Charles Murray's New Book 'Coming Apart' Shamelessly Blames the Victims of Our Economic Collapse
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We avidly followed the blogs during Bristol Palin’s much publicized pregnancy and her subsequent breakup with her finance Levi Johnston. Conservative women applauded her decision not to have an abortion, recognizing that many wealthy, supposedly religious parents not only accept their daughters’ decisions not to continue a pregnancy but insist on it. They also celebrated (alongside the Palin parents) when Bristol broke up with Levi; every woman had Levi’s number and almost none held out hope that a marriage would last. It was the women on the liberal blogs who were astonished at her decision to bear and raise the child on her own – because going ahead with motherhood at 17 necessarily limits Bristol’s and the child’s life chances.
Murray does not and cannot deal with these contradictions. For Murray, the solution to working-class woes lies in their character alone. His new book notes in a throwaway line that the exception to three decades of working-class family decline came during rare periods of shared economic prosperity. Yet, every student of human behavior has found that hope is a better motivator than despair. Fixing the economy will do wonders for the character of the working class -- and it really is easier than fixing Levi Johnston.
June Carbone and Naomi Cahn are the co-authors of 'Red Families v. Blue Families' (OUP 2010) and 'Family Classes' (OUP forthcoming 2012).