A Harvard graduate who received his PhD in political science, Murray is the author of nearly 20 books, including his controversial bestseller The Bell Curve. A recipient of the Irving Kristol Award and the Edmund Burke Award, his work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post.
As a prelude to the event, we sat down with Dr. Murray to discuss the state of America’s universities, the Trump administration, andthe recent riot at Middlebury Collegethat ensued after the prolific scholar accepted an invitation to speak.
Q: I’ll get right to it. What was that experience like at Middlebury College? Were you frightened?
A: I wasn’t frightened when I was in the lecture hall and we heard the chanting going on outside. I wasn’t even frightened after Professor [Allison] Stanger and I completed our video presentations. Up until the moment we opened the doors to exit the building, I thought all the excitement was over.
But then to open the door and see guys in ski masks, that was scary. The thing is, you don’t get too frightened in that moment, because the adrenaline rush kind of takes care of all that.
But I did have a very strong sense I should not fall down. That I had better not let myself get pushed to the ground. I didn’t like the idea of being on the ground in the middle of that mob.
How deeply divided is America today?
It’s hard to exaggerate how divided we are. Hardly anyone now engages in a civil conversation with people who don’t agree with them politically.
I know very few people on the left who want to engage with the ideas of people on the right. And I’m sure it looks the same way to people on the left.
People are completely uninterested in dialogue. And, of course, those of us who were Never-Trumpers are especially aware of this, because we catch it from both sides.
Which is to say that the left thinks we ought to become liberals and they are mystified that we remain committed to principles of limited government.
The faithful Trumpists think that any criticism of their man is evidence of perfidy and wanting to sell out to the left.