America against itself

An interview with Charles Murray

With the publication in 2012 of Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, political scientist Charles Murray – celebrated and denigrated in equal measure for his earlier works, Losing Ground (1984) and The Bell Curve (1994) – produced a searing, searching analysis of a nation cleaving along the lines of class, a nation, as he put it, ‘coming apart at the seams’. On the one side of this conflicted society, as Murray sees it, there is the intellectual or ‘cognitive’ elite, graduates of America’s leading universities, bound together through marriage and work, and clustered together in the same exclusive zipcodes, places such as Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Boston. In these communities of the likeminded, which Murray gives the fictional title of ‘Belmont’, the inhabitants share the same values, the same moral outlook, the same distinct sense of themselves as superior. And on the other side, there is the ‘new lower class’, the white Americans who left education with no more than a high-school diploma, who increasingly divorce among themselves, endure unemployment together, and are gathered in neighbourhoods that Murray gives the title of ‘Fishtown’ – inspired by an actual white, blue-collar neighbourhood of the same name in Philadelphia…

  • xavier

    Yeah but there are articles whereby even some of the elites can’take live in those clusters because it’seems just too expensive to live there.
    Ironically companies like Facebook compel their employees to work in an office area rather than leveraging the network effects of working remotely.

    Exacerbated by the anti building obsession those town have become aristocratic enclaves

    How ironic that we see the new factory towns in the 21st century

    • Good point.

      • xavier

        Well there are many interesting issues involved
        Like the return of the factory towns. The insanely expensive housing that leads to tech company owners clustering while the lower tiers still have to struggle with million dollar salaries.
        In many ways the new tech cities reminds me of the Spanish, French and Portuguese colonization where the coast were populated but the interior was slowly explored and populated.

        In this case the Canadian and American interiors are barriers to prevent smart and upcoming middle and working class people from upsetting their pristine utopia.