June 14, 2015

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WSJ’s Weekend Interview is with Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College. A school, which in a weak moment in the late 60′s, conferred a degree on Pickerhead. 

… “The overwhelming argument now for education—at all levels and from the government—is that it’s a preparation to make you a better factor of production,” Mr. Arnn says. By way of response, he quotes Churchill, which he can do better than most. From 1977-80, while studying in London, Mr. Arnn assisted Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s authorized biographer, with research, conducting interviews and sorting through official papers. As we sit in Hillsdale’s office in Washington and Mr. Arnn relates Churchill’s thoughts on education, the British statesman glowers down at us from a large painting on the wall.

“Engines were made for men, not men for engines,” Churchill said at the University of Miami in 1946. “Expert knowledge, however indispensable, is no substitute for a generous and comprehending outlook upon the human story with all its sadness and with all its unquenchable hope.”

Yet the humanities have fallen on hard times. Unquenchable hope is all well and good, a critic might say, but it doesn’t pay the electric bill. This spring SweetBriarCollege, a century-old liberal-arts school in Virginia with about 700 students, announced that it would soon close its doors for good. The college’s president lamented that financial obstacles couldn’t be overcome, and that too few young people were interested in attending a rural school in the Blue Ridge Mountains. “We are 30 minutes from a Starbucks,” he said.

That’s about 10 minutes closer to a Starbucks than Hillsdale. When I point this out to Mr. Arnn, he replies that students can get their coffee fix at A.J.’s Cafe on campus—but he takes the point. “HillsdaleCollege is 40 minutes from anywhere,” he says. “And you know, also, it’s cold up there, and small. The town’s small. We think of those as advantages. Because you need to come to college for the right reason. They’re not coming to our place for the beach. We like that—and manage to recruit, better and better.”

Figures provided by the college bear this out: In 1996, Hillsdale had 1,131 students, whose average high-school GPA was 3.5. Slightly over half—56%—hailed from outside Michigan. Last year undergraduates numbered 1,437. Their average high-school GPA was 3.8, and two-thirds came from out of state.

This is all the more impressive considering that Hillsdale students aren’t allowed to receive federal aid, such as Pell grants. In 1966 Hillsdale’s board decided the school wouldn’t accept any money directly from the government. “We thought that direct aid to the colleges was illegitimate,” Mr. Arnn says. “We’re the trainers of citizens and statesman. If the government funds us, it’s controlling that process.” …



John Fund posts on the election in Turkey.

It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of Turkey’s election yesterday. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has run a one-man political show in Turkey for 13 years with his AK party dominating politics. It has now in the words of the BBC “has just taken a very big kick” and Turkey’s democracy will be the better for it.

While Turkey grew economically under Erdogan, he increasingly engaged in arbitrary measures, from curtailing judicial independence to trying to shut down social-media platforms like Twitter he didn’t like. He announced during the campaign he was hoping the AKP would win enough seats (367 are needed to change the constitution directly, 330 to call a referendum to change the system) to amend the constitution to give the job of president much more power.

Instead, Erdogan’s party lost almost ten percentage points, down to 41 percent. …



Kevin Williamson writes on the politicians who campaign against their citizens.

We are ruled by criminals.

Consider the case of Rodney Thompson, the school superintendent in Berkeley County, S.C., who is currently collecting a $168,714 salary while he awaits trial on a public-corruption charge related to the misuse of government resources for a political campaign.

The campaign in question was a referendum to raise taxes in order to facilitate more spending on schools — no surprise that the school managers were all-in behind it. Thompson has been indicted on a misdemeanor charge; the district’s press officer was indicted on a similar charge and then on a felony forgery charge — investigators say she doctored documents to mislead them. The interim superintendent serving while Thompson’s legal troubles are sorted out is under investigation in the affair as well.

Never forget: They do it for the children.

This sort of thing is as common as dirt. Conservative activists complain — and have produced evidence — that school personnel in Jefferson County, Colo., did exactly the same thing, using public resources to campaign for a tax hike, the purpose of which was to increase their paychecks and decrease their workloads. Other critics have raised questions about the district’s financial arrangements with a firm that supported the tax-hike campaign. Construction companies, as it turns out, adore government-school building projects.

In Connecticut, a Waterbury smoke shop was the locus of a federal conspiracy and election-law investigation related to the congressional campaign of Chris Donovan, a Democratic activist who had been speaker of the state house. His campaign finance director and a longtime aide have been convicted. The complaints against them included — this will not surprise you — the misuse of public resources for campaign purposes.

And so it goes. …



Slate Star Codex with a rambling post on Bernie Sanders’ suggestion that college should be free to all. It closes with this;

… If I were Sanders, I’d propose a different strategy. Make “college degree” a protected characteristic, like race and religion and sexuality. If you’re not allowed to ask a job candidate whether they’re gay, you’re not allowed to ask them whether they’re a college graduate or not. You can give them all sorts of examinations, you can ask them their high school grades and SAT scores, you can ask their work history, but if you ask them if they have a degree then that’s illegal class-based discrimination and you’re going to jail. I realize this is a blatant violation of my usual semi-libertarian principles, but at this point I don’t care.



Ann Althouse posts on the anti-Semitic slur tossed towards Bernie Sanders by NPR’s Diane Rehm. 

… It was only last weekend that Bernie Sanders shocked the Clinton campaign in the Wisconsin straw poll by getting 41% to Hillary’s 49%. He’s not an amusing sideline anymore. What can be done to keep Democrats from drifting his way?

An outright lie about him doesn’t work, does it? Well, yes it does! It made everyone take notice that Bernie Sanders is Jewish. He’s not an Israeli citizen. That’s cleared up, but the impression remains: He’s Jewish. That stirs up any free-floating anti-Jewishness that may be useful to his opponent. It stirs up suspicion that Sanders feels affiliated with Israel in a way that is inconsistent with the American presidency. I’m sure many people hadn’t even noticed that Sanders is Jewish, and now we all know that, and we know additional facts. From the first link above, which goes to Politico: “Sanders, who is Jewish, has visited Israel several times and spent several months working on a communal farm called a Kibbutz in the 1960s.”

That’s all powerfully useful to Hillary. Am I supposed to believe this was a mere oopsie by a nice old lady? She’s 78, give her a pass? Did you know Diane Rehm is an Arab?



David Bernstein posts on Rehm’s slur in Volokh Conspiracy.

… I’m not suggesting that Rehm herself is hostile to Jews in any way. In fact, the opposite may very well be true; in educated American mainstream liberal circles, the level of anti-Semitism is quite low, which can lower can lower the “immune system” of liberals like Rehm when real anti-Semitism pops up. Even the individuals noted above–Cole, Bromwich, etc.–likely have nothing against Jews, per se; they just are hostile to Israel or at least its current policies.

As a result, in some cases they don’t mind playing on age-old anti-Semitic themes to advance their agenda. In other cases, they are so certain that their negative views of Israel are correct that they truly can’t believe that anyone would disagree with them unless they were blinded by loyalty to Israel. When they make what might otherwise seem to be scurrilous accusation, they are not being disingenuous.

In any event, strange accusations about supporters of Israel, especially Jewish supporters, have become sufficiently commonplace that what should have seemed like an obvious anti-Semitic hoax didn’t ring any alarm bells. …



Speaking of H. Clinton, this is from a post by Instapundit linking to Nick Gillespie’s interview with Camille Paglia.

Paglia; … “Hillary is a mess. And we’re going to award the presidency to a woman who’s enabled the depredations and exploitation of women by that cornpone husband of hers? The way feminists have spoken makes us blind to Hillary’s record of trashing [women]. They were going to try to destroy Monica Lewinsky. It’s a scandal! Anyone who believes in sexual harassment guidelines should have seen that the disparity of power between [Bill] Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was one of the most grotesque ever in the history of sex crime. He’s a sex criminal! We’re going to put that guy back in the White House? Hillary’s ridden on his coattails.” …