My own (limited) interactions with Charles Murray have all been positive, and I greatly respect him as an intellectual, a social scientist, and a proponent of open science. As such, there is nothing personal about the following analysis – it’s just my attempt to deconstruct his seemingly complex, but actually relatively straightforwards, political philosophy.
It barely needs to be stated that Charles Murray is not a racist/white nationalist, like the Pink Guards of Middlebury College and the respectable media insist. Even in The Bell Curve – a book that far more people “know of” than have actually read – he remains agnostic on whether the B/W gap is genetic or environmental in nature, and repeatedly goes out of his way to emphasize that group differences should never be used as justification to judge individuals differently (even though that’s not strictly accurate).
He has also, of course, become well known for being outspoken in his opposition to Trump – “counter-signalling,” if you will – for the past year: Meretricious appeals to Trump’s failings of character on the pages of The National Review, considerably more hystrionic screeds about “fascism” on his Twitter account. Speaking of The National Review, he is clearly part of that clique of Establishment neocons who believe that “dysfunctional” white working-class communities should die out and be replaced by immigrants. Now, in all fairness, Charles Murray himself is considerably more sympathetic to the white working class, possibly because of his far greater understanding of the world of Fishtown and Trump’s America, accumulated though thousands of hours of research; and, more speculatively, because his ties to the neocon (((tribe))) are ultimately not sanguinary in nature.
Still, he doesn’t disagree with their basic tenets:
I am not impressed by worries about losing America’s Anglo-European identity. Some of the most American people I know are immigrants from other parts of the world. And I’d a hell of a lot rather live in a Little Vietnam or a Little Guatemala neighborhood, even if I couldn’t read the store signs, than in many white-bread communities I can think of.
That said, the gloating reaction of elements of the Alt Right is somewhat misplaced, too – at least insofar as they attribute Murray’s “cuckoldry” to some desire to keep on getting invited to the cocktail parties of Conservatism Inc., out of monetary considerations, or out of a cowardly fear of becoming the next victim of an SJW witch-hunt. This is all pretty ridiculous. If respectability and huge amounts of money was his goal, Murray would have never even embarked on the career that he did, and he already has enough experience with SJWs for a few lifetimes; I suspect it’s like water off a duck’s back to him at this point.
Why do we always need to attribute personal or monetary motives to people’s ideologies, anyway?
Consider this. Murray supported the Iraq War, “for the reasons that the administration argues” (i.e. reasons based on lies, yet it is Trump and Russians, and not Murray himself, who live in a world of lies).
He became a supporter of gay marriage sometime around 2013; in so doing, he became the exemple par excellence of the neoreactionary criticism of conservatism as liberals with a lagtime of ten years.
He writes long libertarian manifestos, while remaining positive-to-agnostic about the mass immigration of peoples – the “most American people” – who have no time for such Anglo autism. I don’t like breaking it to milquetoast conservatives, but returning to “muh constitution” isn’t going to get very far when you country is fast becoming an ethnic patchwork quilt, stratified between a Jewasian cognitive elite and the “mulatto underclass clicking sponsored content all day” it rules over (to borrow a phrase from eminent Twitter sociologist menaquinone4).
Along with the rest of Conservatism Inc., he seem to be pretty skeptical if not hostile to Russia. He approvingly mentions Leon Aron, who unironically speaks of “re-Stalinization” in Russia, as well as a piece by Noah Rothman in Commentary, in which Russia’s intervention in Syria is presented as “aggressive actions” that may present Washington with “a crisis that it cannot back down” from. (Predictably, there is no introspection about how exactly Russia’s presence in Syria at the invitation of Syria’s internationally recognized government could possibly be aggression against a United States that is operating in Syria with no legitimate mandate whatsoever).
In other words, apart from his ground-breaking work at the intersection of sociology and psychometrics, what we otherwise have in Charles Murray is a classic conservative of his generation – a “white-bread” conservative, one might say – who has grown up with his “brain on Judeo-Christian values” and who has faithfully and consistently subscribed to all the major tenets of the Conservatism Inc. tribe.
However, he can be no more blamed for this than millennial “rebels” marching in lockstep to dictates from the CIA, WaPo, and their Marxist college profs. At least Murray rebelled against one – rather central! – orthodoxy in his political religion, and to his credit, he has stood up for fellow heretics such as Jason Richwine instead of throwing them overboard, as is typical amongst conservatives.
There is hope yet for Charles Murray’s (dark) enlightenment.