The Bell Curve, written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray might be the book that’s drawn the most liberal ire in recent years. And that’s saying something. They hate any challenge to their orthodoxy.
So, knowing that, I was excited to read it. And it didn’t disappoint, it’s a great book. However, after reading it, I was a bit shocked. In my view, it wasn’t controversial at all. Murray and Herrnstein simply discuss the available evidence about IQ, race, socio-economic status, and how wide differences are tearing apart the American social fabric.
But I’ll let you judge how controversial it is. Enjoy the review!
Summary of The Bell Curve
The Bell Curve is too long and complex for me to adequately summarize. So, as a general summary, suffice it to say that Murray and Herrnstein delve into just about every facet of how intelligence affects American life.
More specifically, they first describe the American “cognitive elite.” In their opinion, that elite exists because of the ever-increasing number of Americans going to college, the ability of the smartest to find ways to make the most money, and the distinct cultural tastes of that elite. Another way to think of the cognitive elite is as the “natural aristocracy” that Jefferson believed in.
Then, the authors write about how cognitive differences impact American social life in part two of The Bell Curve. That wide-ranging section of the book covers everything from poverty to job performance. In my opinion, it does a great job of showing why the cognitive elite is so much more successful than the rest of America.
Next, in part three, the authors discuss the differences in average intelligence between the major ethnic groups in America. I’ll let you read the book to find out what those differences are, but know that they’re quite substantial. This is the part of the book that the liberals hated. They described it as racist, bigoted, etc. just because Murray and Herrnstein were willing to state the facts. Personally, I didn’t think the chapter was at all offensive. Neither author said anything indicating that they thought one group is better than the other. they simply stated the facts.
Finally, in part four, Murray and Herrnstein discuss what those IQ differences mean for America and what policies they envision being enacted to deal with the problems the IQ differences lead to. Their general opinion will be that the cognitive elite will develop even more of an American nanny-state to take care of the less intellectual able members of society. In that respect, it sounded a lot like the “Great Society” reforms described in The Best and The Brightest. I thought part four was by far the most interesting part of the book.
Analysis of The Bell Curve
After reading it, I really don’t see why The Bell Curve received such an angry, vitriolic response from the left. Sure, I can see why it made some people uncomfortable. Murray and Herrnstein certainly don’t mince their words.
But, it’s not racist or offensive. It’s simply the truth.
Fortunately, Murray and Herrnstein stood up to the left’s abuse and published The Bell Curve anyway. They stood up to the idiotic, enraged virtue signallers because they knew it was the right thing to do. And America is better off for it.
Like I said earlier, I found The Bell Curve quite interesting. At the same time, however, it’s incredibly scary to think about the development of an intellectual “underclass.” If that group is as unable to find work and purpose, as Murray states, then that will be a major problem for America that will create even more problems.
Just think, if that group really can’t fend for itself, then there will be a call for the government to step in. The already skyrocketing national debt will have to be increased even more to pay for the new entitlements, increased Social Security and Medicare, and other welfare programs. It’s a crisis we need to find another way to deal with.
One more thing to think about- America already has almost no place for the current amount of unskilled labor. That makes unskilled immigration even more of a problem. We need to recognize that and act accordingly.
The Bell Curve is a book that every American needs to read. It is an in-depth discussion of one of the most pressing problems facing America, and it’s interesting to read.
I know you might be skeptical that it’s interesting, it does contain a huge amount of statistical information. And I hated the one statistics course I took, it wasn’t interesting at all. But somehow, The Bell Curve is. You need to read it.
Furthermore, it’s great because it’s something outside the ordinary. Few books are such a deep dive into a complex and potentially controversial subject. I mentioned wanting to read different books in my review of When Breath Becomes Air. The Bell Curve certainly is different. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy reading it. Give it a try!
By: Gen Z Conservative