6 Statistics That Show How Much America Has Changed in a Half-Century

6 Statistics That Show How Much America Has Changed in a Half-Century

Since the political scientist Charles Murray will be speaking at Intellectual Takeout’s upcoming gala, I thought it fitting to read his best-selling 2012 book, Coming Apart.

Drawing on five decades of statistics, anecdotes, and other research, Murray sets out to make the case that America is, well, coming apart—economically, socially, and culturally.

It’s a fascinating book, largely because Murray really did his homework. Murray provides so many statistics and poignant anecdotes that his readers quickly realize a startling fact: the America of 1963 scarcely resembles that of 2017 from a social and cultural perspective.

Readers may disagree as to whether these changes represent social progress or cultural decline, but few will quarrel with the idea that America 1) is bifurcating; 2) has experienced a fundamental cultural transformation in just a few generations.

Here are six statistics that drive home just how much things have changed in America in a little more than a half-century:

1. Marriage was practically universal and divorce extraordinarily rare.

“In the 1963 Current Population Survey, a divorced person headed just 3.5 percent of American households, with another 1.6 percent headed by a separated person.”

Today, 28 percent of children live in single-parent homes, according to government statistics.

2. Out-of-wedlock births almost never happened, especially in white families.

“…among whites, the illegitimacy ratio was only 3 percent, about where it had been throughout the century.” (Murray points out that births to single African-American women had just begun “rising worrisomely.”)

Today in the U.S., the birthrate for unmarried women is 40 percent.

3. Illegal drugs were rare and considered exotic.

“In 1963, there was just 18 arrests for drug abuse violations per 100,000 Americans.” (There were plenty of arrests for drunkenness, however: 1,284 per 100,000.)

By 2010, arrests for sale/manufacturing drug offenses alone were about 100 per 100,000, according to FBI statistics.

4. Religious values were widely held and shared.

According to an October 1963 Gallup poll, just “1 percent of respondents said they did not have a religious preference, and half said they had attended a worship service the last seven days.” (The Gallup poll, Murray, notes did not use the term “worship service.” It used the word “church.”)

5. It was not socially acceptable for men to be Idle.

“…98 percent of civilian men in their thirties and forties reported to government interviewers that they were in the labor force, either working or seeking work.” (Government data for 2014 show the following labor participation rates for men: 35 to 44 (90.5 percent) and 45 to 54 (85.6 percent)

6. Television was much more influential than it is today.

“All of the top thirty-one shows had ratings of at least 20…led by The Beverly Hillbillies with a rating of 34.9, meaning that 34.9 percent of all American homes with a television set were watching it.”

As a point of comparison, the top-rated primetime TV programs of 2016 (The Big Bang Theory and NCIS) scored a 6.7 rating.


These statistics are not evidence that life was necessarily “better” in 1963 than in 2017, just that it was more culturally cohesive (almost monolithic, some would say). Nor does Murray ignore facts that suggest all Americans did not enjoy equal access and opportunity in American society as it was constructed in 1963.

Rather, his thesis is that the things that made American culture unique are changing in fundamental ways.

“The American project…consists of the continuing effort, begun with the founding, to demonstrate that human beings can be left free as individuals and families to live their lives as they see fit, coming together voluntarily to solve their joint problems. The polity based on that idea led to a civic culture that was seen as exceptional by all the world. That culture was so widely shared among Americans that it amounted to a civil religion. To be an American was to be different from other nationalities, in ways that Americans treasured. That culture is unraveling.”

Murray’s thesis has the ring of truth to it. One can either mourn or applaud this “unraveling.” But I’d challenge anyone to read Coming Apart and deny that this unraveling is taking place.

This post 6 Statistics That Show How Much America Has Changed in a Half-Century was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore.

What’s Wrong? 

1492742793431532362052I was just discussing this yesterday. I am dumbfounded dumbfounded by the degradation of our society. And then it dawned on me what’s essentially wrong… Kathy

In a very unscientific study, I asked a simple question regarding today’s culture. Fascinatingly, there seems significant belief that there is something wrong; however, there is also significant disagreement in regard to what that wrong actually is.

90 respondents offered various insight. I was struck by the overlap; many people shared similar answers. But the reality within the responses is that there are some eye-opening themes, beginning with some basics…

What do you think is the biggest problem in today’s culture? (Note that answers have been somewhat simplified and combined…)

  • Forgetting common courtesy
  • No more manners and patience
  • No kindness and humility
  • Entitlement (… even “in our youth,” said one, noting the infamous “participation trophy”…)
  • Expectation of immediate results; instant gratification
  • Denial of what is true
  • Hardheartedness
  • How political correctness inhibits teaching and truth
  • Little knowledge of history
  • The value of money being placed above that of humanity
  • Politics for profit
  • Polarization
  • Government dependency
  • Basic respect and appreciation of differences
  • Intolerance of different opinions
  • Ignorance disguised as confidence
  • The abandonment of “innocent until proven guilty”
  • Becoming a culture of entertainment rather than work

There is also significant concern about ethical activity… what do you think is the biggest problem in today’s culture?

  • No common morality (no more right/wrong — do what feels right for you)
  • The erosion of any sense of moral standards
  • Fuzzy grey area being tolerated for everything

Many spoke about family and relationship… what do you think is the biggest problem in today’s culture?

  • The breakdown of the family unit and prevalence of single parent households
  • Changed parenting expectations
  • Distracted parenting and distracted people (… usually via technology…)
  • The societal devaluation of God, life, and family
  • God being eliminated from everything
  • Not much emphasis on respect for another person/relationship
  • The way we interact with and treat each other
  • No grasp of authentic love (… without love, there is no discipline; without discipline, there is no respect…)
  • People no longer take the time to truly understand a situation before they give their opinion

One surprising thing to me was the number of different ways respondents expressed concern about how we see ourselves… what do you think is the biggest problem in today’s culture?

  • Selfishness
  • Self-righteousness
  • Self centeredness (… this idea that “your happiness is all that matters”…)
  • We actually believe the advertisers claim that “it’s all about you!”
  • A “me-centered” outlook
  • Self-love or self-worship
  • Putting self and things in a role only capable of being filled by God
  • Relativism or self-exultation (…thinking oneself is what matters most…)
  • People believing their opinions/wants/needs are more important than anyone else’s
  • Minimal concern for others (It’s all about a “me first” attitude anymore; driving, waiting in line, etc.)
  • Our human nature to focus only on “me”

Not to be outdone, many mentioned some aspect of media or news… what do you think is the biggest problem in today’s culture?

  • Social media (… it creates many different problems… from bullying, to the “keeping up with the Jones’s” or the “grass is always greener” mentalities, to the hiding behind the computer and saying things you might not say to someone’s face.)
  • Too much social media, news & no privacy (Everyone is looking at everyone’s lives and not living their own.)
  • Sensationalism in the news and everyday life
  • The free flow of information — creating, unknowingly, a surface-level-only knowledge

Lastly, I was struck by the plethora of “lack’s” (some just as above, that have been combined, and that overlap with above topics)… what do you think is the biggest problem in today’s culture?

  • Lack of empathy
  • Lack of compassion for others
  • Lack of critical thinking
  • Lack of education
  • Lack of forgiveness
  • Lack of foundation on truth
  • Lack of commitment and loyalty
  • Lack of moral values and faith
  • Lack of reverence for God
  • Lack of knowledge/belief/honor/respect of God
  • Lack of decency and civility
  • Lack of personal responsibility
  • Lack of respect for the sanctity of human life (… including unborn, elderly, disabled, minority races…)
  • Lack of trust
  • Lack of tolerance
  • Lack of respect for other nationalities, religions, customs etc.
  • Lack of respect for our fellow man
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Lack of perspective on how good a life we have and what we’re capable of accomplishing
  • Lack of thoughtfulness
  • Lack of accountability for one’s own actions
  • Lack of love — true love — wanting the “best” for another
  • Total lack of respect

That’s a lot of concern. Hence, allow me to conclude by sharing a single, brief reflection…

90 persons responded to my question. Of those 90 — people who hail from totally varied age, stage, circumstance, political leanings, etc. — there was much common ground and ample overlap. It thus seems to me that if we could somehow get past the age, stage, circumstance, political leanings stuff, then maybe, just maybe, we could start to wrestle with what’s actually wrong.

Respectfully… (yes, always…)


This Is How a Dark Age Begins… 

Our society doesn’t care about knowledge or contemplation of ideas, concepts, and philosophies anymore. They are “entertained” by information, follow the masses, and don’t even care if what they are reading or hearing is based in fact or witnessed as reality. Popular belief overshadows true knowledge and classical thinking. We believe we are “enlightened” and “evolved” because we think our ideas are “new” and “different”, but we are deceiving ourselves. Human folly repeats itself over and over evidenced by history, and the demise of numerous civilizations before ours today. 

Kathy Kleine Mason

Why Conservatives Can’t Understand Liberals (and Vice Versa)

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt says many people today live in a ‘moral matrix’.

It’s probably important to preface any conversation on morality by noting that humans often struggle—mightily—to agree on what morality is. While it’s a thorny topic to define and explain, it would of course be foolish to avoid the pursuit of moral truths for this reason.

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who has researched morality and culture for nearly 30 years, apparently agrees. Haidt has spent the better part of his career attempting to understand and explain the underpinnings of human morality.

During a TED talk a number of years ago, Haidt shared his discovery that contrary to the idea that humans begin as a blank slate—“the worst idea in all psychology,” he says—humans are born with a “first draft” of moral knowledge. Essentially, Haidt argues, humans possess innate but malleable sets of values “organized in advance of experience.”

So if the slate is not blank, what’s on it?

To find out, Haidt and a colleague read the most current literature on anthropology, cultural variations, and evolutionary psychology to identify cross-cultural matches. They found five primary categories that serve as our moral foundation:

  1. Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
  2. Fairness/reciprocity: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
  3. Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
  4. Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
  5. Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

What Haidt found is that both conservatives and liberals recognize the Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity values. Liberal-minded people, however, tend to reject the three remaining foundational values— Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation —while conservatives accept them. It’s an extraordinary difference, and it helps explain why many liberals and conservatives in America think “the other side” is bonkers.


Liberals might contend, of course, that these values are not proper morals at all but base human traits responsible for xenophobia, religious oppression, etc. Haidt rejects this thesis. And through a series of historical illustrations, psychological studies, and cross-cultural references he explains that many liberals often fail to appreciate a timeless truth that conservatives usually accept: order tends to decay. (A truth, I’ll add, buttressed by the second law of thermodynamics.)

Now, Haidt is not suggesting conservatives are superior to liberals. He points out that conservatives tend to value order even at the cost of those at the bottom of society, which can result in morally dubious social implications. Liberals, however, often desire change even at the risk of anarchy.

Many people, of course, will refuse to accept Haidt’s explanation of moral reality. This is not surprising. The human inclination is to believe in one’s own understanding of morality, and many people will live their entire lives without seriously attempting to understand their ideological counterparts.

These people, Haidt says, reside on both sides of ideological spectrum. They exist in what he calls a “moral matrix.”

“If you think that half of America votes Republican because they’re blinded… then my message to you is you’re trapped in a moral matrix,” Haidt said. “You can either take the blue pill and stick to your comforting delusions. Or you can take the red pill, learn some moral psychology, and step outside your moral matrix.”

So what to make of all this? I must say, I found Haidt’s explanations pretty insightful. It certainly helps explain our contentious culture. Even many intelligent and reasonable people, after all, will have a difficult time agreeing on anything if they view the moral underpinnings of society through vastly divergent lenses.

It doesn’t seem a stretch to contend that liberals in America have largely abandoned the latter three values (with some exceptions, of course), or that conservatives are highly influenced by them.

I’ll be interested to hear what readers think of Haidt’s thesis. But remember, this is a bit of a catch-22: if one reflexively smashes Haidt’s theory, it may only be evidence that this person is living in a moral matrix himself.

by Jon Miltimore

View the Ted Talk Here: The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives  Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we’re left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.

Original Article Source:

Warning Signs of Sex Trafficking

Right here in America…

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What if it’s warningsomeone you know…

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