Not intentionally of course. But by inflating the test scores of its incoming students, Claremont McKenna College provides ammunition for critics of race and ethnic preferences in admissions. How can we trust colleges to provide honest information? Won't they skew data about race to make the case for preferences? John Eastman's brief in an upcoming preferences case lays out this argument well.
In the meantime, a legal blogger has raised the possibility of law school deans serving jail time for falsifying student data and, biggest bonus of all, US News being charged with fraud for knowingly publishing false information.
U.S. News itself may have committed mail and wire fraud. It has republished, and sold for profit, data submitted by law schools without verifying the data's accuracy, despite being aware that at least some schools were submitting false and misleading data. U.S. News refused to correct incorrect data and rankings errors and continued to sell that information even after individual schools confessed that they had submitted false information. In addition, U.S. News marketed its surveys and rankings as valid although they were riddled with fundamental methodological errors.
The animal rights movement - like the environmental movement, the feminist movement and dozens of other would-be worthy causes - long ago devolved into a ridiculously radical left-wing group of zealots. Promoting "total animal liberation," PETA's motto is: "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment." So much for a remake of Mr. Ed. President Ingrid Newkirk has written: "When it comes to feelings like hunger, pain, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." Rat = boy.
While PETA's somewhat convoluted idea that animals have human rights is absurd on its face, their tactics are the focus of most criticism. PETA supports "direct action" - that is, criminality - through "the militarism component" of their movement. "Thinkers may prepare revolutions," according to Newkirk, "but bandits must carry them out." Likening their cause to the civil rights movement, they comfortably condone terrorism and terrorist groups such as the ALF and ELF. It's a shame that once an organization succumbs to liberalism, violence and thuggery are only a few steps away.
The Daily Caller reminds us today that PETA also deserves a healthy dose of criticism for hypocrisy.
Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.
How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all
the time there is a plank in your own eye?
Maybe PETA should just stick to scantily clad women protesting fur.
RONLT (Readers of NLT) know that I am helpless to resist the ever-evolving comedia of Silvio Berlusconi. I once proffered that his name would go down in history as a shorthand verb:
To Berlusconi: To act in the most egregiously juvenile manner while in a position of utmost authority without ever suffering the slightest consequences.
Well, he's done it again:
An Italian court on Saturday dismissed a corruption case against Silvio Berlusconi, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired on charges that the Italian billionaire allegedly paid his lawyer to give false testimony in the 1990s to shield him from prosecution.
Try to keep this in perspective. As the paper notes:
Over his 18 years in politics, Mr. Berlusconi has survived dozens of criminal investigations and many trials. In some trials, he was acquitted while in other trials the statute of limitations expired.
Of course, il caveliere lost his hold on the reigns of political power in November. Yet his personal powers of evasion still seem strong. I think that Italy and the world have not seen the last of Berlusconi - and it is a more interesting place for him.
From today's WSJ:
New York City on Friday released for the first time a database ranking nearly 18,000 public schoolteachers based on their students' test scores, a historic move that lifted the curtain on one measure of quality in the classroom.
How can it be that teachers are only now being evaluated on the basis of their work output? A teacher's job is to instill knowledge of a subject in their pupils. It seems only rational that their performance would be judged on the basis of how much knowledge they instill. By what standard have they been measured up to this point?
Of course, the answer is that they haven't been held to any standards whatsoever. That fact is reflected by the teachers' and union's zealous opposition to the evaluation database. The unions have a lucrative public monopoly over education and teachers are immune from discipline based on their performance - neither group have an interest in subjecting themselves to criticism, implementing objective standards of performance and upsetting the status quo.
I've written on American educational exceptionalism before and have been heavily critical of unions and public school unaccountability. The education bureaucracy surely sees any form of comparable evaluation criteria as one step in the direction of market competition in American education. Competition would certainly favor private, parochial schools - to the fiscal and political detriment of unions and to the utter dismay of liberal secularists. These cultural, political and economic factors are the true motivations behind America's public education policies and the opposition witnessed to teacher evaluation databases.
The cover of Newsweek:
The Seals: How Obama Learned to Use His Secret Weapon.
Shouldn't that be "America's Secret Weapon"?
Quote of the Day
In honor of Rick Santorum.
Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest
And John Winthrop:
There is now set before us life and good, death and evil, in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his commandments and his ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our covenant with him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other God-our pleasures and profits-and serve them , it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it: Therefore let us choose life, that we and our seed may live by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him, for He is our life, and our prosperity.
Instapundit point us to this incident, in which a citizen was denied the right to travel because he damaged the chip in his passport: "The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."
But is holding a passport a "privilege" or a "right"? Interestingly the dissenters in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (Fuller, joined by Harlan) noted that "birthright" or the notion that soil determines citizenship, was associated with subjecthood--under common law, anyone born on soil belonging to the king could only leave the country with his explicit consent. That's why that argued that in 1776 the U.S. broke from not just allegiance to the crown, but also from the idea of birthright. They argued that American citizenship was based upon the principles of 1776--mutual consent between current citizens and any new would-be citizen. It seems some of our bureaucrats are following the logic of "birthright citizenship" all too well.
NY Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin exhibits American virtues, not Chinese ones. One could conclude this from simple observation as well from this book on Chinese (PRC) professional baseketball. "Why are there no Jeremy Lins [point guards] coming out of China?" The answer lies in politics--the sports of a free society and those of a totalitarian one.
Speaking of Lincoln, note this 1860 cartoon of the presidential candidates, featuring baseball metaphors. Lincoln installed a baseball diamond on the White House grounds, as Diana Schaub relates in her classic essay on the All-American sport.
This WaPo account of how various Republicans (why only them, one might ask) use/ransack the founding fathers pits the politicians against historians who criticize this alleged naievete.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology history professor Pauline Maier, author of several books about the period from the 1760s to the writing of the Constitution, says: "It is interesting why so many politicians and even judges today want to show that their ideas had firm foundations among the founders. In some ways, I suppose that defines a new phase in the culture wars over 'who is most American.' "
But, she adds, "that can also be very regressive: No founder ever embraced abortion or endorsed affirmative action. Eighteenth-century Americans did take rights seriously, but their rank list of rights was probably different than those of rights-conscious people today. They lived, after all, over two centuries ago and on the rights front can seem pretty dated."
Like another fine historian of the Declaration, Carl Becker, Maier falls prey to historicism, the notion that one's historical circumstances poses an absolute barrier to finding transcendent truth. Evidently, to judge just from the professors cited in this article (Jack Rakove, among others), it's the scholars versus divisive Republican politicians.
But the contrast shows how much the defense of the Constitution resides in ordinary citizens and the politicians who reflect their concern. As the Progressives predicted and urged they would, intellectuals take the side of progress and history against the people's pride in their country as founded. Of course, not all thinkers agree with those consumed by Progressivism. Here's a shorter piece.
Steve Knott, who teaches at the Naval War College, has just published Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics, which offers a vigorous defense of President Bush's national security policies. Knott (who teaches in the MAHG program) argues that the assessment of any presidency requires a "decent interval" before judgment can be pronounced.
I've read all of Steve's books (though not the Don Knotts book in the link) and respect his scholarship and judgment greatly. He certainly picks his books' subjects well: Reagan, Hamilton, and covert actions. This is the defense Bush and his team should have been giving when they had the power (and the duty) to do so. Their failure to do so has led to cynicism in the public, the Obama election, the rise of Ron Paul, and decline in support for the vigorous foreign policy our country requires today. May Knott's work reverse these trends and advance prudence in politics.
At AEI earlier today. Not only Steve Hayward but also Harvey Mansfield, Diana Schaub, and Rick Brookhiser, with Leon Kass presiding. I thought Steve and Harvey might duel later over what Americans should want in an executive. Diana could have given the eulogy, and Dr. Kass, MD, could be the attending physician. The panel featured elegant brief presentations by Diana and Rick on Washington's Farewell Address and his Presidency.
Another commentary on Washington can be found here, along with the text of the Farewell Address.
Hayward struck the day before with this observation on think-tanks and partisanship a few blocks away at the Hudson Institute. The crucial point: 'A slight paraphrase, but Churchill once wrote that "The distinction between politics and policy diminishes as the point of view is raised; true politics and policy are one." This distinction between politics and policy is one that I think is unsustainable.' Steve reminds us of Plato's wisdom--thinking and acting must somehow be one.
The Civil War & Lincoln
NLT is not being spammed: In light of the president's recent health insurance coverage edict, I propose that the
How to build your resume by blogging: Tim Seibel, who blogged on Santorum the Servant, provides material for Foster Friess's introduction of the GOP aspirant at CPAC today. (See my post here on his original.) Tim explains the mix of purpose and serendipity that led to his posting.
BTW, Tim comes out of University of Dallas and Claremont Graduate School and currently resides in Colorado Springs.
I knew someone who got a job with then-EEOC Chairman Clarence Thomas by writing letters to the editor of prominent newspapers and articles for the Claremont Review of Books.
Update: And while we're touching on CPAC, note Paul Ryan's speech, which contained this great line: "The only class warfare that threatens America comes from a class of bureaucrats and crony capitalists rising above society - calling the shots, rigging the rules, and securing their places of privilege at our expense." Cf. this NLT post decrying the use of the phrase "class warfare" by Republicans.
Our old friend Bob Reilly explains the need for a Republican moral rhetoric that can beat Obama's. "Political language is inherently moral, not managerial. It must convey visions, not just plans. It must explain why some things are good and others bad." A moral rhetoric is not a moralizing one, either. And it is essential for survival, too:
If you cannot articulate the cause for which you are fighting in moral terms, you will lose. Because they cannot do this, businessmen suffer from a sense of illegitimacy when they come to Washington. When your opponents scent this vulnerability, they go in for the kill.
On his 101st anniversary of his birth, consider this reflection on Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural, and compare it will these thoughts on FDR's First Inaugural. You will see encapulated the contrast between liberty and the desire for security. We also realize how difficult it is to make the case for conservatism--to ask for liberty means to undertake responsibilities, and Americans seem to grow weaker by the day.
Note how FDR asks Americans to trust him with extraordinary, even extra-constitutional power. By contrast, Reagan honors ordinary Americans by returning liberty to them.
"Given the increasingly likelihood that Romney is on his way to the GOP nomination," Steven Hayward has begun "Deconstructing Romney" over at Power Line. The theme of his first post contemplates his hope that, while Romney is far from a conservative star, "maybe he'll sell out to us."
It's a somewhat sad commentary on the times that the conservative movement must hope that our soon-to-be standard-bearer will betray his ostensible principles and pursue conservative policies. Obama was a far-left liberal who pretended to be a moderate during the campaign and subsequently governed as a far-left liberal. Nothing surprising there. Romney is a moderate running as a conservative - the manner of his actual governance is completely open to speculation.
Hayward (and the writers to whom he links) has a plausible argument that Romney will stay the rightward course. But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't need to speculate over plausible arguments?
The Economist runs an article citing that "Germany's eastern policy has never been stronger." I've long been an advocate of a New European reorganization which promotes Central Europe as a pro-American, fiscally-responsible political bloc between the Old Europe of the west and Russia's continuing sphere of influence in the east. I thus find it promising that Germany - the unrivaled engine of the European economy - "trades more with Poland's healthy economy than it does with Russia's sickly one" and that "once-communist countries such as the Czech Republic are closely linked to German industry's supply chains--more so, in fact, than some 'western' neighbours like Belgium or Denmark."
Of course, the nations of an emerging Central Europe are diverse and often raise competing interests - as the article aptly notes. But of particular interest is this note on influences across Europe:
Also waning is American power. The Obama administration's explicit reorientation towards Asia and military withdrawal from Europe is eroding old Atlanticist loyalties.
The result of America's power vacuum is that it "gives Germany more diplomatic space." And insofar as German entanglements continue to shift eastward, the strengthening center of Europe could prove greatly to America's interest. This is a win-win situation for the U.S., which can take a laissez-faire approach to Europe and still end up with a pro-American result. All we must do to seize this opportunity is to not actually antagonize our would-be allies - a feat which has thus far proved beyond Obama's ability.
P.S. The title of the article is "Love in a Cold Climate." Fittingly so. Here is Prague:
Pete, we miss you, though this may go too far: "The debates have been basically worthless other than for showcasing the weaknesses of the various candidates." But wasn't it important for us to see some significant sifting out (e.g., Perry)? And true, as Pete points out, the debates kept alive candidacies (in his view, Newt and Cain) that should have died out much sooner or never even have been taken seriously. Yet what does the example of Rick Santorum show us? He excelled at retail politics in a friendly market and had a distinctive voice in the debates, but he clearly lacked the money and the national experience that Romney has. The debates gave Santorum exposure he wouldn't otherwise have had.
Pete is right that it is impossible to run a state effectively (at least in times like these) and run for president--thus closing the door to perhaps the GOP's strongest candidates among governors Reagan, Bush I, and, it appears, Romney are two examples of those able to run full-time without the encumbrance of office (that is, significant office); Clinton and Bush II had friendly capitols.
Ross Douthat's op-ed, "Government and its Rivals" picks up on Jonathan Last's theme in my post below and accurately frames Obamacare's assault on the Church within the context of liberals' war against communities and aspects of the civil society which are not either liberal or pet agencies of the government.
WHEN liberals are in a philosophical mood, they like to cast debates over the role of government not as a clash between the individual and the state, but as a conflict between the individual and the community.
Critics of the administration's policy are framing this as a religious liberty issue, and rightly so. But what's at stake here is bigger even than religious freedom. The Obama White House's decision is a threat to any kind of voluntary community that doesn't share the moral sensibilities of whichever party controls the health care bureaucracy.
Douthat has also quoted and responded to his critics on the issue in a rejoinder titled, "Liberals and Catholic Hospitals."
It is impossible to speak intelligently on this subject without confronting the practical issues and principles raised in these two articles (and several of the articles to which they link).
Obama's attempt to weaken and destroy Catholic institutions is both morally and socially repugnant. On the first prong, he is abusively employing the power of the government to force liberal social policies on private groups (whose "diversity" and liberty is apparently of little value to Obama). Secondly, the result of Obama's campaign would be to weaken America's social services for the poor and needs, who are presently served in large numbers by Catholic charitable institutions. It is no coincidence that liberal policies are both unprincipled and socially harmful.
Jonathan Last writes a pivotal article for The Weekly Standard entitled "Obamacare vs. the Catholics." It is absolutely required reading, not simply for Catholics, but for all who seek an insight into Obama's tactics, vision and ideology. Last situates Obama's utter betrayal of Catholics - by forcing Catholic institutions to close their doors or provide contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacients - within the broader context of Obama's antagonism toward civil society.
As Yuval Levin noted in National Review Online last week, institutions such as the Catholic church represent a mediating layer between the individual and the state. This layer, known as civil society, is one of the principal differences between Western liberal order and the socialist view.
Couple those observations with Last's wholly-truthful, though counter-intuitive, remarks on Catholic demography, self-identity and political strategy, and you have a must-read article which I cannot more strongly recommend.
It's driven by IQ. The Sage of Mt. Airy draws a conclusion:
Check out this headline and story: "Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism"
It's not my fault then, correct?
So where do I go to get my subsidy started? Who do I see about my government grant? Does this mean they'll forgive my mortgage? Shouldn't there be a tax break? Where's the block on this form to mark "Low I.Q."? How much more time will I get to take the exam? The "passing" score's lower, right? Ain't I entitled to a parking space? When will the first check arrive? Huh? When? I got my rights you know?
While you're at his site, read the Sage's thoughts on vigilante movies--really movies about the founding and preservation of regimes, I would say.
This is the Iran now arming itself with nukes. The ceremony led me to think about University College London having preserved Jeremy Bentham's body. And we do have those races around the Washington Nationals' stadium featuring giant dolls of Washington, Jefferson, LIncoln, and TR. No worries.
Of course, you say, but Harry Jaffa corrects Obama's SOTU misquotation precisely, in Charles Johnson's interview with him:
Professor Jaffa noted that this quotation leaves out a great deal. The 93-year-old Jaffa recited the full statement from Lincoln's speech, "The Nature and Objects of Government, with Special Reference to Slavery" (July 1, 1854) by memory:
"The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities."
Notice the difference? The emphasis is on the need to have done, not on government doing the action. "That distinction was missing from his quotation," Jaffa explains. Yet Obama has repeatedly invoked this misleading Lincoln quotation on both the campaign trail and during his presidency.
Johnson is the go-to guy for reporting on all things Claremont, including the recent admissions scandal. He is working on more stories on the scandal, one that could result in further resignations, including that of the President, who has effectively undermined the conservative scholars at the College.
The appropriately named TimManBlog gives an account of Santorum speaking in Colorado Springs. Tim designates Santorum as "The Servant"--contrasting him with the Executive, the Visionary, and the Ideologue:
Santorum is The Servant. He is the Servant of his Country, of his Constitution, of his Family and of his Faith....
People stood up for Santorum only once tonight. He is more soft-spoken than dramatic and people politely listen to him speak as if he were their neighbor next door....
Santorum will never present himself as your provider. He will expect people to pursue happiness and he will see his role as service to that pursuit by securing those natural rights we all deserve as people. In this way he will endeavor to be the Servant to Freedom.
Thoughout this process we've seen that we live in an age of great egos. We see pundits and journalists and presidents vying with each other for our accolades. Santorum is the exact opposite, a Servant, and that difference may be what the country needs right now.
Look for further Colorado reporting and commentary from TimManBlog. Here he relates a visit to Lubbock, Texas.
Charles Johnson tracks Claremont McKenna's race preferences admissions policies with the scandalous inflation of SAT reporting to US News and the world. Once again we see how a perverse policy of preferences leads to further unethical conduct. The issue for Claremont McKenna is not the superb quality of its teaching and much of the research--it's rather whether its key administrators (its Dean of Admissions resigned) based the College's policies and altered its identity for the sake of a higher standing in US News.
Did the President create a culture of cheap ambition? The Administration could have further played up its Government and Economics programs and been happy with a major national niche. Perhaps the prominence of conservative scholars in those departments made such a strategy distasteful, though.