Magazine December 1, 2008, Issue

The Straggler: No, We Can’t

Houses in a suburb of Denver, Colo. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

I know, I know, we are the land of opportunity. Log cabin to White House! Anyone can be anything! Up by the bootstraps! TV talking heads, motivational speakers, pastors and pedagogues, all want to tell us — and especially our children — that we are each a hissing, throbbing little pressure cooker of potential. If we will only hitch our wagon to a star, we can be all we want to be. Yes, we can!

Here is New York Times reporter Deborah Solomon interviewing sociologist Charles Murray, following publication of Murray’s latest book, Real Education.

DS: Europeans have historically defined themselves through inherited

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