Murray has been on a tour promoting his new book, Coming Apart, in which he details how a new upper- and lower- class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their shared American kinship. Murray's key finding: This divergence has nothing to do with income inequality and has grown during good economic times and bad.
Data and analysis worth considering, no?
No, not for the stormy petrels.
Among others, the protests at Middlebury College and Indiana University at Bloomington concern the excellent book Dr. Murray and his colleague, Richard Herrnstein, wrote more than 2 decades ago, The Bell Curve.
Arguably, their data indicate that intelligence correlates with class and race. That finding was repugnant enough for all of those so-called egalitarian folks on the political Left. But even more repugnant were the public policy prescriptions Murray and Herrnstein discussed if those socioeconomic differences in IQ, birth rate, crime, fertility, welfare, and poverty are to be mitigated.
That sent the folks on the political Left and their minions--the stormy petrels--over the edge.
Over the years, The Motley Monk has had a couple of genial interactions with Dr. Murray at Villanova University. These private discussions were made possible because Murray had accepted invitations from the Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good to meet with a small group of professors and students as well as to speak on campus. The Motley Monk is one of the Center's Faculty Fellows.
Just two weeks ago, Dr. Murray once again was a guest on campus. The private conversation was intellectually stimulating as the significant role of religion and its decline in civic life figured prominently. Predictably, Murray's' public lecture caused quite a stir among the stormy petrels:
So, Williams and Ceci transcribed the lecture and then emailed a copy to 70 professors at U.S. colleges...without telling them the person delivering the talk was Charles Murray. After reading the transcript, the professors ranked it politically on a scale of 1 to 9 ("1" being "very liberal" and "9" being "very conservative"). Of the 57 professors who responded, the average score was 5.05, identifying Murray as decidedly "middle of the road."
Interesting! But even more interesting...
Williams and Ceci then emailed a copy of the speech to 70 additional professors. This time, they told the professors Dr. Murray was delivering it. In this iteration, Murray's average score was 5.77. Yes, a somewhat more conservative ranking than he received from the first sample, but decidedly "middle of the road."
Hmmm....getting the picture?
To their credit (and that of the New York Times as well for publishing "the other side of the story"), Williams and Ceci wrote of their findings:
Our data-gathering exercise suggests that Mr. Murray’s speech was neither offensive nor even particularly conservative. It is not obvious, to put it mildly, that Middlebury students and faculty had a moral obligation to prevent Mr. Murray from airing these views in public. (emphasis added)
One wonders whether those professors have read the book themselves? Or, are the stormy petrels merely reiterating the talking points of their mentors, like "the majority of academics have denounced the book"?
In plain English, the stormy petrels and their mentors aren't interested in the free and unfettered pursuit of the truth.
Is that what counts for "higher education" today?
Let the discussion begin...
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