Charles Murray, author of the 1994 book The Bell Curve, which analyzes IQ distributions among different subgroups of humans, and through various cultures, was met by a violent mob when he accepted an invitation to speak on March 2, 2017, at Middlebury College, a small private liberal arts school in rural Vermont. Inside, a group of students drowned out the speaker, and when he was escorted from campus, a group of masked agitators outside attacked one of the Middlebury professors, sending her to the hospital.
Who Is Charles Murray?
Murray is an author, political scientist, and associate from the libertarian wing of the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank founded in 1938 closely associated with neoconservatism. Murray is most well known for his 1994 book The Bell Curve, a best seller written with Harvard behaviorist Richard Herrnstein that discusses the economic, social, and genetic factors affecting IQ. The book concludes that intelligence is a better predictor of success than education, parental economic status, or upbringing, and that differences in genes affect differences in intelligence. Basically a nature versus nurture analysis.
Murray’s warning in the book was that those with high intelligence are separating from the general population of average and below-average intelligence, and that this was a dangerous trend. Robert Reich examined a similar phenomenon in his 2013 film Inequality For All, which warns of the widening economic and social class gap in America, but was met with little protest as he is a former Clinton Labor Secretary, and therefore not seen as a racist, sexist misogynist.
Murray states that IQ follows a bell-shaped pattern, where a large number of people have average IQs, followed by roughly equal above and below average IQ levels which taper off in a predictable statistical manner known as a “normal distribution” where 1 standard deviation = 15 IQ points. Much of the controversy comes from a chapter on race where the authors state “The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved,” and “It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences.”
Hardly controversial. And written before most of these students were born. In 1996, the APA assembled a taskforce to analyze the ideas presented in The Bell Curve. It concluded that indeed heritability was responsible for around 50% of intelligence, confirming Murray’s work. It also confirmed Murray’s assertation that black IQ was approximately 1 standard deviation below white IQ. For this, he was labeled a white nationalist.
— Charles Murray (@charlesmurray) March 5, 2017
Humans Are Not Equal
Of course the beauty of humanity is that we are NOT all equal. One could also do a similar study on athletic ability and find that certain demographic groups (particularly east Africans) perform better than other demographic groups at physical sport.
For example, Kenyans make up 0.06% of the world population but dominate almost all long distance running, even when they lack the professional training and diet given to runners from first world nations. It’s all a matter of genetics, and being angry at simple facts explained by science never changes the underlying truths.
We have seen a number of incidents with politically correct, snowflake children acting out against perceived verbal threats to their “safe spaces,” particularly at universities such as Yale, UMass, Berkeley, and others.
We have seen students protest white males by preventing them from crossing bridges or attending class (blocking a bridge established by a white male who was instrumental in expanding education for women), institute programs attacking masculinity, and overall creating an unwelcome environment for men, ignoring the fact that men built, funded, and instituted higher education, and opened it to women in the first place.
But while these tantrums, thought policing, and mob actions have passed without repercussions, this time there is hope for pushback.
Over 100 Middlebury professors have signed a document titled Free Inquiry On Campus, upholding the virtues of knowledge, thought, and free speech. The American Political Science Association, representing 13,000 professors and students, issued a statement condemning “Violence at Middlebury College.” The Huffington Post even published an article attacking the student protestors, calling them intolerant and violent. Middlebury professor, author, and environmentalist Bill McKibben, authored a piece in the Guardian urging students to “resist, not silence” their foes.
The college prepared students for Murray’s visit, reminding them of the principles of free and open debate, exposure to a variety of ideas, and that college is a place to explore new and different ideas. I’ve personally found that I can take something positive away from even the groups with which I most strongly disagree, and indeed college is precisely the place to expose yourself to new and interesting ideas, people, and cultures. Students were also reminded to respect the speaker and uphold the Middlebury tradition of respect and honor.
Many students ignored this, and met Murray on campus with a loud mob, blocking interested students from attending, and drowning out Murray’s voice with unoriginal chants of “Racist, Sexist Anti-gay, Charles Murray Go Away!” as they turned their backs to him on stage.
As one of the Middlebury staff addressed students, instructing them to respect the speaker, and warning “If an event is disrupted by a group or individual, a representative of the college may request the action to stop or ask the person or group to leave the event. Violations of college policy may result in college discipline up to and including suspension,” the crowd yelled profanities and demanded to “shut it down!”
As the President attempted to introduce the speaker, she reminded the audience that listening to ideas is different than endorsing them, and that “The very premise of free speech on this campus is that the speaker has a right to be heard.” While the crowd applauded loudly at this statement, Murray uttered less than 10 words before he was drowned out by boos and chants.
After about 20 minutes of protests by at least 400 students, Murray was taken to another room, under a contingency plan, to be interviewed for a livestream Q&A by Middlebury professor Allison Stanger. Protestors responded by pulling several fire alarms in a desperate attempt at preventing this man from sharing his thoughts with the school who invited him. Murray was able to complete this interview, although it was not readily available at the time of publication. A Reason TV interview of him discussing his most recent book can be found here.
Middlebury faculty member Allison Stanger, a liberal Professor of International Politics and Economics with graduate degrees from Harvard and the London School of Economics, attempted to escort Murray from this violent mob when she was physically assaulted by a masked mob waiting outdoors. As Stanger and Murray entered a school administrator’s car, protestors began rocking, pounding, and jumping on the vehicle.
They removed and threw a large traffic sign in front of the car, blocking its path, and someone grabbed Stanger by the hair and neck, resulting in a trip to the hospital and treatment for neck and spinal injuries. The next day Stanger was wearing a neck brace. Ironically, it appears that Stanger opposed many of Murray’s ideas, and was hoping to engage him in academic debate, but such mobs will quickly turn on their own, as we have seen before.
Fucking wannabe Red Guards put a professor in a neck brace. https://t.co/CSKK3chLHx
— Bennett Murray (@BDMurray) March 4, 2017
The college reportedly has names of at least some attendees, identified by student ID cards, and the Middlebury College President has promised an investigation and possible punitive action against students. After the event, president Patton issued a milquetoast but important apology to attendees saying “Today our community begins the process of addressing the deep and troubling divisions that were on display last night. [We] failed to live up to our core values.”
Outside Agitators = Antifa (Anti Fascists)
The group that was waiting for Murray outside the event was a masked, violent mob. In almost every recent instance, this means the loosely organized underground group “Antifa,” a supposed anti-fascist group that often resorts to violent means in attempts to stifle ideas they view as dangerous. Antifa is far more prominent in Europe, where they regularly use violence and intimidation against those they see as an enemy. However, they are increasingly present in America. You can see their aggressive and profane response when pleasantly confronted by an attractive female Infowars reporter in this 2016 clip.
Administrators noted that while some students did participate in the protest, there were also a number of outside agitators. College spokesman Bill Burger described the attacks as “scary, violent mob action.”
Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010
Murray, whose daughter graduated from Middlebury in 2007, was invited to campus by a student group interested in hearing his thoughts after the recent US presidential election, in light of his recent book Coming Apart, which examines the white working class, who was instrumental in electing Donald Trump president. Coming Apart is largely a critique on the institutional changes which are negatively affecting the lower classes.
Coming Apart blames social and economic decline on a worsening moral character. I suspect that the title alone is what triggered most students, as anything with “white” in its title must automatically and harshly be hated and attacked.
I wasn’t always an old white nationalist eugenicist anti-gay pseudoscientist. And my wife was a knockout. https://t.co/3OjVLk449E
— Charles Murray (@charlesmurray) March 12, 2017
The New York Times published an article criticizing the protestors, but also calling Murray a “white nationalist” because he dares speak scientific truths. I suppose technically this should make one an “Asian nationalist” as Asians have the highest overall IQ as a group, but Murray is stuck with the moniker White Nationalist because reasons.
2/ Allison Stanger. She’s on the left. And fearless, funny, smart as can be, and as devoted to academic freedom as anyone I’ve ever met.
— Charles Murray (@charlesmurray) March 4, 2017
The NY Times labeled Murray a white nationalist, the Washington Post makes the story about Murray, not the violent students, and Murray praised the faculty and administration while condemning the violent thugs. Along the way, more leftists, such as Stanger, are now disillusioned and Murray has made a new friend with his liberal counterpart Stanger.
The faculty stand together in unison and pen a strong set of principles supporting the pursuit of knowledge and freedom of expression.
Meanwhile, the Middlebury students write a completely inverted Orwellian story of how the injured professor Stanger and Murray attempted to attack students from inside their getaway car, and the SGA proposes limits on speech for controversial speakers.
— Samantha Harris (@SamatFIRE) March 6, 2017
Hopefully, the backlash will continue, and the violent thugs responsible for hospitalizing one of their professors will be punished. And in the end, they cannot win. Murray was able to present his views as planned, and receives national attention drawing more to his message. Stanger, who planned to challenge his ideas, is demonized and attacked, and becomes a defender of Murray. As student Kate Reinmuth stated:
The only way to guarantee that your voice is never heard is to remove yourself from the conversation entirely and, unfortunately, this group of protesters did that on behalf of everyone today by shutting the discussion down.
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