Ginni Thomas

Is America ‘coming apart’ at the seams? [VIDEO]

Do you live “in the bubble,” far removed from your middle and working class countrymen?

AEI Scholar and author of “Coming Apart” Charles Murray developed a quiz that can determine if users are culturally isolated from American culture at large — which may help explain the chasm between the elites and the average American.

The quiz consists of 25 questions, some of which inquire about the type of  the neighborhood responders live in, with others concerning the types of jobs family members have held:

Have you ever lived for at least a year in an American neighborhood in which the majority of your fifty nearest neighbors did not have college degrees?

Did you grow up in a family in which the chief breadwinner was not in a managerial job or a high-prestige profession (defined as attorney, physician, dentist, architect, engineer, scientist, or college professor)?

Have you ever walked on a factory floor?

Murray said the test’s scores can be used to plot the emergence of a “new upper class” and a growing divide between them and the American working class.

Murray, a self-confessed wine fan, said that a question regarding domestic beer purchases could reveal a telling difference between the two classes.

“For example, ‘In the course of the last year, have you or your spouse stocked your refrigerator with mass market domestic beer?’ The reason for that question is that the new upper class despises Budweiser, Coors and Miller. Especially Miller Lite or Coors Lite,” he said. “There has to be a beer of a particular dark amber color, manufactured in Liechtenstein […] between the ages of seventy five and eighty.”

When addressing the “factory floor” question, Murray explained that many from the newest elite class have never set foot inside a factory, where most of the goods many Americans consume are made.

“Have you ever walked on a factory floor?’ I don’t even say, ‘Have you worked on a factory floor?’ Have you ever seen what the inside of a factory looks like? All most everything that we use, our clothes, everything else, that watch, you name it, its all been made in factories, and there are a whole bunch of people in the new upper class who have never even seen a place like that,” he said.

Murray said that when he speaks to members of the new elite, most of them acknowledge that they worked their way towards a higher rung on the ladder of society, and their children are firmly ensconced into the new upper echelon.

“A lot of them, particularly in their fifties and sixties, will say, ‘Actually, I did work at jobs like that,’ … [or] ‘I did live in a neighborhood which was a working class neighborhood,’ … ‘I did used to drink a lot of Bud.’ And then I say, ‘Well, what about your kids?’ and that is where I start to get the nods of understanding, because they know their kids have gone to excellent schools, whether public or private. They have gone from those to excellent colleges, and they have got internships at places like AEI, as opposed to waiting tables in Yosemite, and they go from that to their career. [T]heir kids are deeply in the bubble — and the problem is, these are the people who are making policy for the rest of the country.”

Catch the full interview with Murray this weekend.

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