Charles Murray has done it again. His new book, Coming Apart, has blown the lid off the most crucial development socially in the United States over the last 50 years: the rise off bastardy. He concentrates on whites.
The book is receiving a lot of attention. His books usually do. Losing Ground in 1984 was a great book. It exposed the welfare state as a fraud. It has not decreased poverty. It was right, and the Left attacked it.
The Bell Curve a decade later was a great book. It exposed the new elite, based on IQ, and the liberal university system that trains this elite. It was right on both counts, and the book was savaged by liberals.
His new book is getting attention, but the liberals are ignoring its main argument: the rise of bastard culture since 1960. Here is what he writes. His two towns are fictional: Fishtown (lower-class white) and Belmont (upper class white).
Marriage: In 1960, extremely high proportions of whites in both Belmont and Fishtown were married—94% in Belmont and 84% in Fishtown. In the 1970s, those percentages declined about equally in both places. Then came the great divergence. In Belmont, marriage stabilized during the mid-1980s, standing at 83% in 2010. In Fishtown, however, marriage continued to slide; as of 2010, a minority (just 48%) were married. The gap in marriage between Belmont and Fishtown grew to 35 percentage points, from just 10.
Single parenthood: Another aspect of marriage—the percentage of children born to unmarried women—showed just as great a divergence. Though politicians and media eminences are too frightened to say so, nonmarital births are problematic. On just about any measure of development you can think of, children who are born to unmarried women fare worse than the children of divorce and far worse than children raised in intact families. This unwelcome reality persists even after controlling for the income and education of the parents.
In 1960, just 2% of all white births were nonmarital. When we first started recording the education level of mothers in 1970, 6% of births to white women with no more than a high-school education—women, that is, with a Fishtown education—were out of wedlock. By 2008, 44% were nonmarital. Among the college-educated women of Belmont, less than 6% of all births were out of wedlock as of 2008, up from 1% in 1970.
The liberals are ignoring this argument. Why? Because they favor the sexual revolution. They do not want that revolution to get blamed for the disaster it has caused. Second, this cannot be reversed by government spending. Liberals believe that government spending (taxing) can fix every major social problem. If spending can’t, another law can.
His solution is simple to state. It is likely impossible to achieve.
Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.
Married, educated people have no contact with lower-class whites. Even if they did, they would not have contact with the single-mother parent of bastard children.
The sexual revolution, promoted in the public schools, has caused this. Liberals caused this. They cannot fix it.
Murray is right: the bastard culture is driving America apart.
Only a religious revival can reverse it — one that says, “love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage.” Those are the lyrics of a popular Frank Sinatra song in 1955. That world is gone.
There is nothing that tax-funded welfare can do to reverse this great divide.