Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010

Coming Apart by Charles Murray sheds some light on two parts of America I don’t completely understand, finding myself between them both it seems. I’m no statistician so I skimmed a bit of part one, and probably would recommend others to do the same, go back & dig later depending on your interest. Basically he discusses how elite America has and continues to self-select and isolate, consciously or not. The gap does appear to widen rapidly.

Part two is more interesting, he describes how far the lower class (primarily) has gotten away from what he describes as the founding virtues: industriousness, honesty, marriage, and religiosity. In part three he discusses why this matters. Basically he concludes that without these the American experiment, in which we have a tiny government and are free to do whatever we want because we are constrained by the founding virtues, cannot survive for long in the current state. He is not hopeful, since the class that has retained this virtues to some extent are not confident in them and won’t teach and model them for the rest of America.

I found it a sobering book, it’s troubling to realize how out of touch I am with other Americans and to realize the ‘ruling elite’ are further. It’s more troubling to see a massive collapse of honest, hard-working people who are committed to their marriages and religion. (Not endorsing generic religiosity vs. Christ, simply agreeing that in a common grace sort of way even a loosely Christian religious society is more likely to thrive in many ways than a functionally irreligious one.) Really, this is where I see the greatest answer coming from Christ, only Christ through the Spirit can take whole neighborhoods and change their hearts so that when they’re taught that real men work hard for their families and communities, speak the truth in love and dedicate themselves to following Christ they do so.

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Summary

Good book, doesn’t stand out in any particular way.

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