People who offer to make the size of their I.Q.s a matter for public comment—for instance, by joining Mensa—must be among the most pathetic of self-promoters. If they had any genuine accomplishments to boast of, it seems to me, they would consider it beneath them to boast of skill in taking a test. Thus the remarkably virulent and unenlightening controversy which greeted the publication of The Bell Curve, by Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein, has at least been the occasion of some innocent amusement.1 Just a glance through the letters pages of Newsweek, for example, at all those whose denunciations of the book’s “racism” claim the authority of I.Q.s in the 140s is a real hoot.

Are Murray...


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