How big is your bubble?


May 5, 2016 12:34PM

There is unquestionably a growing divide in America between the elites and the Average Joes. Charles Murray, a political scientist and author with the American Enterprise Institute, wrote extensively about this disconnect in his 2012 book, “Coming Apart.” The big question posed by Murray is “do you live in a bubble?” Is your life sheltered from the realities facing everyday Americans in flyover country? Or do you understand—or perhaps even hail from—such a life?


We at Beacon wondered how big our bubble is. Many would think that a bunch of think tankers would be pretty disconnected from the real world, what with our “ivory towers” and all. So I asked our team to take Murray’s Bubble Quiz to find out. (The higher your score, the less sheltered you are.)

In a result that might be surprising to some, Beacon’s staff is pretty connected to the real world. Our median score is 54, far higher than the median score of 40 for most Americans who took the quiz. This means Beacon’s team is less insulated from mainstream American culture. We represent families that were recently or are still working-class.

This is important because one of the shortcomings of think tanks is that they often offer policy solutions that sound great in theory but have no working basis. That’s not true for Beacon. We strive to understand how our answers to problems actually impact real-life Tennesseans. We talk to those Tennesseans. We get their perspective and feedback. And we offer meaningful solutions that help them become freer and more prosperous.

I’m confident that as we continue to reach out and listen to those who stand to benefit from free enterprise the most—the single mother looking to get her child a quality education, the person trying to pull himself off welfare and get a good job, the reformed felon seeking to become a productive member of society—our bubbles will shrink and our perspective will grow.

How big is your bubble? Take the Bubble Quiz here to find out.