The Bell Curve

THE message of the book called The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray is that intelligence matters immensely; it is the major determinant of success or failure. Other things influence people. Families and Education matter as well but usually in different ways and not to the same extent. That is why the authors were extensively abused by social 'scientists' and others of the Lunatic Fringe or Lenin's Useful Idiots. The Wikipedia's rather length report, The Bell Curve is, at least moderately honest. It goes over a lot of the criticisms.

It tells us the real reasons for the hate directed at Messrs. Herrnstein & Murray. Their Policy recommendations, their solutions to genuine problems include a stop to financing illegal babies, affirmative action & Immigration. They went down very badly with Marxist subversives and Traitors.

Policy recommendations
The book argued the average genetic IQ of the United States is declining, owing to the tendency of the more intelligent to have fewer children than the less intelligent, the generation length to be shorter for the less intelligent, and the large-scale immigration to the United States of those with low intelligence. Discussing a possible future political outcome of an intellectually stratified society, the authors stated that they "fear that a new kind of conservatism is becoming the dominant ideology of the affluent – not in the social tradition of an Edmund Burke or in the economic tradition of an Adam Smith but 'conservatism' along Latin American lines, where to be conservative has often meant doing whatever is necessary to preserve the mansions on the hills from the menace of the slums below."[1] Moreover, they fear that increasing welfare will create a "custodial state" in "a high-tech and more lavish version of the Indian reservation for some substantial minority of the nation's population." They also predict increasing totalitarianism: "It is difficult to imagine the United States preserving its heritage of individualism, equal rights before the law, free people running their own lives, once it is accepted that a significant part of the population must be made permanent wards of the states."[2]

Herrnstein and Murray recommended the elimination of welfare policies that encourage poor women to have babies:

We can imagine no recommendation for using the government to manipulate fertility that does not have dangers. But this highlights the problem: The United States already has policies that inadvertently social-engineer who has babies, and it is encouraging the wrong women. "If the United States did as much to encourage high-IQ women to have babies as it now does to encourage low-IQ women, it would rightly be described as engaging in aggressive manipulation of fertility." The technically precise description of America's fertility policy is that it subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended. The government should stop subsidizing births to anyone rich or poor. The other generic recommendation, as close to harmless as any government program we can imagine, is to make it easy for women to make good on their prior decision not to get pregnant by making available birth control mechanisms that are increasingly flexible, foolproof, inexpensive, and safe.[3]

The book also argued for reducing immigration into the U.S. which was argued to lower the average national IQ. It also recommended against policies of affirmative action.


'The Bell Curve' 20 years later A Q&A with Charles Murray
Reflecting on the legacy of “The Bell Curve,” what stands out to you?

I’m not going to try to give you a balanced answer to that question, but take it in the spirit you asked it—the thing that stands out in my own mind, even though it may not be the most important. I first expressed it in the Afterword I wrote for the softcover edition of “The Bell Curve.” It is this: The reaction to “The Bell Curve” exposed a profound corruption of the social sciences that has prevailed since the 1960s. “The Bell Curve” is a relentlessly moderate book — both in its use of evidence and in its tone — and yet it was excoriated in remarkably personal and vicious ways, sometimes by eminent academicians who knew very well they were lying. Why? Because the social sciences have been in the grip of a political orthodoxy that has had only the most tenuous connection with empirical reality, and too many social scientists think that threats to the orthodoxy should be suppressed by any means necessary. Corruption is the only word for it.

Now that I’ve said that, I’m also thinking of all the other social scientists who have come up to me over the years and told me what a wonderful book “The Bell Curve” is. But they never said it publicly. So corruption is one thing that ails the social sciences. Cowardice is another.

The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life [ an Amazon review ]
the late Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray
It caused two reactions. The first was furious abuse. The second was a news black out. This is not quite censorship but it has the same effect. Their sin was to write about intelligence and race honestly. Pushing the Multiculturalism line would have been all right. Telling the truth was not and is not. Their important point is that there are differences in the average intelligence of races which  have important results. People in America have IQs averaging around 100. Blacks in America average 85; those in Africa achieve 70. Jews  come in higher at 115. Look at the statistical connections between IQ and success to know why it matters. People in prison tend to low IQs. Those with real Nobel Prizes average high. This excludes the Nobel committee's sillier awards and political awards in literature and other areas where waffle predominates. If you get abused by the left you may well have  something worth saying and worth hearing.

The book tells us that intelligent parents are better parents. Does this sound reasonable? The competent tend to be better off, not drunkards, drug addicts or smokers. They tell children why rather than just giving orders, which encourages them to think. See pp 203 et seq especially 205-6

The Welfare State incites women to have illegitimate children or does it enable them to do what they want without having to find husbands? See page 186 for a discussion.


The Bell Curve Flattened
Was written by Nicholas Lemann, a journalist with an agenda. Play spot the bias; it's easy. He has taken against CM & RH,  telling us that Charles Murray is a cunning propagandist who massages his figures to get the result he wants. Believe it if you want. Our critic tells us that CM & RH used a longitudinal study but in fact they used the huge bodies of results from American army testing before two world wars as well as many others.

The Bell Curve also tells us that men in the business are pretty much agreed on the evidence; it changes when the left talk to the press. I am disposed to believe The Bell Curve rather than the critic.


All references to page numbers are for the Free Press Paperbacks edition of 1996.

Errors & omissions, broken links, cock ups, over-emphasis, malice [ real or imaginary ] or whatever; if you find any I am open to comment.

Email me at Mike Emery. All financial contributions are cheerfully accepted. If you want to keep it private, use my PGP key.  Home

Updated  on  Tuesday, 29 March 2016 20:56:12