Are Multicultural Societies Doomed?

Article author: 
Charles Murray and Helmut Nyborg
Article publisher: 
Aporia Magazine
Article date: 
9 January 2024
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

'Are Multicultural Societies Doomed?' is the title of an Aporia Magazine podcast joint interview of Charles Murray and Helmut Nyborg. We recommend you listen to the entire podcast.

Murray is best known for The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. Murray is jointly interviewed (by Aporia's very young editor-in-chief Matthew Archer) with Helmut Nyborg, a Danish intelligence researcher. A few excerpts of the interview are included below.*


Paraphrasing Murray: A multi-racial society where one group has a dominant share of the population: "You can make that work... But multiracial society - which approaches equal proportions of the different groups is not workable."

MATTHEW ARCHER [Aporia Magazine editor-in-chief]: ... do you think that a multiracial society is a doomed project, like beyond a certain threshold, there's a path determinacy built into it?...

24:32: MURRAY: Yeah. The short answer to the question is, can society survive... America proved that you can integrate other European cultures and mix them up, so that within a few generations you no longer had these kinds of ethnic communities in New York and the other big cities that you had before. And you really did have an amalgam...

But these are all European nationalities. And so we have proved that we can integrate that.

We were remarkably successful in integrating the great tragic flaw of slavery and then African-Americans after slavery...

I think America has now tested the limits of what you can do. And sort of the rule is this: a multiracial society - not just multicultural, but multiracial society - which approaches equal proportions of the different groups is not workable...

I don't think we can make it work when Europeans are now down to 60% of the American population... It just looks to me like a lot of the consequences of that kind of integration of different populations may be too much to overcome. (27:28)



Paraphrasing Nyborg: "Genetic similarity theory" is another way to estimate the assimilation challenge immigration poses on a nation...

HELMUTH NYBORG: ... President Kennedy... said once, this is a country of immigrant.s** But what he forgot to tell people was that was predominantly European people.

And now we come to this question of if you have multicultural societies, and you mentioned Phil Rushton. He had a genetic similarity theory. And basically it says that the more genetically you are similar to your children and to your surroundings, the better you get along with them. And there are some other studies showing that the more genetically inhomogeneous a population is, the more critical it becomes in terms of social unrule, or what do you call that, social disturbance, criminality, and so on.

... the more genetically differentiated the population is, the more difficulties it will have living together and being productive together....

So that will actually be a sort of a quantitative argument for keeping up the population as genetically homogeneous as you can. But that goes against what EU is doing, what United States is doing and what people from the extreme left are doing. They will introduce genetically different people living together and I know this is very controversial. (30:28)..

MURRAY: ... But the deal is, Teddy Roosevelt said it explicitly, you come here, you become an American. You buy into the whole package...


Europeans - and Americans - have imposed a skewed multiculturalism on themselves: they promote ethnic/racial identity among immigrants, but anathematize identity for majority white populations.

Paraphrasing Nyborg: we may find ourselves beyond "abstract discussion" of immigration-driven demographic change. Instead, we may - democratically - impose a new totalitarian reality on ourselves:

HELMUTH NYBORG: ... Today, it is absolutely going in the wrong direction. And the proportions of the immigrant groups who are more fertile and have lower IQ compared to the average in Denmark. If that goes on, you don't need to be a mathematician to say at some time, and that might be around 2070 or 2080, then the power [political power structure] will change... (40:25)



Paraphrasing Murray: "the polarization is such at this point that the survival of america in a recognizable form for another 30 or 40 years is very problematic"; poll questions consistently asked for decades to assess perceptions of racial relations show show a sharp drop especially since 2012; moreover, trust in the federal government to do the right thing has fallen from 80% in 1960 to 17% today:

MURRAY: ... The white majority on the left is saying, and the far right, are both much more inclined now toward accepting a totalitarian state than they were before ...

And - I'm just very pessimistic. I think the polarization is such at this point that the survival of America in a recognizable form for another 30 or 40 years is very problematic. (41:39)


NYBORG: ... People are actually from the extreme right side talking about traitors in the government. That's language that I haven't heard that ever before.

And now people are distrusting the political, some political parties to an extent that it is worrying because the whole social contract that you will protect us if we have our rights and so on is in jeopardy. (44:50)



Paraphrasing Murray: one more reason for pessimism: the destruction of common ideas of what constitutes truth: people feel now entitled to their own facts, and they will call them facts, no matter how factual the countervailing evidence is:

Paraphrasing Nyborg who agrees: the nature & science magazine examples: the media, the professional journals, are turning against data. They're turning against data they don't like.

Murray still has some hope that ever better data can prevail over ideology, that the "predictive validity" of such data may become impossible to ignore:

MURRAY: Let's see if we can play out a slightly more optimistic interpretation of this... Isn't it possible that, are the disciplines so corrupt now that there is no longer a core of social scientists who will not eventually say, guys, we just got to deal with it. Here are the data: replicated, strong. We got to incorporate them. Is that not possible? (50:47)...

Nyborg is not as optimistic: "those who are cancelling other scientists is the majority now, and I fear it grows... The data will be better, but the resistance will be even worse."


* Transcript and comments prepared by Tom Shuford. Edited here for length.

** America is A Nation of Settlers - Not A Nation of Immigrants!

Listen to the podcast: 'Are Multicultural Societies Doomed?'


Looking Back at the Bell Curve, by Christopher Brand, American Renaissance, March 2005.

'The Bell Curve' 20 Years Later: A Q&A with Charles Murray, by Natalie Scholl, AEI Ideas, American Renaissance, 16 October, 2014