Compare and Contrast, part II

But [Ron] Unz does not stop there. He goes on to report that nearly 20 percent of the Harvard College student body is Asian-American, and 25 percent to 33 percent is Jewish, though Asian-Americans make up only 3 percent of the U.S. population and Jewish-Americans even less than 3 percent. Thus, 50 percent of Harvard’s student body is drawn from about 5 percent of the U.S. population!

When one adds foreign students, students from our tiny WASP elite and children of graduates, what emerges is a Harvard student body where non-Jewish whites — 75 percent of the U.S. population — get just 25 percent of the slots. Talk about underrepresentation! Now we know who really gets the shaft at Harvard — white Christians.

Pat Buchanan, “The Dispossession of Christian Americans”

In Canada, by contrast, a race-blind university admissions process isn’t leading to the underrepresentation of minorities. On the contrary, the normal Canadian university practice of admission based on academic achievement has resulted in the over-representation of non-whites on campus. A 2005 Statistics Canada study found that 54% of visible minority Canadians aged 24 to 26 reported having attended university, versus just 38% of the non-visible minority population…..

Five years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the U of T faculty of law. It’s the most competitive law school in Canada, drawing the best students from across the country. While I was there, a group of students began calling on the school to become more diverse and representative in hiring and admissions. Five years ago, to see if their complaints jibed with reality, I flipped through the school’s online student directory.

A quick eyeballing suggested that the complaining students were probably right about the lack of racial representativeness — though not quite as they had imagined. For example, the student body appeared to be as much as one-third Jewish, making Jews hugely overrepresented relative to their tiny percentage of the Canadian population. Visible minorities were 16% of the Canadian population in 2005, but seemed to account for a higher proportion of U of T law students. And non-Jewish whites, who make up more than 80% of the Canadian population, looked to be less than 50% of the law school’s student body.

— Tony Keller, “Finding the white students on campus is easy. Where’s the pub?”

Affirmative Action, Buchanan-Style

Rick Perlstein's great book Nixonland.
Rick Perlstein's great book Nixonland.


Pat Buchanan, among other conservatives, has been all arage over the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court justice. Sotomayer, Buchanan argues, is an affirmative action hire, selected not because she’s the best qualified candidate but because she’s a Hispanic woman. (For an example of Buchanan in action see this debate he had with Rachel Maddow). 


It’s worth reminding ourselves that for conservatives like Buchanan, affirmative action is only bad when its beneficiaries are women or non-whites. There are all sorts of affirmative actions programs that Buchanan supports.


In the early 1970s, Buchanan was speechwriter for Richard Nixon. In that capacity he often sent his superiors memos advising them on political strategy. One pet Buchanan idea was that the Republican party should chase after the Catholic vote in a more vigorous way (he also thought that the party was wasting its time trying to get support from blacks and Jews).

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The Churchill Cult inverted

The Churchill cult has a lot to answer for: In England and the United States virtually every foreign policy disaster or near-disaster of the last six decades – from Suez to Viet Nam to Iraq – has been justified with pious invocations of Churchill’s prescient warnings against appeasement and his wartime leadership. So a book challenging the Churchill cult is sorely needed. Alas, Pat Buchanan’s new cut-and-paste tome doesn’t so much critique the Churchill cult as invert it, giving us less a debunking of religion than a Black Mass that turns a familiar ritual upside down. Instead of Churchill as the great hero and repository of wisdom we get Churchill as arch-villain responsible for all that went wrong in the early 20th century, from the outbreak of the two World Wars and the degradation of British power.

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A Reluctant Defense of Winston Churchill

I’m not a fan of Winston Churchill. The man had his virtues and did some good but he was also a militarist (of the type that romanticizes war as a grand adventure), an imperialist, a bungling administrator (Gallipoli being only the most famous of his many botched operations), a racist, and a militant supporter of ruling class interests. Still, reading Pat Buchanan’s new book Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World had the unexpected effect of creating in me some sympathy and affection for the old reprobate British bulldog.

I’ll have more to say about Churchill in some subsequent posts, but in the meantime, my initial take on Buchanan’s book can be found in this Guardian column.

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