Remember Charles Murray?
“Intelligence seems to blossom in the barest ground,” he says, contesting the suggestion that the South Bronx is less nurturing than Scarsdale. “Now I know that’s an odd thing to say about the inner city, but at least they’re going to school and they have the television on all day. You couldn’t say that about blacks 50 years ago.”
The ‘social scientist’ author of The Bell Curve?
“Try to imagine a GOP presidential candidate saying in front of the cameras, ‘One reason that we still have poverty in the United States is that a lot of poor people are born lazy.’ You cannot imagine it because that kind of thing cannot be said. And yet this unimaginable statement merely implies that when we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that the population below the poverty line in the United States has a configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line. This is not unimaginable. It is almost certainly true.”
Mister IQ has just now taken to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to lend you a hand. Help you out, give you some proper guidance. Why not, since he’s really very happy and you’re not? Odd as it seems, we lesser folks rarely get the opportunity to ask a racist about the underpinnings of spiritual satisfaction. So why don’t we throw it up for grabs? Just how do you do it, Chuck? What’s the secret to enjoying both a disgraced career and an anodyne domestic life? Well, first…
1. Consider Marrying Young
The age of marriage for college graduates has been increasing for decades, and this cultural shift has been a good thing. Many 22-year-olds are saved from bad marriages because they go into relationships at that age assuming that marriage is still out of the question.
Hint: Poke yourself with a stick. Although most people avoid poking themselves with sticks, which is good.
But should you assume that marriage is still out of the question when you’re 25? Twenty-seven? I’m not suggesting that you decide ahead of time that you will get married in your 20s. You’ve got to wait until the right person comes along. I’m just pointing out that you shouldn’t exclude the possibility.
Also: Am I saying you shouldn’t poke yourself with a stick? Yes I am. But you should do it.
Merger marriages are what you tend to see on the weddings pages of the Sunday New York Times: highly educated couples in their 30s, both people well on their way to success. Lots of things can be said in favor of merger marriages. The bride and groom may be more mature, less likely to outgrow each other or to feel impelled, 10 years into the marriage, to make up for their lost youth.
In addition: I can’t actually say that not-poking yourself is a bad idea. In fact it’s a good one. Research shows that it’s a far better idea than poking yourself, but…
But let me put in a word for startup marriages, in which the success of the partners isn’t yet assured. The groom with his new architecture degree is still designing stairwells, and the bride is starting her third year of medical school. Their income doesn’t leave them impoverished, but they have to watch every penny.
What are the advantages of a startup marriage? For one thing, you will both have memories of your life together when it was all still up in the air. You’ll have fun remembering the years when you went from being scared newcomers to the point at which you realized you were going to make it.
…poking yourself can leave you with great memories. You might not have those sorts of memories if you’d never been poked. Me, I remember my ‘startup’ marriage that ended in disaster. Those were days that went by very slowly, let me tell you. In fact I’m still haunted by those times when I couldn’t shake the feelings of loneliness and despair…
Even more important, you and your spouse will have made your way together. Whatever happens, you will have shared the experience. And each of you will know that you wouldn’t have become the person you are without the other.
…but I couldn’t be happier for all the poking. And the memories of awful times from which I badly needed to escape. Thankfully I, Charles, “recalled his childhood lessons on the importance of responsibility” which somehow bizarrely “brought him slowly to the idea that divorce was an honorable alternative, especially with young children involved.” Which is probably a good reason why I’m so self-satisfied today. If all this sounds nonsensical, and a cruel fate for the children I left behind, well that’s only because you’re not an intellectual like me. You might want to write this all down. You’re welcome.