We are supposed to simultaneously worship diversity and pretend it doesn’t exist

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Social scientists tend to be leftists, Steve Sailer notes, but the bulk of their findings have long tended to support rightists:

Charles Murray, a rare man of the right in the social sciences, has been pointing out this paradox since his 1984 book Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950–1980.

Now 77, Murray began planning to write his new book Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class four years ago.

The title Human Diversity is impertinent because we are supposed to simultaneously worship diversity and pretend it doesn’t exist. Humanity is proclaimed to be both a rainbow of diverse delights and a beige putty that is wholly molded by arbitrary social injustices.

But would writing an honest book entitled Human Diversity be worth the abuse? Murray’s wife was skeptical. He explains in its Acknowledgments:

My wife and editor, Catherine…initially tried to talk me out of writing ‘Human Diversity.’ When I began work in the fall of 2016, the nastiness associated with the reaction to The Bell Curve was a distant memory. Did I really want to go through that again?

A kind and sensitive man, Murray had found the ignorant and malignant backlash against his 1994 magnum opus coauthored with the late Harvard psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, to be a depressing experience. The hate campaign against Murray contributed to virtually nobody paying attention to his fascinating 2003 book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950.

But Murray finally got out of the media’s doghouse with 2012’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 by the expedient of applying his superb analytic skills solely to white Americans.

Still, in early 2017 a leftist goon squad at expensive Middlebury College assaulted Murray and a professor, Alison Stanger, who was attempting to interview him:

Then came the radicalization of the campuses, when we learned that the bad old days were back no matter what. “Confound it!” said Catherine, or two syllables to that effect, on the day I returned from the riot at Middlebury. “If they’re going to do this kind of thing anyway, go ahead and write it.”

On the other hand, Human Diversity is not intended to be a sharp stick in the eye for Murray’s abusers. It is aimed instead at intelligent readers who want to learn about the state of the human sciences a fifth of the way through the 21st century. Human Diversity is something of a meta-review of recent meta-analyses that have been published in dozens of subdisciplines to summarize countless individual studies.

We’re lucky to have Murray to guide us through so much. Although Murray has made his career largely at think tanks rather than in academia, he is by nature less argumentative than professorial. He works hard at making his vast amount of material comprehensible. His prose style is pleasingly informal.

And Murray’s books have always been appealing physical objects, with elegant fonts, uncluttered graphs, and a little extra leading between the lines to make the text look less daunting.

He’s almost got me considering the hardcover edition — but the Kindle edition is too convenient, especially for quoting.

Leave a Reply