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Debatten om behandlingen av Charles Murray

Posted by sverigeidag på februari 28, 2012

Is it a sign of progress in our intellectual life that early published reactions to Charles Murray’s bestseller Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960 – 2010 have been less smugly dismissive, more non-berserk, more—dare we say?—thoughtful than could be expected?

Perhaps.

Keep in mind that Murray’s greatest solo book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950the product of a half dozen years of original research, disappeared almost without a ripple when published nine years ago. Why? Because Murray was still in Coventry for, along with co-author Richard Herrnsteindocumenting in The Bell Curve what most people suspected is true.

Similarly, Murray’s 2008 book Real Education received relatively little recognition, even though it was likely his strongest in terms of policy recommendations (not the reason to read Murray anyway).

But, finally, Murray is apparently being readmitted back into the national discussion.

Although Coming Apart lacks the massive original research projects of The Bell Curve or Human Accomplishment, it is a graceful analysis of the American class system. You should buy it and read it.

In the meantime, to get yourself up to speed, the most thorough review is by F. Roger Devlin in The Occidental Quarterly [Elite and Underclass, January 9, 2012]. Other informative analyses are by Ed West in The Telegraph, [How Britain and America are coming apart, February 24th, 2012] Roger Lowenstein in Business Week (the best of the liberal reviews), Foseti at hisblog, and mine in The American Conservative [The Bell Curve’s Toll, February 13, 2012].

In brief, Murray argues that the middle class society that dominated white America in 1960 is bifurcating. A flourishing upper middle class continues to follow the fundamental bourgeois norms of monogamy and parental investment in children, but no longer bothers to preach what it practices to the lower orders, who are suffering as a result.

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