When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

28 August 2005

Charles Murray on Lawrence Summers, natural ability, gender and race

Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan, a link to an important and interesting article by Charles Murray in Commentary.

Yes, that Charles Murray... the co-author of The Bell Curve, a book that was instantly denounced and condemned by a bunch of people who never bothered to read it (and, to be fair, a few people who actually did.)

(As one of the few people who actually read The Bell Curve in the early 1990s, I can assure you that it is the furthest thing imaginable from the racist, white-supremacist tome that the academic left has insistently--and largely successfully, in a big-lie fashion--made it out to be.)

Having seen Harvard's Lawrence Summers publically crucified for making a few mild observations about (gasp) potentially innate differences between men and women and the impact of same on their respective achievement in the sciences, Murray has a modest proposal to put forward:
Let us start talking about group differences openly—all sorts of group differences, from the visuospatial skills of men and women to the vivaciousness of Italians and Scots. Let us talk about the nature of the manly versus the womanly virtues. About differences between Russians and Chinese that might affect their adoption of capitalism. About differences between Arabs and Europeans that might affect the assimilation of Arab immigrants into European democracies. About differences between the poor and non-poor that could inform policy for reducing poverty.

Even to begin listing the topics that could be enriched by an inquiry into the nature of group differences is to reveal how stifled today’s conversation is. Besides liberating that conversation, an open and undefensive discussion would puncture the irrational fear of the male-female and black-white differences I have surveyed here. We would be free to talk about other sexual and racial differences as well, many of which favor women and blacks, and none of which is large enough to frighten anyone who looks at them dispassionately.

It is a long, exhaustively sourced and footnoted article, and well worth reading and thinking about.

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