The Dark Heart of Trussonomics

The Mainstreaming of Libertarian Theories of Social Darwinism and Apartheid
by Nafeez Ahmed (the gist)
(Byline Times 14th October 2022)

The fundamental intention behind so-called ‘Trussonomics’ was to make the rich richer, in the absurd belief that wealth will ‘trickle-down’ to inspire economic growth.

What’s really going on however is that current ‘Conservatism’ is secretly wedded to the belief that inequality is an inevitable Darwinian fact of life because race, gender and class are fixed entities. Therefore there’s not only no point in trying to tackle poverty and inequality, but the prevailing right wing agenda is to elevate the ‘fittest’ groups, those with power & money, while finding ways to manage, control and diminish the ‘underclass’, the rest of us.

This ideology inspires the US Republican Party and UK pressure groups including the ‘Tufton Street’ think tanks that have helped shape Conservative Party policies. What is the ideology based on? Precious little or no sound evidence. The concept of an ‘underclass’ is a figment of mainstream Right Wing imagination deriving from discredited biological theories of human nature. Where does it come from?

American sociologist Charles Murray

…is one of the world’s pioneers of scientific racism and biological theories of IQ and social stratification, and his related economic theories of the ‘underclass’ have influenced policy thinking on both sides of the Atlantic… According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre – the leading civil rights law firm that tracks extremist groups in America – Murray is a white nationalist extremist who uses ‘…racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor…’

The co-authored 1994 influential book, The Bell Curve,

…makes the claim that black people, women, the poor and Latinos are cognitively inferior largely due to hereditary genetic factors – and that rises in their birth and immigration rates therefore explains the rise in inequality between racial and social groups…

On the other hand, Murray makes the claim that there’s a ‘cognitive elite’ consisting of (self-appointed) ‘…networks of white men who are well-endowed with cognitive abilities…’ The book’s ‘research’ was funded by a Nazi eugenics foundation based in the US. It quotes Hans Eysenck who was ‘…one of the earliest proponents of the race, genes and intelligence hypothesis and received funding from the Nazi Pioneer Fund for his claims…’

Charles Murray is Chair Emeritus in Cultural Studies at the American Enterprise Institute – a powerful neoconservative think tank in Washington D.C. with close ties to the Republican Party. In 2009 he got an award for making

…exceptional practical and intellectual contributions to improve government policy, social welfare, or political understanding. Boris Johnson was honoured at a similar event by the AEI in 2018…

Many political high-ups were at the AEI’s annual dinner honouring Murray, including Robert Agostinelli who is

…the founder and managing director of global private equity firm the Rhone Group, Agostinelli funds a range of right-wing projects. He also has key political connections in Britain. In 2018, he gave $10,000 to the Legatum Institute, an influential UK think tank with close ties to the Conservative Party. A year later, the Rhone Group paid £10,000 to Conservative Party MP Rees-Mogg for a speaking engagement…

Murray was much sought after by Thatcher’s Government.

The Tufton Street Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was a driving force of Thatcherism, and is widely credited as a driving force for Trussonomics today. It published Murray’s essay ‘The Emerging British Underclass’ of which the basic idea was that

…the welfare state perpetuates the growth of an underclass, [predominantly black, and unwilling to take jobs that are available] by creating self-reinforcing cycles of poverty…

The essay was published in The Sunday Times. The influence of such writing is said to be ‘a core part of the infrastructure of Britain’s conservative movement…’

…In 2012, Kwasi Kwarteng co-authored an IEA paper with Jonathan Dupont on fiscal discipline. The following year, as Education and Childcare Minister, Truss cited Civitas for promoting a new curriculum for schools – a connection also inspired by the Murray school of thought…

Naturally, the IEA’s support for Murray’s work focusses on the existence of an underclass and its control by starving it of state support, avoiding any mention of his

…well-known racist roots and reliance on questionable theories of cognitively-based social stratification… Charles Murray’s work has channelled the principles of Nazi eugenics into mainstream conservatism, while carefully excising its Nazi origins from visibility…

Truss has apparently frequently spoken at IEA gatherings; the IEA has co-hosted numerous events with Truss’ Free Enterprise group.

…Eight members of the current Cabinet belonged to the IEA Free Enterprise Group – now known as the Free Market Forum – including Kwasi Kwarteng, Brandon Lewis, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Therese Coffey, Nadhim Zahawi, Simon Clarke, Kemi Badenoch and Alistair Jack.

Dominic Cummings has promoted

…the blatantly eugenic association of genes with intelligence, intelligence with worth, and worth with the right to rule… Such claims about the relationship between genes, race and cognitive ability have been repeatedly disproved. But the influence of these ideas in British conservatism appears to have persisted…

B.Johnson has claimed that

…economic inequality was due to some members of the species having lower IQs, with economic success equating to higher cognitive ability. While the remarks were condemned by Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians, the Conservative Party remained silent…


…suggests that social policy should be designed not to improve the lives of the less fortunate, but to decrease their numbers. Murray therefore recommends the elimination of all welfare policies, hard limits on immigration, and strategies to lower birth rates among these groups through policy disincentives – while implementing ‘social apartheid’ to manage these inferior populations and contain their dangerous impacts on wider society…

All of which leads to Nafeez Ahmed’s concluding statement

…Though largely unacknowledged, Charles Murray’s school of thought now permeates the background thinking of numerous politicians, conservative media pundits, thinkers and financiers. Although the specifics may not have been taken up, Murray’s work has set the mood music against which right-wing political and economic ideology is increasingly choreographed. Many who dance to its tune do not know the origins of the music and the beliefs of its composers…

I’ve often wondered what the Tory hierarchy’s bedtime reading might be.

Look who’s involved:-

Johnson, Truss, Cummings, Kwarteng, Brandon Lewis, Mogg, Coffey, Zahawi, Simon Clarke, Kemi Badenoch and Alistair Jack.

One thought on “The Dark Heart of Trussonomics

  1. An excellent summation of the decades’ worth of pseudoscience that provides a false sheen of respectability to political philosophies – both in the U.S. and in the U.K. – devoted solely to preserving the privileged lives of the comfortable few. Thanks, Colin!

    Liked by 1 person

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