More than at any point in our history, the smartest people generally go to high school and certainly to college with one another, move en masse to “creative cities” after college, marry their fellow high achievers and then raise their kids in the cocoons of what Murray calls the SuperZips. The problem with this system isn’t that the meritocrats look down on working-class culture (though “Coming Apart” does get in plenty of digs at elite snobbery). Rather, it’s that the meritocrats don’t participate in working class culture, and that “assortative mating” and geographic clustering have deprived lower-income communities of the social capital (and with it, strong civic institutions, political influence, and so on) that the smart and diligent possess. In this sense, Murray’s analysis follows the late, great Christopher Lasch in arguing that meritocracy works almost too well: Plucking the best and brightest from every walk of life and then encouraging them to live in community almost exclusively with one another means that the rest of the country is deprived of people who otherwise would have been local leaders, local entrepreneurs, the hubs of local social networks, etc.