Skip to comments.Quota 'logic' part II
Posted on 04/23/2003 12:04:24 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
Princeton professor James M. McPherson's recent arguments for affirmative action, in a newsletter to members of the American Historical Association, makes many sweeping assertions and implicit assumptions that need not even be challenged to show the shakiness of his arguments.
However, since we both belong to an organization devoted to history, let me make a few corrections of the history that Professor McPherson offers.
First of all, he mentions that his academic career began in 1962 at Princeton, as a result of what he now calls "the infamous 'old boy network,' " which he characterizes as affirmative action for white males. Despite being black, my own academic career also began that very same year, 1962, just a few miles up the road from where McPherson's career began, at Douglass College, Rutgers University.
I too received my appointment via the old boys' network, being recommended by my mentors at the University of Chicago, just as McPherson was recommended by his mentor at Johns Hopkins. Women were hired the same way, out of the same "old boys' network," which was also an old girls' network.
I was hired despite the fact that Douglass College was a college for young women and almost all these women were white. I was even hired despite having challenged and antagonized one of the senior members of the department during the job interview.
Incidentally, during my first semester of teaching, I received an unsolicited offer of another appointment, at the University of California at La Jolla. A signed contract arrived in the mail, requiring only my signature to make it official. So the idea that there were no academic opportunities for blacks in 1962 is not easy to sell to someone who was there. Save that one for guilty whites.
McPherson makes much of the fact that "virtually none" of his fellow students in graduate school were minorities or women. That was my experience as well, but Professor McPherson leaves the impression that absence means exclusion. Otherwise, why is that fact relevant to his discussion of affirmative action?
We need not rely on personal anecdotes, either his or mine. My research, using data from the American Council on Education, showed that black faculty members with the same degrees and publications as white faculty members were receiving higher pay than their white counterparts, as far back as 1969.
The real problem was that there were not nearly enough black faculty members with the same qualifications. There are still not enough. In some years, the total number of blacks in the entire country who receive Ph.D.s in mathematics is in single digits.
With women, the problem was different: Women became mothers and that was by no means the same as men becoming fathers, no matter what politically correct parallels we create today with words, such as "an expectant couple."
Those academic women who never married -- which, back in those days, had some relationship to becoming a mother -- had higher incomes than academic men who never married. Apparently Professor McPherson's "infamous 'old boy network' " was not as powerful or as sinister as he depicts.
The fact that recommendations from established scholars in a field carry weight when hiring an unknown graduate student to become a faculty member has been made to seem like some exclusionary plot, if you believe defenders of affirmative action. Indeed, any reliance on any criterion of quality -- test scores, publications, whatever -- can be depicted as an exclusionary bias by those who want quotas.
White guilt may be fashionable in some quarters but the only people it helps are those whites who want to become saints on the cheap and those blacks who have learned to hustle guilty whites. What most blacks need is -- first of all -- the kind and quality of education that they do not get in most ghetto schools. Least of all do they get this education from those teachers who spend precious class time dredging up the past instead of preparing students for the future.
Professor McPherson's defense of affirmative action to members of the American Historical Association invited comments via e-mail (email@example.com). He did not say whether that included comments from people in the real world beyond the ivied walls.
Well, well, well, Jimmy Mac knows something else. Of course what would you expect from someone who interviews for the World Socialist Web Site
Right On, Sowell! McPherson has a bad case of the "white guilt", I guess.
Indeed. I'll add it to my McPherson file right next to the interview on Mary Frances Berry's Pacifica Radio network where he appeared along side Ed Sebesta and a Puerto Rican Marxist activist for a discussion entitled "why George W. Bush is a racist."
Any freeper who has visited a thread discussing Abraham Lincoln, the great war in which he participated, or practically anything pertaining to American history between 1850 and 1870 has likely encountered the posting of commentary by Princeton University historian James McPherson, author of The Battle Cry of Freedom. On any of these threads McPherson himself is a controversial figure. To supporters of Lincoln and the North, McPherson is adored and his book is, as one of his supporters recently put it, a "highly-balanced, factual account." To supporters of the South and critics of Lincoln, McPherson's book is a heavily pro-northern account tainted with political bias and historical revisionism. Though conflicting appraisals of McPherson have been going on between the two sides for years, I only recently became curious about McPherson himself. Having an opportunity to weigh in, I decided to do a little research on the guy's background simply to find out who he was and what his issues were. Almost immediately and with but a single internet search I discovered not only was McPherson a liberal regular in the world of academia, but he also has ties to the left's radical and socialist elements.
Having seen McPherson characterized as balanced, objective, and even implied to be conservative, or at the least moderate or politically neutral, it became obvious somebody wasn't telling the whole story. Accordingly, I decided to compile the information found on Professor McPherson's radical left wing ties and introduce them as a whole into the record.
James McPherson: Defender of Bill Clinton
During the second term of his presidency, scandal plagued Democrat President was impeached by the United States House of Representatives for his extensive criminal activity in office including his obstruction of justice and repeatedly perjuring himself under oath. During the debate over impeachment and the judiciary hearings regarding what to do with Clinton in light of his crimes, liberal academia rushed to the defense of their embattled president. Not the least among them to line up on Clinton's side was James McPherson of Princeton University. McPherson's activities on behalf of Clinton are many:
On December 8, 1998 professor Sean Wilentz of Princeton, who had co-authored with Arthur Schlessinger the petition of 400 so-called constitutional scholars defending Clinton and purporting his actions to have not merited impeachment, testified on Clinton's behalf before the House Judiciary Committee. The Daily Princetonian in the article linked here reported on Wilentz's testimony. The article also mentioned that James McPherson had been invited by the Clinton White House to testify on Clinton's behalf along with Wilentz. McPherson could not testify because the time conflicted with his classroom committments. McPherson nevertheless weighed in stating that the Constitution's requirements for impeachment "mean public offenses" along with the implication that Clinton's offense had not been a public offense.
James McPherson himself signed the petition of 400 so-called constitutional scholars defending Clinton and opposing his impeachment as is documented here. The petition asserted that impeachment of Clinton would "undermine" the United States Constitution and "leave the presidency permanently disfigured." Regarding the charges agaisnt Clinton, it stated "the current charges against him depart from what the (Constitution's) Framers saw as grounds for impeachment." The petition ran in newspaper advertisements across the nation paid for by the liberal group People for the American Way. It was also frequently cited by Clinton's defense in support of his acquittal. When asked about his signature in the article here, McPherson stated that Clinton's impeachment "might come back to haunt the country" and that he had signed it once and would sign it again. The list of signatures on the document reads like a whose who of liberal academia including Arthur Schlessinger and Julian Bond.
When the Senate considered whether or not to remove Clinton during January and February of the following year, McPherson continued to speak out on Clinton's side. Before the vote was taken, McPherson stated, as can be found here, that a senate vote to remove Clinton "would cripple the executive branch . . . weakening the presidency for years to come." During Clinton's senate trial, McPherson argued the same line while giving a lecture at Kent State University. To make his case he pointed to Andrew Johnson complaining that Johnson's impeachment had weakened the presidency so much that it didn't regain the strength it had under Lincoln for another 35 years. During the same lecture reported on here McPherson continued to make his case on Clinton's side by praising Clinton's rhetorical abilities and comparing them to Abraham Lincoln. According to McPherson, Clinton had the same "gift" of connecting to the people that Lincoln did, and that is why Clinton remained popular in polls at the time.
McPherson continued his defense of Clinton as an historian by accusing those who sought to impeach Clinton of a "personal vendetta." Showing a pro-northern bias, McPherson, in the same interview, contrasted what he called the personal vendetta against Clinton with Andrew Johnson's impeachment, which he claimed was not personal (Johnson's impeachment is almost universally considered a fraudulent show trial over purely political differences between Johnson and an unconstitutional act the radical northern Congress had passed). The quote appeared in McPherson's interview on the World Socialist Web Site, which he appears on frequently and has published several articles. The quote in its entirity states "There was enormous substance to the issues involved in the impeachment of 1868 in a way that I think was totally absent from the Clinton impeachment. That was a personal vendetta, and in Johnson's case, I don't think it was personal." McPherson continues, asserting "The major difference is that the impeachment of the 1860s concerned really serious matters of substance, and the 1990s' impeachment was a more personal vendetta" and making sure to point out that Andrew Johnson was never impeached over what he calls "personal behavior." Elsewhere in the same three part interview, McPherson took jabs at conservatives classifying "groups, like the anti-abortion people" as "extremes on the Right."
James McPherson: the Socialist Pacifica Radio Network
On Nov. 3rd, 1999, Professor James McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom, appeared for a lengthy political discussion about the candidacy of George W. Bush on the "Democracy Now" program of the socialist Pacifica Radio Network. The topic of that particular show was a discussion devoted to accusations of white supremacy alleged against Bush by the show's two socialist hosts.
Pacifica radio is a multi-city socialist affiliated radio network headed up by Mary Frances Berry , the socialist Democrat chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Berry is perhaps best known as instigator of the 2000 florida election "voter disinfranchisement" show trial hearings and ensuing "reports" from the commission accusing Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris of denying the right to vote to minorities. Berry's report was drafted on statistical models by a former paid consultant to Al Gore. Berry is also known more recently for waging a political battle against George W. Bush's appointees to the commission by refusing to seat them.
"Democracy Now," one of Pacifica's most popular programs, is a left wing political talk show that was, at the time McPherson appeared on the show, hosted by Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman. The program is one of the top political discussion outlets for the radical left in America. It has in the past featured among its guests MIT Professor and leftist guru Noam Chomsky, Socialist presidential candidate David McReynolds, socialist and black panther activist Angela Davis, and radical Democrat congressman and reparations activist John Conyers. Pacifica itself is practically the exclusive domain of the radical left. With almost no exceptions, it's guests range from left to far left and its shows are hosted by open marxists and other radicals.
The first host McPherson appeared with, Juan Gonzalez, is an vietnam era activist and organizer who helped found the 1970's era "Young Lords" political movement, a Latino affiliate modelled after the Black Panther Party and formed under the guidance of imprisoned Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. Gonzalez' "Young Lords" organization was a socialist latino liberation movement that dedicated itself to the abolition of capitalism, dissolution of the United States military, implementation of worldwide socialism, and assisting "Brothers and Sisters around the world" who are under assault by forces opposed to communism. The "Young Lords" movement staged "liberation" events in the early 1970's to preach socialism to crowds carrying banners reading "Viva Che!." It is also considered one of the organizational precursers of the Puerto Rican FALN movement of Clinton pardon fame.
The second host McPherson appeared with, Amy Goodman, is a socialist activist and was featured as a guest speaker at the 1997 Socialist Scholars Conference of American held in New York. She appeared at this socialist convention along side several noted socialists including Vermont congressman Bernie Sanders and other affiliates of the Progressive Caucus, the congressional wing of Democratic Socialists of America.
Also appearing on the program as a guest with McPherson was Ed Sebesta, a leftist "homosexual rights" activist and rabid anti-confederate campaigner. Sebesta is an extreme south hater who advocates radical anti-southern activism on his political website. Among the positions he supports are boycotting consumer products with the word "plantation" in their names, prohibiting federal cemetary maintanence of confederate soldier graves, a blanket removal of confederate monuments, and the removal of all street names that are in honor of confederates. Sebesta is also a major McPherson fan and recommends McPherson's book as a #1 read for anti-confederate activists on his website. Sebesta has devoted much of his recent energy attempting to brand republicans with the accusation of racism and was on the show with McPherson exclusively to make allegations of white supremacy against George W. Bush. Among the Republicans Sebesta has attempted to smear are then Texas governor and now president George W. Bush, current Texas governor Rick Perry, and attorney general John Ashcroft. Sebesta was a major promoter of disinformation about Ashcroft and the Southern Partisan interview during the Senate confirmation hearings.
McPherson appeared along side the two socialist wackos Goodman and Gonzales as well as Sebesta. During the course of the show from which transcripts are available online, he took an anti-south position. Among McPherson's positions were the assertion of his support for the removal of confederate symbols from the Georgia and Mississippi flags, criticism of Republicans who opposed their removal, and direct accusations of white supremacy against two national confederate veterans ancestry groups. Perhaps most amazing was McPherson's seeming abstention from rebutting the absurd charge of white supremacy being waged against Bush by the other three clowns. Among McPherson's statements from the Pacifica broadcast are the following two excerpts:
"I do know that the issue of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and also in Georgia where the Confederate battle flag was incorporated into the state flag back in 1956, that those, that...of those flags has a contemporary political agenda, and to the extent that any politician endorses that, I think Trent Lott did as well a couple of years ago, far more vigorously, I can't support them in doing that."
"I think, I agree a 100% with Ed Sebesta about the motives or the hidden agenda, not too, not too deeply hidden I think of such groups as the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They are dedicated to celebrating the Confederacy and rather thinly veiled support for white supremacy. And I think that also is the again not very deeply hidden agenda of the Confederate flag issue in several southern states."
James McPherson: The 'World Socialist Web Site'
A Google web search reveals 27 "hits" for James McPherson on the World Socialist Web Site, www.wsws.org. The World Socialist Web Site is the official internet home of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). The site lists its purpose as providing documents of analysis and study "from the heritage of the socialist movement" (apparently McPherson's many articles on this site are among those documents). The site itself proclaims to be involved in a movement to solve economic and social equality struggles, which it claims are "inseparable from the growth in the influence of a socialist political movement guided by a Marxist world outlook."
The organization that runs the website, the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), is the direct descendant of an international socialist organization founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938. It has affiliate third party political organizations in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and Germany, among others.
The World Socialist Web Site has a profile devoted to McPherson under their history section. McPherson's profile is linked their history index along side their other history pages. It is identified as "James McPherson: Historian of the American Civil War" and is one of many sections of mostly socialist themes. Among the others are "Marxism and the fundamental problems of the 20th century," "Leon Trotsky" and "The Struggle for Social Equality." Among the items under McPherson's profile are several of his publications including a three part exclusive interview with the organization that runs the site.
In addition, a mini-biography of a profile of McPherson is given on the World Socialist Web Site located here. This biography is by David Walsh, a socialist activist and arts editor for the World Socialist Web Site. In it, Walsh clearly identifies McPherson as a friend to socialists, stating "Nearly 40 years ago Professor McPherson arrived at a conception of the American Civil War, based on the work of the best of his predecessors and his own researches, as a revolutionary struggle for equality and democracy and he has not, I think, ever deviated from that view. This is noteworthy in light of the fact that the last several decades have not been favorable for progressive social thought" (my emphasis added). The rest of Walsh's mini-biography lavishes McPherson with praises for viewing the war as a "social movement" of "liberation" and proceeds to quote one of the north's strongest advocates during the war itself, Karl Marx, to show that the granddaddy of communism's view is consistent with McPherson's. The article does concede that McPherson is generally a political in his writings, but nevertheless maintains the title "progressive" - the famous euphemism used by leftists to refer to themselves and their allies in terminology with less inflamatory connotations than "leftist," "communist," or "liberal."
Now, all that being introduced into the record, excuse me for just a moment while I express my doubts in the objectivity of ANY individual who willingly appears on an openly socialist radio talk show during a discussion devoted to smearing George W. Bush. Allow me to express my doubts in the fairness of ANY individual who actively defended Bill Clinton during his impeachment while accusing those who favored it of having but a mere "personal vendetta." Allow me to express my doubts in the claims of political balance for ANY individual who openly associates with and publishes material on the official website of an international trotskyite marxist political party. Allow me to also express concerns over the left wing political bias of persons who willfully associate themselves with such an entity as Pacifica or with the socialist activists on Pacifica, or with a socialist political party, or with the Clinton Administration in its defense against the greatest presidential scandal in American history.
James McPherson: Modern Liberal and Anti-Confederate Activism:
Aside from his openly socialist affiliations, involvement with Democrat and leftist modern political causes as well as anti-confederate activism in modern times appear on McPherson's record. They amply demonstrate McPherson's anti-southern bias in his own personal politics on things such as the modern confederate flag controversy and his pro-Democrat political affiliations. Broken down by category, here is a sample of McPherson's politics:
McPherson's modern anti-south and anti-confederate biases -
"One's stance on the [confederate] flag, I think, does reflect some degree of commitment for civil rights - or lack of commitment" - James McPherson, quoted by the Associated Press, February 28, 2000
"I do know that the issue of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and also in Georgia where the Confederate battle flag was incorporated into the state flag back in 1956, that those, that...of those flags has a contemporary political agenda, and to the extent that any politician endorses that, I think Trent Lott did as well a couple of years ago, far more vigorously, I can't support them in doing that." - James McPherson, quoted on the socialist Pacifica Radio Network's "Democracy Now" show, November 3, 1999
Modern confederates are "people who reshape Civil War history to suit the way they wish it had come out." - James McPherson, review of "Confederates in the Attic" by Tony Horwitz
"For a lot of people, especially blacks, but not only blacks, the symbols of the Confederacy, or memorializing those who fought for the Confederacy, are- the Confederacy is seen standing for slavery and for treason. That is for rebellion against the United States, war against the United States, war to try to break up and, in the minds of those who fought on the side of the North, to destroy the United States. And I think it seems in the minds of many to be a travesty to memorialize them." - James McPherson, December 18, 1995 interview, NPR
The Plain Dealer covered a speech by McPherson in a May 5, 2000 article, reporting McPherson to hold the belief that "it's likely slavery in some form would have persisted into the 20th century" were it not for the war. McPherson continued, asserting that had it not been for the war, this "might have given rise to a South African-type apartheid which could have continued to today."
"[Southerners] need to face up to the historical reality, if only to come to terms with the problems of their own society" - James McPherson, referring to persons who disagree with Northern versions of the conflict's history, U.S. News and World Report, 9/30/02
McPherson on Slavery Reparations -
James McPherson hosted a University seminar to discuss the issue of slavery reparations on April 14, 2001 at Washington University in St. Louis. The event's calendar announcement, may be found here. According to the calendar, the session was titled "40 Acres & a Mule," hosted by McPherson. The event's description reads "This class will address the question of whether decendents of slaves (or other African Americans) are owed reparations for slavery. Prof. McPherson will provide some historical background on the debate after the Civil War about granting every freed slave '40 acres and a mule.'" Details of what sides McPherson took during the seminar are not reported, but it should be noted that seminars of this nature on the reparations issue have been held on college campuses across the nation in recent years, almost exclusively to give a platform and audience to the pro-reparations cause.
McPherson's support of today's liberal Democrats, espousal of left wing policy, and criticism of the GOP -
The February 6, 2000 Baltimore Sun reported in an article about then Democrat presidential candidate Bill Bradley that Bradley had "assembled a " futures group" of thinkers who would meet several times a year to discuss the major problems of, and opportunities for, the United States in the last decade of the century." On the small list of members of this "select group" was James McPherson. Others included Richard Rorty, an ultra-left post modernist philosophy professor, and Cornel West, an ultra-liberal "black studies" professor and leading slavery reparations advocate.
"He's very good at creating a positive image. Just last week, he made a quick visit to the fires in Idaho. People appreciate that he cares about these things." - James McPherson, speaking about Bill Clinton, quoted in USA Today, August 14, 2000
"There is a real irony here because the Republicans went out of their way to avoid real conflict or the appearance of conflict. The public is aware of that, so what is the point of watching the convention or caring about it?" - James McPherson commenting on the Republican National Convention, New Hampshire Telegraph, August 4, 2000
In the April 2003 edition of "Perspectives," the magazine of the American Historical Association, McPherson published a lengthy diatribe espousing the continuation of "Affirmative Action" in response to the University of Michigan case before the Supreme Court.
About as much as one would expect from someone who interviews for Pravda . No wonder you post from Russian websites, billbears.
How about some examples of the "bias" and revisionism?
It's hard to describe what Russia is now, billbears. I don't think that it's a capitalist democracy like we are. It has it's Socialist and Communist factions still today. I don't think that it's a true or trusted friend of the U.S., although that fact might have been a selling point for ol' Clyde.
I just asked for some examples of his "bias and revisionism". Do you have any?
Show me a thread where McPherson is extensively quotes as the basis of an argument and I will show you exactly that.
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