A Conversation with Charles Murray

Transcript, Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg, October 1994.


MR. WATTENBERG: Hello. I’m Ben Wattenberg. Welcome to a special two-part edition of Think Tank. You know, sometimes an argument within the scholarly community is so fierce that it spills over into the popular press.

For the next half hour, we’ll talk one-on-one with Charles Murray, co-author of the new book ‘The Bell Curve.’ In it he asks what is the relationship between intelligence, ethnicity, race and success in America. A conversation with author and social scientist Charles Murray — this week on Think Tank.

Our guest this week is one of America’s most prominent social scientists and no stranger to intellectual combat. Charles Murray is co-author, with the late Richard Herrnstein, of a big new book that makes the case that there is a growing stratification of American society based on differences in intelligence. Entitled ‘The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life,’ the book has already provoked a storm of debate and promises to be one of the most controversial books of the year. Charles Murray is the author of the highly influential ‘Losing Ground,’ which chronicled the failures of the American welfare system. He is currently the Bradley Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and today we are at his home in rural Maryland.

Charles Murray, you predict that America is in danger of becoming– and I’ll use your words –‘a high-tech version of the Indian reservation for some substantial minority of the nation’s population. In its less benign forms, the solutions will become more and more totalitarian.’ Why?