May 15, 2011

This doesn't happen to Malcolm Gladwell

A sad pattern that goes severely underreported is the impact that low-level thuggishness has on debilitating intellectual life in America, and how this thuggishness is excused, encouraged, and exploited by elites to silence dissent.

For example, you may wonder why journalist Malcolm Gladwell is paid vast amounts of money to burble in public about the untested ideas of minor social scientists who have sent him their press releases, while a major social scientist, Charles Murray, is not.

Well, stuff like this doesn't happen to Gladwell often. From the student newspaper of Earlham College:
Murray lecture moves after fire alarm soundsMarch 24, 2011
By Al Krastev 
Raised security measures failed to prevent the abrupt interruption of Wednesday’s lecture by Charles Murray.  
Twenty minutes into Murray’s talk, “Taking Happiness Seriously,” the Carpenter Hall fire alarm forced the audience out of the building. Intially, the speaker stood at the podium by event sponsor President Doug Bennett and attempted to continue, despite the loud alarm. However, everyone in the building was soon escorted out. ... 
The fire alarm in LBC went off towards the end of the reception, interrupting Murray a second time.  
Knight said she does not believe the incident would affect Earlham’s image in any way.

The next day, the president of Earlham College, Doug Bennett, wrote on his blog:
Yesterday and today we’ve been having a thick discussion on the Faculty listserv around the interruption of Charles Murray’s lecture at Earlham on Wednesday night. A good deal of the discussion has focused on the question of whether he should have been invited at all.  

Bennett defends his inviting of Murray. But the point is that after thugs try to silence dissent, the professoriate prefers to discuss why anybody would let Charles Murray speak at all.

Sure, Malcolm Gladwell costs vastly more than Charles Murray and is kind of an idiot, but no thugs try to disrupt Gladwell's orations, and since the Great and Good are on the thugs' side, Malcolm's worth it.

49 comments:

agnostic said...

From Wikipedia's entry on Earlham College:

"In March 2005, William Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, was hit in the face with an ice cream pie by a student during a lecture he gave on campus."

"Shortly after the incident, conservative commentators Pat Buchanan and David Horowitz were 'attacked' (with salad dressing and a pie, respectively)"

The fire alarm stuff could be easily prevented by having free speech supporters (not from the ACLU, who would waver when push came to shove) stand by the building's fire alarms. How many can there be?

You would only need one person nearby to scare away the dickless little chumps.

Wes said...

What happened to Murray is truly despicable. I'm glad I read the college president's blog, because I was abut to blast him too. It sounds like he is a good guy.

Who are these punks that feel so entitled to shut down discourse they don't like with violence? This has been true on American (and I am sure European) campuses for decades. I believe Milton Friedman was heckled long ago.

Alumni need to stop and think before they reflexively donate money to their school. They should demand better behavior.

And we need state representatives to start addressing this issue. What are we electing Republicans for? There should be investigations into this activity and a demand for fairness, if the colleges are going to keep receive state money.

JJ said...

"What are we electing Republicans for?"

Oil and Israel.

Kiwiguy said...

The President deserves praise for apparently being the only member of faculty inviting conservative speakers to the campus.

This reminds me of Jonathan Haidt's talk about how conservative views are discriminated against:

"“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. In his speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08tier.html

Truth said...

"Sure, Malcolm Gladwell costs vastly more than Charles Murray and is kind of an idiot..."

He's an idiot, but IQ is the best predictor of career success?

Duh said...

Maybe it's because what Charles Murray has to say is deeply offensive to some people. That's all.

Anonymous said...

The issue is non-liberals keep paying tuition to these marxist institutions. Non-libs need to close their wallets to this nonsense.

Send your kids to non-marxist colleges only or expect marxism to continue to thrive courtesy of YOUR tuition payments.

Jack Aubrey said...

Before commenters here blast Bennett they should be careful to read his full blog post. I'm not saying he is tolerant of conservative views, but he certainly presents himself as such on his blog. He also has apparently introduced students in his own classes to Murray's work.

agnostic said...

And of course the main reason it doesn't happen to Malcolm Gladwell or Maureen Dowd or whoever is that liberals would sick a lynch mob on whoever did it.

You made a lot of McCain's wimping out in the choice or whether or not to "go to the mat" with Obama, and that applies just as strongly here. Where are the conservatives who are going to find the little weenies who pull these stunts and throw a pie in *their* face during class?

Like I said, the dorks wouldn't do anything when they lack the safety of being unseen (fire alarms) or of escaping into a crowd (pie throwing). They'd just sit there and cry that some meanie embarrassed them when they were totally defenseless and unprepared for it.

Dudes, who's up for a summer road trip to Earlham College? There'd probably be some cute summer session girls there, too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because what Charles Murray has to say is deeply offensive to some people. That's all.

So, people should have the right to suppress speech they don't like, is that it, Mr. Wizard?

Anonymous said...

I anyone is investigating who set off the alarm, Doug Bennett sounds like he should be top of the list of suspects.

Anonymous said...

does it happen to noam chomsky?

Anonymous said...

If you can't refute him via dialogue, don't let him talk.

Classic example of how things are today. Lovely.

a woman said...

The profs are the manless and intellectual cowards.

A subgroup of young people everywhere often act as fools.

It's the profs who are the manless and intellectual lightweights and cowards, and it's they who use the kids as tools.

Agnostic, I'd love for you and a group of friends to accompany a guy like Murray to the next few speeches and take care of the dummies. They'd melt at the first sight of manliness.

headache said...

Steve, the more important question is when are you going to it the lecture circuit?

Whiskey said...

The Puritans hung nice old Quaker lady preachers, for disturbing the thoughts of the faithful community. Because nothing was more threatening to them than the hint of "ungodliness" or something.

Same thing.

Meanwhile Aristocratic Virginia could care less about witchcraft, and discouraged but did not hang Quakers.

Bill said...

Just do it back to them -- and you don't even have to resort to such stupid antics.

If you stand up and ask deeply embarrassing questions when one of these people's champions is giving a speech at some university event they will lose their cool and it will ruin the event.

I've seen it done.

Sure, you run the risk of being attacked by leftist weenies, but most of them hit like girls, so you'll probably be fine even if that happens.

So, Steve, when Malcolm shows up at UCLA, why not go to the lecture, raise your hand, and ask him a hard question? In case he ignores you, bring a friend or two (preferably including one with a camcorder).

TH said...

Steve, I don't recall you writing about the incident in Greece last month, where James Watson was giving a speech at some university when a bunch of "anti-racists" invaded the lecture room and apparently tried to beat him up.

Anonymous said...

He's an idiot, but IQ is the best predictor of career success?

He's an outlier. See what I did there. :-)

Anonymous said...

YOU WROTE:
"For example, you may wonder why journalist Malcolm Gladwell is paid vast amounts of money to burble in public about the untested ideas of minor social scientists who have sent him their press releases, while a major social scientist, Charles Murray, is not."

And apparently you wonder ae well. But you do not bother to write down your speculations as to 'why.'

Why?

Anonymous said...

There's none more 'fascist' than the fascist left.
Punching, kicking, screaming, shouting, hurling missiles - that's their idea of debating dissent.

eh said...

What happened here was not all that serious compared to e.g. what happens (or has happened) when Tancredo speaks.

Still I wonder why Murray would spend his time on such an appearance at such a place?

He really ought to consider confining himself to writing, and then replying to responsible critiques of what he has written. This goes especially for his scholarly articles: "Just the facts, ma'am".

rightsaidfred said...

You need a certain amount of goodwill to debate. I don't see any goodwill from the Left.

"Tribal-moral community" with "sacred values" describes the Left pretty well.

Marlowe said...

So much for crying fire in a crowded theatre as an argument against free speech.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm Gladwell also tells us what we want to hear that we can be whatever we want to be if we try hard enough.

Anonymous said...

Send your kids to non-marxist colleges only or expect marxism to continue to thrive courtesy of YOUR tuition payments.
but if you want a good job you have ot go to a high status school which is always marxist. and frankly most whites care more about a good job than politics, thats why most conservatives just grit their teeth and go through college so they can get that Wall Street job.

If a conservative school started getting a good reputation marxist and liberal elite money would snuff it out or take it over. (i have seen this happen with a representational art school )

Anonymous said...

If you can't refute him via dialogue, don't let him talk.
that is the left way. It now standard for any conservatives that even get to speak on campus. Yet, because they control the dialogue, they go on and on about the christian taliban, intolerance, those dangerous fascists home schoolers, etc.

Truth said...

"He's an outlier. See what I did there. :-)"

I see exactly, but do you :-):-) :-):-) :-) :-) :-) :,0 :'0 :-! :+( :*0 :@)

Anonymous said...

He also has apparently introduced students in his own classes to Murray's work.
one could imagine how that's presented "the racist professor Charles Murray's work has been used by neo nazis to..."

Anonymous said...

You would only need one person nearby to scare away the dickless little chumps.
But YOU get arrested and the "dickless chumps" walk.

Anonymous said...

"Sure, Malcolm Gladwell costs vastly more than Charles Murray and is kind of an idiot, but no thugs try to disrupt Gladwell's orations, and since the Great and Good are on the thugs' side, Malcolm's worth it."

It's worth noting that Murray received a warm welcome at the 2010 ISIR Conference in Madrid, where he was recognized as a distinguished contributor:

http://www.isironline.org/meeting/archive.html

ISIR is a venue in which intelligence research can be rationally discussed, sans fire alarms.

Svigor said...

He's an idiot, but IQ is the best predictor of career success?

Stop shaking your heads, guys. To a mouse, two crumbs are statistics.

Marc B said...

The academic left has won by phony consensus and now must silence and disrupt the opposition rather than challenge them in the realm of discourse to maintain their perch. This current crop of post-modern leftists have little connection to the liberals I was familiar with prior to the early 1990's.

Anonymous said...

The situation is quite simple.

IQ is the bedrock of scientific psychology. There are thousands of factoids about human behavior published every year. Most of them are irrelevant. Many of them are just plain wrong - but few care. Academic psychology is not particularly well regarded or respected.

The great exception is intelligence testing. There have been hundreds of IQ and IQ-like studies done on tens of thousands of subjects. Furthermore these studies have been conducted all over the world for a century. They all show pretty much the same thing: IQ is stable, important, and varies among the races.

Alas the American public believes in the American Dream which holds that "...all men are created equal." So we have the incredible situation where science unanimously affirms the reality of IQ but the public prefers to believe just the opposite. It's as if the American public rejected gravity or the turning of the earth.

Murray's book The Bell Curve wasn't all that new. It was a book about well known facts and arguments, not a book about some new discovery. Everyone who was familiar with the scientific literature was also familiar with most of its content. But the media and the literati were scandalized. Murray dared to say what could not be said.

Gladwell makes a living exploiting the public's anxiety over IQ. IQ is highly heritable - about .70 or so. That's about the same as height. I'm six four and my father was six four. No one is surprised or threatened by the inheritance of stature. But the idea that intelligence might also run in families and be similar in identical twins is very threatening. It seems to infringe on free will.

So Gladwell creates a set of comforting myths that explain away inherited talent. The most bizarre is the notion that 10,000 hours of practice can make anyone able to do anything. He ignores Bill Gates' or Mozart's intrinsic abilities and claims that they just practiced more and earlier than others. This idea is so preposterous that you wouldn't think that anyone could actually believe it. But in fact it has made him rich. People want to be told fairy tales it seems.

The situation is grave, maybe fatal to Western Civilization. I wish I could say that the public is slowly coming to its senses. But no, if anything it's getting worse.

Albertosaurus

Outland said...

"He's an idiot, but IQ is the best predictor of career success?"

I've been thinking about the amazing combination of in-your-face mainstreaming of bullshittery while remaining respected by the MSM. It must be that most people, smart people included, are easily seduced by things they like to hear. Gladwell tells people that everyone of us will be nice, rich and succesful if only for a few things. Why listen to 'fatalist' guys like Murray who say 'IQ will put you in your place if there are other uplifting guys like Gladwell who say IQ doesn't matter at all? There's a reason why Gladwell's place in the book store is next to the 2-shakes-a-day wonder diets and self-help gurus.

Still, we must struggle with the fact that he actually takes his own medicine; believes what he writes. How can such a dull man be succesful? I think he must have a real cynical publisher, who can manage to both stomach help spreading nonsense and getting rich of it.

Anonymous said...

"And apparently you wonder ae well. But you do not bother to write down your speculations as to 'why.'

Why?"

It's obvious, isn't it?
Malcolm tells them what they want to hear.

Have you ever dated?

Human nature: people are willing to exchange something of value to hear what they want to hear.

Anonymous said...

The explanation for why Gladwell is paid higher speaking fees than Charles Murray is called the "free market."

Truth said...

"Gladwell tells people that everyone of us will be nice, rich and succesful if only for a few things."

I don't remember him saying any such thing. I do remember him saying that hard work and determination were positive things.

"Stop shaking your heads, guys. To a mouse, two crumbs are statistics."

It would have worked better with "roach" but hey better than usual.

Svigor said...

that is the left way. It now standard for any conservatives that even get to speak on campus. Yet, because they control the dialogue, they go on and on about the christian taliban, intolerance, those dangerous fascists home schoolers, etc.

No, the anti-Christian, anti-American, anti-white Narrative is just "what Americans want to hear." Free market, and stuff.

Svigor said...

"Stop shaking your heads, guys. To a mouse, two crumbs are statistics."

It would have worked better with "roach" but hey better than usual.


I guess you missed the setup. "Mouse" (that's you) is a spot on the medicine wheel.

Svigor said...

Human nature: people are willing to exchange something of value to hear what they want to hear.

I can't emphasize this enough; this is why The Narrative tells whitey everything's his fault - all white people are racial masochists! No, wait, masochists like pain, so they want to hear what they don't want to hear, and what they clearly don't want to hear is that something isn't their fault, but nobody ever tells them that...

I'm so confuuuuused!

Anonymous said...

No, the anti-Christian, anti-American, anti-white Narrative is just "what Americans want to hear." Free market, and stuff.
so true. that's Hollywood studios rejected the Passion too. :)

Claudia Zhao said...

As an Asian, I agree with you that the best teachers are White. Firing "bad teachers" does indeed mean firing non-White teachers (including Asians, who are only-sometimes competent but uninspiring.)

Formerly.JP98 said...

"Malcolm Gladwell also tells us what we want to hear that we can be whatever we want to be if we try hard enough."

An interesting question is why people prefer this message to the IQ-realism message. I don't doubt that they do prefer it. But why? Why would someone rather be told he could win the Masters if he just worked hard enough (i.e., he's not rich because he's lazy) than be told that no matter how hard he worked, he probably wouldn't be in the same class as the top pros (i.e., it's no shame to be average)?

Why prefer "it's possible and you failed" to "it's impossible"?

Anonymous said...

"Human nature: people are willing to exchange something of value to hear what they want to hear."

This is true and entirely relevant as to why liberal students act like idiots when a scientist like Murray or Watson or when any political conservative is invited to speak.

They don't want to hear anything that is contrary to their version of truth. But why is their version of truth, the version which is laid bare by a guy like Murray's data, so important to them that they cling to it as the most fundamentalist of fundamentalists clings to the Old Testament?

Because nothing makes a progressive feel more important that being a Savior to the fallen. In this case, of course, the "fallen" are any minority. To make themselves feel more needed, they have to proclaim all minorities "oppressed" at some point, and the oppressed need a Savior, and what better way to convince oneself of one's goodness than to help the oppressed.

Should the data provided by a speaker or a writer force a conclusion upon them that robs them of their notion that the oppressed can be saved and that they can be their Savior, why, they just can't take that.

No, they'd rather hear that if they devote themselves to changing this or that, they can make a huge difference in the lives of the oppressed, in the course of the world. The ego is satiated by that "knowledge."

To this kind of person, real knowledge, the kind arrived at by careful and diligent compilation and analyses of actual data, is not good, and they won't tolerate its dissemination.

"Tell me something that makes me feel powerful over others." That's what they want.

Wandrin said...

"Alas the American public believes in the American Dream which holds that "...all men are created equal." So we have the incredible situation where science unanimously affirms the reality of IQ but the public prefers to believe just the opposite. It's as if the American public rejected gravity or the turning of the earth."

Disingenous and dishonest nonsense.

Science doesn't affirm the reality of IQ IN PUBLIC because they know they'd get the same treatment from the power structure that Watson got. Science affirms IQ but only IN PRIVATE. In public they say the exact opposite out of fear of the anti-white inquisition.

The public believes what they're told IN PUBLIC by the MSM and the education system which are in the hands of the currently dominant anti-white power structure.

This dishonest nonsense that people are actively choosing lies over truth of their own free will is just more white suicide BS. The education system and the MSM actively seek to promote the lies and hide the truth.

.

Anonymous said...

My impression is that this low-level thuggishness has actually increased rather than decreased over the past 10-15 years.

Here is a link to Charles Murray discussing "The Bell Curve" on Charlie Rose's PBS show in 1994. I suspect that in 2011 Murray is not even allowed on the premises. Moreover Rose introduces the interview by holding up a series of major publications (Time, Newsweek, NYT Magazine, etc) all of which put the controversy surrounding "The Bell Curve" on the cover. As opposed to today when HBD topics are suppressed by not even being mentioned -- even to be attacked.

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/7223

Truth said...

The Boston Tea Party was "low-level thuggishness."

tagalong said...

It's not telling them what they want to hear, it's telling them what they *expect* to hear. People are horrible at figuring out what ideas are really wacky and which ones aren't. Despite all kinds of hopeful claims by moral philosophers, peoples' moral intuitions are similarly unreliable. (As you could work out from reading a history book without blinders on. Go ask the ghosts of all the millions of Jews, Armenians, Lithuanians, Cambodians, Chinese, Tutsis, etc., mass murdered in the last century about the built-in moral intuitions of their fellow man.)

Instead, what we're pretty good at is pattern recognition, and learning and enforcing the party line. People listen respectfully to Gladwell and mob Murray for the same reason some crowds now (and many historically) will listen respectfully to some preacher telling them they're all destined for a well-deserved eternity in hell, but would mob someone telling them all that hell and heaven stuff is fairy tales. Surely nobody *wants* to hear about how hot that whole lake of fire's going to be under their pale white ass. But some people *expect* to hear it, and will be damned offended if someone contradicts it.

It's not that Gladwell (or for that matter Jesse Jackson) is telling them something happy and Murray something sad. It's that Gladwell or Jackson are telling them something they expect to hear, something they more-or-less believe because they've heard it repeated forever, while Murray's comments are offensive because they're seldom heard, and because they contradict that stuff they've always heard.