Friday, November 30, 2012

Is Harvard a Jewish plot?  And does it matter?

Jewish Harvard graduate Ron Unz says yes to both questions.  He has just written a VERY long article examining bias in Ivy League admissions which would persuade me to change my surname to Goldberg if I wanted admission there.

All sociologists have the unenviable task of extracting viable generalizations from very imperfect data and Unz is a champion in those black arts.  I have disputed such generalizations from him in the past but the evidence he marshalls on this occasion is pretty massive.  When evidence from multiple sources converges on one conclusion, it elicits at least provisional assent.

My heading above does of course caricature what Unz finds but not by much.  What he finds is that admissions to the Ivies in recent years have been grotesquely skewed in favour of Jews and grotesquely skewed to the disadvantage of Asians, with non-Hispanic, non-Jewish whites also unfairly treated.

And Unz's criterion for fairness is hard to criticize.  He looks to pre-university educational attainment.  High achievement up to the end of high school suddenly fails people trying to get into Harvard, Princeton or Yale.  And if your surname is Goldberg you don't even have to be a high achiever at High School level.

I myself read Unz's findings with considerable disquiet but despite my background in social science statistics, I can't see any fault in his overall conclusions --  provided he represents his sources accurately.  He does sometimes cherry-pick and I am not familiar with the datasets he uses.  But as far as I can see, he meticulously covers all the bases, which is why his article is so long.  There are by now many comments about his article online and I have not so far seen one that rebuts his statistics.  Most criticisms put up theoretical points that Unz has already covered.  It is a long article and I guess that the critics could not be bothered to read it all.

So what the heck is going on?  Unz initially points to the overwhelmingly (Leftist) Jewish administration of the Ivies, which does have some plausibility.  But he then puts forward something I had never guessed at and which will surely surprise most others:  Admissions officers at the Ivies tend to be poorly-paid dumb bunnies, much dumber than the student body they select.  Their poor academic background is sometimes quite startling.  At Britain's leading universities (Oxford and Cambridge) it is the opposite.  Selection is by the academics who will be doing the teaching.

So Unz concludes, and I am inclined to agree, that simple fear of being seen as antisemitic (particularly seeing that their bosses are Jewish) is often the factor that makes admissions officers transfer "Goldberg" applications to the "accept" basket without much scrutiny.

And this bias in favor of Jews does of course put a big squeeze on other ethnicities, particularly Asians and other whites.  Even considering that, however, Unz marshalls strong evidence for a systematic bias against Asians, a bias that looks very much like a deliberate quota.  A student body that should be around 40% Asian if selected by prior attainment is in fact only around 16% Asian.

It's pretty clear Leftist racism.  But Leftists have never ceased being race-obsessed so the only mystery is how the people responsible for it justify it in their own minds.  Asians are "gooks", apparently.  They don't look remotely like a Goldberg.

So does it all matter?  Unz argues that it is in fact vital. Some quotes:
In the last generation or two, the funnel of opportunity in American society has drastically narrowed, with a greater and greater proportion of our financial, media, business, and political elites being drawn from a relatively small number of our leading universities, together with their professional schools. The rise of a Henry Ford, from farm boy mechanic to world business tycoon, seems virtually impossible today, as even America’s most successful college dropouts such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg often turn out to be extremely well-connected former Harvard students. Indeed, the early success of Facebook was largely due to the powerful imprimatur it enjoyed from its exclusive availability first only at Harvard and later restricted to just the Ivy League....

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. Kahlenberg quotes Pat Moynihan as noting that the stagnant American earnings between 1970 and 1985 represented “the longest stretch of ‘flat’ income in the history of the European settlement of North America.”120 The only difference today is that this period of economic stagnation has now extended nearly three times as long, and has also been combined with numerous social, moral, and foreign policy disasters.

Over the last few decades America’s ruling elites have been produced largely as a consequence of the particular selection methods adopted by our top national universities in the late 1960s. Leaving aside the question of whether these methods have been fair or have instead been based on corruption and ethnic favoritism, the elites they have produced have clearly done a very poor job of leading our country, and we must change the methods used to select them. Conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. once famously quipped that he would rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 names listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard. So perhaps an important step in solving our national problems would be to apply a similar method to selecting the vast majority of Harvard’s students.
As the quote shows, Unz favours a partially random solution to the undoubted problem that the Ivies now pose.  My own solution would be less drastic.  I would favour revival of the rule that all students who receive a perfect SAT score should be automatically admitted -- and any leftover places after that could be allocated any wacky way the university liked.

Under that rule, it would be amusing to see the faces of all the Leftist Jewish administrators when they looked out their windows and saw a sea of Asian faces in the grounds.  Again, I would be interested to hear how they justified their racism

Being a people who have themselves suffered greatly from irrational bias, it is particularly saddening to see Jews practicing it.  Yet more evidence that Leftism rots the mind, I guess -- JR


A generation of debtors

Debt, debt everywhere in Obama's America.  And a particular  nightmare for young people

Consumer Credit default: Student Loans

We have already discussed the student loan bubble, and its popping previously, most extensively in this article. Today, we get the Q3 consumer credit breakdown update courtesy of the NY Fed's quarterly credit breakdown. And it is quite ghastly. As of September 30, Federal (not total, just Federal) rose to a gargantuan $956 billion, an increase of $42 billion in the quarter - the biggest quarterly update since 2006.

But this is no surprise to anyone who read our latest piece on the topic. What also shouldn't be a surprise, at least to our readers who read about it here first, but what will stun the general public are the two charts below, the first of which shows the amount of 90+ day student loan delinquencies, and the second shows the amount of newly delinquent 30+ day student loan balances. The charts speak for themselves.

This is how the Fed described this "anomaly":

"Outstanding student loan debt now stands at $956 billion, an increase of $42 billion since last quarter.  However, of the $42 billion, $23 billion is new debt while the remaining $19 billion is attributed to previously defaulted student loans that have been updated on credit reports this quarter. As a result, the percent of student loan balances 90+ days delinquent increased to 11 percent this quarter."

oh and this from footnote 2:

"As explained in a Liberty Street Economics blog post, these delinquency rates for student loans are likely to understate actual delinquency rates because almost half of these loans are currently in deferment, in grace periods or in forbearance and therefore temporarily not in the repayment cycle. This implies that among loans in the repayment cycle delinquency rates are roughly twice as high."

We'll let readers calculate on their own what a surge in 90+ day delinquency from 9% to 11% (or as footnote 2 explains: 22%) in one quarter on $1 trillion in student debt means. For those confused, read all about it in this September article: "The Next Subprime Crisis Is Here: Over $120 Billion In Federal Student Loans In Default" which predicted just this.

And so it's official: Pop goes the student loan bubble, as just confirmed by the Fed.

Luckily student debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. Oh wait. It isn't.



Gene that may have helped make people smart ID'd

Leftists act as if genetics didn't matter but there is a torrent of findings showing that they do

Researchers have found a gene that they say helps explain how humans evolved from apes.

Called miR941, it seems to have played a crucial role in brain development and may shed light on how we learned to use tools and language, the scientists say. They add that it's the first time a new gene, carried only by people and not by apes, has been shown to have a specific function in the body.

"This new molecule sprang from nowhere at a time when our species was undergoing dramatic changes: living longer, walking upright, learning how to use tools and how to communicate," said Martin Taylor of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, who led the study. "We're now hopeful that we will find more new genes that help show what makes us human."

The gene has been found to be highly active in two areas of the brain that control our decision making and language abilities. The study suggests it could have a role in the advanced brain functions that make us human.

A team at the university compared the human genome to 11 other species of mammals, including chimpanzees, gorillas, mouse and rat, to find the differences between them. The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, indicate the gene is unique to humans. The researchers say it emerged between six and one million years ago, after the human lineage had branched off from apes.

Most differences between species occur as a result of changes to existing genes, or the duplication and deletion of genes. But scientists say this gene emerged fully functional out of noncoding genetic material, previously termed "junk DNA," in a startlingly short time in evolutionary terms.



The Power of High Places: Academia and Media are Hives of the Left That Sway the Culture

The second book of Kings in the Old Testament is a usefully depressing history on national decline. It starts with fire coming down from heaven to convince a king, and Elijah ascending to heaven via chariots of fire. It ends with the former king of Judah taken into captivity and dependent on the ruler of Babylon, who condescends to give him an allowance.

Not all kings were part of the descent. Jehoash, Amaziah, and Azariah, for example, all “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord,” except for one thing: “The high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places” (2 Kings 12:2-3, 14:3-4, 15:3-4). Many who gave lip service to Yahweh hedged their bets by visiting a “high place” (in Hebrew, bamah) that was usually but not always on a hill or mountain.

A bamah, in short, was a cultural security blanket: High places could make people feel like far-seeing gods possessing gnostic wisdom.

Question: What are the high places in our culture? Answer: Academia and media. See how people donate to their alma maters even when professors teach doctrines that label the contributors as little more than criminals. See how millions reverently give to PBS and NPR, and how ABC, CBS, and NBC still have the power to insinuate liberal messages. See how hundreds of thousands read the Sunday New York Times and email its sermons.

I saw the power of the high places not only teaching at The University of Texas for two decades, but through my failure to convince one king to attack them. During the 1990s, when I very occasionally advised Texas Gov. George W. Bush, we talked about how academically totalitarian UT was becoming. He sympathized but said he was not strong enough to take it on. Unions, sure. Later, al Qaeda, sure. Bamah, no.

Our academic high places are hives of the left. The Daily Princetonian says 155 members of Princeton University’s faculty or staff donated to Barack Obama, and only two (one visiting lecturer in engineering, one janitor) to Mitt Romney. I’ve seen similar stats from other schools. When taxpayers and parents pay tens of thousands of dollars to require students to listen to leftist propaganda from generally persuasive individuals, should we be surprised that young people vote left?

Our media high places cover up misdeeds. For six weeks this fall CBS concealed information it had that showed President Obama confused at best and, more probably, lying concerning the Libya attack that killed four Americans. Had CBS released that footage after the second presidential debate, the course of the campaign could have changed.

More basically, though, the media problem is not what’s omitted but what’s been presented for decades as the new normal: marriage as dull and readily breakable, singleness as sexy and independent. This propaganda-fueled drive toward singleness hurts millions of individuals who learn the downside of no one to depend on. It also has a political kick, as the increasing number of never-married and divorced women depend more on government and vote overwhelmingly for more of it.

What’s next? Democrats’ pro-abortion rhetoric this year was not forward but backward to the time of Judah’s King Ahaz, who “did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord....  He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations.” The good news is that after Ahaz came Hezekiah, who “removed the high places and broke the pillars” (2 Kings 16:2-4, 18:3-4).

Ronald Reagan and the Bushes did not remove the high places. We need a Hezekiah, but we need more: America is not ancient Israel, and the president does not have the power to remove high places. We fall for the blandishments of big media and academia because we are ready to fall: If we concentrate solely on their sin we won’t come to grip with ours.

This all means that breaking bamah pillars is the work of every generation, but providential technology —online courses and publications— is opening wide a door in our day for Christian education and Christian publications..




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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist.  It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day.  It was only to the Right of  Stalin's Communism.  The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)



Wireless.Phil said...

Hungarian rightist: List Jews JPost - International
– Marton Gyongyosi of Jobbik party calls for list of Jews who are threat to ... on Tuesday to the suggestion by far-right Hungarian political leader ...

Anonymous said...

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.”