Charles Murray Whiffs on Asians

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 26 2012 4:21 PM

Charles Murray Whiffs on Asians

The grand master of the Bell Curve is used to liberals pointing and sputtering at his conclusions. He typically pre-empts this by burying them with research -- research they, the sort of people who believe that human evolution happened but that human biodiversity is a myth, sure have not done.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

So this piece on why Asian voters went so heavily for the Democrats is a head-scratcher. Where's the data? "My thesis," writes Murray, "is that the GOP is in trouble across the electoral board because it has become identified in the public mind with social conservatism." The best data file we get comes from the current population survey, which reveals that Asians are "richer, more often in conservative-skewed professions, equally married, and less often divorced than non-Latino whites—all indicators that normally identify disproportionately conservative voters."

Advertisement

Oh, and also:

there are reasons for Asian Americans not to like Democrats. Asians who became successful because everyone in the family worked two or three jobs (a common strategy behind Asian success) are likely to be offended by the liberal “You didn’t build that” mentality.

How did "you didn't build that" become a liberal mentality? The rest of us -- voters, all -- heard that quote as an Obama riff on government spending and infrastructure building that went a little awry at the end. As small businessmen figured out (some of them only after finishing their RNC speeches), government contracts can play a role in the creation of successful independent firms. Contrast this with how Murray describes the GOP.

Republicans are seen by Asians—as they are by Latinos, blacks, and some large proportion of whites—as the party of Bible-thumping, anti-gay, anti-abortion creationists. Factually, that’s ludicrously inaccurate.

If he says so, but if you want to argue the other side, you've got some evidence. Democrats want to repeal DOMA; Republicans don't want to allow a vote on DOMA repeal, as they oppose it anyway. Democrats are pro-choice and pro-Planned Parenthood funding; Republicans, generally, are pro-life, and most of them in Washington are now on record voting to defund Planned Parenthood.

If I'm a non-Latino white conservative in West Virginia or Kentucky or Arkansas, it's clear that the GOP best reflects my social values. And so I voted for the party this month, powering it to big gains in my state. You could view the "why X group votes Y way" debate this way -- why do whites vote for the party that best represents them on a range of issues? Instead, Murray treats whites as the logic-based control group, and asks why non-whites don't approach the vote quite as logically.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.