And You Thought Colleges Lack A Sense Of Humor Or Appreciation Of Irony…

“James Comey,” the Chronicle of Higher Education reports this morning, “will co-teach this fall a course about ‘ethical leadership’ to students at the College of William & Mary, his alma mater.”

Nor is higher education’s desire to embrace this apparent embodiment of ethical leadership limited to Comey’s alma mater, the Chronicle tells us, since “a number of colleges have sought him as an instructor. Daniel Richman, a professor of law at Columbia University, has publicly courted the former FBI director for a possible job there.”

Of course he did. In case you don’t remember Daniel Richman, Scott Johnson reminds us on Powerline that

Comey removed copies of seven memos on his meetings with President Trump when he left the FBI and that four of the seven were classified. He entrusted four of the memos to his friend Daniel Richman at Columbia Law School for the purpose of leaking the contents to the New York Times. Richman leaked the contents of the memos at Comey’s behest to engineer the appointment of Special Counsel to investigate the Trump campaign, as Comey desired. At least one of the memos Comey leaked to Richman must have been classified.

Based on former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy’s scathing criticism of Comey’s deeply mangled misunderstanding of the Espionage Act in his handling of the Clinton email investigation, Johnson concludes that “Comey’s leak itself may therefore have violated the act.”


Martin Luther King Day, Redux

On a past Martin Luther King day, several years ago, I noted (“Dishonoring Martin Luther King, Jr.”) that one of

the saddest commentaries on the sorry state of “civil rights” today — or at least how the straggling remnant of the civil rights movement and their liberal camp followers view civil rights today — is that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, most powerful and emblematic utterance — that he looks forward to the day when his children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin — has now become uncomfortably controversial among those who claim to honor him.

“Yet today, 50 years after King shared this vision during his most famous speech,” the Associated Press purports to report, “there is considerable disagreement over what it means.” Actually, that’s wrong. There can be no reasonable disagreement over what it means. The disagreement is over only whether that principle should be honored or rejected.

Over the years I’ve asked several times variations of the same question, such as “What Do We Honor When We Honor Martin Luther King (And Who Are ‘We?’).” I wrote there that protesters had objected to President Bush laying a wreath on King’s grave, nearly all of them criticizing him for betraying King by his opposition to racial preferences. Indeed, nothing seems to send preferentialists around the bend and over the top faster than critics of preferences quoting King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, as we always do. “And they always respond,” I noted in another post on the same theme (“Original Intent And Original Meaning [And Martin Luther King]), “with one version or another of ‘if King were alive today’ he would be a strong advocate of racial preferences.”

I will close, at least for this Martin Luther King day, by repeating the conclusion of that post:

I have some reservations about this assertion, but on balance I suspect it is true. After all, all King’s followers, the NAACP (which had advocated a strong version of colorblindness in court for decade after decade), and virtually the entire Democratic party did an about face on colorblindness starting in the late 1960s, and there is no compelling reason to suppose that King himself would have stood against this trend.

Taking a page from the original meaning book, however, we can see that the proper response to the posthumous King’s probable position is, So what? King’s specific intent does not determine the meaning of the principle he evoked, either for his contemporaries or for subsequent generations…. Of course in this case the text in question is not so dense and opaque, like “due process” or even “equal protection.” What part of wanting people to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin is so difficult to understand?

Now, King’s speech is not a part of the Constitution (at least not of its text), but it has achieved a well-deserved iconic stature. It gave voice to an understanding of equality that traces it roots back at least to some of the abolitionists, that achieved partial but limited success in the Reconstruction Amendments, and that, finally, was embedded in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the year following King’s delivery on the Mall.

Thus I beg to differ with a commenter on my King’s birthday post linked above. Begrudgingly, “[f]or arguments sake,” she was willing “to admit the possibility that one can disagree with another’s ideals while still honoring the person.” I believe those of us who continue to resent benefits or burdens being based on skin color are honoring the meaning of Martin Luther King’s ideals much more fully than preferentialists who argue that if he were alive today he would agree with them.

Writing, as I am, about fifteen minutes from Monticello, it seems all too obvious to me that there are some ideals that are not discredited simply because their authors fail to live up to them.


Lee – Jackson Day In Virginia

[NOTE: This post has been UPDATED] Most of you will recall that the late unpleasantness in Charlottesville last August — the antifa et al. attacks on Klan/Neo-Nazi/etc. (permit-holding) demonstrators and vice versa — was occasioned by a long-simmering local debate over removing a statue that honored Robert E. Lee from a park. As it happens, […]

Back … Sort Of

Regular readers — or for the past several months, and even earlier, non-readers — will know that Discriminations has been inactive lately, on leave (although I hope not absent without leave). That has been due to some ongoing medical issues, first mentioned in passing  here. I will not bore you (or me) with the details, since […]

A New Year’s Resolution … For President Trump

Writing a couple of days ago in her always impressive Wall Street Journal column, Kimberly Strassel proposed A Big, Beautiful Trump 2018 Issue: “Let 2018 be the year of civil-service reform — a root-and-branch overhaul of the government itself. Call it Operation Drain the Swamp.” What a splendid idea! Let me be more specific. Here’s […]

Diversity: A Bad Bargain

The James G. Martin Center has just published my review of The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities, a new book based on extensive interviews with “whites” and “students of color” at Harvard and Brown that I describe as “unwittingly and depressingly useful.”    


By now I’m sure you’re all sick of Charlottesville — or as I now say, “Charlottesville,” because this nice, formerly small “academical village” (Jefferson’s term) has ceased to be a place and become something of an iconic event, rather like the Edmund Pettus bridge between Selma and Montgomery. I know I’m sick of it, and […]

The Seventh Recycling Of July 4

Re-Educating “White-Identified” Faculty At San Jose State

The New York Times On What – And What Is Not – Fit To Print

#BlackLivesMatter Must Matter To Stanford

Hinky Hasen

Klueless [sic] Kristof

Race, Sex Discrimination Against University Administrators

Feminist Math

Be Careful What You Ask For

Universities And The “Undocumented”