Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Trickle Down Immorality: Why the rich marry and stay that way and the poor don't

Sociologist Charles Murray's analysis continues to be confirmed: The permissivist social morals of the rich don't detrimentally affect the rich, who continue generally just to talk about them but continue to do things like get and staying married; it is the poor who act on the rich's permissivist morality and they are the ones who suffer from following through on them and do things like produce children out of wedlock and get divorced. And this is what helps make and keep the rich rich and the poor poor.

This is a bit of an oversimplification. Murray refers not to the rich, but the "cognitive elite," who lead lives, if not of economic bounty, at least economic comfort. "Belmont," Mitt Romney's hometown is his synecdoche for it. Then there is the "lower class," which he leaves undefined, but refers generally to those who struggle economically. His symbolic stand-in for this group is "Fishtown," a largely White working class neighborhood in Philadelphia.

You can read about it in Murray's Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.

Not surprisingly, this analysis is not a popular with the political left, which wants to pose as being concerned about social polarization and its effects on children while spouting ideas that do exactly the opposite.

Here is Belinda Luscombe in Time magazine, limply trying to soften the hard edges of Murray's analysis, but having to give up in the end:
The gap in the family life of the rich and poor yawns wider that it ever has, and the individuals most hurt by this are, you guessed, it, the children of the poor. The working class have experimented with a new type of family formation that’s not based around the equation of one partner who runs the home front plus one partner who brings in the income both of whom throw in their lot together for the long haul. These new formulations tend not to be as stable, and instability is sub-optimal for kids.
This is what the ideas of those who want to redefine the family really do. Read more here.


Singring said...
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Singring said...

Tut tut tut, those silly poor people. If only they were as clever as Mitt Romney and formed stable families like the rich, where dad brings home the money from his below living wage job art Wal-Mart and mom stays at home to look after the baby she wasn't planning on having yet but had to have anyway because she couldn't afford healthcare, didn't have access to birth control our abortion as an option and now just has to mooch off food stamps in a low rent, crime ridden neighborhood while her doting husband is out trying not to get shot for having his hands in his pockets. What is wrong with these people? Can't they see how easy it is for middle class Mitt Romney and his family?

I mean really, if only they listened to us wise conservatives who are making it so easy for them what with all of the minimum wage increases we are preventing, the healthcare we want to cut, Medicaid we want to cut, the abstinence only education we are giving them, the school funding we are cutting, the guns we are putting out on the street to help them protect themselves, the tax cuts we are giving the rich...everything would be so much better if they just listened to what we tell them to do!

Martin Cothran said...

Yeah. A "living wage." $10.10. That's a living wage alright.

Martin Cothran said...

So what are you saying here: that there is no connection between marriage and well-being?

Art said...

So, marriage is all about economics. I guess we can conclude that Martin thinks gays should not be afforded economic opportunity or well-being.

It's not like anyone believed Martin's anti-gay stances were really based on any sort of morality. He would be right at home in a place like Uganda.

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, Singring said guns are being put out in the streets. Where? Are they free? Discounted? Granny wants a new Glock for Christmas.

KyCobb said...


"So what are you saying here: that there is no connection between marriage and well-being?"

There is; people who are well-off are getting married. The notion that two poor people getting married can turn themselves into the Romneys is just silly; they are only bringing together both their struggles to get by. The disappearance of middle class jobs for high school graduates which allowed blue collar men to support a family is a likelier explanation for why low income women don't view them as good marriage partners.