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Charles Murray and the Moral Collapse of the Working Class

A long time ago an anthropologist named Ruth Benedict pointed out that the people recognized as criminals in a given society cause a tiny fraction of the damage inflicted by the powerful members. This was whether it was measured by financial loss or physical injury. (Think about wars, if it’s hard to picture tycoons beating people up.) Think about the crash of 2008, if it’s hard to see the rich picking people’s pockets. In general, the statement squares with my intuition of what goes on, and it probably squares with yours, too.

So why does Murray spend a whole book worrying about the moral collapse of the working class? If he’s that worried about the end of Civilization as we know it, shouldn’t he be agonizing over the morals of politicians and hedge fund managers instead of worrying about the wake of a rowboat when it’s in the wake of the Queen Mary?

Addendum: And, what’s more, by “moral collapse” he doesn’t seem to mean beggaring others or getting them killed, he seems to disapprove of their increasing inability to be married. (I say seems because I can’t read his ramblings. I get my information secondhand from Krugman who’s made of sterner stuff than I.)