Three years in Mississippi

By Douglas Carswell
January 2, 2024

I arrived in Mississippi exactly three years ago, and I am as excited to be here as I was that first day.
With so many negative stories in the news media, and progressive pundits constantly talking America down, I wanted to share with you half a dozen things I love about living in your country.

1.  Mississippi.   

I love living right here in Mississippi.  Yes, it was a big change from London, but my family and I love it.  

Bizarrely, there is a certain sort of progressive in our state that is never happier than when moaning about Mississippi.  Ignore them.  If living in America makes me feel that I’ve won the lottery of life, having the good fortune to be in the 20th state of the Union makes me feel like I drew the winning powerball.  

2. Optimism.
Americans are, in my opinion, the most optimistic people on the planet.  This is a country where people believe that tomorrow will be better than today, and that next year will be better than the last.  By and large, they are right. 
This optimism is, I suspect, one of the secrets of American success.  Don’t ever lose it!

3. Patriotism. 

Americans, for the most part, have an uncomplicated and infectious love of their country.  
Over in Europe, elite opinion sneers at those who love their country.  Chinese patriotism seems to me to often be less about love for China and more about an aggressive form of ethno-nationalism.
In America, by contrast, anyone can become American if they subscribe to a set of ideals.  This, to me, still feels like magic.

4. Gratitude.  

One of the keys to living a happy life, I was brought up to believe, is a sense of gratitude.  Americans not only have lots to be grateful for, but I believe show enormous gratitude for what they have.  (You even have a national holiday called “Thanksgiving”!)
Everyone living in America today is the beneficiary of good choices made by those who came before us.  Some of the best choices ever were made in a courthouse in Philadelphia in 1787.  Every American today is a direct beneficiary. 

5. Belief. 

America, or at least the southern part of it, has lots of full churches.  In London, people would ask me if I went to church.  In Mississippi, people ask me where I go to church.
GK Chesterton once observed that when a man loses faith in the divine, he does not believe in nothing, but becomes capable of believing anything. 
The cult of climate change, and ‘woke’ ideology, it seems to me to have become secular belief systems for people that lack any other faith.  I am not sure that faith in either Greta or Gaia will provide ‘woke’ people with much metaphysical comfort.  This could explain why, unlike most folk I meet in Mississippi, they never seem very happy.

6. My job. 

I love working for the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, our state’s unashamedly conservative think tank.  MCPP believes in low taxes, limited government and individual freedom. 
Over the past three years, thanks to your support, MCPP has been able to achieve some big wins.  MCPP helped lead the fight to slash the state income tax, introduce a law to combat Critical Race theory and deregulate the labor market.  Mississippi is, I believe, tantalisingly close to achieving universal school choice, healthcare reform and further reductions in tax.

So, are there any downsides to living in America, I am sometimes asked?   
I think America is brilliant (as we Brits say).  But the US would be even more brilliant if you made a couple of very minor changes.  Firstly, you need to do hot tea properly.  Second, you could do with a few more roundabouts – the perfect small state traffic management solution.   Oh, and the tune you guys sing to “Away in a Manager” is wrong (Don’t ask me to sing you the right version).  But apart from that, I would not change a thing.

Thanks for having me.  It is wonderful to be here.  


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