November 28, 2012

"Myth of American Meritocracy" now online

In the December issue of The American Conservative:
The Myth of American Meritocracy 
How corrupt are Ivy League admissions? 
by Ron Unz

48 comments:

Seattle said...

"By contrast, a similarly overwhelming domination by a tiny segment of America’s current population, one which is completely misaligned in all these respects, seems far less inherently stable, especially when the institutional roots of such domination have continually increased despite the collapse of the supposedly meritocratic justification. This does not seem like a recipe for a healthy and successful society, nor one which will even long survive in anything like its current form.

"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."

Calling K-Mac...

Simon in London said...

What would the student %s look like at a 'clean' Harvard? I would guess with its north-eastern location Jews would continue to be overrepresented even relative to IQ, but not to the current extent. Without Affirmative Action discrimination there would be more north-east-Asians, and far fewer blacks and Latinos.
I think there would be more non-Jewish, non-Hispanic whites - more than the current 20% would not be hard - and they would come from a wider pool (eg more rural, more Southern and Midwestern), but they would still be underrepresented relative to population, and would likely still be a minority on campus. Maybe ca 35-40%?

Simon in London said...

"An admissions system based on non-academic factors often amounting to institutionalized venality would seem strange or even unthinkable among the top universities of most other advanced nations in Europe or Asia, though such practices are widespread in much of the corrupt Third World. The notion of a wealthy family buying their son his entrance into the Grandes Ecoles of France or the top Japanese universities would be an absurdity, and the academic rectitude of Europe’s Nordic or Germanic nations is even more severe, with those far more egalitarian societies anyway tending to deemphasize university rankings."

It does seem weird to me that Americans are so happy with such a corrupt system. Mind you, I went to Oxford and while admission was meritocratic it was certainly no dream ticket to untold riches! One thing Harvard does is select students for the likelihood that in future they will be rich & powerful - prospective achievement rather than retrospective academic ability - so this creates a virtuous circle for them. Because Oxford goes by academic ability and has 'clean' admissions, many of its products are smart and academically successful, but not rich and powerful. Relative to Harvard, does this weaken the Oxford brand?

anony-mouse said...

There are 3 reasons for the reduction in the percentage of Jewish names among the list of high test achievers:

1/ The use of certain surnames to decide who is Jewish

In the past it was rare (eg George M Cohan) to have a person with Gentile roots to have a 'Jewish' name. Today the possession of a Jewish surname is less predictive of 100% Jewish roots (eg Lenny Kravitz).

2/ Fewer young Jews, more young Asians.

3/ Ultra-orthodoxy-A far higher percentage of young Jews are ultra-Orthodox than ever before. Such young people simply don't take those tests. Do you see many of those young math proteges dressed in ultra-Orthodox clothing?

Anonymous said...

What would the student %s look like at a 'clean' Harvard? I would guess with its north-eastern location Jews would continue to be overrepresented even relative to IQ, but not to the current extent. Without Affirmative Action discrimination there would be more north-east-Asians, and far fewer blacks and Latinos.
I think there would be more non-Jewish, non-Hispanic whites - more than the current 20% would not be hard - and they would come from a wider pool (eg more rural, more Southern and Midwestern), but they would still be underrepresented relative to population, and would likely still be a minority on campus. Maybe ca 35-40%?


How do you infer "35-40%" from Unz's article?

Unz writes: "Based on the overall distribution of America’s population, it appears that approximately 65–70 percent of America’s highest ability students are non-Jewish whites, well over ten times the Jewish total of under 6 percent."

According to Unz's article, Harvard's enrollment should be around 70% white gentile, and under 6% Jewish.

peterike said...

It is no secret that Ivies discriminate harshly against anything perceived as too-white or too-Christian or too-Conservative.

You were in some kind of ROTC thing in high school? Out. 4H Club? Out. Affiliation with Christian organizations that are not explicitly Leftist? Out.

Sponsored a letter writing campaign to transgendered African Americans in prison? In like Flynn!

Seattle said...

“A similar degree of massive overrepresentation is found throughout the other top administrative ranks of the rest of the Ivy League, and across American leading educational institutions in general...

I have not the slightest reason to doubt that the overwhelming majority of these individuals are honest and sincere, and attempt to do their best for their institutions and their students”

A lot of other people have several reasons to doubt their honesty and sincerity.

candid_observer said...

I do think that this article is going to have a major impact, because its results are so dramatic, surprising, and, on its main points, irrefutable.

Obviously, the most important issue is the collapse in Jewish academic achievement. If the numbers weren't so overwhelming, one might try to raise objections as to methodology -- but, for example, how does one get around the fact that there was only 1 Cohen, 1 Levy, and 1 Kaplan among 2000 National Merit Semifinalists in all of California, given that nearly 20% of all American Jews live in California? No amount of tweaking of methodology is going to change that overpowering result.

Likewise, the relative underachievement of Jews at Harvard, given the numbers, can hardly be disputed.

I just do wonder how the elite academic world is going to receive this frankly astonishing result.

Severn said...

Obviously, anti-Jewish discrimination in admissions no longer exists at any of these institutions


On the other hand, I think there's a pretty strong case to be made that pro-Jewish discrimination is alive and well in the Ivy League.

MC said...

"Today the possession of a Jewish surname is less predictive of 100% Jewish roots (eg Lenny Kravitz)."

Uh, Lenny Kravitz does have Jewish roots:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenny_Kravitz#Early_life

pat said...

Jerry Pournelle once wrote a couple novels which contained the premise that a planet's ability to achieve orbit marked a threshold. As I remember the Galactic government kept track of these things.

More recently he has said in essays that the ability to achieve fusion power might distinguish between those species that endure and those that perish.

I think there is another such technological turning point. It seems to me that everything changes if we can increase (equalize) our brain power. Find out how to make the black brain the equal in math of the Asian brain and we will have social peace. Fail to find out in time how to do that, and things get nasty.

If I were a serious academic I would have to be more guarded, but I'm not so I can simply state the case this way. Black people genetically organize their CNS differently. They have smaller brains than whites or East Asians. Smaller frontal lobes leads to more violence. It also leads to lower IQs which in turn leads to lower incomes and higher poverty rates.

We have been living with black mental insufficiency for some time but now things are changing. The job market seems to now strongly prefer smart job candidates. This causes higher black unemployment but more importantly it keeps young blacks from getting into the world of work at all.

Black male teens are increasingly a danger to everyone else around them including black adults. A black male in his late teens who dropped out of school and has never held a job is a time bomb.

So we are at a turning point. Continue this way and black teens won't be allowed on the streets at all. Or we could fix the black brain.

Darwin and Galton assumed that advanced races would displace less advanced races. More recently we have called that genocide. We could avoid that if we can learn enough to make all the races equal intellectually.

I've been reading up on genetics and neurology and I'm not as optimistic as I once was. I have no doubt that if people are around long enough we will gain complete control over our physical beings. But will it be soon enough?

Albertosaurus

Dahlia said...

candid observer,

Second. I wasn't kidding much when I quipped that a combination of Jewish genius at its historical peak combined with white smarts may have given us the space age, but now Jews give us Eli Roth...

I'm a gal that loves smart men. In high school, I was teased with "You only like him for his brain" in mimicry of the feminist whine. I married the smartest man I ever met (no, he isn't Jewish).

I got to thinking and noticed that all the "dreamy" Jews, to me, are middle-aged or older. Well, okay, I'm 35, to be expected, right? But older videos, movies, etc. of young Jews are also the cat's meow. I can't think of a single younger Jew who catches my attention: no intellectuals, in pop culture, etc.
My mom LOVED Jeff Goldblum (confession: me, too) but, perhaps as a tiny symptom of this decline, even he has become *that guy* who dyes his hair in his older age. I know, not indicative of any deep, genetic change, but still.

Anonymous said...

It is no secret that Ivies discriminate harshly against anything perceived as too-white or too-Christian or too-Conservative.

"You were in some kind of ROTC thing in high school? Out. 4H Club? Out. Affiliation with Christian organizations that are not explicitly Leftist? Out.

Sponsored a letter writing campaign to transgendered African Americans in prison? In like Flynn!"

I noticed that the Ivies rejected classmates who had obviously German gentile names.

candid_observer said...

I also wonder how prominent Jewish organizations might receive this result. The obvious implication, that, based on merit alone, many, many fewer Jews should get into the Ivy League is obviously going to be anathema to them.

But what will be the counterargument? It's hard to imagine.

Anonymous said...

Second. I wasn't kidding much when I quipped that a combination of Jewish genius at its historical peak combined with white smarts may have given us the space age

The irony of this is Operation Paperclip, where ex-Nazi rocket scientists and engineers like Werner von Braun were brought to the US to work for NASA.

Steve Sailer said...

Merging German rockets and Jewish nuclear bombs into one weapon system created the scariest thing in the history of the world: the potential for intercontinental nuclear war.

Anonymous said...

Here's an article which should be read in conjunction with the Unz one, for the "other Jewish perspective".

The Jewish Path to Success

"Jews did not disperse throughout the economy like other immigrants but continued to congregate in medicine, law, academia and the communications industry, where relatively high numbers have afforded leverage and security."

He means that as praise.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't kidding much when I quipped that a combination of Jewish genius at its historical peak combined with white smarts may have given us the space age


You may not have been kidding, but you were wrong in any case. Jews had almost nothing to do with the space age. The history of flight, aeronautics, and rocketry is notable for the paucity of Jewish figures who feature in it.

Simon in London said...

Wow, that was long! And quite shocking - like most readers, I was aware that non-Jewish whites were heavily discriminated against in Ivy League admissions, but I had no idea of the extent of the pro-Jewish discrimination that Unz describes.

Unz:
"This does not seem like a recipe for a healthy and successful society, nor one which will even long survive in anything like its current form..."
"...the elites they have produced have clearly done a very poor job of leading our country"

Jewish control of the US media, law, finance, and academia since the 1960s clearly has its downsides, especially for non-Jewish whites, since the new rulership class is often hostile to them, as Unz notes. But I'm not sure it can be considered a 'very poor job' overall. The US since 1965 has been less well managed than the US historically - the old WASP leadership class did a better job, AFAICS - but I don't see any sign of it being so mismanaged that the masses will rise up and overthrow the current rulers. Nor are other potential rival elites like the east-Asians in any sort of position to make a grab for power. Unz notes that Jewish takeover of the Ivy League required prior Jewish control of the media, and that east-Asians are today invisible in the media. My impression is that in fact Jewish control would be fairly secure even if Jews were unpopular in America, as most controlling minorities are in other countries. And in addition most white gentile Americans like Jews, are comfortable being ruled by Jews, and are highly tolerant of discrimination they suffer from Jews, if they are aware of it. So I don't think there is any real threat to continued Jewish control. Nor is there any real incentive to abandon Jewish discrimination against white gentiles, or the milder discrimination against east-Asians. I suppose in theory this could change, but I can't see how.

Simon in London said...

anon:
"How do you infer "35-40%" from Unz's article?"

Just a guess, based on fewer non-Jewish white applicants to Harvard relative to share of US population, and their not being so academically driven. However I had not read the whole article when I wrote that, and was not aware of the recent decline in Jewish academic achievement. With only 6% of US-wide highest-achieving students being Jewish, then with meritocratic admissions it seems that Harvard would surely be over 50% non-Jewish white.

BTW I disagree with Unz's claim that meritocratic admissions would cause a disastrous test spiral. He notes earlier that the east-Asian test spiral is driven by the static Asian quota combined with increasing Asian share of the population. If all admissions were based on academic ability there would be far more places available, so the pressure would be much less - that's what we see in the UK and the rest of the world.

department11 said...

the scariest thing in the history of the world: the potential for intercontinental nuclear war.

How many iStevers agree with this? I'd go with Pat's definition of scary.

Anonymous said...

I once met an admissions officer from Harvard.

I did note that she was a wealthy Jewish lady (her husband was wealthy).

She didn't strike me as the intellectual type or one I would ordinarily associate with Harvard.

I can imagine her position gives her some pull in the Jewish community (hey ... you want your kid to go to Harvard I know a lady you can talk to ).

Gatekeepers and choke points are very important in any field... perhaps that is where the curruption starts...

Perhaps the admission officers are now over whelmingly Jewish or other members of the PC multicult who are gaming the system in favor of people like them.

Don't know for sure ... but it sure looks like a possibility.

I do know that for a while now I have viewed a Harvard degree as a joke...or at the least ...certainly not something that indicates anything special about the person other than that their parents are well connected

ben tillman said...

But what will be the counterargument? It's hard to imagine.

There won't be a counterargument. There's no need for one.

Anonymous said...

MC:"Today the possession of a Jewish surname is less predictive of 100% Jewish roots (eg Lenny Kravitz)."

Uh, Lenny Kravitz does have Jewish roots:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenny_Kravitz#Early_life"

The quote referenced 100% Jewish roots; Lenny Kravitz is, shall we say, somewhat less than 100% Jewish in terms of ancestry.

Anonymous said...

How about the overwhelming number of presidents of Ivy and equivalent schools who are Jewish? Yale just replaced one with another. Anyone taking bets on what happens at Princeton to replace the retiring president? I don't think a Bowen (lefty gentile) would get the nod these days.

Anonymous said...

The quote referenced 100% Jewish roots; Lenny Kravitz is, shall we say, somewhat less than 100% Jewish in terms of ancestry.

All Jews are less that 100% in terms of ancestry...

nanu said...

candid_observer sed:
Obviously, the most important issue is the collapse in Jewish academic achievement. ...
Likewise, the relative underachievement of Jews at Harvard, given the numbers, can hardly be disputed.

I just do wonder how the elite academic world is going to receive this frankly astonishing result.



If you read history carefully it is not astonishing. Many Scotch-Irish achievements went on the backs of gentiles who were either humble or bad at marketing themselves. The best example is Einstein who had David Hilbert do most of the dificult math for him. Do you ever see Hilbert on any modern posters?

Anonymous said...

"Universities always emphasize the importance of non-academic (and subjective) “leadership traits” as a central reason why they do not rely upon grades and academic test scores to select at least their white students, arguing that evidence of such personal initiative and leadership should often outweigh somewhat lower academic performance in predicting future success and value to our society."

They favor alphas?
Betaphobia must end.

Anonymous said...

People will ignore this because of the imprecise methodology involved in picking out Jewish last names from that list of academic achievers.

Anonymous said...

"Universities always emphasize the importance of non-academic (and subjective) “leadership traits” "

unless the organization you are the leader of is the Future Farmers of America or the Crusade for Christ or the Conservative Club. Then such leadership becomes important in a different way - it gets you put on the reject pile even faster.

"Holistic" admissions from day one was B.S. - it started (as detailed in Karabel's book) as a method for WASPs to keep out Jews while maintaining "deniability". It is was born in sin and in sin it shall remain because everything goes on behind closed doors, like in a brothel. It is Karmic payback that the Jews have apparently captured the system and turned it back on its originators.

The only way out of this unholy mess is to discard the "holistic" black box where all sorts of evil can be concealed entirely and go back to a meritocratic, test based admission system - this is the system that prevails in most countries. You put the admission test scores in rank order and work your way down the list - it's all out in the open. Of course there are far to many vested interests for this to happen. And a side effect would be universities that are largely Asian - now WHO wants that (other than Asians and who cares what they want).

rec1man said...

In my analysis of 2011, California National Merit,

There are about 2000 National Merit slots for California of which,
East Asians = 975
South Asians = 200
Jews = 125
Non-Jewish Whites = 700

Gentile whites outnumber jews by 5.5 to 1, in the California National Merit for 2011

Anonymous said...

Jeez, that took me a while to read....however, its a game-changer, transformative, monumental and shocking. In addition, it was nice to see Steve referenced like one would reference another academic.

sunbeam said...

rec1man said:

"In my analysis of 2011, California National Merit,

There are about 2000 National Merit slots for California of which,
East Asians = 975
South Asians = 200
Jews = 125
Non-Jewish Whites = 700

Gentile whites outnumber jews by 5.5 to 1, in the California National Merit for 2011"

Any info on hispanics?

Anonymous said...

"I also wonder how prominent Jewish organizations might receive this result. The obvious implication, that, based on merit alone, many, many fewer Jews should get into the Ivy League is obviously going to be anathema to them.

But what will be the counterargument? It's hard to imagine."

Um, that its pure speculation. Unz has no idea what the average Jewish student sat score compared to other admitted students at top schools. Nor does he know the percentage of high scoring applicants that are Jewish. All he has are scores from the PSAT, a test that's virtually meaningless, and not used by a single school in making admission decisions. That's pretty thin evidence for such a grand conclusion.

Anonymoustache said...

The main takeaway from Unz's article is this:

The Ivy League Colleges used to practice heavy affirmative action favoring WASPs. Now they are practicing even heavier affirmative action favoring Jews.

Anonymoustache said...

I don't see how Unz's idea of limiting purely meritocratic admission to 20% will relieve competitive pressure. It will increase it instead.

Asian Tiger Moms will see no reason to slack off on the li'l changs when they know that being in the top 20% "guarantees" admission at the elite colleges. All that will change is they will see no need to force their children to play a musical instrument or other extracurricular just to make the resume look "we'll-rounded".

End result: the top 20% in all the elite colleges will be majority Asian, as Caltech is now.

Anonymous said...

One of Unz's considerations that I question is his comparison of the percentage of Jewish enrollment at Caltech and the elite UC campuses versus the Ivy League. If a disproportionate number of the top Jewish candidates are being admitted to the Ivy League schools, then it would seem logical that their numbers are down at the Caltech, etc. If Harvard has only 1,600 undergraduates and about 25% are Jewish, that's 400 Jewish kids. If that were reduced by 50% there would be 200 highly qualified Jewish kids accepting spots at schools like UCLA.

I don't think this really changes the analysis much but it makes me think that aspect of Unz's methodology seems to double count Jewish over representation.

rec1man said...

@Sunbeam

per my recollection hispanic sounding names were about 5

But many of them could be white hispanics, not mestizo hispanics

Per my understanding, blacks and hispanics have a separate cut off

The National Merit list cut off score is about 220

The National Achievement list meant for blacks and hispanics has a lower cut off of about 180

NAMs were given a separate lower cut off

History Is Bunk said...

Yunno, an Egyptian archeology site discovered a few years ago provided a picture of the laborer community for the pyramids. Surprise! THEY WEREN'T SLAVES. They were skilled workers with status.

How many here have actually read the Old Testament let alone the Talmud.

Luke Lea said...

Either affirmative action for all or affirmative action for none -- those are the only two non-discriminative alternatives that pass the equal-protection clause.

Anonymous said...

Affirmative action for all - the Lake Woebegone solution, where ALL the children are above average.

J said...

I think a learned the solution to Unz's paradox of Jewish success in getting admitted to the best universities.

http://h2oreuse.blogspot.co.il/2012/11/k-solves-unzs-paradox.html

Anonymous said...

The TAC redesign looks good--not many sites improve their layout (w/ most making it worse), this is actually easier to use than, say, TNR or Wired. Their social networking icon I thought was Jefferson but (I see) is actually Edmund Burke. But isn't the magazine dominated by aspirational Red Tories who'd naturally look askance at Burke? More appropriate pic would be maybe Lindbergh or Sinclair Lewis, for preference

Anonymous said...

I read the article, spent about 3 hours to do it.
I think it is an important article.
I wonder what other people will think now about my kids, who were admitted to and graduated from MIT (EECS) and Cornell (Dept of Chemistry and Chem. Biology) and then got their Ph.D.s from Stanford and UCSF respectively, at age 26 each.
Will they be now considered as admitted by “quasi-affirmative” quota now?

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

 All he has are scores from the PSAT, a test that's virtually meaningless, and not used by a single school in making admission decisions. That's pretty thin evidence for such a grand conclusion.

My knowledge on this is pretty limited, but when I took the PSAT 30 years ago, the rule of thumb eas that on average one would score about 100 points higher on the SAT, a year later. I went from 1240 to 1340.
If this correlation was true back then and still holds true today, the PSAT scores would be meaningful.

Anonymous said...

Accidentally posted this on old thread. Here it is again:

Russell K. Nieli on study by Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford (mentioned by Unz):


“When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely. These are enormous differences and reflect the fact that lower-class whites were rarely accepted to the private institutions Espenshade and Radford surveyed. Their diversity-enhancement value was obviously rated very low.”

bla-bla said...

"...All he has are scores from the PSAT, a test that's virtually meaningless..."

Yes, PSAT is meaningless. It is meaningless not only for the universities, but also for the kids. I know, I am a teacher. This is similar to the NAEP. These things are just not that important for most kids.
Also, the Asian kids take the PSAT in much larger numbers than the whites.

Nurashi said...

Steve, this is an excellent, thought provoking article. And while I agree with most of the author’s conclusions and admire his intellectual honesty and even audacity to publish it, I do disagree with one of his conclusion namely “the collapse of Jewish academic achievement.” I believe Ron Unz incorrectly equates a relative Jewish achievement decline to an actual Jewish achievement decline. This is not an uncommon mistake. Let me explain.
Let us assume that in a mythical high school in California the student body includes no east or south asian students. And with 2,000 students taking the PSAT, the top 0.5% or 10 students currently include 4 Jews, 5 non-Jewish whites and 1 black student. Now imagine that a Nobel prize winning WASP scientist has discoverd a pill (given only to non-Jewish white students) that improves their IQ by one SD and therefore improves their academic performance accordingly. In this hypothetical new world, although the Jewish student performance remains exactly the same, the top 10 students now include only 2 Jews, and 8 non-Jewish whites. Therefore the relative Jewish performance has dropped by half (from 40% to 20% of the top students) without any change in the actual Jewish performance.
Something similar is certainly at work here. The introduction of large number high achieving east and south Asians students in American high schools, implies that there is a collapse of Jewish academic achievement (along with non-Jewish white academic achievement), but does not prove in any way that the Jewish and non-Jewish white academic performance has actually declined.
On a side note, I am reminded of a humorous episode from the 1990s. My Jewish friend (who was then a partner at a prestigious NY law firm) told me that his daughter came home one day from school elated that she was now ranked third in her class. When he asked her why third, why not first or second, her immediate response was “well they are both Indians.” In other words, she clearly understood at age 10 that the demographics of her classroom had undergone a significant change with the introduction of the Indians, and while her performance had not declined she could no longer expect to be ranked first or second.