to interrupt my progress to check the ranking's methodology.  Sure enough, several of the categories used to organize data are reflective of traditional values and derived from conservative ideals – for example, an appreciation for business, minimal regulations, job growth, reduced taxes, and a commitment to control crime.  The most livable places also closely monitor school performance.  They hold teachers accountable through rigorous performance measurements and hold administrators (and students) accountable by measuring math and reading test scores and graduation rates.

Of course, once conservative values are harnessed to satisfy our basic needs for safety, employment, and education, we might seek out cultural amenities.  I noted in the top places an appreciation for landmarks that celebrate the rich tapestry of America's storied past.  No. 4-ranked Franklin, Tennessee, for example, has "preserved its history through its beautiful Main Street ... and a number of Civil War-era homes. "  No. 5-ranked Olive Branch, Mississippi offers a "historic small-town atmosphere." 

Money Magazine is reinforcing that our best places to live thrive amid a conservative aura that facilitates strong families, community spirit, volunteerism, and a robust civic life.  Indeed, in his special note, the editor expresses his pride that America's best towns are places that "offer economic opportunity, a sense of community, and access to amenities that make life more enjoyable."

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