Phi Beta Cons

Peter Schmidt’s Color and Money

At Minding the Campus today, I have a rather lengthy review of Peter Schmidt’s recent book Color and Money. The book promises an “honest discussion” of affirmative action, but I find that it’s badly one-sided. Schmidt doesn’t do justice to the many arguments that have been advanced against affirmative action (a.k.a. racial quotas) and is too ready to take at face value the weak justifications given for it.
I think that affirmative action is cut from the same cloth as all the many other interventionist nostrums where good intentions and wishful thinking blind people to reality. Affirmative action, I’m convinced, accomplishes nothing at considerable cost. It thrives because it has become a symbol to the leftist intelligentsia.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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Law & the Courts

The McCabe Firing

I found this run-down over at Lawfare (agnostic on the merits, but rightfully harsh about Trump’s public dumping on McCabe) helpful, especially this section on the professionals who recommended his dismissal: The FBI takes telling the truth extremely seriously: “lack of candor” from employees is a ... Read More
Law & the Courts

One More Point on McCabe . . .

One point to add to Jonathan Turley’s column about Andrew McCabe, and the glaring double standard of whether an FBI official will face obstruction-of-justice charges if he’s caught lying to an FBI internal investigation. In 2015, McCabe's wife Jill ran for a state senate seat in Virginia and received ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘We Will Reduce Abortion’

Conor Lamb’s success has revived interest in “I’m personally opposed, but.” It’s a rhetorical convention — a cliché, really — that many Catholic Democrats have resorted to ever since Mario Cuomo popularized it with his speech at Notre Dame in 1984, as Alexandra DeSanctis explained a few days ... Read More


In a recent issue, we published a piece on Dante Della Terza, the great Dante scholar at Harvard (now in his nineties). Today, we have an expanded version on the homepage. After the magazine piece was published, I heard from Mark Helprin, the novelist, military analyst, and political writer. I had no idea he had ... Read More

The Pope Francis Challenge

An unforced error from a Vatican communications office the other day drove me a little something like crazy. The nature of the unforced error is that it is wholly unnecessary and typically distracting. And so it was. Days before, as the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election as pope was approaching, a ... Read More