Lunch with the FT: Charles Murray

Edward Luce, Financial Times, March 9, 2012.


I ask Murray about the reaction to Coming Apart. Though hailed by a New York Times columnist as probably one of the most important books to be published this year, others have accused him of wilful blindness to the economic causes behind the hollowing out of the American middle class. To Murray the culprit is entirely cultural – the loss of the Tocquevillian virtues of industriousness, marriage, honesty and religiosity on which he says the republic was built.

At the same time, the elites in America have become so tolerant – afflicted with such “ecumenical niceness”, as Murray calls it – that they cannot bring themselves to “preach what they practise”. Partly because of their moral squeamishness, they tend to shield their children against even the tiniest risks in life, Murray says, including mixing with Americans from less fortunate backgrounds.

Financial Times