Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Dineen on Middlebury, Murray and the elites' ironic and illiberal desire to avoid his work

More on Murray and Middlebury from Patrick Dineen in First Things:

Most of his essay will be too thick for most people. But the middle is in reach and quite interesting. I hadn't thought of the fascist Middlebury episode (which I've written about at great length; see also: Sam Harris' lengthy podcast with Murray; summaries from The Bell Curve; and responses in academia to Murray's work) as anything more than an ironically illiberal rant. But Dineen makes the further point that Middlebury represents the sort of growing inequality that Murray fingers in his work. And thus, "the violent protests against Murray had the convenient effect of preventing any exploration of the pervasive class divide in America today, and leaving the elite students and faculty of Middlebury self-satisfied in their demonstrative support for equality."

So, was Middlebury driven by blindness or by the self-interests of elites (at least subconsciously)?

Dineen also notes that "One might have thought that students at such a school would be keenly interested in hearing a lecture by someone who would discuss the evidence, basis, and implications of economic and class divergences in America today. Indeed, one might suspect that if the students were upset about inequality, they would have been inspired by Murray to direct the onus of their discontent against Middlebury College itself as a perpetrator of class division or even against themselves as willing participants in that perpetuation. At the very least, one might have thought that they would be interested in listening to an analysis of the role educational institutions play in creating and maintaining inequality. Instead, they shouted down the man who was going to speak with them about the role they play in perpetuating inequality—in the name of equality itself."


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