Frequently I like to reexamine the world to see how well my world model fits it. It is a useful exercise that is rarely undertaken enough.
The core element of the Smart Redneck thesis is that there is a significant element of the US population comparable to the group I call the 'second sigma', but with a stronger focus on mathematical/spatial intelligence than verbal and a decidedly more rural slant. Obviously I know these people exist, because I interact with them on a daily basis in professional and personal settings. But let's look now to see if we can see any strong evidence of them in other contexts.
If one consults Mu Alpha Theta (which is a national competitive mathematics society of long pedigree and wide scope---I participated with some success back in the 80s myself), you'll see some curious results
You'll note that the consistent winners these days seem to come from Vestavia Hills and Buchholtz High Schools. Vestavia hills was a strong force back in the 80s when I was involved, Buchholtz if I remember correctly was not. Vestavia Hills is in Alabama and Buchholtz is in Florida. Are those redneck states enough for you? By the way, when I say redneck I'm in no way being insulting---I like this group in general a lot more than the second sigma and they are way more useful. Vestavia is fed pretty strongly by the old Huntsville space and military complex, so lots of sons and a few daughters of engineers there, and Buchholtz likewise from the area around the University of Florida. UF is actually a pretty major producer of engineers---enough such that one year there their student government was overrun by the 'Engineering Party'
The National Merit competition actually discriminates against this set, because it uses 2x verbal plus 1x mathematics in its selection index. This is allegedly done to equalize sex ratios of National Merit Scholars, but one has to ask, is this not actually also an example of structural competition between the Smart Redneck class and the more SWPL Second Sigma? Certainly it dovetails with the evidence of statistical discrimination against applicants with activities like JROTC, FFA, or 4H.
This is actually a big deal, because to be honest, the PSAT was the most lucrative test I ever took. Generally you could get a full ride to an undergraduate STEM degree at your home state's flagship university even if you were a white guy back in the late 80s if you were a National Merit Scholar. For a lot of smart rednecks, that's a bigger deal than elite institution admissions (altough those are insanely important as regards the national question). Anyone know if that has changed?
A Roman Fresco from Pompeii
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