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Centrifugal forces

A little over a year ago we put up a post about a cultural paradigm shift that was based on a piece called "Nobody Gets Married Anymore, Mister."  Ultimately, it was about personal responsibility.

In this month's American Spectator is an article about a book by Charles Murray, Coming Apart, that sounds as though it could be a companion piece. Some highlights:

...Whatever the causes, the social disintegration that once seemed to apply only to African Americans has now engulfed blue-collar, white working-class communities as well. Men are dropping out of the workforce, single motherhood has risen to nearly 50 percent, crime has skyrocketed, religious faith is declining, and the chances for upward mobility are rapidly diminishing. As Murray concludes: "The absolute level [of social cohesion] is so low that it calls into question the viability of white working-class communities as a place for socializing the next generation."
 
Murray identifies what he calls the "founding virtues"—marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religiosity—that were once shared by all Americans and held us together in a common culture...
However, as we've probably all noticed, people no longer seem to find the words "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" nearly as terrifying as they once did. And as the article's author, William Tucker, points out, "There in a nutshell is the reason why white working-class neighborhoods...once so strong" are no longer.
 
In his book, Murray contrasts the cultural disintegration among the white working class with what has happened among the "New Elite"—who in the course of becoming the very antithesis of whites in lower socio-economic strata "have insulated themselves to the point where they know very little about the rest of America."
 
But our book reviewer, Tucker, notes that in his analysis of the New Elite, Murray fails to look at what Tucker calls "the adopted religion of the educated class"—environmentalism:
Nothing expressed more completely the credo of the New Elite than the conviction that our very existence offends Mother Nature, that we are ruining the earth by using fossil fuels, and that Industrial America is something we should all be willing to leave behind. Where do people without a college education fit into this society? Competition from China and India has played a part in hollowing out America, but an equally important factor has been the near impossibility of building any kind of industrial facility in the United States anymore. No one has built an oil refinery in this country for thirty years. As late as 1980 there were two auto manufacturing plants within 25 miles of New York City, in Tarrytown, New York, and Mahwah, New Jersey. Today you'd have trouble opening a dry cleaning store inside that perimeter. Environmental regulations have made it a seven-to-ten-year ordeal to build any manufacturing plant in the U.S., and the burden of proof is always on the provider. Just look at the Keystone pipeline.
Sound familiar?
 
Fascinating stuff.  Read the whole thing.
 
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