Hear what a NYT best-selling author has to say about the American culture

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, delivered the keynote address yesterday during Heritage’s panel on the release of the 2017 Index of Culture and Opportunity.

Vance’s upbringing was riddled with hardship, poverty, abuse and instability giving him first-hand experience of how culture plays a critical role in shaping people’s lives.

According to Vance:

When you think about a person who grows up in a disadvantaged circumstance, their culture is really the set of environmental and social circumstances that affect them…and if you want to understand why some of these kids are doing well and some aren’t, you really have to understand that social environment, the culture in which they grew up.

And I think that unfortunately it’s something that a lot of folks aren’t comfortable talking about, but it is a really important component in determining whether these kids are able to have much in the way of opportunity.

In his introduction to the Index he goes on to say:

It is harder to mea­sure culture and how it affects the people who occupy it, and judging by much of our recent discourse, it is harder still to talk about culture. But talk about it we must, because the evi­dence that culture matters should now over­whelm any suggestion to the contrary

This is the purpose behind Heritage’s Index–to analyze the cultural trends facing our nation and lead the conversation on how those trends should be addressed.

Read more about the Index and review this year’s edition.

While at Heritage Vance also sat down with Genevieve Wood from the Daily Signal and explained why the American dream is in crisis.

You can watch his interview below.

J.D. Vance on Why the American Dream is in Crisis

Why is the American dream in jeopardy? Author of "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis," J.D. Vance joins us live with the answer.

Posted by The Daily Signal on Thursday, July 20, 2017

Many thanks to J.D. Vance for bringing us this message and drawing attention to the importance of civil society building a positive culture.

Why do you think it is important to emphasize the connection between culture and opportunity? To emphasize the family and social institutions? How can we as a nation promote and support these critical links?

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