Breakdown of Family: Its' Disasterous Consequences

Kay S. HymowitzCity-Journal

When Charles Murray’s best-selling Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 appeared a few months ago, the book’s fictional working-class neighborhood, Fishtown, became one more battleground in America’s 50-year-old culture war. Fishtown was representative, Murray argued, of a new white underclass in America—one produced by cultural decline, especially the collapse of marriage. Critics objected that the real source of misery in the nation’s Fishtowns wasn’t a lack of marriages; it was the extinction of manufacturing jobs. The disagreement was familiar to culture-war veterans: conservatives versus liberals, family breakdown versus dearth of good jobs, culture versus economics, David Brooks versus Paul Krugman.

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