MacDonald’s Insight

In an oped that appeared in The Wall Street Journal a few days ago, Heather MacDonald made a simple point that I have been thinking about ever since:


“By perpetuating a false narrative about its own racism, Yale, like the vast majority of colleges and universities today, encourages its minority students to think of themselves as victims. That mentality is contrary to fact and will hinder those who adopt it from fully seizing the boundless opportunities …

I don’t doubt that academics think that they’re promoting their idea of justice by teaching the idea, now taken as Unchallenged Truth in academia and popular culture, that “implicit bias” against minorities is deeply – and often unconsciously – embedded in our society. (Well, “implicit bias” against non-Asian-American minorities...

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American Anomie?

To an extent that I have only come to appreciate with the passage of years, I was born in the shadow of World War II. As a boy in the 1960s, that war seemed like ancient history to me; my father had fought in it, but refused to speak about his wartime experiences, so all I had for perspective about that actually recent history were patriotic war movies of the sort that haven’t been made since that time. In those movies, our guys wore the white hats and they always triumphed, albeit generally at a poignantly felt cost. 

To my father and others of his generation, no doubt war memories, many of them horrid, were all too fresh – the thirteen years between the war’s end and my birth must have seemed like the blink of an eye to them – shorter than the time between 9/11, which I remember wi...

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A Curious Absence of Curiosity

Why aren’t my Democrat friends and relatives even slightly curious about the origins and purpose of the Trump/Russia collusion hoax? Now that it should be clear to all that there never was any genuine evidence of traitorous wrongdoing by the Trump campaign, shouldn’t we all wonder whether prominent members of the Obama Administration cooked the whole thing up to cover their tracks? 

Admittedly, it’s still possible that there’s an innocent explanation for Comey’s FBI having tried to entrap George Papadopoulos and misled the FISA courts with the (actually Russian-sourced and Clinton bought-and-paid-for “Steele Dossier”) in order to get authorization to spy on the Trump campaign. 

Maybe they thought Trump was really, really icky...

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Why Do They Grieve?

What were you hoping the result of the Mueller investigation would be?

Were you hoping that the Special Counsel would find evidence of Russian collusion on the part of the Trump campaign sufficient to convince the Senate that the President should be removed from office? Many partisan Democrats, celebrities and members of the press – groups with nearly complete overlap – were clearly hoping for just that. They wanted – and no doubt still want – to believe that that President Trump was, to quote Stephen Colbert’s (homophobic, FWIW) “joke”, President Putin’s “cock holster”.

That possibility never made much sense...

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Failing Gatekeepers

I attended Phillips Exeter and Princeton. As an undergraduate, I majored in English and studied three other languages – one living, two dead. I loved most of my courses.

As I recall, in the late 1970s standards were quite high in Princeton’s English Department; I worked very hard at my studies and achieved only the level of being slightly above average in my departmental ranking. I did not graduate with honors. At the time, I excused my undistinguished academic record as having been caused by my participation in – and an excessive focus on – varsity athletics, but as many others have shown, that’s a lame excuse.

My loves of reading and writing, nurtured through my formal education, have followed me through life; I would also like to think that my course of study – which bo...

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Winner Take All

The machinery of politics in our great nation has grown rusty. Radical policy shifts proceed from the executive and judicial branches in fits and starts, with much grinding of the gears and screeches from the unhappy. Congress does little. President Trump’s abrasiveness, no less than that of his opponents, is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the evolution from consensus-driven democratic governance to a quasi-monarchical, winner take all system.

Article One of the US Constitution reads, in part: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives” but Congress has largely neglected or delegated its powers.

Laws (or rather, regulations that have the force of law) are effecti...

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Being There?

The combination of arrogance and ignorance among darlings of the left can reach stunning levels, and in that respect none can match – though seemingly many try – the dizzying heights regularly achieved by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Just days after releasing a “Green New Deal” proposal under which the entire US economy would be reorganized in a time frame and manner that would have caused the late Pol Pot to envy her style, AOC, as she’s called, celebrated the cancellation of Amazon’s plan to build a secondary headquarters in Queens with a tweet excoriating Amazon’s “corporate greed” and its “worker exploitation.”

These are stock phrases for leftists; taken together, they translate loosely as “the characteristics of a private enterprise that hasn’t given in to my dema...

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About the Suburbs

In the immediate aftermath of WWI, commuter train lines were built reaching up into Westchester County. An area just outside the city’s limits that had been countryside became the town where, many decades later, the Beloved Spouse and I would raise our children and spend much of our lives. Within the space of a few years after what’s now our train line went in, the land was cut into quarter-acre and half-acre lots, thousands of houses were built and a suburb was born.

Initially, many of the homes were nearly identical. The house that we bought 32 years ago and lived in for our first ten years here has a twin just a block away. Other houses on the street also have twins a block away...

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Accusations of Racism

I have sometimes wondered, sitting in a church pew, how much Christian dogma the person in front of me actually believes. Does he or she believe in the virgin birth? The resurrection? That by believing we will attain eternal life?

We cannot see into each others’ hearts, nor can we ever really know for sure why people do what they do.

Invariably, as I think about the questions I’ve asked myself about my fellow congregants, I realize that I neither know nor particularly care whether or not they believe in the literal truth of these doctrines, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not happy that they’re there – I am.

***

Most accusations of racism today, prominently including the ones routinely leveled at our current president, are despicable and, all-too-often, successful a...

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System Failures

That international trade is strongly positive in its over-all effects is the strongly-held, consensus view among both economists generally and my social class in particular. I have no doubt that the economists’ perspective is correct, as far as it goes – meaning, that trade increases global wealth by making the best use of different nations’ comparative advantages – but it has nothing to say about those who lose out as a result of the improved efficiencies.

Global trade, like migrations and the constant, churning changes inherent to capitalism, disadvantages some while benefiting others. Creative destruction is the very engine of a free market...

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