Our nation is coming apart at the seams


For some decades now, a popular conservative narrative of modern America has gone something like this: Our center-right nation, devout and industrious, is ruled by a politically liberal elite that disdains family, despises religion and celebrates indolence with government handouts. Many people find this story convincing. It helped fracture the postwar Democratic Party and midwifed the culture wars. Today it feeds the political frustrations of the Tea Party movement. Charles Murray, the influential conservative scholar and provocateur, believes this story is wrong. In his new book, “Coming Apart,” Murray flips the script that has energized Republican politics and campaigns since Richard Nixon: the white working class, he argues, is no longer part of a virtuous silent majority. Instead, beginning in the early 1960s, it has become increasingly alienated from what Murray calls “the founding virtues” of civic life. “Our nation is coming apart at the seams,” Murray warns — “not ethnic seams, but the seams of class.”

more from Nicholas Confessore at the NY Times here.