September 2, 2010

Charles Murray's "explicitly racist science"

Remember Charles Murray, the notorious race theorist who Fox News/Republican candidate Ron Johnson personally invited and paid to speak to educators in Oshkosh? Charles Murray happens to turn up in historian Eric Foner's review of Nell Irvin Painter's The History of White People in this month's Harper's (subscription required):
"Being white these days is not what it used to be," Painter concludes. She fails, however, to discuss the resurgence during the past two decades of explicitly racist science — the work of Arthur R. Jensen, William Shockley, and Charles Murray, all of whom employ dubious metrics of IQ to argue for innate racial superiority and inferiority. Murray’s The Bell Curve was a national bestseller in the 1990s. These writers offer an updated version of nineteenth-century Social Darwinism: Inequality in status rests on differences in capacity, and it would be disastrous to try to uplift those at the bottom of society or reduce the privileges of those at the top. Oddly, genetic inferiority is not necessary to reach this conclusion; the same argument could be made if differences in IQ were wholly determined by environment. But linking inequality to race makes it appear more "scientific."
Ron Johnson claimed he knew nothing of Charles Murray's work.

Also on that day in history, the Brooklyn Bridge was sold.

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