Like I’ve already said, the otherwise brilliant Charles Murray’s analysis of what’s happened to white America sounds ingenious, but his solutions are flaky, and further demonstrate how intractable the situation is.
(Also like I’ve already said: I hesitate to call it a “problem”)
The whole point of becoming rich is to get away from poor people.
As, of all people, Rod Dreher remarked:
A big problem here is that nobody knows what to do about this. Writing in the Journal the other day, Murray weakly offered a prescription that said the well-off (that is, the morally and culturally stable) ought to move next door to members of the other tribe. Well, maybe. But why, concretely, should a particular family choose to do that? Murray, a libertarian, suggests that it would make life more interesting for them. I bet it would, but people who have found a stable mode of life for their families don’t necessarily want interesting. If members of the first tribe are going to be convinced to make that move, it will have to come from strong moral conviction, informed either by religious commitment or a civic republicanism. (…). And even if they do make that move, why should members of the second tribe accept the lifestyle modeled by the new people on the block? Isn’t it possible, perhaps even likely, that they will reject bourgeois norms as elitism, as snobbery? If “respectability,” as modeled by these middle class people, is seen to be achieved only at the expense of group and class solidarity, there will be a powerful disincentive to adapt them (think of how difficult it is, culturally, for poor and working class black students to develop good academic habits, because they stand accused of “acting white.”).
Getting the government involved in making them live together? Only David Brooks (or David Frum) could come up with a “solution” like that.
But here goes:
You first, David. I’ll be watching the NYT real estate section to see when you put your property on the market.