For the sake of truth, the INfamous Bell Curve has a very direct connection to Social Darwinism and the eugenics movement. The book "The Bell Curve," for instance, is perhaps one of the most controversial books of all time. Written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the book uses empirical statistical analysis to reach conclusion of intelligence gap in American society. Two of the most controversial conclusions reached by the author are the relationships between low measured intelligence and anti-social behavior and the observed relationship between low African-American test scores, when compared to Asians or whites, and genetic factors in intelligence abilities.
These controversial conclusions can be tied to Darwin's theory of evolution. Written in Darwin's "The Origin of Species,"
"With animals having separated sexes there will be in most cases a struggle between the male for possession of the females. The most vigorous individuals, or those which have the most successfully struggled with their conditions of life, well generally leave most progeny. But success will often depends on having special weapons or means of defense, or on the charms of the males; against slightest advantage will lead to victory"
is one of the many quotes by Darwin which could be use to explain the conclusions reached by Herrnstein and Murray. Or in Stephen Jay Gould's words, "The Bell Curve" rests on two distinctly different but sequential arguments, which together encompass the classic corpus of biological determinism as a social philosophy - in other words, Social Darwinism.
Social Darwinism holds that Darwin's theory of evolution can be applied to the development of human social institutions. It first become popular in late 19th century and continued until end of World War II. The application of the term to 19th and 20th century modes of thought, however, generally did not occur until after the publication of American historian Richard Hofstadter's "Social Darwinism in American Thought" in 1944, which codified the concept in the sense it is generally used today.
Social Darwinism is often linked to eugenics, and is the backbone of Herrnstein & Murray's arguments, according to which humans are separated not only by race and class, but also by IQ - this being the central theme of the arguments brought forth by these authors. This argument may deviate from the original 19th century theory of Social Darwinism; however, its use of statistical analysis of IQ is the central thought of 20th century Social Darwinism. The conclusions of the authors suggest people who have high IQ would be more "successful in life" and people with low IQ will encounter more problems in life such as unemployment, divorce, crime, and poverty. Using Social Darwinism, survival of the fittest (or should we, more appropriately, say, survival of the unfittest, the fat lazy a s s e s?) and other laws of evolution can be applied to human society; hence, it can be understood, that the people with high IQ be successful in life therefore have a easier time passing on their "good" gene to the next generation because they have a easier time finding a partner. On other hand, the people with low IQ, often exert anti-social behavior, hence have problems finding and supporting a partner, therefore would have problem passing their gene to the next generation.
They maintain that
"It is time for America once again to try living with inequality, as life is lived: understanding that each human being has strengths and weaknesses, qualities we admire and qualities we do not admire, competencies and incompetencies, assets and debits; that the success of each human life is not measured externally but internally; that all of the rewards we can confer on each other, the most precious is a place as a valued fellow citizen."
This idea is the 20th century Social Darwinism. This idea is also the idea behind eugenic movements and research which was not unpopular during the time.Hitler believed humans were animals to whom the genetics laws, learned from livestock breeding, could be applied. The Nazis believed that instead of permitting natural forces and chance to control evolution, they must direct the process to advance the human race. The first step to achieve this goal was to isolate the ‘inferior races’ in order to prevent them from further contaminating the ‘Aryan’ gene pool. The widespread public support for this policy was a result of the belief, common in the educated classes, in the conclusion that certain races were genetically inferior as was scientifically 'proven' by Darwinism. The Nazis believed that they were simply applying facts, proven by science, to produce a superior race of humans as part of their plan for a better world: 'The business of the corporate state was eugenics or artificial selection — politics as applied biology'.
Some may argue the connection between "The Bell Curve" and Social Darwinist eugenic movements of the time. But many facts show strong connection between the two. Firstly, as early as 1971, Herrnstein published an article in a prestigious US magazine, 'Atlantic Monthly', and can be quoted "the tendency to be unemployed may run in the genes of a family about as certainly as bad teeth do now.... As the wealth and complexity of human society grow, there will be precipitated out of the mass of humanity a low-capacity residue that may be unable to master the common occupations..." Secondly, Herrnstein's political stance is very conservative; "It is hard to argue that the "class struggle" can be resolved by a redistribution of wealth and capital, if it should turn out that something more than economics distinguishes the contending classes." Thirdly, quoted from an ABC New Report transcript, "Ever since 1937, the 'Pioneer Fund' has promoted the study of racial purity as a an ideal. Over the past 10 years, according to public documents, the 'Pioneer Fund' contributed $3.5 million to researchers cited in "The Bell Curve."
Finally, Herrnstein is found to be connected with the journal 'Mankind Quarterly', which is owned by Roger Pearson for the last 25 years. Pearson was a leader of the pro-fascist Northern League, which included a number of former Nazi SS officials, and a member of the World Anti-Communist League, described by former member Geoffrey Stewart-Smith as a collection of Nazis, fascists, anti-Semites, and vicious racists. These facts suggest strong ties between the authors and ideas of "The Bell Curve" with Social Darwinism movement of the time. "The Bell Curve" brought the theories of Social Darwinism into the public. It introduced the mass population to the idea IQ, something heritable, being the main determining factor for success in life, and it did it in a "scientific" way which help the idea to be accepted by the public.
The political landscape of the time also played a large role in the success of Social Darwinism. The presidency of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. initiated hyper segregation, large-scale unemployment and contingent labor. To go along with this, the collapse of Soviet Union, more importantly the communism it symbolized, also played a role in how equality was perceived.