The West, in popular argot, has always been radical--and Utah especially so. That is in part an Eastern egotism, which finds outrageous that which for excellently good reasons does not conform to the Eastern idea of how things should be done. But it is in the nature of Utah contrariety, perhaps a consequence in part of the strong New England breed which shaped Mormon beginnings, that Utahns in general are pronouncedly conservative, though lately consistent Democrats. In part this conservatism stems from the binding forces of Church convention and Church morality, and the homogeneity of the racial stock, which is not only more than 99 per cent white, but is almost wholly Anglo-Scandinavian; there has been no social conflict of racial groups to facilitate unrest. There is probably a greater emphasis upon the family in Utah than generally in the country; there is probably less drinking, less smoking, and perhaps less card-playing; certainly there is a greater disposition to stay put. Yet this conservatism certainly is not insularism. Probably there is a greater cosmopolitan leavening to Utah society, urban and rural, than anywhere in the country; there is hardly a village that does not contain one or more persons who have served upwards of two years as a Church missionary in distant lands-Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, or even Japan.
Utah's neighborliness is often remarked by visitors; here the years tell their own tale, for outlanders frequently, in early days, were viewed with a chill and suspicious eye. Utah socially is not large enough, or complex enough, to have mastered wholly the art of minding its own business--an art which can be carried to extremes. Many have settled in Utah for no other reason than this over-the-fence sort of friendliness, although there are those who have left the State in a wholehearted quest for more privacy. The State is also too close to its pioneer beginnings for the social amenities to come with entire grace. Art has been backward, and literature and music have been subordinated to religious ends. Education has been a pride of Utahns, who point to one of the highest literacy ratings in the country, but the State has not been sufficiently rich either economically or socially to attract from outside the mature, reflective minds that enrich popular living; indeed, Utah has lost many of its own sons and daughters to areas of greater opportunity. In a State where seven of twenty-nine counties lack a bank, eight a railroad, and several a telegraph line, it is inevitable that there should be some social lags.
Utah has its own characteristic symbolisms. Most omnipresent is the beehive. It occurs on the State seal, on the university seal, on the Beehive House in Salt Lake City, on the masthead of newspapers, on the Mormon-owned Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City, on top of policemen's call boxes, on every conceivable interior decoration, on places of business. Four names, drawn direct from Utah history, occur in probably every city of size in the State--there are Beehive laundries, Seagull loan companies, Deseret cafes, and Zion stores, or any imaginable reshuffling of the four. Book of Mormon names are widespread, both for places and persons. The State has towns named Deseret, Lehi, Manti, Moroni, and Nephi; Lehi, Moroni, and Nephi are still current as names of individuals, though now more rarely seen. Frequently occurring first names of historical significance are Orson, Heber, Parley, and Hyrum, though there are few Brighams in these latter years. Names of Biblical flavor are probably more numerous in Utah than anywhere outride tradition-bound New England, while Ute and Paiute place names also add their own distinctive flavor to the State.