February 21

Power and Influence

Thursday’s Big Idea

Social Stratification

There are two Americas, and that is a problem. Many social scientists today will agree with this statement. Here's what they don't tend to agree on so much: who these two groups are, and what the problem is. 

It shouldn't be much of a surprise, therefore, that we have such a difficult time agreeing on solutions to problems we can't properly define, or at least agree on how to define.

Today we are looking at Charles Murray's diagnosis of the problem. Murray is a libertarian political scientist and author who is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In Murray's latest book, Coming Apart, he argues that America is divided not between two classes, as liberals and Marxists would have it, but between two tribes. The distinction between the elites and everyone else, as Murray argues, is a cultural one.

Moreover, this cultural stratification, Murray argues, is a symptom of a larger unravelling of an American system of values, which threatens our future. 

  1. 1 The Power-Hungry Elite Aren't Who...
  2. 2 Our Two Tribes: David Brooks Weig...
  3. 3 "Occupy" and the Tea Party: Two C...
  4. 4 Is Marxism "Realistic"?
   
  1. The Power-Hungry Elite Aren't Who You Think They Are

    The Power-Hungry Elite Aren't Who You Think They Are

    The elite are not necessarily the wealthy but the people who run the country. And they live in almost a different world from the rest of us.

    Read More…
  2. Our Two Tribes: David Brooks Weighs in on Charles Murray

    Our Two Tribes: David Brooks Weighs in on Charles Murray

    David Brooks is unparalleled as a summarizer and popularizer of social science. So we do well to note what he finds especially noteworthy about Charles Murray (with Peter Lawler's spin added, of course).

    Read More…
  3. "Occupy" and the Tea Party: Two Clueless Solutions to the Same Problem?

    "Occupy" and the Tea Party: Two Clueless Solutions to the Same Problem?

    Bruce Bueno de Mesquita sees key messages of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party movement – as two misguided responses to the powerlessness many Americans feel.

    Read More…
  4. Is Marxism "Realistic"?

    Is Marxism "Realistic"?

    I'd be happy to make a bet with real money that Marx was just plain wrong about immiseration, and will continue to be proved wrong.

    Read More…