Virtual Voices
Teresa Scanlan after being crowned Miss America in January 2011
Associated Press/Photo by Julie Jacobson
Teresa Scanlan after being crowned Miss America in January 2011

Charles Murray, Miss America, and the heartland

Q&A

Here’s one more outtake from the interview with Charles Murray from the current issue of WORLD: Murray was discussing his new book, Coming Apart (see a review from the same issue), and talking about “unseemly” conduct by wealthy, educated Americans.

During the part of the interview in which Patrick Henry College students asked questions, Teresa Scanlan, a freshman, rose and said she had no college degrees in her ancestry except for her dad’s. Murray listened, apparently with mild interest, as she continued: “Growing up in Nebraska, I didn’t ever necessarily feel a difference in statuses of those around me. And this may be strange to say, but a year ago, I won Miss America. …”

Murray perked up: “You won Miss America? … Good heavens!”

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Scanlan (Miss America, 2011) continued, “In high school I was working in the local grocery store. All of a sudden I saw this major change in not only my own life, but was able to compare and contrast various areas of the country. I noticed on the Coast and in the South more of a discrepancy between social and economic status. On the Coast men in their 50s or 60s were asking me on a date because they think that if you have money, you can have whatever you want. In some areas, especially the Midwest, those kinds of unseemly tactics just aren’t accepted.”

Murray replied, “Your perception is exactly right. For example, there has been a revolution in executive pay. Especially for top executives it has gone through the roof in the last couple of decades.” It makes sense economically to hire a CEO who can increase market share and is worth millions of dollars per year, Murray noted, “but this was a very hard sell for Midwestern companies, which didn’t like the idea of this very lavish pay scale for people at the very top—whereas companies on the East Coast were comfortable with that.”

Murray added, “I’m from Iowa,” so he knew that Iowa and Nebraska are “where virtue resides. But we know that historically the Midwest does have this sense of not getting too big for your britches.”

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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