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Poverty and wickedness

Charles Murray's assertions about the underlcass in Britain do not stand up to scrutiny, says AH Halsey. Social policy should instead focus on how to make citizen's income feasible

By AH Halsey   April 1997

It is a fundament of liberalism, shared by ethical socialists and “wet” conservatives that, when faced with outrageous opinion, one seeks to expand and not to suppress free speech. No doubt there are debatable limits to what liberals will tolerate-for example, the advocacy of pornography or racism-but Charles Murray’s writing is located within those limits. It requires serious, if condemnatory review, rather than censorship. Murray aspires to be a Billy Graham of the social sciences; so does David Green who wants to make discussion of the “underclass” available for teaching to undergraduates via a new booklet published by the Institute…

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