The people of the south such as my self believe that old liberalism or today's conservatism is essential to the South's identity. Without it we are a dead people gone with the wind. We want to be left alone to safeguard the constitution, protect basic civil rights and fulfill a self determination and freedom unparalleled in the annals of history.
Southern conservatives' beliefs center around the importance of the individual and self-reliance. It has nothing to do with the moral fiber of the region. Conservative thought is not eroding the moral fiber of this country. Greed and lust for power is what is destroying the moral fiber of this country. Both liberals and conservatives are guilty of that. If you look carefully, a lot of the "pro-business" leaders are liberal in their philosophy. The difference between liberalism and conservatism centers on how people best work together. Liberals believe that a group thinking with a single mindset is best. Conservatives believe that individuals mindsets working cooperatively as a group is best. Conservatives believe it is up to the individual to provide for himself/herself and his/her fellow man rather than relying on the masses to take care of him/her. Both sides see the other as slow to change and refusing to work with the other. Innovation and advancement of knowledge has never come from the collective mind. It is always a product of individuals working together. Southerners have learned to work together as individuals to solve common issues and help their neighbor because of the rural underpinnings of the South. Northerners tend to depend on the City to do that for them. As for the southern states receiving more assistance than the blue states, you need to check your facts. Texas, for instance, only receives eight-five cents from the Federal Goverment for every dollar it gives to the Federal Government. Geography has nothing to do with a state being red or blue. If the conservative south is less successful than the liberal states then why are California, Washington and New York going bankrupt and most of the southern states not? It's due to the differences in liberalism versus conservatism. The masses taking care of the individual versus the individual taking care of the masses.
While more liberal areas like the Mid-West, New England, and California are stagnating with low growth, high taxes, and even population loss, the conservative South is booming with more and more businesses moving there to take advantage of business friendly policies. This in turn has brought more opportunities and growth across the South. If it wishes to continue this trend, it should probably retain its conservative policies.
Although there is some population growth in the South and although some companies find it attractive because it is "pro-business," this is not a long-term strategy for success because the moral fiber of the country is eaten away by conservative thought. Most innovation and advancement and knowledge generation still come from liberal places like California and New York and Seattle, where people tolerate those who are different and work together. As has always been the case, the South is just slow to change, but eventually it will have to do so.
No I do not think the south should remain conservative. I recently read that more government assistance is given to people in the red states (south) than in the blue states. Since conservatives are against most government assistance, I think people that are receiving it should think twice about voting against something that is helping them.
I think it is time for the South to realize that being socially conservative is a downhill battle, as new generations continue to progress liberally. Homosexuals can marry in many states, abortions are a heated debate but continue to exist, and unless birth control is freely distributed, this seems like the only solution to limit the welfare state and overpopulation.