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Affirmative Action & My Internships



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From an (angry) reader re my syndicated column (linked below):

OK, so blacks are hypocrites for not acknowleding the hypocrisy of defending AA while denouncing legacy admits. But all that doesn’t explain why a principled man such as yourself would accept an internship you hadn’t earned. What’s that all about Jonah? You do the same thing you accuse the Martins of the world of doing — chicken and egg hypocrisy about PREFERENCE.

You and Andrew Sullivan (how many chances did he give Ruthie Shalit again? and why?) don’t have a leg to stand on between you in this argument.

Also to say that minority journalists hired through AA programs are hired “just because they’re black, or whatever” is utterly disingenuous. Most of them (like most legacies) are hired because they are people of color AND qualified. These things are not mutually exclusive. Until you can show me that the other dozens of minority reporters who were hired through the program are somehow less qualified than their “regularly” hired counterparts, you are arguing without evidence. Those programs are designed to give them opportunities not “breaks” — you know just like the opportunities you had — and geez, were you qualified Jonah?

My quick response — because I’ve really got to go: Blair never graduated from college and he screwed up — a lot — and got promoted for it. Yes, I’ve had opportunities because of my background, I don’t deny it nor am I ashamed of it. But every such opportunity I’ve received I felt like I was “on probation.” I didn’t feel like I was entitled to it. If a kid named Goldberg showed up drunk for work and behaved as reprehensibly as Blair did on the job he would have been fired. At least that’s my reasonable conclusion. And — for the umpteenth time — I never said this story was all about race. My objection is with those who refuse to see that it has anything to do with race.

Baaaaa Haha Haha



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Conservative Prose



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Derb — Well, my neocon opus gets as close to dreary poli sci as I can manage. But you raise an interesting and in a sense taboo subject among conservatives: the quality of writing among our founding fathers. You mention Kirk, and I must confess that I do not like The Conservative Mind either. Oh, I think much of the content is fascinating but the style leaves me cold. I know that many conservatives disagree and I wouldn’t actually put Kirk in the bad writer category. It’s just not my cup of tea. Nonetheless I must confess that I find Eric Voegelin, Michael Oakeshott and, of course, Leo Strauss some of the slowest, least enjoyable reading I’ve ever encountered. I think Strauss gets something of a pass, since he intended his writing to be inaccessible to everyone but the annointed. Anyway, I though this might be an amusing way to start a rainy day discussion about writing on the Right (and the Left). I’m off to have lunch. But I’ll be back.

Web Briefing: August 29, 2014

Re: Metrocons



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Jonah: Ooops, sorry–”dreary poli-sci stuff” didn’t refer to your piece. I
doubt you could write anything dreary if you tried. I meant the sacred
texts—Strauss, Rothbard, Kirk, etc. Which, as by now should be drearily
clear, I just have no taste for, have never read, and do not intend to read.
No offense to those who feel otherwise. I only want to offend lefties.

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Re: Jon



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Oh, look how we -cons affirm one another!

Whitman



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Here’s the AP story on Whitman’s resignation. There had been speculation that Whitman might seek an ambassadorship or run for the Senate. As much as I’m not a Whitman fan, I’d prefer her in the Senate to John Corzine.

Jon



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Sorry about that. It’s a good piece too.

Re: Metrocons



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Jonah: I’m tempted to say that there is what the Marxists call “false
consciousness” in play here. These Urban Republicans are really MetroCons,
they just don’t know it. But for goodness sake… Can’t I just hate
liberals without having to read all that dreary poli-sci stuff?

The Oceans



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Jonah — I think NRO has a mediocre piece on the fish story too.

The Oceans



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The report from Nature about overfishing and depleted fisheries may or may not be exaggerated, but even it is an exaggeration it’s exaggerating a real and growing problem. While most environmental gloom and doom is nonsense, the worry about the oceans is well-placed. My friend Ron Bailey has a good piece on the subject.

Pentagon’s Tip Gets a Name Change



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Metrocons



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Africa



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Well, I did once — twice actually — raise the idea of invading the place. Here’s part two. This was pre-9/11 and I’ve re-thought some of it. But the moral argument still strikes me as sound as ever.

Mainland China “Has Taken Care of” Taiwan’s Sars Problem



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Don’t worry about the SARS outbreak in Taiwan. The Beijing authorities say
they have it under control.

Can’t Anybody Do Anything About Africa?



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Whitman’s Gone



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Cnn just reported. Adler, dude, you called that scoop.

Right On Time(S)



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A week or so ago, I wondered aloud in The Corner how long it would take Jayson Blair to blame racism for what he had become. Now we know.

Free At Last



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Today’s is the last installment of the neocon trilogy. It should be up soon.

Blair and Race



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One of the most annoying arguments from defenders of race-based preferences for college admissions is the “legacy” argument. Children of donors and alumni get special treatment, the quota-mongers say, so why shouldn’t minorities. As far as moral arguments go, this has always struck me as particularly lame, the equivalent of “two wrongs make a right.” After all these people don’t say that special treatment for the rich and well-connected is good, they say it’s bad. And since one bad thing exists you shouldn’t take away another bad thing that helps the people I care about.

The same thing is going on with the Blair case. Last weekend Michel Martin declared on ABC News that if we’re going to get rid of affirmative action for blacks we should get rid of affirmative action for women in short skirts. Now, except for the fields of prostitution and modeling, I generally thought we as a society were trying to do exactly that. Ms. Martin certainly doesn’t think that preferences for leggy women are a good thing. Indeed, a host of black journalists have made similar arguments, saying that nepotism and the old boy network are still at work so we should have affirmative action. You can make that argument if you want, but don’t tell me affirmative action is noble and wonderful if at the same time the only things you compare it to are things you think are bad.

Oh, by the way, this is the subject of my syndicated column.

Commencement Speakers



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From a reader:

When I graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1995 Bill Clinton gave our commencement speech. Most of us weren’t all that thrilled with the prospect of receiving our diplomas from him, but I hoped he’d give a pleasant speech commending us for our dedication and commitment and such. Instead he gave some droning foreign policy speech with little, if any, content tailored towards us other than the fact that the military had a role in his foreign policy. I thought it showed how little respect he had for us that he would come and use our graduation as a venue for his canned speech rather than congratulate us on a job well done or to exhort us to be prepared for the future.

I think the same thing can be said for Chris Hedges. It’s selfish and arrogant to use someone’s graduation as a venue for your own agenda and I think he deserved the boos and hisses. Other forums are fine and dandy for self-aggrandizement, but graduation is for the graduates, not the speaker. If they cared to, the university could discourage bad behavior by making known the consequences such behavior would incur. For example, I doubt any hissers would have received their diplomas or commissions at my graduation, and anyone who charged the stage would likely have ended up looking like Swiss cheese. As a result, we were a remarkably polite audience (I remember hearing many times how we weren’t supposed to utter contemptuous words about the president during his tenure yet no one felt the need to issue similar warnings once Bush took over…odd isn’t it?).

Maybe you should try having snipers behind the crowd when you give speeches, I bet people would be much more polite…

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