30 November, 2012
Is Harvard a Jewish plot? And does it matter?
Jewish Harvard graduate Ron Unz says yes to both questions. He has just written a VERY long article examining bias in Ivy League admissions which would persuade me to change my surname to Goldberg if I wanted admission there.
All sociologists have the unenviable task of extracting viable generalizations from very imperfect data and Unz is a champion in those black arts. I have disputed such generalizations from him in the past but the evidence he marshalls on this occasion is pretty massive. When evidence from multiple sources converges on one conclusion, it elicits at least provisional assent.
My heading above does of course caricature what Unz finds but not by much. What he finds is that admissions to the Ivies in recent years have been grotesquely skewed in favour of Jews and grotesquely skewed to the disadvantage of Asians, with non-Hispanic, non-Jewish whites also unfairly treated.
And Unz's criterion for fairness is hard to criticize. He looks to pre-university educational attainment. High achievement up to the end of high school suddenly fails people trying to get into Harvard, Princeton or Yale. And if your surname is Goldberg you don't even have to be a high achiever at High School level.
I myself read Unz's findings with considerable disquiet but despite my background in social science statistics, I can't see any fault in his overall conclusions -- provided he represents his sources accurately. He does sometimes cherry-pick and I am not familiar with the datasets he uses. But as far as I can see, he meticulously covers all the bases, which is why his article is so long. There are by now many comments about his article online and I have not so far seen one that rebuts his statistics. Most criticisms put up theoretical points that Unz has already covered. It is a long article and I guess that the critics could not be bothered to read it all.
So what the heck is going on? Unz initially points to the overwhelmingly (Leftist) Jewish administration of the Ivies, which does have some plausibility. But he then puts forward something I had never guessed at and which will surely surprise most others: Admissions officers at the Ivies tend to be poorly-paid dumb bunnies, much dumber than the student body they select. Their poor academic background is sometimes quite startling. At Britain's leading universities (Oxford and Cambridge) it is the opposite. Selection is by the academics who will be doing the teaching.
So Unz concludes, and I am inclined to agree, that simple fear of being seen as antisemitic (particularly seeing that their bosses are Jewish) is often the factor that makes admissions officers transfer "Goldberg" applications to the "accept" basket without much scrutiny.
And this bias in favor of Jews does of course put a big squeeze on other ethnicities, particularly Asians and other whites. Even considering that, however, Unz marshalls strong evidence for a systematic bias against Asians, a bias that looks very much like a deliberate quota. A student body that should be around 40% Asian if selected by prior attainment is in fact only around 16% Asian.
It's pretty clear Leftist racism. But Leftists have never ceased being race-obsessed so the only mystery is how the people responsible for it justify it in their own minds. Asians are "gooks", apparently. They don't look remotely like a Goldberg.
So does it all matter? Unz argues that it is in fact vital. Some quotes:In the last generation or two, the funnel of opportunity in American society has drastically narrowed, with a greater and greater proportion of our financial, media, business, and political elites being drawn from a relatively small number of our leading universities, together with their professional schools. The rise of a Henry Ford, from farm boy mechanic to world business tycoon, seems virtually impossible today, as even America’s most successful college dropouts such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg often turn out to be extremely well-connected former Harvard students. Indeed, the early success of Facebook was largely due to the powerful imprimatur it enjoyed from its exclusive availability first only at Harvard and later restricted to just the Ivy League....As the quote shows, Unz favours a partially random solution to the undoubted problem that the Ivies now pose. My own solution would be less drastic. I would favour revival of the rule that all students who receive a perfect SAT score should be automatically admitted -- and any leftover places after that could be allocated any wacky way the university liked.
Power corrupts and an extreme concentration of power even more so, especially when that concentration of power is endlessly praised and glorified by the major media and the prominent intellectuals which together constitute such an important element of that power. But as time goes by and more and more Americans notice that they are poorer and more indebted than they have ever been before, the blandishments of such propaganda machinery will eventually lose effectiveness, much as did the similar propaganda organs of the decaying Soviet state. Kahlenberg quotes Pat Moynihan as noting that the stagnant American earnings between 1970 and 1985 represented “the longest stretch of ‘flat’ income in the history of the European settlement of North America.”120 The only difference today is that this period of economic stagnation has now extended nearly three times as long, and has also been combined with numerous social, moral, and foreign policy disasters.
Over the last few decades America’s ruling elites have been produced largely as a consequence of the particular selection methods adopted by our top national universities in the late 1960s. Leaving aside the question of whether these methods have been fair or have instead been based on corruption and ethnic favoritism, the elites they have produced have clearly done a very poor job of leading our country, and we must change the methods used to select them. Conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. once famously quipped that he would rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 names listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard. So perhaps an important step in solving our national problems would be to apply a similar method to selecting the vast majority of Harvard’s students.
Under that rule, it would be amusing to see the faces of all the Leftist Jewish administrators when they looked out their windows and saw a sea of Asian faces in the grounds. Again, I would be interested to hear how they justified their racism
Being a people who have themselves suffered greatly from irrational bias, it is particularly saddening to see Jews practicing it. Yet more evidence that Leftism rots the mind, I guess
Go to John Ray's Main academic menu
Go to Menu of longer writings
Go to John Ray's basic home page
Go to John Ray's pictorial Home Page
Go to Selected pictures from John Ray's blogs