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Obedience To The Unenforceable – Charles Murray on State of White America

Charles Murray-Author of "Coming Apart"
Charles Murray-Author of “Coming Apart”

Begin Mike: Church Show Transcript

Mike: This allegory that you just laid out is very similar to one that was laid out by Angelo Codavilla in that essay “The Ruling Elites.” That’s pretty much what he wrote. You’re confirming. Codavilla’s work wasn’t a scholarly one like yours, it was more opinion-based, but Codavilla’s conclusion [about America] is the same as yours, Dr. Murray, which is that the elites are over there, by themselves, in their little covens, and they are insulated from the rest of us [in America]. They go to the same parties. They attend the same schools. They have the same friends. They go to the same restaurants. They all hang out together, right?


Charles Murray: Yeah. And they aren’t aware of how much they don’t know. Here’s an example. The average American has the TV on about 35 hours a week. Now I’m not saying that’s a great thing, but it does mean a lot of exposure to the culture, common culture. In the new upper class, TV viewing is a lot rarer, and you have a growing number of people in that group that say, “We don’t even have a TV anymore” or “If we have a TV, we only use it to watch DVDs or Masterpiece Theater. So that means that all these things going on in the culture, they just never are aware of but they think they are.

Additional example, if you send your child to a good private school [in America], the admissions policy for that private school means that basically there are no dumb kids in that school. So you grow up, if you’ve been in those kinds of schools, thinking that the dumb kids are the ones in your school. You’re actually talking about everybody being above the average intellectual ability. That means there’s a whole half of the population that you’ve never even accounted. This, by the way, is not to say if you’re below the average in intellectual ability you aren’t worth knowing. That’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m saying there is just no sense, among people who go to private schools, what the whole range of people are like.

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Mike: This is Charles Murray. The new book is Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. Aren’t we seeing a little bit of this on display here with this controversy over what was said or was not said about subsidizing contraception, or having health insurance companies subsidizing contraception? Then having Rush say what he said and the young lady saying what she said? On November 20, 1963, I guess my question would be, would a testimony like Ms. Fluke’s have occurred, and if it did, what would the American people have thought about it then?

Charles Murray:: Well, it would not have occurred. I think about the motion picture codes back then, which was in a movie, you couldn’t even mention abortion, unless, if you did it, it was never to even be mentioned directly, and insofar as it was even implied, it was to be condemned. There were a whole bunch of things that simply could not be talked about. I will say, however, in 1963, no one would have used the language that Rush Limbaugh used.

Mike: So that would have been above the pale, too?

Charles Murray:: Yeah. That would have also been beyond the pale.

Mike: So, Mr. Gruss, if you’re listening, this is what I was talking about with self-censoring yourself. It wasn’t so much that the government would do it for you, it’s that people just didn’t think the same way that we think today. Am I right?

Charles Murray: Yeah. There’s a wonderful phrase I heard last week about what is fairly important for a civilized society, and that is “obedience to the unenforceable.” Obedience to the unenforceable is, well, you don’t say the kind of thing that Rush Limbaugh said because that’s just not the right thing to do. But it’s also in other things. You don’t build a 50,000-square-foot house if you’re rich, not because there should be a law against it, but it’s unseemly to do that. You have an obedience to an unenforceable code. You behave yourself in ways which are self-censoring, because if you’re going to have a free society, there must be self-government, meaning governing of one’s own personal self.

End Mike Church Show Transcript

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Host of the Mike Church Show on The Veritas Radio Network's CRUSADE Channel & Founder of the Veritas Radio Network. Formerly, of Sirius/XM's Patriot channel 125. The show began in March of 2003 exclusively on Sirius and remains "the longest running radio talk show in satellite radio history".

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