"I still think today as yesterday that the color line is a great problem of this century. But today I see more clearly than yesterday that back of the problem of race and color, lies a greater problem which both obscures and implements it: and that is the fact that so many civilized persons are willing to live in comfort even if the price of this is poverty, ignorance, and disease of the majority of their fellowmen." - W.E.B. Du Bois
"At the core of the American psyche is the belief that hard work, education, and perseverance can overcome any disadvantage of wealth, background or class. It may even be true. The history of the U.S. is filled with individuals rising from rural poverty or immigrant ghettos to gain affluence, political power, or Nobel Prizes." Also connected with this belief is the fundamental idea, even stated in the Declaration of Independence, that all people are created equal. Most Americans believe environment, education, and opportunity determine how much a person can achieve.
Now a new and controversial book, titled The Bell Curve, is challenging these fundamental beliefs. The authors, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, claim that inherited intelligence and not environment or class is the main determiner of what a person can make out of their life. They say that "success or failure in the American economy, and all that goes with it, are increasingly a matter of the genes that people inherit." The poor are poor not because they are unlucky to be born poor, but because they were not lucky enough to have inherited good genes. They also assert that IQ scores are the most reliable way of measuring intelligence or cognitive ability and that IQ cannot be improved. They argue that America is separating itself into a class of high a IQ "cognitive elite" and an inferior class with low IQ. A low IQ is a predictor of crime, poverty, unemployment, and government dependency while a high IQ is a predictor of wealth and stability. The Bell Curve uses data to justify an overhauling of social policy and says that great cutbacks in social programs are needed because they subsidize the growth of the lower intelligence population. "The ranks of the cognitively inferior, they assert, are disproportionately filled with blacks, Latinos, and today's immigrants. And that's a serious disadvantage because low IQ- not education or opportunity- is the key factor underlying problems ranging from poverty and criminal behavior to out of wedlock births and being a bad parent." Because of the book's controversial ideas it has received a large amount of press attention. Bill Clinton denounced it and said that he was "outraged by the thrust of the book." Over 100 magazine and newspaper articles have been written about it, most of them being unfavorable. The New Republic and National Review both devoted entire issues to the book. Although most commentary on it has been negative, Forbes and the National Review reviewed it favorably. According to a lead editorial in the National Review: "A howling mob of liberal commentators not knowing what in hell they are talking about is a dispiriting spectacle, and media reaction to the Herrnstein-Murray book has been infinitely depressing." Is the media attacking the book because of a liberal bias as the National Review suggests or is it really flawed? Only by examining The Bell Curve's data and arguments can one make an independent determination.
The basis of their arguments rely on their beliefs on intelligence and IQ.
According to The Bell Curve:
The authors assert that these beliefs are "beyond technical dispute" and give the impression that they are readily accepted in academics and science, but this really isn't so. Is IQ really an accurate measure of intelligence or is it just an attempt to define intelligence, perhaps inadequately? The authors skip this question. Stephen Gould asks, "How can the authors base an 800 page book on a claim for the reality of IQ as measuring a genuine, largely, genetic, general cognitive ability - and then hardly discuss either pro or con, the theoretical basis for their certainty?"
There are many social scientists and geneticists who do not think IQ is a measure of total intelligence. "The prevalence of different kinds of mental talents has led Harvard University's Howard Gardner to suggest that people possess seven different kinds of intelligence: the traditional notions of intelligence, such as verbal skills, mathematical reasoning and spatial abilities, as well as smarts in music and body movement, and social skills involving the degree of mastery a person has over himself and his talent for interacting with others. Conventional IQ tests measure only a tiny sliver of these skills, argues Gardner, thereby ignoring the "genius" of artists like Pablo Picasso, Martha Graham, and Igor Stravinsky." Yale's Robert Sternberg has created tests that measure "practical intelligence" to determine how well people do in real life situations. These tests predict job performance better than IQ tests. According to Sternberg, "Many other factors, taken together have more influence on the outcome of people's lives than IQ" such as personality, motivation, experience, and the environment in which he was born. Sternberg notes that "in any field such as art, technology, teaching and science, creativity is at least as important as IQ." Even though many prominent social scientists dispute Murray and Herrnsteins' total acceptance of IQ as the ultimate measure of intelligence we will accept their claim for the sake of discussion.
Herrnstein and Murray labor for over eight chapters to prove that low IQ is the cause of poverty and low status. They do so by taking the unbiased government study titled National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience of Youth (NLSY) and the Armed Forces Aptitude test as the major sources for their data. "The NLSY survey included more than 12,000 youngsters, who were aged 14 to 22 when the continuing study began in 1979. At the time the respondents or their parents gave information about their educations, occupations, incomes, answered those questions themselves. . . As they have grown older the respondents have provided more information about their own schooling, unemployment, poverty, marital status, childbearing, welfare dependency, criminality, parenting behavior, and so on." However, The Bell Curve gives the false impression that the Armed Forces Aptitude Test can be used to tie IQ with job and school performance. "Pentagon scientists who administer it say the test isn't even an IQ test. Scores rise with the amount of schooling test-takers have, notes Barnard M. Baruch College's June O'Neill, who uses the test to study such issues as workplace discrimination. So it's no surprise that test scores predict school performance."
Murray and Herrnstein deck out their argument with a barrage of charts, graphs, tables, and statistical techniques. Their conclusions seem completely based on science and well reasoned to the lay reader. They prove over and over again that there is a correlation to IQ and low socioeconomic status, poverty, crime, occupation, illegitimate children and a whole host of other social problems. They work to give the reader the impression that IQ is the cause of these problems, but never really prove it. They confuse correlation with causation.
One instance of their use of statistics is their use of regression analysis to prove that the income differences between blacks and whites would not be so extreme if black IQs were not lower than white IQs. "Using regression analysis they control for IQ, effectively seeing what would happen if it were equal for both groups. This mathematical manipulation, the authors say, reduces the difference between poverty rates for blacks and whites by 77 percent, an impressively precise statistic. This suggests, they say, that income differences are primarily the result of IQ than of a family's economic status." But mathematicians find their use of regression analysis to control for IQ lacking. "Mathematicians like Stanford's Olkin take a more skeptical view of what it means to control for anything. 'It's a bad term because it can mean many different things', he said. Knowing who goes to church in a community, he said, can help predict who gets burglarized - because 'people who go to church frequently leave the doors open. But it doesn't mean you cause burglaries by going to church.'" You can prove there is a relation, but not the cause. This is what the authors of The Bell Curve do throughout their book.
Some social scientists have even found their use of correlations completely misleading and claim that the relationships are not as strong as Murray and Herrnstein imply. Stephen Gould points out that, "Herrnstein and Murray's correlation coefficients are generally low enough by themselves to inspire lack of confidence. Although low figures are not atypical for large social science surveys involving many variables, most of Herrnstein and Murray's correlations are very weak - often in the 0.2 to 0.4 range. Now, 0.4 may sound respectably strong, but - and this is the key point- R squared is the square of the correlation coefficent, and the square of a number between zero and one is less than the number itself, so a 0.4 correlation yields an r-squared of only .16. In appendix 4, then one discovers that the vast majority of the conventional measure of R squared, excluded from the main body of the test, are less than 0.1. These very low values of R squared expose the true weakness, in any meaningful vernacular sense, of nearly all the relationships that form the meat of The Bell Curve." In other words Herrnstein and Murray's conclusions are not scientifically valid.
The Bell Curve also mistreats genetics. According to Gregg Easterbrook, "the authors treat inheritance from parents as if it could be charted in straight lines. Smart parents A beget smart kids B, etc. This is a common blunder. Trait-inheritance charts more often look like zigzags, as phenotypes bounce around among offspring and may skip entire generations. Two red-haired parents may have two brunette children, each of whom in turn have one red and one black-haired child and so on. Herrnstein and Murray allude in a few sentences to the common outcome that the children of very bright parents may be only somewhat above average in intellect, but otherwise depict IQ as reliably passed through generations in straight-line fashion. If IQ does pass down generations in straight lines, then the cause must be mainly the environment families create, since genetic traits don't express so predictably."
Murray and Herrnstein use all of this data to prove that inherited "low intelligence is a stronger precursor of poverty than low socioeconomic background." They write, "putting it all together, success and failure in the American economy, and all that goes with it, are increasingly a matter of the genes that people inherit." This challenges conventional wisdom that environment influences intelligence. Income cannot directly determine IQ, but income and socioeconomic status can indicate the rearing environment that a child is exposed too. The child of a stock broker or lawyer is more likely to be exposed to book learning than that of a laborer. Extensive reading and calculating does effect one's intelligence. For example, Malcom X was the top student in his elementary school. When he got older he moved to the streets and became a dope pusher and pimp. Looking back, he estimated that he was limited to a 1000 word vocabulary when he lived on the streets. People are either in an environment in which their mind is pushed or are not. They use it or lose it, so to speak
Like the slick photos in a porno magazine, many readers of The Bell Curve will skip the bulk of the text and turn immediately to the chapters regarding ethnic and racial differences in IQ. According to the authors, "nothing seems more fearsome to many commentators than the possibility that ethnic and race differences have any genetic component at all. This belief is a fundamental error. " They say that "large human populations differ in many ways, both cultural and biological." Herrnstein and Murray concentrate their study on differences between black and white IQ scores. The average white IQ is 100 and the average black IQ is 85. They claim that this difference is not due to environment, but most probably genetic and biological differences.
In order to disprove the idea that racism may have contributed to blacks having a lower IQ than whites they theorize that, if racism is not a factor, blacks in Africa should not have a higher IQ than blacks in America. They quote a study by Richard Lynn and write that Lynn "assembled eleven studies in his 1991 review of the literature. He estimated the median black African IQ to be 75." Since African IQs are lower than Afro-American IQs they reason that genetics instead of discrimination is the cause of low IQs among African-Americans.
But, the Lynn study is outrageously flawed. What Lynn does in his work is cite a paper by Ken Owen, describing it as "the best single study of the Negroid intelligence." "The study compared white, Indian, and black pupils on the Junior Aptitude test; no coloured pupils were included. The mean 'Negroid' IQ in that study according to Lynn was 69. But Owen did not in fact assign IQs to any of the groups he tested; he merely reported test score differences between groups expressed in terms of standard deviation units. The IQ figure was concocted by Lynn out of those data...There is, as Owen made clear, no reason to suppose that low scores of blacks had much to do with genetics: 'the knowledge of English of the majority of black testees was so poor that certain tests...proved to be virtually unusable.' Further the tests assumed that Zulu pupils were familiar with electrical appliances, microscopes, and 'Western type lady's accessories....The tests developer, John Raven, repeatedly insisted that results on the Progressive Matrices tests cannot be converted into IQs." If Lynn's data is correct, then there would be as many black Africans who are certifiably retarded as there are African blacks with the same intelligence as American whites. Murray and Herrnstein acknowledge that they "benefited especially" from Lynn's advice. Leon J. Kamih, commented in Scientific American, "Lynn's distortions and misrepresentations of the data constitute a truly venomous racism, combined with scandalous disregard for scientific objectivity...It is a matter of shame and disgrace that two eminent social scientists, fully aware of the sensitivity of the issues they address, take Lynn as their scientific tutor and uncritically accept his survey's as research."
Herrnstein and Murray also cite studies by J. Philippe Rushton. They write, "Rushton argues that the differences in the average intelligence test scores among East Asians, blacks, and whites are not only primarily genetic but part of a complex of racial differences that includes such variables as brain size, genital size, rate of sexual maturation, length of menstrual cycle, frequency of sexual intercourse, gamete production, sexual hormone levels", and so on.
According to Rushton, blacks are not only genetically inferior, but engage in indiscriminate sex and have larger penises. Rushton said, "People are always saying, 'Oh you say whites are superior to blacks.' Even if you take something like atheletic ability or sexuality - not to reinforce stereotypes or some such thing - but, you know, it's a trade off: more brain or more penis. You can't have everything." He claims that Nazi Germany's military victories were due to the purity of its gene pool. Rushton was censured by his university when he went to a mall and paid 150 people to answer a survey with questions such as how far they could ejaculate. One wonders which attribute Rushton would lay claim to (or Murray and Herrnstein for that matter). This argument sounds suspiciously similar to Freud's concept of "penis envy." Murray and Herrnstein assure us that Rushton is "not a crackpot or bigot" and that "there is nothing wrong with Rushton's work in principle."
The Bell Curve ignores evidence that there is little or no genetic differences between whites and blacks. This evidence consists of "impressive black IQ scores for poor black children adopted into affluent and intellectual homes; average IQ increases in some nations since the Second World War equal to the entire fifteen-point difference now separating blacks and whites in America; and failure to find any cognitive differences between two cohorts of children born out of wedlock to German women, reared in Germany as Germans, both fathered by black and white soldiers." Also, black and white IQ scores have been converging the last few decades. If they continue to do so then in a few decades there will no longer be a difference between them. Genetics or biological differences cannot account for such a rapid convergence. Another problem with linking intelligence differences to genes is "intelligence is likely to be the result of interaction of hundreds if not thousands of different genes, each playing a tiny role in mental development. This vast genetic complexity underlying intelligence makes it very unlikely that there is a simple relationship between genes, IQ, and race."
The authors of The Bell Curve give their readers the impression that they are boldly charting new ground against cultural taboos. However, there really isn't anything in their book that hasn't been said before. They base their work on people who have done research before them. The casual reader who does not go through the footnotes and analyze them really will not get a grasp of what Herrnstein and Murray are basing their conclusions on. Charles Murray has pointed out that, "some of the things we read to do this work, we literally hide when we're on planes and trains. We're furtively peering at this stuff." There is good reason for this.
Herrnstein and Murray cite research financed by an organization titled the Pioneer Fund throughout their book. The Pioneer Fund is an organization that sponsors research that will preserve the "population quality" of the US. The Pioneer Fund was founded in 1937 by Wickliffe Draper, whose New England textile fortune began the fund's endowment and helps to finance it today. "About 5 million in the fund's investment portfolio, together with donations, trusts, and other revenues, produces about 1 million in annual income, most of which is distributed in relatively small pieces to about 20 recipients a year." 13 researchers who have recieved Pioneer Fund grants are cited in Herrnstein and Murray's bibliography. The Pioneer Fund also gives grants to political action groups which are pursuing like-minded goals such as the Coalition for Freedom, which describes itself as "establishing a Jesse Helms Institute for Foreign Policy and American Studies."
The Pioneer Fund has a long history with the eugenics movement. Eugenics was created by the English in the late 19th century. "They used it to try to control reproduction among the Irish, who were thought to threaten Anglo-Saxon society with their low intelligence and high birth rate. In the early 20th century the idea of genetic management caught on in the United States, where Italians, Asians, and especially Jews were identified as the oversexed and slow-witted. The partnership of eugenics and political power reached full flower with the rises of Germany's Third Reich. For a time it seemed that Adolf Hitler might accomplish his goal of creating a world in which the biologically worthy would breed prodigiously and the unworthy would be kept from contaminating the gene pool."
Harry Laughlin, the first president of the Pioneer Fund, "was a well known eugenicist who in 1924 was instrumental in pushing through legislation blocking US entry to Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia. Before Congress, he testified that IQ data proved that 83 percent of Jewish immigrants were born feeble-minded and therefore were a threat to the nation's economy and genetic makeup. Laughlin subsequently lobbied to keep these barriers in place, successfully cutting off sanctuary for Jews seeking refuge from the Third Riech."
In 1922 Laughlin wrote the model Eugenical Sterilization Law, which was made law in 30 states and "resulted in the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people in the United States. The law also served as the basis for the Nazi program that resulted in the forced sterilization of at least 2 million people. For his contributions in eugenics, Laughlin recieved an honorary degree from the University of Heidleberg, in Germany, in 1936."
The most famous sterilization case in the United States was Carrier Buck, who after giving birth to a girl named Vivian in the 1920's was found to be of a mental age of nine years old. "Since her mother scored lower still, Carrie was subject to sterilization under Virginia law that required it in cases of second-generation mental deficiency." The case went all of the way to the Supreme Court where Laughlin appeared. "Without taking the trouble even to meet Buck, Laughlin testified that her feeblemindedness had been inherited. In his view, she belonged to 'the shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of anti-social whites of the South.'" Laughlin's views prevailed 8-1. "Three generations of imbeciles are enough", said Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes after siding with Laughlin. "Vivian died of an intestinal disorder while she was still in elementary school....her teachers considered her 'very bright.'"
In 1937 Laughlin helped Wickliffe Draper found the Pioneer Fund and became its first director. The fund has promoted policies similar to those of Nazi Germany. In its charter the Pioneer Fund stated its purpose was to increase the reproduction of citizens who "are deemed to be descended predominately from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States." "To limit mixing with the unworthy, Pioneer Fund grant recipients have lobbied for restrictive immigration policies and promoted various forms of segregation. To rid the world of 'undesirables' - and their offspring - some grant recipients have suggested sterilization or even extermination."
The current treasurer of the Pioneer Fund is John Trevor Jr. He has been a longtime leader of the Coalition of Patriotic Societies "which in 1942 was named in a US Justice Department sedition indictment for pro-Nazi activities. Trevor was the group's treasurer in 1962 when it called for the release of all Nazi war criminals and announced its support for South Africa's 'well-reasoned racial policy.'"
One recipient of the Pioneer Fund's grants is William Shockley, "who had won the Nobel Prize in physics for his contribution to the invention of the transistor" and proposed paying people with low IQs to be sterilized. The already mentioned, J. Philippe Rushton, has recieved $770,733 from Pioneer Fund grants. Richard Lynn recieved over a quarter of a million. Arthur Jensen was granted over a million dollars. Murray and Herrnstein wrote that they "benefited especially" from the advice of Rushton, Lynn, and Jensen. Another figure connected to the Pioneer Fund is Thomas Ellis. Ellis has been a longtime aid to Senator Jesse Helms. He is one of Helms's best friends and has served as his campaign manager numerous times. Ellis served on the Pioneer Funds board from 1973 to 1977. According to Ellis the goal of school integration "is racial intermarriage and the disappearance of the Negro race by fusing into the white."
Probably one of the most important grant recipients is Roger Pearson. He is probably the most important racial eugenicist today. He founded the Institute for the Study of Man which is bankrolled by the Pioneer Fund. Pearson also was an editor of a magazine titled Western Destiny. It is financially supported by Willis Carto's Liberty Lobby organization which has been identified by the Anti-Defamation League as being the largest and most powerful anti-Semitic outfit in the United States. Pearson has claimed to have played a role in hiding Josef Mengele. Pearson justifies his past relationship with Menegele, who was a wanted Nazi war criminal, by saying, "suppose you see a racial crisis coming in the United States that nobody wants to talk about. Everybody wants to pretend everybody is Bill Cosby and Mary Tyler Moore. And the only guy besides you who can see this is like a freight train going 90 mph to a bridge that's out is Josef Mengele. Do you join forces with him to try to stop the train?" Pearson's answer to this "crisis" is "if a nation with a more advanced, more specialized or in any way superior set of genes mingles with, instead of exterminating, an inferior tribe, then it commits racial suicide."
Roger Pearson publishes a racial-eugenicist magazine called Mankind Quarterly. Five articles published in it are cited by the authors of The Bell Curve. 17 researchers listed in the bibliography have contributed to it. "Ten are present or former editors, or members of its advisory board."
Pearson also is a member of an international organization called the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). Instead of fighting communism the WACL's goal really is to support fascism. Members of it have been Nazi war criminals, Central American dictators, and some prominent extreme right-wing Americans. One member is Yaroslav Stesko, a Nazi collaborator who presided over the murder of 7,000 Jews. Another is Robert D'Aubuisson, who headed death squads in El Salvador. Another is John Singlaub, who was indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal. Jesse Helms and current Presidential candidate Robert Dornan are also members.
Murray and Herrnstein's practice of citing such sources throughout their book is troubling, but they cannot answer for all of the views of the people they rely so much on. Yet they have similar goals. Both try to bring eugenical thinking back into public policy and to restore scientific beliefs in biological and genetic differences between the races. Both misuse science to promote their own political agenda.
Murray and Herrnstein's real purpose of their book is revealed in its final chapters: to promote their own political agenda. Stephen Gould wrote, "The Bell Curve gives a sophisticated voice to a repressed and illiberal sentiment: a belief that ruinous divisions in society are sanctioned by nature itself. For many readers the graphs and charts of The Bell Curve confirm a dark suspicion: the ills of welfare, poverty, and an underclass are less matters of justice than biology. . .The Bell Curve taps the frustration provoked by relentless stories of sixteen-year-old mothers pushing baby carriages while the state pays the bills. Many Americans conclude these people cannot figure out anything, except how to reproduce and get welfare, and warrant nothing."
Murray and Herrnstein argue that the time is now to cut off aid to the poor and underclass because it is wasted money. They say that it is almost impossible to improve low IQ and that "school is not a promising place to try to raise intelligence or to reduce intellectual differences." They advocate repealing all work antidiscrimination laws in order to get a "substantial" benefit to "productivity and fairness." Curving back immigration is another policy which they suggest. They advocate eliminating welfare in order to slow down the poor from continuing to breed and reproduce. Murray and Herrnstein write, "The United States has policies that inadvertently social-engineer who has babies, and it is encouraging the wrong women. . . . We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended." They suggest that by cutting off aid to poor neighborhoods the government could help foster their "vitality".
Murray and Herrnstein also envision a dark future for America. They claim that IQ in America is dangerously dropping due to genetic reasons: the higher reproduction rates of the less intelligent. They say that the cognitive elite will merge with the economic elite and become further isolated from the people at the bottom end of the cognitive ability curve and that the people at the bottom will experience "a deteriorating quality of life."
"People in the bottom quartile of intelligence are becoming not just increasingly expendable in economic terms; they will sometime in the not-too distant future become a net drag. In economic terms and barring a profound change in the direction for our society, many people will be unable to perform that function so basic to human dignity: putting more into the world than they take out," they write. What will the result of this be? According to The Bell Curve, "social budgets and measure for social control will become more centralized. The growing numbers of illegitimate children born to poor women will have multiplier effects on social welfare budgets - directly through increased indirect costs generated in the educational and law enforcement systems. As states become overwhelmed, the current cost sharing between the states and federal government will shift toward the federal budget. The mounting costs will also generate intense political pressure on Washington to do something. Unable to bring itself to do away with the welfare edifice - for by that time it will be assumed that social chaos will follow any radical cutback - the government will continue to try to engineer behavior through new programs and regulations. As time goes on and hostility toward the welfare-dependent increases, these policies are likely to become authoritarian and rely increasingly on custodial care. Racism will reemerge in a new and more virulent form." They predict the coming of the "custodial state." By this they "have in mind a high-tech and more lavish version of the Indian reservation for some substantial minority of the nation's population, while the rest of America tries to go about its business. In its less benign forms, the solutions will become more and more totalitarian. Benign or otherwise, 'going about its business' in the old sense will not be possible. It is difficult to imagine the United States preserving its heritage of individualism, equal rights before the law, free people running their own lives, once it is accepted that a significant part of the population must be made permanent wards of the states." Murray and Herrnstein warn us that they "fear that a new kind of conservatism is becoming the dominant ideology of the affluent - not in the social tradition of an Edmund Burke or in the economic tradition of an Adam Smith but 'conservatism' along Latin American lines, where to be conservative has often meant doing whatever is necessary to preserve the mansions on the hills from the menace of the slums below."
Despite all of their deception, Herrnstein and Murray are right about some things, but for the wrong reasons. We do need to do something about welfare. In some instances, it does encourage illigitemacy. But, we shouldn't simply abolish welfare to discourage the breeding of people believed to be genetically inferior. We should reform welfare so that it does what was intended of it. Herrnstein and Murray are right to point out that our society is becoming more and more divided. They claim that this is because that less intelligent people are breeding more than the "cognitive elite." Our society is not becoming more polarized because of genetics, but because of rapid changes in our nation and economy.
Up until the collapse of the Soviet Union most Americans were united with a common cause. It may have been fighting for independence in the 1700's, moving west, the Civil War, WWII, and for the last 40 or so years the Cold War. Now with the end of the Cold War there is no longer a force or cause that unites all Americans. The wealthy have little in common with the poor and vice versa.
Rapid changes in the economy are further polarizing and dividing society. Corporations are becoming more global and are identifying less with America. Indeed, it may be the end of the American corporation. Right now, Mazda manufactures more cars in the United States than Ford. Which company is American? Does it matter? The job market is rapidly changing. Low technology industrial jobs are moving out of the country and are finding cheaper labor. They are being replaced by more high tech and analytical jobs. Jobs where you have to think and do more than simply obey a boss. We must educate our young for these type of jobs. It will take a restructured educational system to do this. Counting out large segments of the population, like Herrnstein and Murray advocate would be disastrous.
Our country is at a crossroads. Will we be able to adapt to these new changes? If not, then the results may be our nation transforming into a nightmare state as predicted by The Bell Curve.
Murray and Herrnstein advocate turning national policy the wrong direction. They confuse the lack of opportunity a person has with the inability of that person to achieve. Today, we have a whole chorus of voices who seem to agree with them. Their sense of community extends to only people who are like themselves and they dismiss the potentional of people who are different from them. The Bell Curve attempts to give these people a voice of science. It tries to persuade us to forget about the principles our country was founded on. It tells us that our genes guide us to a life of fulfillment or desolation and that we can do very little to change our destiny. Instead of being persuaded by them to give up, we must work to create a society in which everyone has an equal opportunity. We have too many minds that are stuck in poverty, violence, or poor nutrition. According to Herrnstein and Murray government is incapable of making a difference and shouldn't even try. It is true, that government cannot manipulate a person's genes, but a moral government can, and must, pursue policies that treat everyone as a resource. Programs that aid those in poverty, that help people with drug problems, that keep our cities safe, and that train workers for new jobs. This is how a moral government should operate. It shouldn't just create authoritarian reservations for the poor or cut taxes for the wealthy. Which way will we go? It will be interesting to see the future. It will be as good as we make it.