We often hear that there's some kind of linkage between racial diversity and academics. But is there really any linkage?
"There is no clear linkage between educational quality and diversity," according to a Nov. 1993 letter to WASC's Dr. Steven Weiner from Assistant Government Professor, Judith A. Merkle. (See p. 115 of The Ups and Downs of Affirmative Action Preferences by M. Ali Raza, A. Janell Anderson, and Harry Glynn Custred. Note they spell Merkle's name "Merkel.")
The timing of the letter is important. Merkle represented Claremont McKenna against a particularly strong statement from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) that called for diversity standards. Colleges that failed to comply could risk losing their accreditation. The WASC wanted the power to decide for all colleges what level of diversity they would have on their own campuses.
Claremont McKenna and a number of other colleges stood up against those standards. Times have certainly changed.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
We often hear that there's some kind of linkage between racial diversity and academics. But is there really any linkage?
The Claremont Independent's Janet Alexander of Pitzer examined President Trombley's social engineering scheme to achieve a "diverse" campus.
Alexander's penultimate paragraph really resonates with me.
The school should be less concerned with racial and gender quotas and more concerned with the actual teaching abilities and past experience of prospective faculty members. Sanctioning this mode of thinking employs a skewed hierarchal value system in which the color of one's skin or the biological sex of a faculty candidate is indicative of the quality of teaching.Something about these "diversity" lectures always makes me think of former Gov. George Wallace's "segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever" inaugural speech.
I guess it's because diversity in academia never means diversity of thought, but of skin color, and when you're picking blacks over whites or whites over blacks at the end of the day, you're still discriminating on the arbitrary racial categories and it is still wrong.
U. Chicago Professor Bruce Cumings spoke at the Ath tonight. It wasn't heavily attended.
Much of what Cumings said seemed perfectly reasonable and even though I disagree, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he slipped up in a few places. (I'll save his more egregious statements for the end.)
- He compared the brutal Japanese occupation in which the Japanese essentially terrorized the Korean peninsula to our own "interrogation techniques" used, presumably, in the War on Terror.
- I don't exactly buy that the American presence in Seoul directly after the end of World War II brought about the Korean conflict as he suggests. He, of course, denied that the Soviet Union and N. Korea's Kim Il Sung had any connections, even though the Soviet archives have revealed that Sung met with Stalin numerous times to get the green light to invade South Korea.
- He had a few slides talking about how N. Korea condemned the attacks on 9-11 and signed several agreements on terrorism -- as if that should somehow preclude us from labeling them a member of the "Axis of Evil"-- and then went on to talk about N. Korea's missile program and how they had developed connections with A. Q. Khan. The disconnect was apparently lost on him. If N. Korea really is a responsible -- or to use his phrase "just another" country, what's it doing hanging out with the likes of Khan?
- He says he just didn't understand what happened in February 2007 that brought the N. Koreans back to the bargaining table. Might it be that they wanted that billion dollar aid we promised them and saw the 6-party talks as the only means to get it?
All in all, I think he gives the Clinton Administration and Jimmy Carter far too much credit for a supposed nuclear freeze and he showed that he was an Obama supporter several times.
He even erroneously claimed that McCain wanted to be in Iraq for "one hundred years." He conveniently left out that Obama's military advisor, Tony McPeak, said exactly the same thing.
Cumings later called it a "Florida Fluke" that led to the Bush Presidency all but suggesting that the President was selected, not elected. How he reconciles that view with his apologizing for a real and actual dictatorship is anyone's guess.
Cumings, we know, has written favorably of so-called N. Korean "democracy."
As writer Anders Lewis describes one of his passages, he apparently doesn't understand that there are few comparisons between American and N.Korean elections, even though he witnessed an "election" in 1987.
[Cumings] writes that he "watched the hoopla at each polling place" and "was struck by the quaint simplicity of this ritual: a dubious yet effective brass band, old people bent over canes in the polling lines and accorded the greatest respect, young couples in their finest dress dancing in the chaste way I remember from ‘square dances' in the Midwest of the 1950s, and little kids fooling around while their parents waited to vote."Cumings never explores how much real choice there was in that election, though he seems keen on pointing out how backwards our election was.
Let's turn now to the question and answer period in which I pressed Cumings on his statement about how the U.S. has a "longstanding, never-ending gulag full of black men in our prisons"--which should disqualify us from "pointing a finger," he launched into a discussion comparing the treatment of blacks in the South Side of Chicago, where he works, to the situation in the gulags. Although I have been rather critical of the drug war in the U.S., it seems ridiculous to compare the situation with blacks in the South Side of Chicago, who have albeit imperfect access to the legal system to the gulags of N. Korea, but Cumings does it without even blushing.
The implication of Cumings statement should not be lost on us. Cumings seems to be arguing that the people of the South Side of Chicago have been disadvantaged so badly that they are almost certainly going to end up in jail. I wonder what the response would have been if a right-winger had made that kind of an argument.
(It should be noted that Cumings never mentioned the 100,000 to 200,000 political prisoners in the speech, nor did he mention the atrocious human rights record of N. Korea, where they lock up whole families for the political crimes of their parents.)
"It's another country, not our country," he said. Well Mr Cumings, with all due respect, if Kim Jung Il wants that billion dollar aid and I, one of the 300 million Americans, am going to pay for it. I want some accountability, particularly if I believe that he's going to go to enriching the N. Korean regime.
It might be okay with you that Kim Jung Il's son is an avid NBA player, as you told us, or that Kim Jung Il is a "homebody" who likes "Super Mario" and James Bond movies, but it is unacceptable to me that he lives in that kind of luxury when his people starve and risk their lives crossing into South Korea. Yes I believe in more engagement than the Bush Administration, but no, I do not like the U.S. being extorted. We once said million for defense and not a penny for tribute. We should follow our history.
He conceded that N. Korea has an abysmal human rights record, although not as bad as the "South Korean propaganda" would have you believe, and then asked, "What are you going to do about it?"
That rhetorical question is easy. I'm going to listen to the people who lived it. I'm going to publicize those things you don't want people to know about N. Korea or that you deny exists. You talk about the cars N. Korea's state-owned companies develop. Let's talk about the evil in Camp 22.
All of the videos are worth watching. How about Claremont McKenna stand on principle and invite this man to come and speak?
Let's oppose the kind of evil that this Guardian article describes
In the remote north-eastern corner of North Korea, close to the border of Russia and China, is Haengyong. Hidden away in the mountains, this remote town is home to Camp 22 - North Korea's largest concentration camp, where thousands of men, women and children accused of political crimes are held.
Now, it is claimed, it is also where thousands die each year and where prison guards stamp on the necks of babies born to prisoners to kill them.
Over the past year harrowing first-hand testimonies from North Korean defectors have detailed execution and torture, and now chilling evidence has emerged that the walls of Camp 22 hide an even more evil secret: gas chambers where horrific chemical experiments are conducted on human beings.
Curiously the Holocaust Center was silent on Cumings' visit, even though the parallels are striking. I guess they have bigger issues right now.
I pray that Cumings, like the Soviet admirers of the 1930s, will one day come to regret his apologies for evil.
The most notorious example is perhaps the behavior of the British delegation at a climate conference in Moscow in July 2003. According to Dr. Madhav L. Khandekar, a Canadian environmental consultant and research scientist, the UK delegation, led by Sir David King, chief scientific advisor to the British government, "behaved in a most obstructionist and unprofessional fashion throughout the event.
The U.K. Delegation vehemently opposed allowing any of the experts who disagreed with the Kyoto science to even present our work." More particularly he complained: "In an attempt to deny dissenting scientists the time to speak, the UK delegation did not arrive until 11 a.m. on July 7, although the seminar was supposed to start at 9.30 a.m. Dr. King then insisted on delivering a long presentation that forced dissenting speakers to significantly shorten their talks. Even though we met until 7 p.m., the schedule for the first day had to be completed the following morning and, even then, Dr. King tried to bump us by speaking next morning for almost 40 minutes. The UK group refused to answer many of the questions of [Kremlin economic adviser Andrei] Illarionov and others [raised]. Professor Paul Reiter of Institute Pasteur in Paris questioned Dr. King's assertion that global warming has reduced the snow/ice cap on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Prof. Reiter, whose studies reveal that there has been no temperature change at the based of the mountain in the last decade, pointed out that ice cap changes could easily have been due to reasons other than global warming. Dr. King did no answer and instead suddenly walked away on the pretext that he had to meet a government official."
"Its organizers have not accepted reports from many participants whose views are different from that of the organizers""Making a report here is impossible because organizers practice a policy of censorship."
"It was deeply upsetting to witness the ill-mannered and discourteous way in which both Professor Israel and Dr Illarionov were mocked during the debates by many delegates and IPCC officials. There was a time when British scientists were known for their polite and gentlemanly conduct. None of these good old traditions were visible at the Met Office.
Instead, the apocalyptic frenzy and fear-mongering brought the worst out of a large number of the knighted and commoners alike. How Britain's image and self-respect is tumbling as a result of mounting apprehension.
In a rather ironic twist to the UK debates (which brings to mind the words "the pot calling a kettle black"), the contemptible smear campaign against scientists who participated in the recent "Apocalypse No" meeting at the Royal Institution suddenly appears in a radically different light. While Sir David King, the UK Government's chief scientist, accused climate sceptics of being "professional lobbyists" for the oil industry, he announced today that the Government intends to increase subsidies for nuclear power plants and introduce even more tax breaks for the fossil fuel industries that are prepared to sequester their carbon emissions."
- Variations in energy flow from the sun have the highest influence on our climate. Considerably more than greenhouse gases.
- Temperatures were higher than they are today during Roman and Medieval climatic optimums. Climate change is real, but it is caused by forces of nature, not of humankind.'
- Higher CO2 production has been scientifically confirmed to benefit agricultural productivity. Limiting CO2 emissions can reduce the efficiency of food production in the long run.
- Kyoto would limit economic growth. The 17 high-income Pro-Kyoto countries saw a decrease in GDP as opposed to steady growth in non-Kyoto countries.
- Enforcement of Kyoto would require an enormous bureaucracy to ration emissions, quotas and therefore economic activity. Illarionov has compared Kyoto to communism as trampling on human freedom. In Russia, economic activity would have to be reduced by 70-80% and GDP would be reduced by 2/3rds by 2050.
- 89% of the World's population lives in countries that are 'not handcuffed by Kyoto's restrictions'
- "Kyotoism is an attack on basic human freedoms behind a smokescreen of propaganda. Like those ideologies of human hatred, it will be exposed and defeated."
- Libya, Tunisia, Lithuania and North Korea will have a larger economy than the United States in a 100 years!
- Gabon, Swaziland, Algeria, Vanuatu and New Caledonia will have a larger economy than Australia by 2100. What will become of Bono!
- South Africa's economy will double the United States economy by 2050.
The appropriately named Environmental Crusaders will be bringing yet another one of their priests to the Athenaeum. This time it’s Eban Goostein who’ll help us pay proper reverence on that timeless pagan festival, Earth Day (critical theological question at hand: can the pious young activist turn his attention from Cesar Chavez Month for even one day to make equally bountiful sacrifices to Mother Earth?)
The Ath write-up, clearly written by the group, gives themselves a nice little pat on the back for a cheesy “panel” they held earlier on in the semester. Here’s what it says:
On January 30, 2008, CMC helped to focus the nation on global warming with its faculty panel, "Global Warming: Is It Our Responsibility?" CMC faculty from economics, chemistry, government, and philosophy dicussed the problem of climate change from their unique disciplines, adding to our understanding and analysis of the problem of global warming. The same day, thousands of other college students also participated in Focus the Nation, a countrywide educational initiative to bring global warming to front and center on college campuses. Eban Goodstein is the founder of Focus the Nation.
(Yes, that should be “discussed,” but what you do expect from a Fortnightly write-up? Here’s my favorite line from this issue: “As a commentator, Pipes has written regular columns for Chief Executive, Investor’s Business Daily, and the San Francisco Examiner, and is the wife of Professor of Government Charles Kesler.” Not quite the way I would have presented her background, though it's a talk I do urge you to attend.)Anyways, about that panel. I was there, and I have to admit that if it accomplished anything, one hopes it encouraged our dogmatic friends to entertain some skepticism--if not about global warming itself, then at least about the worthiness of their crusade. (Though I wouldn't mind anyone campaigning to end the intellectual pollution currently clogging the Ath. More Salvatori speakers, please!)
First up was Professor Purvis-Roberts. Representing chemistry, she didn't have much to say about science, but she was adamant that there is complete consensus in the "serious" scientific community about global warming. But that she felt the need to insist on this point again and again made it indeed obvious that no such consensus exists, especially when we begin to talk about the more pertinent questions--how much humans contribute to global warming, how bad it will get, and what we can do about it. Professor Rajczi flatly contradicted her when it was his turn to speak, and later on he stressed that there are more skeptics than we generally admit.
But interestingly, she acknowledged that U.S. has the economic capability to cope with all the flooding, heating, drought, and fire problems that may arise due to climate change. So wait, I thought, if we have the ability to adapt to these problems by entrepreneurial activity and technological development, what's the big deal? Well, she explained, the problem is that Lesser Developed Countries will be hit the hardest, and it's all the fault of us More Developed Countries. Worst of all, little island cultures may be lost forever when people have to move.
But Alex Rajczi managed to outdo the Professor Purvis-Roberts in his condescending talk. There, he proposed groundbreaking ways for us non-scientists to approach the issue. First, he said if we don't know a whole lot about the science, we ought to just trust what the majority of scientists believe. This is what we do in everything in else. After all, he pointed out, there are scientists who think AIDS is not caused by HIV (though even Obama's spiritual mentor knows that AIDS is caused by HIV, which of course was invented by the government to kill off black people).
Now surely this comparison is a tad unfair, but then again I'm no philosopher. While it's obvious that we should defer to experts when dealing with technical science, it should also be obvious that we focus on those experts who actually study the climate--where as it turns out there happens to be the most dispute. More importantly, this really doesn't help us much when it comes to complex questions about how much we can curb the effects of climate change and whether or not the attempt is even worth it given the huge economic costs.
Excuse me, did I say complex? I meant to say simple. Most environmental crusaders take it as an article of faith that green industries created by government regulation and subsidies will somehow be more productive than industries that have to respond to real demands and real competition.
But the question is even more simple if you apply Rajczi's gee-golly philosophy. According to Rajczi, there might be a lot we disagree on ethically, but we can all agree that going out of our way to hurt others is bad. For instance, we may disagree about how much aid to give to the poor, but no one thinks we should just kill them. And so it goes with global warming. Because global warming is primarily caused by highly industrialized countries like ours, and because the impacts will be the most devastating for people abroad in poor countries, the responsibility for the crime rests on our shoulders.
Now, since the professor is right that arbitrarily whacking people isn't very controversial, we might ask him to address the real political problem. What happens when you add self-interest into the equation? Are we allowed to do anything for our own good that might have an adverse effect on others? And what happens when we have to choose between harming those we love or our political community on the one hand, and strangers or mankind generally on the other? Now common sense tells us that question is pretty easy, but I'm not sure what answer Rajczi's tool-box for everyday philosophy would give. Based on his answer concerning global warming (it's all our responsibility to do what we can to stop it, regardless of the burden), it seems his approach is more categorical.
(In that case, we would need to challenge him to offer some grounding for this radically egalitarian philosophy. I tend to find philosophies that tell us that the purpose of life is only moral--by this they generally mean avoiding doing anything to disadvantage others--both utopian and grim because they set a rather low threshold for moral excellence. In the end, moral action becomes a simple matter of constantly placating others. It leaves no place for self-interest or external goods, or even our own happiness. But if our own natural happiness is not the ultimate basis for moral action, then what is exactly?)
Anyways, the point is that Racjzi's clever answer to the moral debate over global warming falls apart the instant we realize there are reasons we do the things that contribute to rising temperatures (you know, like using electricity). Sorry, it turns out we aren't just capriciously wiping out innocent victims.
I would also encourage Rajczi to consider what happens when what the poor need most of all (economic development), depends on robust trade, which we can only offer them if our industries aren't tied down by green regulations. (And mind you, by Rajczi's own moral calculus, global poverty is worth at least "three German Holocausts a year"--damn.)
Rajczi might have profited from listening closely to Professor Christian's talk from the political perspective. Christian thinks that global warming is a serious problem that demands policy attention. But for him, nothing that would reasonably pass through the U.S. government would come close to solving the problem. He suffers no illusions and knows that the most effective policies, such as carbon taxes, would come at a major financial burden that most people aren't willing to accept. If that's the case, isn't some resignation in order? Or should we go on to enact a bunch of half-way measures that won't stop climate change but will surely slow down growth? The Kyoto Protocol, which has virtually no effect because it excludes China and India, comes to mind.
Professor Blomberg, who talked about the economics of global warming, only further made the environmentalist dogma hard to swallow. His overall argument was that the attempt to determine the full economic costs and benefits of addressing global warming is both extremely difficult and subjective. He pointed out that due to natural economic growth, future generations will be far richer than us and will have much better technology. In all likelihood, their relative burden will be much smaller than ours, no matter how big a mess we leave those little snobs to clean up. So to me at least, it seems like some generational discrimination is in order.
But Blomberg and the other panelists all agreed that it is in our best interest to do what we can to halt global warming. So it was perhaps most revealing when none of them could adequately answer the devastating question posed by Professor Eliott. Eliott asked them what they would make of environmental and economic expert Bjorg Lomborg's suggestion that with limited resources, spending on global warming should fall very low on the global priority list. Making a dent on global warming would take a massive economic sacrifice we can't afford, and if we are so interested in saving the plight of the global poor, our dollars would make a much bigger difference if spent on goods like water and healthcare. (If you are interested, you can read some op-eds that summarize Lomborg's arguments: here, here, and here.)
I am sympathetic to Lomborg's position, but then again I'm also sympathetic to rational debate about this issue. But it seems our friends marching in the crusade and leading the Campus Climate Initiative would have us shut off our minds before we shut off our lights. Like the Darfur campaign before it, this crusade is animated by a religious fervor--a need to find meaning in our empty "bourgeois" lives. We are moving beyond the time of politics and war. We don't need "fear," we need change.