Saturday, January 21, 2012

Clinging to their guns and secularism

"America is coming apart," writes Charles Murray in the Weekend Journal. What follows is a dispiriting account of what has happened over the past half-century to what used to be called the Middle Class--i.e., the working class. Yet "working" is not the best possible qualifier because, as Mr Murray points out, an astonishing number of working men aren't in the job market at all. It's not that they're unemployed--they're not all that interested in employment! Nor are they much interested in marriage.

But here's the truly astonishing figure in Mr Murray's analysis: 59 percent of white working class males in their thirties and forties don't go to church! So much for "clinging to their guns and religion." Guns, maybe, but church--not so much.

The figures are otherwise familiar and appalling: 65 percent of births to women without a high school diploma are also to women without a husband, as compared to less than 6 percent of those who've graduated from college. Only 48 percent of white working-class males in their prime years are married, compared to 83 percent of upper middle-class men. And so it goes: in almost every respect, America's blue-collar class has separated itself from traditional American values of hard work, church going, family-rearing, tax paying, and upward striving. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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