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87 Hearts of Darkness JOHN B. JUDIS One of the problems with The Bell Curve is that the authors continually muddy their own water with equivocation, qualification, and even contradiction. Which of these statements do Murray and Herrnstein really believe? • "We cannot think of any legitimate argument why any encounter between individual whites and blacks need be affected by the knowledge that an aggregate ethnic difference in measured intelligence is genetic rather than environmental." • "The assumption of genetic cognitive equality among the races has practical consequences." • "Race is such a difficult concept to employ in the American context. What does it mean to be 'black' in America, in racial terms, when the word black (or African American) can be used for people whose ancestry is more European than African 1" • "It would be disingenuous to leave the racial issue at that.... Thus we will eventually comment on cognitive differences among races as they might derive from genetic differences." Murray has further confused matters in statements and articles he has written afterwards "clarifying" the book's argument. He has insisted, for instance, that the book does not argue for a strategy of eugenics or for strengthening the rule of what they call"a cognitive elite." Yet, the book's major thrust is exactly this and the authors' attempts at equivocation and Murray'S later attempts at clarification are intended largely to evade responsibility for a thesis that is morally repugnant and scientifically indefensible. Here is their argument for eugenics. Murray and Herrnstein contend that American blacks and Latinos score on the average significantly lower on IQ tests than whites. Lower IQ contributes to greater crime, poverty, illegitimacy, welfare dependency, unemployment , and even workplace injury. And because blacks and Latinos reproduce faster than whites, their proliferation has brought down and will continue to bring down the average IQ of Americans-thereby contributing disproportionately to the country's worst social problems. To alleviate what the authors call this "dysgenic pressure," they favor eliminating "the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies" and making "it easy for women to make good on their prior decision not to get pregnantby making available birth control mechanisms that are increasingly flexible, foolproof, inexpensive , and safe." They also recommend that we should alter our immigration policy to "serve America's interests." Murray and Herrnstein's intent in eliminating welfare payments for the children of lowincome women is not to save money or to induce self-reliance among the underclass-the From THE BELL CURVE WARS, edited by Steven Fraser. Copyright © 1995 by Basic Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Basic Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyrighted Material Hearts of Darkness 531 usual conservative rationales-but to discourage the birth of low-IQ children. Similarly, their intent in circulating condoms is not to foster freedom of choice, but to discourage lowIQ women from reproducing. In putting limits on immigration to "serve America's interests /' they are not interested in protecting American workers' jobs or preventing an overload of public facilities, but in keeping out Latinos and blacks who 1/ are, at least in the short run, putting some downward pressure on the distribution of intelligence." Murray has also denied that he approves of a society stratified according to intelligence, or IQ. But The Bell Curve is a brief for a society divided along exactly these lines. Murray deplores court rulings forbidding the use of IQ tests in hiring. He wants school funds shifted from the "disadvantaged" toward the "gifted." He wants a voucher program that will reward elite private schools. The result of these policies will be still greater segregation of society along the lines of income and of achievement in standardized tests. Murray describes this society as the "triumph of an American ideal/' but it is a perversion of the original American ideal of equality. America's Jeffersonian faith, articulated later by Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, rested on the ability of ordinary Americans to participate fully in civic and economic life. Jefferson never presumed that all Americans would be entirely equal in income, but he assumed that through the widespread dispersion of property the differences among Americans would not create the kind of invidious distinctions among classes that had ruined Europe. Murray and Herrnstein do warn against the creation of a "custodial" state in which a cognitive elite attempts to win over and keep in check a growing underclass that reproduces itself through reproducing...


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