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Meet Paul Ryan's 'Inner City Expert' Who Claims Blacks and Latinos Have Lower IQs

Charles Murray says it's not racist to suggest that some ethnic groups are genetically inferior to others.

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Perversely, there’s only one social policy intervention Murray whole-heartedly supports, and that’s easier access to effective contraception. Which helps explain why right-wing culture warriors get to claim contraception is a form of eugenics, because for people like Charles Murray, it is.

Learning from the flap over “The Bell Curve,” Murray now insists IQ is “intractable” – he no longer uses the words “genetic” or “innate,” though he still emphasizes that it’s largely hereditary. And he continues to argue that the ways we decide to structure society and create opportunity can’t make a difference. I come from a group of people, Irish Catholics, whose median IQ has climbed as the opportunities provided to us increased as well. Murray is wrong. IQ is not destiny.

Murray ends his self-defense with this last remarkable piece of dishonesty:

I’ll leave you with this thought: In all the critiques of The Bell Curve in particular and my work more generally, no one ever accompanies their charges with direct quotes of what I’ve actually said. There’s a reason for that.

That’s absolute bullshit. For one thing, I’ve written about Murray’s work extensively, and with lavish documentation and direct quotes (and I’m not the only one). Since I debated Murray on WBUR in 2012, I know he knows my work. So he’s a liar when he says “no one ever accompanies their charges with direct quotes of what I’ve actually said.” You can trust the rest of his self-defense as much as you can trust that last self-serving statement – which means not at all.

 

Joan Walsh is Salon's editor-at-large, and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America." Read more of her work at Salon.

 
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