February 15, 2012

Long reviews of "Coming Apart"

Here are some reviews of Charles Murray's new book:

F. Roger Devlin in The Occidental Quarterly

Andrew Gelman on his stats blog

Thomas Edsall in the NYT.

David Frum at the Daily Beast.

Foseti at Foseti.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Frum's review review is more a "mirror writing"
phenomenon than anything of assistance to most readers. A splenetic spectacle.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Frum's a complete pseud. Who knew? Oh, right, anyone who ever read him...

Florida resident said...

Dear Mr. Sailer !
Sorry for the duplicate post, but:

Here is an interesting interview with Charles Murray on National Public Radio (sound, but not a transcript):

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/02/14/charles-murray

Surprising for me was that the interviewer did not interrupt Murray, but allowed him to speak, even when Murray was saying something against interviewer's opinion.

Without reading other reviews, I have no opinion on those.
But having read the book itself in full, and your review, I like your review very much.

Your other review, of Pinker's last book, was the motivation for me to subscribe to "The American Conservative".

Your truly, F.r.

Zeta said...

Thanks for the links, Steve. Quite interested in seeing Devlin's take on this, although I'm disappointed to see that a search for "feminist" only brings up one result in his lengthy article. And this from the guy who authored the essential "Sexual Utopia in Power"! While I'm on that topic, I have to bitch: the HBD-sphere realizes the importance of race and ethnicity in human relations, yet the most fundamental biological urge of all, the urge to procreate, and the way this manifests itself through sexual politics... it's so often ignored. That really needs to stop, even if it upsets some people's notions of women being sugar and spice, and everything nice. If we don't diagnose problems in a manner consistent with how things really are, and if we ignore the true elephant in the room that is sexual politics, well, that ain't too bright, is it? Solutions seldom emerge from a misdiagnosis of reality.

KM said...

Frum is right to question Murray's sense: 'Murray is baffled that a collapse in the pay and conditions of work should have led to a decline in a workforce's commitment to the labor market.' But Frum obviously cannot admit that bad pay and bad conditions follow ceaseless immigration and outsourcing.

Rrrrrroger said...

Thanks for this, but I would be especially interested in any reviews that you would call "perceptive."

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Lea said...

Murray describes, and decries, the situation. Frum is upset because Murray doesn't agree with him about all its causes. I happen to agree with Frum. The economics are important and libertarianism isn't the answer. But I can still appreciate Murray for bringing the problem to wider attention.

This just seems like common sense to me. Obviously Frum's personal beef with Murray explains his response. But that's ok. Frum has done a good thing too.

Anonymous said...

The lower class of whites may have lower percentage of religious people, but the ones who are religions are prolly MORE INTENSELY religious than educated/rich white folks.

Paradoxically for some, immorality all around them and within their own souls leads them to cult of morality. It's like a person deprived of sex thinks more about sex. It's like a person deprived of food and drink think more of food and drink.

europeasant said...

From the NYT

"Their children will be born into inadequate, high-risk homes, often with single parents, and destined by their low IQ to remain stuck in poverty"

Perhaps someone can find out what happens to high IQ children who have no jobs or have low paying jobs and will be stuck in poverty?

Luke Lea said...

If Devlin has it right, Murray is comparing the bottom 30 percent of white working-class Americans today with the bottom 60 percent a generation ago. That could explain a lot of the differences.

Anonymous said...

Gelman's is kinda weak too. "This whole debate started because I misunderstood Murray. But I still think I have a point." What debate? He still misunderstands Murray. The gay rights parade participation question is a great question.

dearieme said...

Come on, Sailer, which do you recommend? Or despise?

Anonymous said...

An article with larger implications.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they shouldn't have had the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

"The situation at the macro level is, if anything, even more transformational. The Chinese have largely taken over Piraeus, Greece’s main port, with an eye to make it a conduit for shipping goods into Europe. Qatar is looking to invest $5 billion in various projects in Greece, including tourism infrastructure. Other, relatively flush Europeans are trying to make “Greece the Florida of Europe,” Theodore Pelagidis, a Greek economist at the University of Piraeus, told me, referring in particular to plans to turn islands into expensive retirement homes for wealthy people from other parts of the continent."

So, Chinese, Muslims(Qatar-ese), and other Europeans are TAKING OVER Greece but no mention of Jewish financial power in messing up the global economy, not least Greece. Didn't Goldman Sachs coach the Greeks to cook the book?

Anonymous said...

"I heard over and over from young Greeks that they are painfully aware of repeating the cycle that most recently occurred in the late 1940s, when a great diaspora of young Greeks left the country for work. The crucial difference is that now well-educated young people — future doctors, teachers and engineers — are leaving, suggesting that what is taking place is the hollowing-out not only of an economy but also of a whole social system."

Not only are smart people leaving small towns for big cities(as stated by Murray), they are leaving small nations for big nations. Greece is gonna become dumber than it already is.

Anonymous said...

"Frum's review review is more a 'mirror writing' phenomenon....":

"What do you mean by "mirror writing." Do you mean Frum is making an polemical use of data, the way he accuses Murray of doing, in order to discredit Murray's book? If so, and if you find this "a splenetic spectacle," does that mean you believe Murray's book will be of little assistance to readers?

I'll have to read Murray's book to see if Frum is onto something. Have you read Murray's book and determined on the basis of your reading that Frum is wrong in his analysis?

-Morgan

Hunsdon said...

Cognitive ability, shmognitive ability. There is a creepy self-congratulatory undercurrent among many of these reviews, exalting the cognitive elite, and casting aspersions upon the vast herd of subliterate morons who populate flyover country.

Indeed, cognitive giftedness is a prerequisite,a sine qua non, for success in the "new economy," this brave new world we inhabit, that has such wonders in it. To succeed as an IT super-guru, yes, one must be intelligent. To be a surgeon, yes, an elite-level attorney, to get into Harvard.

However, to then pivot and assert that if one is not a quant manager of a hedge fund, or an attorney (for what we used to call a white shoe firm), or Matt Yglesias, then, shazam, this must mean that one is cognitively deficient, is absurdity beyond absurdity.

It's the kind of stupidity that you have to be really smart to fall for.

The vast majority of Americans live in non "SuperZips." Even with a couple of generations of assortive mating going on, there must exist a statistically not insignificant percentage of Americans in flyover country with more brains than God gave a turnip. (We ain't all Eloi yet!)

After all, how large can the entering class at Harvard be? (Large enough to accommodate everyone with a 115 IQ? 120? 130?) And then, how many quant managers do we need? How many elite attorneys? How many, for God's sakes, columnists for the NY Times?

And what of people who, for whatever bizarre character defect, do not find Manhattan nightlife and DC wonkery attractive? Or that find the values of our cognitively elite overlords repulsive?

We are smart, crow our elites, look upon our works and despair! And you, you little people, well, thanks to your dimness there is simply nothing to be done for you, and we shall politely avert our eyes from your embarrassing fauxs pas.

Pinning success on cognitive ability while blaming failure on lack of cognitive ability is a wonderful way to say "Nothing can be done, so let's enjoy the good times."

Ignore, too, the role of policy on the state of the nation. Ignore no fault divorce, ignore the gutting of the manufacturing sector, ignore the social safety net changing from a hand up to a hand out, ignore the dumbing down of education, ignore immigration "enforcement" that is less than a joke. It's just genetics, and you deserve what you get.

Man, standing on this soapbox is getting tiresome.

Anonymous said...

"A splenetic spectacle":
What's wrong with a little spleen in journalism? Somewhere on the internet there's got to be an archived copy of Leon Wieseltier's TNR article, "Higher Spleen," masterfully defending his preference for bad reviews.
-Morgan

Anonymous said...

Devlin review is smart.

Jim Bowery said...

GenoType dispatches not only Murray's thesis but all of the reviews cited by Sailer:

"Re: What the Top 1% of Earners Majored In

The undergrad degree data don’t support Murray’s proposed explanation for the Great Divide. Undergrad science and engineering majors that might lead to advanced science degrees are grossly underrepresented in the 1% group. They are so underrepresented that this data alone falsifies Murray’s primary explanation.

“Biology” obviously serves as a proxy for “pre-med.” Humanities majors of the kind that comprise “pre-law” curriculums are heavily over-represented. History, “economics,” and political science are obvious pre-law programs. What to make of zoology and physiology, except failure to make the cut for “pre-med”? Note that mathematics and physics are on the bottom. Computer science and mechanical/electrical/civil engineering didn’t make the list.
"

The Outsider said...

I'm surprised at Gelman's review. He's a pretty hard-core statistics guy, but the problems he has with the book seem all to do with whether "elites" are liberals or conservative. He has to keep stipulating that Murray isn't really talking about that, but since Murray doesn't say it, Gelman takes a stab at reading his mind. No problem since we all know every conservative thinks alike.

Pretty lame.

Dutch Boy said...

The decline of religious faith is part of the general assault of our elite on the rest of us. Religion in general(and Christianity in particular) emphasizes social solidarity and tends to oppose the acquisitive individualism characteristic of capitalist elites (the welfare state is merely a modified form of capitalism). A population with no sense of solidarity is ripe for abuse and exploitation. Murray seems to have no sense of this connection.

Dutch Boy said...

Mr. Bowery is quite correct: math and physics are not the route to membership in the elite; therefore, IQ is not a ticket punch either.

Anonymous said...

I was born into the WASP elite in the 1950's, and I seriously question Murray's assertion that the elite of the 50's was more in-tune w/ the middle class than the elite of today. We did not associate w/ anybody except ourselves. We all went to private school. The men worked as white-shoe lawyers or business executives or on Wall St. We never hung out sociailly with Italians, Jews, Asians, or blacks. We did not watch mainstream TV much.

This is just what I know about. If Murray is as inaccurate on everything else as he is about the elites of the 50's, then I question his entire premise.

Sheila said...

Excellent comment, Hunsdon. Steve, one review you haven't mentioned is done by Tanstaafl over at Age of Treason. He quotes from Alan Dershowitz:

“Even America, which has had a significant Jewish presence for only the last century, has been enormously influenced by Jews. The theater critic Walter Kerr, writing as early as 1968, demonstrated the integration of Jews into the mainstream American life by describing not Jewish acculturation to gentile culture, but rather gentile adaptation to Jewish patterns of thought: ‘What has happened since World War II is that the American sensibility itself has become part Jewish, perhaps nearly as much Jewish as it is anything else. … The literate American mind has come in some measure to think Jewishly, to respond Jewishly. It has been taught to, and its was ready to. After the entertainers and novelists came the Jewish critics, politicians, theologians. Critics and politicians and theologians are by profession molders: they form ways of seeing.’ Today this influence is even more apparent, as individual Jews dominate television, film, book publishing, newspapers, magazine advertising, public relations, and other opinion-shaping businesses. Professor Sylvia Barack Fishman of Brandeis University titled a November 1996 article U.S. ‘Culture Has Been Judaized, and Vice Versa.’ She calls this process the ‘coalescence of two cultures.’”

The elite, the upper class, the opinion-shapers, however you want to describe them, is thoroughly judaized - their thoughts and actions governed by the jewish narrative. This has had and will continue to have disastrous consequences for Whites because we are the bad guys, the scapegoats in this narrative.

The irony is that the bragging of two jews, in just one paragraph, contains more valuable truth than Murray's book, Devlin's review, or Yggdrasil's comment - all of which either ignore the judaization or dance around the implications of it. Just look how pithily the point can be made by two jews who think the judaization of the ruling class is good for the jews. It should be even easier for our advocates to identify and criticize the same thing because it is bad for us.

sunbeam said...

However you want to criticize Murray, is anything wrong with the thesis that the "cognitively gifted" are more or less voluntarily segregating themselves from the rest of society?

And that they are increasingly marrying and having children with others of the same social status?

It seems to me you guys have a dilemma on your hands.

You are quite willing to speculate on the intellectual shortcomings of Blacks and Mexicans versus yourselves.

But quite unwilling to do so with a population that evinces the same characteristics as regards you (let's call you "whitey," for short), as you do with Blacks for example.

Why is it genetics doesn't apply across the set of people with a white skin? Even though identifiable subgroups of this set have markedly differentiated breeding (babies) and behavioral patterns?

I think I make posts too long. This blog medium isn't conducive to making detailed, involved arguments.

As a large scale endeavor this phenomena has only been going on since ... oh 1960 or so. I'd pick the beginnings of it as when Ivies started to especially look for very intelligent students from everywhere, instead of just the usual crop of well-heeled ones.

It's gonna be interesting to see what the generational cohort coming along now is going to be like in 20 years.

In other words, what if it is true? And therefore genetic, and in a generation or two even more identifiably so?

Murray doesn't deserve any special credit for this book. I've seen similar arguments over the past 20 years or so, and have thought for some time about this myself. The attention this book is getting is either due to the guy being a supreme huckster who excels at finding the sweet meme that will sell books, or simply sheer random chance. Maybe both honestly.

I have to say his diagnosis of some of the causes, and solutions to the living arrangements of the less fortunate people he discusses, is as fucked as a football bat.

Harsh language and upbraiding is going to change behavior?

Really? I'd be scared to meet his mother.

All I can say is if you are from West Virginia or Oklahoma or Louisiana...

Well sucks to be you, Hoss.

Tomorrow apparently has no use for you.

(I was going to write something even longer about changes in technology, and the "usefulness," of the masses. But that's enough me for one day. Suffice it to say that the "elites" don't really need the rest of us any longer. For anything. Not labor. Not war. Certainly not for ideas.

Maybe not exactly true today. But it's coming. And I'd be happy to lay out a possible roadmap. It's not a very mysterious or esoteric topic despite how it sounds.)

Anonymous said...

Gelmen's main problem is he thinks being liberal or conservative is about who you vote for or what you tell a pollster.

Being a liberal is about accepting basic assumptions and principals. Nearly all elites accept these principals, irregardless of thier "politics".

For instance, most elites either don't believe in or acknowledge HBD. That's an example of a liberal starting assumption, and it taints all the conclusions drawn from it.

Joseph said...

I liked Herrnstein's and Murray's "The Bell Curve" (and also Daniel Seligman's very well-written "A Question of Intelligence"). But I have difficulty with Murray's other stuff. He seems to promulgate a goofy blend of social conservative (where everything is due to a lack of parental involvement and religious commitment, etc) and HBD'er (expressing the Voldemort view that must not be spoken). Why? Maybe so as not to offend? He also liked "The Big Sort" which is trivial navel-gazing, IMHO.

Rainer said...

Between the points Frum made against Murray, there was one that seems rather reasonable, namely, that Murray's his "upper class" is an undue mix of the liberal intelligentsia with the super-rich.
But Frum doesn't see the consequences.

It would indeed be useful to define the intelligentsia as a social class in itself, with a particular power base (the ability to manufacture public consent) and particular economical interests (living directly or indirectly from state subsidies), and to regard the conservative intellectual not as a heretic but as a class traitor. (As was done e.g. by German sociologist Helmut Schelsky.)

But that so, the lovable middle-class-republic, which Frum (with the "founders") propagates, can't work. For we need someone to stop the collective oligarchy of the intelligentsia. And the only person able to stop or restrain the intelligentsia's grip to power is the one or other billionaire (like Murdoch).

Anonymous said...

Re: What the Top 1% of Earners Majored In


"Sorry, the page you requested either doesn't exist or isn't available right now!"

Anonymous said...

One of the problems with Murray is that by many he will solely be remembered for his two chapters in Bell Curve and nothing else. The comments at the end of the reviews clearly show this. So many people just simply can not get over the fact that he discussed racial group differences. This rocks the current system too much.

There are way too many people invested in the fact that the borders of Western countries stay indefintely open and that the transfer payments keep flowing. The fate of cousins that should have the freedom to come over is way more improtant than the fate of the white underclass. The white guilt complex so carefully cultivated by the march through the institutions is what really counts. The system is structured that way and anything that goes against that is dismissed as fascist/right wing/reactionary non-sense.

The fact is that people of the western countries will never convince the rest of the world that their underclass matters or should have some effective solutions applied to them. As long as the border remains open and the the 1% elite does not side with the majority then arguments such as Murray's will always be easily dismissed.

Carol said...

"It's like a person deprived of sex thinks more about sex."

So, if I understand you correctly, someone deprived of morality by his environment will crave moral behavior?

Actually that is spot on.

Mercer said...

"I seriously question Murray's assertion that the elite of the 50's was more in-tune w/ the middle class than the elite of today. "

One reviewer agrees:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-10/can-you-pass-a-beverly-hillbillies-test-commentary-by-virginia-postrel.html

I think Devlin points to what is driving marriage decline:

Blue collar wages have fallen while female careers like nursing have not. Why would a school teacher or nurse want to marry a construction worker who earns far less? No amount of upper class preaching will make a difference if the economic prospects for lower class men remain dismal.

stari_momak said...

The LA Times review actual, believe it or not, mentions mass immigration as a problem for the white working class.

Anonymous said...

I know the current narrative in the HBD sphere is that we are like Tolkien's elves, tragically moving on while the dark hordes and their ivory tower masters win the day. The thing is that systems break down due to their contradictions, and ours are monstrous.

I imagine the Sun King too thought he was untouchable.

Anonymous said...

europeasant wrote: "Perhaps someone can find out what happens to high IQ children who have no jobs or have low paying jobs and will be stuck in poverty?"

They are the people who go to grad school. It makes poverty slightly less embarrassing, but only for a little while.

Hunsdon said...

Sunbeam said: However you want to criticize Murray, is anything wrong with the thesis that the "cognitively gifted" are more or less voluntarily segregating themselves from the rest of society?

And that they are increasingly marrying and having children with others of the same social status?

Hunsdon replied: Cognitively gifted is not a social class.

crawfurdmuir said...

Rainer is right in saying "It would indeed be useful to define the intelligentsia as a social class in itself, with a particular power base (the ability to manufacture public consent) and particular economical interests (living directly or indirectly from state subsidies), and to regard the conservative intellectual not as a heretic but as a class traitor."

The top 5 to 10% of the American population as ranked by income and wealth is a mixture of entrepreneurs, rentiers, and the intelligentsia. There is no agreement on common principles amongst these people, though they may share common tastes and habits.

One faction constitutes what might be called a "courtier" party, in which a social-engineering intelligenstia-elite collaborates with a rent-seeking economic elite drawn primarily from the financial industry; each, for its own reasons, seeks control of people through goverment compulsion. Their view is typified by the editorial page of the New York Times.

The other faction, a "country" party made up of entrepreneurs and investors, sees laissez-faire economics and prefers a smaller government. This faction's view is represented by the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

It is worth noting that more of the actual powers-that-be on Wall Street (e.g., Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Diamond, and their respective institutions) concur with the New York Times world view than not. They are both suitably positioned and unscrupulous enough to game the system of government to create rent-seeking opportunities for themselves. The Wall Street Journal is more likely to represent that of the country banker and businessman, who are neither .

Angelo Codevilla's book "The Ruling Class" further explores the division between our modern court and country parties. It might usefully be read in conjunction with Murray's writings.

The struggle between the two elite factions follows the pattern Vilfredo Pareto outlined in "The Rise and Fall of Elites." Clearly, in these terms, the intelligentsia is the ascendant elite, whereas the independent entrepreneur and investor reflect the manners and mores of the old bourgeoisie, and constitute parts of an elite faction that has been declining for the past eighty years.

The attacks of the intelligentsia on the "top 1%", cast in class-warfare terms, its apologia for the constant misbehavior of the black underclass, and its promotion of race replacement through unlimited immigration, are all habits acquired in the course of its struggle against the declining bourgeois elite. As Sam Francis reminded us, egalitarianism almost never reflects an actual wish for everyone to be equal in condition. It is a tool used by a rising, would-be elite to cast down an established elite that it despises and seeks to supplant.

The "conservative intellectual" may be viewed by the intelligentsia as a class traitor, but really doesn't belong to the intelligentsia at all. It is worthwhile to remember that "intelligentsia" was originally a Russian word that denoted a particular category of educated persons. Perhaps we might borrow another term from the Russians to describe the conservative intellectual - "superfluous man." Albert Jay Nock, the proto-libertarian philosopher, friend of William F. Buckley, Sr., and moral exemplar to William F. Buckley, Jr., entitled his autobiography "Memoirs of a Superfluous Man." Most conservative/reactionary thinkers worth reading are "superfluous men" in the sense Nock was. Even WFB, Jr. fit this description, until his craven sell-out, late in life, to the neocon branch of the intelligentsia.

beowulf said...

"But Frum obviously cannot admit that bad pay and bad conditions follow ceaseless immigration and outsourcing."

The David Frum of your imagination is quite different from the David Frum of the real world.

"Ending illegal immigration benefits economy""
http://cnn.com/2010/OPINION/05/03/frum.immigration.education/index.html

"global trade rules do not apply to subsidies created by monetary means. Through this anomaly, the U.S. has outsourced more jobs than it would have if China's currency had moved freely, like the euro or the yen. It's time for the U.S. to reconsider its casual attitude to monetary manipulation."
http://cnn.com/2011/12/12/opinion/frum-obama-speech/index.html

Anonymous said...

"a collapse in the pay and conditions of work"

David Frum accepts anything that the liberal establishment accepts.

In fact, there has been no "collapse" in wages. The income of the American middle class has gone up substantially since 1960.

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=12485

The CBO shows that real median household income went up 35% 1970-2008. Before 1960-1970 you had rapid income growth.

Moreover, only an idiot thinks the government is smaller now than 1960.

Frum is a shallow thinker who increasingly identifies with the left.

Mercer said...

"The income of the American middle class has gone up substantially since 1960."

Male median income is flat since 1970. Female median income is up by 70%:

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/the-great-male-stagnation.html

Larry, San Francisco said...

Are elites more segregated today? I am not sure but I grew up in a large midwestern city. When I was in high school in the 1970s I had an internship with the international group of the largest bank in the city. I got the job because the senior vice president (who was the number 3 or 4 man at the bank) was the neighbor of the high school teacher who got me the gig. Could anything like that would happen now?

Anonymous said...

They are so underrepresented that this data alone falsifies Murray’s primary explanation.

Good point.

Murray's thesis is falsified by this data.

A corollary of Murray's thesis is that these hard science majors are dumber than the humanities and other soft discipline majors. This is false, therefore Murray's thesis is false.

Anonymous said...

Steve, all of these trends are exacerbated by assortive mating.

Two generations ago, Men with an IQ in the top 5% would routinely marry women of average IQ.

If anything, the current economic insecurity is increasing the assortive mating trends.

JSM said...

"But quite unwilling to do so with a population that evinces the same characteristics as regards you (let's call you "whitey," for short), as you do with Blacks for example."

Could you capitalize "Whitey," the way you did "Blacks," please?

dogzma said...

"A corollary of Murray's thesis is that these hard science majors are dumber than the humanities and other soft discipline majors. This is false, therefore Murray's thesis is false."

Extrapolating further leads to the conclusion that we are dominated by higher IQ verbally fluent grifters. ;0)

RKU said...

I wonder if Frum actually read the book...

Some years back, I heard from a *very* knowledgeable source that Frum used to go around DC bragging that he didn't bother reading books, but---since he came from a rich family---just hired people to read them for him.

I guess the other question is whether he actually wrote the review, or just hired someone to do that as well...

TGGP said...

I didn't think much of what I read from Frum. He got Malthusianism completely backwards (higher wages led to more children, Malthus did not advocate a welfare state). He appears to have misrepresented Murray's position on the political leanings of the elite. And there isn't that much relationship between wages (which Murray's book points out haven't changed much) and labor force participation. What we've seen is rather obviously a story of changing male-female relationships and hence the role of men.

I would be interested in seeing the data he references about changing crime & marriage rates in the previous half of the 20th century.

Anonymous said...

I guess the other question is whether he actually wrote the review, or just hired someone to do that as well...

Well it doesn't really make sense that he would just hire someone to read books for him, without the reader at least preparing notes or outlining the books in written form.

ben tillman said...

The decline of religious faith is part of the general assault of our elite on the rest of us.

Indeed.

Religion in general(and Christianity in particular) emphasizes social solidarity and tends to oppose the acquisitive individualism characteristic of capitalist elites....

And the erosion of such communal restrictions is well documented in R. H. Tawney’s Religion and the Rise of Capitalism. It's a classic, and I recommend it highly.

Conatus said...

Everybody keeps talking about the white middle class but not the elite. Who are these elites? They are different than the elite of 1960. Like Gerlernter says in his 1997 essay, “How the Intellectuals took Over,” “today's elite loathes the nation it rules” and why is that? Gerlernter says,"The old elite used to get on fairly well with the country it was set over. Members of the old social upper-crust elite were richer and better educated than the public at large, but approached life on basically the same terms. The public went to church and so did they. The public went into the army and so did they. The public staged simpler weddings and the elite put on fancier ones, but they mostly all used the same dignified words and no one self-expressed."
The new Elite is different, the New Elite does not serve in the military, despises the haptic sense (unless it has to do with sex or excretion) meaning they do nothing with their hands; But mainly this New elite loathes the nation it rules because it is culturally foreign. At the same time it has plenty of ambitious natives,wannabe epigones who want to be just like the Intellectuals. They provide demographic cover for the Culturally Foreign.
But this new elite has very different values from the white middle class. The New Elite are intellectuals, love slight verbal distinctions that they can use to fool the slower, duller witted white middle class with their main tool, the confusopoly strategy. They present their solutions and products in language that is so Rube Goldbergish(ha ha) that normal people’s eyes glaze over in exhaustion at the verbal gymnastics they have to undergo to merely understand how to use a new product or to understand a social solution to our bigger social problems. Scott Adams(Dilbert) calls it the new economy of Confusopolies. Just make everything so complicated that the polite response is "Huh? You lost me” but it might as well be “That’s bulls**t.”
The New Elite has the obvious mental ability and verbal agility ability to simplify their ideas and programs, to shave with Occam's razor, but they prefer complexity because they want to limit membership in their club and this way they always have the fallback position of “I didn’t say that.” Exclusivity and verbal double meaning go hand in hand.
The recent gay marriage, Ninth circuit decision is a great example of the way the New Elite works. they said(I think)'You cannot use a majority vote of all the people in a Democracy(WTF?) to take back an existing civil right?' Gimmee a break, I thought democracy came before anything else.
It is these kind of verbal gymnastics that hve been used by the New Elite to denigrate and mock the white middle class.
Why are the stats on the white middle class down from 1960? because the New Elite loathes the white middle class, mocks it every chance they get and the white middle class gets it.
In their kitchens the white middle class says "Alright,alright, we get it,we aren't part of this country any more, we understand, we no longer care"

ben tillman said...

Good stuff, Crawfordmuir.

Most conservative/reactionary thinkers worth reading are "superfluous men" in the sense Nock was.

And Nock certainly is worth reading. Our Enemy, the State was excellent.

David said...

Was astonished to see this grammatical error on p. 101:

"The United States comprises a patchwork of many subcultures, and the members of any one of them is ignorant about and isolated from the others to some degree."

Members is? Perhaps Mr. Murray is imitating the verbal behavior of the plebs as an object lesson. That must be it.

Anonymous said...

“Even America, which has had a significant Jewish presence for only the last century, has been enormously influenced by Jews. The theater critic Walter Kerr, writing as early as 1968, demonstrated the integration of Jews into the mainstream American life by describing not Jewish acculturation to gentile culture, but rather gentile adaptation to Jewish patterns of thought: ‘What has happened since World War II is that the American sensibility itself has become part Jewish, perhaps nearly as much Jewish as it is anything else."

Culture of Critique is just more interesting and provocative. I'm no fan of Jewish power, but I find most Jews more interesting to read than non-Jews(with few exceptions, Sailer being the most notable). Ever try to read non-Jewish conservative sites? It's almost braindead. Either Christian Zionist tripe or hammy Nietzschean posturing(so laughable).

And who is the most interesting writer at Alt Right? Paul Gottfried, a Jew.

David said...

Anonymous 2/16/12 7:25 PM = Frum?

Murray's thesis is based on the assumption that America is a cognitive meritocracy. I'm not sure this assumption is true. There are too many counter-examples. Many of the people at the top (I'm thinking of Wall Street and Washington DC) seem to be little more than glib morons whose lives are centered on log-rolling. This of course indicates that they have organizational ability, of a kind; but there the certainties end.

I am more impressed by Hunsdon's first comment here (2/16/12 8:17 AM) than by any of the reviews.

Anonymous said...

Ever try to read non-Jewish conservative sites? It's almost braindead. Either Christian Zionist tripe or hammy Nietzschean posturing(so laughable).

Ever heard of niches?

There is only so much space in a niche.

A smart guy who keeps other smart guys out and only lets in dumb guys who agree with him is pursuing a successful strategy for that niche.

Crawfurdmuir said...

@ David - It has often seemed to me that the insistence that modern society is a meritocracy, unlike the societies of the past, contains a large element of moral vanity and unwarranted self-congratulation.

High intelligence and strong motivation have always been necessary to climb to the commanding heights of economic and social status. A mediocrity or a fool might inherit a title or a fortune, but without applied intelligence could not maintain high position. History is replete with stories of high-born failures (e.g., Philip, first duke of Wharton, "Mad Jack" Mytton), and of the successes of smart and diligent persons of obscure origins (Cardinal Wolsey, Jean-Baptiste Colbert).

I suspect that many of the top figures in Washington or on Wall Street today would not have been able to hold their own at the courts of Lorenzo the Magnificent or Guidobaldo da Montefeltro. They'd have been thought ignorant boors.

Success even in middle-class trades might elude them. The great Christopher Plantin (1520-1589), the first man to make a fortune as a printer and publisher, required his typesetters to know Latin, Greek, and one vulgar tongue in addition to their own - all that on top of knowing how to set type. How many of today's Ivy League professors could meet those language qualifications, to say nothing of the typographic one?

Anonymous said...

"The literate American mind has come in some measure to think Jewishly, to respond Jewishly. It has been taught to, and its was ready to."

This statement has to be qualified somewhat because what is 'Jewishy thought'? For there to be 'Jewishy thought', Jews first had to learn to think goyishy. Marx got his ideas from Hegel, Kafka was inspired by Kleist, and Freud was partly inspired by Nietzsche(and of course Greek mythology). So, to say something is 'Jewish thinking' is entirely kosher. It's like calling Rock music 'black music'. But for there to be 'black music', blacks had to first imitate and take ideas from white music.
Some blacks like to claim Jazz and Rock n Roll as purely or essentially black, just like some Jews may wish to designate modern thought as 'Jewish thought'. Jewish contribution has been immense, but it's not like Jews thought it up all by themselves.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the importance of race vs. class, look at it this way.

Throughout human history, probably at least 80% or more of all wars have been based in ethnic hostility.

And many other wars although apparently ideological had an ethnic basis underneath the surface (e.g. the Germanic Reformation vs. Latin Catholicism).

How many wars have we had that were class based?

Probably less than 1%.

Prior to WWI, Marxists thought classes across Europe would unite and overthrow the capitalists, but the lower classes quickly aligned with the upper-classes of their co-ethnics.

And even of the many supposed "class conflicts" of the Cold War (such as in Asia) had underlying ethnic conflicts (e.g. Slavs vs. Asians, North Asians vs. South Asians, etc.).

As any sober observer should realize, race will almost always trump class.

Anonymous said...

A couple more examples:

Even the supposed "class revolution" of Russia of 1917 was in many respects an ethnic conflict of Ashkenazis vs. Ethnic Russians (for which claim a mountain of evidence is growing, including Chapter 14 of Solzhenitsyn’s recent 200 Years Together).

Also, the supposed "class revolution" of Hungary was in many respects an ethnic conflict of Ashkenazis vs. Ethnic Hungarians, as recently noted by Paul Gottfried:

http://www.vdare.com/articles/viktor-orban-and-the-national-question-in-hungary