Murray refuted

I found Murray’s major theses in Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, hard to believe, in particular, that the elite is sexually well behaved.

Everyone knows that high socioeconomic status males have high rates of marriage, low rates of divorce, and look after their kids, but that high socioeconomic status career women are worse than truck bar strippers, at least at the very top, such as high priced female lawyers: they have low rates of marriage, if married have high rates of adultery and high rates of divorce, seldom have children, frequently fail to look after their children, if divorced with children invariably demand custody but are then apt to ditch the kids as inconvenient.  When young they have a rapidly changing parade of males who tend to be thugs, unsuccessful musicians, ski bums, and similar shiftless lowlifes, to whom they are apt to give large amounts of money, a financial relationship that more resembles being a complete idiot than hiring gigolos (or at least I hope it does). When they reach the age when promiscuity ceases to be intriguing and becomes disgusting they are apt to become cat ladies. (However women who pursue careers in traditionally female areas do not tend to be bad, apart from high status women who work in Human Resources who tend to be bad despite it being a traditionally female area)

But, according to Murray, what everyone knows is not so. Supposedly, it is a myth.

However Murray then piously follows the pretense that there are no significant differences between men and women, and offers us, not statistics for high socioeconomic status career women, but for high socioeconomic status people.

According to Murray, the myth is not about high socioeconomic status career women, but about high socioeconomic status people.  Heaven forbid that there might be anyone anywhere who might think that men and women are very different.

As usual, statistics that might potentially be politically incorrect, statistics that might reflect adversely on favored groups, are hard to find but Euro had some:

Euro quotes from chapter 14 of The Garbage Generation, available in full on the internet

Vassar economist Shirley Johnson calculated that every $1,000 increase in a wife’s earnings increases her chance for divorce by 2 percent….These working women, who earn $20,000-plus, are the most likely of all women to be separated or divorced.”

According to this study, the odds that an executive woman will never marry are four times greater than for the average American woman. Only 5 percent of most women age thirty and up have never wed (the 1985 Census), whereas 21 percent of our executive women have never been brides.”

“Even if our women do marry, the probability of their divorcing is twice as great as the norm. Thirty percent are currently divorced, and another 10 percent are on second or third marriages. Forty percent of all our women have therefore been divorced–compared with just 20 percent of most women in their same age range.”

“The differences between our women and their male peers are even more striking. Less than half (48 percent) of our women are currently married–compared with a whopping 96 percent of executive men  … What’s more, just 11 percent of the men have been divorced, compared with nearly four times as many of our women.”

While much of the bad behavior of high socioeconomic status career women may well be the result of hypergamy, not all of it can be explained in this fashion. Possibly some of it is the result of feminism. Feminism demands that men behave well, and demands that women behave “transgressively”. High socioeconomic status people are more exposed to such doctrines, and more likely to conform to whatever they are exposed to, being selected for conformity.

Murray also claims that our universities are sorting out the cognitive elite.

Reading old books, it appears to me that sorting along cognitive lines was most selective and effectual quite some time back. Cognitive selection has been diminishing since at least 1950 and arguably since 1890.

The problem is that if you recruit on indicators that correlate strongly with intelligence, such as the SAT, you get politically incorrect results. So increasingly universities are recruiting on indicators of conformity, pliability, and political correctness, on which women and blacks score far better.

The increasing recruitment on conformity and consensus explains the bubble that Murray describes. It also explains obviously dim witted members of the elite, such as the world’s most influential scientist, Michael Mann. (Though as one of my commentators points out, he is more a megaphone for the state, not a himself holding the microphone)  Similarly Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, though not dim witted, is not all that bright. Mann and Krugman are not the cognitive elite.

There is a myth going around that Murray is a prophet of the libertarian right.  Not so.  Murray represents how far right, and how far libertarian you can be, and still be mostly acceptable in polite company:  Which is not very right, nor very libertarian at all, as compared with reality.

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16 Responses to “Murray refuted”

  1. Matthew Walker says:

    Krugman’s smart. He used to be a very serious economist. Most of what he says now contradicts his old writings. He’s gone pathologically partisan in the last decade under the influence of his wife, who edits and co-authors his columns. And she has benefitted greatly from affirmative action. As it turns out.

    • jim says:

      Krugman’s smart. He used to be a very serious economist.

      His Nobel prize winning stuff is smart, but not impressively or unusually so. A serious economist, for sure, but not really the cognitive elite, perhaps part of the cream, but not the cream of the cream. Perhaps a serious economist, but not a very serious economist.

  2. Lemniscate says:

    “Cognitive selection has been diminishing since at least 1950 and arguably since 1890.”

    What’s the case for this? I understand affirmative action has degraded the fidelity of cognitive selection across all races and genders; has greater emphasis on SAT scores within groups not compensated for this, however?

    If Murray believes that class blind admissions processes optimally identify the cognitive elite, he is mistaken. Because of imperfect correlation between standardized testing and true ability, an above threshold score from a lower class individual is more likely to be a fluke than an above threshold score from a higher class individual — due to the difference in mean true ability of these two classes. The best admissions process would be to fit a Bayesian statistical model to the test data across all individuals using their class, race and gender to inform the posterior probability of their true ability being above threshold. This would mean women, minorities and the lower-classes would have to score higher than upper-class white/east-asian men to be accepted…

    • jim says:

      I understand affirmative action has degraded the fidelity of cognitive selection across all races and genders; has greater emphasis on SAT scores within groups not compensated for this, however?

      The SAT was introduced in 1901, in large part because of concern that existing entrance criteria tended to result in the selection of affluent white males. Universities rapidly came to rely very heavily on the SAT, in order that their entrance criteria should be blind to class, race, and gender.

      It was very soon noticed with considerable concern and dismay that high scorers on the SAT tended to be affluent white males at least as much as the earlier entrance criteria, so in 1928 they rejiggered the test to try to reduce the affluent white male domination, which is to say, reduce the IQ loading of the SAT, and ever since then, ever since 1928, they have been struggling to correct the politically incorrect outcomes of the SAT.

      And thus, for reasons of class, race, and gender, they amended the SAT in 1928 in ways that made it less selective for IQ and more selective for conscientiousness, which changes substantially improved the female problem, but to their considerable dismay failed to improve the class and race problem

      Ever since 1890, they have been doing one thing and another thing to reduce the propensity of university entrance criteria to select white males of successful families, the SAT being one such measure, a quite unsuccessful one. Every time they introduce such a change, it is alleged that the previous entrance criteria included affluent white male dullards, and excluded the poor, black, and female, which allegations might well be plausible, though far from proven, in 1890, but which allegations rapidly became less and believable, for by the 1920s it had already become apparent that the only entrance criteria that could solve this alleged problem were entrance criteria that were significantly less effective in separating the able from the incompetent.

      Which they proceeded to apply.

    • jim says:

      If Murray believes that class blind admissions processes optimally identify the cognitive elite, he is mistaken.

      He is also mistaken in thinking that admissions criteria were class conscious in 1910.

      The optimal procedure would be to take class, race, and to a lesser extent gender, into account. It is apparent that the explicitly class and race conscious admission procedures of the British officer class selection process that produced the British officer class of the Anglo Chinese wars produced better results than the class blind selection process that produced the Chinese mandarinate – but by the time of the second Anglo Chinese wars reforms were already under way so that the future British officer class would be selected in a way blind to class, though still, or course, explicitly conscious of race and gender.

      So if British officers were being selected in a formally class blind way by 1860 or so, my guess would be that US university admissions were probably formally class blind by some roughly comparable date.

      But when formally class blind criteria failed to produce the desired result, each new generation of leftists denounced the previous selection criteria as class conscious, attributing to their immediate predecessors procedures that had been abandoned a hundred years or more ago.

      • Lemniscate says:

        Thanks for the detailed reply. It would be interesting to see a graph of the correlation between IQ and SAT score over time. Where exactly does Murray get the idea that colleges have moved to a more efficient cognitive selection process, then?

        The British officer class is an interesting example. I wonder if this highlights one of the main advantages of a more rigid class system: cultural and potentially genetic specialization of classes. Class based admissions meant that British upper class men had a high chance of becoming an officer, so it became sensible on a risk/reward basis for many British upper class families to raise their sons for this purpose. With a high enough proportion of families doing this in the same cultural milieu over many generations, a highly specialized and tightly knit culture could emerge capable of great excellence.

        • jim says:

          Where exactly does Murray get the idea that colleges have moved to a more efficient cognitive selection process, then?

          Every time that the colleges do something to try and remedy their alleged class, race, and gender discrimination, they attribute to yesterday’s colleges the openly dscriminatory selection criteria that were applied during the early eighteenth century. Murray piously believes them, the same way he piously believes there are no important differences between upper class women and upper class men, and the same way he piously believes that no one even believes that they are different.

          The behavior that Murray attributes to the very recent past was not openly, intentionally, and consciously done since the early eighteenth century. Each new generation of leftists alleges that the previous generation did this discrimination subconsciously and unintentionally, and shortly thereafter rewrites history that the previous generation did this openly, consciously and intentionally.

          As I said, Murray is not right wing or libertarian compared to reality. He is as right wing and as libertarian as you can get away with in polite society, but to be acceptable in polite society requires near total obliviousness to painfully evident reality

  3. bgc says:

    Selection is now much more for Conscientiousness than for IQ – but this is all pretty irrelevant since there are no creative geniuses anymore, so innovation has ground to a halt and we are living off hype.

    Jim – if you want to e-mail me for a copy of my (short, 28K words) book on the corruption of science, I’d be glad to get your comments.

  4. foseti says:

    I don’t think you’ve refuted Murray.

    First, it’s not like he a climate scientist – all his sources are listed in the back of the book and the vast majority are available online. If you think he’s run the data wrong, it’s there to examine.

    Second, the study you cite refers to “working” women who make $20,000 or more. Murray’s elite start at $200,000. There’s a lot of room between $20,000 and $200,000 – enough to make both studies correct, I’d guess.

    Third, if you look at the numbers you cite, the number of very high-powered executive women is likely to be tiny. Perhaps these women are just the spinsters of yesteryear.

    Fourth, per Murray’s stats, these executive women may be avoiding marriage or likely to divorce, but they don’t seem to be having children. Divorce sucks, but it’s not so bad without kids.

    • jim says:

      all his sources are listed in the back of the book

      His sources answer the wrong questions. I don’t think anyone believes that high socioeconomic status men are badly behaved in reproductive and sexual matters, so data explicable by the fact that high socioeconomic status men are well behaved is irrelevant and misleading. He needed to provide data on high socioeconomic status career women, that being the specific group whose virtue is widely doubted. Similarly, I don’t think any of his sources are substantive evidence for the claim that university selection criteria at any time during the twentieth century had a class, race, or gender bias that favored affluent white males.

      Murray pointing out that high socioeconomic status people have high marriage rates and low divorce rates is like Krugman pointing out that teenage pregnancy has declined. In the fifties there was a lot of teenage pregnancy, because there were a lot of teenage brides. It sounds like relevant data, but in fact evades the question, perhaps because Murray was reluctant to ask questions capable of putting a protected group (career women) in a bad light.

      Murray’s elite start at $200,000

      Though that is not the same group as studied, it substantially overlaps, and the finding was that high income high socioeconomic status career women have lower marriage rate and higher divorce rate than poorer women. Possibly for sufficiently high socioeconomic status that correlation reverses, but common sense and casual observation is that the higher the income and socioeconomic status of a career woman, the worse the behavior, female lawyers being notorious. Murray does not provide evidence of such a reversal. Like Krugman he sounds like he is providing evidence that contradicts the conventional wisdom, but is not. Back in the sixties, Krugman’s implication that there is something bad about teenage pregnacy would have sounded bizarre and peculiar.

      they don’t seem to be having children.

      Anecdote and casual observation (I have no statistics) is that high socioeconomic status career women are not having bastards and not marrying, but to the extent that they do marry, are having children within marriage at rate that is low but not all that low, are then divorcing rendering the children fatherless at a rate that is anomalously high, and then abandoning those defathered children at a rate that though low, is nonetheless extraordinarily high compared to lower socioeconomic status mothers. My highly unscientific impression is that children that have been cut off from their fathers by their mothers, and then dumped by their mothers, usually dumped back on their fathers, are always children of high socioeconomic status career women.

      The category of women most notorious for self destructive sexual and reproductive misbehavior is highly paid lawyers. I don’t have any statistics for that specific group, but the fact that women in executive careers have low marriage and high divorce rates compared to poorer women supports the conventional wisdom.

      It looks to me, though I have no statistics, merely anecdotes and gossip, that high socioeconomic status men are reproducing as significantly above the rates of poor males, but high socioeconomic status career women are reproducing at far below the rates of poor women, primarily due to horrifying levels of sexual dysfunction, adding up to a substantial net dysgenic effect.

      I am giving you a lot of impression and anecdote and not much statistics, but the very fact that the relevant statistics are hard to find and seldom presented should tell you that the real statistics are horrifying, just as the use of the term “teenage pregnancy”, as though pregnant teenagers rather than unwed mothers were the problem, could tell you that unwed mothers are a really big problem.

      The very absence of statistics for the problems that the politically incorrect are apt to notice should tell you those problems are bad and getting worse.

      Just as when Krugman says “teenage pregnancies” instead of “unwed mothers” that should tell you that unwed mothers are a serious and worsening problem, similarly when Murray says “Belmont”, instead of “career women of Belmont”, that should tell you that there is something terribly wrong with the career women of Belmont, something that would get him into at least as much trouble, and probably more trouble, than examining blacks did.

      • KK says:

        It’s hard to follow your whole line of argument but I agree that there’s definitely something sex-related in the numbers that are only inferred in Murray’s book. I haven’t read it, so my knowledge comes from the deluge of reviews around this corner of the internet.

        According to Steve Sailer, Murray states that in Belmont (the upmost quintile), “the fraction of children not living with both biological parents is only about one out of ten”, which isn’t too high. How is that aligned with the increased divorce and nonmarriage rates among professional women? One minor factor might be steady non-married cohabitation, but despite what the assortative mating theory says, it seems that high-end men aren’t pairing up with high-end women that much. The ‘left-over’ men marry lower class women (apparently with great success) and the (literally) left-over women rarely marry anyone at all, but aren’t impulsive either to have bastard children just for the hell of it.

        Murray defines Belmont as the top 20% of whites in socioeconomic status. How is the top 20% defined, then? Does Murray measure family units or individual men & women? When considering married couples’ socioeconomic status, the most important factor is the man. When both spouses are upper-class, the family unit as a whole is too. When only the man is, the family usually is too. When only the woman is, the dysfunctions that you’ve pointed out start to become more common.

        • jim says:

          “the fraction of children not living with both biological parents is only about one out of ten”, which isn’t too high. How is that aligned with the increased divorce and nonmarriage rates among professional women?

          The vast majority of those living with their biological fathers and mothers are living with a high status father and a significantly lower status mother.

          High socioeconomic status men with careers produce more children than the average, high socioeconomic status women with careers produce considerably less. High socioeconomic status men who reproduce are generally married to somewhat lower status wives – for example Mitt Romney, who has five children, was a Stanford student with a JD and MBA who married a Harvard student with BA, a non career degree that primarily qualifies you not for a job, but to marry a high status man and raise his children.

          When both spouses are upper-class, the family unit as a whole is too

          When both spouses have high status careers, the family unit is apt to be severely dysfunctional, often so dysfunctional that everyone drops out of the upper class. A high status family tends to be a high socioeconomic status husband with a career, and a high socioeconomic status wife with no career or a significantly lower pay, lower status career. Male medical doctors with families are not married to female medical doctors.

          • thinkingabout it says:

            Jim’s last point nails it. I work in a hospital, and the vast majority of male doctors are married to physical therapists, social workers, school teachers and the like. There are some male surgeons who are married to female doctors in specialties like pediatrics and geriatrics – because those are laid back careers with low pay, and in comparison to the busy surgeon pulling in 500,000 a year, the pediatrician is essentially a housewife.
            And don’t think the women haven’t noticed it. A few months ago a very attractive single female physician was bemoaning how all the good men seemed to prefer nurses and teachers. And quite a lot of my female physician friends put down nurses for being “bimbos” and “stupid”. And criticize me for showing interest in dating nurses.

  5. Gilberto Dorneles da Rocha says:

    Funny thing reading this, 4 years later, and seeing that Murray is still trying to be accepted in polite groups by signaling against Trump.

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