I know you’re about affirmative-actioned out, but let me come back to it for just a second. I will repeat my belief that, no matter what the courts say, admissions officers will continue to discriminate on the basis of race because they think it’s right — and because it makes them feel good. Having discriminated on the basis of race, they’ll go home and sleep like babies, imagining themselves on the Edmund Pettus Bridge or something.
I think that affirmative action — a.k.a. race preferences, a.k.a. reverse discrimination — will come to an end when one of two things happens: 1) K through 12 education so improves as to make black and Hispanic students competitive for college, obviating the need for affirmative action (this is the Thernstrom/Kirsanow theme, and a true one), or 2) black Americans themselves become so disgusted that they demand an end to this racial favoritism.
(Discussions of affirmative action usually include blacks and Hispanics, primarily. Overarchingly, however, this issue is a black-related one, which contributes virtually all of its pain.)
Think for a second — and here I borrow from my friend/colleague Richard Brookhiser: It’s frequently remarked — by us conservatives — that white liberals and others pander to black Americans, in myriad ways; it’s less frequently remarked that black Americans — on the whole — refuse to rebel. What if the average black person said, “Enough of this nonsense. Don’t continue to insult me in this way. I am a human being, an American, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to take a place somewhere and deny someone else that same place, simply because of the color of my skin. As a black American, I probably know better than anyone else how pernicious this is. Why has this country junked its liberal ideals?”
White liberals — the Lee Bollingers, the Maureen Dowds — think they’re doing black Americans a favor by pushing reverse discrimination (or just plain “discrimination,” as many of my readers have admonished me to call it). When they get the idea — from black Americans themselves — that they’re not doing anyone a real favor, and that they can take their paternalism and their discrimination and shove it, they will back off, chastened. Until then: no way.
I’m looking at a photo caption in the New York Times: It says, “Concepcion Escobar, 31, who just graduated from law school at the University of Michigan, said she thought she would probably not have gotten into the school had race not been a factor in the admissions process.” Why isn’t she embarrassed about this? Why isn’t she disgusted? How can she have stayed there comfortably, knowing that she had gotten in, not by the skin of her teeth, but just plain by her skin (or whatever)?
She simply has no conception.
The comforting idea, of course, is that the present discrimination “makes up” for past discrimination — against this woman’s ancestors and others. This denies the individuality of people, and goes against what should be a core American, and liberal, principle: We are responsible for ourselves; we are to be treated equally. (And let’s not forget the kindergarten “Two wrongs don’t make a right” — or is that now “hate speech”?)
Justice Thomas, of course, stood very tall in his words on the case — and it was an inspiration to quote Frederick Douglass, one of the greatest of Americans (and someone who thought of himself as an American, above all, at a time when it should have been hard). I repeat my cry to elevate Thomas to chief justice. On the stump the other day, candidate John Kerry scared his fellow Democrats with, “Bush has touted Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the Court’s most virulent opponents of Roe, as his model justice.” Yes, George W., remember that: He is your model justice.
Many of you, I know — because I’ve heard from you — read Maureen Dowd’s stunning — yet typical — op-ed column yesterday, which basically called Thomas an ungrateful Negro, not realizing what liberals such as she have done for him. Really, the column has to be read to be believed. Nothing so outrages white liberals as the independent black man who won’t behave — who won’t conform to the Operation PUSH/Maya Angelou/Phil Donahue conception of what a black man should be. Yet another reason to elevate Thomas to chief justice.
One of the things Dowd says is that “when he switched from a Democrat to a conservative as a young man, he knew that he would be a hotter commodity in politics.” This suggests, of course, that Thomas’s politics were/are merely expedient, and not sincerely arrived at or held. Oh, no: He is a conservative, genuinely so. That’s (part of) why the Dowds hate him so! The man is stubborn as a mule for principle, and a breath of fresh air on the bench, as well as a pillar.
Finally on Dowd: It’s often said — perhaps by me too, I can’t remember — that, no matter how offensive she is, at least she’s a stylish writer. In fact, that’s how she gets by: on style, with her turns of phrase, puns, putdowns, and so on.
But I would have thought that she — this writer — would be embarrassed to call the 2000 Republican convention a “minstrel show.” I mean, simply out of a writer’s vanity, and pride. Even if I thought that convention had been a minstrel show — and, at the time, I wrote a piece on this, called “The Color of the Convention” — I wouldn’t call it a “minstrel show,” only because it’s been done a million times, two million times, three million . . . whatever. It had some piquancy the first thousand or so times it was said. But now? A woman with a real writer’s sense would have been embarrassed, I would have thought.
Have a taste of our boy Antonin Scalia in the Michigan case. I quote from a New York Sun editorial: “Justice Scalia, for his part, dismisses the argument that diversity teaches people to get along with those of other races by saying that such things are usually ‘learned by . . . people three feet shorter and twenty years younger than the full-grown adults at the University of Michigan Law School.’”
So perfect, and so Scalia-an. (Sorry — I was trying to make an adjective, and it was hard.)
And try some scoring sentences from Lino Graglia. In the Wall Street Journal yesterday, he said, “The real reason for racially preferential admission to institutions of higher education is the belief that, as then-Harvard president Derek Bok once stated, we can’t have an ‘all-white’, that is, a virtually non-black (Asians don’t count), university.” Fine point. Japanese-Americans, Korean-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans — boy, do I hate those hyphens — can never be “minorities,” because that’s not what the Left means. Neither can Indians (as in Calcutta). And certainly not Jews! Oh, heavens! Even Cuban-Americans, really, aren’t considered “Hispanic,” because they’re just too damn Republican and achieving and patriotic and unwhining, the bastards.
Anyway, more Graglia: “The decisions defeat any hope for return to the principle of Brown v. Board of Education and the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting all official race discrimination . . .” A true fact, as they may say in the Texas in which Prof. Graglia teaches.
There: I’m really affirmative-actioned out.
You WMD-ed out? I know what you mean, but linger over a couple of things. We have heard much talk that Bush, Blair, Howard, Aznar, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, etc., etc., etc., “lied” about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Funny, but, if they were lying, they really went to some lengths to protect their mendacity: by preparing for an onslaught of WMD.
An article in the aforementioned Sun reminded, “Common wisdom was that Saddam Hussein would lash out at Israel if he felt cornered, attacking with everything he had, including chemical and biological weapons. Israel spent at least $50 million just on vaccinations for emergency workers.” Gee, didn’t the Sharon government know about the lying? W. hadn’t clued them in, apparently — and he’s supposed to be buddy-buddy with them. Thanks a lot, George.
A leading Israeli expert on Iraq, Amatzia Baram, was one key source for the Israeli intelligence community. Just before September 11, and again after the attack, he wrote in a military magazine and a widely circulated daily that there would be a “Samson option” scenario if America [went] after Saddam.
“We had documents, found by the U.N. inspection team in the mid-90s, that showed that in the first Gulf War Saddam [had] given an order to push all the buttons against Israel in case he was surrounded by the Americans. The conclusion reached by  Israeli intelligence was correct,” he said, adding that American and British intelligence agencies had similar assessments. “After the first Iraq war all intelligence communities were shocked when they realized what Saddam had. And they were shocked once more with Kamel Hussein.”
Who he? The Saddam son-in-law who defected in 1995 — and who then returned, and got his.
Mr. Baram said that . . . Saddam was caught hiding a lot of arms and never accounted for large caches of known illicit weapons.
He acknowledges, however, that the concealment mechanism under the brutal Iraqi regime was so thorough that no Western intelligence agency had much hard evidence. In the last few years, he believes, Saddam was so concerned about being caught that he destroyed agents and materials he had for creating chemical and biological weapons.
Nevertheless, the know-how is still there, and so is a lot of money, he said. Chemical and biological weapons can very easily be recreated almost from scratch, as long as the knowledge is there, he said. Therefore, as long as Saddam has not been caught, he said, vigilance is key.
And try this, from Thom Shanker in yesterday’s Times:
Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also defended intelligence reports that the Iraqi military had been poised to use chemical or biological weapons against advancing allied forces.
“No, I don’t think you can take that off the table,” General Myers said . . . He added later: “And that’s why our forces, as they moved north, wore their chemical protective gear, and when missiles were fired, short-range missiles were fired by the Iraqis towards our forces, why they put on their masks and took all the appropriate precautions. It was exactly because we thought that that was a very high probability.”
But General Myers added a cautionary note about use of intelligence. “Intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean something is true,” General Myers said. “It’s just — it’s intelligence. You know, it’s your best estimate of the situation. It doesn’t mean it’s a fact. I mean, that’s not what intelligence is.”
Exactly. These points are worth bearing in mind. But then, maybe Bush, Rummy, et al. were lying to the troops, too — having them don protective gear in a big, smelly, treasonable ruse.
Think the Democratic party has gone nuts? Are they nuts, or just bad? Give a listen to Barbara Boxer, the senator from California: “I think having John Kerry and Wesley Clark . . . they know what war is, [and] they are going to give us a real interesting contrast [to] this president who likes to go to war but never went to war.”
. . . who likes to go to war. Ponder that, ladies and gentlemen, and think of the sheer awfulness of that statement, on a variety of levels.
Just how would Barbara Boxer protect Americans in this new, daunting post-9/11 environment? Or don’t Democratic senators from California have to give any thought to such puny matters?
John Edwards told an adoring (activist) audience, “We have to show this president as the absolute phony he is. He is a phony through and through.” Oh, no. You wish, baby, you wish. George W. Bush is anything but phony: He is the anti-phony. In fact, the reason the Left (and perhaps some others) hate him is that he is ridiculously authentic — scarily himself: conservative, tough-minded, sincere, confident, Christian, and all those other yucky things.
A little language — though not English. In the Times the other day, Martin Indyk — former U.S. ambassador to Israel — spoke of the relation of our national security adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He said, “Condi Rice has become his road-map capo di capo.”
If I may help Mr. Indyk with that expression (assuming he was quoted correctly, which should not be assumed): It is capo di tutti capi, the boss of bosses, the ultimate authority. In correct, picky Italian, it would be capo di tutti i capi — but this is a dialectical expression, and if you say it the “correct” (i.e., incorrect) way, you might be dismissed as a fairy.
Did you see that soccer coach run at the end of Bend It Like Beckham? In the airport, as he showed up to declare his love to that Indian girl? Just asking.
Spellbound — the spelling-bee documentary now in movie theaters — is, oh, I don’t know: the greatest movie ever made, and one of the greatest hymns to America ever sung. (It is also perfectly — perfectly — edited.) One of the words used in a bee is “quagmire.” I thought, “Johnny Apple would have nailed that!”
Finally, a little mail — a very little. I got an outraged (and perfectly right) note about the Michigan decision, and the guy signed his name, then wrote “[Race Withheld].” I thought that was marvelous.