3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Ce commentaire est de: Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (Paperback)When I first read "The Bell Curve", I found it hard to question the logic of it. Now, after reading several commentaries, including an essay by Thomas Sowell in the book "The Race Wars", it is easier to second guess at least parts of the book. I reccomend it with some reservation. Still, the book is unfairly slammed by exagerated reviews.
First, if you are new to the book, you may think the book is about race. It is not. Only chapters 13 and 14 touch on race (and my gues, the authors put these chapters in to make contreversy). One could easily read the book without those chapters and come away with a clear, cogent argument as the two chapters are superfluous. The book is about IQ (and, yes, that is still a contreversial idea.) Anyhow, even if the authors are right about the 18% gap between the average black and white scores, that still leaves an 82% overlay between the two sets of scores. Discrimination based on an 18% chance of being correct is irrational!!
Second, if you've read the negative reviews, you will not only think that race is the agenda of the book, but that the agenda is a "eugenic" conservative one. Any good history book will show you that the biggest proponents of eugenics, like Harold Laski, Theodore Roosevelt, Beatrice Webb, Emma Goldman and Aldous Huxley were left wingers, and sometimes socialists. Even the 'nazi' ideology that this book is sometimes compared to ignores the fact that the nazis started as a big trade union - decidedly, a left wing idea. To be sure, the authors are libertarian so in a sense, that makes them conservatives - but only in a sense. There's still a wide gap between libertarians and conservatives.
Third and lastly, there have been great arguments made against this book. I strongly suggest that before, during or after this book, one read "The Race Wars" consisting of essays written about and generally against The Bell Curve. The most engaging and factual was by Thoms Sowell. Sowell argues that we can not be sure that intellegence determines class is possible, but it is just as possible the other way round. Poverty grows up without an abundance of books, quality schooling, 'intellectual' conversation and stimulation that middle-class and rich do have. Couldn't THAT just as easily be the explanation?
As said earlier, I do reccomend reading this book. It is thorough, thought-garnering, and eye-opening (in a neutral sense). I would reccomend "The Race Wars" as a post-script though. "The Mismeasure of Man" is almost surely the wrong book, as it argues against eugenics which, as we know, is NOT "The Bell Curve".