“The problems we are facing now are problems of meaning, of finding a meaningful life in a post-industrial age,” says Dr. Charles Murray, political scientist, libertarian and author. Recipient of a doctoral degree in political science from MIT, Dr. Murray’s most recent book, Coming Apart, describes an unprecedented divergence in American classes over the last half century.
Thinking back, Dr. Murray sees a “cultural shift that is independent of the original economic causes that may have been there.” Many Americans today have lost hope. Globalization and outsourcing have eroded the belief that if they do the right thing, the corporation will do the right thing. They have lost belief in the system that once provided “jobs all the way through the skill ladder…There is no sense of power over their own lives.” With the goal of putting “people’s lives back in their own hands,” Dr. Murray calls for an end to the welfare state and a “mechanistic kind of system.”
At the same time, America’s elites “are riding an economic rocket ship” and are satisfied with who they are.” Economic inequality “in and of itself” is not the problem. The new elites—raised in wealthy suburbs, sent to the best schools—are like “hothouse flowers, sheltered from the real world.” Dr. Murray believes that their segregation from mainstream America is costing them—and the country—dearly. He reminds us all that living a satisfying life “requires being engaged with people in vocation and in community,” and he calls upon us to live “in concert with our fellow human beings at a very personal level.”