Arnold Kling  

Charles Murray Watch

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From Esquire, August 29, 1978:

THE DANGEROUS ARROGANCE OF THE NEW ELITE by David Lebedoff -- For the first time, the author contends, there is emerging in America an intelligent elite that genuinely mistrusts the basic tenets of democracy. The group came about when young people of high measured intelligence began to marry and associate exclusively with other young people of high measured intelligence. The group is convinced it knows better than any majority what's good for the country and what's not.

Does this reinforce or cast doubt on Murray's thesis? (For how it could "cast doubt," look at the date on the piece.)

Pointer from MIckey Kaus, sent to me by a reader.

COMMENTS (12 to date)
John Jenkins writes:

Doesn't everyone mistrust the basic tenets of democracy? Who is in favor of mob rule, exactly?

Eelco Hoogendoorn writes:

It hinges a bit on semantics, since I dont see any actual data being discussed, but something that is 'emerging' in 1978 is entirely congruent with something that is well established a generation later.

Joe Cushing writes:

It's worth pointing out that our country was founded on a mistrust of democracy. That's why we were created as a constitutional republic. Unfortunately, democratic forces have been eating at the constitution for a long time. If we had less democracy, we would have less government.

Joe Cushing writes:

The elite are tired of people using democracy to take money from them by force--democratic thugary.

Eric Falkenstein writes:

Given the nature of the observation, I think this observation is entirely consistent with Murray: he makes a lot of hay about how the 1970's were different than the 1950's. If you found something like that from pre 1970 I would say it was contradictory. Kaus has been anti-Murray for, well, almost two decades, though half-heartily so.

Mark Little writes:

Reinforces it; but interesting that the theme goes back that far.

Is it just a coincidence that this new concern in the 70s with the rise of the unchecked cognitive elite corresponds to when Tyler Cowen dates the start of The Great Stagnation?

DW writes:

For the first time, the elite is numerous enough to coalesce?

Mupetblast writes:

The date of this piece coincides with New Left and Neoconservative talk of a "New Class" of culturally distinct technocrats. I'm thinking of Alvin Gouldner and, say, Nathan Glazer, respectively.

mike shupp writes:

DW: Sort of. I don't think an IQ elite suddenly got numerous, so much as (a) the 1960's and 1970's marked a point where more than ten percent of the nation's youth attended college, and (b) college admission policies reflected meritocratic ideals more than in the past. Lots of really bright boys meeting really bright girls, IOW. Millions of bright boys and millions of bright girls. THAT was new.

Steve Sailer writes:

Even before Lebedoff, Murray's old co-author Richard Herrnstein emphasized assortative mating in his Atlantic Monthly article "I.Q." in 1971. I recall reading it in the public library around 1973. That article is not online, but here's an article about that article in the Harvard Crimson in 1971:

Another source is Yugoslavian Marxist politician Milovan Dilas's 1957 book "The New Class."

Steve Sailer writes:

In England, high IQ liberal families like the Darwins, Wedgwoods, Galtons, Arnolds, Huxleys, and Keynes socialized and intermarried from the 18th Century onward. For example, Cambridge professor Richard Darwin Keynes recently died. He was almost an oddity in his family for not having a Nobel prize.

Last a few years has been to Ibiza, so met a person there whose style of presentation is very similar to yours. But, unfortunately, that person is too far from the Internet!...

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