Tuesday, April 25, 2017

From Youtube:
Waking Up With Sam Harris #73 - Forbidden Knowledge (with Charles Murray)

Strange to think that after all these years Charles Murray is still around and still getting people upset.

I actually went to hear Charles Murray speak way back when I was 16.

He was one of the speakers of the Calvin College January series back in 1995.  I was still in high school, but our 11th grade religion teacher offered us extra credit if we would go and listen to several of the January series speakers.  Charles Murray was on the list.

I was largely ignorant of politics at that time, but our teacher gave us some background on Charles Murray.  A few weeks before the talk, our teacher said that Charles Murray had simply collected the data, and was simply reporting what the data showed.  Then, as Charles Murray got more and more in the news, our teacher later corrected himself.  "I may have been too nice to Charles Murray," he said.  "It's looking like some of his data collection sources may be come from questionable groups linked with white supremacy."

Going to the talk was my first exposure to a controversial political speaker.
Of course, this being Calvin College, the protests were muted.  (I remember people passing out leaflets, but that's about it.)

Once the talk began, Charles Murray completely charmed the audience.  (He joked about his reputation, and how he was just going to go as himself for Halloween.)
To this day, I haven't read his books, so I can't comment on anything in his books.  But everything he said at his talk was very moderate, and by the end of the talk the audience was largely on board with him.

That evening at swim team practice, some of the swim team members were quizzing Jeremy about what he thought about it.  (Jeremy had the reputation for being the flaming liberal on the swim team--I was still largely conservative at that age.)  But even Jeremy found very little he could object to in the actual talk.

None of which is to say that Charles Murray's book is or is not racist.  I haven't read the book so I can't say.  This is just to comment on the speech he gave at Calvin in 1995.

Anyway, point being that people protesting Charles Murray really takes me back to high school again.  Ah, what a trip down memory lane!

As for the above podcast:
I agreed with some things and disagreed with some things.  But what struck me most was Charles Murray's thoughts on universal basic income. Surprisingly, he's for it, and makes some very good cases why we should have it. And this coming from a small government conservative no less!  If Charles Murray can be behind a universal basic income, then may this is an idea that deservess closer consideration.