Magazine | December 3, 2012, Issue

Letters

Two Historians

Thank you for articles of great interest on Eugene Genovese (“Up from Leftism,” November 14, 2011) and Eric Hobsbawm (“The Tyrants’ Historian,” October 29, 2012).

It would have been illuminating to compare them in a single article. One used the methods of Marxism to uncover much that had long been hidden about the Old South, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, while the other used Marxist emotionalism and infantilism to defend Stalinism and its crimes and criminals.

During my 38 years on a university faculty of history, I heard more praise of Hobsbawm than of Genovese.

Norman Ravitch

Savannah, Ga.

 

Affirmative Action in Action

I’ve just concluded “A Failed Policy” (November 12), Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom’s review of the book Mismatch, a critique of affirmative action. As a former history instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, I am intrigued by the review and will be purchasing the book shortly.

The book’s authors conclude that policies intended to aid black and Hispanic students in fact “do more harm than good,” because they result in students’ being admitted to schools for which they are unprepared. I can say from experience that this holds true for the Naval Academy. Professor Bruce Fleming, a tenured English professor at the Naval Academy, has been arguing this case for years, but he has unsurprisingly been dismissed not only within the Navy but also by the wider world of academia.

All service-academy graduates are commissioned officers in their respective services, and they will lead enlisted personnel, perhaps in combat. Unprepared and incompetent service-academy graduates should be a cause of concern for all Americans, especially parents entrusting their children to recently graduated officers empowered with substantial legal authority.

I’ll never forget a midshipman I taught. The midshipman had a combined SAT score of 800: 450 math and 350 English. This individual struggled all semester and could not even cheat effectively: For an assignment on the French Revolution, this person simply Googled “French Revolution” and copied the text at the first link. I failed the student and documented the transgression. But the midshipman was retained.

John Cauthen

Via e-mail

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Amnesty Is No Solution

Barack Obama’s popularity with Hispanics — he won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote — has triggered a stampede among Republican political and opinion leaders to support “comprehensive immigration reform.” The ...
Politics & Policy

Against the Tide

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Politics & Policy

Who Cares?

Almost anyone who has studied the Declaration of Independence has been told at some point that, in reality, it offers Americans the sober promise of life, liberty, and property rather ...
Politics & Policy

Redeeming Obamacare

Sometimes it is hard to accept defeat. On December 18, 1974, Teruo Nakamura, the last known holdout from the Imperial Japanese Army, finally surrendered to Indonesian authorities. It may take ...
Politics & Policy

What Would Jindal Do?

On Tuesday, November 13, just one week after a dispiriting presidential election for the GOP, reporter Jonathan Martin of Politico published an interview with Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of ...
Politics & Policy

O Fortuna

Conservatives are natural pessimists, based on a realism about fallible human nature that fuels our opposition to the coercive utopianism of the Left. The Founders shared this pessimism about human ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Flesh and Blood

Few Hollywood career turns have been more disappointing than Robert Zemeckis’s. The director who once gave the world Back to the Future has spent most of the last decade exploring ...

Sections

Athwart

A Message of Compromisers

It’s only a matter of time before Chris Matthews announces that the amendment limiting presidents to two terms is, in fact, racist. There will be a great lusty national clamor ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

With My Parents at Twenty-One They face the hotel ceiling sky Like restful fresh sarcophagi. His snores are gulls that dart and skim Along her ear’s marina rim. I used to have the pluck and ...
Happy Warrior

Bond in Bankruptcy

For some reason, the quadrennial humiliation of the Republican presidential candidate now coincides with the release of the new Bond movie. Don’t ask me why; probably a constitutional amendment I ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Two Historians Thank you for articles of great interest on Eugene Genovese (“Up from Leftism,” November 14, 2011) and Eric Hobsbawm (“The Tyrants’ Historian,” October 29, 2012). It would have been illuminating ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ At least now, when the president blames the guy in his job four years ago, he’ll be right. ‐ That was a thumping, make no mistake. A failed president earns ...

Most Popular

World

On Trade, No One Is Waiting for Washington

President Donald Trump’s flips and flops on trade are now as ubiquitous as his 5:00 a.m. tweets. Many predicted that trade-expansion efforts would come to a standstill and world commerce would suffer amidst all the uncertainty. Instead, the precise opposite has happened. In the last few months, it’s become ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Trump’s Syria Quandary

President Trump raised eyebrows recently when he ended a tweet lauding the airstrikes he’d ordered against chemical-weapons facilities in Syria with the words “mission accomplished.” The phrase, of course, became infamous in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, when President Bush used it in a speech ... Read More
U.S.

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
PC Culture

People Are Losing Their Minds Over Starbucks

We can all easily imagine circumstances in which a manager of a coffee shop or restaurant might properly call the police to ask them to remove loiterers. These are places of business. There’s nothing wrong in principle with calling the cops on non-customers who are taking up space. And there’s nothing wrong ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More