Ron Unz on the illusory American meritocracy

Kevin MacDonald


French Translation, by Armor

 

An enduring aspect of the self-concept of Jews is that their ascent to elite status in America and elsewhere is the natural result of a meritocracy. For example, after Elena Kagan was nominated for the Supreme Court, Robert Frank penned an article in the Wall Street Journal (“That Bright, Dying Star, the American WASP”) hailing the rise of a meritocracy where Jews could finally assume their rightful place as an elite, and cheering the demise of those lazy, corrupt WASPs who did everything they could to thwart the rise of the Jews, including placing limits on Jewish enrollment in the elite universities.  The fact that Kagan is remarkably unqualified to be a Supreme Court Justice in terms of the usual standards (judicial experience, academic publications, or even courtroom experience) never seems to have entered his mind. In Frank’s view, her ascent from Princeton undergraduate to Harvard Law, to high-level government positions and dean of Harvard Law is the American meritocracy in action—a view that conveniently ignores the role of her Jewish ethnic connections (see also here) in greasing her ascent, most egregiously her appointment as dean of Harvard Law by Larry Summers.

Ron Unz has published a very important article showing that Kagan’s remarkable rise is a symptom of a far wider issue—that Jewish admission to elite universities is far from meritocratic (“The myth of American meritocracy: How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?”). (On the basis of Unz’s article, it would be interesting to look at Kagan’s SAT and LSAT scores!) Because of their role in replenishing elites, university admissions is a huge lever of power. The implication of Unz’s article (although he would probably shy away from this wording) is that a Jewish elite now controls this lever of power and has used it to its advantage, resulting in a massive overrepresentation of Jews in elite universities compared to their academic qualifications or intelligence, while discriminating against non-Jewish Whites and against Asians.

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There are several important messages for White advocates. The first is that Asian immigration is now a major contributing factor in the displacement of White elites. For example, in California Asians represent about 11 percent of the student-age population, Whites around 33%. A last-name analysis indicated that Asians constituted almost 60 percent of the National Merit Scholarship semifinalists in the state. Unz argues persuasively that Caltech and the highest ranking campuses of the University of California have been meritocratic, but that has meant an Asian enrollment of around 40%. The data for Caltech show Asian admissions increasing along with the increase in Asian population. This indicates that the present 40% figure will continue to grow unless limits are placed on Asian immigration or enrollment in state universities.

Secondly, there are strong indications that Jews are maintaining and even increasing their overrepresentation in elite universities at a level that is far above levels warranted by their academic performance. The overrepresentation of Jews in elite academic institutions has long been apparent, even correcting for Jewish IQ:

On the basis of Richard Lynn’s estimates of Ashkenazi Jewish IQ [110.7] and correcting for the greater numbers of European Whites, the ratio of non-Jewish Whites to Jews should be around 7 to 1 (IQ >130) or  4.5 to 1 (IQ > 145). Instead, the ratio of non-Jewish Whites to Jews is around 1 to 1 or less. (See here.) … The brouhaha that engulfed the Princeton campus because Jews were “only” overrepresented by around 6.5 times their percentage of the population suggests that there is considerable pressure for high levels of Jewish admission. The Daily Princetonian ran four front-page articles on the topic, and the New York Times ran an article titled “The Princeton Puzzle.” (See here; the original NYTimes article is here.) Clearly anything less than 20% Jewish enrollment would be met with raised eyebrows and perhaps intimations of anti-Semitism. The big picture is that this is a prime example of the corruption of our new elite. (see “Jewish overrepresentation at elite universities explained”)

For me, the most surprising aspect of Unz’s analysis was his finding of Jewish intellectual decline, as measured by performance on a wide range of competitions, from NSM semifinalists (which emphasize verbal achievement, a traditional Jewish strength), to math and science prizes. In explaining these findings, Unz points to increasing Jewish complacency and lack of effort, supporting his argument by noting that some recent Jewish standouts have been more likely to be immigrants from the former Soviet Union and therefore more likely to be highly motivated. One gets the image of third- and fourth-generation Jews, born to wealth and a sense of entitlement, seeing no need to work hard to ascend to elite status—and being quite correct in that assessment. Further, he notes that an increasing percentage of Jews come from the Orthodox, a group with relatively low IQ.

On the basis of academic achievement, Unz estimates that Jews should be around 6% of top students, far lower than the ~25% found at elite universities, terming this gap “totally absurd and ridiculous.” “Over the last decade or two, meritocracy and Jewish numbers have become opposing forces: the stricter the meritocratic standard, the fewer the Jews admitted.”

Unz argues persuasively that the elite Ivy League universities are discriminating against Asians, a group that has consistently outperformed Jews as National Merit Semifinalists (NSM) by a factor of 2 yet their percentage has remained at around 17% of Harvard undergrads since the early 1990s. Unz notes that, “assuming an admissions system based on strictest objective meritocracy, we would expect our elite academic institutions to contain nearly five Asians for every Jew; but instead, the Jews are far more numerous, in some important cases by almost a factor of two. This raises obvious suspicions about the fairness of the Ivy League admissions process.”

But the numbers for Jewish overrepresentation compared to Whites are even more striking. Corresponding to the collapse of Jewish academic achievement has been an increase in the percentage of high-performing Whites in math and science competitions. And whereas the performance of Jews has declined dramatically, the performance for Whites has stayed approximately the same—an amazing and very heartening finding considering the corrosive effect of the MTV culture and a public school system whose main function would seem to be spewing multicultural propaganda and White guilt rather than academic rigor. “Based on the overall distribution of America’s population, it appears that approximately 65–70 percent of America’s highest ability students are non-Jewish whites, well over ten times the Jewish total of under 6 percent.”

Unz’s table on p. 31 (see below) shows that Whites are underrepresented compared to their population at all elite universities. Whites are therefore highly discriminated against: “Based on reported statistics, Jews approximately match or even outnumber non-Jewish whites at Harvard and most of the other Ivy League schools, which seems wildly disproportionate. Indeed, the official statistics indicate that non-Jewish whites at Harvard are America’s most under-represented population group, enrolled at a much lower fraction of their national population [18%] than blacks or Hispanics, despite having far higher academic test scores.”

Indeed, the following analysis implies that, compared to Jews, non-Jewish Whites are represented at 1/15th of the level they would be in a meritocratic system:

If we separate out the Jewish students, their ratio [of enrollment percentage to NSM semifinalist percentage] turns out to be 435 percent [in other words, there are well over 4 times as many Jews as a meritocratic system would predict], while the residual ratio for non-Jewish whites drops to just 28 percent [a bit over 1/4th what a meritocratic system would predict and] less than half of even the Asian figure. As a consequence, Asians appear under-represented relative to Jews by a factor of seven, while non-Jewish whites are by far the most under-represented group of all, despite any benefits they might receive from athletic, legacy, or geographical distribution factors.

These trends have been increasing in recent years.

Between 2000 and 2011, the relative percentage of college-age blacks enrolled at Harvard dropped by 18 percent, along with declines of 13 percent for Asians and 11 percent for Hispanics, while only whites increased, expanding their relative enrollment by 16 percent. However, this is merely an optical illusion: in fact, the figure for non-Jewish whites slightly declined, while the relative enrollment of Jews increased by over 35 percent, probably reaching the highest level in Harvard’s entire history. Thus, the relative presence of Jews rose sharply while that of all other groups declined, and this occurred during exactly the period when the once-remarkable academic performance of Jewish high school students seemed to suddenly collapse.

As Jewish enrollment has soared, Harvard and other elite universities are choosing less and less on academic ability, as indicated by lower percentages of National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists. And Jewish students who are admitted to Harvard are much less likely than their non-Jewish White counterparts to be admitted to Phi Beta Kappa, indicating that they don’t do particularly well once admitted.

Not only did these trends occur after the collapse of Jewish academic achievement, they occurred after Unz’s original Wall Street Journal op-ed of 1998 (“Some minorities are more minor than others”) which called attention to the overrepresentation of Jews and the underrepresentation of non-Jewish Whites in the Ivy League. “Since then Jewish academic achievement has seemingly collapsed but relative Jewish enrollment in the Ivies has generally risen, while the exact opposite combination has occurred for both Asians and non- Jewish whites. I find this a strange and unexpected development.”

I find it appalling. And it suggests that the patterns of massive Jewish overrepresentation and massive non-Jewish White underrepresentation will continue into the future because publicity makes no difference. The fact that these imbalances can be maintained despite public knowledge is an important marker of Jewish power.

Unz suggests that an important reason for the dramatic Jewish overrepresentation is the large number of Jews in faculty and administrative positions at elite universities. He points to the “massive overrepresentation is found throughout the …  top administrative ranks of the rest of the Ivy League, and across American leading educational institutions in general.” He also points to the “overwhelmingly liberal orientation of the elite university community, the apparent willingness of many liberals to actively discriminate against non-liberals, and the fact that American Jews remain perhaps the most liberal ethnic community may together help explain a significant portion of our skewed enrollment statistics.”

Indeed. These are the themes of a paper of mine (“Why are professors liberals?”) arguing that the liberal orientation of the American professoriate is a top-down phenomenon stemming from the very large overrepresentation of Jews at the highest levels of academia with values that reflect the values of the mainstream Jewish community but are quite at odds with the values of the great majority of non-Jewish White Americans. I argue that just as Jewish ethnic networking is critical to the massive overrepresentation of Jews admitted to elite universities, Jewish ethnic networking has been critical to Jewish success in scaling the heights of the professoriate. Indeed, a major theme of The Culture of Critiqueis that the academic culture of the left (e.g., the Frankfurt School, Boasian anthropology and the anti-Darwinian thrust of the social sciences) has nothing whatever to do with scientific or intellectual rigor, but is the result of Jewish ethnic networking.

And yes, liberals in the academic world are quite willing to admit that they would discriminate against non-liberals (see Inbar, Y., & Lammers, J. [2012]. Political diversity in social and personality psychology. Perspectives in Psychological Science, [Sept. 2012].

The underrepresentation of non-Jewish Whites at elite universities is yet another indication that the displacement of non-Jewish White elites is moving ahead rapidly and that it’s completely beyond public discussion. Unz notes that Jewish activist organizations and Jews in the media led the charge against quotas on Jewish enrollment. Indeed, he is remarkably candid about Jewish media influence, saying just the sorts of things that get people like me on the wrong side of the ADL:

[Jerome] Karabel convincingly demonstrates that the collapse of the long-standing Jewish quotas in the Ivy League during the decade following World War II occurred as a result of massive media and political pressure, pressure surely facilitated by very heavy Jewish ownership of America’s major media organs, including all three television networks, eight of nine major Hollywood studios, and many of the leading newspapers, including both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

But there are no analogous organizations advance the interests of non-Jewish Whites (or Asians, for that matter) in fairness in academic admissions (and much else).

It’s therefore not surprising that Unz’s article is not getting the sort of media buzz that, say, an article on the victimization of groups loved by the left (non-Whites, immigrants, gays, etc.) would receive. As Unz notes, “any significant reduction in Jewish enrollment may often be denounced as [anti-Semitism] by the hair-trigger media”—the same media that yawns at the gaping underrepresentation of non-Jewish Whites.

As someone who has written extensively about Jewish power and ethnic networking without success in getting it discussed in the mainstream media or academic world, I can’t say I am surprised at the virtual blackout of Unz’s article. I subscribe to the Jewish Telegraph Agency’s email newsletter which keeps obsessive track of all things Jewish. But no mention at all of Unz’s article. So why should Harvard change its ways when there is no pressure for doing so? Asian activist groups will doubtless take heart from his findings and perhaps pursue them publicly. But they will be able to do so without having to raise any Jewish issues, making the very respectable claim that Harvard et al. are too White. In a recent blog, Unz notes that an Asian-American professor has publicized Unz’s findings, but predictably, the professor cares only about the Asians and not the non-Jewish Whites. The complete lack of powerful groups seeking to advance the interests of non-Jewish White Americans has never been more glaring.

Perhaps an enterprising non-Jewish White person could use Unz’s article as the basis for a law suit, but doing so would perforce open the can of worms that respectable America still abhors—dealing in an honest way with Jewish issues. For one thing, it would require an argument that it makes sense to formally distinguish Jews and non-Jewish Whites as separate groups, contrary to present practice where there is no Jewish category in the official university statistics. An argument that Jews should not be considered Whites could be made, highlighting the following points:

  • Population genetic data indicate that Jews are a Middle Eastern group and that there is substantial genetic distance between Europeans and Jews.
  • Jews typically do not identify with the people and culture of Christian Europe and its offshoots; traditional Jewish attitudes conceptualize Judaism as separate from White, Christian society; partly because of their lack of identification with non-White Christian culture, Jewish groups have led the campaign to remove Christianity from the public square;
  • there is a long history of very mainstream Jewish activism and identity that sees Christian Europe as an evil outgroup responsible for a long history of persecuting Jews; an important aspect of Jewish self-conception in America—apparent in much of the material reviewed by Unz, such as Jerome Karabel’s work—is that Jews were subjected to quotas at Ivy League universities until after World War II;
  • Jews are a relatively powerful group that has often been in competition with non-Jewish Europeans; Ivy League enrollments may be seen as one aspect of that competition;
  • Jewish ethnic activism typically excludes non-Jewish Whites and favors Jews, as in the appointment of Elena Kagan and the Jewish campaign to increase Jewish enrollment in Ivy League universities mentioned above;
  • As a result, the distinction between Jew and non-Jewish White is of considerable real world importance.

But such an argument would be strenuously resisted by the powers that be.

The pattern of admission to Ivy League universities is an egregious example of Jews achieving elite status far in excess of Jewish IQ or any other personal trait. This phenomenon has occurred in other times and places, such as the conflict over Jewish cultural domination in the Soviet Union:

Beginning at least by 1942, there was concern within high governmental circles with the underrepresentation of ethnic Russians and the overrepresentation of Jews in key areas of the cultural and economic elite [because they needed ethnic Russians to fight the war against Germany]. The report noted that elite cultural institutions “turned out to be filled by non-Russian people (mainly by Jews)” (in Kostyrchenko 1995, 15). For example, of the ten top executives of the Bolshoi Theater—the most prestigious Soviet cultural institution—there were eight Jews and one Russian. Similar disproportions were reported in prestigious musical conservatories and among art and music reviewers in elite publications. Higher Jewish IQ seems inadequate to account for these disproportions, suggesting within-group collusion as a factor. (SAID, Chapter 2, pp. 51)

These findings are quite compatible with the findings of Yuri Slezkine (The Jewish Century) on Jewish intellectual and cultural domination of the USSR, diminishing (but still strong) only after WWII.

Jews seek to be included in the White category whenever it benefits them. The same groups that are horrified at “White domination” would never complain about Jewish domination. Every year at Oscar time, the LATimes bemoans the fact that “White males” dominate Hollywood, but they never point out that all those White males are Jewish. And they never seem too bothered by the fact that nothing changes. Jews have dominated Hollywood for nearly a century, with no end in sight despite common knowledge of the situation. I rather doubt it will be different in the case of university admissions.

Finally, Unz makes the important point that although the WASPs did indeed attempt to hang onto their elite status by limiting Jewish enrollment, they had far more legitimacy than the present Jewish ascendancy:

Many of the Jewish writers who focus on the history of elite university admissions … rebuked the America of the first half of the Twentieth Century for having been governed by a narrow WASP ascendency, which overwhelmingly dominated and controlled the commanding heights of business, finance, education, and politics; and some of    their criticisms are not unreasonable. But we should bear in mind that this dominant group of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants—largely descended from among the earliest American settlers and which had gradually absorbed and assimilated substantial elements of Celtic, Dutch, German, and French background— was generally aligned in culture, religion, ideology, and ancestry with perhaps 60 percent of America’s total population at the time, and therefore hardly represented an alien presence. By contrast, a similarly overwhelming domination by a tiny segment of America’s current population, one which is completely misaligned in all these respects, seems far less inherently stable, especially when the institutional roots of such domination have continually increased despite the collapse of the supposedly meritocratic justification. This does not seem like a recipe for a healthy and successful society, nor one which will even long survive in anything like its current form. Power corrupts and an extreme concentration of power even more so, especially when that concentration of power is endlessly praised and glorified by the major media and the prominent intellectuals which together constitute such an important element of that power.

Exactly right. Indeed, the WASPs were racially aligned with around 90% of the American population. And I would go further and note that the new Jewish elite is not only unrepresentative of the traditional people of America, it has shown over and over again that it is a hostile elite—hostile to the traditional people and culture of America. (Similarly, Slezkine shows that Jewish intellectual and cultural domination in the USSR and throughout Eastern Europe was directed against the traditional national cultures of those societies.) In addition to the bulleted list above (e.g., Jewish leadership in removing Christianity from the public square), Jews were the main force behind the 1965 immigration law which is rapidly making non-Jewish Whites into a minority. This is the ultimate indication of the Jewish lack of identification with the traditional people and culture of America. As Whites continue to lose political power and are displaced from their elite status, their fate will increasingly be in the hands of peoples, such as Jews, who have shown repeatedly that they are hostile to the interests of Whites — first and foremost the interests of Whites in maintaining political and cultural power.

The bottom line, therefore, is that the new Jewish elite is illegitimate. Not only is it not representative of the traditional people and culture of the people who built America, it has achieved elite status in great measure not as a result of merit but because of ethnic networking (e.g., Hollywood and the media, academia); and now Unz has shown conclusively that its vast overrepresentation in elite universities is being maintained largely through Jewish ethnic networking.

In my 1998 book, The Culture of Critique, I predicted the rise of a Jewish cultural and media elite and an Asian technocratic elite. As Unz shows, the rise of Asians in technical areas is well underway and will continue to grow in the future along with the Asian population.

And I agree with Unz that the situation is indeed unstable. The last several elections have shown that American politics has become increasingly racialized, with Whites of all social classes, age categories, and both sexes tending to vote Republican. This despite the fact that Romney was hardly likely to come to the rescue of White America, and despite the fact that many of his policies were against the economic interests of many of the Whites who voted for him. Any student of history is aware of the enormous forces that ethnic conflict has unleashed in the past; and ethnic conflict continues in many parts of the contemporary world. When White Americans of the future—quite possibly the very near future—discover the world they have lost and the reasons they lost that world, the results may well be cataclysmic.

Ron Unz has made a major contribution with this article. Let’s hope it has the effect of waking up some of the many millions of slumbering, fearful Whites who are presently just standing by and watching their displacement.

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