At home he’s a tourist

Hate him or love him — and I go back and forth — David Frum’s piece on Charles Murray’s latest is one of the best things I’ve read in a while (via). Read the whole thing, but here’s his take on strapping young bucks watching porn on their welfare Xboxes.

You are a white man aged 30 without a college degree. Your grandfather returned from World War II, got a cheap mortgage courtesy of the GI bill, married his sweetheart and went to work in a factory job that paid him something like $50,000 in today’s money plus health benefits and pension. Your father started at that same factory in 1972. He was laid off in 1981, and has never had anything like as good a job ever since. He’s working now at a big-box store, making $40,000 a year, and waiting for his Medicare to kick in.

Now look at you. Yes, unemployment is high right now. But if you keep pounding the pavements, you’ll eventually find a job that pays $28,000 a year. That’s not poverty! Yet you seem to waste a lot of time playing video games, watching porn, and sleeping in. You aren’t married, and you don’t go to church. I blame Frances Fox Piven.

I don’t know for sure why Bobo and (I’m guessing here but I’d be surprised if I’m wrong) a lot of other conservatives like this book so much, but I’m guessing that (1) it pissed off liberals and (2) they like “tote-baggers drive a car like this beep beep, Real Murkins drive a car like this BEEP BEEP BEEP” humor, especially when it’s dressed up with data-like factoids.

I think (2) plays a big role in the disconnect between Bobo Murray and the hoi polloi. Once you’ve reduced an entire population to a simple (yet noble) Foxworthian stereotype, you can easily miss that they might be depressed by the idea of earning minimum wage at Best Buy for the rest of their lives. So it’s hardly surprising that Murray himself has moved to a small Real Murkin town (population 170) where the local Galtians are shocked at the lack of ambition of the town’s young people. Because it wouldn’t occur to him that a lot of the kids in a middle-of-nowhere town who had some get up and go would get up and leave (to the extent that the codgers’ complaints about lazy kids are true). Didn’t NASCAR and Vince Gill and Applebee’s teach these funny native peoples anything?






133 replies
  1. 1
    JGabriel says:

    Congratualtions on your Moore Award Nomination, DougJ! We all bask in the glory your achievement.

    .

  2. 2
    henrythefifth says:

    Are all the typos in that post intentional or are you drunk?

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Frum’s takedown of vile assclown Murray is great. It’s just full of “duh?” moments where you can see Frum scratching his head, thinking “wtf?”.

    Oh, and I’ll add my congratulations on your Moore award nomination, Doug. Well earned.

    Oh, and btw, that last sentence? It’s missing some words.

  4. 4
    JoyfulA says:

    $40,000 a year working in a big box store? He must be the regional manager.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Didn’t NASCAR and Vince Gill and Applebee’s teach these funny native peoples anything?

  7. 7
    James Gary says:

    Two steps forward
    (Six steps back)
    (Six steps back)
    (Six steps back)
    (Six steps back)

    Small step for him
    (Big jump for me)
    (Big jump for me)
    (Big jump for me)
    (Big jump for me)

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    Damn, that Frum piece was long, but I give him credit for reading Murray’s work, the excerpts of which were dreadful.

    To the extent there is a cultural decline in the white population, I blame it entirely on their increasing adoption of a Republican identity. I have no evidence to support this thesis, but I find it thoroughly satisfying.

  9. 9
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @henrythefifth:

    I read it again. Where are all the typos?

  10. 10
    Martin says:

    @henrythefifth: Nah, he’s just another white 30 year old without a college degree living in a small Real Murkin town.

  11. 11
    Martin says:

    Oh, and Frum better be careful or he’s going to wind up with a Moore Award of his own.

  12. 12
    Cat Lady says:

    Congrats on the award DougJ – it was such a nice touch of fail that they used your nym given that BenJarvus Green-Ellis had JUST PLAYED IN THE SUPER BOWL.

    Also thanks for the term tote-bagger. I’ve had the occasion to use it a couple of times lately, and it encapsulates a type perfectly. Keep pushing Sully’s and lesser sully’s FAIL buttons.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud:

    I think the term used is “cultural destabilization” and it’s precisely my greatest worry. By cancelling the deal made after WWII between the 1% and the rest of us during the Reagan administration, these motherfuckers have basically said “bring it!” to the tumbrels.

  14. 14
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Thanks.

  15. 15
    dww44 says:

    Please forgive for my commenting before reading Frum’s piece, but just wanted to say that I heard Murray interviewed on All Things Considered yesterday afternoon driving back to my small city from the small, economically depressed and disadvantaged rural area where I grew up. The interviewer asked Murray at the outset why he had chosen to use data only from white people. Was he (Murray) trying to avoid the hue and cry about racism that would have erupted if he had written about the class divide which didn’t exclude minorities in the data and in his examination of same (as it did with his book on the Bell Curve)? The part that got me, though, was Murray’s insistence that the upper white middle class needed to be more forceful with the lower rung white folks about their work ethic, their religion ( they go to church lots, he said), and their inclination to stay married and raise kids in 2 parent households. In effect, he said those upper classes need to interact with the lowers, as their parents and grandparents did. Never once did he mention the natural effects of living one’s life in a gated community in all the ways that matter.

    Areas like those that I left yesterday are truly hurting and it is very obvious that they are. I too believe that part of it is because so many of us left for greener pastures, so to speak, and too many left behind were either unable to leave or simply disinclined to do so. And those who left and came back to run their family farms have been dealt blow after blow by both the economy and by unrelenting heat and drought. Communities like that have nothing in reserve when hard times hit. It really is almost like the 1930’s all over again. It’s visibly depressing.

  16. 16
    Raven says:

    @dww44: My wife’s hometown in Central Virginia is the same.

  17. 17
    Svensker says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis:

    The para right after the blockquote has “why for sure why” — second why is superfluous. And Applebee’s shouldn’t have an apostrophe. It’s a plural, not a possessive. Those are the two I noticed.

    However, your superlative name (very satisfying after the SB loss, heh), the fact that you got a Moore Award (made my morning, coffee in the nose), and the fact that the guys over there don’t realize that DougJarvus Green-Ellis isn’t your real name — so, so sweet. Congratulations!

  18. 18
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @Svensker:

    Applebee’s is correct, I googled it.

  19. 19
    Linda says:

    The reason conservatives like this is really, really easy. Working class whites–like the rest of the 99%– are getting hurt by the free market economic system that conservatives espouse, and like idealogues everywhere, the system they love cannot fail. The people can fail their system, and obviously these shiftless white guys do. The fact that there is no incentive to love and commit to a job, or commit to religion, or monogamy, is something that has to be explained away. Conservativism has always been about finding a bigger and bigger pool of enemies to blame–the poor, immigrants, pushy broads, pushy minorities, union workers, and now their original suckers, the white working class, find it is their turn.

  20. 20
    eemom says:

    I guess I’m the only one on this blog who doesn’t know WTF a Moore award is.

  21. 21
    Svensker says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis:

    D’oh.

    Maybe it should be Applebee’ss.

  22. 22
    Steve says:

    Frum is an apostate, but he remains very conservative. But the thing is, you can tell he thinks. He doesn’t just say “well, the conservative movement requires me to be against an individual mandate this year, so I’m against it.”

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    @dww44: I vacillate between my sympathy for communities in this sort of dire situation and my exasperation that these communities are often the ones that support the most horrible members of the GOP.

  24. 24
    TG Chicago says:

    HE
    GIVES
    HIM-
    SELF
    AN
    UL-
    CER

  25. 25
    Svensker says:

    @eemom:

    You have to earn the right to know by venturing over to the Sully-man’s site. Then you will be an Initiate and can join the rest of us Enlightened Ones.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @eemom: I don’t either.

  27. 27
    jl says:

    Another congrats on your Moore nomination. If I can, I will vote for DougJarvis Green-Ellis as many times as possible.

    As for why these neocon scribblers do it? The cynically minded would add another possibility: there is good pay, flexible career opportunities and ever expanding life options for the work.

    Which is the same reason that many apparently shiftless youngins’ would ditch blue collar trades for the big city. Except before the housing boom revealed itself to be unsustainable, there was at least some good reason to believe that, say, finance or real estate speculation or sales, would be a productive and respectable line of work. It seemed to be, for many, for awhile.

    And people forget that pre housing bust, the ‘ownership society’ was all the rage. And that was definitely a ‘you snooze, you lose’ proposition.

    Not sure how people like Brooks and Murray ever persuaded themselves that what they are doing is respectable.

    Listening to likes of Brooks and Murray rail about these damn kids on their lawn is like listening my cranky old grand parents and aunts and uncles when I was a kind complaining about these damn kids today, except at least all of my grand oldeters did a lot of hard days work in their time.

    And glad Frum mentioned the GI bill.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Raven says:

    @Baud: Ding! The family construction business failed after 70 years and you KNOW who they blame it on even though it started to crash 10 years ago.

  30. 30
    jl says:

    @Raven: Good Lord, baby seals have lost their Protestant work ethic too? Get Murray on the case. He’ll write a book about how endangered species are completely to blame for their plight.

    Too much hookers and blow in disco joints.

  31. 31
    dmsilev says:

    @eemom:

    I guess I’m the only one on this blog who doesn’t know WTF a Moore award is.

    Very roughly speaking, it’s an “award” given out by Andrew Sullivan and/or his minions to bloggers that offend his sensibilities by being unpolite (by Sullivan’s standards). It’s named after Michael Moore.

    Sullivan claims that the award is supposed to be a mark of dishonor, but given that it’s coming from Sullivan, many of the recent winners wear it with pride (and, indeed, have even campaigned to get the award).

  32. 32
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: Not a problem.

    I did like this at the end of the second half of his review:

    This is Palinism with a bar chart.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Early, early, early, but Santorum is leading in both MO and MN.

    No CO results yet.

  34. 34
    Raven says:

    @jl: If I recall, there is never too much blow.

  35. 35
    Martin says:

    @eemom: Good heavens eemom. You’ve been around here long enough to know of Doug and Coles morbid curiosity about what Sully thinks, and about Sully’s stupid award fetish.

  36. 36
    dmsilev says:

    @Raven: My favorite is the example which shows the need for the “Oxford comma”: “I’d like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God.”

  37. 37
    EconWatcher says:

    Frum is a very smart guy who would make a great addition to our team, as long as reckoning and atonememt are not required. Maybe they shouldn’t be. At any rate, I’ve never seen him come close to admitting how far off the deep end he fell.

  38. 38
    jl says:

    And I want to add that, I am especially glad that DougJ got a Moore award that is explained with an absurd, obviously false rationale. Dude, double congrats.

  39. 39
    gnomedad says:

    @eemom:

    I guess I’m the only one on this blog who doesn’t know WTF a Moore award is.

    Awarded by Andrew Sullivan for what he judges to be intemperate liberal rhetoric. (Well, I thought it would be courteous for someone to actually answer her question.)

    Hey, is it time for a call for updates to the BJ lexicon? We had a good time with that last time around.

  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev:

    My problem with that sentence is I can’t help but automatically parse it with an Oxford comma. It’s only because it’s been drilled into me for decades that it’s needed.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    dmsilev says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Santorum is surging?

  43. 43
    beltane says:

    It looks lie Santorum is mopping the floor with Mitt tonight. Where is Veritas to tell us how this is good news for Mitt?

    Oh dear, in MN Romney is coming in 3rd behind Santorum and Ron Paul.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev:

    23% of precincts in MO reporting, Santorum is seriously surging, 55.3%, Romney well behind at 28%, and Ron Paul doing about what you’d expect him to do, 12.3%.

  45. 45
    Mary G says:

    I think there may be something personal there. Frum is now on Part 4 of his review of Murray’s book and it gets more scathing as it goes along.

    Frum makes me crazy too, for every sane thing he says, he writes about Romney’s great truth-telling or some other completely insane thing. Perhaps he has a split personality.

  46. 46
    Sleeping Dog says:

    One thing that amazes me about Repugs is that they are so sure that any level of income or capital gain tax results in a decrease in willingness for “job creators” to invest and work harder. Yet take it as an article of faith that economic and social risk shifting to the individual, while at the same time driving down wages and increasing employment insecurity should have no effect on the individuals willingness to work hard.

    If one set of adverse conditions should negatively effect the behavior of a certain economic class, shouldn’t a different set of adverse conditions have a negative behavioral effect on the members of a different economic class?

    Also if it is moral failure for the young adults of the working class not to work hard, regardless of the milieu, is it not also a moral failure for those who can invest in the economy, not to do so simply because of a marginal cost in taxes?

  47. 47
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @EconWatcher:

    I like some of his writing a lot, regardless of which team he plays for.

    And anyway, as much of a nut as he is about the Middle East, anyone who understands that it’s depressing to bust your ass for 28K is year is more or less on our team.

  48. 48
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    Missouri; The snow-me State.

  49. 49
    PIGL says:

    @Raven: you recall correctly.

  50. 50
    Steve says:

    @dmsilev: Have you seen the counterexample that goes, “I’d like to thank my mother, Ayn Rand, and God”?

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Up in the land of sky blue waters, much lower precincts reporting, 4%, but Santorum and Paul are leading.

  52. 52
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    I knew that Frum had gone off the reservation, but this article is WAY OFF.

  53. 53
    jl says:

    Good side of this is that it looks like the GOP is not only throwing more demographics, but ever larger ones out of their officially approved All American lifeboat:

    racial/ethnic minorities
    DFHs
    non working single moms
    welfare bums
    working single moms
    trade unions
    unionized public safety employees
    all public employees of any kind who get any benefits
    youth
    all working and lower middle class whites.

    I read that over half of the NV GOP caucus participants were over 60.

    Soon they will only have crabby white selfish and weak minded oldsters on Social Security who are grandfathered in to avoid any of the new improved GOP schemes.

    Edit: note, lest I get in any more trouble today, the GOP demo will not even be most oldsters. I think most of them are neither selfish nor weak minded.

  54. 54
    dmsilev says:

    @beltane:

    It looks lie Santorum is mopping the floor with Mitt tonight. Where is Veritas to tell us how this is good news for Mitt?

    He/she/it surfaced one or two threads down to proclaim that Romney was on a path to Victory! and that, by the way, Missouri doesn’t matter.

  55. 55
    Raven says:

    @PIGL: Man I could tell some stories. It’s all in the rear view mirror but, damn.

  56. 56
    Mary G says:

    I think Colorado will be interesting, Mitt was supposed to own that one, but Santorum is ahead with only 1% reporting.

  57. 57
    beltane says:

    Colorado with 2% in is 52% Santorum, 20% Romney, 18% Gingrich. I’m not feeling much Mormon love over in crazyland.

  58. 58
    dmsilev says:

    @beltane: A Santorum sweep? I think that would be optimal for maximum hilarity for the rest of the month until Super Tuesday.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    I’m sure Santorum’s mammoth leads won’t hold even if he wins, but if they do, I think he would be the first GOP candidate to win a majority in a state.

    Correction: I’ve been informed that Romney won a majority in Nevada.

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mary G:

    Yup, if that holds (remember that CO is infested with fundies) it will be a major smackdown of OvenMitt.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    dmsilev says:

    @Baud: I thought that Romney (barely) broke 50% in Nevada.

    (Googles)

    Yep. 50.1%. Feel the Mittmentum!

  63. 63
    geg6 says:

    @dww44:

    Here in Southwestern PA, we may not be as small but we have the same sort of mindset. I may live in one of the small communities in Beaver County that is doing okay, but just down the road (less than 4 or 5 miles) is Aliquippa, a town that used to have one of those manufacturing jobs Frum talks about for everyone who wanted one. J&L (or LTV, to be more contemporary) had over 10,000 employed there, including my dad. They paid a good wage for those with a high school diploma (and a decent one to those without), with great benefits and, towards the end, a great labor/management structure. Didn’t matter when the MOUs decided to play Monopoly with it all during the Reagan years. Today, Aliquippa, a town in which, in my youth in the late 60s and early 70s, we used to look forward to shopping in during the holidays or where we could choose from 3 or 4 theaters to see the latest movies, is a ghost town, not even a shadow of its former self. It’s drug ridden, economically destitute, and almost completely minority/economically distressed/unemployed/crime-filled/permanent underclass. The more economically stable, white flight surrounding towns (one in which I, admittedly, live) look at Aliquippa or Midland or Beaver Falls or Rochester and put up their own metaphorical wall around their “gated” (meaning out of the reach, pricewise, of the underclass) communties and try like hell to pretend that they, too, are MOUs who are being robbed blind by the t-bone steak eating young bucks in Aliquippa or wherever while desperately trying to keep up with the Kardashians on incomes that are stagnant at best. And, sadly, this is an area that is not doing all that badly in comparison with the rest of the country. Of the 15 school districts in the county, I can count on one hand the ones that actually educate their kids well enough to have most of them avoid developmental classes at our campus during their freshman year or even, sometimes, their sophomore years. The best are mediocre, at best. It’s a race to the bottom, with the increasingly aging population (young people won’t stay here, either, and we’re only 30 miles from Pittsburgh, not exactly rural) resenting every penny spent on infrastructure, education, or any sort of progressive tax initiatives.

    I despair sometimes. Hell, my own income has stagnated ridiculously and it’s about to get worse. Governor Corbett proposed his budget for this year, with huge cuts to programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled, 30% cuts to Pitt and PSU and Temple, and 20% cuts to the state university system because, apparently, there is no money for any of it. And still no taxes on the Marcellus drillers. And I expect very little public outcry because the old fucks who make up such a large percentage of the voting public here are hostile to education funding due to the fact that they have already raised their kids and feel that, once they had, they had no more responsibility to the public good.

    I hate these people sometimes. And, sadly, an awful lot of them are my friends and neighbors.

  64. 64
    Baud says:

    @dmsilev: Thanks. I thought he finished around 47-48%.

  65. 65
    jl says:

    Wow! I hope current trends continue. Looking good so far. Getting a little late for Romney in MO, unless there are quite a few 100 percent Mittster precincts that have not reported.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud:

    Yeah, TPM is reporting that they don’t have results for St. Louis or Kansas City yet, so the 23% reporting ratios probably will not hold.

  67. 67
    JGabriel says:

    dmsilev:

    A Santorum sweep? I think that would be optimal for maximum hilarity for the rest of the month until Super Tuesday.

    It’s a veritable Santorum Explosion!

    .

  68. 68
    Baud says:

    TPM just projected that Santorum will win Missouri.

  69. 69
    Mary G says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Aren’t there a lot of Mormons, too?

    Turnout seems to be way down in Missouri, also too.

  70. 70
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    XTC and Gang of Four in the same night.

    This, it is good.

  71. 71
    Mary G says:

    CNN headline: Santorum running strong in early results

  72. 72
    Chris says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    One thing that amazes me about Repugs is that they are so sure that any level of income or capital gain tax results in a decrease in willingness for “job creators” to invest and work harder. Yet take it as an article of faith that economic and social risk shifting to the individual, while at the same time driving down wages and increasing employment insecurity should have no effect on the individuals willingness to work hard.

    This a million times.

    Taking them at face value that blue collar younguns are too lazy and unprofessional – why wouldn’t they be? You’ve got a company that’s determined not to invest anything more than the absolute bare minimum in its employees, why should it expect its employees to invest any more than the absolute bare minimum in their work? You get what you pay for.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mary G:

    Colorado doesn’t have that many Mormons…2% of the population.

    Turnout is probably down everywhere, but seeing as the MO primary has nothing at all to do with delegate selection process, it’s only meaningful in terms of media splash.

  74. 74
    beltane says:

    Whooot! Romney has fallen to 3rd place in CO. He is now 2 points behind Gingrich.

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris:

    They refuse to acknowledge that loyalty is a two way street. You treat your employees like shit, they’re going to piss in your Cobb salad. It’s that fucking simple.

  76. 76

    @jl: #53

    Edit: Note, lest I get in any more trouble today, the GOP demo will not even be most oldsters. I think most of them are neither selfish nor weak minded.

    Thank you, sonny.

    [Such a nice young man.]

  77. 77
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Josh Marshal opines:

    The word coming from the Mitt campaign is that Missouri doesn’t really matter because there are no delegates there and they didn’t commit time or money. The problem, though, is that Santorum doesn’t really have any time or money to commit there either. And if you’re the frontrunner, the presumed nominee, you get clobbered in a swing state just because you didn’t aggressively campaign there? That’s a very, very low standard.

    He goes on to say that it looks like unless Mitt tosses a ton of money at a state, he doesn’t do very well.

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Still early (13% reporting) in MN but Santorum and Paul are both well ahead of Romney.

  79. 79
    beltane says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Mitt might have better luck if he buys people cars in exchange for their vote. I’m sure it wouldn’t be an American car though, because American cars are now un-American.

  80. 80
    JGabriel says:

    @Mary G:

    CNN Headline: Santorum running strong in early results

    Bahahaha! Thank you.

    .

  81. 81
    redshirt says:

    We’ve all got to get verbal with our friends and family whenever they try to pin this economy on Obama. No more ducking conversations!

  82. 82
    freelancer says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis:

    Holy shit this is me to a Tee.

    You are a white man aged 30 without a college degree. Your grandfather returned from World War II, got a cheap mortgage courtesy of the GI bill, married his sweetheart and went to work in a factory job that paid him something like $50,000 in today’s money plus health benefits and pension.

    Check. Grandpa raised 8 kids working for the Post Office after he pushed papers around during the war.

    Your father started at that same factory in 1972. He was laid off in 1981, and has never had anything like as good a job ever since. He’s working now at a big-box store, making $40,000 a year, and waiting for his Medicare to kick in.

    Check. Dad graduated HS in ’76, knew college wasn’t his thing and got a sweet union job at Union Pacific until he was summarily laid off during the ’82 recession. He did make work as a carpenter until he got an associates degree, got a tech repair job at Xerox and has been over-working there in the same position for almost 25 years now. They constantly fuck with his schedule in lieu of laying him off because they know they could hire 2 kids half his age and train them and cover what he does for what they paid him.

    Now look at you. Yes, unemployment is high right now. But if you keep pounding the pavements, you’ll eventually find a job that pays $28,000 a year. That’s not poverty! Yet you seem to waste a lot of time playing video games, watching porn, and sleeping in. You aren’t married, and you don’t go to church. I blame Frances Fox Piven.

    Check, Check, and check. I relocated to AZ in the last year, and I had a job lined up. It’s actually a good job with a great work culture that keeps me coming back everyday. But the pay is kind of crap for how intense the work is. My last job was feet on my desk, entering digital widgets with no accountability because the bosses don’t care because no matter how hard we work or how little we work, it’s not going to make the Medical-Industrial-Insurance complex anymore efficient. I did no work, practically and I got paid $35k a year. I hated that job. This new job, I’m “on” from clock in to clock out, and it’s tough, but it feels rewarding because my efforts are acknowledged and even though I’ve only been there 5 months, I’m actually on track for a promotion in the next few. But yeah, the point is, I make around $30k right now, and I feel poor. I have a nice apartment, but it fits just me.

    I can’t see how I’m ever going to save up and/or own a house. I can see all these things that are available to larger earners and it’s not like I can’t have them, but that I’d have to scrape and cut and make it a willful goal to attain that THING at the expense of other goals. I cannot imagine having the responsibility of a family making what I make and that inhabits a space in the back of my mind whenever I meet somebody new. Yes, I know priorities change, but I’m a worrier anyways and I get dissatisfied on how little I have to spend on myself, but add one or more people to that same pile of meager income and the amount of self-loathing I can see myself experiencing doesn’t make jumping into having a family seem all that worth it. Fuck Murray, he gets the anecdote right, but he gets the explanation WRONG.

    Liberalism or the BoBo-esque loss of “values” isn’t why McJobs don’t pay the bills they used to, the systematic destruction of the labor force and the funneling of that remaining labor force’s productivity solely upwards, and calling it class warfare when I say “My grandfather believed in a day’s work for a day’s pay, so could you not pay me such a fucking pittance as I’m one of the strongest components of why this company performs so well?” is why what paid a living wage for my Pop-Pop only affords me a 600 sq. ft apartment with an Xbox and a PS3.

  83. 83
    Mark S. says:

    I don’t know for sure why Bobo and (I’m guessing here but I’d be surprised if I’m wrong) a lot of other conservatives like this book so much

    Because

    a) Bobo is a moral scold

    b) he likes blaming poor people for their misfortunes

    c) he thinks rich people are great

    This book says that rich people are great and the only thing they could do better is to show more of their greatness to poor people. So leave the gated community once in a while and slum it with the lower classes. You’ll be doing them a favor!

  84. 84
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @freelancer:

    Great comment, thanks.

  85. 85
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    They refuse to acknowledge that loyalty is a two way street.

    Because loyalty’s one of the several gajillion things they think they’re entitled to as persons of a certain status, but that the lesser people are not entitled to, because if they were, why, that would destroy the hierarchy, and then where would we be?

  86. 86
    Sly says:

    I don’t know for sure why Bobo and (I’m guessing here but I’d be surprised if I’m wrong) a lot of other conservatives like this book so much

    It describes the breakdown of the white working class without mentioning the self-inflicted wounds from thirty years of conservative dominance. Instead, it opts for a combination of conservative kulturkampf and revisionism to position this problem as purely one of anomie. The white working class, in Murray’s stupid, stupid world, has somehow forgotten the timeless WASPy values of its forebears and no longer sees the value of upward social mobility, not because the working class in general has seen its aggregate wealth on a multi-decade death spiral and now has to work harder to produce results that would have not satisfied the previous two generations.

    In other words, the white working class isn’t in decline because it can no longer work enough to achieve economic security, it is in decline because it is no longer white enough to deserve that security.

    Murray frames the problem as something he and everyone else knows is unsolvable, because it is bigger than any set of institutions currently in existence. How to you fight the wholesale abandonment of a (purely fictional) national culture that has knitted society together since time immemorial? You can’t. And they know you can’t.

    Thus the people who like this kind of drivel (and who, by sheer coincidence, are responsible for this mess to begin with) get to throw up their hands, shrug their shoulders, and feel better about living in their gated enclaves while the rest of the country slides into despair. Because the fact that they get to live in gated enclaves and that everyone else doesn’t (and never will) has been completely removed from the analysis, along with any sense of their own accountability.

  87. 87
    jeff says:

    @dww44:

    I have had many similar thoughts. My relatives don’t ask why I live in New York. It is understood that their kids have got to get the hell out of town if they ever expect a job. I cannot imagine what elitists’ tastes in things has to do with the overwhelming lack of good jobs. Our predecessors in that town had GI Bills and union work, or else, as in my case, management of the same workers. There’s neither in my home town now.

  88. 88
    jeff says:

    @Steve:

    What about:

    “I’d like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God”

    without the comma? Only Ron Paul could read that as written and not laugh.

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    Taking them at face value that blue collar younguns are too lazy and unprofessional – why wouldn’t they be? You’ve got a company that’s determined not to invest anything more than the absolute bare minimum in its employees, why should it expect its employees to invest any more than the absolute bare minimum in their work? You get what you pay for.

    Yep. I do find it amusing that the same “management consultants” that advised businesses to treat their employees as interchangeable widgets are now shocked — shocked! — that employees don’t demonstrate any loyalty to their employers.

    But, as you said, employers seem to think that loyalty is their due from employees, not something they earn through a reciprocal relationship.

    True story: I once worked for a crappy, crappy mail order company (which is still in business, so I will not name them). One of the women I worked with got promoted to a managerial position, and then a few months later it came out that she’d been stealing from the company for at least three years.

    And yanno, we were shocked, but no one was really surprised, because the company treated us so shabbily that we could understand that someone would try to get some of her own back. The real shock was that they were so completely oblivious to the way she felt about them that they promoted her.

  90. 90
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Sly:

    Predictably, Murray blames the bugaboo of the reactionaries, the 60’s, for all this, while ignoring what was done in the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s.

  91. 91
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The entire Republican primary system is collapsing

  92. 92
    AA+ Bonds says:

    We are now somewhere over the rainbow

  93. 93
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I think Romney will still seal it up but this is pretty fucking ridiculous what is happening right here, I did not really expect all the most dire predictions about Republican fracturing to come true, they are actually experiencing a competitive primary season

  94. 94
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I mean Christ, look at that map compared to ’96, supposedly a crowded and contentious Republican primary season

    Hell, look at 2008 and how soon that was over, realistically – look at how McCain did in the early contests vs. Romney this year

  95. 95
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Frum’s takedown of vile assclown Murray is great.

    I just finished reading the four parts he’s posted and am eager for the fifth and final part. Frum completely dismantles Murray’s bullshit, and it’s wonderful to behold.

  96. 96
    someguy says:

    Well, if you want to be a complete dick about it and go all racialist, the group in the U.S. least likely to go to college or experience upward income mobility over a lifetime span is rural lower income white males. They are comprehensively fucked, akin to inner city black males, but there isn’t anybody who is going to offer affirmative action to hillbillies small town white kids from Mississippi or Iowa.

    You know those guys in the coal mines? The ones who die in accidents and of black lung and make $40k a year? They’re the ones who made it in a big way. The toothless fuckers with meth and Mountain Dew problems, the ones hanging out around the Piggly Wiggly? They didn’t make it. Murray says something about it, he tries to leave the racial divide issue to Thomas Sowell (and Spike Lee, lately) and you gotta go all out to discredit him and what he’s trying to do. Here you got a conservative, who is buying about 60% into notions about class conflict – but you gotta go make it about talking point politics instead of going, “damn straight insofar as the class problem, Charles, we’ve been right all along, glad you’re with us on that point, and furthermore…” Politics is getting so stupid at this point that nobody can even recognize a win when they see it. Charles Murray even talking about a class-based problem is a win.

    And you wonder why the pickup truck driving bottom dwellers you like to joke about vote Republican… it’s because they know they’re thoroughly fucked, but at least the Republicans pretend to care about ’em.

  97. 97
    Billy Beane says:

    Sounds good to me.

  98. 98
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And that’s why bank robbers were seen as folk heroes back in the days of the Depression.

  99. 99
    Steve says:

    @jeff: I think you didn’t read the comment I was responding to…

  100. 100
    burnspbesq says:

    NYT just called Minnesota for Santorum.

    Hard to fathom. 3M has a reputation as an environmentally responsible company, but there is clearly something in the water up there.

  101. 101
    freelancer says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis:

    You’re welcome. When you make the political personal it has an effect. Murray’s fault is that he seems to extrapolate his personal experience or conception of other peoples’ lives and make that the larger data point to reinforce his assumption. You’re using your flawed interpretation of someone else to write books on why they are where they are. It’s socio-economic, pseudo-psychological Creationism. And he’s being called out for it, rightly so.

    BTW, if you want to hear the personal done political and hear it done right, you should check out Biden’s stump to the CWA. Benen linked to it to highlight a tactic that the Administration is using more and more (10 words: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive”) but I left the speech going and was utterly enthralled. Everyone should hear it because it’s smart, it’s moving, and it draws a clear contrast of the choices that are to be made this year.

    If I had the keys to the place, I’d post it on the FP with no comment, just the Act Blue widget for Team Fuck Yeah.

  102. 102
    Jager says:

    When I got into management, my old car dealer Dad gave me a wonderful piece of advice, “Don’t treat the hired help like the hired help” He never did and neither have I…and damn, it works.

  103. 103
    Water balloon says:

    It must always be repeated: Charles Murray was once arrested for burning crosses.

  104. 104
    MikeJake says:

    Did you guys see this?

    http://thebrowser.com/intervie.....nce?page=3

    Five Books interview with economics professor Jonathan Gruber on public finance. One of the books Gruber selected was Losing Ground by Charles Murphy. Why did he choose this book?

    Charles Murray took the economic concept of moral hazard – the concept that if you reward people for bad behaviour then they behave badly – and turned it into prose. Reading the book moved me a notch to the right. It posed a challenge to liberals – to get more rigorous in our analysis. It showed the simple facts didn’t look so good for us and that we needed to address questions like, “Is welfare causing women to become single mothers?” Murray really challenged the way I thought.

    It turned out his facts were largely wrong, so it’s really more a book to read for an example of how someone can shift the debate with potent use of clear arguments.

    I will now run full speed into a brick wall.

  105. 105
    MikeJake says:

    Er, Murray.

    It takes forever to edit anything here.

  106. 106
    jl says:

    @someguy:

    ” And you wonder why the pickup truck driving bottom dwellers you like to joke about ”

    I don’t see many jokes about them here.

    ” but at least the Republicans pretend to care about ‘em.”

    By saying their plight is their own fault, due to the continuing effects of 1960s hippie cooties? Or by ‘Republicans’ do you mean David Frum? Doesn’t look to me that they are the same thing right now.

  107. 107
    freelancer says:

    @Water balloon:

    It must always be repeated: Charles Murray was once arrested for burning crosses.

    Seriously? Is there a source for this? Because if so, WHAT THE FUCK?!

  108. 108
    dww44 says:

    @Baud: Absolutely true, but it was not always thus. The white ones do vote for Republicans. Without exception they were opposed to the auto bailout and the stimulus package.

    The black ones don’t vote GOP and the county is Democratic, because blacks are in the majority, thanks to the sad legacy bequeathed to both blacks and whites from the cotton producing slave era. There were a number of mostly minimum wage paying manufacturing plants, mostly textile, but during the last decade all of them pulled up stakes and took the jobs overseas. Both Blacks and whites had depended on those jobs for a somewhat passably decent living. Now there are none. Literally none.

    Except that the county is about to get a permit to build the first nuclear power plant licensed in 30 years in the country. Unfortunately that plant is a bit far removed from this locale and won’t help these residents.

  109. 109
    jl says:

    @MikeJake:

    ” I will now run full speed into a brick wall. ”

    Not sure why you said that.

    Because Gruber named the book, or because relatively liberal wonks like Gruber have failed so miserably at countering Murray’s clear arguments based on mistaken ‘facts’?

  110. 110
    tomvox1 says:

    Actually, I think the Frum nails the reason why elite conservatives will like this book and it’s the same reason Murray and Bobo and Friedman and so many opinion writers come up with so many flawed conclusions time and time again (as opposed to genuine academics like Krugman who derive their conclusions from, you know, actual data):

    However, the same artistic cast of mind leads him [meaning Murry but insert pundit of choice here] to be satisfied very quickly with impressions and assumptions that “feel true”—and which he then attempts to “corroborate” not with facts and figures, but with thought experiments and rhetorical questions.

    Feeling is believing and deriving one’s conclusions by researching facts get in the way of that, I suppose.

  111. 111
    Marc says:

    @freelancer: hol-ee shit, he’s right.

    Just some innocent hijinks, you know, high school kids having some fun, getting into trouble, they had no idea that burning crosses was a racial thing.

    In the fall of 1960.

  112. 112
    MikeJake says:

    @jl:
    Gruber said that it moved his thinking to the right, even though most of the factual claims Murray made were wrong.

    So basically, even though Murray’s arguments were built on a foundation of bullshit, they seemed convincing. That’s the wingnut mindset in a nutshell.

  113. 113
    Evolving Deep Southerner (tense changed for accuracy) says:

    @Raven: Raven, my hometown less than 50 miles to the northeast of you, as the crow flies, is the same. The valedictorians run screaming from the place the day after graduation, and the dropouts stay forever.

  114. 114
    Tim in SF says:

    Thanks for posting this, Doug. I have some newfound respect for David Frum. I will no longer grit my teeth during his appearances on Left Right & Center.

  115. 115
    jl says:

    @MikeJake: Thanks. I skimmed that interview with Gruber when it came out, but will go back look for that part. If Gruber said it moved his thinking ‘to the right’ I will join you in head banging.

  116. 116
    dww44 says:

    @geg6: Thanks. It actually makes me feel better, although sadder, to know that these issues exist in most parts of the country.

    Today on my public radio it was reported that our GOP governor signed a newly minted law that restores the ability of companies themselves to garnish people’s wages directly, without the need for any other legal (i.e. court authorization) action. He was quoted as saying that this “frees up the job creators to create jobs.” The law went into effect with his signing of it. At the same time. the GOP controlled state legislature was to vote today on a fake Charter school funding bill that will allow the state to circumvent and override local school boards and budgets. Shades of Benton Harbor, Mi. The 2010 elections have wrought a great deal of harm by installing these extreme far right GOP’ers. We are all paying dearly, as their policies are not the solution to our economic and educational ills. Indeed they only make them worse.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Water balloon says:

    @Marc: Yes. But don’t get the wrong idea, his obsession with black people’s IQ’s is a brave crusade to pursue science wherever it leads, regardless of PC thought police. Just ask Andrew Sullivan.

  119. 119
    dadanarchist says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor: XTC and Gang of Four in the same night.

    This, it is good.

    Yes, yes it is.

  120. 120
    freelancer says:

    @dww44:

    I appreciate that. Charles Murray strikes me as a latter-day William Jennings Bryan aka Matthew Harrison Brady without the scrutiny or national prominence.

    It’s as if to say, “I can’t help the fact that all my arguments derive from privileged antiquity, but the facts I have here bear me out! If the poors went to church more, they’d be less pissy about being poor! You see, all the poors, well their laziness and degradation, it all pays off after they’re dead! The Gospel sez so. Poifect! It’s a win-win philosophy!”

  121. 121
    Mike G says:

    And you wonder why the pickup truck driving bottom dwellers you like to joke about vote Republican…at least the Republicans pretend to care about ‘em. give them scpegoats to look down upon and hate.

  122. 122
    Karmakin says:

    Add some other things. You’re working a “flexible” schedule, meaning you don’t know what you’re going to be working until a few days before hand. Your schedule can be anything…or nothing.

    What the hell else are you going to do but sit home and read/play video games/whatever.

  123. 123
    Arundel says:

    That was a very good, sobering and true article from Frum, I’m surprised by it, and its appearance in the Daily Beast- a place not especially receptive to progressive thought. Tina Brown is a legendary editor stuck in the the Reagan era, I’d honestly say she was an architect at Vanity Fair in the 80’s of propagandizing the rich, the successful, the businessmen, and treating them like rocks stars, month after month. Eh, but that’s long ago.

    I guess I mistrust Frum, even though I find what he’s saying here quite right on. Quite correct- the white working class has been devastated by the past thirty years. Mere existence and livelihood has become this .. controversial thing. But it’s been working-class whites who have constantly voted for people-Republicans- who pretty much told them to their faces that they would destroy their idea of life and livelihood. They voted for them anyway. One wonders when they’ll get a clue, in Oklahoma, or wherever.

    I consider myself working class, but my parents are from Ireland, even though I’m educated, I know my place. I want to sympathize with the fucking hicks voting against their own interests all over this vast country I am frankly to scared to explore. Because there’s a terrible amount of broke people wit guns out there. The American blue-collar working class was once the wonder of the world, because of their good fair pay and benefits. Postwar guarantees of jobs, the GI Bill, strong unions- well, that created the American middle class in the twentieth century.

    I have the hugest sympathy for young people today in 2012- go to college and saddle yourself with enormous crushing debt, or don’t and stay in your hometown as a menial, a serf. And no one cares. And in the viciously evil American way, each and every person is meant to feel it is their own personal failure that they tried a job and they lost a job because it was outsourced. How does a young man marry, buy a house today? I have no idea, it seems to cost a half-million dollars. It didn’t always. It’s insane, but that’s the system we’ve got, and absolutely no one will talks about how insane, Darwinian, viciously mean it is. What , we don’t need truckers and plumbers and electricians? The attacks on the working class in this country is a fucking scandal. That you won’t ever hear about on television. We are a dreadfully meanspirited country, there’s no denying it anymore.

  124. 124
    Samara Morgan says:

    Frums piece is crapology, DougJ.
    There are left bioluddites and right bioluddites.
    BJ is a left bioluddite site.
    Juicers dont believe in the biological basis of behavior, or in the heritability of intelligence.
    what Murray says here is Truthsay, but you cant acknowlege that, because of the Horror of the Bell Curve, which is some sort of tribal shibboleth for the juicitariat.

    The General Social Survey, a mother lode of information for social scientists that has been collected annually or biannually since 1972, has asked people in every survey to say whether they are extremely conservative, conservative, slightly conservative, moderate, slightly liberal, liberal, or extremely liberal. A really simple question.
    __
    The graph represents the percentage of people who answered “extremely liberal” or “liberal” minus the percentage of people who answered “extremely conservative” or “conservative” in any given survey. I won’t go into the statistical details (for that, buy the book in a couple of years), but think of the classes this way:
    __
    Traditional Upper: Someone at the 95th percentile of income, with a graduate degree, who is a business executive, physician, engineer, etc.
    __
    Intellectual Upper: Also at the 95th percentile of income and with a graduate degree, but a lawyer, academic, scientist (hard or soft) outside academia, writer, in the news media, or a creator of entertainment programming (film and television).
    __
    Traditional Middle: Same occupations as the Traditional Uppers, but with just a bachelor’s degree and at the 75th percentile of income.
    __
    Technical Middle: Someone working in the many technical specialties that have proliferated in health, information technology, and industrial technology, with an associate’s degree and at the 50th percentile of income.
    __
    Working: Someone working in a skilled blue-collar job, with just a high school diploma and at the 25th percentile of income.
    __
    Lower: Someone working at a low-skill job who didn’t finish high school, at the 5th percentile of income.

    The GOP has gradually been disenfranchised from culture, and that is what is pissing them off so righteously. And now the GOP is also being demographically disenfranchised from the electorate.

    Because who are the culture creators? The “intellectual uppers” who are all extreme liberal. Who are the culture consumers? Everone else.

    The GOP is the new dispossessed.

  125. 125
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Arundel: More simply, the middle class has been cannibalized by the Freed Market under resource starvation (Peak Oil).
    Now the American educational system, once the best in the world, is being cannibalized.
    College mortgages, for-profit schools.
    The Free Market is an ecophagy, like grey goo.

  126. 126
    freelancer says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    There are left bioluddites and right bioluddites.
    BJ is a left bioluddite site.
    Juicers dont believe in the biological basis of behavior, or in the heritability of intelligence.

    We may agree on a preferred outcome, but let it be said, loud, clear, and on the record: Woman, thou art batshit.

  127. 127
    billiecat says:

    I’m something of a conneisieur of apostate conservatives, reading Frum, Bartlet and Sullivan fairly frequently. I never forget that while I often find myself nodding in agreement to what they’re writing, it’s only because the rest of the conservative world has gone bat shit insane. And every so often, they write some awful piece that reminds you they aren’t really on your side – like Bartlett’s awful Herman Cain column (bad history, bad analysis, probably the correct conclusion; or Frum’s continued defense of his ‘Axis of Evil’ moment; or every fifth or sixth post at Sully’s blog. Still, I read them because it’s nice to know that people of differing opinions can find common ground on some subjects, even if they disagree on others, and also because I look forward to the day when I can look at Frum, Bartlett, Sully and their ilk as the opposition, because that will mean the the right wing is at least convalescing from its bout of paranoid schizophrenia.

  128. 128
    KXB says:

    I don’t always agree with Frum, and he will forever be known as the guy who penned “Axis of Evil”, but as others have noted, he is at least willing to acknowledge changing circumstances, and is not automatically opposed to new approaches, except in the Middle East.

    To put this very delicately, what you have between Murray and Frum is a pissing contest version of the WASP vs. Jew. The upper class that Murray seems to admire from the fifties was predominately WASP, and would only let in Catholics and Jews who shed any hint of their otherness. JFK may have been a Catholic, but he carried himself like a WASP. If you wanted to be let into the top 1% club, you had to pretty much adopt WASP mannerisms and values.

    But, as Philip Weiss argues regularly over at Mondoweiss, Jews are well-represented in the top 1% now. So, when Murray argues that the new 1% is not as in touch with the rest of America, Frum may perceive that as a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” way of saying that Jews are not loyal. But, neither one can really say that out loud. Both writers tiptoe around the issue. Weiss writes about how in too many Jewish social circles, there is a simultaneous bragging about their position, and a neurosis that someone else may talk about it.

  129. 129
    dww44 says:

    @Arundel: Thanks. We are indeed a meanspirited country today and we’ve managed, thanks to conservatives, to serve up a menu of extremely limited life options for our younger citizens.

  130. 130
    MCA says:

    @Sly: This (the last paragraph, specifically). The other devious brilliance of it all is that Murray’s attempting to take the power of the 99/1% divide and OWS’ emotional appeal, and turn it into the typical GOP, divide the middle into warring clans of resentment instead of turning their eyes to the overlords, tactic. By setting his lines at the top 20% and the lowest 30%, he gets to tell people making $120K that they’re part of the elite and that it’s OK for them to believe the crappiness of America is the fault of people making half that. Nevermind the people making ten times what you are – you’re actually one of them, culturally. You, lower upper middle class guy who works a desk job where you can wear Dockers, subscribes to the NFL package on Direct TV, drinks Miller Lite but enjoys the occasional glass of cabernet, attends a non-denominational church, and worries about your mortgage and the fact your home (to which 95% of your personal net worth is tied) has lost 20% of its value in the last decade, and whether you can continue to pay $20k/year in child care because your wife works, too: your enemy is your younger cousin, who studied logistics or somesuch at a lower-tier state university and can’t find a steady job; and also the guy like you who lost a similar job to yours two years ago and hasn’t been able to find anything since. They’re the problem, and you need to get out and teach them the way.

  131. 131
    Someguy says:

    Samara, I don’t normally agree with the notion of heritability of intelligence but I will make an exception in your case: you are clearly the fruit of the loins of a couple profoundly retarded individuals, and it shocks me they found the wherewithal to reproduce. Get thee to a nunnery that provides birth control per HHS regulations. Two generations of cretins is enough.

  132. 132
    The Lodger says:

    @Svensker: My precioussssss.

    Join me at the sssssalad bar…

  133. 133
    The Lodger says:

    @Svensker: My precioussssss.

    Join me at the sssssalad bar…

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