The shameful episode involving Charles Murray at Middlebury sends me back to several things. First, The Bell Curve itself, which virtually none of Murray’s critics have bothered to read—certainly not the six-figure-salary hacks at the direct-mail-hysteria-dependent Southern Poverty Law Center who call Charles a “white nationalist,” ignorant that he is the father of mixed-race children, which rather disqualifies him for the white supremacy club I should think.
Charles answered the revived distortions of The Bell Curve a year ago in this piece, but if you have a copy I recommend reading the entirety of Chapter 13, or, if you’re very short of time, pages 297 and 314-315.
I got to wondering why, 20 years after the book came out and the controversy had run its course, that it suddenly sprang to life again. After all, I had hosted Charles at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013 before a large audience (250 plus people) that asked some tough questions, but was uniformly polite and respectful. Why has the left suddenly gone nuts about Charles again?
As it happens, I talked with Charles about this question on one of my fill-in radio host days on the Bill Bennett Show back in the summer of 2014. He had just written an article in the Wall Street Journal about why we should distinguish between liberals of the old variety and the new-styled “progressives” whose impulses tend toward tyrannical or at least non-consensual rule. He had just had dinner with two prominent (but unnamed) liberals who shared his dismay about how liberalism had yielded to “progressivism.” (Charles later shared their identities with me, and they are names you’d recognize.)
Here are the two segments of the show, including Charles’s answer to my query as to why the old distortions about The Bell Curve have been revived. And much else besides that now sounds prophetic in retrospect, including the lack of courage on the part of liberals to stand up to the ruinous faction on their left fringe.
P.S. As usual, Charles proves himself a magnanimous person: