“I love Europe,” says Murray, “but I don’t want America to become like Europe. The odds are that we won’t get out of the mess we are in. If I were a betting man [sic], I would say 20 years from now the US will be indistinguishable from Europe.” I ponder this last comment – and its undertone of pessimism. I also feel confused about what Murray really wants. …. I resist the temptation to press the matter.
Instead, I ask about the state of the Republican party, to which Murray is something of a patron saint (indeed, Rick Santorum, the Christian conservative in the race, recently lauded [Murray’s book] Coming Apart in a presidential debate). Murray’s expression drops as though I have just squirted tomato ketchup on his truffles. “I am really unhappy with Obama. I really think he’s terrible,” he replies, “but [Mitt] Romney and Santorum as the alternatives? Don’t even think about Newt [Gingrich] … I’m in despair. I mean, I’m a libertarian. I will take Romney over Santorum. And both of them over Newt. That’s not a ringing endorsement, I know, but what can you say about such a field?”
Edward Luce, “Lunch with the FT: Charles Murray“, Financial Times, 10 March 2012.
Political scientist Charles Murray (born 1943) is fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC. He is best-known for The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (Free Press, 1994), a book that he co-authored with Harvard psychologist Richard Herrnstein (1930-1994). His latest book is Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 (Crown Forum, 2012).