“The new upper class holds ordinary Americans in contempt and disdain,” said Charles Murray in a recent interview with Sam Harris. “They’re not even hiding it, anymore.”
Against the backdrop of his most recent book, “Coming Apart: The State Of White America, 1960-2010,” Murray spoke of a modern acceleration of social stratification driven by growing material rewards for high-IQ individuals in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. In contrast with previous manifestations of American social fragmentation along the lines of class, Murray argued that today’s new upper class is increasingly isolated from what he described as “mainstream America.”
The aforementioned phenomenon has contributed to a growing arrogance among the “new upper class,” said Murray. Contemporary elites and their progeny are often several generations removed from what he said are “working class” Americans, a term he uses to describe people who work with their hands and who earnings are near the national median and average. This phenomenon, according to Murray, is unprecedented in American history.
Murray suggested that his perceptions of the “new upper class” were partly drawn from personal experience given his own life, at least in part, within the new elite.
Listen to the relevant segment of the interview below, or listen to the entire interview here.
“The ‘deplorables’ comment by Hillary Clinton may have changed the history of the world,” said Murray, attributing the analysis to Jonathan Haidt. “That one comment, all by itself, might have swung enough votes. It certainly was emblematic of the disdain with which the new upper class looks at mainstream America, and mainstream America notices this.”
Clinton’s derision of a plurality of Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables,” said Murray, was illustrative of a hatred felt by many elites towards what they perceive as ordinary Americans. This hatred, he added, was largely born of disconnection, given the fact that most elites have little to no experience with the very Americans toward whom them feel contempt.
Last September, Clinton described Trump’s base of supporters as largely bigoted: “They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.” Her audience of supporters cheered her remarks.
Trump’s appeal, said Murray, was that he is viewed as a “murder weapon” with which to kill the political establishment:
“One of the things that struck me most [among Twitter users who engaged me] were people who say, ‘You don’t understand. We don’t particularly like Donald Trump. We are not defending his character, or anything like that. He’s our murder weapon. And I think that is a pretty short and accurate way of saying what function Trump served.”
Harris and Murray also broadly discussed group differentials in IQ between races, ethnicities, and other populations. The virtue of comparative psychometric analyses between such groups, said Murray, was its ability to undermine the false axioms upon which harmful left-wing policies of “affirmative action” and other hiring and placement quotas are predicated.
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