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Political scientist Charles Murray posited at an event on Wednesday night that the lack of communication between socioeconomic classes threatens the fulfillment of core American values.

“Places like Penn are the incubators for the new emerging class,” Murray said.

Widely-known for his book, “The Bell Curve,” which argues that class and race are linked to intelligence, Murray spoke at an event hosted by the Penn chapter of the American Enterprise Institute on his most recent work. His book, “Coming Apart,” sheds light on his opinions on the “new economic frontier,” as College junior and chair of AEI Elizabeth Oppong termed it. Changing cultural attitudes have contributed to this economic shift. Today, Murray said, it is mostly upper-class people who are married and religious, rather than in the past when most of society held these traits.

The institutions of marriage and religion, he argued, provided lower- as well as upper-class people with meaning that was derived from being part of a community. Now, however, there is a growing elite class that is out of touch with daily working-class life. The lack of contact between the “New Upper Class” and the “New Lower Class” has led to a cultural divide never before seen in America, Murray said.

UMOJA board member and College junior Abel McDaniels had mixed feelings about Murray’s points. “I don’t really agree with his comments on income inequality, but I found some of his other thoughts interesting,” said McDaniels, a former columnist at the Daily Pennsylvanian.

AEI council member College sophomore Jennifer Knesbach hopes that AEI’s expanding presence on campus will open up avenues for discussions that depart from political norms at Penn. She said that “the opportunity to have more academic speakers at Penn introduce a diversity of thought was refreshing.”

Many students at the event were glad that Murray didn’t touch on the divisive theories he proposed in “The Bell Curve” and appreciated that he spoke on concepts applicable to college students’ lives.

Murray admitted that he didn’t have any solutions to help solve this problem, but believes it must come from a cultural awakening rather than through policy.

He urged students like those at Penn to buy a one-way ticket to “some place interesting” upon graduation, and get a job that requires immersion into an alien culture. “London and Paris don’t count,” he said.

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