I should no longer be shocked at the intellectual dishonesty of Charles Murray, but I am. On Tuesday Murray made a brief reply to his critics, most notably Paul Krugman, who have accused Murray of racism for much of his work, but especially his 1994 book, “The Bell Curve .” Murray rejoined the news cycle last week, when Rep. Paul Ryan cited him as an expert on poverty and the troubles of “inner city” men, who, in Ryan’s words, are “not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.”[The stunning dishonesty of Charles Murray March 18, 2014]
Murray’s work on welfare was the non-racial book Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, about whites and blacks on welfare (published 1984), and Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960 – 2010, (published 2012)which focused only on white people, to avoid confounding the effects of illegitimacy, et cetera with the effects of race. For the record, when Ryan said that about “the value and the culture of work”, he wasn’t talking about The Bell Curve.
But the rest of its 800 pages are devoted to arguing that blacks and Latinos have lower IQ than Asians and whites (whites are inferior to Asians, by the way); that IQ is largely (though not exclusively) hereditary; that lower IQ means these groups are more likely to commit crime and drop out of school and have illegitimate (and lower IQ) babies and live in poverty, and that there’s not much to do to help those groups rise.
Walsh is projecting her racial obsessions onto The Bell Curve—to quote Ann Coulter’s Godless, “The book—all but one chapter—dealt exclusively with the influence of IQ on white people`s lives…”
Peter Brimelow’s 1994 Forbes review For Whom The Bell Tolls, which Charles Murray called “the best published synopsis of The Bell Curve,” works even though his publisher at the time, Steve Forbes, went through it and removed all reference to race.
As I argued last week, Ryan (and Murray’s) best potential argument that they’re not racist is to promote the conclusions of Murray’s last book, “Coming Apart: The State of White American 1960-2010,” in which he sadly concludes that rising poverty among whites is due to their sharing the cultural habits he once attributed mainly to blacks, mainly single motherhood and shiftlessness.
Walsh has no evidence for that “once attributed mainly to blacks”, and when “Coming Apart” came out in 2012, she wrote
“I shouldn’t admit this, but I almost didn’t review Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960 to 2010. I told my editors it was just a mashup of his two most infamous books, Losing Ground and The Bell Curve”. [My Debate With Charles Murray, Salon, February 14, 2012]
Note the word “infamous”—they were highly lauded bestsellers in the real world. Much to Walsh’s dismay, she wrote “What do I know? Coming Apart is No. 9 on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, and it’s been reviewed, with varying degrees of respect, almost everywhere that matters.” In 2012, Steve Sailer wrote that criticism of Murray was becoming less demented. Obviously, the demented are back.