An Inside Look At Futuristic Preferentialism

Most preferentialists believe that all institutions, including elite academic institutions, should reflect the racial and ethnic composition of American (but why stop at mere national borders?) society.

A recent post on California Patriot, however, reveals Berkeley’s new chancellor, Robert Birgeneau, to be not only a preferentialist but a progressive preferentialist: he thinks the University of California at Berkeley should not mirror California society as it is but as it will be.

So the population we need to be comparing our undergraduate body now, is not today’s population but the population 20 years from now. And if you just look at demography, and you see how California’s population will change inevitably. And you look at our current student body, especially the URM/so called minorities, which are then going to be in the majority by 2025, we have an extraordinarily small number of people from groups that are going to constitute the majority of the California population in 2025. So we’re not educating, here, significant numbers of people who will be the leaders of California as its going to be in 2025.

Perhaps Berkeley’s Birgeneau is so sensitive to this issue because of his own inner essence. When he was at the University of Toronto he offended some parents of black students by stating that “White students too often choose to go to other universities because we are so diverse.” (Quoted in another post on California Patriot) Ignoring the sage advice — When you’re in a hole, stop digging — he attempted to apologize by stating that “My black friends tell me that I look like you on the inside, just not on the outside.”

Hmm. If Birgeneau were applying to Berkeley, I wonder which racial/ethnic box he would check? Surely not the one that reflected merely his superficial, external appearance.

Say What? (53)

  1. Trojan Law May 25, 2005 at 2:11 am | | Reply

    Well, isnt Birgeneau simply attempting to institute an educational scheme that has prevailed in our nations top institutions for the last several centuries? I’m going to go out on a limb here, but Ill bet you werent too outraged when Harvard was all white, or when Cornell was the same.

    Hmmmm….I dont like the smell of this one.

  2. John Rosenberg May 25, 2005 at 2:25 am | | Reply

    That crashing noise you hear is the sound of your limb breaking. It’s been a long time since Harvard was all white, but leave that aside. What was outrageous about past discrimination is the same thing that’s outrageous about present discrimination: the discrimination. That is, what was wrong was not the color of the student body, but the discriminatory admissions policies that produced it. Discrimination on the basis of race is wrong whether it produces a single-hued or a multi-hued student body.

  3. staghounds May 25, 2005 at 7:49 am | | Reply

    But wait-

    The purpose of affirmative action is to make sure that there is a critical mass of minority students, to insure that their unique voices are freely heard, since all monority members speak with the same voice. So if blue eyed devils from the frozen caves of Europe will be in the minority in California in 20 years, shouldn’t we act NOW to create special affirmative actionfor them, so all students may be exposed to their precious minority viewpoint?

  4. Black Adder May 25, 2005 at 9:20 am | | Reply

    Discrimination is only wrong when it is my group that is discriminated against. Since that is not the case in the modern university system, I see nothing wrong with present discrimination. You are being insensitive when you criticize affirmative action. Perhaps you don’t remember how minorities and women were once victimized.

  5. Trojan Law May 25, 2005 at 12:46 pm | | Reply

    Again, I’ll go out on a limb and say that you middle aged, anti affirmative action pundits were NOWHERE TO BE FOUND during the 60s when you people had it MADE. Turn the tide just a bit, just a bit, and you’re up in arms like the constitution is being burned as we speak.

    Hypocrisy is’nt just a river in . . . oh wait, thats called de-nile.

  6. Black Adder May 25, 2005 at 1:35 pm | | Reply

    You dirty so and so affirmative action critics. Not only insensitive but hypocritical as well. Like I said, discrimination is fine when I and my kind are being favored. Back in the 50s and 60s I hated discrimination. But now I am coming to love it.

  7. Laura May 25, 2005 at 1:45 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law, how do you know what John Rosenberg was doing in the 1960’s?

  8. Trojan Law May 25, 2005 at 1:47 pm | | Reply

    “history teaches that when society stands idly by as the state violates the rights of one segment of the body public, the rights of others will eventually be diminished” Waterman v. Verniero.

    Hear that? Thats the sound of the light bulb going dead in your head. Let it all sink in for a moment, and then reply without vehemence.

  9. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 25, 2005 at 2:23 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law,

    Again, I’ll go out on a limb and say that you middle aged, anti affirmative action pundits were NOWHERE TO BE FOUND during the 60s when you people had it MADE.

    I don’t know whether I count as “middle-aged,” being 37 (which means that I spent what time I had in the 60s mainly in diapers, and had little time for civil-rights activism.) Anyone who was 20 at the beginning of the 60s would be 65 now, which is not what I think most people mean by “middle-aged.”

  10. Trojan Law May 25, 2005 at 2:26 pm | | Reply

    In response to your question, Miss Laura May, lets just call it a very educated guess.

    But at the same time, I do realize that I may be wrong. I realize that Mr. Rosenberg could have led the freedom marchers in their marches thru the south and on to washington. I realize that Mr. Rosenberg could have opposed ‘affirmative action’ and ‘discrimination’ even when it meant ‘preferential’ treatment for his own kind.

    Oh no Miss May, I have no way to know exactly what Mr. Rosenberg did in the 60s.

  11. Trojan Law May 25, 2005 at 2:51 pm | | Reply

    Michelle Dulak Thomson wrote: I don’t know whether I count as “middle-aged,” being 37 (which means that I spent what time I had in the 60s mainly in diapers, and had little time for civil-rights activism.) Anyone who was 20 at the beginning of the 60s would be 65 now, which is not what I think most people mean by “middle-aged.”

    Sorry! Let me rephrase. I meant anyone who stood idly by while the state violated the rights of the body public (Waterman).

    Anyone not in daipers, of course.

  12. John Rosenberg May 25, 2005 at 3:05 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law:

    Again, I’ll go out on a limb and say that you middle aged, anti affirmative action pundits were NOWHERE TO BE FOUND during the 60s when you people had it MADE

    Laura:

    Trojan Law, how do you know what John Rosenberg was doing in the 1960’s?

    Trojan Law:

    … lets just call it a very educated guess.

    If I were petty, vindictive, and snide, I would say that Trojan Law’s comments bring to mind a Stanford cheer at the annual Stanford – Southern Cal. football game back in the pre-PC paleolithic era: “Who needs Trojans? We got rhythm!”

    But since I’m not, I won’t. I will say that what I was doing, or not doing, in the 1960s has no bearing on the persuasiveness (or not) of the arguments I make here and now.

    Actually, I will say this much more: that second sound you hear is the sound of Trojan Law’s second limb crashing to the ground. Per Michelle, I’m no longer middle-aged, but as it happens I did participate in civil rights marches, and more. Nothing dangerous, like many of my Stanford friends who went to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 or others who got clubbed at Selma, but at least enough to get noticed in my small Ala. town and get a cross burned on my uncle’s lawn.

    As a general rule, it’s not good to guess about someone’s background, even when the guess purports to be educated.

  13. Trojan Law May 25, 2005 at 4:03 pm | | Reply

    I’ll have to apologize now, Mr. Rosenberg, my skill at digging pithy quips out of my arse and hurling them at my keyboard is certainly not as refined, or as honed as yours, however, please allow me a brief moment to mend my recently broken limbs, and I shall begone.

    A n y w a y, I’m not going to sit here and say that you’ve exaggerated, or outright lied, about your activities during the exciting 60s. That would be too easy, too petty, too vindictive, per you. However, I will point out that I know a great many non minority 60s civ rights activists, and peculiarly enough, none share your views. Certainly, that fact is not dispositive, but it does have some ‘bearing on the’ disingenuousness ‘(or not) of the arguments [you] make here and now’. No?

    An educated guess indeed, don’t you think? And no less ‘good’ than that which the ‘general rule’ would deem as such, right?

    Go Trojans, 03 & 04 National Champs

  14. Nels Nelson May 25, 2005 at 4:52 pm | | Reply

    What do the 60’s have to do with Birgeneau’s proposal? It would negligibly increase the representation of both whites and blacks at Berkeley. He is talking about correcting the wildly disproportionate admissions rates of Asians and Hispanics, groups that in 1970 comprised about 15% of California’s population but by 2025 will represent 60%. Not only will the affected students obviously have not been alive during the Civil Rights Era, but for most neither will their ancestors have been in the U.S. during that period.

  15. Garth World May 25, 2005 at 5:40 pm | | Reply

    Some people are permanently stuck in the days of Jim Crowe, or worse yet, in the days of slavery. To them it is forever whites oppressing blacks, with no other actors on the stage.

    So sad to be that out of touch with the times. That is simply how they are.

  16. Trojan Law May 25, 2005 at 6:41 pm | | Reply

    I don’t know how unreasonable Birgeneau’s proposal really is. If in 50 or 25 years hispanics & asians represent 60% of CA’s population, while only 10% of students attending our top schools, that issue would need to be addressed. How? I dont know. My BA in business is pretty useless when it comes to solving real life problems. Birgeneau presents us with a very workable formula though.

  17. Nels Nelson May 25, 2005 at 7:11 pm | | Reply

    If in 50 or 25 years hispanics & asians represent 60% of CA’s population, while only 10% of students attending our top schools, that issue would need to be addressed.

    Together they already represent almost 60% of the student population at Berkeley. The problem is that Hispanics are seriously underrepresented, and it will probably only get worse. As whites and blacks are also underrepresented, though by smaller margins, the slots cannot come from them, leaving Asians as the group that must sacrifice for the benefit of Hispanics. What past episodes of Asian-on-Hispanic subjugation justify this injustice?

  18. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 25, 2005 at 9:02 pm | | Reply

    Seconding Nels here, to Trojan Law,

    If in 50 or 25 years hispanics & asians represent 60% of CA’s population, while only 10% of students attending our top schools, that issue would need to be addressed.

    That isn’t so. It’s obvious you don’t know UCB or UCLA, or you could never put the combined Asian and Hispanic fraction of either student body at 10%. As a matter of fact, as Nels says above, UCB’s combined Asian and Hispanic population is something like 60% already. If “Asians-and-Hispanics” is the only number you’re worried about, I don’t think you need to fear for the top schools.

    Disaggregate the two groups, on the other hand, and you might find it a different story, as Nels also said.

  19. Laura May 25, 2005 at 10:06 pm | | Reply

    “Laura May”? *snicker*

    “However, I will point out that I know a great many non minority 60s civ rights activists, and peculiarly enough, none share your views. Certainly, that fact is not dispositive, but it does have some ‘bearing on the’ disingenuousness ‘(or not) of the arguments [you] make here and now’. No?”

    No.

  20. John Rosenberg May 25, 2005 at 11:04 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law:

    A n y w a y, I’m not going to sit here and say that you’ve exaggerated, or outright lied, about your activities during the exciting 60s.

    Well, thanks.

    … However, I will point out that I know a great many non minority 60s civ rights activists, and peculiarly enough, none share your views.

    I must admit that I too have always found this peculiar. It is indeed odd that so many people who argued so long and so fervently that discrimination on the basis of race is wrong should reverse themselves and start arguing that discrimination on the basis of race is a good thing because it is intended to redress the evil of discrimination on the basis of race is, well, odd.

    Certainly, that fact is not dispositive, but it does have some ‘bearing on the’ disingenuousness ‘(or not) of the arguments [you] make here and now’. No?

    As Laura said so eloquently, No.

    Here’s a dictionary definition of disingenuous:

    Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating…. Pretending to be unaware or unsophisticated; faux-na

  21. ts May 25, 2005 at 11:16 pm | | Reply

    While Asians make up approximately 5% of the overall population, they make up more than 20% of the freshman classes at the most selective universities in the nation. There was an article about this in the NY Times on 5/18, starting with the math club at Quincy High (MA), which is more than 90% Asian. It then went on to ask why Asians are so disproportionately represented in the better universities. Their answers – education is valued in the homes and they work harder. I would encourage you to read the commentary piece in the LA Times by Marlene Zuk as well. She discusses her students’ sense that they deserve good grades irrespective of their performance. Entitlement now pervades all of society.

  22. Trojan Law May 25, 2005 at 11:29 pm | | Reply

    Ok ok ok guys geez! Ive been humbled. Ok. Fine. I didnt realize you guys were so darn educated. Usually I can just pulverize other people on these discussion boards (but again, Im used to law students, so I guess Ive been wrangling a bunch of idiots).

    I guess Birgeneau’s proposal isnt very reasonable, as you guys have so ELOQUENTLY pointed out, OVER and OVER and OVER. I now agree. Happy? Geez.

    By the way, Mr. Rosenberg, I’m also a writer so I choose my words quite carefully. Though admittedly snide, my prior comment was provoked by the same.

    Anyway, new found friends, may I mend my broken bones now? I still disagree with you, but in the future when I visit this place I’ll be better armed . . .

  23. Richard Nieporent May 25, 2005 at 11:48 pm | | Reply

    John, well said. Contrary to the assertions of TL, many well-respected white civil rights leaders of the 1960s such as Nat Hentoff are against affirmative action. Many whites in the 1960s supported the civil rights movement because they knew that discrimination was wrong. They were called liberals. Now 40 years later many of these same people are against affirmative action because discrimination is still wrong. They are now derided as conservatives.

  24. John Rosenberg May 26, 2005 at 12:03 am | | Reply

    By the way, Mr. Rosenberg, I’m also a writer so I choose my words quite carefully.

    Hmm. A writer, and one who chooses words carefully. I’m impressed. So, you actually know what disingenuous means but used it anyway?

    I didnt realize you guys were so darn educated. Usually I can just pulverize other people on these discussion boards (but again, Im used to law students, so I guess Ive been wrangling a bunch of idiots).

    Based on my experience with law students, if you can “pulverize” them with your educated guesses, facts that collapse upon close or even casual inspection (percentage of Asians and Hispanics at UCB, UCLA, etc.), and easy leap to ad hominem argument (disingenuous indeed), I’d say you’ve been hanging around with the wrong law students.

    By the way, no need for “Mr. Rosenberg.” We’re on a first name basis here (at least those of us who use names).

  25. Trojan Law May 26, 2005 at 12:45 am | | Reply

    Mr. Rosenberg, if I knew you’d so meticulously dissect every single one of my words I would have chosen them much more carefully! I’ll apologize again. Also, from now on, I’ll refrain from all ad hominem arguments, as I see it is ONLY I using them. Also, no more hyperbole on my part, promise. Also, the pretense is out the window.

    And please excuse me for my politeness in referring to you as ‘Mr. Rosenberg’. You are obviously much my elder and since this is your site, I find it proper to extend you such due regard.

  26. Justin May 26, 2005 at 1:11 am | | Reply

    I’m a graduate student (from an “underrepresented minority” group in fact!) at UC-Berkeley, and it seems that Birgeneau is missing the point. What Berkeley earnestly needs now is to admit undergraduate students who are actually able to do the work, regardless of their race. Working toward an “ethnically proportionate” student population (read: affirmative action) will hardly solve the problem of ill-prepared undergraduates when the percentage of the students who are able to do the work is already much than 100%, even without official affirmative action (although it’s well known here that backdoor…methods exist, and that the percentage of “underrepresented minorities” would be even less without their use). I remember getting ready to TA at Berkeley, and discussing with my roommate (also a Berkeley grad student) about a list I was compiliing of words that the students couldn’t use in class discussion because they were overly politicized clich

  27. Helga May 26, 2005 at 7:09 am | | Reply

    TJ sounds like a typical BS artist. All bluster and overconfidence with nothing to back it up. It should quit while it is still molecularly cohesive.

  28. John Rosenberg May 26, 2005 at 9:41 am | | Reply

    TL: O.K. Apology accepted. Feel free to stick around and continue to comment. And no, alas, you are not the only one here using ad hominem arguments. Even though I intensely dislike them (and for some reason resent them even more when they’re directed at me), I haven’t yet resorted to censoring them, though I’ve threatened a couple of times. The threats work moderately well, at least for a time, and there are now fewer such comments than their used to be.

    Finally, I suppose one of the inescapable burdens of age is that a few young whippersnappers who remember the manners their mommas taught them will insist on calling you “Mr.”

  29. Rich May 26, 2005 at 11:01 am | | Reply

    >>>>Well, isnt Birgeneau simply attempting to institute an educational scheme that has prevailed in our nations top institutions for the last several centuries? I’m going to go out on a limb here, but Ill bet you werent too outraged when Harvard was all white, or when Cornell was the same.

    Hmmmm….I dont like the smell of this one.

    Posted by Trojan Law May 25, 2005 02:11 AM

    =============

    I think Trojan Law has this point confused as well. Getting into Harvard or Cornell was never about being white, it was about being rich. Despite my name, I could not afford either college, even would they accept me.

    I would also like to point out the absurdity of using one stereotype to prove another. That is, you stereotype these colleges as being all white. I’ll bet money you have no data whatsoever to back this claim, that is, it’s naught but a stereotype. If you do have data, please post it. I’d love to see it. But I’m pretty positive that you ain’t got any data atall.

    Now there are several ‘black’ colleges where race does seem to be an issue. I’ve also not researched the student body data, but I’m reasonably certain that their student bodies do not reflect the racial makeup of their geographic areas. I’m just wondering, do you have any comments about ‘black’ or “women’s” colleges?

    BTW, I have researched several “women’s” colleges, and for the ones where I looked, I found that not only did they discriminate in admissions, but that their teaching staff was predominantly female. Assuming, for the sake of argument that this is true (you can always backpedal or do some research later), I would like your comments on this as well.

    Thanx

    Rich

    PS, one “women’s” college did allow a limited number of male graduate students, but the number attending was not listed.

  30. Laura May 26, 2005 at 1:40 pm | | Reply

    FWIW, my daughter will be attending my alma mater, Mississippi University for Women starting this fall. It’s the oldest state-supported college for women in the US, but it went co-ed in 1982, my senior year. The male population is somewhere between 10 and 15%.

    Comparing my general knowledge and preparation for lab work to that of people who majored in chemistry at other institutions, I think I got a great education. Presumably that’s what the men go there for too, and hopefully they’ll get it. But why a man would want “Mississippi University for Women” on his resume is beyond me.

  31. Trojan Law May 26, 2005 at 1:44 pm | | Reply

    Wow you people are persistent! In my fleeting scan of the orig article I’m a’feard that I may have failed to appreciate the full, macro ramifications of Birgeneau’s proposal. Also, my use of hyperbole was obviously inartful and even more obviously not well taken. Didnt I already say this?

    Please, Mr. Rosenberg, feel free to threaten to stop the ad hominem attacks at any time.

    Either that or explain to me what “molecularly cohesive means”.

  32. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 26, 2005 at 2:33 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law,

    Please, Mr. Rosenberg, feel free to threaten to stop the ad hominem attacks at any time.

    Have there actually been any? I read carefully over the thread, and while I read a considerable amount of criticisms of your posts (including my own), I didn’t see any ad hominems. People have been criticizing you, but always criticizing the argument, not the writer.

    (The closest thing to an ad hominem would be Laura’s understandable amusement that you took the beginning of the date after her name at the bottom of a post to be her last name. I don’t think I would have publicly made fun of that — though I would have privately chuckled about it — but it’s not exactly an ad hominem.)

    Either that or explain to me what “molecularly cohesive means”.

    Well . . . I could have said something rude about that, but I won’t.

    Seriously, TL, I am glad that you are commenting here, and hope you’ll stick around. The best blog comment sections, in my view, are the ones where there’s a definite political slant to the posts, but a wide diversity of views in the comments, and everyone treats everyone else with a modicum of civility. I’ve valued Discriminations for a couple of years for precisely those two things. Welcome here!

  33. Trojan Law May 26, 2005 at 2:52 pm | | Reply

    Michelle Dulak Thomson wrote: “I read carefully over the thread, and while I read a considerable amount of criticisms of your posts (including my own), I didn’t see any ad hominems. People have been criticizing you, but always criticizing the argument, not the writer.”

    Oh, do tell!

    Ms. Helga May wrote: “TJ sounds like a typical BS artist. All bluster and overconfidence with nothing to back it up. It should quit while it is still molecularly cohesive.”

    First, I dont know what BS is. 2econdly, as you see, I’m a man (a virile man), not an it.

    Mr. Rosenberg wrote: “Actually, I will say this much more: that second sound you hear is the sound of Trojan Law’s second limb crashing to the ground.”

    I dont know if that was an ad hominem attack, actually, I have no idea what it was, but it hurted me (*whimper*).

    Mr. Rosenberg also wrote (to moi): “And no, alas, you are not the only one here using ad hominem arguments.”

    I dare quote him for fear of reprisal, but it was convenient. And Ms. Thompson, thank you (no really, thank you) for holding back your ‘rudeness’, but I’m a big boy, I can take it. Will someone puh-lease explain to me what “molecularly cohesive” means?

    Anyway, in response to Mr. Rich May’s post, what exactly is your point about black and women’s colleges?

  34. John Rosenberg May 26, 2005 at 2:59 pm | | Reply

    Please, Mr. Rosenberg, feel free to threaten to stop the ad hominem attacks at any time.

    Seconding Michelle, and following in her electronic footsteps, I too have just re-read all the comments — especially mine, since I took your no doubt carefully chosen words to mean that I should stop my ad hominem attacks — and, like Michelle, I didn’t find any. I hope you will notice and appreciate my restraint in not providing a dictionary definition of ad hominem.

    Either that or explain to me what “molecularly cohesive means”.

    I agree that Helga’s post above, accusing you of being “a typical BS artist” and concluding that you should quit while you’re still “molecularly cohesive” was, at least with regard to the BS artist charge, an example of the sort of comment I don’t like (but still, to repeat, haven’t yet censored). The “molecularly cohesive,” though, whatever it means, seemed to me to lighten any ad hominem content it may have.

    Finally, let me repeat my own and second Michelle’s encouragement for you to stay. Unlike many proponents of “diversity,” regulars here and I actually do value diversity of opinion.

    P.S. (Added a few minutes later)

    Also, I believe this was Helga’s first comment here, and she deserves some slack since she hasn’t been assimilated yet.

  35. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 26, 2005 at 3:31 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law,

    I hope you’re just having fun, but all these people you’re surnaming “May” are using single names to post. The “May” is part of the date.

    Ms. Helga [May] wrote: “TJ [should be TL] sounds like a typical BS artist. All bluster and overconfidence with nothing to back it up. It should quit while it is still molecularly cohesive.”

    First, I don’t know what BS is. Secondly, as you see, I’m a man (a virile man), not an it.

    Um, (a) no, I can’t “see,” and I’m rather glad of it (no, not an ad hominem, just a reasonable view that your “virility” not be visible along with your comments). I don’t understand about the “it,” but you’re right, it does read like a personal insult, and I’m sorry I overlooked it.)

    (b), I find it very difficult to believe that you’ve not encountered “BS,” if only metaphorically.

    Mr. Rosenberg also wrote (to moi): “And no, alas, you are not the only one here using ad hominem arguments.”

    Yes, but he wasn’t talking about that particular thread, but about the whole site. I can’t go into more detail, but there was another very recent case.

    And Ms. Thom[p]son [lose the bloody "p," please], thank you (no really, thank you) for holding back your ‘rudeness’, but I’m a big boy, I can take it. Will someone puh-lease explain to me what “molecularly cohesive” means?

    I have no idea what “molecularly cohesive” means in Helga’s context. Ordinarily I’d say the obvious, that it involves molecules adhering to one another. No, what I meant was that

    Either that or explain to me what “molecularly cohesive means”.

    is a grammatical mess. You really do want to shift that second quotation mark about six spaces to the left. That way not only will the period not be outside the [no longer] adjacent quotation mark, but the sentence will actually make some sort of sense.

    Sorry, TL, but some of us here are really anal grammatical pedants.

    Anyway, in response to Mr. Rich [May's] post, what exactly is your point about black and women’s colleges?

    I think he’ll have to answer that one himself, sans surname.

  36. Trojan Law May 26, 2005 at 5:12 pm | | Reply

    Mr. Rosenberg wrote:”I hope you will notice and appreciate my restraint in not providing a dictionary definition of ad hominem.”

    Mr. Rosenberg, un-restrain yourself. If calling me a BS artist (I’m assuming BS does not = [B]yzantine [S]culpture) isnt an ad hominem attack, then I obviously DONT know what ad hoes are (anyway, twas it not thee who first brought up the phrase?).

    Ms. Thom[no P]son wrote:”You really do want to shift that second quotation mark about six spaces to the left. That way not only will the period not be outside the [no longer] adjacent quotation mark, but the sentence will actually make some sort of sense.”

    Ah. I see. Now the sentence makes sense. Before, it made no sense. At all.

    Ms. Thom[no P]son then wrote:”Sorry, TL, but some of us here are really anal grammatical pedants.”

    Anal? No.

    I thought I’d escaped persecution of the grammar police when I heroically freed myself from the evil clutches of the third grade. Feel free to vet any and all of my posts, right down to the last comma, Ms. Thom[no P]son. Its not annoying. At all.

    Ms. Thom[no P]son then wrote:”Um, (a) no, . . .”

    Aha! ‘Um’ is not an english word. I believe the correct word is, ‘ummm’. (Count it!)

    And I dont know if Im ready to cut dear Helga any slack at all. I’m certainly not being cut any (*whimper*, again) (I know, I know, Ms. T – I know we are’nt supposed to use ‘And’ to begin a sentence. shooorry).

    Oh yeah, Im still waiting for Mr. Rich [sans surname, of course] to clarify his above post.

  37. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 26, 2005 at 6:31 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law,

    Sorry about the snarkiness. I have a maiden name that’s constantly taken for “Du Lac,” and a married name that’s constantly taken for “Thompson,” and I get impatient with both.

    I made the grammatical snipe only when you basically begged me to. If I misinterpreted you, sorry again.

    I know, I know, Ms. T – I know we are’nt supposed to use ‘And’ to begin a sentence. shooorry

    I’m constantly beginning sentences with “And.” One of my oldest habits. Like the sentence fragments; also the semicolons. The emoticons came later ;-)

  38. John Rosenberg May 26, 2005 at 10:04 pm | | Reply

    … If calling me a BS artist (I’m assuming BS does not = [B]yzantine [S]culpture) isnt an ad hominem attack, then I obviously DONT know what ad hoes are (anyway, twas it not thee who first brought up the phrase?)

    BS? No, it was not I.

  39. Trojan Law May 26, 2005 at 10:48 pm | | Reply

    Not BS. ‘ad hominems’.

  40. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 26, 2005 at 11:35 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law,

    FWIW, John mentioned ad hominems on your part before Helga mentioned “BS.”

  41. Trojan Law May 27, 2005 at 12:31 am | | Reply

    Michelle Dulak Thomson wrote:”Trojan Law, FWIW, John mentioned ad hominems on your part before Helga mentioned “BS.”

    And that is not irrelevant because . . .

  42. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 27, 2005 at 1:45 am | | Reply

    TL, Oh my. I’ll try.

    It is “not irrelevant” because it demonstrates that John had asked you to desist fron ad hominems before anyone had actually launched one at you. Because I think Helga’s really is the only thing that qualifies.

    Will that do?

    And I reiterate that I would, again, like to see you posting here. I’m quite serious in wanting as many views (civilly expressed) in a political blog’s comment section as I can find, which of course means that I find most of the blogs with comments a crashing bore. This is one of the few exceptions, and I do hope you will stick around. You won’t be alone; Cobra and actus are there to hold up the Lefty end of the argument, and they’re both very smart, very civil, and very Web-savvy, so we never lack for things to discuss here.

  43. Trojan Law May 27, 2005 at 3:51 am | | Reply

    I must say, Ms Thomson, whether on purpose or inadvertently, you’re confusing me. Please, allow me.

    Now, you’ll forgive me, but it must be said that inconsistency plagues you. First, you didnt detect the existence of any AHs on this thread. After I excavated this most obvious fallacy (Helga), you (or Mr. R, I cant remember which) grudgingly recanted. Then, you note that the first instance of such an argument was arguably ‘on [my] part’. Now, amazingly, only Helga’s comment qualifies.

    So if I understand it, I was admonished for hurling AH attacks before I’d done so, and when the same were lobbed my way, all here were blissfully oblivious.

    What’s that about?

    Now, I’d hate to keep going on like this, but this much must be said. I DARE you or Mr. Rosenberg to point to any ad hominem args made by moi on this thread. Impossible. In fact, as you may or may not have realized, my comments easily fall safely outside the ambit of the definition supplied by Mr. R – and I nearly chuckled when it was lobbed my way. Anyway, I forgave that inartfully premature and hilariously misplaced barb a while ago (no, that was not AH).

    Now, “I hope you will notice and appreciate my restraint in not providing a dictionary definition of ad hominem,” but from the looks of this thread it does seem that it is not I who needs a clarification.

    And this talk about civility!? Are you implying something? I’d certainly hope not. Pedantic nitpickery is certainly not ‘civil’ in the context of civilized political discourse. Ok ok nitpickery’s not a word.

    And I like you people. I think Ill be enjoying my stay here.

  44. John Rosenberg May 27, 2005 at 10:14 am | | Reply

    I DARE you or Mr. Rosenberg to point to any ad hominem args made by moi on this thread. Impossible. In fact, as you may or may not have realized, my comments easily fall safely outside the ambit of the definition supplied by Mr. R….

    TL: You’ve apparently forgotten that, out of what I now see was a misplaced reliance on the fact that you’re a writer who chooses his words carefully, I specificially did NOT supply a definition of ad hominem. Alas, now I see

    that one apparently is necessary. Here’s one from dictionary.com:

    Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason…. The phrase now chiefly describes an argument based on the failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case.

    With that definition in mind, here are a few I’ve selected from your various comments:

    1. “l bet you werent too outraged when Harvard was all white, or when Cornell was the same…. Hmmmm….I dont like the smell of this one.”

    Now this, your very first comment, is rather mild, but the only point here, if it is a point, is that I am inconsistent, caring only about discrimination against whites (even with this point, don’t I at least get to care about discrimination against Asians and any other ethnic groups not on the favored, preferred list?). Also, most people regard it as ad hominem when you respond to the “smell” of an argument rather than its substance.

    2. “Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason…. The phrase now chiefly describes an argument based on the failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case.”

    This, your second comment, simply repeats the ad hominem of your first comment, differing only in its attempt to amplify the same point with CAPITAL LETTERS. Oh wait, you did throw in the cute observation that “Hypocrisy is’nt just a river in . . . oh wait, thats called de-nile.” Perhaps you don’t regard that comment as accusing those of us who disagree with you of being hypocrites — or maybe you don’t regard calling someone a hypocrite as an ad hominem criticism — but either of those seems unlikely since you choose your words carefully and there is a general consensus that “hypocrite” is not a nice thing to call someone. And we do know, via your insistent “Mr.,” that you’re nothing if not nice.

    hypocrite

    n : a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he does not hold [syn: dissembler, phony, phoney, pretender]

    3. And not from your third comment here: “Hear that? Thats the sound of the light bulb going dead in your head. Let it all sink in for a moment, and then reply without vehemence.”

    Again, this says nothing if it doesn’t say that your critics are dim. Actually, worse than dim — totally dark.

    4. Your fourth comment, omitting the snide “Miss Laura May” gaffe:

    But at the same time, I do realize that I may be wrong. I realize that Mr. Rosenberg could have led the freedom marchers in their marches thru the south and on to washington. I realize that Mr. Rosenberg could have opposed ‘affirmative action’ and ‘discrimination’ even when it meant ‘preferential’ treatment for his own kind.

    Oh no Miss May, I have no way to know exactly what Mr. Rosenberg did in the 60s.

    First, I never said anything about leading any marches, anywhere. Second, this comment means nothing if it does not mean that my claim — to opposing all discrimination, even when it benefits “my own kind” [which, by the way, I regard as an obnoxious, racist phrase; it assumes all whites (or perhaps all Jews) are of one "kind"] — is so outlandish that no reasonable person could believe it. Again, nothing here but more ad hominem.

    5. From your fifth comment, re your previous slur on the middle-aged: “I meant anyone who stood idly by while the state violated the rights of the body public…. Anyone not in daipers, of course.”

    This simply clarifies your earlier point that your critics are either hypocrites or liars or at least that we in fact did stand idly by, etc.

    6. From our sixth comment, after a faux apology:

    A n y w a y, I’m not going to sit here and say that you’ve exaggerated, or outright lied, about your activities during the exciting 60s. That would be too easy, too petty, too vindictive, per you. However, I will point out that I know a great many non minority 60s civ rights activists, and peculiarly enough, none share your views. Certainly, that fact is not dispositive, but it does have some ‘bearing on the’ disingenuousness ‘(or not) of the arguments [you] make here and now’. No?

    An educated guess indeed, don’t you think?

    So, in the lexicon of your carefully chosen words, calling someone who disagrees with you of “disingenuousness” is not ad hominem?

    And aside from my disingenuousness, if I’m not an exaggerator or a liar I’m the only one my age (excuse me, my age and “kind”) who believes what I do who isn’t. An argument could be made, I suppose, that this comments purports to me a bye from the general indictment of critics of racial preferences of my age and “kind,” but I don’t even believe it does that. Because what it communicates to me — and, again, you choose words carefully so I assume this is your intent — is that I’m really no exception at all, that you actually believe what you say would be “too petty, too vindictive” actually to say.

    7. Congratulations! Your seventh comment contains no ad hominem attacks. That proves that you are indeed capable of saying something that doesn’t impugn the character, intelligence, honesty, etc., of others. I confess I was beginning to doubt that.

    8. Two in a row! No AHs in no. 8 You’re on a roll.

    9. Three is a row! Though it may be worth noting that nos. 8 and 9 do not contain any argument or points at all regarding discrimination.

    10. No problem.

    11. No problem. Discussed only the criticism of TL, however, apparently the new subject of this thread.

    12. No problem, discussing as it does only TL the victim of various criticisms here.

    13. “Now, you’ll forgive me, but it must be said that inconsistency plagues you.”

    Now this one is mild enough to pass muster here. Calling someone inconsistent is certainly acceptable, even in polite, well-mannered debates, but note that it is an ad hominem.

    The trouble here, TL, is that now that I’m at the end (to date) of this thread, not only have you made a ridiculously large number of ad hominem attacks on people who disagree with you, but that’s all you’ve done. You’ve made essentially no arguments.

    Thus I will now put a condition on the invitation to stay and comment that has been repeatedly extended to you: please make an attempt to comment on the substance of my posts, or others comments on the posts, and not on me or the other commenters. I would like these comments to deal with issues raised in the posts and comments, and that issue is neither you nor the honesty, intelligence, or integrity of the other commenters. Needless to say (but then I’m often accused of saying needless things), since this is my blog I reserve the right (so far never exercised) of deleting any comments that stray too far afield.

    With that qualification in mind, I will repeat the invitation for you to stay. I suspect many of us would be interested in what you have to say about discrimination, but I’m sure I speak for others (but it doesn’t matter if I don’t) when I say that I can assure you that we are not interested in what you have to say about us.

  45. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 27, 2005 at 12:15 pm | | Reply

    Trojan Law,

    Now, you’ll forgive me, but it must be said that inconsistency plagues you. First, you didnt detect the existence of any AHs on this thread. After I excavated this most obvious fallacy (Helga), you (or Mr. R, I cant remember which) grudgingly recanted. Then, you note that the first instance of such an argument was arguably ‘on [my] part’. Now, amazingly, only Helga’s comment qualifies.

    TL, this is what I said:

    It is “not irrelevant” because it demonstrates that John had asked you to desist fron ad hominems before anyone had actually launched one at you. Because I think Helga’s really is the only thing that qualifies.

    In other words, among comments launched at you, I thought only Helga’s was ad hominem.

    John’s own list of your own ad hominems is fine by me, and reinforces my point.

    And [hey, I'm beginning a sentence with a conjunctive! See, I can do that! Well, I've been doing it for at least twenty years, but there's no way you could now it] I don’t believe for a moment that you were “confused” about what I meant.

  46. Rich ---- May 27, 2005 at 1:03 pm | | Reply

    First: To “John Rosenberg May”, perhaps a seperator between the name and date, in the “Posted by” would not be a terrible idea? I suggest a dash or dashes since the date uses commas.

    Second: To “Trojan Law May” (Hey, I cut and pasted the name :^)

    You seem to have problems with what you assume is discriminatory admissions (at least when you claim (and that is what it remains, just an empty claim) that they benefit only white men).

    So what about institutions who have discriminatory admissions (and hiring, but what’s a gross violation of federal laws about racist or secist hiring as long as you discriminate against white men, eh) that favor women or blacks?

    You got any issues with these?

    Or do you just get hot under the collar at the mere implication that blacks or women are being discriminated against?

    Are you bothered by racism and sexism, or just by white men?

    It’s a simple enough question, perhaps had you responded to my text you would have seen it?

    BTW, almost all colleges and universities have discriminatory admissions today, all give extra points for being anyone *but* a white man. You got any problem with this?

    Rich

  47. Trojan Law May 27, 2005 at 3:28 pm | | Reply

    Mr. Rosenberg wrote:”Thus I will now put a condition on the invitation to stay and comment that has been repeatedly extended to you: please make an attempt to comment on the substance of my posts, or others comments on the posts, and not on me or the other commenters. I would like these comments to deal with issues raised in the posts and comments, and that issue is neither you nor the honesty, intelligence, or integrity of the other commenters. Needless to say (but then I’m often accused of saying needless things), since this is my blog I reserve the right (so far never exercised) of deleting any comments that stray too far afield.”

    Indeed. AND YOUR MANY TIRADES IN NO WAY BELIES THIS. Now, looky here (begin play theme from ‘the good, bad & the ugly’). If threats of censorship is your panacea for all things disagreeable then I have NO business here. But that is a 2endary issue (yes, 2endary, please do NOT correct that word AGAIN Ms. T).

    To untimely accuse a poster of AH-ery is one thing. To stretch & dig for them where none exist is quite another. Of both you remain guilty. And stretch you did. Mr. R, my quips do not = AH, no matter how desperately & fervently you convince yErself. You offend the very definition[S] you purport to stand on. In the interests of keeping this reply short & uber, uber-sweet, and for want of censorship, I decline to commence the sort of display I witnessed above.

    Now, I WILL NOT re-supply a definition of ‘hypocrisy’, but witness it in its purest form: “. . . please make an attempt to comment on the substance of my posts, or others comments on the posts, and not on me or the other commenters. I would like these comments to deal with issues raised in the posts and comments, and that issue is neither you nor the honesty, intelligence, or integrity of the other commenters.” And all this prefaced by a most substantive show, INDEED.

    A sentence by sentence inquisition? You drama club kids lemme tellya (yes, that was one).

    How DARE you ‘condition’ anything. To the extent that any ‘acceptance’ was tendered on my part to any ‘invitation to stay’ on yours, it is hereby revoked. Said revocation remains irrevocable.

    ‘Alas’, I realize that I am much too arrogant to deal with this bicker-y. A future lawyer indeed be I (not so fast Ms. T. I did that one on purpose. Sounds good. Anyway, can AH’s be hurled at oneself?). I shall now return to those arrogant and pretentious law school discussion boards where I feel most at home. If needed, I will appropriate any articles & pithy arguments found here and use them for my own selfish gain & prestige on those discussion boards (you, elders, are good at research, ‘alas’).

    And to claim that I have not made any arguments?!?! Why need I? Remember, I CONCEDED a VERY long time ago (quite humbly and uber-nobly I might add). It is you and the usual suspects that have kept this most irrelevant diatribe alive for so long (this is VERY, VERY true, so no AH, k?).

    If censored, I am ready to enter the promised land of martyrdom.

    OUT.

    Ok ok Im back. I have a most fitting response for Mr. Rich May, a most substantive(and quippy) response; however his question (or answer to my PRIOR question) has come too late, for I have banished myself from partaking further in this most useless wrangle.

    Now,

    OUT.

  48. nobody important May 27, 2005 at 4:40 pm | | Reply

    Typical Leftist, “It’s all about me!”

    One more definition on the way out: censorship is when the government restricts your freedom of speech. This forum is private property to be run as the proprietor sees fit.

  49. Trojan Law May 27, 2005 at 6:13 pm | | Reply

    Can’t resist.

    But your all-powerful editor can.

    Comment, in which TL provided a dictionary definition of censorship revealing that it means “to censor” and urged someone, presumably me, to “Humble Thineself,” DELETED for lack of relevance. — jsr

  50. John Rosenberg May 27, 2005 at 6:38 pm | | Reply

    If threats of censorship is your panacea for all things disagreeable then I have NO business here.

    TL, the only thing I find disagreeable, and now unacceptably tiresome, is your incessant commenting on … nothing but your comments. Oh, and on the intelligence and integrity (not) of other readers who have commented on your comments. Well, you did say at one point that you’re a writer, apparently like the emblematic one who uttered these memorable (even if fictional) lines: “Well, I’ve been discussing my book long enough. Tell me, what do YOU think of my book….”

    The only “business” anyone has here is reading about discrimination or whatever else happens to provoke posts from me and commenting on those posts and what other readers have said about them. Whether or not this is worth the subscription fee is up to individual readers, just as whether or not you’re interested in pursuing this business is up to you.

    How DARE you ‘condition’ anything. [Given your shouting caps, that period should be a more emphatic exclamation point.]

    Easy. I’ve paid for the lot, the bat, the balls, and the time; I’ve written and publicized the rules; and I have the key to the gate. You’re welcome to play if the game that is being played here interests you.

  51. Michelle Dulak Thomson May 27, 2005 at 6:43 pm | | Reply

    TL,

    There’s really nothing to be said after that last couple posts, except that I wish you well and hope the best for you.

  52. Laura May 27, 2005 at 9:11 pm | | Reply

    This is your brain on drugs.

  53. Rich -- May 28, 2005 at 12:49 pm | | Reply

    >>> Ok ok Im back. I have a most fitting response for Mr. Rich May, a most substantive(and quippy) response; however his question (or answer to my PRIOR question) has come too late, for I have banished myself from partaking further in this most useless wrangle.

    Posted by Trojan Law May 27, 2005 03:28 PM

    ———–

    Excuse me “Trojan Law May”, I have and have had nothing to do with the “useless wrangle” you seem involved in.

    I don’t see that you answer many questions anyway, but you seem to have a barrel full if inuendo and stereotypes.

    What is anyone to make of this?

    I’ll stand by my first guess, you just hate white men, and that you could care less about discrimination against them since you see it as the answer to the problems you have invented.

    I suspect that this is the way you come across to others as well, but I am just guessing here.

    There are many blogs that cater to outright bigots that might be more to your liking BTW. Perhaps http://www.amptoons.com/blog/ would be more to your liking? You can post the worst hatred, least if it’s against white men, and you’ll get lauded and supported every time. It has somewhat of a feminist bent, but I suspect you are somewhat of a feminist anyway.

    I also take it that you have not one iota of data WRT admissions at Harvard or Cornell, and that further I suspect that you could care less as bigotry has no basis in fact and you seem quite happy using one stereotype to prove another. This is, to say the least, bad form TL. It would probably get you a doctorate in Women’s studies or Black studies, but it’s logically deficient and morally bankrupt. Would either of these errors concern you? Seems not.

    Regards,

    Rich

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