Making what Harvard is about transparent

This is the future Edward Blum wants

In the 20th century version of the TV series Murphy Brown, there was an episode where three young American scholars were introduced. The big laugh was that they had very Chinese or Indian names. Though it’s probably politically incorrect today to depict it that way, the joke is that the best “American” scholars were not really American….

If you’re an Asian American who remembers the period before the 1990s, you know where I’m coming from. This was an America in black and white, and you were literally the Other if you were outside of those two boxes. People would be surprised that you spoke English without an accent, and inquire where you really came from. This still happens now and then, but back in the 1980s, it was pervasive. It was tradition. The children of the first post-1965 immigrants were not yet grown, so the majority of Asian American adults you saw and encountered were immigrants outside of a few areas, such as Hawaii and portions of the West Coast. In 1980 1.7% of the people residing in the United States were Asian American. Today nearly 7% are Asian American.

This is having an impact. The winners of spelling bees and science fair winners don’t “look like America” anymore.

And this is the major reason why the cultural elite is very upset about the scrutiny which admissions processes at top universities have been receiving. Consider this op-ed in The New York Times, A Damaging Bid to Censor Applications at Harvard. It concludes:

As a leader in higher education, Harvard is trying to change this through its modest consideration of race in admissions. Its goal is to create a diverse community of students who can engage with and learn from people who are different, and carry those experiences with them beyond the university.

Expressions of racial identity are part of the fullness of our humanity. It’s not possible to be blind to race. Pretending as though it is ensures we will forever be divided.

The op-ed is pretty measured and not particularly shoddy as far as it goes. This is the sort of message that the editors and reporters at The New York Times want to amplify. Call it the anti-Bari Weiss effect.

The problem I have with Harvard and its academic and administrative overclass is that the media often allows them to engage in doublespeak without any comment, critique or dissent. Part of it is that institutions such as The New York Times are dominated by people from elite academic institutions, and so are part of the same broad culture, with a set of assumptions and interests, implicit and explicit, private and public. They’re all family.

For example, a few years ago the president of Harvard declared that the institution was all about inclusion. On the face of it that is just a bald-faced lie, and everyone knows it. Harvard is about exclusion, selection, and curation. “Inclusion” actually meant that there are certain views and backgrounds that Harvard is going to curate and encourage. Which is fine. But an institution which excludes >95% of those who apply for admission is by definition not inclusive and open.

The issue with Harvard is that it is an institution which is many things to many people. Harvard lets in the smart, talented, wealthy, and powerful, with various mixes of these elements. Asian Americans tend to be smart and talented in academic measures, but most of them are not “old money” in the United States, and even if they were there is a suspicion (perhaps fair, I don’t know) among many stewards of elite academic institutions that they don’t have the values which would result in large donations to those institutions. Harvard needs to take care of rich people, who tend to be white, and lucky, because it wants rich people to take care of Harvard. Luckily for the rich, they are not always so smart and diligent, but they are “well-rounded.” Their personalities have polish, and if that’s not there, perhaps a strategic donation can be made.

Harvard also smiles upon the scions of Third World dynasties. They may not be brilliant, but they are likely to impact the lives of hundreds of millions through their possible ascension to the pinnacle of power. Again, in clear doublespeak, Harvard mouths egalitarianism constantly but signals in its actions that it is realistic that power is passed down through blood. Harvard is in and of this world. It makes the world. And the world makes it.

Finally, Harvard educates the American ruling class. And it wants to continue to educate the American ruling class. As such, it is self-conscious of the fact that it, therefore, can’t have the demographic profile of Cal-Tech. Harvard doesn’t just want to incubate innovators, it wants to cultivate and train the administrators of the largesse that innovation allows.

The “diverse community of students” who are going to become elected officials is no doubt one reason that Harvard and other elite schools make recourse to racial and regional diversity metrics. If Harvard can be thought of as a finishing school for the elites attached to a hedge fund (its endowment), it needs to maintain some diversity in its portfolio of the future overclass. Legacies and the super-rich are important because these are lineages with a record of success within the overclass. The data is clear that innate cognitive aptitudes aside, children of privilege have a leg up. All things equal, and even not equal, it is rational to give bonus points to those who come from privilege if you want to maintain your own as an institution.

But, you also need to sample more of the parameter space. Some families do leave the elite, and others join it. The goal of an institution like Harvard is to admit and cultivate potential joiners. These are not always going to be children who win spelling bees and science fairs, and can attain every metric you might put in front of them. Political leaders of given communities tend to look like and come from those communities. Therefore, there is a need to maintain some level of racial and ethnic diversity if power, as opposed to academics,* is your number one focus.

What if Harvard began to let more Asian Americans in? Even though it is a private institution it would have some of the problems that Stuyvesant High School in New York is facing. Stuy is about 75% Asian American in a city that is 12% Asian American. The plain fact is that an elite public school supported by the city is probably not sustainable in the long-term if it does not reflect the demographics of the city. This is not an argument about whether it is just or not, but an observation of the dynamics of power and influence in a democratic system.

Harvard has to look somewhat like America visibly. The visibility part is important because it makes it salient. The reality is that Harvard undergraduates are highly atypical in their family background. The average student comes from a family in the top 20% of household income distribution. This distribution is probably multi-modal because Harvard’s endowment allows it to subsidize students of more modest means while still reserving spots for the extremely wealthy and privileged. Additionally, when you scratch beneath the surface the “visibility” can deceive. Harvard representation of black students is near the national proportion. But historically the majority of these have been from biracial or immigrant or Caribbean American households. In the 2000s it was estimated that one-third of Harvard black students represented 90% of black Americans who have four grandparents who were born and raised in the United States as black Americans.

But from what I can tell the issue of at last superficial visible identity is key, and substantive differences which are not externally salient less critical. The fact that the first black American president had a white mother and an African immigrant father has been noted, but over time it seems to be less and less important than the fact that he identified and was seen as a black American, despite his atypicality on so many substantive measures.

The problem though is that even though visibility matters, unanimity of viewpoint and opinion may cause problems in pumping the pipeline to power in a democratic republic where there is still a pluralism of views. Harvard undergraduates are very liberal and secular compared to the American public. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if you want to be the training ground for power, in a democratic republic where there are still differing views it is important that one expect those views and anticipate responses (though clearly a lot of politicians lie about their piety and ‘evolve’ in their ideology).

In particular, Christian white conservatives are far less well represented at Harvard than they are on a national level. Obviously, there is not anything wrong with that as such, but historically we’ve had white Christian conservatives (or people who identify and affiliate as such) in positions of power, and their exclusion from elite institutions might engender alienation and hostility from the very power that they exist to cultivate.

Of course, it could just be that white conservative Christians are not academically up to snuff. My previous inquiries do suggest there is a strong correlation between secularity and social liberalism and very high IQs. But, if you look at the GSS’s WORDSUM variable you see there are probably a reasonable number of intelligent white conservative Christians.

First, looking at the WORDSUM scores of non-Hispanic whites by ideology, you can see that liberals tend to be smarter than conservatives, and both are smarter than moderates. This is a pretty robust pattern. Intelligent people tend to have stronger and more strident views. Moderates are probably moderate in part because they aren’t as bright and so have weak opinions.

That being said, when you look at the distribution of ideologies by WORDSUM scores you get a different perspective. Though moderates are on average less intelligent, there are so many of them that for non-Hispanic whites they are still the most numerous in the 9-10 category (that is, they got one item wrong, or none wrong). And, there is balance between the number of conservatives and liberals. The average liberal is smarter, but the much larger number of white conservatives means that even in the brightest decile they attain parity.

Of course, the average Harvard student is not a top 10% performer, they’re a top 1% performer. And often not just academically, but in a variety of ways. They are selected for raw intelligence, but also high conscientiousness. Though the two are correlated, they are imperfectly so. Following James F. Crow’s expectation in regards to human inequality, when you select from the intersecting tails of multiple different distributions, the resulting student population is unlikely to be representative of the broader population.

Let’s wrap this up with some conclusions.

First, Harvard and the other Ivies will find a way to continue to cap the number of Asian American students. I think the current lawsuit may win on the merits, but the “Deep Oligarchy” is more powerful than the judiciary or the executive branch. If, on the other hand, Harvard gets rid of legacies and special backdoor admissions, I’ll admit I was wrong, and the chosen have lost control of the system. As long as legacies and backdoor admissions continue, you know that the eyes are on the prize of power and glory. Capping the number of Asian American “grinds” would be a small price to pay then, and those who are allowed beyond the gates will be well-trained to sing the praises of Harvard’s policy (as they all do).

Second, the alienation of the successor to the “Eastern Establishment” from the large numbers of moderate and conservative whites will be a long-term problem in terms of the maintenance of its grip on power. Though this segment of the population is in decline, it is still large and substantial, and will wield power and influence out of proportion to its overall numbers for decades because they are older. They vote more, and they mobilize well. The rise to dominance of ideologies at campuses such as Harvard which pathologize the very persistence of these groups on the national scene will exacerbate the polarization and alienation. Though the individuals who run these institutions may bemoan this trend, because of the large numbers of students who are ideologically on the same page on this issue, they won’t be able to stop the march toward cultural radicalization.

Harvard has avoided the problem of Stuyvesant by maintaining visible diversity within its student body. But because it does not emphasize intra-racial ideological diversity, it will eventually run into its own Stuyvesant problem as it loses all legitimacy from large swaths of the body politic who see that racial identity does not entail ideological affinity and sympathy.

Addendum: This is a mildly obscure blog. And to be honest I’d rather write about science papers than this. But, I wanted to put this blog post up so that it’s out there because mainstream publications seem to be intent on publishing a stream of what I perceive to be simplistic or disingenuous pieces.

The Left/liberal/progressive side engages in cant about “diversity”, when we all know they mean a very precise sort of diversity and a very particular type of background when they talk about “background.” But the Right/conservative side’s emphasis on merit and colorblindness strikes me as consciously blind to the fact that these institutions were always about shaping and grooming the elite and engaged in the game of reflecting and determining the American upper class. The Right/conservative project would abolish Harvard as we know it on a far deeper level than the Left/liberal/progressive posturing cultural radicalism, which at the end of the day has no problem bowing before neoliberal capital so long as lexical modifications are made.

If Asian Americans want to increase their proportion at Harvard, they have to follow the Jewish strategy and join the socio-political elite. If they don’t do that, then the Asian quota will persist in some way. The art of persuasion is really the exercise of power.

* When I speak of students and “Harvard” I’m talking about the undergraduate level. The graduate and professional schools are somewhat different.

11+

46 thoughts on “Making what Harvard is about transparent

  1. You wondered about “that they don’t have the values which would result in large donations to those institutions”. I did too, so I browsed the Stanford University (where I’ve spent 50 years) map and identified four buildings.

    Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center,
    Ng House,
    Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building,
    Li Ka Shing Learning and Knowledge Center.

    Naturally, there are a huge number of non-Asian names.
    Naturally off to a slow start, but given time I’m guessing the East Asians in America will turn out like traditional Americans.

    Odd that Europe seems different.

    0
  2. We should tax any university with an admission rating below 10% and an endowment larger than $1 billion.

    2+
  3. the chosen

    A curious choice of words… : )

    If Asian Americans want to increase their proportion at Harvard, they have to follow the Jewish strategy and join the socio-political elite.

    True enough. But how would they agitate for greater inclusion into that elite when they don’t have much of a stake in the media? Even when they were the underdogs, Jews had the megaphone. Asians don’t.

    Unlike Messrs. Unz and Hsu, I am not one of the people who are meritocratic supremacists (though I am Asian). Harvard and the rest of the Ivies and other elite universities don’t “need more Asians, because IQ.” Rather they need to – again – educate an elite that cares about the national project, which means caring for the wellbeing of their cognitive, economic, and social inferiors who are still their fellow Americans. In other words, we need a patriotic elite with noblesse oblige.

    There was a time when a substantial number of Ivy graduates went to war, fought and died for their country. Then came Vietnam and the capturing of academia by the radical left. Look at the last few wars (Gulf War I, the GWOT) and the elites and their scions are conspicuously absent in the rolls of the dead and maimed. Have a problem killing for the country? Well then, let’s see you teach poorly-clad kids in West Virginia. Let’s see you doctoring toothless people in rural Missouri.

    The problem of our elite education today is that the products of the said education have lost their legitimacy, not so much because of their left-wing ideology (and I write this as an “extreme” reactionary), but because of their Darwinian contempt for people who are “less” than they are.

    I went to school with these people. I grew up with them. They think they are good people because they care more about whales (or blacks) than they do for the hillbillies in Appalachia… all the while they serve themselves. It’s not liberalism that is their problem. It’s hypocrisy.

    And the ordinary people can smell it. One of my mentors once taught me that old adage – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Harvard needs to start inculcating this. To me, that seems far more important and fundamental than having more Asians or more conservatives on campus.

    23+
  4. Re: Harvard selecting for intelligence and conscientiousness —

    What’s the mental quality in which you are determined to write and speak honestly, even if it leads to massive social opprobrium? Because almost by definition, intellectually elite conservatives are in that category. It’s not ‘sperginess,’ is it?

    Do intellectually elite liberals ever reflect on the difference between having political opinions that garner thousands of likes, comments and shares, and those that force you to choose between being fired or pseudonymous?

    6+
  5. This is the essential finding of the Bakke case — that “elite” higher education (I believe Bakke was a medical school case) requires the flexibility to pick and choose the students, thus meeting the equal protection standards.

    Of course that is very different that what affirmative action set out to be — which is address historical wrongs against mostly blacks and a few latinos.

    This tension has been running through the entire affirmative action in higher education debate since.

    That is what the first round of the Bollinger case was also about – basically if we use race under strict scrutiny then public universities won’t be able to compete with private universities in training future leaders. Hence we give this fig leaf to diversity.

    RZ touches on it, but the real problem is hyper-elite (Harvard) want to create global, not just national leadership and an anti-asian quota would be hard to deal with. If we think about a global elite, you’re looking at 25% south asian, 25% chinese, 25% west european ancestry, and 25% jewish. Not a lot of room for anyone else. But honestly that is what Goldman Sachs looks like now.

    0
  6. Razib: I think your diagnosis is pretty much spot on.

    I also think Twinkie has gotten to a deep issue: ” we need a patriotic elite with noblesse oblige.” Of course needing it and getting it are two entirely different issues.

    The real question is: “what is to be done?”

    First: There is the issue of fairness in admissions. Should the golden tickets to life on the upper deck of this cruise ship be handed out by institutional insiders with no accountability?

    The question pretty much answers itself if you are not one of the institutions insiders. Many people would advocate a system of examinations such as those used in in many other OECD countries.

    I think it is politically unpalatable in the US. We all know who would be the winners and losers in that system, and they would use all of their political clout to block it. They would be backed by the institutions that do not want to lose their power.

    The only system that I can think of that would be completely fair and out of the control of the institutions would be a lottery. Then the incoming class would look like America including all the people from flyover country who have never had a chance of getting into Harvard. (Want to poison your chances of getting into Harvard? Join 4H and FFA).

    Second: what should be the tax status of Harvard and the other multi-billion dollar endowments. As Razib mentioned, they have been called hedge funds that use colleges as a tax dodge. I think there is an excellent case both for taxing them and for eliminating the tax deduction for contributions to them.

    4+
  7. well, as Chris Hayes and also the Atlantic have said: what’s in it for us? if continuing to focus on a “meritocracy” only leads us to where we are now (a “captured economy” by the elite in yet another Gilded Age) then why do it? the liberals where i work (small liberal arts college) couldn’t possibly care less about test scores. they’re focused on getting rid of white power and they’ll do anything to achieve this but asians aren’t really in this equation.
    as a centrist, avg. IQ white person i’m ambivalent about the college admission thing. if we’re going to let millions of non-white immigrants into the country who are both smarter and dumber than me then i lose either way. to be frank, i don’t really know if they’re here to help america or just to get theirs. our current direction is not encouraging…

    2+
  8. Harvard has to look somewhat like America visibly.

    Do the police forces and military not need the same?

    Judiciary?

    If we do away with racially gerrymandered districts, what will the House of Representatives look like?

    Where and at what institutions is the line to be drawn?

    1+
  9. So, the op-ed in the NYT is now saying that racial discrimination is OK, after we’ve been told its not since the early 1960’s. If racial discrimination is OK, then it should be OK to make housing subdivisions exclusively for Asian-Americans and whites.

    4+
  10. @Razib and @ Twinkie

    “twinkie, i’m coming around to your view on this.

    if the republic is to be saved, we need more virtue, not more competence.”

    Great statement and observation Razib and Twinkie.

    It did seem like there was a time in the past where virtue was if not practiced, was idealized or at least the shadow of a standard held sway over people’s conscience.

    Now it’s the games of political correctness who according to this Atlantic article (don’t know if it had already came up on gnxp), majorities are against, but it’s strongest pushers are labeled as “progressives” who are a wealthy, almost all white minority (the ones who have the most “competence” and know what’s good for us):

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majorities-dislike-political-correctness/572581/

    I was surprised to learn this, being that current media, both visual and print, portray that a majority of people, including a majority of the NAM minorities are of this view.

    It instills the fear (at least in me) that the trendy politburo might send you off to the proverbial social gulag (getting labeled as bigoted, right-wing, and worse: uncool and unintelligent) if the line is not toed. 😉

    0
  11. More importantly, we should be able to succeed, both politically and economically, from the so-called elites.

    0
  12. …but it is hard to instill virtue in someone who doesn’t believe U.S. was ever a virtuous place. Seems like a lot of people think that way now.

    2+
  13. the chosen

    A curious choice of words… : )

    Quite. Are we going to go strictly by outward appearance, or are we going to look under the hood. What if we examine political beliefs and ideology as well?

    1+
  14. Razib @ 9:03am: I was going to link the WSJ article. The quick answer is that 200 factors is pseudo-rationality. The factors are a smoke screen to cover the staffs doing what they want to and filling the class with kids who will fit the mission.

    The whole admissions system is pseudo-rational. The admissions bureaucracies do not have the resources to do a “holistic” analysis on 42,749 files. Think about how many staffers it would take to spend a half hour on each one during from late September through the end of March when decisions must be mailed out.

    Bottom line: They are dealing off the bottom of the deck.

    If you are playing poker and you don’t know who the mark is, you are the mark.

    2+
  15. this post is getting a lot of attention. please note i moderate this weblog. if you leave a long comment where the first line imputes views to me which i didn’t even really lay out, i’m probably not going to publish the comment.

    0
  16. Thank you for this post. If I’m understanding you correctly, there seem to be two key points being made: firstly, that Asian-Americans are unlikely to give as much back to the university as others; secondly, that if Asian-Americans do want to increase their representation, they will have to join the socio-political elite.

    The first is surely an empirical question. But let’s assume that they don’t: even if they do start “taking care of” their universities, the universities will only admit more of them on legacy grounds.

    Indeed, if what you’re saying is true, then Asian-Americans can do nothing to prevent themselves from being discriminated against unless they advocate for a purely meritocratic admissions policy. Even if they join the socio-political elite, the incentive to discriminate against them in the admissions process will still be there, namely to prevent more of them from joining the elite. Further, the Asians who do join the elite (as you note about the students who graduate from Harvard) will no doubt defend Harvard and other Ivy Leagues.

    3+
  17. Walter Sobchak: “Many people would advocate a system of examinations such as those used in in many other OECD countries.

    I think it is politically unpalatable in the US. We all know who would be the winners and losers in that system, and they would use all of their political clout to block it. They would be backed by the institutions that do not want to lose their power.”

    You could have (or perhaps not, because some legal restrictions?)examinations combined with explicit demographic quotas; or something like the Texas system, the “x” best students of each high school. In terms of the political system, this will breake the insiders-disadvantaged minorities alliance.

    0
  18. Edward Blum’s entire political career is an attempt at removing the protections that Black Americans have been afforded since the Civil Rights Movement.

    Edward Blum sued the University of Texas at Austin for automatically accepting the top 10% of each school’s graduating class. This was a very fair way to inject ethnic diversity while also maintaining a race neutral overall policy due to existing residential segregation. Edward Blum then helped put Shelby County V Holder in front of the Supreme Court, which then struck down preclearence requirements for states that have a long history of disenfranchising minorities. Blum is someone whose goal is the diminution of black political/social/economic power. He does not care at all about the betterment of Asian Americans and is simply using them as a bludgeon to erase whatever inroads blacks have made in elite higher ed.

    Literally no single person in America has done as much damage to black Americans as Edward Blum. He is the reason why Kemp in Georgia can disenfranchise tens of thousands of black voters in day less than a month before the gubernatorial election he is a candidate in. Disappointed that you would praise this person.

    2+
  19. Re: preserving the Republic: Per your standing recommendation in sidebar book list, I clicked through and am now purchasing a copy of “Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877” by Walter A. McDonald. Right now seems a moment to review that fissiparous precedent.

    I see that McDonald also wrote a book about the politics of the Cold-War Space Race. Serendipitous! Because (given that I am just as compelled as the next overproduced elite to offer unheeded prescriptions) I was about to opine that, if today’s Overboobs are capable of acting enough in their own self-interest to prevent entire breakdown of the food-chain which feeds the hyper-complex golden goose upon whose downy excesses their own comfort depends, then, aside from whatever phenotypic-posturing representational balance-point Harvard moment-by-moment settles upon, a functional noblesse oblige requires, at minimum:

    of course:

    a) Thoroughgoing visibly enthusiastic public infrastructure spending,

    and, essential to immediate and ultimate transcendance of hormonal-animal drives ,

    b) Exhortative ‘To The Stars’ non-profit Public Good space-exploration campaign. (Since intra-global terrestrial competition is too dominant a behavior-set to overcome otherwise.) I anticipate from the here-assembled crowd a deafening silence in response to these sensible suggestions; I instead anticipate continued Chinese ascendancy which will, one hopes, spur the yet-great(!)USA multi-culti “hustler” polis–(see McDonald’s American national-psychology thesis)– to outdo the Chinese; and may a bloodless civilizational contest result in peacefully winning for all interested parties a mutually beneficial, gentle-yet fulfilling future, replete with fantastic fusioned cuisines and musicks.

    And I shall shake your Pan-Harvard hand at the Enceladus snack bar, where the local hydrocarbons will have been physicked into some savory capsicum-topped gustatory divinity. And the view! Out of this world!

    0
  20. “The Right/conservative project would abolish Harvard as we know it on a far deeper level than the Left/liberal/progressive posturing cultural radicalism”

    That seems to be the actual goal of some on the Right: to destroy Harvard as a secular political and cultural force, and turn it into an apolitical, quasi-monastic, purely academic institution.

    From a purely political and strategic standpoint, they’re probably not wrong about this strategy, since the Right is unlikely to make the “long march through the institutions” and turn Harvard and similar institutions into right wing bastions. Moreover, even if Harvard et al become more virtuous places that promote a greater sense of patriotic noblesse oblige than they do now, they’re unlikely to be able to satisfy the Right and conservatives given the increasing cultural diversity they seek to represent.

    Ideological and cultural diversity in society in general would probably have to diminish first before Harvard would be in a position to represent society in general.

    2+
  21. Twinkie and Razib, excellent points. I have thought about writing on this subject. It is a bit scary.

    I think in time Asians will contribute large amounts to elite universities. And the children of existing alumni will go to their parent’s schools.

    When you say “elite” do you mean the rich? Or do you mean something else. If you mean rich . . . Asians are rapidly getting there. If you mean C level executives at top global multinational companies, Wall Stree, Consulting, Venture Capital; Asians are rapidly getting there. If you mean something else, that will take time. One obstacle is the perception that Asians are not “woke” enough and too selfish. There is also a sensitivity in the corridors of power about the rise of the rest.

    Any school that limits Asian admission too much risks losing long term relevance and big donors.

    Caucasians represent 36% of all Stanford undergraduates admitted. This number is likely to continue dropping. How much longer can elite schools avoid following the Stanford trend?

    In any case, these are all intra global upper middle class issues and almost completely irrelevant to the vast majority of the world’s people.

    1+
  22. Bob, to what degree will Ivy Leagues start to see themselves as global institutions in addition to American institutions. Isn’t this a much larger and more important question?

    We are already starting to see the beginnings of this with USC, UCSD, UCLA, Berkeley, Stanford, Cal Tech, MIT. Will this start to seep into the Ivy Leagues over time too?

    How do you define the right and conservatives? As recently as 1992, Asian Americans voted more Republican than caucasians did. In 2014 Asians split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. If Republicans and conservatives want to remain financially viable, they need a lot of Asian American campaign contributions.

    However the Republican party and conservatives are in their own civil war. The globalists and neo-liberal free market pro business capitalists are under attack from people who are not “liberal”, but are not traditionally conservative or traditionally pro business either. They are institutionally growing in power in what remains of the rump Republican and conservative establishment.

    President Trump was outspent $1 billion to $50 million and he still won.

    Someone like Ben Shapiro would probably win a majority of the Asian American vote and campaign donations. Both among the general population as well as the upper middle class Asian American elite. But Ben Shapiro is under attack from Republicans and conservatives.

    0
  23. Based on proportional population in the USA, the following demographics in the USA are:

    ~68% White Christian
    ~2% White Jews
    ~5% Asians
    ~12% African-Origins
    ~13% Latin/Hispanic

    Based on this, the percentage of each in Harvard are:
    ~25% White Jews
    ~25% White Christian
    ~22.5% Asians

    Therefore, the most over-represented people at Harvard are actually White Jews, and the most under-represented people are White Christians. Of course, my analysis doesn’t take into consideration that Asian Americans were already thoroughly vetted just to gain entry into this country to become citizens: It was far more difficult for our families to migrate to the USA than it is for a person to gain admission to Harvard.

    I think that Mr. Blum would only promote his own Jewish people to benefit from Harvard’s admission policy, so he’ll do something to help them out – it may be to retain their current policies for admission.

    1+
  24. Based on proportional population in the USA, the following demographics in the USA are:

    your numbers are way off. non-hispanic whites are 60% of america’s population. and only about 75% are christian last i checked (perhaps less now?).

    I think that Mr. Blum would only promote his own Jewish people to benefit from Harvard’s admission policy, so he’ll do something to help them out – it may be to retain their current policies for admission.

    i don’t know much about blum. but his biography indicates he is not your typical jewish person. he was literally the first republican his mother ever knew.

    1+
  25. he was literally the first republican his mother ever knew.

    The zeal of a convert. I understand the instinct very well, both in my religion and citizenship.

    1+
  26. Therefore, the most over-represented people at Harvard are actually White Jews,

    Jews are visible white. If the categories are white, black and yellow, where else would they fit? Is the Asian group not at least, if not more, heterogeneous than the white group? They have to be using some criterion other than race if they are boosting Hispanics.

    0
  27. “Harvard has to look somewhat like America visibly.”

    I guess it depends on how you define “somewhat”. If you go by demographics of the college age cohort, Harvard is allowing in too many asians and Native Americans and too few whites and hispanics.

    Here’s what the admitted class of 2022 is vs the demographics of 18 yr olds.

    Class 2022 Demo 18 yr olds
    White 47.6 56.2
    Hispanic 12.2 20.5
    Black 15.5 15.0
    Asian 22.7 8.2
    Native American 2.0 1.0

    If it was based on merit, well, we all know what that would look like.

    Harvard is admitting based on what they want America to look like with a grudging extra percentage allotted to asians because they can’t totally block asians’ superior academic performance. I have no doubt that, if Harvard could get away with it, they would fill a lot more of their class with international students.

    0
  28. I am impressed by the quality of the discussion, especially Twinkie’s pragmatic points.

    There are some references to rights of association among commenters, especially Abelard Lindsey’s “If racial discrimination is OK, then it should be OK to make housing subdivisions exclusively for Asian-Americans and whites. ” That could be a good benefit for middle class hard working Americans, potentially getting good neighbors without paying a huge price premium.

    If we do respect the rights of association, Harvard is indeed a private non profit organization, and rather than DOJ backing the lawsuit, it would be more effective if the rest of the executive branch (at POTUS’s direction) used its constitutionally granted powers to suspend and/or cancel all research grants to Harvard, all federally backed student loans and grants for students at Harvard, and potentially its non profit status. Furthermore, as pointed out in the article, choosing blacks for Harvard that didn’t have ancestors that were brought to North America as slaves is a silly windows dressing that makes Harvard look like America without being like America.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-30/doj-backs-asian-americans-in-harvard-discrimination-lawsuit

    2+
  29. especially Abelard Lindsey’s “If racial discrimination is OK, then it should be OK to make housing subdivisions exclusively for Asian-Americans and whites. ”
    You can’t use our laws to racially discriminate against an American.

    Obviously in the case at hand, and many others we are talking about good racial discrimination (affirmative action) as opposed to bad racial discrimination.

    Some people, (I’m not naming names) are of the opinion that blacks should bear the burden of the black underclass. All Americans should bear the burden of the black underclass, just like they should bear the burden of the white underclass!

    0

  30. To respond to Twinkie and RZ above about Harvard providing ‘leadership’ or instilling what used to be called ‘noblesse oblige’. Harvard still does that, and the holism part of its admission process, its deviation from pure ‘good at school’ merit, is dead centered around it.

    The think one has to remember when thinking about what noblesse oblige at Harvard means nowadays, is that the Harvard of yesteryear was an institution run by fully paid up members of the American tribe, and that isn’t true anymore.

    One of the things that makes thinking about tribal stuff at present so confusing, is that a big influential tribe, progressive mostly white people, don’t think of themselves as a tribe, it’s part of their schtick. When speaking about most tribes, one can usually refer to stuff they say about themselves. The members of most tribes are completely aware that they are a tribe or a people or a nation, all synonyms, and since, let’s call them Davosians, the best I can do, don’t provide one with a ready made set of descriptors, including a name, it muddles up any discussion that said tribe might have an impact on. It’s a feature of said tribe that they don’t think of themselves as a tribe, they’re just heterogenous people who are so good at reasoning that they all end up in the same place when they think, rapidly. This notion is really really wrong, but it’s their story and they usually stick to it.

    If one thinks of Harvard as providing leaders for the Davosians, Harvard still does perform its noblesse oblige function as in providing leaders of the tribe, or the society Harvard cares about. Getting the denizens of Harvard to think of themselves as Americans, just like people from Wyoming, would require what is usually referred to as assimilation.

    1+
  31. @Tinkie

    “I went to school with these people. I grew up with them. They think they are good people because they care more about whales (or blacks) than they do for the hillbillies in Appalachia… all the while they serve themselves. It’s not liberalism that is their problem. It’s hypocrisy.”

    This strikes me as the kind of misdirected screed about liberalism and the left in general that has been so successful for the right in blinding people to the virtues of the left and offering up plentiful decoys to right wing reactionary sadism.

    Most of those left leaning liberal elites graduating from Harvard do not limit their concerns to blacks and whales as you claim. Liberal elites are happy to have more of their tax dollars and higher earnings be taxed to help some rural white socially conservative christians who think they are the scum of the earth.

    Part of the virtue of people on the left is that unlike the right, our spheres of concern don’t drop off an effing cliff just because people don’t look like us, or think like us. This does not mean we are going to get along or want to hang out. But it does mean that I as a person on the left and less willing to let someone die because they can’t afford insulin shots. And the rights decoy response of relying on private charity is a non response. That fits in with their own selfish psychosis of picking and choosing the worthy and unworthy of help and aid vs more universal liberal policies that scale across the entire society. Children will be helped more by charity because children are the giant fluffy pandas of the charitable giving world, what about an adult on hard times? F*ck him?

    the places where the left errs and goes too far tend to be areas where their goal is to increase and expand equality and human thriving for more people, but the right? The entire point is to exclude, because those immigrant others are not like MY people, MY tribe, MY family. Why should we let in more of them? Only so much room on this life raft, America is a finite pie, zero sum game squared. And the attitude of not from my taxes to go to “them” does not stop at legal and illegal immigrants. Even fellow citizens are less supported by fellow conservatives that are not part of their immediate tribes.

    the excuses flow, we don’t want to support those people because they are lazy, did not work hard enough. Some of them no doubt are lazy, don’t work hard enough. But the left/liberal tends to err more on the side of trying to help the decent, while the conservative is more obsessed with punishing the wicked, smoking out the cheats and sloths.

    Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man punished? Not to the conservative psyche for people outside their tribe. Better 10 innocent men stay CHAINED than allow one guilty man to go free.

    They are some of the most graceless people I’ve ever encountered… unless you are one of them.

    So your assertion that it’s a feature of liberalism and the left that does not give a sh*t about others is the height of absurdity. And btw, to all the right wingers that are fond of razib because of his talk sometimes veering into group differences in iq because it points to outcomes not just being a function of racism and or negative environments… you don’t have the high ground you think you do.

    More human outcomes being attributed to genetics as opposed to personal actions and drive and effort STRENGTHENS a left leaning world view and policy set. That relieves pressure on the front end if merit is less constrained by environmental factors, but it bolsters the argument for redistribution. Not to make us all equal, if someone is more talented and driven, they should still get greater rewards and we have to preserve that to preserve the incentives to strive higher. But if more outcomes are based on variables that people don’t control, then it makes more sense than ever to raise the floor of outcomes for more people.

    And you know who cares the least about that project? The right. I got mine, now you go get yours. Don’t take anything from me though. Oh? You rolled snake eyes in the stats of life while I rolled sixes? Too bad, sucks to be you, I got mine, as for you? Not my problem.

    That is the right. Certainly to a much greater degree than the left. Including those Harvard elite liberals.

    2+
  32. Who’s Tinkie?

    right wing reactionary sadism.

    That’s right. I fantasize about lining you all up by the road and making you dig ditches (graves, really). Because I am a frog Nazi and because I’m tired of trying to reason with people like you.

    Most of those left leaning liberal elites graduating from Harvard do not limit their concerns to blacks and whales as you claim.

    You are right. How could I forget about trans rights! It’s the liberal right of every mentally ill deviant man to share a bathroom with my little girls.

    Part of the virtue of people on the left is that unlike the right, our spheres of concern don’t drop off an effing cliff just because people don’t look like us, or think like us.

    Yup. I help to build homes for the dirt poor in WV, because those folks resemble me so so much. I only look out for my own – the immigrant Oriental Ivy Leaguers of Appalachia who happen to be homeless through systemic racism and white supremacy!

    misdirected screed

    Screed is right.

    You know, as an unapologetic American nationalist, I’ve long said that I’d risk my life and take a bullet for, for example, the black woman screaming “Go back to Beijing!” at the “Hey, this is library” Asian guy if she were attacked by a foreign enemy. Thanks to people like you, I am increasingly reevaluating that sentiment. Kudos to you for helping me to radicalize and realize who my real enemies are.

    2+
  33. Liberal elites are happy to have more of their tax dollars

    Actually, I believe liberal elites are more well known for happily directing other peoples’ tax dollars to their pet charities. The conservative right people give more personal dollars to charity.

    3+
  34. More misdirection that did nothing to negate my main point. The right is less likely to support universal programs that help all Americans. That you, an individual, happen to work on some specific arena (or donate time and or money) that helps others does not negate the general reality.

    And don’t make excuses for your own attitudes, I did not make you do or think a damn thing. You did that all on your own.

    And to the other guy talking about the right giving more to charity, yes, more religious populations tend to give more to religious charities. But I’ve heard that once that is accounted for conservatives still give more than liberals on average.

    Why the difference? Because liberals want more of the kinds of activities that charity provides in certain spheres taken care of by public policy that scales across the entire society. Charity is incredibly lumpy and fickle in its distributions.

    But I suspect that is part of the charm of favoring charity over universal programs to the identitarian right, the judgmental right, who have a greater desire to personally inspect the recipients to deem who is and is not worthy of aid.

    If you are inside the circle of concern, let the blessings rain down upon you:

    -children (the innocent little children!)
    -service members
    -the SEVERELY disabled, both mentally and physically (beyond that and an adult, but on the low end of the distribution? too bad, watch that conservative concern dry up like the desert sands)

    God help you if you are an adult and can’t afford medical care. Conservatives have dozens of examples around the world of what to change, but want to take protections away from people and maintain the current system. ONLY the left has any desire to shift away from the current system of payments.

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/shane-patrick-boyle-died-after-starting-a-gofundme-campaign-for-insulin/

    DEAD

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/alex-smith-died-couldnt-afford-insulin/

    DEAD

    Must have been their own fault, working full time and still not able to afford the drugs? Conservatives will feign concern, but when it comes to actually doing something about it, NOTHING. You do nothing. Don’t you fucking dare try to pretend conservatives are anything but a dead end when it comes to helping MORE people across the entire society. And giving more to charity is no excuse for a black hole of policy.

    Charity is not a replacement for better policy.

    2+
  35. Charity is not a replacement for better policy.

    Charity is voluntary and is an act of genuine virtue. It creates a connection, a sense of mutual obligation, between the giver and the receiver and betters them both.

    You compelling me by the force of the state to give up my produce to finance what makes you FEEL better and which has dubious or unproven utility is simply immoral.

    Your entire, ad hominem-filled screed can be summarized thusly “We leftists are morally superior to you rightists, because we want to force you to do what makes us feel good.”

    I and others like me keep guns in case people like you come to power.

    0
  36. who have a greater desire to personally inspect the recipients to deem who is and is not worthy of aid.

    This is contrasted with the condescending, self-righteous totalitarian left that wants to force people to debase their humanity by having to line up with their hats in their hands to get fans, heating checks, free cheese, and multitudes of other freebies.

    Because liberals want more of the kinds of activities that charity provides in certain spheres taken care of by public policy that scales across the entire society.

    Possibly, but mostly they want complete control of individuals and the choices that individuals can make.

    FWIW, I’m not conservative and right-wing, I am a hereditarian leftist (hat tip to Razib)and I support the concepts of UBI and universal healthcare. I just don’t support the arbitrary, inefficient, bureaucratic monstrosities that the totalitarian left desires.

    0
  37. “Charity is voluntary and is an act of genuine virtue. It creates a connection, a sense of mutual obligation, between the giver and the receiver and betters them both.”

    Conservatives often use charity as an excuse and a shield from their obligations to the entire society, especially concerning members of society not part of their inner circles.

    Medical bankruptcies the number 1 source of bankruptcies in the US because people would rather choose life over death? People dying of easily treatable conditions because they can’t afford medication? la la la, la la la, it’s OK I am indifferent to that general problem that effects millions of Americans across the country, because SEE !!!!! I give to charity, I give to this childrens hospital, or my church !!!

    Yes. You live focusing aid on conditionality, quid pro quo all the way down. Almost always coming with strings, like I said before, an intense desire to separate out the worthy and unworthy, to be the divine judge of character and worth, to decide who is aided and who receives the callous indifference of being cast aside.

    Universality does not grant your that emotional fix does it?

    “You compelling me by the force of the state to give up my produce to finance what makes you FEEL better and which has dubious or unproven utility is simply immoral.”

    Welcome to civilization. Every civilization that has ever existed on this earth outside some guttural frontier or hunter gatherer tribes, and even then there were no doubt other forms of contributions and expectations levied.

    Laws and taxes and social programs and ALL functions government has been entrusted with are everything about what the public FEELS is appropriate.

    Where the line is drawn is determined by the society and it’s attitudes and feelings.

    Don’t like that deal? Then civilization is not for you, go live on an island, then you can keep all of the fruits of your own labor and never be constrained by government. You will lose far more positive freedoms, but based on the typical rhetoric of conservatism in America those never mattered to begin with.

    And don’t stop at universal healthcare, follow the logic of your own argument. Universal k-12? Why are we paying for that as a society?

    Those others are not your kids are they? Then why should your tax dollars go to pay for their education? Vouchers you say? Where does the funding from that come from? Charity? No, taxes. Must cut that off too. Everyone is on their own.

    What’s that? some kids come from families out of work that can’t afford education fees, then we will just regress to some third world model where only the more well to do kids are educated while the rest wither and wane.

    We pay for k-12 education because we think it is a social good that there is some baseline level of education across the entire population. When we did that, literacy levels vastly increased and we had a higher baseline.

    That kind of modern model is a century old, and here you are peddling rhetoric that naturally leads to the kinds of ancient atavistic social models that would rocket us into the past.

    Universal healthcare = cheaper healthcare and still good healthcare, it provides more social and economic stability, it is a social good.

    But the reactionary right can’t even be bothered to look at their own fellow citizens as part of the tribe, no wonder they are so bestial to outsiders.

    2+
  38. “This is contrasted with the condescending, self-righteous totalitarian left that wants to force people to debase their humanity by having to line up with their hats in their hands to get fans, heating checks, free cheese, and multitudes of other freebies.”

    Personally, I’m more of a fan of two big redistributive policies and that is it. Universal Healthcare, and Universal Basic income. That’s mostly it at a national level. The former actually creates more freedom in society, not having so much of healthcare tethered to employment and having more security in that arena makes more people more free. And UBI has the same potential for people on the margins. UBI is the opposite of a paternalistic redistributive model, having people get cash with no strings increases their economic and social freedom without the stigma and means testing.

    Guy Standing made the case best here, and he is on the left chiding the left leaning paternalistic viewpoint.

    Lesson number 1, there is no monolithic left just as the right is not a monolith.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrjfzG14AnM&t=12m25s

    I think a universal payout is intrinsically less “debasing” as you put it because everyone would get it, rich and poor, struggling or thriving. It just happens to benefit people on the lower economic end much more. Now if you have the attitude that getting any government handout via redistribution is intrinsically soul killing, fine. That kind of attitude where the sum total of the worth of a man is based on what he produces is likely a large cause of why a lot of white middle aged and older men in middle america are overdosing, when the job market around them wanes, they internalize that loss as a PERSONAL failure as something they caused or are directly responsible for. And if they are the problem, why not ease the pain of how awful they are with drugs?

    Congratulations to everyone parroting that very conservative mindset, so much of a focus on an internal locus of control of ones fate, that even when forces outside an individuals control knocks them in a worse place, they take on the fault. LOVELY consequence.

    One of the many reasons conservative attitudes are at BEST, woefully incomplete models of how to relate to the world. Especially as more data streams in over time linking genes to aptitude which in turn has downstream effects on the outcomes of a life that massive tilt the scales.

    The idea that we increasingly KNOW we don’t live in a world where 100% of a persons outcomes are 100% based on what THEY do and the choices they make, even if environmental and wealth constraints are taken into account blasts a fatal wound in the beast that is trying to construct ALL of society on some more pure meritocracy.

    We need to harness a meritocracy on the front end to get better results, but on the back end, we need to redistribute so that we don’t model society on something approaching a more pure social darwinism model, where every individual fights and exists purely on what they produce with little to no social nets. Tooth and claw.

    Just because we are animals, does not mean we have to model society on the most vicious aspects of the natural world.

    1+
  39. Medical bankruptcies the number 1 source of bankruptcies in the US because people would rather choose life over death?

    Several papers by Elizabeth Warren and collaborators in 2001 and 2007 said that medical bankruptcies were the number 1 source of bankruptcies. The papers were very wrong. Megan McArdle summarized why back in 2010.

    0
  40. Someone obviously never learned the concept of moral hazard.

    Both economic evidence and common wisdom suggest that policies that create an environment in which people are encouraged or even pressured to lead productive, self-helped lives, in the end, enrich their society more and create healthier and more fulfilled populace than policies that guarantee and entitle goodies regardless of behavior.

    Years ago, when I did my bit overseas, I talked to a distraught Western NGO researcher who studied construction of a brand new school in Tajikistan paid with Western aid after the fall of the Soviet Union. The beneficiaries of this largess, the local Tajik townspeople, let the school and all the expensive equipment disintegrate over time. When asked by this NGO guy why this precious gift wasn’t maintained, the Tajik mayor told the researcher nonchalantly, “Don’t worry. When the school is worn down, you’ll build us another one.”

    The next time a “hungry” panhandler asks for money, buy him a sandwich instead and see what happens.

    3+

Comments are closed.