Charles Murray on The Colbert Report

Charles Murray is the co-author of the infamous Bell Curve that aroused a lot of controversy because of its implications that genetics largely explained social and racial inequalities. He has a new book out that focuses on the divisions amongst white people only.

Stephen Colbert interviewed him and, I think, made him somewhat uncomfortable by bringing up is past associations with race issues.

(This clip appeared on March 27, 2012. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. slc1 says

    It should be pointed out that his co-author, Richard J. Herrnstein, had a long history of publishing articles claiming that Americans of African descent were genetically inferior to Caucasians. Many of his articles were published in the racist journal, Mankind Quarterly.

  2. joed says

    Stephen J. Gould’s book, The Mismeasure Of Man,
    is a wonderful rebuttal of the racist Bell Curve by Murray and Herrnstein.
    Gould’s book is an excellent history of the creation of “race” by white Europeans. And the book shows how white Americans created the modern view of “intelligence”.

  3. jakc says

    The Bell Curve starts with a fatally-flawed methodological conception; that we can identify race or intelligence with some meaningful precision, and one result that the data is suspect from the start and the conclusions reached are insupportable. I have no idea why this book is regarded as anything other than nonsense or defended as a brave attempt to analyze race in the face of political correctness. It’s a steaming pile of horseshit, and reminds me of the comment of a critic in explaining why he hadn’t read the whole book: “you don’t have to eat the whole apple to know it’s rotten.”

  4. Drivebyposter says

    My favorite part:
    “You have no idea how much it hurts to hear the fact that I partially base my arguments upon the work of Nazis. Please stop telling people that, even though it’s true.”

  5. Billy Clyde Tuggle says

    Setting aside Murray’s association with Richard Hernstein and all the baggage from “The Bell Curve”, I am curious what people think of his current work. I watched him give a talk on his new book to the American Enterprise Institute on C-SPAN a few months ago. He’s basically saying that the wealthy liberal elites in the “high-rent” zip codes encourage a politcal correctness that doesn’t allow for criticsm of the poor lifestyle choices (e.g. teen pregnancy, single parent households, poor work ethic, high school dropout, etc) made by poor whites while simultaneously encouraging polar opposite choices (e.g. focus on advanced education, hard work, and delaying marriage/having children) in their own offspring. In other words, he is arguing that what Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned about at the onset of the “Great Society” program has come true.

  6. M Groesbeck says

    Past associations with race? Dude’s still associated with race (in a white-supremacist vein), he’s just now moved on to judging between various economically-defined subsets of the “white race”. It’s not that he’s no longer a white supremacist; he’s now just a white supremacist who’s also a blatant, unapologetic plutocrat. (A position which is, of course, an unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from pure market capitalism, but still.)

  7. Billy Clyde Tuggle says

    Actually isn’t he an Asian supremacist? I thought Murray and Hurstein concluded that Asians had a slightly higher average IQ than whites?

    But again leaving the race thing aside (it’s just an arbirtary way of dividing people into groups), I am curious about the merits (or lack thereof) of his arguments, not whether he has a vacation home in Idaho. In other words, I think he’s making the canonical conservative argument that government social welfare programs alone won’t lift people out of poverty in the abscence a culture that encourages work ethic, education, and commitment to family. In the past this culture component came from religious institutions, but as the society becomes more secular what will fill the void?

  8. says

    Shalom Mano,

    Following your post of yesterday, I’m sitting back now and considering how I might disengage System No. 1 and allow System No. 2 to kick in before I consider this interview.



  9. Russell says

    This is all bullshit. TBC is as mainstream as it gets. Some years before TBC was published, a poll conducted by Snyderman and Rothman found that M&H’s views were accepted by the vast majority of specialists.,_the_Media_and_Public_Policy_(book)

    Moreover, the science has been backed up by future researchers. IQ tests predict, even when using multiple regression analyses, cross-temporal innovation rates; educational and occupational success; and success in science better than any other single criterion. And race is most definitely liked to IQ on a genetic level: IQ differences between races persist when black children (and a control group of whites) are adopted in infancy into upper-middle-class white homes.

    It astounds me to see how “rational” atheists are so selectively irrational when it comes to race and IQ. (BTW, I’m an atheist myself.) Astonishing.


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