In this morning’s New York Times, David Brooks in an Op-ed weights in on Charles Murray’s (Thailand 1965-67) new book, Coming Apart, writing, “I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compellingly describes the most important trends in American society.” Brooks recaps the narrative Murray lays out about our two American societies, and adds a few ideas of his own. “The word “class” doesn’t even capture the divide Murray describes,” Brooks writes, “You might say the country has bifurcated into different social tribes, with a tenuous common culture linking them.”
Summing up his column, Brooks has his own solution to the dilemma facing our culture: “I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.”
I have a better idea. Let’s make everyone join the Peace Corps, those with college degrees can teach in schools in the developing world, and those Americans with real work skills can build houses, roads, and installing plumbing, and then all of us, from both of our ‘tribes’, will know and understand how most of the peoples-of-the-world really live out their lives.