How Much Ruin In A Nation? UK vs US White Working Class
Why have the morals of the white
working class in the U.S. proven more resilient than
those of their white counterparts in Great Britain?
Unlike in the U.S., where
minorities commit the majority of crimes (the
best estimate is that blacks are
imprisoned 9.1 times as often as non-Hispanic
whites, and Latinos 3.7 times more often), whites are
responsible for most crime in the U.K.
There`s no question that immigration into the U.K. has exacerbated the crime
Indians make up a large fraction of
London muggers, and the U.K. suffers far more than
the U.S. from
Gypsies (and from "Travelers"—whites who have
apparently occupied a similarly parasitical niche). Yet
minorities are only about
one-fourth as numerous in the U.K. So whites must
shoulder most of the blame.
Crime`s sister, illegitimacy, is
also high in Britain. In England and Wales 41 percent of
new babies are born to unmarried women. And it`s even
worse —46 percent, see p. 84 of this
PDF—among women born in the U.K. (The high
illegitimacy rate for Caribbean immigrant women is more
than balanced by the very low figures for South Asians.)
In a much-discussed 1993
in the Wall Street Journal,
Charles Murray, author of the influential 1984 book
on welfare programs
predicted that the rise in illegitimacy among American
whites would lead to a "coming white underclass."
That may indeed be happening.
Illegitimacy among American whites has continued to
23 percent of all babies born to non-Hispanic white
women in 2002 (compared to 68 percent among
African-Americans and 43 percent among Hispanics).
That`s worse than the 22 percent figure for blacks that
so alarmed Johnson Administration adviser Daniel Patrick
Moynihan that he wrote a
famously controversial 1965 report called "The
Negro Family: The Case for National Action."
But that 23 percent is still about
half the white rate in England and Wales.
So, despite obvious problems, such
as the crystal methamphetamine epidemic, the American
white working class has shown more impressive moral
hardiness than the English.
Perhaps the most striking and important difference: the
strength of Christianity here—whereas the main religious
emotion in Britain is apathy. Phil Zuckerman has
percent of Americans believe that Jesus is God or the
son of God, compared to 46 percent of the British… And
over 70 percent of Americans believe in hell, compared
to only 28 percent of the British… Nearly 45 percent of
Americans attend church … once a week, compared to … 13
percent of the British… Between 39 and 46 percent of
Americans describe themselves as evangelical or
At least some American Christians
are building alternative institutions to shield their
families from decadent popular culture. But the British
working class appear wholly addicted to the
prolefeed on the telly.
Why is the U.S. more religious?
Father Andrew Greeley has suggested that it`s
because America has a dynamic competitive marketplace
for churches, while the Church of England is a typically
inefficient and unmotivated government monopoly.
Another (unspoken) reason: with the
partial exception of the Roman Catholic Church, church
services give Americans a rare opportunity to indulge in
Liberals like to quote Martin
complaint that "Eleven o`clock Sunday morning is
the most segregated hour" of the week. But this
opportunity to associate with one`s own kind seems to be
viewed favorably by many Americans. Even the Rev. King,
for example, found his political base in the black
Culture. The ongoing collapse of
Britain`s white males into neo-Hogarthian
laddishness points out the importance of country
music in persuading white working class American males
to stay on the straight and narrow. A remarkable
fraction of country lyrics are devoted to making guys
with fairly crummy jobs, like
truckdrivers, feel proud that they work hard to
bring home the bacon to their wife and kids.
Likewise, many country love songs are about being
married, which helps make that crucial institution
seem cool to young country fans.
Or compare favorite spectator
sports. Stock car racing is wholly lacking in soccer`s
affiliated subculture of hooliganism (see Bill Buford`s
memoir of running with English soccer fans, aptly titled
Among the Thugs).
NASCAR markets itself with vast success as wholesome
entertainment for the entire family.
mass slaughters of the 1980s (such as the 95 fans
crushed to death at the Sheffield stadium in 1989), UK
soccer has managed to contain its more animalistic
aspects and appeal to a broader social base than just
skinheads. For example, the new American romantic
Fever Pitch, with Jimmy Fallon as a fanatical
Boston Red Sox baseball fan, is based on the
soccer fan memoir of English novelist Nick Hornby,
the highly bourgeois author of
High Fidelity and
About a Boy.
Yet this widespread filtering of
yobbo norms up the social scale in Britain–soccer
replacing cricket and rugby or the spread of the
downscale Estuary English accent into the upper
middle classes—merely reflects how the educated classes
in Britain have lost control of the culture. Similarly,
middle-class African-Americans have
lost control to the gangsta rappers.
The U.S. Republican Party, for all
its sins, at least pays lip service to social
conservatism. Many white working class families ask for
self-sacrificingly little from their elected leaders.
But they do want them to provide good role models for
their children. And, in contrast to
Clinton`s embarrassing philandering, Bush`s
apparently faultless marriage accounts for more than a
little of his otherwise inexplicable popularity.
In Britain, however, the
Conservative Party has been riddled by sex scandals.
Guns (not what you think). While the rate
of assault has been higher in England than America,
angry Americans are more lethal because of our hundreds
of millions of guns.
But, on the other hand, burglary is
a far safer career choice in Britain because the chance
blown away by a
homeowner is low—and the government
unmercifully persecutes householders who kill
Tony Martin was originally sentenced to
life in prison for killing a burglar.)
The perversity of the British
criminal justice system likewise seems strange to
contemporary Americans. The
once-proud police of Britain are now
pathetic. The fine new English movie
Millions, for example, portrays a neighborhood
meeting where an ineffectual-looking copper with an
intellectual`s beard announces (dialogue roughly
Bobbie: Christmas is coming so it`s a statistical
certainty your house will get burgled. But that`s
what we`re here for.
Subject of the Queen: To prevent crime or to catch
Bobbie: Neither, of course. But after you do get
robbed, we will make sure you get your
official victimization number so you can file a
claim with your insurance company.
Lack of federalism.
reigns supreme, so localities don`t compete to see
who has the most hard-nosed police departments like they
do in America.
In 1993, for instance, white
liberal voters in New York City and Los Angeles replaced
black Democratic mayors with white Republican mayors—Rudy
Richard Riordan, respectively—while still reassuring
themselves of their moral superiority by voting
Democratic at the national level.
And in the U.S., it`s possible to
move away from high crime areas. For example,
Ventura County, only an
hour`s drive from South Central LA, is one of the
lowest crime areas in the country, perhaps because
racial profiling is quite effective in America, at
least when the politicians and judges allow it. A car
full of black youths cruising the back streets of
affluent Thousand Oaks in the middle of the night would
likely receive unwanted attention from the local police
In England, however, there is no
escape. Criminals from Manchester and Birmingham
frequently drive a couple of hours into the countryside
to prey on isolated farmhouses. Racial profiling isn`t
as effective when so many career criminal are white.
Speed. Remember the tale of how to boil a
frog? Just keep raising the temperature imperceptibly so
the frog never notices it`s being boiled alive. (Don`t
try this at home, kids.) Something similar happened in
England, where society fell apart so slowly that elite
opinion had time to get used to each new outrage.
In contrast, the U.S. murder rate
doubled in just ten years—from
1964 to 1974. African-Americans served not as the
frog in the pot but as the canary in the coalmine.
The welfare state took decades
after its introduction in 1945 to corrupt the English.
But the American liberal innovations of the 1960s, such
welfare for single mothers and
shorter prison sentences, had such an immediately
catastrophic on black morals that within a decade and a
half, "liberal" had permanently become a
term of abuse in American politics.
Way back in 1968, Richard Nixon ran
on a law and order platform, somewhat like Michael
Howard`s in 2005. Granted, Nixon didn`t do much about
crime, but eventually the outraged public got its way.
The quadrupling over the last third of a century of the
prison population helped bring about the fall in crime
in the later 1990s. The welfare reform of 1996 also has
had a good effect on morals.
Class vs. Race.
The central divide in Britain is class—in
America, it`s race. And that has had a little understood
salutary effect on white working class Americans.
In England, the sons of maharajas
were often more welcome at
Eton and Oxford than the sons of fishmongers.
Similarly, in the last couple of decades, blacks have
been more welcomed into the working class in Britain
than in America—because British working class identity
centers on not acting like a toff. The entrance
requirements to the working class are amiably relaxed—no
need for "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the
elocution lessons. If you like `aving a pint with
your mates at the pub while watching Arsenal on the
telly,` well, you`re halfway home.
Likewise, English youth see the
gangsta rap lifestyle as a bit of a lark (as
brilliantly parodied by
Sacha Baron Cohen`s brainless
Ali G). In contrast, white working class Americans
view it, based on the
abundant evidence provided by American blacks, as a
one-way ticket to prison and the grave.
America upper middle class white
liberals constantly sneer at working class whites as
racists. And, indeed, most respectable working class
whites do work hard to prevent their children from
absorbing black underclass values. Affluent liberals are
so well insulated from poor blacks that they don`t have
to worry that their college-bound kids will take gangsta
ethos seriously. But poorer whites don`t have that
These anti-black feelings among the
white working class have helped keep their young from
turning to crime.
For example, Chicago was the crime
capital of the world 75 years ago during
Al Capone`s day—before the Great Migration of
blacks to Chicago from the Mississippi Delta. Unlike
most Northern cities, Chicago has hung on to a sizable
white working class.
But the descendents of the minor
mobsters of Al Capone`s era today disdain crime, viewing
it as a "black thing," because, although blacks
and whites are about equal in number in Chicago, blacks
are almost an
order of magnitude more common behind bars in the
A General Election has now been
called in Britain. Until this year, the Tory Party has
been almost as worthless on crime as Labour. But Tory
leader Michael Howard is now campaigning hard against "yob
culture," lawless Gypsies and Travelers…and
Still, there`s a long
way to go. Adam Smith famously observed that there is
"There is a great deal of ruin in a nation."
The British, however, have been ruining themselves for a
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and