Rather … Not

Dan Rather is coming — where else?  — to Charlottesville, as the keynote speaker at a big liberal celebration. You remember him, don’t you? If not, or if your memory of the episode of fake news of which he was the star is a bit dim, take a quick look here for a refresher.

In breathless anticipation of his arrival, C-Ville, a local weekly, conducted a telephone interview with the liberal eminence. Read the whole thing, if you must, but the following paragraph captures the essence of Rather’s journalistic style and, er, substance. In response to the question, “What were you thinking when you were seeing what was going on with the Unite the Right rally here last summer?” Rather replied in part:

One of the things I was thinking about when this all happened last summer: Sometime in the late ’70s there was an incident in Skokie, Illinois, in which a group of neo-Nazis paraded in the streets. The president [Jimmy Carter] or certainly members of his administration roundly denounced them. They were dealt with swiftly and roundly condemned by practically all aspects of decent society. Now you contrast that with what’s different now. In the case of Charlottesville, the president, unfortunately, and I think it’s very unfortunate, tried to do some false equivalence between the neo-Nazis and the peaceful protesters who were there. So it’s a big difference.

I, too, think that what the president said, initially, about the mess in Charlottesville was unfortunate, but on one key fact he was much closer to the truth than I, Dan. (To see why I call him “I, Dan,” you’ll have to read my blog post linked in the first paragraph above.) I, Dan’s fanciful notion that Charlottesville-the-event consisted of violent neo-Nazis confronted by “peaceful protesters” is pure agitprop, farther from the truth than Trump’s clumsy effort at equivalence. In I, Dan’s Charlottesville there were no Antifas bearing, and using, clubs. The neo-Nazis and alt-right troops came to provoke violence, and they succeeded beyond their fondest hopes.

I, Dan also completely misses the most relevant aspect of the comparison with the responses to the Nazis march in Skokie, Illinois, in the summer of 1978. True, the condemnation of the Nazis was nearly universal, was universal if you exclude the Klan and similar nutcase fringes, and there was no attempt to suggest some sort of equivalence between the Nazi marchers and their Skokie critics. And the city of Skokie, like many in Charlottesville, tried unsuccessfully to keep the marchers out. A big difference, however, is that in 1978 most liberals (there were few “progressives” then) supported the ACLU’s First Amendment defense of the right of the marchers to march, even in full Nazi regalia that bitterly offended the local Jewish community.

Not so in today’s Charlottesville, where progressive opinion (there are few actual liberals left) pretty solidly supports legal and even extra-legal (those Antifas again) attempts to keep objectionable people and ideas out, and to drive them out if they succeed in coming.


Michelle Obama On Affirmative Action As Black Privilege

On Thursday Michelle Obama spoke at a “women’s empowerment event” in Boston, saying among other things that “she sometimes ‘felt like an affirmative action kid’ as a freshman at Princeton University.”

Since she almost certainly was “an affirmative action kid,” I wonder why she felt that way only sometimes as a freshman. Of course, one of the most harmful effects of affirmative action is that it inevitably makes students at selective institutions who would not have been admitted but for their race feel like they would not have been admitted but for their race.

But wait; there’s more. “In our society, somehow, when affirmative action means color, it’s deemed to be problematic,” she also said. “I have a problem with that, because affirmative action exists everywhere throughout society. It’s called privilege.”

So, Ms. Obama believes that preferential treatment is a privilege blacks — presumably including her daughters — deserve because they are black, necessary, one supposes she thinks, to offset the undeserved privilege whiteness bestows on all whites at birth.

It would be interesting to know whether Ms. Obama believes Asians enjoy white privilege, especially since they suffer the brunt of the privilege affirmative action bestows on blacks and Hispanics. Based on her comments, there is certainly no reason to suspect that she is familiar with work of Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade, who joined the Princeton faculty a couple of years after she graduated. But I wonder what she would make of his findings, which I discussed at some length here and here, that if selective colleges eliminated racial preferences in admissions “Asian students would fill nearly four out of every five places in the admitted class not taken by African-American and Hispanic students.” Black students, Espenshade found, receive preferences worth 450 points (out of 1600) on the SAT compared to Asian-American applicants.

Since Michelle Obama in all probability was “an affirmative action kid,” there is a very strong probability that her race allowed her to displace an Asian applicant who would have been admitted in a colorblind process with no affirmative action. But, hey, whoever that kid was, he or she can at least enjoy all the benefits bestowed by inherited white privilege.

Medical School Acceptance Rates By Race And Ethnicity

[NOTE: If you are an early riser and happened to read this post shortly after it was published, be aware that I have added some additional material at the end.] Mark Perry, an economist at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan and the American Enterprise Institute, has been publishing data for years about […]

Waxing Eloquent

I have a new essay on Minding the Campus about the haranguing and disciplining of University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax.

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 […]

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 […]

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

A New Year’s Resolution … For President Trump

Diversity: A Bad Bargain


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