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Charles Murry Coming in March

This College Fix article on the Falk/Derbyshire is too right trollish for my taste, but it includes this bombshell.

For [Zachary] Wood [’18], he said he is focused on his next big event: hosting controversial conservative author Charles Murray in March. However, in 2014, Murray was disinivted from speaking to a private Christian college in Southern California.

“Is Adam Falk planning on banning Charles Murray,” Wood said. “I would like to know.”

Charles Murray at Williams College. Woo Hoo! That will be some uncomfortable learning. Comments:

1) Is Wood really worried about Falk banning Murray or is he trolling? It is inconceivable to me that Falk would ban Murray since Murry’s books are assigned in Williams courses and cited (approvingly) by Williams professors. Then again, I would have given 20:1 odds against Falk banning Derbyshire, so perhaps I am out of touch.

2) Charles Murray is John Derbyshire with a Ph.D. Now, this isn’t totally fair. No two thinkers agree on everything. But on the central topic that got Derbyshire banned — human genders and races differ genetically in ways that have huge effects on society — they are one and the same.

3) What would (will?) Murray say to the students and faculty who protested against Derbyshire? Probably something like this:

You’re at college, right? Being at college is supposed to mean thinking for yourselves, right? Okay, then do it. Don’t be satisfied with links to websites that specialize in libeling people. Lose the secondary sources.

Sound advice!

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#1 Comment By Darel E. Paul On February 22, 2016 @ 7:43 am

Since my course was invoked in this post, I can offer clarification on the line in my course description “The course concludes with a focus on the current debate over American meritocracy and inequality and will include one or more of the following authors: Joseph Kett (Merit), Charles Murray (Coming Apart), Tyler Cowen (Average is Over), and Christopher Hayes (Twilight of the Elites).” Indeed, we did read Murray’s Coming Apart in toto.

#2 Comment By sigh On February 22, 2016 @ 8:39 am

So, in other words, Charles Murray’s recent work is actively a part of the academic culture at Williams. he spoke in the 80s re: Losing Ground, in the 90s re: Bell Curve, cited by williams faculty (in 1996, way to drop that detail. lol, and that’s not approvingly, that’s pro forma.) and now again, likely re: Coming Apart (4 years old now) or some other random writing he’s done since. How many authors have gotten paid to come to Williams at least 3 different times? But outside money that does not follow standard Williams protocol is needed to bring him because…?

Leaving aside the fact that it seems like what uncomfortable learning has identified is just that williams doesn’t invite many septugenarians to speak about their outdated views? Ok, that’s too snarky. How about, I seriously question the viability of conservativism when the best speakers they can find are men over 70, one of whom speaks regularly at white supremacist conferences and is published exclusively by a white supremacist website and has defended that term and the other is still mostly known for a single chapter of a book from 1994 that didn’t hold up to scrutiny then, let alone now?

I say williams should just invest in hundreds of pillows and blankets and have “comfortable learning” counter programming where everyone can relax and have some snacks and williams community members can speak about the blatant stupidity of much of the arguments of these out of date angry old white men yelling at the dying of the light. At this point, the group is a joke. A bad one and Williams is becoming the punch line in ways it doesn’t deserve.

Professor Paul–sounds like an interesting course and way to conclude!

#3 Comment By simplicio On February 22, 2016 @ 9:04 am

I think the whole point may be to puncture the elitist, privileged arrogance that elevates the (possibly) true statement “I am a smart person so my opinion matters” to the ridiculous statement “I am a smart person so only my opinion matters.” Given that such a statement has effectively been made by the College, I think the point should be granted. However, since there may be other ridiculous statements out there, I do not see this exercise ending anytime soon.

Snark aside, asserting that one speaker is illegitimate because their point of view is too far outside the boundary of acceptable discourse and that another speaker is illegitimate because their point of view is inside that boundary leaves only one possibility: the only speakers that can be allowed by UL are precisely on the boundary. I see what you did there.

#4 Comment By sigh On February 22, 2016 @ 9:40 am

Well, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but basically…yes.

There are speakers that Williams has without outside prodding. So Uncomfortable Learning is not necessary to having them come to campus. That’s the Charles Murray group.

There are also speakers that Williams rejects as harming its mission more than benefiting it. That’s John Derbyshire.

There’s a third group of speakers that Williams is ok with having speak but is not interested with having speak and so does not invite them. Perhaps that’s Venker, for example, or the 8 speakers they’ve had (all, for what it’s worth, white men) that are on youtube. So while you present those three groups that implies the border is a small, hard to identify region, I submit that 80% of the time, they arguably do so, though I reserve the right to disagree on individual speakers. I don’t know Vedder, Christy, or Mulligan well and I do think Lukianoff’s views on free speech are far from uncomfortable for most of the williams community*.

*this is another thing I question. Their definition of uncomfortable is one-sided. I doubt the majority of williams would be comfortable or generally exposed to radical black feminism or queer theory, but I don’t see represented on their youtube page.

#5 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On February 22, 2016 @ 3:52 pm

Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve provides persuasive evidence of the gap between black and white IQ from U.S. Labor Department research. Race realism is catching on and there is a lot of exciting work being done in that field. It is silly to suggest that academics and students should only explore one hypothesis: that black underachievement is solely due to racism. Censoring those who want to explore a plausible alternative hypothesis is dangerous and dysfunctional. Williams College students should be presented with the evidence and then make their own decisions without the paternalistic interference of Adam Falk.

#6 Comment By Mr. Calabash On February 22, 2016 @ 6:46 pm

Murray is a racist. His ideas have been debunked and he still argues for them against the evidence. Education and experience account for the variation in IQ.

“Almost all the research indicates no higher IQs for blacks with a significant degree of European heritage than for those with a lesser degree. One of the most telling studies is an adoption study examining the IQs of black and mixed-race children who were adopted early in infancy by middle-class black or white families. When they were studied at age 8, the children who were of half-European origin had virtually the same average IQ as the children who were of exclusively black origin. Hence, European genes were of no advantage. But environment made a big difference. Children (both black and mixed-race) adopted by white families had IQs 13 points higher on average than those adopted by black families, indicating that there were marked differences in the environments of black and white families relevant to socialization for IQ—differences large enough to account for virtually the entire black-white gap in IQ at the time of the study. Tellingly, although Herrnstein and Murray were aware of the existence of this study (which we know because it appears in The Bell Curve’s references), they did not discuss the study at all.”


#7 Comment By simplicio On February 22, 2016 @ 7:57 pm

@Mr Calabash,

This appears to be a very educational discussion of racist views.
It is a credit to the College that this is considered legitimate discourse.

#8 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On February 23, 2016 @ 12:06 am

It is just silly to see the extent to which people are willing to go to pretend that “education and experience” account for the variation in IQ. This happens every time someone discovers the simplicity and effectiveness of using IQ as an independent variable to explain crime, poverty, promiscuity or drug use. Racial difference in IQ are long-standing and impossible to ignore. See, http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/opinion-jason-richwine-095353 The paternalistic know-it-alls in the Williams College administration, however, can’t tolerate a reasonable discussion of race realism. To do so would undermine years of affirmative action programs, devastate hours of self-esteem building, and enrage everyone who has been victimized by reverse discrimination. It would remind to many that politics and not intellectual rigor is controlling our politically correct academic communities.

#9 Comment By Mr. Calabash On February 23, 2016 @ 7:37 pm


Except that IQ is not an unconfounded independent variable.

Yes, you do remind us that politics does confound your intellectual rigor.

#10 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On February 23, 2016 @ 11:47 pm

As far as I’m concerned any honor associated with being a Williams College professor disappeared the minute it adopted anti-white affirmative action policies. I used to take some pleasure in being the smartest person in the room when I taught at Williams. That feeling was short-lived, however, when it became increasingly clear that the rooms were packed with dim bulb sycophants who were chosen for their sex, race or sexual orientation.