Charles Murray`s Jewish Genius

"Since its first issue in

has published hundreds of articles
about Jews and Judaism. … But there is a lacuna, and not
one involving some obscure bit of Judaica. Commentary
has never published a systematic discussion of one of
the most obvious topics of all: the extravagant
overrepresentation of Jews, relative to their numbers,
in the top ranks of the arts, sciences, law, medicine,
finance, entrepreneurship, and the media."


Jewish Genius
, Commentary, April 2007

The irony is that, beyond the
specific accomplishments of thinkers such as Albert
Einstein and

Milton Friedman,
one of the great general Jewish
contributions to the world over the last two centuries
has been their attitude of relentless critical inquiry.

Admittedly, this "question
predilection hasn`t always worked out
for the best. Freud`s obsession with uncovering the
long-term impact (if any) of

toilet training
, for instance, proved to be a

huge waste of time

all concerned.
Yet the world has benefited, overall,
from the rule more strongly advocated by Jewish
intellectuals than by any other group: That

nothing should be immune from analysis.

Well, to be precise, let`s strike
"nothing" from that principle and substitute
"only one thing."
And that lone topic too sacred for
public discussion is:

Jewish influence itself
—especially when the
investigation is carried out by non-Jews.

Jewish success in the public sphere is one of those
phenomena that is widely denounced as a "stereotype".
But it is as well documented as anything in the
social sciences.

In their 1995 book Jews and the New American Scene,
late Seymour Martin Lipset of the

Wilstein Institute for Jewish Policy Studies
Earl Raab of the Perlmutter Institute for Jewish
Advocacy pointed out that, while Jews had comprised only
about three or four percent of American adults,

"…during the last three
decades, Jews have made up 50% of the top two hundred

, … 20 percent of professors at the
leading universities, … 26% of the reporters, editors,
and executives of the major print and broadcast media,
59 percent of the

directors, writers, and producers
of the fifty
top-grossing motion pictures from 1965 to 1982, and 58
percent of directors, writers, and producers in two or

primetime television series
[pp 26-27]

This adds up to a lot of

cultural clout.

One unfortunate example: over the
last half decade, the world`s

most famous living author
hasn`t been able to get
his two most recent books published in America. Why not?
Because they comprise an even-handed two-volume history
of the world-changing role of Jews in

his country`s history.
And virtually nobody in the
Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave has
complained about this astonishing situation, or even
mentioned it in print. (To find out who this writer is
and to read the first excerpts in English translation to
be posted on the Web, click


So, how have Jews achieved so much
sway over society? If the members of every group were

equal on average
, as the dogma of political
correctness insists, then there would be something
deeply suspicious about these Jewish attainments.

But in fact the Jewish tendency
toward greater than average

, energy, and

interest in public affairs
are simply more powerful
explanations than

any conspiracy theory

As Murray points out:

"A full
answer must call on many characteristics of Jewish
culture, but intelligence has to be at the center of the
answer. Jews have been found to have an

unusually high mean intelligence
as measured by IQ
tests since the first Jewish samples were tested. (The

widely repeated story
that Jewish immigrants to this
country in the early 20th century tested low on IQ is a

.) … But it is currently accepted that the
mean is somewhere in the range of 107 to 115, with 110
being a plausible compromise."

Without understanding the impact of
Jewish intellectuals upon the last century, which UC
Berkeley historian

Yuri Slezkine
calls with minimal
hyperbole The Jewish Century,

can`t understand modern history. And a necessary,
although not sufficient, condition for

Jewish intellectualism
is high Jewish intelligence.

And yet, pointing out the palpable
about Jewish influence and intelligence is rarely done,
at least in public.

Murray even ran into this

ethnocentric reluctance
to discuss Jewish IQ in

Richard Herrnstein
, one of the

of the human sciences:

"I have
personal experience with the reluctance of Jews to talk
about Jewish accomplishment—my co-author, the late

Richard Herrnstein
, gently resisted the paragraphs
on Jewish IQ that I insisted on putting in The Bell Curve

Murray`s fascinating

Jewish Genius
article is a response to
the landmark paper by

Gregory Cochran

Henry Harpending
, and Jason Hardy entitled

The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence
file], which was reviewed

in VDARE.COM in June 2005. As

Nicholas Wade
, the New York Times` genetics
correspondent, summarized it:

"A team
of scientists at the University of Utah has proposed
that the unusual pattern of genetic diseases seen among
Jews of central or northern European origin, or
Ashkenazim, is the result of natural selection for
enhanced intellectual ability. The selective force was
the restriction of Ashkenazim in medieval Europe to
occupations that required more than usual mental
agility… Ashkenazic diseases like Tay-Sachs, they say,
are a side effect of genes that promote intelligence."
Say Intelligence and Diseases May Be Linked in
Ashkenazic Genes

June 2, 2005] 

The Cochran-Harpending-Hardy
theory—which was also recently evaluated by another
heavyweight, Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker,

The New Republic
focuses on the evolutionary
pressures on just one group of Jews and one time period:
Yiddish-speaking Jews of Northern and Eastern Europe
(the ancestors of most American Jews) over the last
millennium. In

, the descendents of the Ashkenazim have
substantially higher average IQs than other Jews.

Murray, while admiring of the CHH
thesis, wants to complement it. He suggests that
"elevated Jewish intelligence was (a) not confined to
Ashkenazim and (b) antedates the Middle Ages."

Today being

Easter Sunday
, it`s hard to argue against the

long-term influence
of ancient Jews.

Yet, as

points out in response to Murray on the

Gene Expression
blog: "Nor is there the slightest
sign that that Jews were sharper than average in
Classical times: not one single paragraph in preserved
classical literature suggests that anyone had that

Still, the ancient Greeks were so
brilliant that everybody else might have looked dim to
contemporaries by comparison. So pointing out back then
who was in second place, smartswise, might have seemed
as pointless as debating over who was the best actress
other than

Helen Mirren
at playing a


last year.

There`s an African proverb that
when the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled. I,
personally, can`t resolve the Murray-Cochran debate.

Instead, let me note that it`s
admirable that Jewish-owned magazines like Commentary
and The New Republic are opening themselves up to
more honest discussions of this crucial topic.

Clearly, some Jews put a lot of
energy into the traditional obsession of worrying.
"Is it good for the Jews?"
Being a big fan of
enlightened self-interest, I have no objection to that.
What I object to is unenlightened self-interest—which
the current taboo on discussing human diversity

Without far more of this kind of
frankness, Jewish pundits and publications will continue
to slip into their own self-defeating Isms, such as:

  • Be-Like-Meism: For example, the
    common suggestion by Jewish commentators that
    current illegal immigrants merely have to act like

    Jewish immigrants

    and everything will turn out fine. Well,
    swell …

  • Pseudo-Ethnic Humilityism: Few

    actually believe
    that Mexicans are just like
    Jews. They think Jews are smarter (which they are,
    by about

    20 IQ points
    on average). But they don`t want
    anybody else to notice that Jews are smarter, so
    they advocate immigration policies that depend for
    their success upon Mexicans being just as smart as
    Jews. The fact that this immigration policy is
    obviously bad for America is deemed less important
    than keeping up the charade that nobody must mention
    in public that Jews are smarter than everybody else
    on the whole.

summary, the crucial question for Jews is:

Is it good for the Jews to

obsess over
"Was it good for the Jews?"

Or should they, when thinking about

immigration and foreign policies
, ask, "Will
it be good for the Jews?"

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website
features his daily