(WSJ) Charles Murray—The New American Divide

Posted by Kendall Harmon

America is coming apart. For most of our nation's history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world—for whites, anyway. "The more opulent citizens take great care not to stand aloof from the people," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the great chronicler of American democracy, in the 1830s. "On the contrary, they constantly keep on easy terms with the lower classes: They listen to them, they speak to them every day...."

When Americans used to brag about "the American way of life"—a phrase still in common use in 1960—they were talking about a civic culture that swept an extremely large proportion of Americans of all classes into its embrace. It was a culture encompassing shared experiences of daily life and shared assumptions about central American values involving marriage, honesty, hard work and religiosity.

Over the past 50 years, that common civic culture has unraveled....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 27, 2012 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Rich Gabrielson wrote:

A “money quote”, pun intended:

Changing life in the SuperZIPs requires that members of the new upper class rethink their priorities. Here are some propositions that might guide them: Life sequestered from anybody not like yourself tends to be self-limiting. Places to live in which the people around you have no problems that need cooperative solutions tend to be sterile. America outside the enclaves of the new upper class is still a wonderful place, filled with smart, interesting, entertaining people. If you’re not part of that America, you’ve stripped yourself of much of what makes being American special.

Another one, a little more surprising:

The best thing that the new upper class can do to provide that reinforcement is to drop its condescending “nonjudgmentalism.” Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.

January 28, 8:31 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): (Sightings) Martin Marty—How Shall We think about the American Divide?

Previous entry (below): (Washington Post) Pentagon budget set to shrink next year

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)