First, Applebaum correctly notes that the Ivies offer full scholarships. She neglects to note that the Ivies only offer the scholarships to fairly unqualified Blacks and Hispanics. Such as the pitiful Michelle Obama, whose senior thesis amounted to "I'm Black and You're Not!" in a poorly written manifesto against "White America" (that gave her a free ride to Princeton) in the typical angry, entitled, Affirmative Action reaction to the inner knowledge that against the best, they just did not measure up outside desired (non-White) skin color.
In How Diversity Punishes Poor Whites, Professor Russel K. Nieli of Princeton (hopefully this is enough for Applebaum, he's not at "icky" Cal Tech or Carnegie-Mellon) observes how "diversity" does indeed prefer lesser qualified Black and Hispanic students over more qualified (by test scores) White and Asian students.
When college presidents and academic administrators pay their usual obeisance to "diversity" you know they are talking first and foremost about race. More specifically, they are talking about blacks. A diverse college campus is understood as one that has a student body that -- at a minimum -- is 5 to 7 percent black (i.e., equivalent to roughly half the proportion of blacks in the general population). A college or university that is only one, two, or three percent black would not be considered "diverse" by college administrators regardless of how demographically diverse its student body might be in other ways. The blacks in question need not be African Americans -- indeed at many of the most competitive colleges today, including many Ivy League schools, an estimated 40-50 percent of those categorized as black are Afro-Caribbean or African immigrants, or the children of such immigrants.
As a secondary meaning "diversity" can also encompass Hispanics, who together with blacks are often subsumed by college administrators and admissions officers under the single race category "underrepresented minorities." Most colleges and universities seeking "diversity" seek a similar proportion of Hispanics in their student body as blacks (since blacks and Hispanics are about equal in number in the general population), though meeting the black diversity goal usually has a much higher priority than meeting the Hispanic one.
Most elite universities seem to have little interest in diversifying their student bodies when it comes to the numbers of born-again Christians from the Bible belt, students from Appalachia and other rural and small-town areas, people who have served in the U.S. military, those who have grown up on farms or ranches, Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, lower-middle-class Catholics, working class "white ethnics," social and political conservatives, wheelchair users, married students, married students with children, or older students first starting out in college after raising children or spending several years in the workforce. Students in these categories are often very rare at the more competitive colleges, especially the Ivy League. While these kinds of people would surely add to the diverse viewpoints and life-experiences represented on college campuses, in practice "diversity" on campus is largely a code word for the presence of a substantial proportion of those in the "underrepresented" racial minority groups.
On an "other things equal basis," where adjustments are made for a variety of background factors, being Hispanic conferred an admissions boost over being white (for those who applied in 1997) equivalent to 130 SAT points (out of 1600), while being black rather than white conferred a 310 SAT point advantage. Asians, however, suffered an admissions penalty compared to whites equivalent to 140 SAT points.
The box students checked off on the racial question on their application was thus shown to have an extraordinary effect on a student's chances of gaining admission to the highly competitive private schools in the NSCE database. To have the same chances of gaining admission as a black student with an SAT score of 1100, an Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have a 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550.
Other studies, including a 2005 analysis of nineteen highly selective public and private universities by William Bowen, Martin Kurzweil, and Eugene Tobin, in their 2003 book, Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education, found very little if any advantage in the admissions process accorded to whites from economically or educationally disadvantaged families compared to whites from wealthier or better educated homes. Espenshade and Radford cite this study and summarize it as follows: "These researchers find that, for non-minority [i.e., white] applicants with the same SAT scores, there is no perceptible difference in admission chances between applicants from families in the bottom income quartile, applicants who would be the first in their families to attend college, and all other (non-minority) applicants from families at higher levels of socioeconomic status.
[Ed: In other words, poor Whites have little chance at the Ivies and top universities no matter how smart they are, as the top universities want Blacks and Hispanics, who are lesser qualified by test scores, to give limited scholarship money. Poor Asians fare far better, they are not those icky poor Whites.]
Distressing as many might consider this to be -- since the same institutions that give no special consideration to poor white applicants boast about their commitment to "diversity" and give enormous admissions breaks to blacks, even to those from relatively affluent homes -- Espenshade and Radford in their survey found the actual situation to be much more troubling. At the private institutions in their study whites from lower-class backgrounds incurred a huge admissions disadvantage not only in comparison to lower-class minority students, but compared to whites from middle-class and upper-middle-class backgrounds as well. The lower-class whites proved to be all-around losers. When equally matched for background factors (including SAT scores and high school GPAs), the better-off whites were more than three times as likely to be accepted as the poorest whites (.28 vs. .08 admissions probability). Having money in the family greatly improved a white applicant's admissions chances, lack of money greatly reduced it. The opposite class trend was seen among non-whites, where the poorer the applicant the greater the probability of acceptance when all other factors are taken into account. Class-based affirmative action does exist within the three non-white ethno-racial groupings, but among the whites the groups advanced are those with money.
When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely. These are enormous differences and reflect the fact that lower-class whites were rarely accepted to the private institutions Espenshade and Radford surveyed. Their diversity-enhancement value was obviously rated very low.
Besides the bias against lower-class whites, the private colleges in the Espenshade/Radford study seem to display what might be called an urban/Blue State bias against rural and Red State occupations and values. This is most clearly shown in a little remarked statistic in the study's treatment of the admissions advantage of participation in various high school extra-curricular activities. In the competitive private schools surveyed participation in many types of extra-curricular activities -- including community service activities, performing arts activities, and "cultural diversity" activities -- conferred a substantial improvement in an applicant's chances of admission. The admissions advantage was usually greatest for those who held leadership positions or who received awards or honors associated with their activities. No surprise here -- every student applying to competitive colleges knows about the importance of extracurriculars.
But what Espenshade and Radford found in regard to what they call "career-oriented activities" was truly shocking even to this hardened veteran of the campus ideological and cultural wars. Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student's chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership positions in these activities or those winning honors and awards. "Being an officer or winning awards" for such career-oriented activities as junior ROTC, 4-H, or Future Farmers of America, say Espenshade and Radford, "has a significantly negative association with admission outcomes at highly selective institutions." Excelling in these activities "is associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of admission."
There is much more, read the whole thing, but this is the meat of the argument. Which is entirely true. The Ivy League, and the top near Ivies such as Stanford, University of Chicago, Northwestern, and the like, are not, repeat not meritocratic. They merely take full-freight paying rich White kids, and unqualified non-Whites at a full or near full ride. Poor White kids particularly from rural, Red States in ROTC or 4-H need not apply. Ever.
Indeed, the career of Ivy-League educated non-Whites is pathetic. Michelle Obama made a nice living as a professional Black woman, at a pricey Chicago Law firm, before being hired at $300,000 a year by the University of Chicago to persuade poor Blacks not to use the University of Chicago Hospital system. The post was created when her husband Barack was elected to the Senate and abolished when he left to assume the Presidency. Even with the fairly substantial amounts of money both Obama's earned, they still could not pay off their debts, and ran a high-living lifestyle at the edge of their income, as Michelle Obama complained constantly.
Nor has Obama's time in office proved "brilliant," as the vacationer in Chief he's done what he did as Harvard Law Review President: play a lot of golf, and take a lot of time off.
Obama himself is hardly a rags to riches story. His grandparents lived in a Honolulu high rise, and sent him to an exclusive private prep school, one of the best in the nation. His father was a big shot in the Kenyatta government, until political indiscretions and drinking pushed him out of favor. Obama's mother was a CIA connected Phd, and Obama himself enjoyed patronage from a wealthy, Pakistani family at and after his time at Occidental College. Obama certainly wasn't ordinary, in terms of wealth, and power, and connections his own was certainly larger than John Kerry's for example, before he married Theresa Heinz.
For those doubting the total incompetence of the Ivy League, here is Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX, graduate of Yale and the University of Virginia noting the lasting peace between North and South Vietnam:
Shades of Hank Johnson worrying about Guam tipping over:
Government, the legal system, entertainment, all are run by an Ivy and Near-Ivy elite that is … STUPID.
As bad as the Government is, filled with low-IQ people such as Johnson, or Lee, or Maxine Waters, or Charlie Rangel, from "safe" non-White massive majority districts, entitled, corrupt, and monumentally stupid, in a way that is aggravating (neither Sarah Palin, or Christine O'Donnell, working class White women, would have thought Guam would tip over or South Vietnam "at peace" with North Vietnam), the other main institutions of society are filled with the same group of entitled, arrogant and stupid "diverse" (non-White) Affirmative Action people, and the trustafarians. For every Barack Obama, there is a Patrick Kennedy, or John Corzine, or a Michael Bloomberg. But the media, or what is laughably known as "journalism" is no better: Exhibit A, Anderson Cooper, son of Gloria Vanderbilt. [H.L. Mencken would have laughed him out of town, before media became a "genteel profession" for "respectable" member of what Joel Kotkin calls the Gentry Liberals.] Entertainment is just as bad, from the Harvard Mafia entrenched at the Simpsons, to the same at Saturday Night Live, to TV in general (JJ Abrams, Joss Whedon, and many others hail from Ivies and near Ivies).
And, just how "smart" are the Ivy and near Ivy schools, anyway?
Yale's 2009 Admissions data is here.. Harvards is here. Caltech's is here. Harvey Mudd's is here. Leaving us with the following tables. The first is the 75th Quartile, basically the scores of the top admits on the SAT (grades vary so much by school that A's are not comparable across schools, much less school districts).
|75th Quartile 2009 Data|
|School||SAT Verbal||SAT Math||SAT Writing|
For the top admits, the Ivies have better scores in Reading/Verbal, and Writing (negative means Ivies scored higher), but the tech schools do marginally better in Math.
|25th Quartile 2009 Data|
|School||SAT Verbal||SAT Math||SAT Writing|
At the bottom, 25th Quartile, the Ivies again come out on top in Reading and Writing, but the difference in Math is very large, nearly 60 points.
The Ivies, and there is no reason to expect a radical change in the admissions policy nor quality of student since the 1970's when Affirmative Action really hit, are not filled with smart people. They are filled with verbally adept folks who don't know much math. Certainly not against the elite of the elite, the folks at Caltech or Harvey Mudd. And the demands of a modern society do not require a lot of free-flowing BS. All the verbal gymnastics in the world won't get an oil spill plugged. Or Chilean miners rescued. Or an economy restarted. Instead, we have a President so monumentally stupid, he's astounded that there is no such thing as "shovel ready infrastructure projects" that he touted, personally, as being the solution to the jobs crisis with the Stimulus bill. Because any infrastructure project requires about a decade and a half of legal wrangling before work can begin.
Something immediately observable to any ordinary person reading a newspaper, by the way.
The Ivy League and "meritocratic" elites are resented because they've failed. Failed to restart the economy, failed to deal with Muslim terror, failed to deal with Iran's nukes, failed to deal with demographic decline (except celebrating the demise of the ordinary White person majority), failed to deal with the broken nuclear family, failed to deal with a tidal wave of illegal immigration leaving America as Mexico Norte, with all the failure that implies for people stuck here, failed to fix the myriad ways in which their monumentally stupid policies wrecked America, indeed in anything and everything, you can say the elites failed. Failed to keep newspapers going, except the Wall Street Journal. Failed to keep broadcast TV networks going. Failed to keep GM and Chrysler going. Failed to keep Wall Street Investment Banks going. Failed to stop the subprime crisis (Barney Frank and Barack Obama being two of the worst offenders, the former offering the excuse of his "fear of Bush" making him not see the obvious).
Outside of Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton, both of whom left festering problems of Islamic terror, to crop up with later Presidents, nearly every President since Eisenhower has been nothing but an abject failure. Amiable dunces, lecturing and preening moralizers, devious compilers of enemies lists, or all three in the case of Obama. Jeff Zucker, Harvard University, ran NBC into the ground. The Sulzberger family has made the NYT a national joke, destroying shareholder value not seen since the AOL-Time-Warner deal.
Ordinary people have given about fifty years to the elites, and have nothing to show for it but a ruined economy, cheap Chinese electronic junk, declining real wages since the 1970's, mass immigration turning them into sudden (and discriminated against) minorities in their own country, and the prospect of even more of the same. Meanwhile, the elites have put up a "No Ordinary Whites Allowed" sign in the means to entry into the elites: the Ivies and near Ivies.
Why did O'Donnell brag she did not go to Yale? The same reason all the media looked down their nose at Sarah Palin for going to Community Colleges and the University of Idaho. Class.
In this country, rich White elites partner with non-White aristocrat Affirmative Action (idiots) to provide a perfect Idiocracy. Not technocracy. If anything America's leadership has gotten stupider. From Obama's insistence that Democratic Party politics take precedence over National Security, and belief he can "order" events and jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan to his liking, to the use of near zero interest rates to "push on a string" the way Japan's two lost decades did, in "stimulating" growth (i.e. making carry trade profits for Wall Street), the idiocy of the elites knows no bounds, and ordinary people know about it.
Indeed, the extraordinary growth of the Teaching Company lectures and other places offering college style lectures, to ordinary people interested in learning, and reading for themselves, is astonishing. As idiocratic as the elites have become, to the point of worrying about Guam tipping over or citing the peace between North and South Vietnam, ordinary people have become the repository of more knowledge than ever. Famously pointing out the obvious forgery that Dan Rather swore was genuine in the infamous "Air National Guard Memos" alleging special treatment for George W. Bush during Vietnam. Who knew that the Texas Air National Guard had typewriters producing memos straight from the default setting of Microsoft Word, complete with superscript "th"s for dates and such? Ordinary men and women in their pajamas, certainly, but not elite journalist Dan Rather.
And this is why Applebaum, really, has it in for ordinary people. They are a threat. Anyone and everyone can do what she can do, better. It took me a few hours to write this post, and do the research, and format the tables, out of Excel. Modern computer technology gives me the same tools as Applebaum, and I am not alone. Anyone can do what I do. It is not that hard. Applebaum, meanwhile, is failing. Failing to check her assumptions. Failing to research the profound failure of the elites. Failing to note how at the bottom, the "elites" are far less skilled in math, than those from the true elites, the schools like Harvey Mudd or Caltech.
People from Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Brown, Princeton, and all the rest have wrecked America. It will be up to those from Caltech, Harvey Mudd, Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Toledo, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Texas A&M, and schools like them to rescue America.