"I’ve spent a big chunk of my life around coastal elites, and there is a sense among these people that there is a big pocket of the country that is just morally deteriorating and is not especially deserving of sympathy.
Awareness of this breeds resentment. I think it produces a kind of feedback loop where you feel resentful, and then the media tells your story so you feel even more resentful. And it just constantly feeds back into the sense that you’re sort of detached from the broader country..."
As with many things, there is wisdom from Adam Smith to consider here! This is from Smith's 1759Theory of Moral Sentiments:
"Man…has a natural love for society, and desires that the union of mankind should be preserved for its own sake, and though he himself was to derive no benefit from it. The orderly and flourishing state of society is agreeable to him, and he takes delight in contemplating it.”
Perhaps the despair that Vance discusses in much of the country is exacerbated - if not caused by - what Smith identified in the 18th century: the notion that true happiness in each of us is connected to the happiness of those around us.