We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
More on Charles Murray on Fishtown and Belmont, from Kay Hymowitz:
Most disastrous for Fishtown residents has been the collapse of the family, which Murray believes is now “approaching a point of no return.” For a while after the 1960s, the working class hung on to its traditional ways. That changed dramatically by the 1990s. Today, under 50 percent of Fishtown 30- to 49-year-olds are married; in Belmont, the number is 84 percent. About a third of Fishtowners of that age are divorced, compared with 10 percent of Belmonters. Murray estimates that 45 percent of Fishtown babies are born to unmarried mothers, versus 6 to 8 percent of those in Belmont.
And so it follows: Fishtown kids are far less likely to be living with their two biological parents. One survey of mothers who turned 40 in the late nineties and early 2000s suggests the number to be only about 30 percent in Fishtown. In Belmont? Ninety percent—yes, ninety—were living with both mother and father. Many experts would define the cause as a dearth of “marriageable” men (see above). The causation goes the other way as well. Men who don’t marry don’t work—or at least, they work less hard. Severed from family life, they don’t attach themselves to community organizations, including churches, and in greatly disproportionate numbers they engage in antisocial, even criminal, behavior.
For all their degrees, the upper class in Belmont is pretty ignorant about what’s happening in places like Fishtown.
I respect Murray a great deal, but I think he juxtaposes two extremes. America is filled with middle-class towns and middle-class neighborhoods which are neither Fishtowns nor Belmonts but which are having a tough time in the current economy. While the welfare state has enabled much of the deterioration of civilized culture in Fishtown, the lack of unskilled jobs (largely taken by new immigrants who are grateful for any work at any pay) and semi-skilled jobs (overseas) probably plays a role in that too. It takes a lot of initiative to take charge of one's life nowadays, regardless of one's advantages or lack thereof.
Where are the jobs for a guy who is happy to run a lathe or machine tool all day at a steady job, then go home to his cozy family? Those jobs no longer exist in Pittsfield or Bridgeport, and nothing will bring them back. It is a tragedy, I think, of the changes.
Murray made observations similar to yours once before. I can't remember the exact quote, but I remember an interview he did amidst the "controversy" of The Bell Curve in which he expressed disappointment over the focus critics placed on the racial aspect of the book. He thought the important issue was that the right tail of the curve (say the top 5%) was creating a world in which the bottom half would be unemployable.
so every single man is a lazy, no-good for anything, borderline criminal?
Good to know what I'm doing wrong, being a hardworking, law abiding, single man...
Yah, I don't "involve myself with the community" but neither does anyone else.
Families mostly live in isolation in their own homes, just like single people do.
I can tell you why those jobs are gone. In the late 70's I lived in Dayton ohio. The largest printing company East of the Mississippi was there. Their facilities were badly in need of repair and expansion. They told their employees they couldn't be competitive paying union printers $22-24 an hour and wanted some concessions. They were going to build a huge facility, a big committment and they could not do this with high labor costs and future unreasonable union demands. The unions (members) basically responded and told them to go to hell. The company said if they did not get those concessions they would build in South Carolina. The union members became even more entrenched and militant. The company moved. Wouldn't you?