Monday, November 23, 2015

You saw it here first: affirmative action children acting out.

Stuart Taylor, Princeton '70
We told you affirmative action was responsible. Now Stuart Taylor, Jr., scholar at the liberal Brookings Institution, writes in the conservative American Spectator that affirmative action lies behind the current Cultural Revolution hitting American campuses.

As Taylor reminds us:
good black . . . students, who would be academically competitive at many selective schools, are not competitive at the more selective schools that they attend. That’s why it takes very large racial preferences to get them admitted. An inevitable result is that many black . . . students cannot keep up with better-prepared classmates and rank low in their classes no matter how hard they work.
Studies show that this academic “mismatch effect” forces them to drop science and other challenging courses; to move into soft, easily graded, courses disproportionately populated by other preferentially admitted students; and to abandon career hopes such as engineering and pre-med. Many lose intellectual self-confidence and become unhappy even if they avoid flunking out.
And many turn from their books to campus agitation against discrimination and injustice. In the process, they avoid facing head-on an injustice they first benefit from, an injustice that then turns to bite them hard: projected “white guilt.”

Or have I got this wrong?  Is the current black agitation the richly-deserved payback the white perpetrators of affirmative action deserve? 

Friday, November 20, 2015

American Cultural Revolution Rolls On

Wilson Mural at Princeton, Covered in Black
“Across the nation, students have risen up to demand an end to systemic and structural racism on campus. Here are their demands.” For the complete list of demands go to (list here).

As of yesterday, our current crop of “red guards” is active on 46 campuses. Their “demands” include Princeton activists calling for elimination of Woodrow Wilson’s name from Princeton institutions where his name appears, including the Woodrow Wilson School I attended, and Wilson College, the residential hall where my son lived. And the “red guards’” sit-in in the Princeton President’s Office (Woodrow Wilson wasn’t only our president, he was also President of Princeton) has succeeded!

It’s so ironic. Woodrow Wilson is the father (oops!) of American Progressivism, supported direct election of senators, created the Federal Reserve System, reduced tariffs, help give women the vote, created Mother’s Day, vetoed a bill demanding literacy tests for immigrants and banning Asian workers, tried to veto the National Prohibition Act, led us to victory in World War I, then earned the Nobel Peace Prize both for his efforts to end war and for founding the League of Nations, the predecessor to the U.N. Wilson is often ranked by historians as one of the nation’s greatest presidents.

Yes Wilson was a racist.  He was born in the South in 1856. But that made him too young to own slaves, as did 12 of our first 18 presidents.

Watch out, State of Washington and Washington D.C.!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The New Cultural Revolution: Affirmative Acton’s Price

Yale Students Making Revolution
So the Cultural Revolution-like protests at Missouri and Yale have now spread to Claremont-McKenna and Dartmouth.

Crane Brinton’s The Anatomy of Revolution (1938) explains why--before eventually being crushed in revolution’s "Thermidor" stage--extremists first triumph over moderates:
  • they are "better organized, better staffed, better obeyed." 
  • they have "relatively few responsibilities," while the legal government "has to shoulder some of the unpopularity of the government of the old regime" with "the worn-out machinery, the institutions of the old regime." 
  • the moderates are hindered by their hesitancy to change direction and fight back against the radical revolutionaries, "with whom they recently stood united," in favor of conservatives, "against whom they have so recently risen." 
  • they are drawn to the slogan “no enemies to the Left.” 
  • the moderates are attacked on one side by "disgruntled but not yet silenced conservatives, and the confident, aggressive extremists," on the other. 
  • moderate revolutionary policies can please neither side. 
Sound familiar? If so, and if the past is any guide, the current Cultural Revolution hitting American university campuses has a ways to go before its leaders are frozen.

Still, as Paul Sperry in the conservative New York Post reminds us, today’s student unrest is a pale imitation of what hit U.S. campuses 50 years ago:
The protests of the ’60s had real causes — fighting for civil rights and opposing the draft during an unpopular war. But today’s protesters are posers grasping at faux causes and ginning up pseudo-grievances about things like Halloween costumes and swastikas drawn in bathrooms.
The police dogs, truncheons and firehoses of the civil-rights movement have been reduced to slights, slurs and symbols. Today’s discrimination is “unconscious” or “implicit.” Activists know it exists, they just can’t prove it. It’s “systemic,” yet they can’t find it.
Let me be blunt. The instigators of today’s campus radicalism, especially blacks, are the children and grandchildren of affirmative action, now 50 years old. They are inspired by our angry black president, the first affirmative action child to arrive at the White House.

Conservative black author Shelby Steele, in White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era (2006), wrote forthrightly about the failure of affirmative action and its continuing damage to our nation. Steele believes that in the ‘60s, there was no quick answer to America’s
heartless betrayal of democracy where blacks were concerned, the [profound] loss of moral authority. . . In their monochrome whiteness, the institutions of this society -- universities, government agencies, corporations -- became emblems of the very evil America had just acknowledged.
Affirmative action was a false short cut, rapidly allowing white-dominated institutions to shed “white guilt” by turning to policies that favored blacks at the expense of (mostly less privileged) whites.

For blacks, however, Steele asserts affirmative action didn’t work, with no evidence the policy has narrowed the developmental gap between whites and blacks. New Haven black firemen granted promotion over their higher-scoring white counterparts certainly disadvantaged white firemen, but left undeniable the fact that not a single black scored high enough to gain promotion.

Steele writes that blacks suffer from underdevelopment, not discrimination:
Success in modernity will demand profound cultural changes -- changes in child-rearing, a restoration of marriage and family, a focus on academic rigor, a greater appreciation of entrepreneurialism and an embrace of individual development as the best road to group development.
Blacks are too proud to explore openly what Steele calls underdevelopment. That leaves us all perpetuating the language of discrimination and injustice, thereby denying blacks responsibility for taking charge of their own fate as did and do successive waves of American immigrants, whatever their color.  

Comment: Today’s campus Cultural Revolution, following Steele’s book by 9 years, is perpetuating black focus on discrimination and injustice. It does so in place of blacks overcoming the underdevelopment that must be obvious to many affirmative action beneficiaries every day in their university classrooms.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015: American Cultural Revolution Launched?

Missouri Football Protesters Call for University President's Head
It’s amazing what just happened at the University of Missouri. Black students upset about President Timothy Wolfe’s
insufficient appreciation for the “systematic oppression” experienced by students of color at the university [and backed by c]ampus agitators alleg[ing] that racial slurs had been directed at black students
forced Wolfe to resign! They did so using a technique that may go university by university across the nation. They moved black players on Missouri’s football team to threaten that unless Wolfe resigned, they would boycott Saturday’s game with BYU, a cancellation that would cost Missouri $1 million.

Yes, Missouri is the state of Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb that hosted riots last year over the supposed white policeman murder (since disproven) of an unarmed black teenager. Yes, the University of Missouri is run by the state. Yes, Missouri is one of only 17 states still left with a Democratic governor. Yes, blacks provide over 20% of Missouri's Democratic vote. Nevertheless, every campus where football or basketball earn universities--public or private--big dollars faces the same blackmail threat that brought down Wolfe, along with his chancellor.

And if you don’t believe a nationwide cultural revolution--with parallels to the massive, student-led Red Guard revolution that destroyed China’s traditional Communist Party in 1966--may be starting in the U.S., look what’s going on at Yale. Professor Nicholas Christakis resides at and presides over Silliman, a Yale residential college. His wife Erika, a lecturer in early childhood education, shares that duty.

As described by Conor Friedersdorf over 3,500 words in the liberal Atlantic, Erika had the temerity to suggest, politely in an email, that maybe Yale administrators shouldn’t be advising which Halloween costumes were and were not appropriate for students to wear.

The reaction to Erika’s email was explosive. Please go here to view the YouTube student intimidation of husband Nicholas; a video clip that begins with one student saying, “Walk away, he doesn’t deserve to be listened to.”

You think that reaction was a bit much? Friedersdorf reports that since Halloween, “Hundreds of Yale students are attacking [the Christakis’s], some with hateful insults, shouted epithets, and a campaign of public shaming,” and “a faction of students are now trying to get the couple removed from their residential positions, which is to say, censured and ousted from their home on campus.”

Comment: We can no longer expect the crucible of meritocratic elite rule--the academy--to be a training ground for democracy based upon the principle that all persons are created equal, a belief supported by our basic freedoms, including freedom of speech. In the words of George Orwell’s Napoleon (Animal Farm, 1945), “All . . . Are Equal / But Some Are More Equal Than Others."

Monday, November 02, 2015

Third GOP Debate Shortens Field

 Cruz                        Rubio                        Trump                          Carson
"we believe there are really only four candidates with a reasonable chance of becoming the Republican nominee: Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Senator Ted Cruz."

--Marco Rubio Campaign

The Rubio campaign analysis seems correct. Following the October 28 GOP debate botched by CNBC, Ted Cruz is closing in on the Republican “outsider insider” conservative vote. At the same time, Marco Rubio has apparently broken in front of a large, qualified pack of candidates seeking to become the GOP establishment’s leading choice--in the process passing Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and departed Scott Walker and Rick Perry.

So the Republican contest might come down to Rubio v. Cruz after all. That would be news to Trump and Ben Carson. They have topped national polls since Carson passed Bush in late August (Trump’s been #1 in the RealClearPolitics average since July 19).

Trump and Carson remain well out in front. If Republicans continue to prefer an outsider, it will be Trump or Carson. Carson is Dr. anti-Trump; his support comes from Republicans who love Trump’s hostility toward the elite, but can’t stand the man. Carson provides an acceptable alternative to Trump, meaning love him or hate him, Trump dominates either way.

In line with our analysis, Carson, Trump, Rubio, and Cruz lead the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll taken over 5 days, including the day after CNBC’s GOP debate:

Carson 29%
Trump 23%
Rubio 11%
Cruz 10%

Monmouth University has a poll run entirely after the debate, but limited just to New Hampshire:

Trump 26%
Carson 16%
Rubio 13% (up from 4%)
Kasich 11%
Cruz 9%

Trump runs ahead of Carson and Kasich ahead of Cruz in secular New Hampshire; Both Cruz and Carson draw from the Christian right.

The latest Iowa poll, the Democratic PPP Poll, also took place after the last Republican debate. Iowa GOP caucus attendees are overwhelmingly evangelical-conservative. So no surprise that Christian conservatives Carson and Cruz dominate in Iowa--Carson even with Trump, and Cruz moving ahead of Rubio:

Trump 22%
Carson 21%
Cruz 14%
Rubio 10%

In all new polls, Bush trails the four new leaders.

Kim Strassel, writing in the conservative Wall Street Journal, expects Rubio and Cruz to be two of the last three standing (she also likes Chris Christie). Strassel explains why:
Republican voters want[:] a great communicator, an effective advocate for their cause. They haven’t had one since Reagan, and the Bushes and McCains and Romneys have highlighted how big a problem that is.
The two Cuban Americans, Rubio and Cruz, are both 44. They aspire to be the Republican John Kennedy as much as the next Reagan, trading on youth as did our first Catholic president.