October 8, 2012

Why elite college presidents love racial preferences

With affirmative action back in the news, it's worthy recycling my 2005 explanation in The American Conservative of why elite college presidents always proclaim the necessity of preferences for politically powerful organized victim groups. Writing about the Larry Summers Brouhaha at Harvard, I noted:
[Larry] Summers' job is partly to enhance, but mostly to protect, one of the world's most valuable brand names. "Harvard" stands for "intelligence," extreme far right edge of the IQ Bell Curve smarts. America is increasingly stratified by IQ, and the resulting class war that the clever are waging upon the clueless means that having Harvard's endorsement of your brainpower is ever more desirable. Thus, applications and SAT scores have skyrocketed over the last half century. 
Yet, Harvard's IQ elitism sharply contradicts its professed egalitarianism. The typical Harvard professor or student considers himself superior to ordinary folks for two conflicting reasons: first, he constantly proclaims his belief in human equality, but they don't; and second, he has a high IQ, but they don't. 
Further, he believes his brains weren't the luck of his genes. No, he earned them. Which in turn means he feels that dumb people deserve to be dumb. 
Ivy League presidents aren't much worried that the left half of the Bell Curve will get themselves well enough organized to challenge the hegemony of the IQ overclass. No, what they fear is opposition to their use of IQ sorting mechanisms, such as the politically incorrect but crucial SAT, from those identity politics pressure groups who perform below average in a pure meritocracy, such as women, blacks, and Hispanics. But, they each boast enough high IQ activists, like Nancy Hopkins, to make trouble for prestige universities. 
So, Harvard, like virtually all famous universities, buys off females and minorities with "a commitment to diversity" -- in other words, quotas. By boosting less competent women, blacks and Hispanics at the expense of the more marginal men, whites, and Asians, Harvard preserves most of its freedom to continue to discriminate ruthlessly on IQ. 
What is obviously in the best interest of Harvard, and of the IQ aristocracy in general, is for everybody just to shut up about group differences in intelligence. Stifling arguments allows the IQ upper class to quietly push its interests at the expense of everyone else. So, Summers bought peace fast.

Of course, the $50 million Larry handed to Drew Gilpin Faust as reparations didn't save his job, but it did help Dr. Faust acquire the presidency of Harvard. (By the way, you've got to hand it to Ms. Gilpin Faust: she can play the feminist resentment card or she can play the feminine wiles card. Her early career at Penn was, let's just say, not hurt when, as a young woman, she divorced her first husband and married the chairman of her department.)

What terrifies elite universities is the kind of anti-discrimination solution imposed on many fire departments, such as in Chicago where the hiring test has been made so easy that about 96% of white applicants pass, after which fire cadets are chosen at random.

25 comments:

Steve Johnson said...

The Mencius explanation is better.

In Nazi Germany you needed to have a party member as part of your board of directors.

In the United States you need to have blacks at all levels of your organization.

Universities look to admit successful people who will make money and either donate or enhance the prestige of the university. All of them are happy to be associated with the network of political commissars associated.

Look at how Harvard Law benefited from admitting a guy who could never get in otherwise - Barak Obama.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Harvard's brand has actually been helped or hurt by the little by little realization of many that Mr. Obama was not an accomplished legal writer (not a writer at all, evidently) yet became the Pres. of the Law Review, and Mr. Obama, by his own admission in a recent speech, was not a great student.

Yan Shen said...

There's so much left-wing nonsense in this country that I often think to myself why people just can't have the common sense to embrace the principle of cognitive elitism.

In China, there's the ruthlessly meritocratic gaokao. In the United States, we have all of this left-wing nonsense.

jody said...

i didn't realize how dumb sandra day was until i started reading her writings on this topic. first in her class at harvard? that's the quality of thinking you get out of the person who graduates first in her class at harvard? wow.

then again it's just been one slow and steady decline. to say i'm less than impressed by harvard lawyers is the understatement of the decade. day looks relatively cerebral compared to what we have now.

now the quality of thought, philosophy, and scholarship coming out of harvard law school has declined until we are finally at the point where we have one harvard lawyer (roberts) is saying "It is!" and another harvard lawyer (obama) is shouting back "No it isn't!"

and they go back and forth over that like 12 year olds. zero scholarly argumentation was employed at any time during this sham and mockery of the united states law system.

"It is a tax."

"No, it's not."

"It is."

"It's not."

barring the obvious, that they're both head slappingly wrong about PPACA in the first place, how did they get away with doing that juvenile back and forth without anybody in the media saying "This doesn't reflect well on Harvard, or the United States in general, what these two guys are doing."

oh right, the media is in on it.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, it doesn't just protect their brand, it also shits on all the lesser colleges' brands.

Lesser universities imitate them in diversity-whoring, but they can't hope to get the actually really bright blacks/etc, so they have to dumb way down.

ben tillman said...

The typical Harvard professor or student ... believes his brains weren't the luck of his genes. No, he earned them.

I don't buy it. I've never heard any such person claim such a thing. There's no reason to do so. First, the ability to "earn" things is a product of our genes every bit as much as raw intelligence is. Second, who cares? No one finds a girl more beautiful because she "earned" her appearance with makeup or hairstyle or plastic surgery. Quite the contrary -- natural beauty is prized, and those who can skate through law school while keeping the studying to a minimum are quite proud of that fact.

ben tillman said...

then again it's just been one slow and steady decline. to say i'm less than impressed by harvard lawyers is the understatement of the decade.

What do you expect? They don't learn torts, and that's 60% of the law.

Anonymous said...

"In China, there's the ruthlessly meritocratic gaokao. In the United States, we have all of this left-wing nonsense."

It's robotocratic and memoricratic..

Rote memorism isn't good for creativity.

The Legendary Linda said...

"Harvard" stands for "intelligence," extreme far right edge of the IQ Bell Curve smarts.

The average IQ at Harvard is very high, but not anything spectacular. Their SAT scores tend to overestimate their true ability because they are selected by the SAT and thus regress to the mean on other measures of g.

The only data we seem to have on the actual IQ scores (not SAT scores) of Harvard students came from a study where Harvard students took an excellent abbreviated version of the WAIS:

Eighty-six Harvard undergraduates (33 men, 53 women), with a mean age of 20.7 years (SD = 3.3) participated in the study. All were recruited from sign-up sheets posted on campus...
The mean IQ of the sample was 128.1 points (SD = 10.3), with a range of 97 to 148 points.


http://www.nidsci.org/pdf/carson-peterson-higgins.pdf

America is increasingly stratified by IQ, and the resulting class war that the clever are waging upon the clueless means that having Harvard's endorsement of your brainpower is ever more desirable. Thus, applications and SAT scores have skyrocketed over the last half century.

Is America increasingly stratified by IQ? I think smart people have always risen to the top. Have Harvard SAT scores skyrocketed? I think Harvard students have always been far smarter than the average American, it's just more noticeable now since more Americans are trying to get into college. That is to say, in the past most people who went to ANY college were above average so Harvard students were not much different than other college students, but now (thanks to the Flynn Effect) a college degree is no longer enough to qualify as elite, it has to be a Harvard degree. So it's not that Harvard has become much more intellectually elite, it's just that other colleges have become much less elite.

eah said...

Yet, Harvard's IQ elitism sharply contradicts its professed egalitarianism.

Why is that? Where is the 'sharp contradiction'?

DaveinHackensack said...

Speaking of the Chicago fire department test approach, how long until that solution is applied to academic standards? I got to thinking about that on Monday afternoon when that San Diego businessman I mentioned in a previous thread (the one who laments CA's high taxes and lefty politics but nevertheless supports mass, unskilled immigration) retweeted this extrapolation by Michelle Rhee of how long it will take for 80% of African American 8th graders to read proficiently.

Anonymous said...

I was a Harvard grad many years ago back in the stone age, and I haven't been back there in ages so I can't tell you what it's like now. But I can tell you what it was like 20-or-30-some-odd years ago.

Harvard kids are superior in IQ to regular American kids, but they aren't superior in IQ to kids at say Stanford or Yale or Cal or Amherst or Princeton or whatnot.
But they ARE superior to those kids -- and in my experience vastly so, overwhelmingly so, crushingly so -- in their wit and energy and originality and verve, and their sheer cussed inexplicable ability to get amazing shit done. It's really why I went there, despite having nice offers from all those other jernts too. I'll tell you frankly that I learned far more important things from five or six fellow Harvard undergrads (some of whom, but not all, are now world-famous), than I did from the faculty. In some cases this was non-specialized stuff but I knew at least one undergrad who was clearly, ludicrously more gifted in his field than the top professors in his department. One can't even begin to explain genius like this. Well whatever. The world is big and round and weird, and a lot of it is surprising.


Anonymous said...

A Faustian bargain if there ever was one.

Anonymous said...

"Further, he believes his brains weren't the luck of his genes. No, he earned them. Which in turn means he feels that dumb people deserve to be dumb."

Is this a universal thing, though ? I concider myself pretty smart, and I aced all the math tests in high school (and got good grades in most other subjects as well), but I know it's because I've got my father's genes (he's a math professor) and definitely not because of hard work (in fact, I always spent very little time on schoolwork).

And I have no problem "admitting" that. In fact, if I had to work hard for my grades, I would feel like a nerd.

jody said...

"What do you expect? They don't learn torts, and that's 60% of the law."

heh. i remember visiting one of my friends from undergrad after he moved back to philadelphia and started law school, because he wanted to be a civil rights lawyer.

large stacks and tomes of tort law on his desk, everywhere in his office.

Anonymous said...

97 iq at Harvard? Sounds like one of Tommy amaker's prize recruits...

Anonymous said...

i didn't realize how dumb sandra day was until i started reading her writings on this topic. first in her class at harvard?

Sandra Day O'Connor went to Stanford for undergrad and it was Standford law school where she graduated third in her class of 102 people. Chief Justice Rehnquist was the valedictorian at Stanford, and they dated briefly.

Mr. Anon said...

"Of course, the $50 million Larry handed to Drew Gilpin Faust as reparations didn't save his job, but it did help Dr. Faust acquire the presidency of Harvard. (By the way, you've got to hand it to Ms. Gilpin Faust: she can play the feminist resentment card or she can play the feminine wiles card. Her early career at Penn was, let's just say, not hurt when, as a young woman, she divorced her first husband and married the chairman of her department.)"

In other words, she's a whore - in the most essential sense of the word.

Mr. Anon said...

"Yan Shen said...

In China, there's the ruthlessly meritocratic gaokao. In the United States, we have all of this left-wing nonsense."

Yeah, China has never succumbed to left-wing nonsense.

You are an idiot, Yan Shen. You were an idiot when you befouled the pages of Mangan's website, and you are an idiot here. Piss off.

Anonymous said...

Yan Shen:"There's so much left-wing nonsense in this country that I often think to myself why people just can't have the common sense to embrace the principle of cognitive elitism.

In China, there's the ruthlessly meritocratic gaokao. In the United States, we have all of this left-wing nonsense."

China is a classic ethno-state (92% Han, according to wikipedia).That makes things a hell of a lot easier.Here in America, we have arguments over whether students should read PARADISE LOST or NATIVE SON.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"Further, he believes his brains weren't the luck of his genes. No, he earned them. Which in turn means he feels that dumb people deserve to be dumb. "

lol, I know elite professors, and I doubt a single one thinks he "earned" his brains. It's not like they're all working 16 hour shifts squeezing every idea they can out of their head. Academics are often lazy.

Marlowe said...

I've had what may sound like a crazy idea: bar university to high IQ persons. Force these people out into the world at the age of 18. Don't let them sit around for more than a decade in an academic setting, mooching and accumulating credentials. Unleash the talent immediately. Stop letting these types cruise through on a piece of paper. Sink or swim time. Out in the everyday world the high IQ persons will have to innovate, develop new businesses and stand on their own feet instead of relying on a system. It should lead to an immense burst of creativity.

Anonymous said...

Faust? Was there ever a more appropriate name?

Mr. Anon said...

"Yan Shen said...

In China, there's the ruthlessly meritocratic gaokao. In the United States, we have all of this left-wing nonsense."

Yeah - China has never succumbed to any left-wing nonsense.

Nitwit.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but this game of Harvard's (and others) only lasts until the US is majority-minority.

At that point, the term "diversity" is going to take on a very different meaning.