Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Charles Murray on Western decline

The New York Times runs this story on Charles Murray, whom it calls "America’s most notorious social scientist." The excuse for the story is the publication of his latest book, "Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950," which Murray calls, an "exercise in honest multiculturalism." Murray takes a largely quatitative approach, called "historiometry," which I don’t yet understand, but I’m suspicious.

"Mr. Murray has issued what he says is a mathematically precise global assessment of human achievement, a "résumé" of the species in which Europeans like Shakespeare, Beethoven and Einstein predominate and in which Christianity stands out as a crucial spur to excellence. Equally provocative, he maintains that the rate of Western accomplishment is currently in decline."


Murray: "As I write, it appears Europe’s run is over. In another few hundred years, books will probably be exploring the reasons why some completely different part of the world became the locus of great human accomplishment. Now is a good time to stand back in admiration. What the human species is today it owes in astonishing degree to what was accomplished in just half a dozen centuries by the peoples of one small portion of the northwestern Eurasian land mass."

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