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Coming Apart: Is It Too Late To Fix America?

Charles Murray made an interesting diagnosis. Is it too late to cure?

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By Mason Mohon | United States

Eight years ago, Charles Murray published a book called Coming Apart, which outlines the split of white people in America into two distinct classes: the new lower class and new upper class. At first glance, this seems like an obvious staple of American society and a non-issue. We have classes, so what?

The importance of these classes is the values that they embody, particularly the degree to which they promote the values of the founding fathers. When founding the country, the founders had various values in mind for the preservation of our republic. They were honesty, industriousness, faith, and family. These were the values meant to keep a free-market economy and a nation that upholds individualism going. The upper class tends to uphold these values to a much higher degree than the lower class, and the results are telling.

Within his book, Murray breaks down the exact statistical differences between the upper and lower classes. He shows statistical importance as to why each of these values are important for society, so we should break them down.

In the first place, honesty is crucial. A successful economy is built on trust of others and believing that they will return any favor they give you. It is not stealing from them and loaning them a helping hand or a few bucks when they need it, hoping that good fortune will turn around and bless you in the future. Honesty was measured in the book on levels of crime; the higher the crime rates of burglary and assault, the lower the honesty. The upper class has plenty of this, for nobody wants to get their hands dirty. Upper-class petty crime is almost nonexistent. In the lower class, crime is rampant, which has proven to be a major detriment for the progression of their class.

Second, industriousness is important. Murray goes over the amount that upper-class people will work over 40 hours a week in comparison to the amount that lower class people will. The facts show that people in the bottom thirty percent of society work relentlessly to an astronomically lower degree than the top twenty does. Hard work and a strong work ethic is much more prominent among the upper class, which has most definitely proven beneficial.

Furthermore, faith has played a role. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone should be one particular religion, but psychological evidence has proven that being in a tight-knight group of people, such as a church group, has shown to do great work when it comes to coping with things like stress and anxiety. At the same time, Murray draws out statistics in his book that shows that those who are adherent to a faith and regular church-attenders tend to report much higher levels with satisfaction with life. This doesn’t go to show that certain faiths are better than others, but rather that any faith is better than none. As you may guess, the upper class is more “faithful” than the lower class.

Lastly, family is a very important concept. Children who grow up in two-parent households where the parents are married end up in better spots later in life than any other family dynamic. The statistics show that those married report higher levels of happiness than those never married, and as I have written before, there seems to be a sort of anti-poverty formula tied to bringing up a family in the proper way. Very few who wait until after high school to get married, and who wait to get married to have children, end up anywhere close to poverty. At this point, it should be easily inferable which class promotes family to a higher degree.

Once establishing these differences, Charles brings up an interesting insight that the upper class has adopted a more European liberal policy. They have taken pity on the lower class and have become proponents for a welfare state and various entitlement programs. Obviously, these types of programs are not sustainable, and they will ultimately lead to a further decline in the values that make America what it is. The state’s helping hand is the enemy of American virtue.

Now, this trend must be stopped if we wish to save America. The book was written in 2010, so is it too late? Is American virtue doomed? I would say, not quite yet, but it has definitely gotten worse. The rise of “Antifa”, a group of entitled young people shows that these virtues have very little place among the youth. The progressive left seeks to destroy the traditional family model and the long-lasting tenets of religious belief. Honesty is not something they care for, seeing as that they refuse to let opposition speak and hate dialogue. They have let work ethic fall by the wayside, too, believing everyone has a “right” to the services of others.

These virtues are in a much more dire position than they were eight years ago, but they aren’t gone. To save them, we need what Murray discussed. We need to promote civil institutions, such as church groups or fraternal organizations that will bring back personal human interaction. Once the human bonds are re-tied, the ideological tenets of the progressives can be demolished, but the responsibility is on the lovers of liberty and American exceptionalism to make that happen.


Image from Business Insider.

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