Thursday, February 09, 2012

social immobility

Nicholas Kristof, bless his heart, since he's one of the few actual liberal columnists at the NY Times who survived 2011, today wrote about Charles Murray's new book, "Coming Apart; the State of White America, 1960-2010."

Murray is the reactionary sociologist who wrote "The Bell Curve" a few years ago, and Kristof agrees with his conclusion in the new book: that white, working-class Americans now suffer from the same types of crippling social malaise that have troubled minority communities for generations, primarily a drug plague and devaluation of marriage, with a corresponding erosion of values which characterize a society whose structure is based on the nuclear family.

Kristof concludes, "Today, I fear we’re facing a crisis in which a chunk of working-class America risks being calcified into an underclass, marked by drugs, despair, family decline, high incarceration rates and a diminishing role of jobs and education as escalators of upward mobility. We need a national conversation about these dimensions of poverty, and maybe Murray can help trigger it. I fear that liberals are too quick to think of inequality as basically about taxes. Yes, our tax system is a disgrace, but poverty is so much deeper and more complex than that."

Of course Murray reflexively blames "liberal social policies" -- the orthodox fascist response -- which describes the details of social dysfunction but misdiagnoses the causes and oigins. Because when people start living just for whatever gratification or pleasure they can get in this moment, and give up any thought of making efforts or sacrifices for future rewards, the society they live in has already collapsed.

The drug plagues that have rolled through Americans generations from the bottom up -- heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine -- are cries of despair from people who have no future. Why invest the commitment and sacrifice maintaining a family requires when the future is a blank?

No comments: