On Fox Nation, Tucker Carlson and Charles Murray discuss race science and speculate a race war is possible

Murray: “Until recently, I was very skeptical of comparisons with the 1850's”

June 16th’s episode of Tucker Carlson Today on Fox Nation featured a match made in race science hell. Tucker Carlson hosted Charles Murray, known for a career peddling pseudoscientific claims related to racial IQ in order to argue that social inequality is the result of the genetic inferiority of certain communities.

As described by Vox, Murray’s quintessential work The Bell Curve concluded that “America should stop trying to improve poor kids’ material living standards because doing so encourages poor, low-IQ women to have more children.” It also argued against immigration from Latin America and Africa (arguments that have been echoed on Carlson’s show).

Here’s how the Southern Poverty Law Center summarizes Murray’s view:

In Murray’s world, wealth and social power naturally accrue towards a “cognitive elite” made up of high-IQ individuals (who are overwhelmingly white, male, and from well-to-do families), while those on the lower end of the eponymous bell curve form an “underclass” whose misfortunes stem from their low intelligence. According to Murray, the relative differences between the white and black populations of the United States, as well as those between men and women, have nothing to do with discrimination or historical and structural disadvantages, but rather stem from genetic differences between the groups. The Bell Curve, which remains Murray’s most controversial work, firmly lays out Murray’s belief, shared with Herrnstein, that the groups that make up the “underclass” are there solely because of their genes.

Murray was also one of the most influential figures behind the conservative myths regarding alleged abuse of welfare programs. As Business Insider noted recently, in his 1984 book Losing Ground, “Murray posited that social welfare leaves society worse off, as it leads participants to rely on handouts instead of encouraging them to climb the socioeconomic ladder. As Insider notes, whatever its merits otherwise, that line of thinking is particularly troublesome in the wake of a pandemic that shut down entire swaths of the economy.

Murray appeared on Carlson’s show to promote his latest book, which Carlson stated he had not read.

Here are some excerpts of Carlson and Murray’s discussion:

Murray reiterated his long-held belief “that certain kinds of outcomes exist that are not explained by racism, let alone systemic racism. They are explained by differences that exist, for whatever reasons, between different ethnic groups.”

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Citation From the June 16, 2021, of Fox Nation's Tucker Carlson Today

TUCKER CARLSON: It’s such a weird posture to take. Thousands of -- many thousands of Americans die every year from violent crime. If many thousands were dying from pharmaceuticals, or eating certain kinds of vegetables, you would ask yourself, like, what kinds of vegetables, what pharmaceuticals, like, what -- what's killing these people?

You would want to know all the detail that you could, and you would hire someone like you to assemble the numbers so you could make rational decisions about how to mitigate the harm. Right? Right.


CARLSON: So, why wouldn't you be honest about crime, if you wanted to prevent it?

MURRAY: If you say that, for whatever reasons, the violent crime rate among Blacks is 10 times that what it is among whites, people don't want to talk about the immediate consequences for that situation.

They want to talk about, “Well, how can we fix it,” which I sympathize with, but “How do we fix it” is a separate question from “What do we do right now, in order to deal with the situation which faces us?”

So, the same thing goes with differences in I.Q.

I understand the impulse to say, “We've got to figure out a way to fix this,” but what I am trying to say in the book is, “That's fine, go ahead and devote attention to that. You must also recognize the reality of what is right now on the ground, and understand that certain kinds of outcomes exist that are not explained by racism, let alone systemic racism.”

They are explained by differences that exist, for whatever reasons, between different ethnic groups.

And by the way, we mentioned Blacks and whites only. I’ve not mentioned Latinos, I’ve not mentioned Asians, but in those cases, too, you have very different groups of people, for whatever reasons, and we ought to start talking about that stuff because the unwillingness to face that is pushing us to the brink of disaster.


Murray argued that “the cognitive demands” of certain occupations mean that  “a whole lot of more white people qualify than Black people.”

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Citation From the June 16, 2021, edition of Fox Nation's Tucker Carlson Today

CHARLES MURRAY: If you have -- well, I have the data in the book.

Essentially, you have registered nurses, and we have data on fairly large numbers of registered nurses, Black and white, and the difference in mean IQ between the two of those is a dozen IQ points, which is a lot.

It means you have a whole lot of extremely able Black nurses. You have some incompetent white nurses, but it does mean you have a difference in job performance, and that's eventually going to be reflected in income as well. It's going to be reflected in the nature of their careers, and the nature of how they end up and so forth.

Same thing goes with virtually all kinds of jobs. The same thing goes for the kinds of jobs people end up in, so that you have -- entry into certain kinds of occupations is limited, because the cognitive demands of those occupations mean that a whole lot of more white people qualify than Black people, and even a higher proportion of Asian people qualify than white people.

These are all differences which are driven not by irrational racism, they are driven by day to day realities of job performance, and the responses of supervisors to job performances, and the demands of the market.

I'm not saying all of them, by the way. In all of this, you know, in talking about these things -- Is Murray saying that racism is no longer a factor in American life? No. Racism is a factor in American life. I'm saying that you can’t understand the size of the factor it is without understanding the proportion of the differences that are reasonable, logical, and predictable.

Murray lamented that “nobody wants to talk about differences in races” and that “nobody wants to believe that there are any differences that cannot be fixed by better education, better nutrition, less poverty and the rest of it.”

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Citation From the June 16, 2021, edition of Fox Nation's Tucker Carlson Today

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): What I do know is that -- I mean, I'm speculating here, but I -- you seem like a very moderate person.

You're often described as a radical, but whenever I -- in those rare occasions I've read you write about yourself, your own views and your life rather than just pure social science, you seem very center-right, as you’ve said. Not a radical at all, and yet you are treated as a radical, big time.

And I want to play -- this is one of many examples, but this was the reception you got at Middlebury College in 2017, where one of your children went, when you tried to give a speech, and I think we have a short clip of that.

I guess the upside is you're not a politician, you’re not a demagogue, you're basically an academic. You’re -- I mean, you are an academic and a researcher and a social scientist, so, at least they're taking ideas seriously. But why -- why are they so mad at you?

CHARLES MURRAY: Well, race is the third rail, and it always has been of American politics. Nobody wants to talk about differences in races. You know, nobody wants to believe that there are any differences that cannot be fixed by better education, better nutrition, less poverty and the rest of it.

CARLSON: Well wait, we just ask you to pause there. And by the way, I'd love to -- you know, I'd rather not -- rather not talk about race at all. I don't like the topic.

I hear the opposite, though. I hear what the leaders of the left, or whatever this revolutionary movement is called, saying -- is that the differences are so profound that they define us completely. The differences are all that matters, they seem to be emphasizing the differences.

MURRAY: Well, they’re -- but that's in the context of systemic racism.

Murray argued that lower and middle-class white males were the least represented in universities and have the hardest time finding employment against women and minorities.

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Citation From the June 16, 2021, edition of Fox Nation's Tucker Carlson Today

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): So, the justification for overthrowing the hegemony of white men is that white men are at the top of the economic pile,

CHARLES MURRAY: Well, except that they aren't. The highest median incomes in this country are not for white men. That's -- I haven't looked at the specific numbers by ethnic group, but the Asians, I think, are considerably higher.

CARLSON: Indians at the top.

MURRAY: I think South South Asians are high.


MURRAY: East Asians high, South Asians high. The -- and a few within the white population, Ashkenazi Jews are higher than than Baptists and Presbyterians. You have all sorts of differences, all kinds of things.

The idea of the white Protestant male being at the top of the heap in this country, I think is outdated, to say the least.

CARLSON: How outdated?

MURRAY: How outdated?


MURRAY: If we're talking about a high school graduate who's a white male versus a high school graduate who's a Black male, or a Latino male, and trying to get a job in a -- in a variety of positions, such as the occupations I've mentioned earlier, such as being a policeman, such as qualifying for college and the rest of it, the lowest representation of any group in the elite schools is lower and middle-class white males. That's -- you want the group --

CARLSON: The lowest?

MURRAY: The group that has the hardest time getting into elite schools, given their qualifications, are middle-class and lower class-white males. I mean, it's an obvious reason for it.

The elite schools, they want to have a lot of Blacks. They -- they have to have a lot of Asians, because the credentials that the Asians bring to the applications are so high, they want to have the appropriate number of women and Latinos, of course, too. And then, in terms of white males, well, they've got a lot of legacy white males applying, and they want to keep the alumni happy.

That doesn't leave much room for the son of an electrician in a town in Kentucky who has perfect scores in his SATs, or very high scores in his SATs. There are just not enough spots left for him.

Now, that kid can get into a good state university, but when it comes to the institutions that everyone is slavering over, the elite institutions, he's at the back of the line.

But he's also -- has to go to the back of the line for almost any kind of government job, where aggressive affirmative action is most common.

So, talking about white privilege is OK with me. If you want to talk about recent graduates of Yale and Harvard, I don't think it's white privilege. I think it's another -- it's an elite privilege, but you can call it white privilege if you want. To talk about white privilege or male privilege for the rest of the population is just silly.


Murray discussed his perception that identity politics and critical race theory broke an unspoken agreement “whereby whites would be too polite to mention” the shortcomings of their Black colleagues, while “on the other hand, Blacks would not blame it all on whites, that they weren't making progress.”

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Citation From the June 16, 2021, edition of Fox Nation's Tucker Carlson Today

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Lots of questions arise from this, but the most obvious is, I guess it didn’t work? Affirmative action?

CHARLES MURRAY: It’s way worse than not working. Look, it was -- it was foolish from the beginning to set equality of result as the goal, and the reason I say it was foolish is that even in 1966, when -- when this got started, we already knew at that point that there were big differences in Black and white test scores, academically.

We also knew because of the Coleman Report, great big government study, that it wasn't the quality of the schools that explained that. That was a big surprise in that research, but it was true.

So therefore, we knew at the time you couldn't say we're going to have equality in terms of the proportion of Black physicians, or the proportion of Black engineers, or biology teachers. It was going to take a long time.

And what we should have been doing then is to focus intensely on giving Blacks a fair shake, that a Black person could be assured that first they would hear about a job being available, because employers would make special efforts to do that.

And secondly, they could be sure that when they got into that job interview, they would be judged on the merits of their qualifications in the same way that whites were, and they would not be denied a job because of the color of their skin. If we had focused on that --

CARLSON: The promise of the Civil Rights movement, in other words.

MURRAY: Excuse me?

CARLSON: The promise of this -- I mean, you just described the promise, at least publicly articulated.

MURRAY: Yeah, so they would be judged by the content of their character.


MURRAY: As individuals. If we had been measuring progress in that sense, we would have been able to celebrate a whole lot of progress.

Instead, we said we're going to measure progress in terms of equality of outcome, whether it's proportion of Black physicians, or whether it's income or anything else. And lo and behold, the progress has been really slow and it's been unsatisfactory.

And a kind of tacit agreement took hold, whereby whites would be too polite to mention that, well, there's a reason for this, in terms of the available people for employment opportunities, and -- but we wouldn't mention that.

On the other hand, Blacks would not blame it all on whites, that they weren't making progress.  Now, Tucker, you're -- we're talking about immensely complicated stuff.

For whatever complex series of events, we end up in 2020, 2019, 2018, with the rise of critical race theory, of identity politics, and suddenly it's all whites' fault.

It's white supremacy, it's white privilege, it's systemic racism, and we painted ourselves into a corner.

By ”we,” I mean those of us on the center-right and center-left, because right now, critical race theory says, “What else could it be, except racism, that still explains these gaps in outcomes?”

Well, part of it is a difference in the means and distributions of cognitive ability. We haven't been willing to say that, so this book does.


Murray theorized that “whites are going to start adopting identity politics themselves” and the result is that “the possibilities for an undeclared civil war are greater than they used to be.”

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Citation From the June 16, 2021, edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Today

CHARLES MURRAY: With the last four or five years, as the accusations against working-class and middle-class whites, and especially white males, have increased in intensity and viciousness, with whites being responsible for all of the ills of Blacks, you have had two very different reactions among whites.

One of those is the reaction of last summer, where members of the white elites were banging their foreheads on the ground in apology, saying “It's our fault, we've been racist, we haven't realized it, but we have. It is systemic racism.” We saw an awful lot of that.

Meanwhile, you had the much larger population of white middle-class and working-class people, who were not insulted into agreement. They were hearing these accusations of how terrible they are, and they're saying to themselves, “Wait a minute. I have been friendly and respectful of black colleagues, I am not a racist, I have done nothing wrong, and suddenly, now I'm told it's all my fault?”

There is, out there in the white population, pushback that's already, I think, visible in subtle ways. I think that pushback is going to get stronger as time goes on, and here is where my crystal ball gets very, very cloudy.

The situation is this, you have 13 percent of the population, that's the proportion of Blacks in the U.S. population, who are accusing 60 percent of the population, which is the proportion of non-Latino whites, of being bad, evil people. That's kind of a self-defeating strategy, and what I'm scared of is that whites are going to start adopting identity politics themselves.

They're going to say, “Well, OK, if it works for Blacks, if it works for Latinos, hey, we're an identity too." And they will start to have political views, and advocate policies that are based on their identity as whites, and if that's the case -- if all the races are agreed, it's OK to use the power of government to benefit our guys against the other guys, that's disaster, politically.

CARLSON: What does that look like?

MURRAY: Well, until recently, I was very skeptical of comparisons with the 1850's. You know, you hear them occasionally. “This is like the run-up to the Civil War,” and I said “Nah, it's nothing like that” -- and then I remembered what a famous historian named Bernard Baylon used to say to his fellow historians, which is that the difference between the historians and the people that we're writing about is that they didn't know how it was going to come out.


MURRAY: And unless you get in their heads, you can't understand why they did what they did.

And I am less inclined to say that these comparisons with the 1850s are far-fetched. I think that the possibilities for an undeclared civil war are greater than they used to be, and here's where the scenarios can get very -- unlikely, but possible.

For example, the U.S. government depends on its enforcement of EPA regulations and OSHA regulations and all the other thousands of regulations, on local agencies. They don't have the staffs on the national agencies to enforce them.

They rely on states and communities to do the job for them. What happens if South Dakota says, “Well, we'll get to your stuff occasionally,” and de facto stop enforcing directives out of Washington?

I'm not saying it's going to happen. Suppose that did start to happen.

Suppose that what happened with marijuana laws in -- in Colorado and other states, which contravene federal law, suppose that kind of unilateral insurrection, legal insurrection were to spread, I don't know how that would play out.

CARLSON: Well, sanctuary cities, we just saw this.

MURRAY: Yeah, but --

CARLSON: Cities said, we're not -- we're not enforcing federal immigration law.

MURRAY: There's already been examples on the left of that. The marijuana laws didn't get challenged because of, you know, it was the Obama administration, and they were sympathetic to it, so -- so, not complying with federal law was acceptable.

I'm saying that this kind of attitude is occurring right now in the face of a federal government that is distrusted by about 90-odd percent of the American people, according to Gallup polling, a percentage that has been extremely low for a long time, and used to be -- a percentage of trust that's very low, compared to trust in the federal government that was at about 75 percent in the 1950s.

So you've got a legitimacy problem with the federal government, and it's also happening in the face of the political polarization that's been so obvious in the last decade, and with both sides digging in in ways we have never seen before.

So what happens the next time the Republicans take the Senate and the House? Do the Republicans start to behave as the party for whites, to pass laws that favor whites? I'm not saying that's going to happen. I'm saying that that kind of identity politics is more likely now than it used to be, and it is potentially catastrophic.

CARLSON: I agree with that completely. And I mean no disrespect, but that's a very obvious point that you just made.


CARLSON: If you -- if you force identity politics on the country, at some point you're going to get white identity politics.


CARLSON: And I agree with you that that is a disaster. I don't want that. I don't think any normal person wants that, because it's zero-sum. But that's such an obvious point that you wonder, has that occurred to the people pushing identity politics? It must have, right?

MURRAY: That's what puzzles me, because I use that 13 percent versus 60 percent comparison -- It's like poking a stick at a very large, strong animal, and thinking that the very large, strong animal is going to be infinitely patient. I should -- when you use those kinds of analogies, I --- I think it raises the wrong -- the wrong image.

CARLSON: But why would you do that? I mean, why, -- Right? I mean, there's -- I don't see a good outcome to that, at all. I don't -- I can't imagine how anyone else could imagine a good outcome to that, so you have to conclude maybe they want a bad outcome. What's the other answer?

MURRAY: Now, I -- I cannot get inside the heads of the spokespeople for CRT.


MURRAY: I cannot understand why they would think this is tactically or strategically a good idea. And I guess I shouldn't speculate, I just don't know.

CARLSON: Right, I don't either, but I’m really bothered by it.