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.
Good for her, but you do not need to go to Appalachia to find Charles Murray's Fishtowns. There is lots of dysfunction out there, and many people lacking in "Social Capital" and "Cultural Capital". So much, in fact, that the Fishtown life might be a sort of normal. The Belmonts might be exceptions, not normal.
Leading a high-functioning, disciplined, and productive life is far more difficult that it can appear. When dependency becomes normalized, behavioral regression and immaturity are further enabled.
America has never been a classless society. From the beginning, rich and poor have usually lived in different parts of town, gone to different churches, and had somewhat different manners and mores. It is not the existence of classes that is new, but the emergence of classes that diverge on core behaviors and values—classes that barely recognize their underlying American kinship.
I lived in a poor part of the Appalachia region for 6 years. This is what I saw:
1) No jobs, so most parents lived a very poor lifestyle in a trailer on a chunk of land. Most didn't have high school diplomas. So they would do work like: gas station convenience store worker, construction, etc.
2) Drugs were prevalent. After we moved away, I saw many of my children's friends slip into drugs as they entered high school.
3) Teenage pregnancy. Lots of teens getting pregnant in high school and dropping out.
4) No understanding of how to better themselves. There is a disconnect between high school and what to do afterwards. Most families could certainly qualify for grants and other aid to send their kids to even a community college. None would take advantage.
It all begins with JOBS. Without decent jobs for people in these parts, there is NO hope for the kids who live in these places. How could they possibly want something better for themselves when all they've grown up around is hopeless??? Very very sad.
As covered in a news story here in my community, a "single mom" with minor three children gets almost $55,000 a year in government support and benefits here. With that kind of government subsidy, why would anyone work and why wouldn't they raise their kids to behave the same way?
I grew up in a medium-sized mill city, Manchester, NH. There were rich people in town as well as poor ones, and most sent their children to the public or the many Catholic schools. There were a few who sent children to St Paul's or Choate or whatever, but not many. That started to change in the late 60's, but did not really pick up steam for a long time. There were churches that tended to be richer or poorer, but there was plenty of mix. Schools reflected neighborhoods, but the lines were not always clear rich/poor ones, and by high school most were at a very mixed high school.
I understand that is different today, but I still don't see it much here. Richer suburbs have schools that are separate enough from the city populations that few parents feel the need to send them to private schools (except perhaps the one private day school). YMMV.
Assistant Village Idiot