Twitter, I think is a symptom, but 'soft disunion' is a terminal disease once it takes hold. Along those lines, I'm not sure how vehement (or political) I'm allowed to be, but it is my opinion that fast food is not the worst crime that aforementioned Mouth has committed. I believe the passage I read in another Book, "It is not what goes in your mouth that makes you a sinner, but what comes out of it". Surely that is basis to indict.
My own experience has been that too many of the credentialed are given to consuming the intellectual equivalent of fast food — scarfing down one fashionable notion after another — which is far less nutritious than what can be had at McDonald's. On the other hand, my roofing contractor is one of the most thoughtful people I know. And since he's Italian-American (can't just say he's an Italian these days), he also knows good food.
I am close to Teachout's age. I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland. It was not quite the case that everyone was Catholic, but it looked that way; it was the case that nearly everyone was white. There were eight Democratic wards and one Republican ward. In our precinct, Republican votes broke barely into two figures. A friend, about the same age, grew up in Bayonne, and says that she never met a Protestant or a Republican until she got to college. (Which was Georgetown--a curious place to go looking for either.) My wife maintains that the town she grew up in had no Catholic church: that is not quite the case, for a parish was established in 1959. The mistake is understandable, for a few steps south from the church property would carry one over the city line. In short, I think that Teachout exaggerates the diversity of the old days.
Good point, George. The parish I was baptized in was Irish. Up the street, where I went to kindergarten, was the Italian parish. A few blocks north and east was the German parish. Back in those days, Philadelphia was divided into ethnic parishes. Also in those days, everybody registered Republican, but the working people voted Democrat. At any rate, except for the fights between the Italians and the Irish over girls (Italian guys liked Irish girls, it seems, and Irish guys liked Italian girls), everybody pretty much got along. I guess because we were all Catholic. But the contemporary parochialism of the credentialed class that Teachout makes mention of is quite real, and it has less to do with class and income, I think, than with ideological dogma.