Tom Klingenstein’s ‘A Golf Story’

In the latest issue of the Claremont Review of Books, Tom Klingenstein has an excellent essay, titled “A Golf Story.” 

It seems that Tom played a round of golf last year with Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, and had a brief back-and-forth about liberal schools’ penchant for racial diversity and distaste for intellectual diversity. Mills then mischaracterized that back-and-forth in his convocation address a few weeks later. Tom’s essay briefly sets the record straight on that but then proceeds with a thoughtful discussion of the issues raised by and lessons learned from the exchange. 

As Tom says, Mills turns him into a “Bowdoin-hating boor who wants to return to the segregated days of Jim Crow.” And, what’s worse, he accuses Tom of making the boorish comments during Mills’s backswing — and not once but twice! Mills is lucky that Tom didn’t sue him for slander.

Tom notes that Mills’s address also conceded that Bowdoin is “in the main” liberal: Well, Tom finds out that the faculty is around 4 percent Republican, so this is a bit of an understatement, to put it charitably. And the address concludes with a ringing defense of “a Bowdoin education,” which is “at the heart of this nation’s democratic traditions and central to our democratic future.” But those traditions are, Tom points out, defined for Mills not by The Federalist or Abraham Lincoln, but by Martha Nussbaum, whose views Tom then proceeds briefly to dissect — along with the school’s race-class-gender curriculum. The essay ends with a discussion of why Mills and his colleagues in academia need “to take seriously their goal of increasing the diversity of views on campus.”

All in all, very nicely done and well worth reading.

Most Popular


Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More