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Charles Murray On White America

America’s coming apart around money and morals, says Charles Murray. He’s sparked a great debate about why. We’ll hear it.

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 (Random House)

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 (Random House)

Libertarian lightning rod Charles Murray knows how to whip up a big American debate.  His last time out was with “The Bell Curve” and an argument that IQ was destiny and poor Americans were going down.  Stephen Jay Gould called it “anachronistic social Darwinism.”

This time, Murray says America has broken into two worlds, elites and underclass.  The underclass has lost the “founding virtues” of faith, family, work.  Elites are to blame.  Critics say let’s just get some jobs for people.  Some opportunity.

This hour, On Point: the debate over America coming apart.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Charles Murray, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, he’s the author of Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. You can find an excerpt here.

Joan Walsh, editor-at-large at Salon.com. You can find her review of Coming Apart here.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal “The ideal of an ‘American way of life’ is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated. Charles Murray on what’s cleaving America, and why.”

The New York Times “When Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein’s book “The Bell Curve” appeared in 1994, it was denounced by social scientists, liberal pundits and a little-known Chicago civil-rights lawyer named Barack Obama, who in a commentary on NPR accused the authors of calculating that “white America is ready for a return to good old-fashioned racism as long as it’s artfully packaged.”

The New Republic “As Murray sees it, the working class has been hurt less by economic shifts that have made it hard for its members—particularly the male ones—to earn a good living than it has by a lamentable decline in industriousness and social values brought on by the upheavals of the 1960s. “

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