The Virtue Deficit

Ron Haskins, National Review, February 6, 2012.


Charles Murray writes important and provocative books. His latest book, Coming Apart, joins Losing Ground (1984) and The Bell Curve (1994) as, in my view, among his most important and most fascinating. Given Murray’s longstanding status as a bête noire of the Left, the book can be expected to produce lots of controversy.
What does Murray think is coming apart? America, along class lines. His approach to persuading us that the class divide is a present danger is first to describe what he means by the “new lower class” and the “new upper class,” then to describe what he considers “the founding virtues” that used to characterize the classes, and then to show, in grim detail, how the classes moved farther and farther apart over the 1960–2010 period on each of these founding virtues. The book’s concluding section is devoted to a consideration of what this coming apart might mean for the nation’s future.

National Review