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4/16/2017 2:11 pm  #1


Believe half of what you see Son, and none of what you hear

Requiem for a Body Politic
"Only a small fraction of the people who have opinions about that book have actually read it"


Charles Murray’s ‘Provocative’ Talk

By WENDY M. WILLIAMS and STEPHEN J. CECI 

The talk that the political scientist Charles Murray attempted to deliver last month at Middlebury College in Vermont must have been quite provocative — perhaps even offensive or an instance of hate speech. How else to explain the vehement opposition to it?

Before Mr. Murray’s arrival on campus, an open letter to the college from several hundred alumni protested that his scholarly opinions were “deceptive statistics masking unfounded bigotry.” And when it came time for Mr. Murray to give his speech, which was based on his 2012 book, “Coming Apart,” an analysis of the predicament of the white working class in the United States, he was shouted down by student and faculty protesters. In chants they accused him of being a racist and a white supremacist. Some of the protesters became unruly and physically violent, forcing Mr. Murray to flee.

Mr. Murray ended up giving a version of his talk later that day,
 How extreme were his views?

We have our own opinion, but as social scientists we hoped to get a more objective answer. So we transcribed Mr. Murray’s speech and — without indicating who wrote it — sent it to a group of 70 college professors (women and men, of different ranks, at different universities). We asked them to rate the material on a scale from 1 to 9, ranging from very liberal to very conservative, with 5 defined as “middle of the road.” 

American college professors are overwhelmingly liberal. Still, the 57 professors who responded to our request gave Mr. Murray’s talk an average score of 5.05, or “middle of the road.”
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No one raised concerns that the material was contentious, dangerous or otherwise worthy of censure.
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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.

Of course, many of the protesters may have been offended by Mr. Murray’s other scholarship, in particular his controversial 1994 book, “The Bell Curve,” written with the Harvard psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein, which examined intelligence, social class and race in America. Or rather, they may have been offended, as many people have been, by what they assume “The Bell Curve” says; only a small fraction of the people who have opinions about that book have actually read it. (Indeed, some people protesting Mr. Murray openly acknowledged not having read any of his work.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/opinion/sunday/charles-murrays-provocative-talk.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

Last edited by Goose (4/16/2017 2:13 pm)


“While the framers of the Constitution foresaw the possibility of a tyrannical president, they never let their imaginations be darkened by the possibility of a compliant Congress.”
 

4/16/2017 2:18 pm  #2


Re: Believe half of what you see Son, and none of what you hear

Before anyone rushes to claim that this proves something unique to liberals, I have to note that the is a scourge that spans the political spectrum.
Every day I see conservatives who never read the New York Times hold forth on how awfully biased the New York Times is.
I have seen people condemn the writings of columnists like Paul Krugman who have never read anything written by the man  but heavily edited excerpts offered up by conservative media that is tailored to discredit him. Or worse yet, they haven't even read excepts, and just ape the disdain entertainers like Sean Hannity heap on the columnists.

We all need to read more and condemn less.

Last edited by Goose (4/16/2017 2:23 pm)


“While the framers of the Constitution foresaw the possibility of a tyrannical president, they never let their imaginations be darkened by the possibility of a compliant Congress.”
     Thread Starter
 

4/16/2017 2:21 pm  #3


Re: Believe half of what you see Son, and none of what you hear

BTW, I actually read Coming Apart.
I thought that it was an important work, and not at all bigoted or offensive.


“While the framers of the Constitution foresaw the possibility of a tyrannical president, they never let their imaginations be darkened by the possibility of a compliant Congress.”
     Thread Starter
 

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