In this AEI Events Podcast, Charles Murray offers a retrospective of his career from a personal point of view.

Murray opens by discussing two places that had a lasting impact on his worldview: Newton, Iowa, where he was born and raised, and rural Thailand, where he spent five years as a Peace Corps volunteer and researcher. In different ways, both places taught him about the intimate relationship between local community and a meaningful, happy life.

He then discusses his career as a policy analyst, focusing on the work that was most meaningful to him. Although it did not generate the most public acclaim (or controversy), he has always regarded “In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government” (Simon & Schuster, 1988) as the book he is most proud of writing because it allowed him to wrestle with deep questions about the relationship between policy and happiness.

Murray then reflects on how politics and policy have changed over the past few decades, and he closed with advice to all those who still hold libertarian or conservative principles: Character is destiny.

Run of show: Ryan Streeter is joined by Karlyn Bowman to introduce Charles (2:40), Charles Murray begins his remarks (8:00), and audience Q&A (57:30).

Watch the full event video here. This event took place on January 8, 2018.

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Published in: Culture

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  1. Ansonia Member

    Fascinating podcast .

    I want to read Murray’s books.

    • #1
  2. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot

    I watched the video this morning on YouTube.  It was a great speech, with depressing content.  Murray seems to despair of fixing the decline of America.

    Dr. Murray is either #1 or #2 in my list of personal Conservative sages, together with Thomas Sowell.  I cannot decide between them, any more than I can decide whether Washington or Lincoln was our greatest President.  But there’s no doubt in my mind about the top 2.

    He was thoughtful about religion and sensible about the essential part of religion in American life, which now seems to be lost forever as the critical foundation that we need.

    I wish I could ask him one question.  “Would you agree that the only hope of the United States is a Protestant Christian revival?”

    I don’t think that I’ve put it this way before, but Dr. Murray’s talk was the final link in the chain leading me to this conclusion.  I wonder if he would agree.

    • #2
  3. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins

    What a wonderful interview!

    • #3
  4. I Walton Member
    I Walton

    Thanks.  I’m a fan, didn’t realize how similar background gives rise to similar views.   I was abroad from 65 to 75, had the same political background, loved Kennedy was devastated by his assassination, voted for the same people including Carter and reached the same final conclusions gradually also agreeing with Mancur Olsen that the disease may be fatal.   Maybe that should give me optimism.

    • #4
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