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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Living In A Bubble?

Please read this link, and if you are so inclined, take the interactive quiz.

Full disclosure: I got a 62 on the quiz.

Yes, yes, I know that political scientist Charles Murray is controversial.

Nevertheless, having recently read his book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, I find myself thinking a lot about the thesis upon which he expounded in that book:
White America is coming apart at the seams.

That’s the thesis Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, puts forth in his new book, Coming Apart....Murray argues that the super wealthy, super educated and super snobby live in so-called super-ZIPs: cloistered together, with little to no exposure to American culture at large.

Those people, he says, live in a social and cultural bubble.
You can read more about Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 HERE. The book made the list of the New York Times's list of 100 Notable Books of 2012.

150 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thersites,
      I haven't read Murray's latest book. The public library has copies, though.

      Delete
    2. Somehow, I don't think that it will. For one, his formulation of "the problem" is bound to upset a lot of "establishment" types. For "two", his is a book that calls for an "establishment" solution (lawyers).

      Delete
    3. Thersites,
      Well, I got a copy at my local library. Audio version -- and there were also several hard copies.

      Delete
    4. Erratum! Hard copy only of the book that you mentioned.

      Delete
  2. Frank Lee said

    My score was 42. I only wish it had been even lower, since I roundly despise "mainstream" –– i.e. "pop" –– culture, and have sought to avoid it as much as possible since I became aware (c.1955) of what a shabby, meretricious, mind-numbing, desensitizing bore it really was.

    Go ahead and call me a snob. I'm PROUD to own the appellation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frank,
      I'm PROUD to own the appellation.

      I wish that you would read the book. Murray points out that the snooty factor has a great deal to do with the Balkanization and the devolution of today's America.

      It's not that "the elite" need to love the pop culture. Not at all! But Murray points out that the snooty factor leads to (1) deprecation of people who do blue collar work and (2) the misconception that everyone should go to a university and get a degree so as to be worthy individuals.

      Delete
    2. Frank Lee said

      Yes, but I don't believe the criteria used are correct. One doesn't have to love NASCAR, Rock 'n Roll, factory work, swilling beer in a sports bar, life as lived in a typical trailer park, or vulgar rhetoric and hopeless ignorance to be a fully developed, loving, broad-minded human being. Neither does one have to identify with Bible-thumping, Christian Fundamentalism and tongue-clucking disapproval of homosexuals to qualify as a humane, well-rounded person.

      Kipling touted the desirability of having what-he-called "The Common Touch," yet Kipling, himself, was anything but common.

      I feel as he did, but that doesn't mean I have to embrace vulgarity and bad taste to love regular folks.

      Look at Albert Schweitzer, a highly learned, cultivated man and a musical genius. Nevertheless, he gave most of his time and energy to black savages in Africa not to patronize them or to aggrandize himself, but because he felt a compulsion to love them as fellow human beings and to help treat their ills. That never meant, however, that he embraced or joined in in their cultural traditions –- beliefs and behaviors that likely kept them down.

      Delete
    3. Frank,
      It's not about embracing those things.

      Is that attitude of Schweitzer's still in vogue? I think not! But one point of the book is that attitude SHOULD still be in vogue because that kind of attitude curbs the snooty factor.

      Delete
    4. Frank,
      BTW, Murray lays a lot of blame at the feet of the Counterculture, which you disdain.

      Delete
  3. In the book, Murray also points out that we have moved from a nation that values individuals for their accomplishments to a nation that values individuals for who they are (which university attended, in which zip code one lives, etc.). As a result, he concludes that "the American project" is failing.

    We have become a confined-to-a-particular-class society.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When I attended school -- even a private one -- I sat side by side with other students whose families came from all walks of society: automotive mechanics, lawyers, politicians, etc. We learned to respect our fellow students for their characters and not according to the societal class of which they were a part.

    The school squelched "pop culture" and uplifted all of us to a good standard.

    Now private schools are mostly for the elite, who look down their noses at everyone else. Not a good thing, IMO!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I scored 60. Not sure what that means, even with the explanation. I think he had too many "pop" culture questions ie: TV shows and movies. We do almost none of either. We also don't eat out a lot because it's too expensive.

    You should get your book today. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adrienne,
      Looking forward to getting the book. I need help!

      Watching the DVD version of movies counts. I don't watch a lot of DVD's, so I answered that question based on what I would or would not watch.mmi answered the eating out question based on similar criteria.

      Delete
    2. Adrienne,
      The book just arrived. I've read a little bit. Let's see what I can adapt to good use. So much to clean out here!

      Thank you so much for sending me the book. I know that it will give some better strategies to use.

      Delete
  6. My score was 66; from what I understand, the higher your score, the less isolated you are from mainstream society.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Odd test. Scored 47.

    I live in a very working class community. Family was working class non college educated. I've been on the factory floor.
    I don't know why his list of fast food joints didn't include Dunko's. I'd have picked up a point there.

    I watch a couple of the TV shows.

    Personally, I think Murray's a hack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duck,
      Think what you will of Murray.

      Ask yourself honestly about your own snooty factor. You don't have to post your thoughts on it.

      Delete
    2. I'm not sure what "snooty" means here.

      I probably reject as much upper class snobbery as I do lower class passivity.

      Murray has an agenda (like virtually anyone else).
      As far as pop culture goes, I probably make a little less effort to avoid it than Freethinke but I don't want to wipe it out.

      How snooty can you be if you don't own a cell phone, drive a Saturn, don't have air conditioning and think the Clintons suck?

      Delete
    3. Duck,
      I probably reject as much upper class snobbery as I do lower class passivity.

      Not so sure about that. You seem to look down on Warren because he is a blue collar worker. I recall some of your past comments to him.

      As for the Clintons, the book is not about political parties.

      Delete
    4. I look down on Warren because:

      1. He started the Nostradumbass meme and he can't back it up.

      2. He advocates policies that are demonstrably against the self interest of the working class (as do you).

      3. He doesn't seem to have ventured much beyond the right wing media.

      I think anyone who thinks the decision to buy guns or gold is critical is living in his own bubble.
      There is simply no opportunity for communication.

      Delete
    5. Duck,
      There's more to your animosity toward Warren than what you have mentioned.

      You once deprecated him -- at least you thought you did -- by calling him a truck driver, which is he not.

      As for my advocating certain policies, this threat is not about politics. And I really don't advocate all that much -- except for my disdain about big government.

      The Nostrabumbass meme is funny (satirical and accurate). Can't you see that?

      Delete
    6. PS: You have decided that Warren has not ventured much beyond the right wing media. Wrong!

      PPS: Do you also dislike Warren because is a Native American?

      Delete
    7. Ducky,
      Don't take it too hard. You're probably right in there with the other affluent leftists who foolishly delude themselves into believing they are down with the struggle because they read Salon and know somebody who knows somebody who once squatted in an OWS encampment.

      Delete
    8. AOW: Can you check your spam filter?

      My other post got eaten. It had a link in it, so maybe it got blocked

      Delete
    9. Nostradumbass reinforces the meme every time he posts. He is so blissfully self unaware that its painful to watch him make a fool of himself. He hates me because I have his number and he knows it.

      "There is simply no opportunity for communication."
      That's because I don't speak leftist agitprop.

      61

      Delete
    10. Warren,
      61?

      Interesting that our scores are so close!

      Delete
  8. I scored a 66.....but I'm left with really no idea what it was supposed to mean. Talk about a random collection of questions....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CI,
      See Mustang's comment above.

      Mainstream society isn't necessarily related to race, BTW. Mainstream society is instead related to income level.

      Delete
  9. I got a 36. WTH? I wonder how it would have affected my score if they'd asked if I knew the answer to the questions about both Johnsons and both Bransons. I have very little confidence in online tests including this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cube,
      The quiz is intended as a hook for further exploration of the topic, which the book explains in detail.

      Delete
  10. The book's explanation has scoring information which is much more detailed.

    I highly recommend reading the book!

    When I have a few minutes, I'll post a link to one of Murray's essays on the topic at hand.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I scored a 65, and like Adrienne, I probably lost points because I don't watch tv, and we don't eat out, not even at the Waffle House down the road

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If someone invited you to eat there, would you refuse because it is too low scale?

      Delete
    2. Of course not, but I prefer mom and pop places.

      Delete
    3. SF,
      Then you don't have the snooty factor with regard to restaurants.

      Believe me, I know many people who do! Remember that I am in Northern Virginia, where snootiness has come to reign supreme during my own lifetime. I remember when this area wasn't like that!

      Delete
    4. AOW....that's why I'm glad I live in 'NW' Virginia. Though we have a pocket of snooty 'horse country' between Gainesville and the WV border.....eastward, it's all about appearance.

      Heck, there's still mullets out my way.

      Delete
    5. CI,
      I've actually seen long-time friends move into the snooty bubble. Strange to watch. Down-to-earth people who decided that Budweiser and Miller were not good enough, and simply had to have designer beer. There's also the wine thing. Restaurants that used to be favorite places were tossed aside in favor of "the right places."

      And these people's children! Sheesh.

      Delete
    6. Oh, and one more thing -- no more mowing their own yards or cleaning their own homes (both things which these people had previously done and still have time and strength to do). "The best people" don't do those things, nor do their children.

      In other words, manual labor of all types became something beneath these people.

      Delete
  12. Excerpt from this source:

    Quizzes like these are thoroughly unscientific, but they do help illustrate a troubling reality — our policy-making elite is increasingly (and often completely) disconnected from the very people they claim to “fight for.”

    Please read it all!

    ReplyDelete
  13. From this article in the New York Times:

    ...“Coming Apart,” which depicts members of white elites as hypocrites living in a bubble and the white working class as succumbing to moral decay, is hardly a flattering portrait of white people, let alone, Mr. Murray insists, a partisan barnburner.

    “It’s not a brief for the right,” Mr. Murray said in a recent interview at the American Enterprise Institute here, where he has been a scholar since 1990. “The problem I describe isn’t a conservative-versus-liberal problem. It’s a cultural problem the whole country has.”

    “Coming Apart,” which shot to No. 5 at Amazon.com immediately upon publication last week, has certainly prompted much conversation, if little in the way of consensus. David Brooks, a columnist for The New York Times, pre-emptively declared it the most important book of the year, saying, “I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compellingly describes the most important trends in American society.”

    [...]

    Looking at America Mr. Murray sees a country increasingly polarized into two culturally and geographically isolated demographics. In Belmont, the fictional name Mr. Murray gives to the part of America where the top 20 percent live, divorce is low, the work ethic is strong, religious observance is high, and out-of-wedlock births are all but unheard of. Meanwhile in Fishtown, where the bottom 30 percent live, what Mr. Murray calls America’s four “founding virtues” — marriage, industriousness, community and faith — have all but collapsed.

    [...]

    Looking at America Mr. Murray sees a country increasingly polarized into two culturally and geographically isolated demographics. In Belmont, the fictional name Mr. Murray gives to the part of America where the top 20 percent live, divorce is low, the work ethic is strong, religious observance is high, and out-of-wedlock births are all but unheard of. Meanwhile in Fishtown, where the bottom 30 percent live, what Mr. Murray calls America’s four “founding virtues” — marriage, industriousness, community and faith — have all but collapsed.

    In Burkittsville, he said, he and his wife attend Quaker meetings and enjoy friendships with both other professionals and blue-collar tradespeople...


    Read it all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "That’s exactly what Mr. Murray said he did two decades ago, when he and his second wife, Catherine Cox, a retired English professor, moved from Washington to Burkittsville, Md., a historic rural town of about 170 people about 50 miles to the northwest."

      ------
      Check please !

      The place is virtually 100% white with virtually no one under the poverty line.
      No single mom's hanging out at the food pantry here.

      The guy is a fraud.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Burkittsville is virtually 100% white with virtually no one under the poverty line.

      The point is NOT race or the poverty line, Duck. Murray is talking about middle class white America.

      Several comments below here, I have posted a link to an article from the New York Times. Please read the entire article.

      Delete
    3. I got a kick out of the photo of him in front of his rustic farm house.

      Looks like he's ready to hang out with the bro's from West Baltimore and listen to their problems.

      Guy's a fraud and the book is nothing but standard hippie bashing.
      Boring.

      Delete
    4. I'd love to put this jackass on a corner in any inner city and let him find out who has more "cognitive ability".

      Guy's a fraud.

      Delete
    5. Duck,
      This blog post is not about The Bell Curve.

      You can call him a fraud all you want -- after you read the book cited in this blog post. I'm serious about that. Check your local library.

      Delete
    6. When someone is running a grift to reinforce the idea that the poor are poor because of "bad choices" and ignores the economic and judicial policies that have decimated the poor in America, I'm just not compelled to read any more from him.

      He's not saying anything new. He's just rebranding the same old stinky steaming pile.

      Delete
    7. Duck,
      Listen to yourself!

      You're always criticizing the Right for not reading "the other side." Why won't you do the same?

      There's more to the problem identified than economic and judicial policies.

      He's not saying anything new.

      You don't know that because you won't even take a look. Cognitive bias rules the day for you. Sheesh.

      Delete
    8. Ducky just summed up in one "stinky steaming pile" why the close-minded intellectual obscurantists on the left cannot be moved.

      You can't dialog with people whose eyes are clamped shut with their fingers in their ears screaming "La La La... I'm not listening... la la la...)

      They remind me of touchy little kids riding in a car "Don't touch my shibboleths!")

      Delete
    9. SF,
      Spot on! I wish that I'd said that!

      Delete
  14. As I read this blog post and the the articles at the links you provide, I couldn't help thinking of liberal feminist Camille Paglia (and in her case, I use 'liberal' and 'feminist' in the positive sense, unlike how doctrinaire leftists have twisted both words).

    She is a big critic of modern-day 'feminism,' and she wrote awhile back how too many of today's upscale professional women are clueless to just how dependent their comfy lives are on rough working men, and many are downright disdainful of men. She doesn't use the word 'bubble,' but she is touching the same theme, and in this case I include the metrosexual males, who also live cluelessly in a fantasy bubble built and maintained by a class of people they look down upon, or maybe don't even realize exist.

    Here is an excerpt from her essay:

    Indeed, men are absolutely indispensable right now, invisible as it is to most feminists, who seem blind to the infrastructure that makes their own work lives possible. It is overwhelmingly men who do the dirty, dangerous work of building roads, pouring concrete, laying bricks, tarring roofs, hanging electric wires, excavating natural gas and sewage lines, cutting and clearing trees, and bulldozing the landscape for housing developments. It is men who heft and weld the giant steel beams that frame our office buildings, and it is men who do the hair-raising work of insetting and sealing the finely tempered plate-glass windows of skyscrapers 50 stories tall.

    Every day along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, one can watch the passage of vast oil tankers and towering cargo ships arriving from all over the world. These stately colossi are loaded, steered and off-loaded by men. The modern economy, with its vast production and distribution network, is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role — but women were not its author.


    Camille Paglia - It's a Man's World, and Always Will Be

    Many people are living in a fantasy bubble. Maybe Obama or Elizabeth Warren can come out and scold them by telling them "You didn't build that!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SF,
      Good essay!

      She is speaking of some of what Murray spoke in his book.

      Delete
  15. Aha! HERE is the essay to I wanted to post the the link (emphases mine):

    America is coming apart. For most of our nation's history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world—for whites, anyway. "The more opulent citizens take great care not to stand aloof from the people," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the great chronicler of American democracy, in the 1830s. "On the contrary, they constantly keep on easy terms with the lower classes: They listen to them, they speak to them every day."

    Americans love to see themselves this way. But there's a problem: It's not true anymore, and it has been progressively less true since the 1960s.

    People are starting to notice the great divide. The tea party sees the aloofness in a political elite that thinks it knows best and orders the rest of America to fall in line. The Occupy movement sees it in an economic elite that lives in mansions and flies on private jets. Each is right about an aspect of the problem, but that problem is more pervasive than either political or economic inequality. What we now face is a problem of cultural inequality.

    When Americans used to brag about "the American way of life"—a phrase still in common use in 1960—they were talking about a civic culture that swept an extremely large proportion of Americans of all classes into its embrace. It was a culture encompassing shared experiences of daily life and shared assumptions about central American values involving marriage, honesty, hard work and religiosity.

    Over the past 50 years, that common civic culture has unraveled. We have developed a new upper class with advanced educations, often obtained at elite schools, sharing tastes and preferences that set them apart from mainstream America. At the same time, we have developed a new lower class, characterized not by poverty but by withdrawal from America's core cultural institutions.


    Read the rest HERE.

    ReplyDelete
  16. People are starting to notice the great divide. The tea party sees the aloofness in a political elite that thinks it knows best and orders the rest of America to fall in line. The Occupy movement sees it in an economic elite that lives in mansions and flies on private jets. Each is right about an aspect of the problem, but that problem is more pervasive than either political or economic inequality. What we now face is a problem of cultural inequality.

    Politics represents the art of the "possible". Culture takes moral and behavioural issues OFF the table and places them in the realm of the "innate" therefore "Impossible". And so, instead solving problems, we now prohibit people from talking honestly about them. Race, culture, etc... ALL taboo. "Political Correctness" renders all issues that it touches, impossible to solve, except for more and more "political correctness" to disguise and mystify problems and make them "impossible" to address.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why are today so many problems perceived as problems of intolerance, not as problems of inequality, exploitation, injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, not emancipation, political struggle, even armed struggle? The immediate answer is the liberal multiculturalist's basic ideological operation: the "culturalization of politics" - political differences, differences conditioned by political inequality, economic exploitation, etc., are naturalized/neutralized into "cultural" differences, different "ways of life," which are something given, something that cannot be overcome, but merely "tolerated." To this, of course, one should answer in Benjaminian terms: from culturalization of politics to politicization of culture. The cause of this culturalization is the retreat, failure, of direct political solutions (Welfare State, socialist projects, etc.). Tolerance is their post-political ersatz:

      The retreat from more substantive visions of justice heralded by the promulgation of tolerance today is part of a more general depoliticization of citizenship and power and retreat from political life itself. The cultivation of tolerance as a political end implicitly constitutes a rejection of politics as a domain in which conflict can be productively articulated and addressed, a domain in which citizens can be transformed by their participation. [1]

      Perhaps, nothing expresses better the inconsistency of the post-political liberal project than its implicit paradoxical identification of culture and nature, the two traditional opposites: culture itself is naturalized, posited as something given. (The idea of culture as "second nature" is, of course, an old one.) It was, of course, Samuel Huntington who proposed the most successful formula of this "culturalization of politics" by locating the main source of today's conflicts into the "clash of civilizations," what one is tempted to call the Huntington's disease of our time - as he put it, after the end of the Cold War, the "iron curtain of ideology" has been replaced by the "velvet curtain of culture. [2] Huntington's dark vision of the "clash of civilizations" may appear to be the very opposite of Francis Fukuyama's bright prospect of the End of History in the guise of a world-wide liberal democracy: what can be more different from Fukuyama's pseudo-Hegelian idea of the "end of history" (the final Formula of the best possible social order was found in capitalist liberal democracy, there is now no space for further conceptual progress, there are just empirical obstacles to be overcome), [3] than Huntington's "clash of civilizations" as the main political struggle in the XXIst century? The "clash of civilizations" IS politics at the "end of history."
      - Slavoj Zizek, "Tolerance as an Ideological Category"

      Delete
    2. If the Left want to develop "REAL solutions" to America's problems, they need to risk the impossible. And THAT means, abandoning "political correctness", and refrain from placing all forms of destructive behaviours into "cultural" categories.

      Delete
    3. A "common cultural" demystifies all the cultural rabiit holes, and allows people to develop "political solutions" for shaping it. Without that, we're all just "whistling past the Next Revolution."

      Delete
    4. Thersites,
      Do you ever see the Left willing to do that? I don't.

      Delete
    5. Why should they? The Republican "establishment" is ever willing to politically surrender more and more "culture" in the name of "compromise" with "the impossible". Just look at all the "leaders" screaming to hide the Stars and Bars.

      Delete
    6. It's not for "no reason" that Murray's Fishtown is beginning to resemble the Harlem of Patrick Daniel Moynihan's, "The Negro Family: The Case for National Action".

      Delete
    7. Heck even the Pope has started to deal away all his cultural capital. And for what? Federal Reserve bailouts of the Vatican Bank?

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I allow smokers near me, never ate at an Applebee's, don't shop at Walmart (don't know where one IS around here) and don't have a lot of friends who didn't go to college, does that mean I should feel guilty? :-)

      Delete
    2. Z,
      The book isn't about instilling guilt. I'd say that the book is about dissecting a societal trend which is contrary to "the American Project" (Murray's term).

      Let me ask you this question, Z: If I invited you to go out to dinner at Applebee's, would you hate the idea because Applebee's isn't one of the fashionable restaurants for the elites.

      BTW, almost all of my friends went to college. However, their college diplomas don't make them people of good character. Good character is unrelated to many of the trappings prized by the the elites.

      I guarantee that you should read Murray's book! See Baysider's comment here at this thread for an excellent review of the book.

      Delete
    3. I'm SO SO GLAD You asked me that question because I thought of adding something like that in my original comment but enjoyed the (apparently bad) joke about feeling 'guilt'...
      I LOVE LOVE LOVE diners and I love DENNY'S! I swear. Yes, I'd go to Applebee's with you or anybody. I actually like Applebee's ads on TV but simply don't know where one is.

      It's not a book I'd be inclined to read/ I go through phases and I'm back into fiction now but I appreciate Baysider's review, of course.

      As much as I LOVE a great restaurant (fashionable isn't important to me) I'm a mac 'n cheese girl (or Mac 'n GeeeZ, as you know!) or mashed potatoes and meatloaf girl.

      Delete
  18. "Those people, he says, live in a social and cultural bubble."

    That's right and it's not going to serve them well in the end. They will be found and not by happy people. I predict the liberal progs will be the first to go ape violent. The rest of us, Conservatives, are much calmer and able to strategery.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Does this mean we cannot go to Sea Pearl the next time I jet in from Dallas?

    http://www.seapearlrestaurant.com/SeaPearl/assets/File/LUNCH%20SUMMER%2015.pdf

    Smiling,

    Tammy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy,
      LOL! We're going to Sea Pearl! And 2941, too.

      But we ate at the bar and grill, too. You know the one that I mean. I have a few other similar local joints to show you. ;^)

      Delete
  20. So happy you’ve posted on this. Murray's book is EXCELLENT!! And I almost didn't read it because of his 'reputation" (which, as I've discovered, has been grossly distorted).

    I did not take the quiz until your link, because I listened to the audio version. Not surprising, in this pocket of ‘elites’ (although mine is a very blue collar neighborhood where you can still rent a 1 bedroom apt. for under $1,800) that I come in at 34. I'm with Z - no clue about a Walmart; they ran Target out of town when they tried to come here (the city wanted low-scale sidewalk street cafes for the pedestrian experience and such - yes they said that in the public meetings!) etc.

    But this book is about much more than that. It's about the growing schism into separate worlds where one world knows little of the other by experience. There is less engagement in solving local problems, often with voluntary associations. De Toqueville noted how Americans were always forming associations for all kinds of purpose. The 'government' didn't do it - small voluntary associations did. Today's Moose, Elks, etc. are actually remnants of a mosaic of associations that were a central feature of American civic life. They drew membership across all social classes and assured regular interaction among different classes.

    Many factors influence that shift. One of them is the trend away from 2-parent, intact households that simply give its members more flexibility to participate in these associations, e.g.

    I like SF's post on Camille Paglia. Yes! I've heard her speak, and her thoughts dovetail with Murray's in places. He points out the horrific decline in male industriousness - from 91% in 1960 to 70% in 2000. Wow!!

    He identifies Four Pillars of American culture. In the early days of the republic, we excelled based on values rooted in Honesty, Industriousness, Religion, and Marriage. Then he proceeds to weave together a strong case for each.

    It’s been one of the most influential reads I’ve had in 5 years. I go back to my notes on it again and again, and I draw from them for many posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Baysider,
      Thank you so much for your comment! You've provided us with an excellent review of the book.

      Anyone who is concerned about the state of American society today should read this book, IMO. Contrary to Duck's deprecations above, the book is not the same old tune.

      I haven't been able to stop thinking about much of what Murray asserted in the book. And he has the stats to back up most of his assertions. I has many "Aha!" moments.

      Solutions? He doesn't really offer any. It took a while to get to this point; reversing what has happened is impossible as far as I can tell. But awareness of what has happened is still important on several levels: for ourselves, for our children, for our own better attitude.

      I haven't bought the book; I used a library copy. But think that I'm going to buy Murray's book. As if I have room in this house for one more book!

      Delete
    2. We all know where Ducky is coming from, so when he damns something, we know that something must be good.

      Delete
    3. I'm wondering if I'm in a bubble because I refuse to listen to crap heavy metal (but I do listen to some rap).

      I'd say my taste in films and art doesn't fall easily into either camp.

      No, I don't see that Murray has come on anything new. There has always been a class division.
      Ever hear of Thorstein Veblen?

      Delete
    4. "In the early days of the republic, we excelled based on values rooted in Honesty, Industriousness, Religion, and Marriage. Then he proceeds to weave together a strong case for each."

      It says a lot about us that anybody would have to 'weave together a strong case for each." as if they need it. Today, they do.

      The very elite have always been the very elite, since the dawn of time....something in them will rise (albeit sometimes it's their parents who rose and pass the benefits on, of course)...and there will always be poor amongst us, as someone very wise once said.
      When we lose sight of that, or try to legislate ourselves out of that, it's somewhere I don't want to be.
      We've lost understanding and goodness...THAT is the problem

      Delete
    5. Z,
      We've lost understanding and goodness...THAT is the problem

      Yes! That's a big part of what Murray seems to be saying!

      Delete
    6. Well, there ya go! So I don't have to read the book (smile) !!
      and, of course, faith is about the only thing that truly leads to gooness and understanding and there is definitely a purge against faith; at least Christian faith, not muslim faith, of course.

      Delete
  21. I saw this comment on an unrelated thread:

    Today, Ace of Spaces wrote the following sentence:

    "You are their voters, but you are not their constituency."

    I think that sums it up.

    At this point, the voters have NOTHING to say about how America is governed. It's not really America anymore.


    Murray's book helps to explain why.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I bring my own atmosphere with me wherever I go. Hence, as I enter a McDonald's for breakfast on a road trip, red carpets unfurl beneath my feet, crystal chandeliers descend from the ceiling, the seats instantly appear covered in crimson damask, the cutlery is of the finest antique hand-wrought sterling silver, and Haydn string quartets or classical guitar may be heard gently murmuring in the background. The fountains play on the stone terrace outside the windows, and the FOOD, which is always serve by angels tastes like nectar and ambrosia. t's the truth, so help me God.

    Such is the value of having a fertile imagination and a jovial disposition. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Related to all of this is the phenomenon that has been going on for generations of the rich elites walling themselves off from society.

    One theory of the genesis of the progressive movement's societal improvements (which in the beginning were needed and beneficial) that included anti-poverty programs, public school, labor laws, moralistic campaigns against drinking, etc was that the rich were frightened that the teeming hordes of rustic country folk and rambunctious immigrants swarming the cities for work would get completely out of control and could eventually form an even cruder French Revolution against the rich.

    So the rich, wrongly characterized as robber barons, funded libraries, schools and other societal improvements to benefit the uneducated masses, but it was in their self-interest to do so.

    Nowadays, they have no such motivations. They travel in their own circles, live in their own walled compounds, and quite frankly, couldn't give a flying gee-whiz about what goes on 'below' them. That is what zip codes and school districts are all about: Invisible fences to keep the unwashed out.

    So they talk a good game to get twitter adulation and to harvest votes, but society could collapse into near anarchy, and it would barely affect them. Look at the ongoing horror show that is Haiti. Amid all that misery, rich Hatians live in luxurious, guarded compounds, believe it or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sounds like you like the idea of legislating that all folks live in every zip code, rich or poor...that nobody deserves to live in nicer places because they worked harder...whatever color or ethnicity or religion they are?

      Delete
    2. Z,
      I'm not sure that SF is saying that.

      There has always been the gregarious factor which prompts people to live with like and to associate with like. Here's what is is destroying the American Project, particularly because our political leaders do this -- all the while declaring how much they care about those who are less fortunate:

      They [the walled-off elite travel in their own circles, live in their own walled compounds, and quite frankly, couldn't give a flying gee-whiz about what goes on 'below' them. That is what zip codes and school districts are all about: Invisible fences to keep the unwashed out.

      Perhaps Baysider has a copy of Murray's book to loan to you. Worth your while!

      Delete
    3. You see, I have absolutely no problem with elitists traveling in their own circles...it's LIFE. That they don't care about others is not always true one bit. I know plenty of the wealthy who give plenty to the poor and other organizations in need of money.
      Zip codes and school districts arrived after they'd settled....

      I don't agree...but that's what we're here for, right!?

      Delete
    4. And I don't really think SF DOES believe what I characterized for his comment, but........

      Delete
    5. Z: I do not, and I've read of Obama's plan, so I know what you are referring to.

      I realize there is an inherent contradiction in this.

      I oppose Obama's plan for a few reasons, most of all because it smacks of the statist social engineering of a Chairman Mao or other totalitarian regime.

      Also, we all know that the richest of the rich will not wake up to find their neighborhoods infested with the unemployed perched on porches of section 8 housing drinking 40's and blasting music.

      Human beings voluntarily self-segregate, and I have no problem with that. When we bought our first house that we still live in, we didn't just throw darts at a map.

      F. Scott Fitzgerald, even back in the 20's, observed that "the rich are different from you and me," but that difference is now a virtual no-mans land of deep trenches, great bulwarks and concertina wire.

      They don't live in our world, so they don't care about the social ills their criminally-irresponsible policies foster.

      Delete
    6. And if they did care desperately about the social ills, then what? Income redistribution? Housing legislation as proposed by Obama?

      You know very well that many of the rich give large amounts to charity...I know this.

      SHOULD the rich wake up to Section 8 housing and blasting music??

      Delete
    7. Z: My point is that the elites like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, along with the leftwing progressive politicians they fund, do not have to suffer the consequences of the criminally-insane policies they foist on us. These policies are destroying our nation and our society, and they suffer none of the consequences because their money shields them, and they live segregated lives far from the real world we live in.


      Delete
    8. Z: I appreciate you poking me on this because it helps me clarify my thinking. Rest assured I haven't turned into a Che Guevara.

      Here is a concrete example: Illegal immigration and H-1B visas.

      The rich are in favor of both, because these two things provide them cheaper labor and do not threaten their jobs, the careers of their children, or even anyone they know.

      Because they can shelter themselves from the social pathologies and crime that go along with illegal immigration, there is no downside to it from their perspective.

      Their children go to elite private schools, and no one in their family has to ever see a bad or even marginal neighborhood.

      Same goes for the elite politicians like the Pelosis and the Clintons.

      As I said, I'm not Che Guevara, but I'm through carrying water for the GOP and for the rich a-holes who fling a few pennies out to assuage their consciences. They and their spoiled brat progeny can all get sucked down into the bowels of the earth for all I care. We'd be better off.

      "Free Trade" is a lie. It doesn't exist, so there's nothing there to defend in this phony debate about the TPP.

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Without having read the book (yet) my comments may be misplaced. But I wonder if this may be a false dichotomy. Isn't it possible to reject mainstream culture without being a neo-feudal elitist?

    So much of what is jammed down the throats of people (and which they become addicted to, and then crave), is toxic physically, mentally and especially, spiritually. The food choices on the quiz - all horrible. If you eat at any of those chain places regularly you're likely to be shortening your life and expanding your waist. The movie and tv options would have been considered scandalous and disreputable not too many decades ago.

    True. There is a gated-community "I don't perspire" attitude among too many people who think they're elitists. It's ugly. The reality is that these people (and I know some of them) are just as expendable as the financially less successful Americans.

    One of the big hidden games that few people want to consider is this: Many Americans of all kinds are fed their identities through public relations and marketing. Think about it. The whole idea that buying things makes you feel better is alien to any kind of spiritual or mental health. It's true in the same way shooting smack makes you feel better. The long-term consequences are terrible.

    How many of us remember older relatives who reused saran wrap? Have you ever wondered why so many of them were more capable, satisified and better adjusted than we are?

    I do agree with the growing alienation and distrust between groups. And it's not just white-black, rich-poor, left-right, Christian-gay, young-old, etc. The stratification is getting more and more attenuated. Remember the power of divide and conquer. If we keep going on this way, there won't be any America left to save.

    Alec

    PS Based on all your comments, I'm going to pick up the book and read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alec,
      Isn't it possible to reject mainstream culture without being a neo-feudal elitist?

      Yes!

      Glad to read that you intend to check the book itself. I guarantee you that there is much food for thought there. But a way to fix what's happening? I'm not sure that it is possible to do so -- and neither is Murray.

      Delete
    2. I also liked this from Alec:

      "The whole idea that buying things makes you feel better is alien to any kind of spiritual or mental health"

      Yes indeed.

      Delete
  26. I think that "little experience of the other" from the book, which was highlighted by Baysider made in her comment, also takes us into the race realm; neighborhoods are mixing more and more but forced busing didn't help, income level helped, school vouchers/choice helped; there are FAR more Blacks living in Santa Monica/West L.A., for example, and getting to know Black neighbors, and vice versa, goes a long way toward understanding them, enjoying them as friends, undoing the misunderstandings and fears of both sides.

    Ducky, Now you made me hungry this morning for a McMuffin. Haven't had one in years but always found them delicious with a cup of hot coffee.
    And that was my point above....I don't think we have to all like all music, or all film, to not feel we're living in a bubble.

    ReplyDelete
  27. How do you hide the taste of a McMuffin?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don't think Murray is interested in how the divide occurred other than to echo the standard meme of "the poor make bad decisions".

    He may correctly see the fact of the divide but not as a gestalt. These choices happen in a moral structure that is equal for everyone and the market sorts out the poor choices.

    It's all so easy and so shallow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duck,
      I don't think Murray is interested in how the divide occurred other than to echo the standard meme of "the poor make bad decisions".

      Once again, your comment is simplistic.

      There are many reasons for "the bad decisions" (as you call them). Poverty itself isn't the root cause. As Baysider stated in an earlier comment here: something has happened to central American values involving marriage, honesty, hard work and religiosity.

      I'm not sure that Murray states why. But he does make clear that something threatening "the American Project" (his terminology) has been afoot and is still afoot.

      Delete
    2. Do you get the impression he thinks it's something PLANNED?? Some kind of conspiracy theory?

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. I'm certain he doesn't explain why. That's the issue.

      It's like "The Bell Curve", blacks are dumb so they deserve their place.

      But he can't come out and just call working class whites dumb and he absolutely cannot bite the hand of his handlers and look at economic reasons for the decline of two parent households.

      The industrial base in America is dismantled and shipped off and it's the working class's fault for being too lazy to work for $2 an hour.
      And they can pray as much as they like. The jobs ain't coming back.

      Delete
    5. @ Ducky: "It's like "The Bell Curve", blacks are dumb so they deserve their place. "

      A true sign of an ignorant man who has not read the book, but who has lapped up the leftwing propaganda emanating from the red echo chamber.


      Here is some good commentary on The Bell Curve from Dr. Sowell, who puts the issue in proper context, disagrees with some of it, and criticizes the shrieking chorus who howl out derivative criticisms of it without having read it:

      Ethnicity and IQ, by Thomas Sowell


      Race and IQ, pt 3


      Thomas Sowell and the Intellectuals

      I don't expect leftwing obscurantists like Ducky to read this material. They are too afraid of bursting their fantasy bubble. I provide this for my thinking fellow Right Blogistanis.

      http://holtz.org/Library/ToFile/Reading/IQ.htm

      http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell100402.asp

      http://spectator.org/articles/55884/thomas-sowell-and-intellectuals

      Delete
    6. Very happy for these links, SF. I've read Sowell before on this - it's how I 'unlearned' my prejudicial opinion of Murray that I held without reading him for myself.

      This really summarizes a great deal of research across cultural boundaries: "In short, groups outside the cultural mainstream of contemporary Western society tend to do their worst on abstract questions, whatever their race might be" and he specifically cites European immigrant groups to the U.S.

      Delete
  29. Here in elitist Northern Virginia, you are one of "the unwashed" if you don't have at least one BMW or other pricey car in your driveway. You must also have one of the mansions (minimum of $1.5 million).

    I get sneers directed at my cars when I go to the local Whole Foods or similar grocery store.

    The materialistic attitude is disgusting! Material possessions per se (or the lack thereof) do not comprise good character.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think anybody thinks a BMW connotes good character. I know wealthy people with stellar character; mostly of very strong faith, by the way. Actually, all of them have strong faith...

      Delete
    2. also, I'm really sorry you've felt that disdain....if they only knew what a very, very RICH WOMAN you truly are, AOW.

      Delete
    3. Z,
      Well, if not "good character," then being good enough to be seen as one of the elite and worthy somehow.

      Delete
    4. also, I'm really sorry you've felt that disdain....if they only knew what a very, very RICH WOMAN you truly are, AOW.

      Delete
  30. OK, ALL: : What do you think MIGHT "Fix" this situation Murray talks about?

    Give us some ideas ....some solutions you think MIGHT work? Or a direction that might work?
    Is it force the elite to give more to the poor?
    Is it move in poor into the 90025 zip codes across the country?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you accept his thesis that the "divide" exists because the market judges "choices" and winnows out winners and losers then there isn't going to be any change. It's all working to spec.

      You have to understand that the decline middle America is experiencing is structural before change is possible.

      Those lazy bums just got shafted again with the TPP passage.

      In other words, one of the keys is to realize that the "problem" Murray presents is a symptom of a defect he is desperately trying to hide and ignore.

      Delete
    2. OK, Ducky....what do you propose? Seriously...and tell us, do you think everyone with over, let's say $250(Obama's number) is "rich enough"? And how do we get middle America moving again?

      Delete
    3. Ducky: That is not his thesis at all. No wonder your comments are out where the buses don't run. You are a blowhard completely unencumbered by your ignorance. You don't even have a rudimentary understanding of what you are blasting away at.

      What Murray is preaching is virtue. People in Belmont get married, stay married, forgo immediate gratification for a greater future gain, and they inculcate these values in their children.

      Fishtown is a stew of social pathologies that trace a downward spiral.

      I grant you that someone mired in Fishtown will find it hard to escape, and many may literally see no way out.

      Delete
    4. Yeah, the working class doesn't make the "virtuous" choices.

      He says NOTHING about the context in which they must make those choices. Of course people in Belmont don't do heroin like the kids in Fishtown or they do and they quietly head of to rehab thats paid for by their cadillac health policy.

      I know "illegals" who work their freaking asses off just to afford rent and food. They don't make wise decisions to invest like Mitt Romney.

      As I said, it's easy, requires no thought on your part and lets you wash your hands of it all.

      Delete
    5. Nobody can afford "Cadillac health policies" nor can they find them if they could afford it. Those days of excellent plans people earned and paid for are OVER.
      Gee, I hate it when illegals can't get as wealthy as Mitt Romney.
      Sometimes the rich don't make virtuous choices, either. Sometimes the working class does.

      So what 'thought on your part' is going to solve any of this? Afraid to answer?

      Delete
    6. I don't know if this is Ducky's point or not, so I'm not going to speak for him. However, if as Silverfiddle says a primary theme of Murray's is virtue, then the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses in Northern Virginia are as deficient in it as the poor in Camden, NJ. The difference is that Northern Virginians that AOW is living around have some or more of their virtues remaining. And, they have been taught other behaviors and cultural traits that make it easier for them to fit in to the society as it is. It's good they do.

      But if the problem in America is a change in values, then looking closely at those Joneses will show that their children's attitudes and values are sometimes more in line with Camden, NJ than Fairfax, VA. So it's only a matter of a generation or two for the great leveling downward to spread.

      SOLUTION

      If values are the problem, then values are the solution, too. If you're a Christian, are you willing to put your ethics on the line? Will you speak up at work when it could cost you your job? Are you working for a company which is behaving in a disgraceful or illegal way?

      No way homosexuality is compatible with the Bible. But what about "thou shalt not commit adultery?" How many people in your church are fooling around? How many people are living together but not married? We all have sin. I'm not saying we should go on a sin patrol to look around for what others are doing wrong. But on the other hand, when sins are public, we need to speak up or we share culpability.

      It's hard medicine, I know.

      Delete
    7. Ducky and Alec,

      Murray provides hard data on quantifiable factors such as marriage and out of wedlock births, divorce, single parent home, graduation rates, crime rates, etc, and compares the numbers between Belmont and Fishtown.

      These are the virtues I am talking about: Avoiding pregnancy before marriage, Getting married, staying married, graduating high school, keeping your kids in school.

      Ducky sneers at these factors, but hard data shows that the people who avoid trouble with the law, graduate high school, avoid pre-marital pregnancy, get married and stay married have something like a 95% chance of avoiding poverty.

      I will grant Ducky that people in Fishtown have far fewer opportunities and much less margin of error than those in Belmont. Also, Belmonters have resources to recover from mistakes, misfortune and misbehavior that Fishtowners do not have.

      Finally, Ducky, this sneering statement reveals you have cause and effect reversed:

      "Yeah, the working class doesn't make the "virtuous" choices."

      I come from a working class family, from my great grandparents on down, so spare me your lectures.

      That is not what Murray or I am saying. What we are saying is that poor choices have bad consequences that can park you in the bottom percentile. And I again concede that Belmonters can often survive poor choices that doom a Fishtowner, because Belmonters have more resources.

      But, despite the slowdown in upward mobility, a Fishtowner who behaves virtuously can end up a Belmonter, and the reverse is true: Fishtown has residents who used to live in Belmont.

      Multiple studies have show that the top 10 and 20 percent has a high rate of churn.

      Delete
    8. Ducky,

      I agree with you that people on the bottom face formidable structural barriers. Also, the system is increasingly working against us, and it is moving up the food chain. The poor felt it first, then the working class and skilled labor, and now the middle class is taking it in the shorts.

      We disagree a lot, but please don't think I am defending the status quo. I'm not, because it stinks, the game is rigged, but meanwhile the GOOP primary is forming up to look like a evangelical preach-off.

      Delete
    9. SF,
      Some ot the "poor choices" your mentioned seem to have become fashionable choices -- not inevitable choices.

      In fact, along the lines of someone that Alec mentioned, I have noted that some of the children of Belmont are making some of the same poor choices as in Fishtown.

      Delete
    10. Z,
      Very, very few have "Cadillac health policies" now. As far as I know, anyway. It does seem, though, that employees of and retirees of the IMF may have them. I know a few such individuals, and they tell me, "Everything is taken care of." I don't know the details.

      Delete
    11. Alec,
      Very few are willing to risk losing their job by speaking up. I lost one job for speaking up. Had I not done that, I'd be comfortably retired right now. But I couldn't compromise the principle of honesty; that is, I could've falsify a star athlete's grade. The principal gave me fair warning: "if you don't change the grade, you know what this means, don't you?" I didn't back down.

      I'm not here to pass judgment on others who won't take a stand. But I do admit that I cannot respect those who continue on in a job and know full well that they are compromising their declared principles by doing so; they rationalize their actions in all sorts of ways.

      Delete
    12. AOW,
      So sorry that it happened to you, and am glad that you took the stand you did.

      SF,
      These are the virtues I am talking about: Avoiding pregnancy before marriage, Getting married, staying married, graduating high school, keeping your kids in school.
      The fact that these are not glaringly obvious to everyone, shows us how far we've fallen.

      Delete
    13. Alec,
      I couldn't do anything else and live with myself.

      A few years later, another student (whom I personally knew and to whom I gave the failing grade which he had earned) who had been passed along because teachers gave in to the principal's demand committed suicide; he explained in the suicide note. I never found out if the principal felt any guilt about the countless times that he had forced teachers to change students' grades when those grades should have stood so that students could have received the academic help they needed to forge ahead successfully.

      BTW, something similar about changing grades to make the school look better happened at the second private school where I worked. When my contract ended at the end of the school term. I walked away. I still teach now, but as a homeschool-classes teacher and as a private tutor. Very rewarding in every way -- except financially. But Mr. AOW and I get by somehow. Not easy, of course.

      Delete
  31. SF "I grant you that someone mired in Fishtown will find it hard to escape, and many may literally see no way out."
    this is heartbreaking and not unusual, I think........In days past, the young did find a way out, no matter what...
    today, I'm not sure they even understand they CAN if they work hard, study,...
    oh.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Alec,
    Allow me to take this moment to thank you for participating in this discussion. I appreciate your adding comments of value to this thread.

    ReplyDelete
  33. SF,
    Thank you for participating so actively in this thread. Due to circumstances in this household at the moment, I haven't always been able to answer commenters as consistently as I wish: major home repair (workers arrive late and work into the wee hours of the next morning), Mr. AOW's medical appointments, my medical appointments, and, of course my tutoring schedule. Where is my summer break?

    Have you read the book we are discussing? You are very knowledgeable about Murray's thesis therein.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Addendum...

    Not to mention the debunking project ongoing here! So much to sort through-- especially papers. Must update our wills and advanced medical directives, too.

    "And miles to go before I sleep."

    ReplyDelete
  35. AOW:

    (Putting all my responses out here on the main thread so we don't have to dig down...)

    It was Ducky who mentioned Cadillac health plans, not me.

    I have not read Murray's book, but I have read some of his in-depth essays, other scholarly commentary on it, and excerpts from the book.

    Q AOW: "I have noted that some of the children of Belmont are making some of the same poor choices as in Fishtown."

    And many of them will end up in Fishtown. That's how it happens. People at the top don't always stay there.

    I do agree with Ducky that Belmonters have the resources (money, good lawyers, wealth, police leniency) that Fishtowners just don't have, and because of that, they don't always feel the consequences of their poor behavior the way a Fishtowner does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SF,
      I realized my mistake about the health plans and deleted my comment.

      On my iPad right now out of necessity, and my own errors proliferate.

      Delete
    2. SF,
      The slide from Belmont into Fishtown will take time because Belmonters have more financial assets at their disposal.

      I hope that you will find time to read the entire book. I got the book on a whim, and it was totally absorbing.

      Delete
  36. SF,
    Interested in your thoughts on this...

    How possible is it NOW for Fishtowners to have upward mobility to Belmont?

    Wasn't there a time that such mobility was more possible?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe so.....were kids on as much DRUGS as they are now? Did they have more parental support years ago? I think so.
      Remember when we used to hear "all the young people have left that area!"? I don't believe that happens so much these days.
      The kids HAD to get out to get MONEY...now, they don't, really.

      Delete
    2. I believe so.....were kids on as much DRUGS as they are now? Did they have more parental support years ago? I think so.
      Remember when we used to hear "all the young people have left that area!"? I don't believe that happens so much these days.
      The kids HAD to get out to get MONEY...now, they don't, really.

      Delete
  37. "Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in 3 generations." At least traditionally, this sums up the mobility - up and down - in the American experience.

    Don't have the stats at hand, but have read them carefully. It's amazing how many from the top 15% end up in the bottom 15% and vice versa. I think it's harder now to move up - but that's an opinion/feeling. No facts to support it. I suspect all the impediments regulatory agencies put in peoples' paths contribute. And your attitude about pushing through them also contributes. To the extent that nanny-statism is metastasizing throughout the culture, the force to push yourself up will weaken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Baysider,
      To the extent that nanny-statism is metastasizing throughout the culture, the force to push yourself up will weaken.

      Exactly!

      Along with that kind of dependence comes a sense of a lack of self-worth, too. Add to that (1) a skewed moral compass requiring even more law enforcement and security cameras, etc., and (2) a shrinking tax base to support the many nanny-state programs; the shrinking tax base includes our aging population.

      What a vicious cycle! I don't know how we as a nation are going to pull out of this death spiral.

      I suspect all the impediments regulatory agencies put in peoples' paths contribute.

      I agree.

      Daniel Boone traveled west for "elbow room." Literal elbow room. Now the many regulations have us confined to the point that we don't have enough entrepreneurship elbow-room. No more starting a business without a big nest egg to fund the start-up. And the paperwork to file! An incredible burden.

      Delete
  38. AOW, did you watch Kelly tonight? The woman who was almost beheaded? You said you might.
    I honestly have to say that yes, he is a radicalized muslim, and normal people don't kill, let alone behead, and he did scream Muslim oaths as he tried, but it does sound like he was provoked by the woman for calling him lazy, etc. Like workplace violence to me...or a bit of both?! I don't know that he'd have beheaded the one woman and tried it on another had he not been turned into HR for laziness, etc....

    What did you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Z,
      I watched most of The Kelly File last night. Got interrupted a few times.

      I don't know that he'd have beheaded the one woman and tried it on another had he not been turned into HR for laziness

      I think that what he did had something to do with his being Muslim -- particularly since he had some ties with a radical mosque, didn't he? Islam as preached by certain imams has a way of getting individuals to focus on their "persecution." Promoting victimology, in other words.

      There is also the matter of Islamic misogyny: that a woman complained to HR no doubt galled the beheader. It's not a woman's place to testify against a Muslim male; after all, a woman's testimony is automatically suspect in Islam.

      Didn't the beheader have some kind of criminal history? If so, that's another factor in what he did, IMO, in that he was likely (1) already tweaked and (2) ripe for Wahhabism.

      I tell you this: we are one helluva society if complaining to HR "causes" somebody to cut off somebody's head!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Yes, a society where we are now actually desensitized to BEHEADINGS on any soil let alone AMERICAN.
      I think his criminal history underscores my thoughts that this is a man with criminal leanings and murder is one of them; that he is a muslim doesn't seem a part of that, though I did find interesting your statement above that, in islam, "it's not a woman's place to testify against a muslim male"

      Delete
  39. AOW,
    I believe that upward mobility is much harder now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. All the data shows that upward mobility has slowed, and I hate to sound like Ducky, but billionaires like Zuckerberg just want to get richer. It's a sickness.

    As I stated previously, the rich at least saw some self-interest in throwing some money at improving society and providing good jobs: They got better workers, and it becalmed the communities they lived in.

    Now, with the rich walled off from the rest of us and the ease of importing scab labor, there is no incentive for them to give two hoots in hell what happens here in the US, so long as the infrastructure can support their pampered, insulated lifestyle. We are cooking up the makings of a revolution, on many levels.

    All I can say is, I won't be one of the fools protecting Mark Suckerturd's house from angry firebombers...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SF,
      I see that we agree on this matter of upward mobility:

      the rich at least saw some self-interest in throwing some money at improving society and providing good jobs: They got better workers, and it becalmed the communities they lived in.

      Now, with the rich walled off from the rest of us and the ease of importing scab labor, there is no incentive for them to give two hoots in hell what happens here in the US, so long as the infrastructure can support their pampered, insulated lifestyle. We are cooking up the makings of a revolution, on many levels.


      If not a revolution, then the death spiral of the American Project. We will become a caste society; the makings for that kind of society are in place and contributing apace.

      Before the burgeoning of the Nanny State, millionaires had the incentive to step in to hire. Now -- not much. Those on the dole are often content with that dole, or at least resigned to it.

      I'm glad that I'm as old as I am. I'm glad that I don't have children. The latter is a terrible thing to say, but it's the way that I feel. I do worry about my students. What will be their future?

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    2. So, when a Zuckerberg does gain more and more money from stocks, hard work, etc, etc, what's he to do? What should athletic teams which make billions do with their excess?
      I know many Zuckerbergs give a LOT to charities...and so do teams.
      Should we put a limit on income? And demand the rest go to philanthropy? Who picks the income level? Obama said "$250K was 'rich enough,'" remember?

      AOW echoes what I said above about the Nanny State/welfare; they're content or resigned.

      And, we didn't have the drugs that are keeping kids in perpetual stupors, we didn't have the push that getting educated was 'square' ...we had hope. People used to get OUT of the ghettos...we often heard how "this town doesn't have many young anymore, they've gone to better places to make money". Those places don't seem to exist much anymore, but blame the rich?

      I simply don't see this threat of 'caste society' or anything else, and I live in a city with VERY VERY rich and VERY poor....and everybody works around or with each other......and the rich do a LOT of charity work, a lot of giving...

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    3. So, when a Zuckerberg does gain more and more money from stocks, hard work, etc, etc, what's he to do? What should athletic teams which make billions do with their excess?
      I know many Zuckerbergs give a LOT to charities...and so do teams.
      Should we put a limit on income? And demand the rest go to philanthropy? Who picks the income level? Obama said "$250K was 'rich enough,'" remember?

      AOW echoes what I said above about the Nanny State/welfare; they're content or resigned.

      And, we didn't have the drugs that are keeping kids in perpetual stupors, we didn't have the push that getting educated was 'square' ...we had hope. People used to get OUT of the ghettos...we often heard how "this town doesn't have many young anymore, they've gone to better places to make money". Those places don't seem to exist much anymore, but blame the rich?

      I simply don't see this threat of 'caste society' or anything else, and I live in a city with VERY VERY rich and VERY poor....and everybody works around or with each other......and the rich do a LOT of charity work, a lot of giving...

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    4. They can make all the money they want. My problem is them suborning government and bribing politicians for their own personal gain.

      I also disagree with their anti-American, immoral project of importing cheap labor, forcing Americans to train them and then laying off the American workers.

      Sorry, Z. We disagree. The rich can go to hell for all I care, and the GOOP can follow them down.

      Just as the Latin American rich stole everything blind and crapped on the poor, leading to people cheering red demagogues like Chavez, so the GOOP corporatists will usher in Bernie Sanders and his ilk.

      At least Sanders is honest and we know where he is coming from. Also unlike the Suckerturd types and many Republicans, I don't doubt Bernie's patriotism and concern for American workers.

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    5. The rich, who hire, who have luxury items that help the poor go up because it gives them work, who give huge amounts to charity, etc.

      Ya, they probably bribe and support lobbyists, too...Think the poor don't do that through the Southern Poverty Law Center, etc etc? That's life...
      As you might know, I'm all for giving each candidate or cause a set amount of money and letting them has it out. It's very unpopular among Conservatives, but it works well in Germany, at least. Cuts down on bribery BIG TIME.

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    6. By the way, we know where Sanders stands because the media will tell us....he has nothing to fear, he's so leftwing they love him.
      Any of our guys do that, they won't get on the news unless the news can twist it to make them look really bad....good luck to ANY GOP candidate who speaks HIS truth.
      I wish they would. I just got an email from a cousin whose wife does big time (like Jamie Diamond) recruiting on Wall St...for years. (by the way, I finally stopped drinking the liberal lying Kool Aid about how Wall St's rightwing....she set me straight)...She went to drinks with some big Wall St Democrat supporter who said he'd like to vote for JEB...he can't stand Obama anymore and can't stand Hillary even MORE.
      Fingers crossed...he can't be alone, according to the relatives...I am sure you don't like JEB and I didn't either until I heard his new immigration plan and the truth on his Common Cause stance.

      Delete

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