Nixon on Forbidden Hypotheses

I listened with great interest to this segment of a 1971 recording of a conversation between President Richard Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (starting at the 56 second mark). You really wonder more generally what things powerful people think in private that they can't say in public.

NIXON: I read with great interest your piece from the U.N.—on Herrnstein's piece that I had passed on to you. Let me say first of all, nobody on the staff even knows I read the goddamned article.

MOYNIHAN: Oh, good.

NIXON: And nobody on this staff is going to know anything about it, because I couldn't agree more with you that the Herrnstein stuff and all the rest, this is knowledge—first, no one must think we're thinking about it, and second, if we do find out it's correct, we must never tell anybody.

MOYNIHAN: I'm afraid that's just the case.

NIXON: That's right. Now, let me add a few things, if you can—and you might just make some mental notes about it, or anything you want, so I give you my own views. I've reluctantly concluded, based at least on the evidence presently before me, and I don't base it on any scientific evidence, that what Herrnstein says, and also, what's said earlier by Jensen and so forth, is probably very close to the truth. Now—

MOYNIHAN: I think's that where you'd have to—

NIXON: Now, having said that, then you counter that by saying something that the racists would never agree with, that within groups, there are geniuses—

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