Secret tapes show politicians once dared to speak about race

President Richard Nixon (above left) in conversation at the White House with Prof. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

In July this year the US National Archives released a previously secret tape recording of then President Richard Nixon and future President Ronald Reagan speaking frankly about racial differences.

Today two American scholars writing in The Atlantic reveal that these forbidden views were not held only Reagan and Nixon, a man who of course has long been demonised by the political establishment, but by an ultra-respectable academic.

The President was conversing in October 1971 with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Harvard professor who had previously been an adviser to Nixon but was more closely associated with the Democratic Party. Indeed despite his bipartisanship, Moynihan was for decades an icon of America’s liberal intelligentsia.

Yet on this White House tape and in an earlier memorandum, Prof. Moynihan explicitly recognised racial realities. Commenting on an article on race and IQ by Richard Herrnstein published earlier that year, Moynihan wrote: “Herrnstein is, of course, very much worth reading. The findings of intelligence testing, which he summarizes, have profound implications for social policy. …Psychologists now think they know something of the ranking of the major races. Asians first; Caucasians second; Africans third.”

Prof Richard Herrnstein was co-author of The Bell Curve, a book that pointed out the differences between black and white IQ.

Moynihan agreed with the President that in implementing federal programmes to promote black education, he had to bear in mind their fundamental weaknesses – that because of their IQ blacks would basically be at a disadvantage “when you get to some of the more, shall we say, some of the more profound, rigid disciplines”.

His memo to Nixon concluded with pragmatic advice that no doubt influences even those few politicians today honest enough to address racial realities: “Finally, may I plead that you say nothing about this subject, nor let anyone around you do so. There is no possibility of your concern being depicted for what it is, a desire to respond to knowledge in a responsible and prudent manner.”

Moynihan died in 2003, but he would not be surprised that 21st century journalists and scholars are using these newly revealed tapes not to challenge their own liberal multiracialist dogmas, but to demonise Moynihan himself.

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