Two Campus Heroes: Walter Block and Loye Young

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I previously
wrote about Loye Young, the instructor at Texas A and M International
University, who not only flunked students who he said plagiarized
in class, but also publicly humiliated them for it on his web site.
The school said that was terrible, relieved him of his responsibilities,
and said it was reviewing the student grades. I said that was totally
inappropriate, that Young should be admired for taking a tough step
towards academic dishonesty, etc. Young has not backed down, and
has written a thoughtful response to his critics on the INSIDE
HIGHER ED
website.

Now comes Walter
Block. I was not surprised to see Walter the object of controversy.
Indeed, the only surprise is that it has taken so long. Walter delights
in being controversial, saying outrageous things, etc. A radical
libertarian, Walter has attacked Lowell Gallaway and me on occasion
for not adhering to the Austrian economics party line – an odd criticism
coming from a libertarian who should delight in diversity of viewpoints.
So I, too, have been annoyed with Walter at times, and even have
had some jousts with him in print.

But Walter
is getting ostracized for stating facts, and for daring to approvingly
mention the work of two of this country’s most outstanding social
scientists, the late Richard Herrnstein, Edgar Pierce Professor
of Psychology at Harvard (and former chair of the department), and
Charles Murray, author of several path-breaking books, including
Losing
Ground
and Real
Education
. Specifically, Walter said that the politically
correct explanation of black-white earnings differentials relates
to such things as past discrimination, lower levels of educational
attainment, etc., but that the politically incorrect explanation
of Herrnstein and Murray is that the answer lies in IQ differences.
Knowing Walter, he was not nuanced in making that remark, and probably
did not discuss the possibility that there are still other explanations.
But Walter was stating a fact – namely that Herrnstein and Murray
found solid evidence of race-based IQ differences, and that earnings
differentials are closely associated with variations in cognitive
abilities, which, in turn, are highly correlated with IQ.

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the rest of the article

March
23, 2009

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