Charles Murray is fast approaching household name status. Every since the violent protests surrounding his talk at Middlebury College, Murray has been met with protests at every school he’s been asked to speak at. Ironically, it’s doing wonders for his popularity.
Thirty minutes before sociologist Charles Murray was scheduled to speak in McKenna Hall on Tuesday, students began to gather outside the building; some carried signs with slogans protesting Murray, and many were dressed in black.
“We’re out here to let students know that not everyone on this campus believes what’s written in Charles Murray’s books and articles,” fifth-year Rachel Wallace said. “ … We want to present an alternative narrative to what he’s proposing.”
Murray — best known for co-writing “The Bell Curve” in 1994 — is a libertarian political scientist. “The Bell Curve” argues that genetics at least partly determines economic and social success; his critics, however, argue the book approaches claiming that race is a genetic factor contributing to IQ differences.
The protest was organized by student activist group We Stand For, a group that has organized a number of protests on campus since the election of President Donald Trump.
What these student activists may not have thought about is how few people actually knew who Charles Murray was before Middlebury. While The Bell Curve was certainly controversial, it first appeared over 20 years ago. He was anything but a household name, even among the libertarian/conservative crowd.
But due to the protests at Middlebury College, Murray’s 23-year-old book is rising on Amazon.
As of this writing, on Amazon the book is #1 in the demographics category, #3 in social science textbooks, and #5 in U.S. History textbooks.
Thanks to the protesters, Murray and his book are enjoying the positive side of the Streisand Effect. By lamenting his invitations to speak on campuses, Murray — whose most recent book, 2015’s By The People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, is only ranked 118,875 on Amazon — has been thrust back into prominence. Few had thought about Murray or The Bell Curve for years, but now he’s a current event.
The college Left was so desperate to shut down his work, but in doing so they became the catalyst for the very thing they were trying to prevent.