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Culture War Roundup for the week of October 31, 2022

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As certain as the Sun that daws in the Morning, with the new Italian Right-wing government there is a new refugee scandalous crisis.

A NGO ship full of immigrants, after picking them in the front of the Libyan Coast, came in front of Italian coasts asking for a safe port. Crisis ensures.

Considering that only in the last 30 days over 10.000 immigrants came illegaly in Italy, it is not like it is the first time. As always, the NGO ship menaced that all the people on board are basically dying, that the government should take them and if they are not they are complicit in killing hundreds.

Now the ship came to the port after an agreement where they could let disembark only children and ill people before leaving... and after the first thing happened the ship refused to leave the port. To add to the confusion, a newly elected MP from the left-wing opposition, born in the Ivory Coast, is right now aboard the ship.

Another mess in the Mediterranean migratory crisis, who has no end in sight and has a lot of very powerful forces that try to obstacolate every immigration control.

Now the ship came to the port after an agreement where they could let disembark only children and ill people before leaving... and after the first thing happened the ship refused to leave the port.

In other words, the authorities got cucked?

Everyone on board the ship who orchestrated this nonsense should be thrown in jail, the ship sold for scrap and the book thrown at the NGO types.

You know the French had an interesting solution to nautical NGOs messing with their geostrategic interests...

Ever heard of the Rainbow Warrior?

They need to copy-paste Australia's tactics. Offshore processing! Alas Italy is bereft of unpleasant countries like Papua New Guinea where refugees can be sent - but it gets the job done. Incentives work.

On 19 July 2013 in a joint press conference with PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd detailed the Regional Resettlement Arrangement (RRA) between Australia and Papua New Guinea:[40]

"From now on, any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees. Asylum seekers taken to Christmas Island will be sent to Manus and elsewhere in Papua New Guinea for assessment of their refugee status. If they are found to be genuine refugees they will be resettled in Papua New Guinea... If they are found not to be genuine refugees they may be repatriated to their country of origin or be sent to a safe third country other than Australia. These arrangements are contained within the Regional Resettlement Arrangement signed by myself and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea just now."

The real problem isn't anything to do with the Refugee Convention or similar - Australia was fully capable of ignoring the human rights lawyers and similar. The EU is much more powerful than some university centre for refugee law. I'd bet all my assets that the EU would rain hellfire and desolation upon an Australian solution in Italy. They actually have teeth, they have leverage over Italy's borrowing.

I see this as calling the bluff in a De Santis/Martha's Vineyard sense. If they are truly not economic migrants and are in danger of persecution then they should be reasonably happy to be placed in a safe country as compared to a first world one. If they're just there for economic advantage then they can apply through formal immigration channels.

Clearly the massive drop in boat arrivals in Australia after implementation of this policy makes it obvious they weren't just trying to avoid persecution.

Interestingly the Australian government made the claim that deterring refugee boats saved lives due to mysterious hull breaches when approaching the coast or the coast guard.

Alas Italy is bereft of unpleasant countries like Papua New Guinea where refugees can be sent - but it gets the job done.

It has enough small islands in the Mediterranean that can be used to house detention camps for the migrants, Nauru style. For example, there's Linosa, which is about 1/4 of Nauru by area and has only 430 inhabitants. Give them 1mln Euro each, and you get a nice uninhabited island with a real volcano, a perfect place for a detention camp.

They need to copy-paste Australia's tactics. Offshore processing! Alas Italy is bereft of unpleasant countries like Papua New Guinea where refugees can be sent - but it gets the job done. Incentives work.

Didn't the British plan to send refugees to Rwanda and that got scuttled?

Israel gets rid of their infiltrators by sending them to Rwanda.

IIRC the British deal got scuttled.

A NGO ship full of immigrants, after picking them in the front of the Libyan Coast, came in front of Italian coasts asking for a safe port. Crisis ensures.

Which NGO ship and who runs this NGO?

Humanity 1. The NGO is "SOS Humanity", a German organisation.

The new Italian government is arguing that the host countries of these organisations should agree to take in some of the migrants who are being picked up at sea.

SOS Humanity argues that any migrant whose ship capsizes etc. and gets rescued by them has a right, under the law of the sea, to be taken to the nearest safe port. The incentive effects that this creates are obviously monstrous: you can go anywhere, provided you can do so unsafely. NGOs will make every effort to help you get into the country you want, provided that your boat sinks and the lives of e.g. your children are threatened...

It's like offering a child toys and candy every time they drink bleach.

The Italian government must be very careful, because the last interior minister who tried to reduce mass migration over the Mediterranean is now being prosecuted for "kidnapping" migrants and could face 15 years in jail for his actions as minister...

The solution is to take the refugees/migrants with open arms, pass a law that says you'll give them welfare, but that the funds can't raise the deficit, they have to come from funding for foreign aid and similar programs. Each time a boat of refugees come, you get to defund various NGOs.

The NGOs will then have a reason to not dump refugees in your country. And you can do this for every problem that NGOs try to saddle you with. Then NGOs are going to be a bit more cautious, and maybe even push back against other NGOs that try political stunts.

That sounds complicated and open to a hundred angles of attack that you can be sure the very active pro-immigrant elements will find long before the sluggish anti-immigrant side patches the holes. Trying to be clever seems risky when the other side has proven consistently more capable and subversive.

I doubt that SOS Humanity is funded by the Italian government. Maybe by the German government, but they're not taking the migrants to Germany.

The migrants will try to skeddadle for Germany. They all do.

Right now a waiting room at a border railway station I used to use a lot can't be used because it's permanently camped by a bunch of unwashed thirty-ish bearded brown men trying to get to Germany. I have very limited sense of smell due to some permanent upper airways infection but.. yuck.

Probably Syrians or some North Africans, as they have fairly nice clothes and phones. which would be odd for Pakistanis or Afghans.

I asked some locals, supposedly they change fairly quickly, they get tossed out from cross-border trains and end up there.

More importantly, who are the individuals behind SOS Humanity and who is bankrolling them? I couldn't find a single name in their website's About Us section.

It’s a subsidiary/rebranding of the German NGO ‘SOS Mediterranee’, which was until 2020 funded in substantial part by Doctors Without Borders/Medicins sans Frontieres. Now a lot of funding comes from the Red Cross. That said, their report from 2020 does suggest that ~half their funding comes from ‘thousands’ of private individuals.

How about prosecuting the individuals who are funding cross border people trafficking ? Because these NGOs were found to be cooperating with people smugglers.

If you can't win a case against the NGO, you're not going to win a case against people funding it.

There's a simple solution here that doesn't need to destroy Maritime law, you put everyone that immigrated into a country through this method into camps until they are fit to be shipped out or legally apply, and make the camps only slightly better than prison.

Anyone would take internment over drowning, but you wouldn't sail miles just to get interned and ultimately shipped back.

But then you run into the institutions that think incarceration of aliens which they are free to leave at any moment is a violation of their human rights for some reason.

The issue is that the countries in question are also signatories of other treaties such as the Refugee Convention & Protocol that prohibit deporting people to countries where they face persecution on certain grounds (such as race and religion), and signatories to treaties on humane treatment of detainees, and creating a right to not be detained absent specific cause. The Treaty of the European Union and the power of the ECJ being the one with the most teeth on that front.

Without repudiating or violating one of those treaties, it is pretty difficult to do what you propose.

I would think the ECHR much more relevant in this case. But yes this is quite exactly what prevents any reasonable scheme to prevent this situation.

Well, the simple solution is to repudiate those treaties.

I know it's part of the West's psychology to say "never again" about anything to do with WW2 (including the issue of people not wanting Jewish refugees) but this situation is unsustainable.

This is not a problem of having no solutions, it's a problem of will

And, frankly, dissimilar to the original situation. Massive difference between long-term - often assimilated- Jewish minorities in European nations being deported and no European doing anything and being on the hook for any unfortunate victim of racism, sexism, homophobia (as defined by the West - i.e. most of the world would be victimizing people on these grounds) or even climate change and other long-term baked in economic and material considerations.

Can Italy repudiate those treaties ?

If the constition isn't a suicide pact, neither are treaties which depend on it for validity. A treaty which abolishes the right of a state to prevent entry of armed, hostile foreigners, abolishes the state itself.

The first link is paywalled, but the second story quite clearly is about a state/states preventing entry, or at least doing their best to prevent so. There's no indication any treaty prevents this, and the Spanish (left-wing) prime minister says as much that they're going to prevent migrants from doing that. I'm not sure how it is relevant for this case, then?

The first link is paywalled

This, or this.

prevent migrants from doing that

I was wrong. It seems ECHR had given their blessing to treat a storming mob, differently than an orderly queue.

I didn't say repudiation of the treaties was impossible, just that you cannot adhere to those previously enacted laws and adopt the particular policy proposed by the person to whom I was replying.

A treaty which abolishes the right of a state to prevent armed, hostile foreigners to enter it, abolishes the sovereignity of a state itself

This seems quite hyperbolic in its phrasing. First, nothing in those treaties bans a state from barring those entering it from being armed. Second, there are different policies that can be adopted consistent with those treaty obligations, including for example providing sufficient resources to go through the legal process of refugee claims very quickly, so that claimants without a valid claim can be returned very expeditiously.

Also the examples you link don't really support your claims about the sovereignty of the state being threatened. The first involves detainees apparently having unspecified and likely improvised weapons during a riot caused by a power cut at a detention centre. Nobody escaped the centre, and no injuries are reported. The second involves a large number of people trying to cross a border, and failing after being repelled by force. They are also about two different states, neither of which is the state in question (Italy).

Alternatively, you can let them apply and then ship them back to Libya until their application has been processed(and most likely denied).

It's not like Libya is in any state to prevent that.

I think a sufficiently motivated prosecutor could probably make out a case that SOS Humanity are criminally conspiring with human traffickers to capsize ships and put migrants' lives in danger. Seems like an unavoidable conclusion in light of their MO that whatever maritime law compels a right of safe harbor under duress has been incorporated into SOS Humanity's standard operating procedures and they are complicit in creating those circumstances of duress.

Italy should confiscate every property and freeze bank accounts of all politicians complicit in tearing apart Lybia

Just a quick Sunday morning reflection, but just wanted to briefly float an idea about affirmative action, ethnic identity, and university reform. As most people probably know, the Supreme Court is widely expected to strike down affirmative action in the near future. However, speaking as someone well ensconced within the very apse of the Cathedral, I'm doubtful it will change much; Admissions inevitably involves a huge amount of illegible subjective decision-making, and the religion of DEI means that there will be no shortage of reasons to prefer candidates from under-represented minority backgrounds. Sadly, I expect this to continue trumping any kind of class-based affirmative action, for which a far stronger moral case can be made.

If the US is indeed headed towards a new regime of ethnic spoils, how can young Americans who don't benefit from being in an officially recognized URM group - especially those who are nonetheless disadvantaged - still reap spoils of their own in the higher education systems? There are two particular groups I have in mind here. The first is Asian-American students, long the ones who have paid most of the price for boosting enrollment of otherwise underrepresented minorities, while the second is white Americans, especially those from working-class or otherwise economically underprivileged backgrounds.

I wonder if a similar solution might work in both cases. Specifically, is there any reason a new private university couldn't declare as part of its mission statement that it is dedicated to "understanding and promoting Asian and Asian-American identities", or some such, and require all candidates to submit a personal statement spelling out their identity or affinity with one or more aspects of Asian or Asian-American culture? Of course, non-Asian candidates wouldn't be barred from applying, and you'd probably want to take a hefty chunk of non-Asian students anyway, but it would provide a plausible and conveniently illegible selection mechanism to ensure that Asians and Asian-Americans applying to the university would have a natural advantage in getting in.

Could something similar work for white students? As stated so baldly, I think not. "Whiteness" as an identity is seen as too toxic, too vague, and too novel an identity to ground any kinds of claims for preferential treatment; any scholarship program for self-identified White students would be regarded with utter hostility, and would be a poison chalice for any student foolish enough to accept it. What might be more acceptable is to found institutions dedicated to one or another group of "hyphenated-Americans", the most obvious candidate groups being Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, and Polish- (or more broadly Slavic-) Americans. Again, in each of these cases, you wouldn't have any kind of explicit cultural discrimination in place, but candidates could be assessed heavily based on how deep and sincere their affiliation, identity, or attachment to the given identity was, as expressed in their relevant candidate statement.

While any such institution would be the target of snarky articles from the New York Times et al., I think that if done sincerely (and ideally using the language of DEI) it would be hard to truly tar the endeavor with the charge of Asian- or white-supremacism. There's simply too much obvious conceptual overlap with existing programs that favor URMs, so to truly rail against it, commentators would have to say the quiet part out loud, so to speak, which would alienate moderates.

Of course, the really hard part would be making these universities places that students actually wanted to go to. For my part, I think the current higher-education system in most of the world is a stagnant cartel, with actual teaching being near the bottom of priorities, and the whole edifice is ripe for disruption. The main challenge to overcome would be the brand power of the old guard, especially the Ivy Leagues, and that's hardly a trivial obstacle to overcome. Perhaps the best two initial strategies in this regard would be (i) hiring a bunch of very good emeritus faculty, who could write excellent letters of recommendation for grad school etc., and (ii) focusing in the first instance on teaching disciplines with relatively legible outcomes, e.g., material sciences, machine learning, data science, mathematics, etc., rather than the humanities. Over a few years, I think it would be entirely possible to cultivate a reputation for providing a superb education in these disciplines, such that employers would have to take note.

All of this would require a large amount of startup capital, but there are Silicon Valley libertarian-types who could - ideally anonymously - bankroll this kind of operation (so Peter Thiel, if you're reading, get in touch).

But perhaps I'm being naive, and there are obstacles here that I'm not seeing. What do you all think?

The main challenge to overcome would be the brand power of the old guard, especially the Ivy Leagues,

You could help there by spreading the meme that to fight whiteness and promote equity, white men need to be barred from all higher education explicitly not reserved for them. I'm sure a number of sincere idiots would lap that up and setting up universities solely for white men would go a long way towards fixing the problems of academia.

America already has this in the form of Catholic schools and BYU. i assume other Christian denominations have set up schools as well.

If someone is smart, not going to Harvard won't impact them too much. Many of these people will land on their feet, and they'll create paths for others to follow. Every smart student that is rejected from these top universities ends up eroding the prestige of those institutions. Every 'dumb' student that gets in also erodes the prestige.

If someone is smart, not going to Harvard won't impact them too much.

I disagree entirely. These days it's not what you know, it's who you know, and you don't get to rub shoulders with princelings when you're valedictorian of Iowa State University no matter how much smarter you are than that years' Harvard cohort.

Also: yeah, sure, 0.01% galaxy brain supergeniuses probably aren't going to be living out of the dumpster whatever happens. But these people are, definitionally, 0.01%ers - rounding error people whom should not affect our policycrafting precisely because of their rarity.

It's not the 0.01% supergeniuses I worry about, it's the rather larger "elite overproduction" 5%, who as a class start civil wars when they get mad, that I worry about.

I wouldn't count on erosion of prestige happening faster than the collapse of institutions that prestige was gained in. One might have presumed that the weakening of Rome would have caused people to lose faith in Caesars, perhaps reestablishing the wholesome old days of the Republic or something, but the opposite happened: monarchs were still using that name for titles more than fourteen hundred years after Rome collapsed.

One might have presumed that the weakening of Rome would have caused people to lose faith in Caesars, perhaps reestablishing the wholesome old days of the Republic or something

One might, but in reality the tradition of ancient republic and democracy was at the time completely forgotten, and medieval representative institutions - even in Italy itself - were derived from Germanic traditions.

https://fpb.livejournal.com/141494.html

The chairman of the modern English Parliament bears the ancient title of Speaker, clearly derived from the Lawspeaker who presided the Scandinavian Things, and the earliest name of the city councils that ruled Italian cities in the first age of free republics was Arengo, from Longobard Hring

I think the biggest factor this overlooks is that it's not like the Asian and White students who aren't getting into Harvard or a UC school aren't getting into any colleges- it's been a minute since I've personally looked into it, but my general impression is that you have to be pretty darn incapable to not get into any school. And there's not only no obvious reason to prefer a new private school to northwestern Iowa Tech, there's cost related reasons for the opposite.

Almost any high school graduate in the US can get into college. The affirmative action fight is about attending elite colleges, which are different because of prestige that can't actually be copied. Yes, MIT and Stanford probably have tougher courses than podunk state. But prestige is the main reason employers prefer MIT diplomas to podunk state diplomas, and you can't actually replicate MIT's prestige with a new college no matter how tough the courses are.

I'm guessing there's some set of highly qualified kids who get rejected from all schools they applied to. I'm going to use some completely imaginary but plausible probabilities to demonstrate this.

Let's say that you're poor and don't have the funds for more than three application fees, and you're too prideful to ask for fee waivers. I know this happens because this was my situation when I was in high school. I didn't became aware that I could use my poverty to my advantage until I was already in college, and even then I was too prideful for it.

There's some chance that you'll not be selected for a top school like Harvard even though you have grades and scores that would put you in the 90th percentile of kids they do admit. Let's say that if you're Asian and have these qualifications you only have a 1% chance of admission. You apply anyway.

Let's say that you also apply to a top state school that you're pretty confident will admit you, but there's no guarantee. Say this is a 95% chance.

And then you apply to a safety school, which is still not a guarantee, but a 99% chance.

The probability of getting rejected by all three schools would be .99 * .05 * .01 = .00049. Roughly 5 in 10,000 people in this situation would find themselves with no acceptance letter. Are there 10,000 such people applying each year? According to Wikipedia there were 2.9 million college freshman in the United States in 2019. That seems plausible.

With such a huge population you're going to find very unlikely outcomes hiding in the tails. Especially with illegible admission criteria, it's not possible to know with any certainty that you'll be admitted unless you go through some assured admission program.

I'm guessing there's some set of highly qualified kids who get rejected from all schools they applied to.

Seems like it did happen.

https://www.wsj.com/story/she-scored-1550-on-her-sats-top-us-colleges-still-rejected-her-68767071

False. Did not get rejected everywhere. Going to Arizona state. Not a great school, but I predict that founding a brand new private school better than Arizona state will be harder than we think it is.

  1. I didn't say anything about the difficulty of creating an alternate education system. Even though I don't think its as onerously difficult as you claim it is, nor do I think its as easy as many others think it is.

  2. It's not too difficult to imagine an alternate reality where this girl did not Apply to ASU or Rice. And did infact get rejected from all the colleges she applied to despite being very accomplished. Ofcourse that can happen to anyone who doesn't choose a safety school, but its more than likely that this time around AA has something to do with it.

In the comment I replied to you said

Seems like it did happen.

Now you're saying it hypothetically could have happened in an alternate reality where an obvious gunner didn't do basic best practices, like applying to safety schools.

The standard when I was a kid was seven, two reach two safety three target. That number just keeps getting bigger, I advise kids I know to apply everywhere, if the application isn't free send a letter to the dean asking for a free application and they'll give it to you 90% of the time, you never know who might give you money and money from one school you don't really want to go to can be leveraged against a school you do want to go to. Among kids gunning for ivies, they're going to be following best practices, the average among my AP friends was around 12 undergrads applied to in high school.

Fwiw, AA obviously plays a role in every marginal candidate's fate, but can never really be pointed to as playing a decisive role. Until you're applying your fate is always in your hands, you could always just be better.

This is why the object of Any effective american class war should be to either nationalize the top 100 schools and force them to expand admissions til their brand value is dead, or ultimatum them into expanding or withdraw all federal funding/accreditation

It's rare that I wholeheartedly agree with you, but this time I do. At the very least the states should be incentivized to do what California did. Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UC Davis and UC Irvine are in the Forbes top 30, with only four more public universities from other states on the list. And they did it while competing with Stanford. There's no real reason why University of Texas or A&M can't compete with Rice or why CUNY and SUNY can't compete with Columbia and Cornell and Aquafresh.

How easy is it for students to simply lie about their race in their application? It's not like the university is going to run a DNA test to see if your grandma was actually native American.

If you wanted to disrupt race-based admissions, the highest effect/cost thing you could do would probably be publishing a guide on how to pretend you're a minority like that. It doesn't even necessarily have to be very effective in practice, just be well known as something that happens, and it'd undermine the entire thing.

If it comes out later that you lied you're screwed, see Elizabeth Warren (though she thought family lore counted.)

At the M7 business school I attended all the applicants who selected Black as their race were interviewed by a member of the Black Students Association - if you didn’t seem “Black” when interviewed I doubt you would be accepted.

Jesus.

Absolute crazy reading this as a non American. How are people not turning into blithering racists amidst all this?

I might be particularly disagreeable but I would go especially out of my way to make things as bad as I can for blacks if any such thing was done to me.

Students making admissions decisions???? Absolute madness.

Absolute crazy reading this as a non American. How are people not turning into blithering racists amidst all this?

They are, the catch is that it's also rapidly becoming "class" thing with racism, in the classical sense, rapidly becoming correlated with being wealthy and college educated.

To clarify - if you tried to get in university on allegedly being black, and the university let someone who's black verify that you're black, you would "go especially out of your way to make things as bad as you can for blacks"? If I were black and thought I was surrounded by people prone to such disproportionate retaliation for slights (where the slight in question is a minimal attempt to see if you're not bullshitting me), I'd just want to make sure there ain't gonna be no retaliation.

disproportionate retaliation

I mean, you did set up a system of race-based admissions, complete with a student committee that determines your racial purity.

His reaction may be uncalled for, in the sense that most black people had nothing to do with the decision, but it should be expected for unjust systems like that to breed resentment.

It is not lost on me that I would be a lot more sympathetic if it were a black student trying to earn admission to a university where white students would rank him on the "okay-not okay" skin color chart. But if it was a black student in a black-dominant country who was trying to get in on a white quota? Very much less so.

Is it a black dominant country, when there's a race based system of admissions designed to exclude black people, and the nation's media and academia regularly blame social problems on "blackness"?

Do remedial classes "exclude" pupils who are doing fine? Does welfare "exclude" a healthy 6 figure maker? If that's your definition of exclusion, then yes, it is still a black-dominant country.

More comments

Absolute crazy reading this as a non American. How are people not turning into blithering racists amidst all this?

The meme "And then one day for no reason at all..." came into being for a reason, and it wasn't just Forrest Gump fanatics. But most people, even those rejected for their whiteness, accept this sort of thing as their due; the propaganda is just that good.

But most people, even those rejected for their whiteness, accept this sort of thing as their due; the propaganda is just that good.

There's probably a truckload of adaptive self-deception going on here. If you've been screwed over by the dominant ideology, there's nothing to gain and everything to lose from opposing said ideology - all you'll do is dig your hole even deeper. The best way forward is to take the loss and still continue to espouse these dominant beliefs, which helps you gain status among your peer group and in society at large (and the best way to do so is to actually, sincerely believe it regardless of what happened). Indignation is only productive if you can change something or if people are willing to listen to you, and in this case, neither are true.

I genuinely think political dissidents inherently need to be disagreeable in their personality and at least a little bit suicidal. The incentives for compliance are unbelievably strong.

Eventually, I see this going south. The thing is that our wealth and power of the West and America as the imperial core are shrinking. And that means it’s coming to a point where you’re faced with the problem that you’re shut out of good paying positions due to the progressive stack working against you. And at this point, you will create a white bloc much like other minorities have. At which point, we’ll have a racist and radicalized society where your race is the most important cultural touchstone you have. It will determine your lifestyle, your political stances, where you live and to some extent what you do.

And at this point, you will create a white bloc much like other minorities have.

I disagree, the anti-nazi antibodies are way too strong for that to happen. Whites would sooner exterminate themselves than view themselves as whites.

I’m not convinced of that, in fact, history seems to show that the fastest way to get people to think of themselves as a bloc is to convince them that they’re oppressed. It doesn’t have to be real, but the effect is very real. That’s how we got Rwanda and Yugoslavia. Once people started to perceive that the other ethnic group got most of the goodies of society, those on the outside start to see themselves as their ethnic group first and then part of the country.

I genuinely think political dissidents inherently need to be disagreeable in their personality and at least a little bit suicidal. The incentives for compliance are unbelievably strong.

I think that's why there's a strong streak of disagreeableness and back-stabbing in the social justice movement. By and large, the SJ movement is made up of people from the various 'oppressed' groups (under its framework) who went to college, attended sociology courses, and now believe they understand the Deep Dark Secrets undergirding their social interactions throughout their lives. I think that, unfortunately, the most neurotic among them end up retroactively interpreting many anodyne social interactions they've had as discriminatory or, well, 'microaggressive,' and thus the belief that society is ubiquitously discriminatory becomes solidified, and as they might say, 'internalized.'

That's the origin of the term 'woke,' after all: "I'm awake woke in a society where everyone is sleeping." I suppose the "woke" meme, before it became a pejorative term for the Ideology Which Must Not Be Named, was really just the left-wing version of the "red pill" meme. Everyone online believes they've uncovered the TRUE glorious secret behind society, but at the same time they disagree fundamentally about what that secret is in ways that are rather obviously self-serving.

My problem with the woke has never really been with black people advocating for things that they see as being in the interest of black people, or feminists advocating for things that they see as being in the interest of women, or gay people advocating for things that they see as being in the interest of gay people, or what have you. That seems perfectly predictable, and entirely their right in a democratic society.

Instead, my concern has always been with the agreeable, trusting, harmonizing elites -- most often, for statistical and not essentialist reasons, as I've said, women -- who have taken the self-advocacy of the social justice movement and interpreted it not as the predictable self-advocacy of interest groups but the unquestionable Word of Truth.

That's my big problem with, say, standpoint theory -- assuming that the members of one group ipso facto have better insight into the world than another group is by definition prejudicial discrimination, but it is now accepted, because to challenge it might mean that, in at least some instances, things that minority groups claim are the result of discrimination... just aren't. It might mean you have to say to an individual black person or gay person or woman, "actually, you're wrong about this."

And unfortunately, that's not socially acceptable, especially for agreeable people for whom challenging (even internally) the thoughts and feelings of a person they see as victimized or vulnerable is simply out of the question, and is as unthinkable as a firm introvert acting boistrous at a frat party. It's not impossible, but it's simply not done.

In my view, that's how the quite adept strategy of "believe all women who claim to have been assaulted when under your care in a professional setting" (as a psychiatrist, police officer, shelter operator, or whatever) has morphed, in popular culture, into "believe all women who claim to have been assaulted," full stop.

After all, as a professional dealing with victims, it's rather unhelpful to challenge someone who comes to you in the manner of a victim, because it's likely, or at least possible, that they are actually a real victim. Challenging them at that stage does absolutely no good, and has a very high chance of doing real harm.

Sadly, that wise and necessary professional strategy has become universalized, and brought outside of its domain of relevance and into places like the criminal justice system or Supreme Court nominations. In the same way, I think many scientists have taken the wise and necessary professional strategy of methodological naturalism (without which there could be no science), and alchemized it into a universal metaphysical truth, on shaky philosophical ground.

This is also why I particularly hate the definition of feminism as "the belief that women are human being" (ugh) which was literally never in doubt. This is, quite simply, an activist group engaging in self-advocacy advertising itself as Preachers of the Unquestionable Truth.

Instead, I conceptualize the feminist movement as a self-advocacy interest group acting in the interest of women. Again, that's their right in a democratic society.

Still, in many ways I think the prescriptions of the feminist movement (especially in recent decades) have actually contravened the real interests of women -- the sexual revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race, and I think much of the recent hand-wringing over sexual mores in popular culture has been driven by women reared in the feminist movement realizing the wisdom of societal sexual restraint but being unable or unwilling to adopt more conservative stances on sexuality.

But that's a very different sort of criticism than my broader criticism of feminism -- that it is a lobbying movement pretending it isn't one. This is outrageous! It's unfair!

And the thing about special interest group lobbying in a democratic society is that it's far from unchallengeable: when the soda industry or the tobacco industry or whatever comes to give testimony before the Senate, we fully expect that anti-sugar advocates or lung cancer doctors or whatever will also give testimony. When corporate employers come in to talk about labor law, we expect they're going to give a biased presentation in favor of their own interests. The job of policymakers is to take into account the interests of the various groups in society and determine the right policy that does the greatest good for the greatest number, and best respects the equal rights and liberties of all citizens.

And to do that, they have to hear from all sides -- not just the baker but the candlestick maker, not just the employer but the employed, not just the urban but the rural, not just the men but the women, not just the Protestant but the Catholic and the Jew and the atheist.

This very argument in favor of free debate and standpoint equality -- which forged the foundation of liberal democracy and its advancement through, for example, the women's suffrage movement and the civil rights movement -- is utterly essential also to the continuance of a stable society.

Or, as James Madison put it in Federalist No. 10:

A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

And:

No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity... Is a law proposed concerning private debts? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them.

But, for whatever reason (and for the record I think it's for some good reasons, and some bad ones), the testimony and advocacy of feminists or black civil rights groups or LGBTQ advocacy organizations isn't treated that way, especially by many on the left. It's just seen as "righteous people speaking their truth."

When the SPLC says, "hey, we think this group is a hate group that targets black people," the institutions in charge of discerning truth seem willing to uncritically believe them. The FBI doesn't go, "hey, let's investigate this ourselves, without fear or favor," at least nowadays. It seems they go, "damn that sucks, let's surveil them." The newspapers don't go "hey, let's investigate this ourselves, with real investigative reporting," they seem to go "damn that sucks, let's run a hit piece on them." The word of advocates is taken as law.

Ultimately, my guess is that most members of the social justice movement who belong to one of the 'oppressed' groups are more disagreeable on average, while their 'allies' outside those groups, especially straight white women, are probably more agreeable on average. That would sufficiently explain the social dynamics around the movement.

Well, we've gone well past the initial point of your post. But I hope ultimately I've wrapped around to saying something relevant to the overall topic of affirmative action in college admissions, and the problems that it and other forms of legal discrimination create in an otherwise liberal society.

I mostly agree, but I think I would go even further than you:

Everyone online believes they've uncovered the TRUE glorious secret behind society, but at the same time they disagree fundamentally about what that secret is in ways that are rather obviously self-serving.

It depends what you mean by self-serving. If you mean self-serving as in "adopting this benefits me individually in the context of the larger culture", I could perhaps agree with that. If you mean self-serving in the sense of benefiting their own identity group, I've seen far too many whites and especially men who hold beliefs that actively work to the detriment of their in-group as a whole to believe that people actually consistently act in the interest of their identity group. While I think there's a case to be made that white liberals' out-group biases are a product of specific cultural circumstances, in the case of men I think their out-group biases favouring women might be evolutionarily ingrained and thus intractable.

My problem with the woke has never really been with black people advocating for things that they see as being in the interest of black people, or feminists advocating for things that they see as being in the interest of women, or gay people advocating for things that they see as being in the interest of gay people, or what have you. That seems perfectly predictable, and entirely their right in a democratic society.

While advocacy for one's own identity group is part and parcel of free speech and should not be made illegal or censored, I will not go so far as to say I don't have a problem with this. In a society where people see your words as carrying more weight and more value than others, and where you can override others by invoking the social status of your identity alone, using it to unduly benefit yourself and to promote threat narratives against a target identity group is a flagrant abuse of power. I see it as taking advantage of other people's goodwill, and while it probably shouldn't fall under the ambit of the law I think behaviour like this should be taken care of in the social sphere and shunned appropriately. Unfortunately the fact that the social environment allows that in the first place means that social opprobrium for this behaviour is unlikely. It's the most underhanded form of power-grabbing - it can't be easily regulated and entails minimal risk on one's part, and can result in havoc for others.

To speak frankly, it is because of this ethical code that it massively irks me whenever I see a PoC promoting critical race theorist rhetoric, or a woman promoting feminist beliefs, or LGBT people promoting various critical-theorist talking points that helps them gain social and legal privileges. I fall into some of these groups myself, and adamantly refuse to take advantage of the minority status that these things confer upon me. I expect others also granted "epistemic advantage" to do the same, and if they don't I have no problem labelling their behaviour as being fundamentally objectionable.

We're currently seeing an attempt at an unchecked, shameless power grab, and if that's not going to change, one of the only real ways out of that hegemony which I can think of is to develop strong identity-narratives of one's own and to try to beat them at their own game. This is not to say that this is an ideal outcome, but the combative dynamic is in place and is here to stay (mind, I would prefer if it wasn't). And if I'm right about this, I see absolutely no other viable option but to play that game in order to balance the social scales at least a little bit. There is no scenario I can see where you can contest them by perpetually taking the high road and refusing to engage - you simply can't beat conflict theorists like that.

Voluntas pauci suprema lex.

"The will of the few is the supreme law"? Although, shouldn't that be "paucorum"?

Anyway, I look forward to seeing your comment in the next quality contributions roundup.

Was there a surreptitious paper bag hanging on the wall behind the interviewee for comparison, or do you think they just went by vibe?

If we're going to have racial caste systems, I just wish the gatekeeping wasn't so arbitrary and in the hands of the kind of people who ran my school's BSU.

They did have some pretty light skinned Black people who could pass as White in my class but I’m sure they check social media to see if your mom / dad is Black looking if you’re of mixed race and or ask you about your family history.

There was one guy from South Africa who claimed he was a Cape Coloured but I was 75% sure he was faking it so I’m guessing it’s not fool-proof.

Suppose you're being honest, what is the requirement for claiming indigenous ancestry? The average white American has 0.2% indigenous ancestry, which means 1 out 500 of their ancestors were indigenous.

About 10% of my ancestors I can't trace back to Europe, and they were mostly New Englanders with English last names. Depending on what the marriage patterns were in the 17th and early 18th centuries, I think that means I probably have a few indigenous ancestors.

Suppose you're being honest, what is the requirement for claiming indigenous ancestry? The average white American has 0.2% indigenous ancestry, which means 1 out 500 of their ancestors were indigenous.

There is no universal "official requirement", no one wants to be one deciding how much black or native you have to be to be "black" or "native", no one wants to open this can of worms.

The rules are widely varying, inconsistent and changing all the time as one should expect. For intro into modern Amarican racial classification (with interesting historical tidbits and amusing anecdotes) see this paper

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3592850

The Modern American Law of Race

How easy is it for students to simply lie about their race in their application? It's not like the university is going to run a DNA test to see if your grandma was actually native American.

Mindy Kaling's brother did just that. In his words:

I shaved my head, trimmed my long Indian eyelashes, and applied as an African American. Not even my own frat brothers recognized me. I joined the Organization of Black Students and used my middle name, Jojo.

Vijay, the Indian American frat boy, became Jojo, the African American med school applicant.

Doing this would work perfectly until you wanted to run for public office, and people go investigating your background. From that point onward, the strategy would only work and you could only continue to dodge scrutiny if you're a Democrat favorite. Since democrats are the ones who are able to bring the wrath down for doing this sort of stuff, if you're on their side, you don't have to worry too much about it, people would be happy to excuse your indiscretion for whatever reasons.

Most people have no intention of ever getting into politics I don't think. Even so, for the examples we've seen of politically active people getting called out (Rachel Dolezal, Elizabeth Warren, and Shaun King, from the top of my head) they've leaned into their racial category more than simply using it for admissions. Even then, for Warren it took a while and she had to do something foolish like having her DNA tested for it to become obvious. Comparing with a strategic person who never mentioned their fake race again after being admitted and they'd probably never be found out.

For all we know, this is already happening. I attended a prestigious school in which there were rumors that at least two people in my class had identified as black, and at least one professor (!), all of whom were lily white by visual inspection.

The awkward part, and probably the only real check on this behavior, is that if you check black on your application, you are auto-enrolled in the black students' orientation programs, and other students can look at you askance.

Wouldn't be too hard to argue you don't want a separate but equal orientation and you want the white people treatment implying it's better.

I think the black students' orientation is optional, prior to and in addition to the regular orientation that everyone attends. So sure, you could skip it, but the administrators are probably going to include your name and bio in the informational packet they send to everyone who is eligible.

From a cursory googling it seems to be common in Australia, at least. Looking at graduation photos for those who've received scholarships for indigenous people (e.g.), I'd say that for most of them it's impossible to tell that they're supposed to have any aboriginal ancestry at all.

There's also recent efforts attempting to require more than ticking a box.

In Australia, there are no widely-held rules about identifying as Aboriginal - any amount of claimed ancestry is sufficient, and plenty of Aboriginal-identifying people pass as something else, often with only the tiniest amount of Aboriginal descent. The media sometimes publishes stories about how racist it is to question the Aboriginality of fair-skinned, white-passing people.

You might ask then why everyone doesn't just tick the Aboriginal box on all forms all the time, since it can be advantageous for employment and so on. As far as I can tell it's still just the honour system, though.

The awkward part, and probably the only real check on this behavior, is that if you check black on your application, you are auto-enrolled in the black students' orientation programs, and other students can look at you askance.

this would be a great beavis and butthead skit

Specifically, is there any reason a new private university couldn't declare as part of its mission statement that it is dedicated to "understanding and promoting Asian and Asian-American identities", or some such, and require all candidates to submit a personal statement spelling out their identity or affinity with one or more aspects of Asian or Asian-American culture?

To be clear, if you're talking about starting a new college as a real option rather than a theoretical exercise, the problem is the "Starting a new college and raising its prestige" part not the "giving it a pro-Asian ideological bent" part. Going by USNWR rankings *, but the youngest school outside a big state system is Carnegie-Mellon founded in 1900. Which is A) 120 years old, B) Backed by Andrew Carnegie, C) Still a small school and ranked all the way down at 26th. What's the most prestigious non-state school that was founded in the last 40 years? I'm not sure there even is one that's past laughable.

To make it prestigious you're going to attract students. And not just any students, talented students with other options, attracting nothing but low performers who couldn't get in anywhere else won't help. And no, abandoning affirmative action alone will not deliver a significant number of ignored but talented Asian/White students, if you had the resume for affirmative action to matter to you just go somewhere else. There is no pool of kids who don't go to a decent school because of Affirmative action, only kids that got into a modestly worse school. If I were Black I would have been shoe-in anywhere in the top 5, but it's not like as a result of being white I slid into the 100s or something. The kids who get bumped from Harvard get into Cornell, from Cornell to Lehigh, from Lehigh to Penn State, from Penn State Main Campus to Penn State local campuses; the kids below Penn State don't matter.

Students will need to choose to go to your brand new school over highly ranked schools. Some of the issues attracting students to unwoke college groups I discussed in a prior motte conversation here. So let's just be real here, Unwoke university needs to attract women, and it needs to place students in prestigious organizations and jobs. If a university can't get kids jobs, and you can't get laid, it ain't happening; Asian and white guys at the 165 LSAT range will just cruise on to Penn State Honors instead.

Most observers put the male:female ratio at, say, a Jordan Peterson show at around 9:1 male:female; that's a big hill to climb. 68% of Young Women, 72% of women with a college degree identify as Feminists, we can basically write them off from Unwoke university; it's tough to claim numbers on multiple issues, but how many of that remaining quarter-to-third of young women who aren't woke are religious? Those girls are going to pick Messiah or Liberty over Unwoke U. I understand we have some women around themotte, but no one is going to sit here and claim it is better than a third are they? Very few people are going to choose to go to a college that is 90%+ male over one that isn't. I guess you could just go full-send and make it a male only school, I'm not sure that's legal anymore but it might be worth a try at that point.

I'm not going to say it is impossible to bootstrap prestige, but it certainly isn't easy. Takes decades. The Federalist Society is the best example we have, but it was grafted on top of existing schools; notoriously because it had better funding our FedSoc always had better food than the liberal equivalents, and people sometimes went to events just to get a free burrito. Carnegie type money and a commitment from some business leaders would make that easier, but you need serious money to overcome the inbuilt advantages of the existing schools. And given that this is an honest to God shot across the culture war bow, don't think the woke colleges will take this lying down. Grads from woke schools will commit to not applying to businesses that hire from Unwoke, etc. Would, say, Exxon commit to getting nobody from Harvard/Yale/Stanford to get kids from Unwoke? By the time you successfully bootstrap prestige we're probably four full SCOTUS turnovers from now, and who knows what AA law looks like.

But let's assume you could start a new prestigious university, I doubt it would work from a legal perspective, because you'd have to show a compelling interest in only letting in Asian kids or Irish American kids or whatever. Which doesn't really exist, there is plenty of Asian or Irish culture at other schools already. Conservative SCOTUS justices want to overturn AA, they don't want to institute legalized white nationalism and overturn a century of precedent to get us back to Plessy or something.

So, no, in conclusion this wouldn't work at all.

*Just from a quick glance at the rankings, if I missed a more recent one let me know.

I think Monash University, Australian National University, and University of New South Wales in Australia (1958, 1946, and 1949) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (1991) are cases of success in growing a new university even though there were other local universities that were already relatively prestigious.

That said, I’m not sure it’s replicable exactly in all situations. It may be that the market space at the time of these universities’ founding was unsaturated and they could absorb a glut of talented students that the existing institutions would’ve been happy to admit but did not have the capacity for. I think - correct me if I’m wrong - they also tend to be more unbalanced in their subject strengths; Monash is a world leader in pharmacology, ANU is excellent in a bunch of anthropology and humanities-focused subjects as far as I can tell, UNSW in water resources and mineral sciences, HKUST in (surprise!) business and finance.

Maybe a way to grow a new institution’s prestige is to focus really hard on one thing a la UCSF? You could even do it to the point of only offering programs in the field of interest (again, like UCSF). Still wouldn’t be easy, but it’s probably easier than trying to compete in all fields. (I think this was touched on in the OP.)

The big difference is that those are government funded. I don't want to speak to that overseas, I'm not familiar with the contrasts in the systems. In the USA some California state schools were founded much later, but they are part of the broader California state system and have huge resources to draw on. OP's hypothetical was a private university, which in the US sense means it is not under the orders or or primarily funded by the government, outside of grants and scholarships and such.

Fair!

I think if you're sufficiently rich there is a route to achieving a fairly high-prestige college quickly: make it free.

Fairly high-prestige schools that aren't the Ivies and a couple others are basically perfect price discriminators, who use the FAFSA and lots of market research to suck as much tuition money from their students as possible. The anxiety over tuition is very real, and a lot of the reason the need blind+full need coverage schools are so competitive is that they end up being far cheaper for the children of the upper middle class than the schools one tier down from them. If you're from a family making in the low 6 figures, Harvard is much cheaper than NYU.

If you were to put up a billion+ dollars to open a truly free college with a big enough endowment to pay the costs of staff/upkeep without any need for tuition dollars, you would get a ton of highly qualified applicants.

I'm not sure about real numbers, but my feel from experience is that if you're a serious candidate at a top ten selective school, you're a free ride at a lower ranked school no problem. Hence how I never paid tuition in my life.*

Speaking personally, I had LSAT scores to be above median at HYS, but lacked anything else to make me interesting enough to get in so I was rejected at all three, if I'd been Black I would have gotten into all three statistically. I wound up on a tuition scholarship at a T14, and had full tuition+ rides lined up at schools in the 40s (I didn't apply to any schools between the T14 and the 40s, along with Liberty which I applied to because this really sweet Christian girl from their recruiting department kept calling me and finally got me to fill it out from guilt). So you could definitely do a lot with a billion dollars, but just free tuition alone you'd still be competing with schools a tier down from the one you're targeting. Can you insta-found a school that beats out schools in the 50-75 range right out of the gate?

That said, a big enough endowment is probably step one. Probably enough that the university could run with no income for decades, which would insulate it against political attacks.

*Actually, now that I read it over, that's a lie, I paid my wife's for a couple semesters.

Exxon runs all of its business out of a state whose top economic regulator is spending most of his energy going after ESG to burnish his resume for primarying Abbott from the right in '26. "Commit to not hiring anyone from the ivies" might be a bit of a stretch, but "recruit from, say, University of Dallas(a religious school, but also a notoriously unwoke one which provides ideological advisors to the Hungarian government) instead of Yale" is within the realm of possibility if the right political pressure is applied. After all, they ostentatiously refused to celebrate pride month.

I think it is clear that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have been laying the groundwork to engineer an opinion that all of the titles of the Civil Rights Act protect white and asian people from discrimination as surely as they protect black people. That was their long game in Bostock, which held that trans people are protected under the Civil Rights Act via the syllogistic logic that the CRA bans discrimination on account of sex, so (roughly) it is a violation to treat a man who wears a dress differently from how you treat a woman who wears a dress. I predicted that this was their intent in Bostock, and I think it was Gorsuch who indicated as much during the oral arguments in the affirmative action case -- I can't remember his exact phrasing but he invoked Bostock and asked why the same logic shouldn't apply to the same language in a different title of the CRA.

If SCOTUS clarifies the Civil Rights Act as protecting all races equally, then every tool that has been used to police covert discrimination against black people over the past century (sting operations, disparate impact theories, indications of animus, etc.) could in theory be used to police covert discrimination against white/asian people ("holistic" applicant reviews, rhetoric about "dismantling whiteness," etc.).

At that point all that is needed is a sufficiently motivated executive. Ron DeSantis in particular has proven apt at using the tools pioneered by civil rights activists to effect conservative change, and has been pretty sharp with other types of executive power to curtail liberal excesses.

So I don't know what odds I give it of coming to pass, but it does seem like the pieces are falling into place for a conservative campaign to dismantle affirmative action across the entire ambit of the Civil Rights Act, which is much broader than just higher education -- and to fight back against a slide toward ethnic spoils.

The biggest threat to this campaign is if the GOP nominates Trump instead of DeSantis. Trump can be counted on to fumble the opportunity, as he does everything. At this point I am hoping that fate intervenes to secure the nomination for DeSantis.

If SCOTUS explicitly clarifies the Civil Rights Act as protecting all races equally

Are there rulings saying it doesn't? I'm not familiar with the subject but I would have guessed that it is already interpreted that way but the selective enforcement happens at some other stage of the process.

Grutter v. Bollinger which is one of the two cases that established the current standard is explicitly laid on the idea that race conscious programs to help "underrepresented minority groups" are a temporary measure. And says "that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."

SCOTUS has suspended the constitutional rights of whites on this issue for 19 years and counting pretty much. We'll see if they change their mind this time.

Right, I was wondering if he was referring to something other than affirmative-action itself. But I guess the affirmative-action carve-out is already broad enough that it can be used to justify most relevant forms of discrimination against whites and asians. Compared to employment it doesn't much matter whether restaurants are allowed to refuse to serve white people.

I was thinking about how the lawsuit against Youtube regarding their employment discrimination against white/asian men was apparently considered worth attempting, but that's probably because the methods used were so overt (like the recruiter plaintiff being told to "immediately cancel all Level 3 (0-5 years experience) software engineering interviews with every single applicant who was not either female, Black or Hispanic") that they thought it might fall outside the carve-out. Plus looking at the lawsuit it's all based on state-level laws. (Though there's a mention of the plaintiff telling them "it violated state and federal law".)

Note that lawsuit just kind of vanished into the system, which happens often to such "reverse" discrimination lawsuits.

Did that lawsuit ever go anywhere? It just vanished from the news.

Trump might well use people who burnished their conservative credentials in the Abbott and Desantis governments to actually do the governing while he shows up in photo ops.

If SCOTUS explicitly clarifies the Civil Rights Act as protecting all races equally, then every tool that has been used to police subtle discrimination against black people over the past century (sting operations, disparate impact theories, indications of animus, etc.) could in theory be used to police subtle discrimination against white/asian people ("holistic" applicant reviews, rhetoric about "dismantling whiteness," etc.).

But it won't. If the Supreme Court puts out a ruling that says "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. And by the way, we aren't fooled by the 'Asians have bad personality' crap, George Wallace could have come up with that one, so cut it out.", the people in charge of all those tools will simply ignore it. Their allegiance is to AA/antiracism/DEI first and to the institutions they serve a distant second. Just like with Heller and Bruen, the people (university administrators, alphabet-agency bureaucrats, and lower court judges) who have to change their behavior to implement the decision simply will not, and the Supreme Court will be powerless to do anything about most of it. A few more cases might make it up to SCOTUS, but all SCOTUS can do is issue strongly-worded opinions. And eventually SCOTUS will turn left and AA will be officially allowed again.

Even President DeSantis can't solve this because he can't just fire the bureaucrats.

President DeSantis can investigate these universities for racial discrimination and take away their federal funding if they're discriminating.

President DeSantis can investigate these universities for racial discrimination and take away their federal funding if they're discriminating.

He could direct the Department of Education to investigate. They would investigate and find the universities had done nothing wrong except maybe not enough blacks and Hispanics were admitted.

Is the Dept of Education under the executive? If so can't he just fire everyone and place his own people there?

No, he can only fire the political appointees, not the civil servants.

I'm pretty sure Trump did this kind of thing when he was in office. Keep firing the secretary of a rebellious department until they get the message. Didn't seem to work.

I'm doubtful it will change much; Admissions inevitably involves a huge amount of illegible subjective decision-making, and the religion of DEI means that there will be no shortage of reasons to prefer candidates from under-represented minority backgrounds.

I recognize this is not the main point of your post, but I'll preregister that I do expect a SCOTUS ban on AA to have a very substantial and enduring impact. I pulled some very basic data below. In all, I found considerably less support than expected, but enough to not make me want to recant my prediction.

I start with the top 6 public universities ranked by US News (6 because #5 was tied between two schools).

School | School Black % | State Black % | School Asian % | State Asian %

UCB 3% 7% 43% 16%

UCLA 5% 7% 33% 16%

U-M 5% 14% 15% 3%

UVA 8% 20% 18% 7%

UF 6% 17% 10% 3%

UNC 10% 22% 22% 3%

I've bolded schools in states where public universities are prohibited from considering race (date of ban): California (1996), Washington (1998), Florida (1999), Michigan (2006), Nebraska (2008), Arizona (2010), New Hampshire (2012), Oklahoma (2012), and Idaho (2020).

All data exclude multi-race categories.

Inconveniently for me but tellingly, UCB's diversity page declines to have a consolidated Asian category in favor of one broken down by Pacific Islander, Chinese, Filipinx [sic], etc.

Next, three top private schools, including the main culprit that's part of one of the SCOTUS cases:

Harvard: 15% 9% 28% 8%

Yale: 9% 13% 22% 5%

Princeton: 10% 15% 27% 10%

Yale's page is frustratingly (and probably revealingly) ambiguous. It lists only university wide, which is predominantly graduate rather than undergraduate. It also excludes international from the one table, and likely those who don't report (rather than scaling up to 100%), meaning all the ethnicities add up to just 73%. So the above figures were scaled up to 100% (6.4% black -> 9%, 16.2% Asian -> 22%).

Also, I recognize it's imperfect to compare a top school to its state demographics considering it would draw talent from all over America and the world, and comparison to state demo also is less meaningful for huge states like CA where more local demo is more useful, but this is a basic analysis so...

Observations and thoughts:

  1. Out of nine schools examined, only Harvard has a Black % higher than its state demographics, while also being higher than all the other schools, suggesting far higher boost from AA, or perhaps also superior recruiting ability considering its name. But it's so skewed relative to the rest that I don't know what the lawyers were thinking. Yale and Princeton are less egregious but generally hew closer to their state demographics than the public schools.

  2. UVA and UNC, the two public schools that aren't banned from AA by state law, do have higher Black % relative to the other four in states where AA is prohibited, but they're also in states with higher Black %. When you compare ratios instead of absolute %, the two seems to boost AA more than the others, with the exception of UCLA which has a fairly high Black % as a ratio of its state demographics--perhaps UCLA has more zealous DEI staff who skirt around the law, so this does rain on my prediction a bit.

  3. This superficial analysis doesn't really make it obvious that Asians are significantly discriminated against, whether by UVA and UNC or HYP. Perhaps whites are the main victims of AA, but it's politically convenient to say it's Asians instead.

  4. At any rate, if and when AA is struck down, I expect risk-averse institutions like these top schools, which are sometimes labeled billion-dollar-endowment-with-a-school-attached, to substantially comply. If the Harvard class of 2030 retains the same racial makeup thanks to clever substitution of overt race-consciousness with class and DEI extracurriculars etc., Ed Blum will just sue again. By having already secured landmark victories at that future point, he'll attract even more donors and human talent support. It'll also be worse PR for Harvard the next time around because I believe the popular support for AA, like with gay marriage, will quickly catch up to the SCOTUS order.


Links for anyone who wants to dig in more robustly:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_in_the_United_States

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/NC,FL,VA,MI,CA,US/PST045221

https://opa.berkeley.edu/uc-berkeley-fall-enrollment-data-new-undergraduates

https://www.ucla.edu/about/facts-and-figures

https://diversity.umich.edu/data-reports/

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/universityofvirginiacdpvirginia

https://cdo.ufl.edu/strategy/metrics/

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/MA,CT,NJ/PST045221

https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/admissions-statistics

https://www.yale.edu/about-yale/yale-facts

https://inclusive.princeton.edu/about/demographics

Will the universities accept federal government money, including federally backed loans and Pell Grants? If the answer is "yes" then they'll be subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or national origin in programs that receive federal funds, unless that discrimination is necessary for the achievement of a legitimate non-discriminatory objective. Might also want to look at 34 CFR 100 which are the federal regulations the Department of Education has put out effecting Title VI of the CRA by that agency. There are also likely to be state level anti-discrimination laws any such University would be subject to.

I see three broad options here.

Firstly, you can refuse to take any federal money. This (probably) evades any liability for federal anti-discrimination protections but also cuts your University off from a very large source of funding and many of the disadvantaged students it is presumably aimed at helping.

Secondly, you can take federal money and just not discriminate on the basis of race or natural origin. This evades liability but fails to function as the ethnic spoils system you want it to.

Finally, you can take federal money and discriminate on the basis of race insofar as necessary to achieve a "legitimate nondiscriminatory objective." This is what current universities do, with their purported objective being the obtainment of the educational benefits that flow from having a racially diverse student body. I do not think the Department of Education, or a court, are going to agree that something like "the promotion of Asian/Irish-American identities" is a "legitimate nondiscriminatory objective." Indeed, they seem like straightforwardly discriminatory objectives to me.

But perhaps I'm being naive, and there are obstacles here that I'm not seeing. What do you all think?

I think your Universities would rapidly find themselves useless to help their targeted audience, most likely via litigation from either the federal government or a prospective student.

Admissions inevitably involves a huge amount of illegible subjective decision-making

[Citation needed]

In most of Continental Europe admission to universities is based on entrance exams or national exams test scores. This eliminates any power the school has in selecting applicants.

Admissions inevitably involves a huge amount of illegible subjective decision-making

[Citation needed]

In most of Continental Europe...

The topic is clearly referencing U.S. education and U.S. law (via the Supreme Court of the United States). If you listen to the oral arguments in this case, you'll hear counsel for Harvard and UNC explain the multi-factor "holistic" admissions practices of their respective universities in some detail. "Illegible subjective decision-making" seems like a pretty fair characterization of what they described.

European universities definitely do things differently, no question. Of course, in most of Continental Europe they haven't got universities where half the matriculating class is of Asian descent sitting in the middle of cities where half the local population is of African descent. It's amazingly difficult to even begin to have a discussion about what's happening in such places, especially when a large part of the population is also ideologically committed to denying the influence of biology on academic performance.

In the US, there's a very quiet goal to admit a healthy number of future donors. One of the most interesting topics covered occasionally by Steve Sailor is how admissions try to do this and how effective it is.

However, speaking as someone well ensconced within the very apse of the Cathedral, I'm doubtful it will change much; Admissions inevitably involves a huge amount of illegible subjective decision-making, and the religion of DEI means that there will be no shortage of reasons to prefer candidates from under-represented minority backgrounds.

i was listening to an interview on npr yesterday of a vice chancellor of DEI from one of the california state universities. at the end he complained that it would take a while before they were able to basically reinstitute affirmative action without calling it that, so yeah, even when scotus overturns it, university administrators will find a way around it.

I think that's true but that occasionally someone will screw up and say the quiet part out loud and get the university sued, so that's some progress.

I think you are being naïve. Do you really think a carefully crafted mission statement for Irish American fraternity would not get lambasted instantly as a "fig leaf for white supremacy"? White flight is already the subject of derision, a university founded on any white identity would be cast as "another system of excluding POC" even though it's essentially whites vacating space for POC. No mission statement, no creed, no delicate sophistry will matter because you are forgetting the most important thing is who, whom?"

If a university could be set up with staff who did buy into the DEI mantra, no careful mission statement would be required anyway, simply rely on an entrance exam or the SAT plus interviews and you can admit whomever you want on merit alone.

Whiteness really isn’t vague at all. Europeans had a shared culture that was deeper and longer than any other race category. Look at the bio of some composers or monks, for instance, and you’ll find Poles copying British composers, Italian composers in Spanish courts, German composers in Hungarian courts, Irish monks in Italy, French leaders reading Scottish writers influenced by old Greek epics, and so on. This stretches at least 400 years. We don’t even have to bring up religion.

Also, is there hard evidence that Asian students do indeed perform better in regards to the purpose of education — becoming highly skilled and intellectually balanced? If they are not more likely, than the universities are correct to balance test scores with some other, even amorphous, metric.

Whiteness really isn’t vague at all. Europeans had a shared culture that was deeper and longer than any other race category. Look at the bio of some composers or monks, for instance, and you’ll find Poles copying British composers, Italian composers in Spanish courts, German composers in Hungarian courts, Irish monks in Italy, French leaders reading Scottish writers influenced by old Greek epics, and so on. This stretches at least 400 years. We don’t even have to bring up religion.

This seems an absurd overstatement on its face to me, and suggests an abject ignorance of world history. India and China both have cultural works/institutions (and in the case of China, actual records) that stretch farther than the Mycenaean collapse, let alone Archaic and Classical Greece, and China is well known to have used the Four Books and Five Classics (texts written in centuries BC) right up to the collapse of imperial China, as well as for having an uncommonly stable cultural and civilizational lineage in general.

India was not so unified for a single composer to be well known across the region, with compositions proliferated from one end to the other. Without monotheism, you did not have one monk travel from one end to the other and obtaining immediate employ in the Hindu culture. So no, in India there is no equivalent for a Brit and a German both listening to the same composer, or for a Spanish monk immediately working in hierarchy of the Vatican. The polytheistic Indian subcontinent may be the same religion in category, but the differences in regional worship means it is much more varied than Europe under Catholicism or even with the split between Catholics and Protestants. An Indian on one end of the subcontinent and one on the other would not be following the same liturgical calendar, listening to the same compositions, taking about the same novels and philosophers, or anything like that.

Even granting that (which I am loath to do but I think others can pick on it better than I), you have rather forgotten the other example I gave.

Edit: and that isn’t even noting that this is moving the goalposts amazingly far from the original statement…

Europeans had a shared culture that was deeper and longer than any other race category.

… or that the arbitrary criteria of “composers and books” doesn’t even necessarily get your preferred racial category up there.

My first impression is that "Asian American" is way more of a hyphenated identity than "White American" - the opposite of what you're saying. Most Asian people will identify primarily as Chinese-, Indian-, Filipino-American, etc., while a lot of white people in America don't even know their ancestry, or come from a mix of different European ethnicities. Is there a comparable amount of intermingling between different Asian groups? Is e.g. a Chinese-American any more likely to marry a Korean-American than a white or black person? (My guess is no, but I don't have any citations for this.) That would be an indicator of whether "Asian-American" is a real culture and not just a census checkbox.

Also, is there hard evidence that Asian students do indeed perform better in regards to the purpose of education — becoming highly skilled and intellectually balanced? If they are not more likely, than the universities are correct to balance test scores with some other, even amorphous, metric.

Hard disagree on that one. "Highly skilled" is evident in their grades and test scores. "Intellectually balanced" just screams "I arbitrarily invented this criterion to exclude you", you're the one that needs to provide hard evidence that they aren't "intellectually balanced" or universities can just say "well, it turns out it's black students who are the most intellectually balanced of all!".

Test scores do not carry over into music composition ability and ability to write important books, which are two of the most meritocratic domains we have. Certainly it would carry over if you’re an engineering academic or mathematician, but in the real world the problem sets are not “solve these clear instructions and do nothing else”. The importance of intellectual balance (which is not some ad hoc formulation but was found in European culture in its most dominant period) is that you want a programmer who can determine when his instructions are errant and convey this, or can follow the instructions with the greater goal in mind versus gunning for a promotion.

with the greater goal in mind versus gunning for a promotion.

There goes about half the workforce of google lol