Lost Egalitarianism

Roberto Saldaña comments

How interesting that he believes that the persons who should lead the crusade to restore our civic virtues are the economic elite. He provides no incentive why anyone in that group should care about this divide because things have been rather swell for them without paying attention to “cultural inequality.”

The failure to explain why elites should help reveals the essential contradiction in Charles Murray’s thought. He approves of the egalitarianism of two generations ago (can it be?!), even as he has been in the employ and the willing abetter of tearing down that equality. The outcomes are basically what his patrons wanted, and in that self-confirming of their own (moral) goodness. The data point to the evident moral quality of the middle and upper middle classes, reinforcing the narrative of personal achievement — a moral meritocracy as it were. Thus the status and virtue become wed, and the underlying warping effects of economic decline are ignored.

The same danger is at work among the Evangelical church, as it too becomes more resolutely middle class and distant from the damage being done on the working class. The rise of secularism among the workers reflects this shift, as well as the alienating turn the Christian Right has had on our politics.

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