Bravery Signaling

This article originally appeared at the National Policy Institute website and is reposted with permission.


Charles Murray, Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Class, and Race (New York: Twelve, 2020)

In writing Human Diversity, Charles Murray finds himself in an invidious position. His followers are eagerly expecting a work of outstanding insight, immense originality, and incredible intellectual bravery, along the lines of The Bell Curve (1994) or Human Accomplishment (2003). But, at the same time, Murray wants to make a significant contribution to, as he puts it, “the most incendiary topics in academia”: racial differences, gender differences, and also social-class differences. So, pleasing his fans won’t be easy.

Murray wishes to challenge the fanatical and woefully empirically inaccurate yet widespread view among academics that “race is a social construct,” “gender is (mostly) a social construct,” and social-class differences are the product of social factors, such as nepotism, a rigged system, or the legacy of racism. The problem is that anti-science ideologues are so influential that they are likely to work for most major publishing houses, including for the one that has given us this book. And even if they don’t, they have the political power to do serious financial damage to publishers who are courageous enough to put out books that speak heresy towards this latter-day religion.

Furthermore, Murray himself is a almost-Establishment academic—a scholar at the neoconservative think-tank The American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC—whose niche involves creating cracks in the postmodern echo chamber, while still being “respectable” and at least partially—sometimes completely—submitting to the postmodernists. He has carefully positioned himself on the border between respectable and radical (in Clown World, being “radical” means going where the evidence takes you). The way to strike Murray’s balance is to engage in what I term “Bravery Signaling.”

In order to signal bravery, you present yourself as a controversialist, utterly unafraid of the postmodern mob, and, in so doing, you slightly enflame that mob, making you appear brave and interesting. You wax lyrical about how “I’m at a point in my career where I’m immune to many of penalties that a younger scholar would risk,” such as losing his job or facing ostracism at work. But you ultimately hold your fire when it comes to the most incendiary, yet empirically accurate, scientific research—the “monsters in the closet” of the kind that would have you labelled, in Murray’s words, “eccentric at best . . . a terrible human being at worst.” This allows you to write things like: “The differences among human groups are interesting, not scary or earthshaking.” And this permits you to remain part of the Establishment (or just outside of it) and continue to receive invites to smart dinner parties, while concomitantly gaining a less than fully deserved reputation as a “Defender of Truth” against the anti-Science Woking Classes that now predominate in academia and the Establishment.

Human Diversity is a manifestation of these pressures under which Murray labors. It is a compromise. It is an act of “Bravery Signaling.” And, therefore, for many readers, it will be a rather disappointing read. It should be said that Human Diversity does read beautifully. As we would expect of Murray, it is well-written, permitting the pages to flow by like a river on a summer’s day. The mass of information it gives you is, as usual, presented in well-explained and easily digestible chunks. It is aimed at the scientific layman, so it is at pains to carefully elucidate the assorted scientific and mathematical concepts that the reader needs in order to get his head around Murray’s argument.

Murray’s argument is one that many academics express to him privately, because they dare not do so in public, due to pressure from their fanatical colleagues. It is that there are evolved sex differences in personality and cognition, reflected in sex differences in life outcomes. There are evolved, genetic race differences, including in cognition, which also help to explain assorted life outcomes. And there are social class differences because there are differences in intelligence, for example, and these are partly genetic and strongly heritable. Along the way, Murray also provides us with a very useful reference work on the extent of sex, race, and even class differences in all manner of pathologies. For example, he neatly sets out the sex differences in everything from autism to anorexia. He provides us with hard data for stereotypes such as females tending to ruminate more, males being better at finding the way, and males being better able to focus on minor detail. I learnt many new things, such as that females have a more acute sense of touch.

So far, so insightful . . . and so brave. Readers who are not familiar with the research on these topics will come away concluding that Human Diversity is an extremely heroic piece of work. But I am afraid this is an illusion. Murray concludes that there are no sex differences in intelligence—a conclusion he comes to by appealing to authorities who are either leftist or out-of-date—and that, if there are, they are “trivial.” Murray completely ignores the most recent research, which indicates that there is a difference of a third of a standard deviation between adult males and adult females, as discussed by Richard Lynn in a series of studies.[1]

Murray does look at race differences in IQ. However, he completely ignores the cutting-edge research by Italian anthropologist Davide Piffer, which has found that these are on general intelligence (“g,” the most genetic aspect of IQ) and race differences in IQ correlate almost exactly with race differences in the prevalence alleles associated with high IQ.[2] Incredibly, he totally ignores the body of research on race differences in Life History Strategy—first presented by J. Philippe Rushton (1943-2012) in his 1995 book Race, Evolution, and Behavior. Race differences in Life History Strategy (whether you are evolved to an unpredictable but plentiful ecology at one extreme or a predictable but harsh one at the other) are numerous and highly consistent and include race differences in personality, age at puberty, number of sex partners, age at menopause, size of secondary sexual characteristics, extent of twinning, life expectancy, and so much else. Murray concedes that there are race differences in the magnitude of gender differences in personality. But he fails to even look at the argument that this is likely a reflection of race differences in Life History Strategy. In summary, as the ecology becomes harsher and more predictable, the species’ carrying capacity is reached. Therefore, there is increasing inter-species competition, leading to a growing search for niches, leading to males and females pursuing increasingly distinct niches and becoming increasingly psychologically different.

The people doing the genuinely fearless research into race and sex differences are those associated with the London Conference on Intelligence. This was the subject of much media controversy when it was revealed, in 2018, that it had been taking place at University College London for many years, right under the noses of the academic Stasi who run the place.[3] Many of the attendees have braved serious consequences, such as being fired from their university, for going where the data takes them. They include Richard Lynn, Michael Woodley of Menie, Davide Piffer, Noah Carl, Helmuth Nyborg, Heiner Rindermann, Guy Madison, Emil Kirkegaard and myself[4]. The only one of these who is cited is Richard Lynn—on sex differences in IQ—and, even then, his most recent research, refuting his critics is completely ignored.[5]

If I was being uncharitable about this book I would ask: “Do Charles Murray’s friends call him “Chuck”? If so, perhaps the “h” should be removed from that nickname.” If I was being charitable, I would suggest that Murray is playing a political game. The book is a means by which he can help to move public discourse in the direction of accepting the empirical truth. However, he recognizes that if he tells them the full the truth, then, indoctrinated as they are, they may put their fingers in their ears, so . . . gently does it. But, either way, Charles Murray is a “Bravery Signaler.”



  1. See Richard Lynn and Gerhard Meisenberg, “Sex Differences in Intelligence,” The mankind Quarterly (September 2016), 57(1), 5-8, ↩︎
  2. Davide Piffer, “Correlation Between PGS and Environmental Variables,” March 31, 2018, (accessed February 15, 2020). ↩︎
  3. Michael Woodley of Menie, Edward Dutton, et al., “Communicating Intelligence Research: Media Misrepresentation, the Gould Effect, and Unexpected Forces,” Intelligence (2018) 70. ↩︎
  4. Noah Carla and Michael A.Woodley of Menie, “A Scientometric Analysis of Controversies in the Field of Intelligence Research,” Intelligence (November–December 2019), Vol. 77, 101397.
  5. Richard Lynn, “Sex Differences in Intelligence: The Developmental Theory,” Mankind Quarterly (2017), 58:1. ↩︎
22 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    The true extent of Jewish (and Israeli) influence and power in America is yet another taboo subject.

    Another one is the LGBT agenda. One risks being ostracized, attacked (sometimes violently), and even sued if you publicly say anything against that agenda.

    We Americans have largely become cowards. When is this going to stop?

  2. Jody Vorhees
    Jody Vorhees says:

    Bravery signalling is hard, no matter the context. Who among us can not admit to having stilled their own tongue, when surrounded by brainwashed ideologues who were primed to pounce or penalize? It is pretty intimidating, to use polite language. Anyone who pushes back against the prevailing orthodoxies is our ally, even if they do so in baby steps.

    The danger is that we are running out of time. The Left often points to the “time” argument as one of the hallmarks indicating right wing radicalism. Their pointing makes that reality no less accurate and true.

  3. TJ
    TJ says:

    A third of a standard deviation IQ difference, male vs. female- that’s in the middle of the bell curve. It’s in the genius area- say >= 140- basically, no females there. . .

    The Bell Curve was written under jewish supervision [by co-author Richard Herrnstein]. It seems that Cuck Murray still believes that one can have one’s cake and eat it too. . .Dr. Murray once referred to himself as a “wishy-washy libertarian.” What is the moral status of one who would refer to himself in those terms?

    • Franklin Ryckaert
      Franklin Ryckaert says:

      It seems that Charles Murray knows whom to flatter in order to promote one’s career :

      “…In the April 2007 issue of Commentary magazine, Murray wrote on the disproportionate representation of Jews in the ranks of outstanding achievers and says that one of the reasons is that they “have been found to have an unusually high mean intelligence as measured by IQ tests since the first Jewish samples were tested.” His article concludes with the assertion: “At this point, I take sanctuary in my remaining hypothesis, uniquely parsimonious and happily irrefutable. The Jews are God’s chosen people.”

      Source : Wikipedia, Charles Murray (political scientist).

      • Richard B
        Richard B says:

        Given their brazen effrontery, or else, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they didn’t tell him that they only way they’d print his work is if you made prepared statements like that.

        Prepared by them, of course.

        But, more than likely, there was no need.

        Have you ever heard him talk?

        He talks like he enjoys kissing ass.

        The smooth silkiness of that whole avuncular thing he’s got going.

        Talk about wishy-washy.

        But in the end, I suppose that Jody Vorhees is write when writing in the above comment here,

        “Anyone who pushes back against the prevailing orthodoxies is our ally, even if they do so in baby steps.”

        It’s at least a step in the right direction.

  4. David Ashton
    David Ashton says:

    Let’s just hope that Murray acts as an opening wedge. Nicholas Wade hit the buffers.
    The alternative view is that all human brains are biologically identical, whatever the socially assigned ethnicity, gender or class. Not likely.

    • Trenchant
      Trenchant says:

      The alternative view is not that all human brains are biologically identical but that differences are evenly distributed and not predictable by selective sampling.

      • David Ashton
        David Ashton says:

        @ Trenchant
        In practice, it amounts to the same thing if sampling is random; cf. G. M. Morant’s UNESCO essay on the significance of differences between individuals, families and races.

  5. Pierre Simon
    Pierre Simon says:

    Murray fails to mention that the Out of Africa theory has been challenged by new discoveries: Anatole A. Klyosov and Igor L. Rozhanski (2012). Re-Examining the “Out of Africa” Theory and the Origin of Europeoids (Caucasoids) in Light of DNA Genealogy. Advances in Anthropology. Vol. 2, No. 2, 80-86. Published on line in May 2012 in SciRes (
    I also find Murray too compromising as if he wanted to be part of both worlds, the orthodox one he’s challenging and the other world real scientists have been describing. He’s got only one foot outside the door of orthodoxy. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Failing to mention Rushton is unforgivable.

  6. Edward Harris
    Edward Harris says:

    The Sephardi side of my family always detested the East European “Jews”, as I do. At London University, I was told in confidence, that my 2,1 Physics degree had been turned into a 3 because of this.
    When it was discovered that I had been Jewd I was allowed to do research after all.
    My tutor missed an appointment which cost me my M.Sc. but he was fired because he was only a Goy who interfered in our affairs.

  7. ChilledBee
    ChilledBee says:

    It is obvious that too many people in academia are afraid to speak the truth in the current climate we are in.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those who are nearing the end of their tenure let all of their facts and opinions be known?

  8. Anon
    Anon says:

    I think that it is ok for Murray to leave out the life history strategy stuff, since it is an explanatory theory (a fun and nice one), and not so easy to empirically verify. Murray seems to just want to report hard facts.

    I also think it is good for people like Murray to be out there, since he is more able to penetrate the mainstream than an Ed Dutton. You have to ease people into your radical agenda, if you have one.

  9. Eric
    Eric says:

    Murray lost his credibility with the liberal-Left academic Establishment when he co-wrote “The Bell Curve.”

    So why hold back now?

    Well, “The Bell Curve” did appeal to conservatives who believe in meritocracy as opposed to racial preferences and excuses.

    The American Enterprise Institute is heavily Jewish, but Murray somehow found a home there.

    He is “controlled opposition.” “Go this far, Murray, and no farther.”

    Yes, he’s a cuck. But, as with anything else, you can take the good and leave the rest.

    One hopes that those who read his book will move on and read Dr. Edward Dutton and J. Philippe Rushton.

    • Achilles Wannabe
      Achilles Wannabe says:

      Charles Murray changed history with the Bell Curve. That’s when I and a lot of other people got on to race.
      Unfortunately it took a lot longer for me to get on to Jews
      But the Bell Curve was then and this is now. I do wonder if Murray and like Vdare types are
      not mentioning the Jews JUST for practical reasons like not getting published in other places.
      These Murray Vdare guys represent high IQ white guys who are increasingly threatened
      by the racialism and genderism of the left. But if they could get the borders closed, and
      affirmative action nullified, would they then hook up with their high IQ Jewish buddies -the
      ones they never talk about now – and let capital run wild on the lower IO whites as well as
      the coloreds?
      Am I being paranoid? Derbyshire strikes me as a type who might be very amenable to Jews
      walking on the faces of the less intelligent type of white Didn’t Derbyshire reject KMac for no good theoretical reason?

      • Eric
        Eric says:

        I don’t think you’re being paranoid. You raise an important question. What happens if we have an all-white society? Who’s going to do the dirty jobs, the unglamorous jobs, and how will they be treated?

        Will white kids sneer at other white kids whose fathers are garbage collectors and the like? How much income inequality will there be?

        I think the answer to these questions is to be found in National Socialism. All Germans were respected under that system, work in whatever form was honored, and no exploitation of Germans was allowed.

        Even today, Germany has a system that discourages class distinctions. A small percentage of students are tracked into universities. The great majority enter paid apprenticeships when they are teenagers. I assume there is a much better social safety net for the unemployed, the elderly, etc., than we have in the United States.

        No mainstream intellectual can go against the Jews. Murray appears on Fox News, C-Span, etc., so he knows how far he can go. His co-author (of The Bell Curve) Herrnstein was a Jew.

        I don’t know enough about Vdare to say when it comes to cozying up with the Jews. The same goes for Takimag and Derbyshire.

        Jared Taylor and American Renaissance won’t address the JQ. Members of Vdare like Peter Brimelow have spoken at AmRen conferences. When David Duke raised the JQ at an AmRen conference, a Jew stormed out of the room.

        What I conclude from this is that there are some Jews who want a combined white/Jewish ethnostate. They don’t want non-whites around. They would try to maintain their Jewish privilege, I’m sure.

        Then you have, which — like Russia Insider and TOO — is both pro-white and anti-Jew. But Ron Unz himself is Jewish!

        The Jew is everywhere. But apart from some commenters here, I believe that TOO is free of Jews.

        P.S.: Pat Buchanan writes for Unz. He still won’t criticize Jews, having gotten burned in the past for doing so, but at least he’s associating himself with a site that is critical of Jews. Maybe Michelle Malkin will get a column there, too, now that she’s gotten in trouble with the mainstream for supporting Nick Fuentes.

        • Achilles Wannabe
          Achilles Wannabe says:

          Yes to National Socialism. When some of these WN’s on sites like Counter currents start going on about Socialism as the great threat from the left. I say that what is wrong with left socialism – aside from the fact that there almost isn’t any real left socialism – is not socialism but socialism without nationalism. Looks like the libertarian streak among WN’s is still alive and well. Fudge that

          But I think you are right about a group of Jews who want a white nationalism. Maybe the Commentary crowd? They quite correctly see tribalist antisemetic tendencies among blacks and browns which are – perhaps unfortunately – less strong among whites. These Jews will probably team up with the White civic nationalists on Vdare and commit capitalism on the lower classes -white or colored. I don’t know about Amren.racialists. I haven’t paid enough attention to them yet though I really like Sam Dixon. I am looking forward to this debate between EM Jones and Jared Taylor. A lot of WN’s are looking forward to Taylor slaughtering Jones on race realism but I expect Jones to slaughter Taylor on ethnic realism, Jones is in Catholic denial of race and evolution but he talks about Jewish Power. What is Taylor going to say to that?

          • Eric
            Eric says:

            It will be an interesting — though pointless — debate between Taylor and Jones. They’re both half right and half wrong.

            The correct position is pro-white and anti-Jew.

            Jones is anti-Jew but not pro-white.

            Taylor is pro-white but not anti-Jew.

            Both men are too heavily invested in their respective positions to make any significant concessions. But by all means, let the sparks fly!

  10. Ludwig
    Ludwig says:

    “…….and social-class differences are the product of social factors, such as nepotism, a rigged system, or the legacy of racism.”

    Although I agree, genetics is the raw material that makes us what we are, there’s also plenty of ‘nepotism’ and rigging going on. Jewish rigging and nepotism, leftist rigging and of course if you are connected to some untouchables you can act with impunity which can make you very ‘successful’ or prevent your enemies from competing on an even playing field.

    In fact the main point of your piece is that the ‘intellectual mafia’ skew the landscape of academia. But I realise I’m stating the obvious.

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