Skip to comments.No Nation Left Behind: An Interview with Charles Murray
Posted on 08/27/2008 5:01:29 AM PDT by RogerFGay
My father always said that anyone who lived through John F. Kennedys assassination remembers what they were doing at the precise moment the president was shot. This may well be true, but we also lucidly recall the circumstances of far lesser events such as the controversy surrounding the publication of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray. The furor its conclusions caused is forever ingrained in my memory.
At the time I was a psychology graduate student and found that most of my associates were familiar with the work but deemed it a book to be burned rather than read. I, however, bought it anyway, and like to think that my purchase foreshadowed my eventual defection from the Democratic Party. While the mainstream media may deem Dr. Charles Murray a pariah, he has been a hero of mine for fourteen years. His fame preceded the 1990s, however. Losing Ground: American Social Policy 19501980 is a work that permanently altered public perceptions regarding the welfare state. Therefore, it was an honor to have him answer a few questions about his latest publication, Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality. Currently, he is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
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Good post — thanks for the article. Dr. Murray has so much knowledge and common sense, it is no wonder the establishment seems to want to burn him at the stake since he challenges the orthodoxy at every turn.
I would heartily endorse his views on unions in education being mostly a problem in the urban districts. The only reason unions exist in smaller and suburban districts is because local school boards would rather negotiate with teachers as a group rather than individuals. This is, of course, endorsed by state legislators when they mandate a statewide minimal teacher pay scale.
I took particular note of what Murry had to say about working in the trades. I begged my daughter to consider dropping college and entering a trade as a way of ensuring her future. The trades are crying for young people to join them while many college liberal arts grads are working at McDonalds. My daughter could not be sold on the idea as shed bought the liberal idea that all trades workers are lower class uneducated morons. This even though my husband is an intelligent electrician who makes a better living than many college graduates ever do. As long as this perception of the trades is fostered in the young (often via the school systems) the trades will not be the choice of youth who most likely will end up in poorly paid clerical or restaurant work despite their BAs. Unfortunately the less numbers of plumbers, masons, electricians, etc., the higher the cost of their services will become. At some point in time this will become a huge economic issue for everyone.
I studied engineering in college, so I don’t have the same sense of uselessness as people with liberal arts degrees. But still, much of the time, I’d rather go to a bar-b-que, party, or family gathering with tradespeople; just to relax and enjoy myself like a human.