Charles Murray is a political scientist, author, and libertarian. He first came to national attention in 1984 with the publication of Losing Ground, which has been credited as the intellectual foundation for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. His 1994 New York Times bestseller, The Bell Curve (Free Press, 1994), coauthored with the late Richard J. Herrnstein, sparked heated controversy for its analysis of the role of IQ in shaping America’s class structure. Murray's other books include What It Means to Be a Libertarian (1997), Human Accomplishment (2003), In Our Hands (2006), and Real Education (2008). His most recent book, Coming Apart (Crown Forum, 2012), describes an unprecedented divergence in American classes over the last half century.
AEI scholar since 1990
Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, 1982-90
Research Scientist, American Institutes for Research, 1969-1970, 1974-1981
Peace Corps Volunteer and US-AID contractor in Thailand, 1965-69
Ph.D., political science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This new edition of Charles Murray's 1988 In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government proposes that success is not to be measured by economics or equality of outcomes. Rather, social policy suceeds when it provides the best possible framework for individuals to pursue happiness.
The takeaway from the story of early childhood education is that the very best programs probably do a modest amount of good in the long run, while the early education program that can feasibly be deployed on a national scale, Head Start, has never proved long-term results in half a century of existence.
Every intervention that erects barriers to starting a business, makes it expensive to hire or fire employees, restricts entry into vocations, prescribes work conditions and facilities or confiscates profits interferes with economic liberty and usually makes it more difficult for both employers and employees to earn success.
Capitalism has lifted the world out of poverty because it gives people a chance to get rich by creating value and reaping the rewards. Who better to be president of the greatest of all capitalist nations than a man who got rich by being a brilliant capitalist?
What’s important now is not to let what happened to Fishtown be ignored. For whatever reasons, the culture that used to characterize working-class America — indeed, that made working-class America the spine of America’s civic culture — has come apart. Recognizing that this has happened is the indispensable first step in figuring out what to do next.