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Richard Herrnstein

Co-author (with Charles Murray) of The Bell Curve (1994)


The ideology of equality has done some good. For example, it is not possible as a practical matter to be an identifiable racist or sexist and still hold public office. But most of its effects are bad. Given the power of contemporary news media to imprint a nation-wide image overnight, mainstream political figures have found that their allegiance to the rhetoric of equality must extend very far indeed, for a single careless remark can irretrievably damage or even end a public career. In everyday life, the ideology of equality censors and straitjackets everything from pedagogy to humor. The ideology of equality has stunted the range of moral dialogue to triviality. In daily life-conversations, the lessons taught in public schools, the kinds of screenplays or newspaper feature stories that people choose to write-the moral ascendancy of equality has made it difficult to use concepts such as virtue, excellence, beauty and-above all-truth.

1994 - from The Bell Curve, The Free Press, New York (with Charles Murray)