Heather Mac Donald

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. During her distinguished career as an investigative journalist, she has addressed issues vital to all Americans. Praxis Circle interviewed Ms. Mac Donald because she is dedicated to telling the truth, when applying an exceptional analytical ability. Of course, America needs this now more than ever.

How did you get connected to the Manhattan Institute?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, the Manhattan Institute is known as a think tank, which is an alternative to universities. It’s the idea that we are going to generate new knowledge and ideas outside of a university setting. I had no awareness of the Manhattan Institute, I’ll be very honest, for all of my life. And was not even a conservative, I certainly don’t consider myself a libertarian, but I had started writing when I was in New York, in the ’90s on issues of culture, postmodernism, multiculturalism. And had written a piece that would kind of represent a direction I would ultimately go in on personal responsibility that was about a stamped up at The City University of New York city college during a rap basketball charity game. And I wrote about this and I had published already with The New Criterion and Roger Kimball suggested I try the City Journal, which was their quarterly publication of the Manhattan Institute, which I did, and they accepted it. And then a writing relationship developed out of that, where I became more and more frequent contributor to City Journal.

The editor at the time, Myron Magnet asked me to write my first reported piece, which I’d never done. I was not a student journalist, which I wish I had been. I admire students that take time away from their studies and learn the ropes of being a journalist. I was such a perfectionist in college, I always blew through paper deadlines and was granted leeway, which was preposterous. And so the concept of writing under a hard deadline still is an anathema to me, I can’t imagine doing it. I suffocate when I feel like I’m under a deadline, but it’s a great discipline and student journalists, keep it up, you’re saving the world. I wasn’t one of those. So, to do a reported piece was also a very novel, but that also opened up a whole new type and genre writing, which I did pursue fairly actively after that.

Who or what influenced you most in your early years?

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t want to sound ungrateful or the hubris of believing that I’m autochthonous, springing from the earth like some of the Greek gods. But I can’t answer that easily. My family, there was not a lot of talk. It was not a happy marriage and it broke up and there was not conversation around the dinner table. So I don’t remember explicit moral teaching, there’s no family history there. So I don’t know. But I grew up in an orderly family. It was one that took for granted schooling, I guess, but I was always a serious student. I never needed persuading to take my homework seriously, first and foremost. So it’s not as if I needed to be taught that.

So influences, I really can’t say. I always revered my professors, fell in love with them, looked up to them. They were the source of knowledge, which I think I equate it with aros. There is something extraordinarily erotic about that power of knowing the world. So I’ve certainly emulated academically many of my professors in college, but I really can’t say. I have a strong sense of personal responsibility. My father, I guess, did too. I mean, I remember he didn’t talk about his work. He was the trustee of a family fortune that came out of Chicago. And so he created the trusts and oversaw them. And I remember hearing him say that he would be up in the middle of the night, worrying about making decisions, with all the financial responsibility.

So I guess that got conveyed by osmosis of a sense of responsibility, which I think personal responsibility is one of my primary values. But frankly, again, I was not a rebellious kid, so that didn’t need to be beaten into me. It came kind of naturally, which I don’t take any credit for then, because I think obviously people have genetic predispositions towards obedience versus rebellion. And I do not have a knee jerk, libertarian instinct.

How did you get into Yale and what was your experience there?

Heather Mac Donald:

I really put my studies ahead of everything else. I don’t think I was particularly outstanding. And frankly, I was an English major. It’s really a scam that the summa cum laude ranking system is applied across the board. There’s simply no way that somebody who graduates summa cum laude in the humanities can claim the same mastery of truly rigorous work as somebody in the stem fields. And certainly when I was there, when the postmodernism deconstructive theory was in its zenith of being highly regarded by my professors, which I was. I was regarded as sort of the golden girl of comparative literature. And it was assumed that I would go on to become a professor, which is what I aspired to do.

I will say, I mean, that involved an enormous putting aside of common sense, and to a certain extent, aping an academic discourse that was self-referential, that had no empirical reference, and was frankly, insane. So, I don’t take a whole lot of credit for the fact that I did do well at Yale, both because I wasn’t doing a massive amount of other things. To me, the greatest good was being in Sterling Library, in the stacks, Yale’s neogothic tower of a library, and either reading Edmund Spencer’s “Faerie Queene”, or trying to decipher the latest Jacques Derrida piece of nonsense essay.

Deconstruction and Studying Language

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, you have to take language very seriously, which is what the good part of deconstruction was. It paid attention to the words on the text as an outgrowth of Yale’s new criticism. It turned the close reading into a perverse end. But yes, you have to believe that language matters, you have to have an ear for language and I will acknowledge that I do, with whether it’s foreign languages or English language.

Doug Monroe:

Absolutely. Clarity of writing. Clarity of writing, you got it.

Heather Mac Donald:

That’s what I aspire to.

Importance of Classical Music

Heather Mac Donald:

I grew up playing the piano and my father was a very good, much better pianist than I was. He used to play jazz as well in law school and in the Navy. And, my God, I remember growing up, he had The Music Minus One recording for the Schumann Piano Concerto, which is wildly difficult. I couldn’t play the Schumann Piano Concerto in a billion years. But nevertheless, music was in my household. We went every Sunday to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Matinee concerts at the music center in Downtown, LA. And the classical music radio was often in the background. So, I grew up with music in my ear and that is the most important thing in my life. There’s nothing that gives me greater joy and that I think is a more profound expression of human possibility than classical music.

I love the American songbook. I think that is if at the end of time, there is a sort of a, every nation is called forth to make its case for world historical importance and Austria gets up there and says, “Okay, look, I got Shuba. I got Mozart.” And Germany’s there with Bach and Beethoven and Brahms. We’ll stand up there proud and say, we’ve got Cole Porter and Gershwin and Irving Berlin and Rogers and Hammerstein and Rogers and Hart, and they will be absolutely floored. So, that I certainly love the American popular music tradition up through the ’50s and the great musicals, but fundamentally, it’s classical music which is where my deepest roots lie.

What is your source of courage in your work?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, on the question of debate and argument, I just don’t give a damn, I care about what I do think is right. And I see myself as defending the things that I love, which is the greatness of Western civilization, works that we should be down on our knees before. And I just don’t care what they call me. I will say, I’ve also had what’s described as a certain amount of courage in my reporting when in the 1990s, in New York, that’s when Rudolph Giuliani was mayor, greatest mayor in this history of the city, probably of the country, possibly. And he was involved in several battles. One was welfare reform and the other was making the city safe.

And my view of myself as a journalist was I know nothing. I don’t have a store of knowledge of, say, conservative theory or sociology. My only value added is the willingness to go out, get out of my chair and go into alien environments and ask people questions. And so I would go to housing projects in East Harlem to report on what people’s attitudes are to the police or to crime. And the residents of the Johnson houses would tell me, “Don’t even think of going next door to the Taft houses because they really hate white people there.” Or I would go to welfare offices and either get in officially or sort of sneak in and be told by the recipients of welfare, “They should have done this welfare reform years ago.” They’d say, “These welfare mothers they’re so lazy, they won’t even change the 40-watt bulb in their apartment.” These were welfare mothers themselves. They sounded like Ronald Reagan. They said, “They’re only having more babies to get more welfare, increase their welfare check.”

These are sort of conservative tropes about welfare that we’re supposed to believe is just the result of greedy, white conservatives who are so mean towards the dependent poor. No, the people in the system say those things. So I did not fear going to those places. And I think that came out of simply naivete and a sense that, of possibly a thoughtless sense of invulnerability, I don’t know. But it’s what I needed to do to get the story so I did it.

How would you describe your worldview?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, I did not grow up with categories and I did not grow up as a conservative. I didn’t really even know that world existed, and I’m not particularly self-reflective, but I guess if I canvas myself, I care a lot about meritocracy. That was one of, I think the first areas that I would be described as conservative on in that I always opposed racial preferences because of the assault on excellence and the idea of choosing somebody who was less qualified based on the irrelevance of race or sex. So, I believe in meritocracy, I believe in excellence. And I believe in civilization, I believe in the high arts. I don’t think they need to apologize for elitism. I believe in beauty, I believe in Tiepolo, I believe in Van Dyck, I believe in John Singer Sargent’s Watercolors. That these are artists that take human life out of the mundane and give us a way of seeing that we would otherwise never experience. And I guess I also believe very strongly in personal responsibility and the bourgeois values of self-discipline and deferred gratification.

The Litmus Test Between Libertarians and Conservatives

Heather Mac Donald:

There was a period where I was writing a lot on graffiti and the celebration of it by the elites. And I realized that a quick test for, are you a libertarian or a conservative is what is your reaction to graffiti? And if your reaction to graffiti is that this is just self-evidently vandalism and selfishness and squalor and ugliness and entitlement, you do not have a right to use somebody else’s property, you’re a conservative. To my amazement there are people who have the exact opposite response that think it is creative and spontaneous. And the libertarians who celebrate this as expressive without giving a thought to property. Now, there are libertarians that care much about property rights, but in my experience, there’s sort of an anarchist libertarian that celebrates that. And it’s simply incomprehensible to me how somebody could be so blind to the fact that you are appropriating without permission, somebody else’s property for your own use. But I would say that’s a genetic disposition, but it’s an interesting litmus test of which way do you trend.

Do you believe in Truth?

Heather Mac Donald:

No. I’m a contradictory in that I have to acknowledge that of course when I’m writing, I believe very much that I am vindicating the truth about crime, about policing, about the absence of racial discrimination currently in our world. But I did absorb enough of the destructive impulse in college that I do not believe in truth. It’s self-canceling to say, but I have seen too much interpretation. I have read too many different readings of Shakespeare or of the world to be at all confident that there is one reading of a text. I do not believe there’s a true reading of a text. If there were, we would’ve arrived at it hundreds of years ago. Language, again, I may just have been brainwashed by my deconstruct background, but it looks to me empirically the case that language is endlessly productive of interpretation.

There may be some obvious cases of very clearly written contracts where there’s no ambiguity there, but we also know in the law that we are endlessly debating the interpretation of the Constitution and of contracts. And when it comes to outside of the realm of language and how assess causality in the world, again, I admit to being completely divided on this. I believe that I’m following the truth, but I also grant that my ideological opponents can make an argument for their version of the world. And they would say to me, “How can you not see the systemic factors that lead to racially disparate outcomes? How can you talk about personal responsibility when the evidence for systemic racism is so obvious?” And I’m not willing to say with utter, utter confidence, that I’m the only one who possesses the truth.

Pragmatism vs. Universal Truth

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, you describe pragmatism, which some of the philosophers, Putnam said, truth is local and that there are communities of consensus, but I would not necessarily agree that there are universal truths. I don’t believe in natural law. I mean, what I notice is that natural law is what the person thinks it is. I would be persuaded by natural law if somebody said, “Well, I don’t think this should be this case, but natural law requires me to acknowledge that it is,” it ends up inevitably being simply a rationalization of what one already believes and clearly there’s differences. I mean, if is so patent, we’d all be agreeing on what it is, but it tends to be particularly one particular group of people with a particular outlook that claims it.

And I don’t think that there are universal truths. And we can see, look at cultures, what role should females have, that’s not a universal and within our own culture, that’s changing. We’re very different than we were in the 18th century with regards to what role female should have. And I’m not saying that’s necessarily progress, I’m probably more sympathetic to the 18th century view. But within our own cult things change. So no, I don’t believe that there’s universal truths.

What is the basis of your moral standard?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, I think the contingent principle of the golden rule is a pretty good moral precept of behave towards others as you would have them behave towards you. And are you willing to have your rule of behavior universalized? So, I guess, again, I’m not self-reflective. personal responsibility, thinking about the consequences of one’s behavior. Again, something else that is unfathomable to me is how anybody could litter. Literally, I just cannot possibly imagine what it takes to throw something out of your window or on the ground. These are savages. But the obvious issue there is, what if everybody did this, what would be our condition? We would be up to our mountains in garbage. How can you not think about whether your behavior can be turned into a general rule? So I think that is a pretty good way of addressing morality. And there’s things that are just empirically again, verifiable as far as say, childrearing, the two parent family is empirically superior to the single mother family based on the results.

What is your view of God?

Heather Mac Donald:

I became aware of religion in the ’90s. I’m in a perfect example of the coastal elites. If the religious are railing against it, it’s a reality. I grew up in west LA, went to private schools, went to prep school in the Massachusetts for two years, went to private schools in college. I was not aware of meeting anybody religious. I may have, but I didn’t know. It was just not a factor. And so it was not until I came to New York in the ’90s and got more involved with conservatives and National Review, or whatever, that I became aware of this. And to me, the real sticking point of religion is petitionary prayer. It is to me, the height of narcissism, as well as illogic and blindness.

It works like this. I started seeing this again and again, and there’s a village that has been decimated by a landslide or an earthquake. And the religious will start immediately praying for the surviving victims. What is their logic that God needs reminding that there are victims that He was unaware of, but if they pray to Him, “Oh, okay, thanks for telling me guys, I’ll now try to save them.” Now, it would’ve been much more efficient to have avoided the landslide entirely. And do you think that God is a democratic politician, that the more people who pray, the more people He’s going to be attentive to and will take a different course of action? And if He has the power, which we know He does, according to His definition of omnipotence and omniscience, and He will respond to your prayers to save the remaining victims, why did he let the thousands who were decimated in the earthquake die in the first place? But if a young child is pulled from the rebel alive, the religious say, “A miracle, God saved his life. God is good. God is merciful.”

What I notice is that God gets credit for the good things and never gets blamed for the bad things. I remember when John Ashcroft the attorney general under Bush, several years after 9/11, said, “Well, God has kept us safe since 9/11.” If that’s the case, why did He let 9/11 happen in the first place? If a human father had the attributes we ascribed to God of omniscience and omnipotence and allowed to happen to his children what God allows to happen to His alleged children of human beings, that father would be thrown in jail as a child abuser, as somebody who is not capable of being a parent. God knows that this child is going to be born with half a brain, with no lungs, will die within three years. He knows that and He could prevent it and He chooses not to.

Human Beings as the Ultimate Source of Justice and Compassion

Heather Mac Donald:

The source of justice and compassion in my view is human beings. We’re the ones who struggle against nature to try and make human life more bearable, who struggle against genetic to disease that God in his omniscience and omnipotence knows is happening and does nothing about. The narcissism of it is there you are in your hospital bed with cancer. And so you’re praying to God to save you from cancer. Meanwhile, in the bed next to you, a lovely elderly woman has just died of cancer. How dare you think that God will answer your prayers and He was willing to let that woman die.

And the reason you’re praying to Him is because you believe that he will respond to your prayers so He can intervene. Although one can get into the infinite regress as if everything, if He’s really omniscient, then everything is faded to begin with. So why are you even praying? But let’s say that somehow there’s some part of the world that He doesn’t know what’s going to happen, and He’s changing it at any given time. How dare you think that He will respond to your prayers to save you, and He allowed that other person to die of cancer? Why are you worth it?

And the response from a believer is, “Well, God is mysterious.” No, He’s not. You tell me, you understand… If He saved the child from the rebel, you understand His will, you attribute to Him the good things, you think that that was transparent. It’s just the evil that you think is mysterious and inexplicable, but you can’t have it both ways. Either the whole thing is irrational and inexplicable, which I would argue if we’re going to posit a omniscient and omnipotent God, it is because it is inexplicable that somebody with power and knowledge would allow the daily slaughter of the innocence as God does, or He doesn’t have that knowledge and He’s not what He’s cracked up to be.

Doug Monroe:

Well, of course you could be atheist and you wouldn’t expect God to intervene in anything. You’re basically complaining to God about how God designed the world. And I leave that between you and God. I made a reference to Stephen Meyer-

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t know.

God as Placeholder for Ignorance

Heather Mac Donald:

God, to me is a placeholder for ignorance. It’s no more to say we don’t know the origins of the universe, which is absolutely true. The mind crush is crushed by thinking of what was in the beginning. Is it nothing? Is it something? We cannot go there. Our minds are not capable of it. To say, “Well, it’s God,” doesn’t answer anything. What is God? What preceded God? So that to me is throwing up your hands and saying, I can’t answer it so I’ve got this pat answer. You still have to explain what the heck is God and how did He come into being? So then you just define it and say, “Well, He’s what always was and-“

Doug Monroe:

Well, I will interrupt you there. It’s not turtles all the way down. It can be just one turtle that starts it. And we don’t know that or not.

A Conversation on the Evidence for God and Miracles

Doug Monroe:

What about just personal experience? Do you ever feel God, do you sense God’s presence in your life? And just the little details of the way the world is, or the fact that I’m sitting here with you, I would say, “Hmm, this is weird, Doug, how did this happen?”

Heather Mac Donald:

No, I don’t feel-

Doug Monroe:

You don’t feel that?

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t feel that at all. I know there’s a book I think “Father Knew,” sort of book about coincidences or something, that there’s no coincidences. That’s preposterous. We notice the coincidences, we don’t notice all of the things that are not coincidental, where things go wrong or they’re just random. The human mind seeks agency, it seeks pattern. And there’s an inclination to believe that agency exists in things that it doesn’t necessarily. We want to believe in teleology and cause, and sometimes that just it’s simply things are random and if it’s-

Doug Monroe:

They don’t appear too random, they don’t see randomness. So I’m just going to use your argument on truth against you, could be just different truths. But so what about all the paranormal experiences people have, like at UVA, you go to their library, it’s filled all over the world. Verifiable scientific stuff. It’s there I’m not Yeah. No, it’s there.

Heather Mac Donald:

Like ESP?

Doug Monroe:

Tons of other lives, yes.

Heather Mac Donald:

I would say human delusion, the capacity of craziness of, again, believing in miracles or seeing miracles, having visions, the brain can short circuit and human beings want to ascribe… It’s interesting that the rate of miracles has way, way tapered off since we have much better-

Doug Monroe:

It hasn’t though. That’s…

Heather Mac Donald:

Oh, really? People are still seeing-

Doug Monroe:

You need to do some research.

Heather Mac Donald:

… bleeding crucifixes? Burning bushes, God talking from bushes?

Doug Monroe:

Yes, believe it or not, stuff happens all the time.

Heather Mac Donald:

I’d love to see that picture. I know. People see UFOs too.

Doug Monroe:

If you’re looking, well, that’s a thing that I personally am curious about. I’ve never seen one, but don’t kill the messenger. It’s all over the place. Eric Metaxas writes about it, all that. It’s not made up. Things happen that cannot be explained. And it’s not just one person’s mind, it could be groups of people, things happen. And so anyway, I’ll just leave it at that. To me, if you want to know how Doug thinks, what you don’t, I think that Michael Jordan’s a great basketball player, I’ll never be a great basketball player. And he has a skill that maybe not everybody has. Some people have different skills they bring to the table and they can see different things and they do. And that’s as objectively verifiable as anything in this room. You don’t have to believe that, but it’s just there. And it’s not getting less, it’s getting more. So anyway, we’ll leave it at that.

Heather Mac Donald:

We witnessed with the January 6th rigging narrative, as well as COVID hysteria, that human beings are very capable of mass delusion. So to me, the scientific method is one of the greatest discoveries of the human mind, of randomized controlled experiments. Postulate a hypothesis, test it with a randomized controlled experiment with a control group. And to me that is a litmus test of truth. So I would like these miracles to be subjected to something like that. And I’ll put my faith in medical science.

Doug Monroe:

Well, you’re putting your faith in the truth and you just said you don’t believe in it. You’re using the words-

Heather Mac Donald:

I’m putting my faith in using words in testing and empiricism.

Doug Monroe:

Okay. Well, that’s what I’m saying, go do it. He’s listening to a tape right now. Eben Alexander, are you familiar with him? He was a brain surgeon at Harvard that died for five days. And so he’s not a materialist at all, he’s gone to the exact opposite. Just like you’ve become conservative, he’s become everything’s consciousness, that’s all there is. And he’s just as smart as you and I are. So, I mean, you go have the conversation with him. Again, I’m the messenger that’s all, but I appreciate you being so honest with me and probing this important issue. It really is important.

How is diversity a delusion?

Heather Mac Donald:

Yes, we can either have diversity or we can have meritocracy. At this point in time, we cannot have both because the academic skills gap are so large. The reason we’re talking about diversity is because a color blind meritocratic system will not generate a racially proportionate student body or workforce. And the reason that it won’t is not because there’s implicit bias or there’s racism on the part of admissions officers or faculty hiring committees, it’s because the academic skills gap are so big. The average black 12th grader reads at the level of the average white eighth grader, 43% of black eighth graders do not possess even partial mastery of eighth grade math. The recent ACT exams showed that 6% of black 12th graders are college ready in math and science and history, 6%. And yet we have schools with much, much higher percentage of black students and their student body, because they are bringing them in under greatly lowered academic standards, which sets them up to fail.

So I don’t want to be held to the title. I didn’t necessarily come up with that, but I would say among the many delusions in the diversity ideology is the idea that America today is systemically biased. That is completely false. Black privilege is the reality, not white privilege. There’s not a single mainstream institution in this country that is not tying itself into knots to admit and promote as many minorities as possible. That is not incentivizing managers to promote minorities against qualifications.

The Consequences of Diversity vs. Meritocracy

Heather Mac Donald:

You can talk to people that are in the corporate world that will tell you sotto voce, their stories about having to promote less qualified minorities and they don’t do well. And so you sort of establish a firewall around them. This is most scary in the science fields that the optimist or the naive among us thought that meritocracy would inevitably at infinitum hold firm in the stem fields, it has not. Medical school admits black students with MCAT scores that would be automatically disqualifying if presented by whites and Asians. Those students either fail and drop out, or if they stick around, they’re passed onwards because nobody wants to be accused of racism if they’re not promoting blacks through residencies and into professorate or labs or into hospitals. And so this is very, very worrisome.

And again, it’s a lie, here I am invoking truth, to say that we are discriminating against qualified minorities. Google, the big tech companies, they are scouring the planet for competitively qualified, underrepresented minorities that they can hire and promote. Nobody, no black engineer, no black physicist is being denied a job because he’s black. To the contrary, he has every job offer in the world being presented to him on a gold platter that he can choose. It’s the white males today who are being screwed. We are literally calling whites from institutions because we think that they are a scourge on civilization and the bears of oppression, which is ridiculous.

The Problem of Diversity Bureaucracy at Universities

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, the diversity bureaucracy is huge. We treat tuitions as naturally occurring phenomena and the colleges get off easy. It’s remarkable. The colleges are held harmless by public opinion, and they think that tuitions just rise of their own accord and the only solution is more college loans from the federal government. Tuitions are a function of the growing bureaucracy and the diversity bureaucracy is a massive part of that. And it’s not just faculty who then go into administration, it’s full-time administrators that, they have whole PhDs now and student services, which is completely bogus field.

A large reason for the growth of this student service bureaucracy is racial preferences, that we are letting students in, who are not competitively qualified for the schools in which they find themselves. They’re qualified for college, nobody’s disputing that. It’s just that it is the sad fate of black and Hispanic students to be catapulted into academic environments, for which they’re not competitively qualified with their peers and they struggle. I would struggle if MIT, which is totally a left-wing organization now, and it has gender preferences up the gazoo, if, and it would, admit me to MIT with, let’s say 650 math SATs, and all my peers were close to 800, but there I was because I needed to fill a sex quota. I would struggle enormously in my first year calculus class, because it would be pitched to the average of my student body and I would fall behind. I may drop out of a stem field. I may drop out of MIT and the bureaucracy would tell me that the reason I’m struggling is because of rape culture. And I would learn to blame my environment and see hostility and sexism all around me.

The same thing happens to black students. They struggle, they drop out of their stem intended majors, they feel out of place, they congregate in the dining room for emotional support. And the bureaucracy tells them the reason you’re struggling and feel out of place is because of racism. The institutions would rather blame themselves for phantom racism than tell the truth about racial preferences and truth about the academic skills gap. So the bureaucracy is in large part, we have all these specializations now. We have the first gen bureaucracy, first generation students. Well, the World War II G.I. Bill also brought first generation college students to college. And it didn’t need a huge bureaucracy for them. Why? Because they were competitively qualified. They were not being admitted to schools where they did not possess these qualifications as their peers, so they didn’t need this huge bureaucracy.

But now first gen college students is just a euphemism for students who were not academically prepared. And so they get their own hand-holding bureaucracy. And every other group that wants to claim victimhood gets its own bureaucracy. And there’s this co-dependency between these narcissistic, self-involved victim students and the eager bureaucrats who are a willing audience for their little psychodramas of oppression that the students act out in front of them. And they both need each other. And it’s very telling that whenever the students launch another set of demands on their willing docile compliant universities, high up on the list is always an expansion of the diversity bureaucracy. And it’s interesting that they realize that these are their supporters and that they’re going to sort of give them more fuel because they will then support their claims of victimhood.

The Civil Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and the Concept of the Disparate Impact

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, the civil rights laws were very quickly hijacked to require racial preferences. And another term is affirmative action, but racial preferences is much more clear. Affirmative action can still be interpreted or translated by liberals as simply outreach, which it may have been for two days after the civil rights laws, but it very quickly morphed into lowered standards. Outreach has been going on forever. So you had the idea that you needed to lower standards to bring blacks into institutions. And, if you insisted on immediate integration to the point of proportional representation, that was true because there was back then as well, an academic skills gap.

I would say the most pernicious concept that came out of the law was the concept of disparate impact, which was a US Supreme Court case. Griggs v. Duke Power from 1971 that said that even if an employer was not discriminating against minorities, was colorblind and had no intention to discriminate, but had job qualification tests that had a disparate impact on blacks because of the academic skills gap, that unless the employer could justify that under a very high standard of validity, that that jobs qualification had to be tossed.

And so what we have now with the concept of disparate impact is that any behavioral or academic standard that has a disparate impact on minorities is being thrown out the window and replaced with double standards. So the law right now is very happy to tolerate racial preferences and double standards and treating reverse discrimination as the norm. And the jurisprudence in equal protection for college preferences is just an absolute nightmare, it’s a horror, it’s incoherent, it’s filled with deceptions and fictions that just makes one cry. The whole thing should be tossed out and replaced with the empirical theory of mismatch, which is as far as I’m inserted, much more interesting way of getting it racial preferences than equal protection jurisprudence.

Will Griggs v. Duke Power be overturned?

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t know, I’m not a court watcher, court predictor. I think that the court has an understandable bias towards maintaining precedent and is reluctant to overturn precedent. But whether the majority on the court now will be willing to do so, I would hope so. It would obviously create a huge fear in the country, and that will be even more the case with Roe v. Wade. I mean, I can’t even think what that would bring about. But I would hope that the court would put its weight behind the very powerful mismatch theory as a way to do it, which is to say preferences do not help their beneficiaries, they harm them. And the empirical data is unequivocal about that.

What’s happening in the public-school system?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, the ’60s saw the rise of an oppositional culture in both sort of the larger elite culture, but also in black culture, where rather than saying, we’re going to embrace bourgeois values and compete, instead, the ghetto culture started embracing opposition, dysfunction, rejecting hard work and academic success as acting white. And one can ask why that happened. But at this point there simply is not a very strong ethic of academic effort and achievement in black culture. I mean, there’s this conspiracy of silence among public school teachers, not to talk about what they’re seeing in their classrooms, but it’s a nightmare. It’s an absolute nightmare in these inner city schools of violence, predation, sexual, just grotesque promiscuity. There was a period where you could still kind of get into public schools, now they have wised up.

I got into a public school on the upper west side of Manhattan and the students were all sitting with their backs to the teacher and their headphones on. And this was just normal. The teacher had no authority. And we have this incredibly ridiculous conceit that if black students are disciplined more, it’s because the teachers are racist. Teachers are the most left wing profession in the country. Teacher at school, Columbia Teachers College, or Bank Street school of education is one long, two-year marination in white privileged theory and multiculturalism and hatred for Western civilization.

Break Down of the Family and Toxic Masculinity

Heather Mac Donald:

The reason that black kids get disciplined at higher rates is because they’re so insubordinate and they are insubordinate because the family’s broken down, women cannot on average do as well raising children as the mother and father together. Males are different than females. On average, they bring very different orientations towards child rearing. On average, again, there’s always in individual exceptions, but the male, the father is going to be more insistent on courage, on heroism, on risk taking, on sucking things up and can be a role model for civilized masculinity. There is toxic masculinity. I would not say masculinity is per se toxic, but when I see these idiots going a hundred miles an hour on the freeway or down New York, Second Avenue on a motorcycle, those are idiot males. And that kind behavior, the positive side of that risk taking is entrepreneurship and Western civilization and competition and empire building, and enterprise building.

But it needs to be civilized, and marriage civilizes males by raising them in a culture that says, “In order to be able to have access to a woman’s sexual favors, you need to develop the bourgeois virtues of deferred gratification, self-control, make yourself a marriageable mate, by making yourself an employable worker. You do not scream at your boss, you do not beat him up. You do not walk off the job in a huff if you don’t like the authority being directed at you, and if you want to have regular access towards sex, you need to make yourself a marriageable male.” And when the marriage norm breaks down and it becomes the norm in the black community for these young teenage males to go around serially impregnating females, and nobody expects them to take responsibility for their children, those males never learn the primary, the very first obligation, the very first human responsibility, which is responsibility for your children. And after that, it’s going to be hopeless to civilize them.

Rape Culture and Personal Responsibility

Heather Mac Donald:

No. Well, I started writing about the sex issue in college because of the campus rape epidemic. This idea that colleges were these hot beds of campus rape that there’s just this tsunami of sexual violence. And I was skeptical to begin with. And when you look at the numbers, it’s just clear, this is completely fictional. And what you have are these drunken hookups with females, deliberately drinking themselves blotto precisely in order to lower their sexual inhibitions so that they can engage in this promiscuous hookup sex.

And it’s again, an abdication of personal responsibility. The female then blames the male for regretted sex the next day and claim she was raped. But if we want to, as a place we’d have called them rape, they are almost a hundred percent avoidable. Unlike what most people I still think, think of as real rape, and I’m going to use the term, which would get my head shopped off by the feminists. But I would say real rape is not acquaintance rape, it’s a stranger coming into your room through an open window and raping you at knife point or gunpoint. That’s terrifying. Having regretted sex with some guy you met at the frat party, sorry, it’s not the end of the world. And if you didn’t want this to happen, don’t do your pre-gaming drinking and hike over every Saturday to the frat house.

Females are either really stupid or they’re lying through their teeth because if they weren’t stupid and this rape epidemic was going on, there would be universal consensus, don’t go to the frat parties. If you guys really believe that they’ve set aside a rape room, boycott the damn parties, but instead you can go to UVA, you can go to Rugby Road every Saturday, they’re trooping over to the frats. So either stupid and they literally cannot learn from one week to the next, or there’s no rape epidemic going on. And what they know that what’s going on is something far more complicated, far more squalled in which females are trying to ape male brutal sexuality. And then they’ve got this bureaucracy to take it out on males and try and take them down for their own sexual libido.

Advice to Incoming College Students: Beware the Hermeneutics of Suspicion!

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, I’m not sure there’s any students now going into college that haven’t already been exposed to the white hatred that characterizes our culture today, or the male hatred. It’s way down into K through 12. So I think they already know what’s going on. But I suppose if you’ve been homeschooled or you’ve gone to a classical academy, you may not know that. And it’s very tough. I guess I would say if they tell you that you’re in a world that is discriminating against people that you don’t see as being discriminated against, be skeptical, don’t believe that.

It’s funny because high school students all compare their SATs. We’re all living this lie. It’s incredible. We’re all living this fiction that there’s no racial preferences, but they all know, they know that their black school mates got admitted to schools that everybody else got rejected to and those black classmates had much lower GPAs and SATs, but then we get to college and we’re all supposed to pretend that preferences don’t exist. And if you talk about them, you are a racist.

So that alone kind of gives students a little forewarning about what’s about to happen to them. And I guess as far as advice, I would say, seek out every literature course you can, try to find any if they exist that spend most of the time reading the books, not theory. And even if you are reading, if your professor is trying to put on you a what has been called the hermeneutics of suspicion that is reading allegedly against the grain, seeing a text as kind of a con game that it’s trying to cover up its subtext, read with joy, read for human experience, read for insight and try to stay critical or skeptical of the theory.

I was not. I’m saying something that I did not accomplish myself. I found high theory very seductive. And it seemed like a hidden, dangerous power that was only given to the initiated, those in the sacred mystery rights. So I understand the lure of the belief that you are in possession of a theory of knowledge that nobody else has. But I wish that I’d spent more time just reading great books and not doing theory. So for students, if you can find things that have not been saturated with the identity politics, throw yourselves into it.

What is the future of feminism?

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t know. I’m not, I do not consider myself a feminist. I find it boring. I think it’s a manner discourse at this point. The idea that there is anything other than full sex equality is ridiculous. Females are the beneficiaries of preferences just as much as minorities are. I’m confident that I’ve been myself put on panels or chosen for things because they needed their damn gender quota. And frankly, on average, females are a disaster. They’re why the university is going so far left. It’s females that are the supporters of speech codes of this ridiculous conceit of people being injured by ideas and being vulnerable and trauma. The whole mental health idea that all these student are suffering from mental crises, it’s BS, but the therapeutic ethos is female driven. They gave us the COVID hysteria. They’re taking over the universities and the faculty. The administration is overwhelmingly female.

And females on average, and there’s many exceptions, but they’re not as rational thinkers as males. They’re coming into the economics profession now and they’re complaining that it’s become so quantitative, but so they want to push back against that. Now, arguably it is over quantitative. It may be that they’re not doing enough actual, empirical work of observing markets. But still I’ll take the over quantitative over what I fear females were going to bring into, which is a much more ideological approach to reality. So yes, whether we saw the reaction in Virginia of the elections where we hear that it was the soccer moms who said enough for the indoctrination of white privilege and maybe the transgender stuff.

I hope so, but I think that even not particularly political soccer mom still holds on to this idea that females are oppressed in this culture. They still want to think that. And for them, abortion is still a very important right. I’m agnostic on it. But if there’s places where it no longer is a right, it’s not because of anti-female, it’s because of a sincere belief in the sanctity of human life from conception forward. And that’s not anti-female, it is simply a different understanding of when a human being begins. So I don’t know of whether females will be willing to give up their favorite victim status, but it is very curious. I mean, what one observes in our world is the constant churn in the great totem pole of victimhood. And one never knows who’s going to be on top at any given point.

Women’s Rights vs. Transgender Rights

Heather MacDonald:

And what we’ve learned, interestingly, and I wouldn’t have predicted this, is that females are not necessarily the top dog victims, now trans are. And so who would’ve thought that that so many females would be either complicit in, or simply silent about letting males into their daughter’s locker rooms, and letting males take over female sports. I love it because females have managed to decimate male sports in colleges out of Title IX. So you have perfectly viable male sports teams being dismembered so that we can create some gender equity sports. So to me, it’s fair revenge that now you get some males showing up on the female track team and squashing those female runners, because we’re supposed to pretend he’s a female. Or I wish you’d get a whole team of males claiming that they’re female squashing the little female soccer team that have been doing all their soccer mom practice to get into Stanford on an athletic scholarship or softball team for that matter.

So it’s very interesting that females have not been able to defend their own rights against the trans phenomenon. And that is mysterious is to me. I think maybe what trans is about is the ultimate wedge against the two parent nuclear family. And it’s the ultimate wedge against male female differences. And there being any kind of normalcy, a normal sexuality where that no longer is you can’t talk about that anymore. It’s all just a series of perversions.

What is the future of American politics?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, I’m a pessimist by nature. I think, again, these are some of these divides, like being for graffiti versus anti-graffiti. They’re things that are pre rational and that just determine your outlook. And so I’m inclined to always see the bad things. And I know that there’s people that will say, “But how can you ignore all the good things?” But I look at the world I’ve been involved in since the ’70s and I see no improvement there. I see one long decline. We have won no battles, period. We won welfare reform, which is a different area temporarily in the ’96, it did very little.

So, it’s hard for me to see how we get out of the dominance of identity politics, but maybe what it will take, I think is for whites to say, “I refuse to be villainized any longer.” But if it’s viewed as unifying rhetoric for Joe Biden to give his inauguration speech one long screed against alleged white supremacy. If that’s viewed as unifying, if whites are that passive and that willing to be denigrated constantly, it seems to me fair play for there to be some sort of white identity politics, if not inevitable. At some point, maybe not the white elites, but the white working class may say, “We refuse to be tarred like this. We’re not the problem.”

And I think that’s what it’s going to take to push back against this fiction that we are a racist society. But until that happens, if the only allowable explanation for racial disparities remains racism, and that is our current state, the only allowable explanation in the New York times and the Washington post and CNN and MSNBC for the fact that there is a disproportionate number of blacks in prison and in under representation of blacks in Google and at Covington & Burling, and at Kleiner Perkins, if the only allowable explanation is that there’s discrimination against blacks by the police or discrimination against black engineers at Google, the left wins. And it will continue tearing down every institution of Western civilization in the name of racial equity.

The Solution to U.S. Divide: Start Talking!

Heather Mac Donald:

The solution to this is to start talking about behavioral disparities. The fact that the black crime rate is astronomical. That’s why blacks are disproportionately incarcerated. Nobody would give a damn about so-called mass incarceration if there weren’t racial disparities in the prison population. The reaction would be, these criminals throw them in prison, throw away the key. It’s the only reason we’re talking about mass incarceration is because of racial disparities. But if we can’t say that those disparities arise out of crime, we’re going to continue tearing down the police, we’re going to continue unwinding law enforcement, crime will continue shooting through the roof, blacks will be the disproportionate victims of those crimes.

And if we can’t talk about the academic skills gap, we will continue unwinding meritocratic standards in our institutions, and we’ll take them down. They’re all coming down. We will not much longer have the Washington, D.C., that will not be allowed. We’re already getting rid of Jefferson. We won’t have The White House much longer, we’ll have to rename that because it’s white privilege. It is all coming down. There is no bottom to my pessimism if we can’t turn this around. There’s not a single institution of American history, which will not come down.

Closing Remarks  

Doug Monroe:

So I’m not going to ask you whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic about the United States, I think you answered that. I will pat myself on the back, I totally resisted asking you any questions about “The War Against Cops.” That in an is a beautiful book. I can see why the best seller. I mean, you were just ahead of the curve, who could have imagined that 2020 would happen. And now we got more. I mean, you’ve got to be the hottest thing out there.

And I will tell you, I wrote a little book to my own kids who are all grown now, married with kids. And in the ’90s saying, “You know what? Your dad doesn’t feel like as a white male, he’s very well liked in this world.” There’s dark forces that are forming around here. And it was while you were writing all those essays that became “The Burden of Bad Ideas” and it’s just exploded. So I like to say I’m an optimist, but I need more optimism. But Heather, thank you very much I just really enjoyed it…

Heather MacDonald:

Thanks very much, yeah.

Overview

Heather Mac Donald

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. During her distinguished career as an investigative journalist, she has addressed issues vital to all Americans. Praxis Circle interviewed Ms. Mac Donald because she is dedicated to telling the truth, when applying an exceptional analytical ability. Of course, America needs this now more than ever.
Transcript

How did you get connected to the Manhattan Institute?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, the Manhattan Institute is known as a think tank, which is an alternative to universities. It’s the idea that we are going to generate new knowledge and ideas outside of a university setting. I had no awareness of the Manhattan Institute, I’ll be very honest, for all of my life. And was not even a conservative, I certainly don’t consider myself a libertarian, but I had started writing when I was in New York, in the ’90s on issues of culture, postmodernism, multiculturalism. And had written a piece that would kind of represent a direction I would ultimately go in on personal responsibility that was about a stamped up at The City University of New York city college during a rap basketball charity game. And I wrote about this and I had published already with The New Criterion and Roger Kimball suggested I try the City Journal, which was their quarterly publication of the Manhattan Institute, which I did, and they accepted it. And then a writing relationship developed out of that, where I became more and more frequent contributor to City Journal.

The editor at the time, Myron Magnet asked me to write my first reported piece, which I’d never done. I was not a student journalist, which I wish I had been. I admire students that take time away from their studies and learn the ropes of being a journalist. I was such a perfectionist in college, I always blew through paper deadlines and was granted leeway, which was preposterous. And so the concept of writing under a hard deadline still is an anathema to me, I can’t imagine doing it. I suffocate when I feel like I’m under a deadline, but it’s a great discipline and student journalists, keep it up, you’re saving the world. I wasn’t one of those. So, to do a reported piece was also a very novel, but that also opened up a whole new type and genre writing, which I did pursue fairly actively after that.

Who or what influenced you most in your early years?

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t want to sound ungrateful or the hubris of believing that I’m autochthonous, springing from the earth like some of the Greek gods. But I can’t answer that easily. My family, there was not a lot of talk. It was not a happy marriage and it broke up and there was not conversation around the dinner table. So I don’t remember explicit moral teaching, there’s no family history there. So I don’t know. But I grew up in an orderly family. It was one that took for granted schooling, I guess, but I was always a serious student. I never needed persuading to take my homework seriously, first and foremost. So it’s not as if I needed to be taught that.

So influences, I really can’t say. I always revered my professors, fell in love with them, looked up to them. They were the source of knowledge, which I think I equate it with aros. There is something extraordinarily erotic about that power of knowing the world. So I’ve certainly emulated academically many of my professors in college, but I really can’t say. I have a strong sense of personal responsibility. My father, I guess, did too. I mean, I remember he didn’t talk about his work. He was the trustee of a family fortune that came out of Chicago. And so he created the trusts and oversaw them. And I remember hearing him say that he would be up in the middle of the night, worrying about making decisions, with all the financial responsibility.

So I guess that got conveyed by osmosis of a sense of responsibility, which I think personal responsibility is one of my primary values. But frankly, again, I was not a rebellious kid, so that didn’t need to be beaten into me. It came kind of naturally, which I don’t take any credit for then, because I think obviously people have genetic predispositions towards obedience versus rebellion. And I do not have a knee jerk, libertarian instinct.

How did you get into Yale and what was your experience there?

Heather Mac Donald:

I really put my studies ahead of everything else. I don’t think I was particularly outstanding. And frankly, I was an English major. It’s really a scam that the summa cum laude ranking system is applied across the board. There’s simply no way that somebody who graduates summa cum laude in the humanities can claim the same mastery of truly rigorous work as somebody in the stem fields. And certainly when I was there, when the postmodernism deconstructive theory was in its zenith of being highly regarded by my professors, which I was. I was regarded as sort of the golden girl of comparative literature. And it was assumed that I would go on to become a professor, which is what I aspired to do.

I will say, I mean, that involved an enormous putting aside of common sense, and to a certain extent, aping an academic discourse that was self-referential, that had no empirical reference, and was frankly, insane. So, I don’t take a whole lot of credit for the fact that I did do well at Yale, both because I wasn’t doing a massive amount of other things. To me, the greatest good was being in Sterling Library, in the stacks, Yale’s neogothic tower of a library, and either reading Edmund Spencer’s “Faerie Queene”, or trying to decipher the latest Jacques Derrida piece of nonsense essay.

Deconstruction and Studying Language

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, you have to take language very seriously, which is what the good part of deconstruction was. It paid attention to the words on the text as an outgrowth of Yale’s new criticism. It turned the close reading into a perverse end. But yes, you have to believe that language matters, you have to have an ear for language and I will acknowledge that I do, with whether it’s foreign languages or English language.

Doug Monroe:

Absolutely. Clarity of writing. Clarity of writing, you got it.

Heather Mac Donald:

That’s what I aspire to.

Importance of Classical Music

Heather Mac Donald:

I grew up playing the piano and my father was a very good, much better pianist than I was. He used to play jazz as well in law school and in the Navy. And, my God, I remember growing up, he had The Music Minus One recording for the Schumann Piano Concerto, which is wildly difficult. I couldn’t play the Schumann Piano Concerto in a billion years. But nevertheless, music was in my household. We went every Sunday to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Matinee concerts at the music center in Downtown, LA. And the classical music radio was often in the background. So, I grew up with music in my ear and that is the most important thing in my life. There’s nothing that gives me greater joy and that I think is a more profound expression of human possibility than classical music.

I love the American songbook. I think that is if at the end of time, there is a sort of a, every nation is called forth to make its case for world historical importance and Austria gets up there and says, “Okay, look, I got Shuba. I got Mozart.” And Germany’s there with Bach and Beethoven and Brahms. We’ll stand up there proud and say, we’ve got Cole Porter and Gershwin and Irving Berlin and Rogers and Hammerstein and Rogers and Hart, and they will be absolutely floored. So, that I certainly love the American popular music tradition up through the ’50s and the great musicals, but fundamentally, it’s classical music which is where my deepest roots lie.

What is your source of courage in your work?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, on the question of debate and argument, I just don’t give a damn, I care about what I do think is right. And I see myself as defending the things that I love, which is the greatness of Western civilization, works that we should be down on our knees before. And I just don’t care what they call me. I will say, I’ve also had what’s described as a certain amount of courage in my reporting when in the 1990s, in New York, that’s when Rudolph Giuliani was mayor, greatest mayor in this history of the city, probably of the country, possibly. And he was involved in several battles. One was welfare reform and the other was making the city safe.

And my view of myself as a journalist was I know nothing. I don’t have a store of knowledge of, say, conservative theory or sociology. My only value added is the willingness to go out, get out of my chair and go into alien environments and ask people questions. And so I would go to housing projects in East Harlem to report on what people’s attitudes are to the police or to crime. And the residents of the Johnson houses would tell me, “Don’t even think of going next door to the Taft houses because they really hate white people there.” Or I would go to welfare offices and either get in officially or sort of sneak in and be told by the recipients of welfare, “They should have done this welfare reform years ago.” They’d say, “These welfare mothers they’re so lazy, they won’t even change the 40-watt bulb in their apartment.” These were welfare mothers themselves. They sounded like Ronald Reagan. They said, “They’re only having more babies to get more welfare, increase their welfare check.”

These are sort of conservative tropes about welfare that we’re supposed to believe is just the result of greedy, white conservatives who are so mean towards the dependent poor. No, the people in the system say those things. So I did not fear going to those places. And I think that came out of simply naivete and a sense that, of possibly a thoughtless sense of invulnerability, I don’t know. But it’s what I needed to do to get the story so I did it.

How would you describe your worldview?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, I did not grow up with categories and I did not grow up as a conservative. I didn’t really even know that world existed, and I’m not particularly self-reflective, but I guess if I canvas myself, I care a lot about meritocracy. That was one of, I think the first areas that I would be described as conservative on in that I always opposed racial preferences because of the assault on excellence and the idea of choosing somebody who was less qualified based on the irrelevance of race or sex. So, I believe in meritocracy, I believe in excellence. And I believe in civilization, I believe in the high arts. I don’t think they need to apologize for elitism. I believe in beauty, I believe in Tiepolo, I believe in Van Dyck, I believe in John Singer Sargent’s Watercolors. That these are artists that take human life out of the mundane and give us a way of seeing that we would otherwise never experience. And I guess I also believe very strongly in personal responsibility and the bourgeois values of self-discipline and deferred gratification.

The Litmus Test Between Libertarians and Conservatives

Heather Mac Donald:

There was a period where I was writing a lot on graffiti and the celebration of it by the elites. And I realized that a quick test for, are you a libertarian or a conservative is what is your reaction to graffiti? And if your reaction to graffiti is that this is just self-evidently vandalism and selfishness and squalor and ugliness and entitlement, you do not have a right to use somebody else’s property, you’re a conservative. To my amazement there are people who have the exact opposite response that think it is creative and spontaneous. And the libertarians who celebrate this as expressive without giving a thought to property. Now, there are libertarians that care much about property rights, but in my experience, there’s sort of an anarchist libertarian that celebrates that. And it’s simply incomprehensible to me how somebody could be so blind to the fact that you are appropriating without permission, somebody else’s property for your own use. But I would say that’s a genetic disposition, but it’s an interesting litmus test of which way do you trend.

Do you believe in Truth?

Heather Mac Donald:

No. I’m a contradictory in that I have to acknowledge that of course when I’m writing, I believe very much that I am vindicating the truth about crime, about policing, about the absence of racial discrimination currently in our world. But I did absorb enough of the destructive impulse in college that I do not believe in truth. It’s self-canceling to say, but I have seen too much interpretation. I have read too many different readings of Shakespeare or of the world to be at all confident that there is one reading of a text. I do not believe there’s a true reading of a text. If there were, we would’ve arrived at it hundreds of years ago. Language, again, I may just have been brainwashed by my deconstruct background, but it looks to me empirically the case that language is endlessly productive of interpretation.

There may be some obvious cases of very clearly written contracts where there’s no ambiguity there, but we also know in the law that we are endlessly debating the interpretation of the Constitution and of contracts. And when it comes to outside of the realm of language and how assess causality in the world, again, I admit to being completely divided on this. I believe that I’m following the truth, but I also grant that my ideological opponents can make an argument for their version of the world. And they would say to me, “How can you not see the systemic factors that lead to racially disparate outcomes? How can you talk about personal responsibility when the evidence for systemic racism is so obvious?” And I’m not willing to say with utter, utter confidence, that I’m the only one who possesses the truth.

Pragmatism vs. Universal Truth

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, you describe pragmatism, which some of the philosophers, Putnam said, truth is local and that there are communities of consensus, but I would not necessarily agree that there are universal truths. I don’t believe in natural law. I mean, what I notice is that natural law is what the person thinks it is. I would be persuaded by natural law if somebody said, “Well, I don’t think this should be this case, but natural law requires me to acknowledge that it is,” it ends up inevitably being simply a rationalization of what one already believes and clearly there’s differences. I mean, if is so patent, we’d all be agreeing on what it is, but it tends to be particularly one particular group of people with a particular outlook that claims it.

And I don’t think that there are universal truths. And we can see, look at cultures, what role should females have, that’s not a universal and within our own culture, that’s changing. We’re very different than we were in the 18th century with regards to what role female should have. And I’m not saying that’s necessarily progress, I’m probably more sympathetic to the 18th century view. But within our own cult things change. So no, I don’t believe that there’s universal truths.

What is the basis of your moral standard?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, I think the contingent principle of the golden rule is a pretty good moral precept of behave towards others as you would have them behave towards you. And are you willing to have your rule of behavior universalized? So, I guess, again, I’m not self-reflective. personal responsibility, thinking about the consequences of one’s behavior. Again, something else that is unfathomable to me is how anybody could litter. Literally, I just cannot possibly imagine what it takes to throw something out of your window or on the ground. These are savages. But the obvious issue there is, what if everybody did this, what would be our condition? We would be up to our mountains in garbage. How can you not think about whether your behavior can be turned into a general rule? So I think that is a pretty good way of addressing morality. And there’s things that are just empirically again, verifiable as far as say, childrearing, the two parent family is empirically superior to the single mother family based on the results.

What is your view of God?

Heather Mac Donald:

I became aware of religion in the ’90s. I’m in a perfect example of the coastal elites. If the religious are railing against it, it’s a reality. I grew up in west LA, went to private schools, went to prep school in the Massachusetts for two years, went to private schools in college. I was not aware of meeting anybody religious. I may have, but I didn’t know. It was just not a factor. And so it was not until I came to New York in the ’90s and got more involved with conservatives and National Review, or whatever, that I became aware of this. And to me, the real sticking point of religion is petitionary prayer. It is to me, the height of narcissism, as well as illogic and blindness.

It works like this. I started seeing this again and again, and there’s a village that has been decimated by a landslide or an earthquake. And the religious will start immediately praying for the surviving victims. What is their logic that God needs reminding that there are victims that He was unaware of, but if they pray to Him, “Oh, okay, thanks for telling me guys, I’ll now try to save them.” Now, it would’ve been much more efficient to have avoided the landslide entirely. And do you think that God is a democratic politician, that the more people who pray, the more people He’s going to be attentive to and will take a different course of action? And if He has the power, which we know He does, according to His definition of omnipotence and omniscience, and He will respond to your prayers to save the remaining victims, why did he let the thousands who were decimated in the earthquake die in the first place? But if a young child is pulled from the rebel alive, the religious say, “A miracle, God saved his life. God is good. God is merciful.”

What I notice is that God gets credit for the good things and never gets blamed for the bad things. I remember when John Ashcroft the attorney general under Bush, several years after 9/11, said, “Well, God has kept us safe since 9/11.” If that’s the case, why did He let 9/11 happen in the first place? If a human father had the attributes we ascribed to God of omniscience and omnipotence and allowed to happen to his children what God allows to happen to His alleged children of human beings, that father would be thrown in jail as a child abuser, as somebody who is not capable of being a parent. God knows that this child is going to be born with half a brain, with no lungs, will die within three years. He knows that and He could prevent it and He chooses not to.

Human Beings as the Ultimate Source of Justice and Compassion

Heather Mac Donald:

The source of justice and compassion in my view is human beings. We’re the ones who struggle against nature to try and make human life more bearable, who struggle against genetic to disease that God in his omniscience and omnipotence knows is happening and does nothing about. The narcissism of it is there you are in your hospital bed with cancer. And so you’re praying to God to save you from cancer. Meanwhile, in the bed next to you, a lovely elderly woman has just died of cancer. How dare you think that God will answer your prayers and He was willing to let that woman die.

And the reason you’re praying to Him is because you believe that he will respond to your prayers so He can intervene. Although one can get into the infinite regress as if everything, if He’s really omniscient, then everything is faded to begin with. So why are you even praying? But let’s say that somehow there’s some part of the world that He doesn’t know what’s going to happen, and He’s changing it at any given time. How dare you think that He will respond to your prayers to save you, and He allowed that other person to die of cancer? Why are you worth it?

And the response from a believer is, “Well, God is mysterious.” No, He’s not. You tell me, you understand… If He saved the child from the rebel, you understand His will, you attribute to Him the good things, you think that that was transparent. It’s just the evil that you think is mysterious and inexplicable, but you can’t have it both ways. Either the whole thing is irrational and inexplicable, which I would argue if we’re going to posit a omniscient and omnipotent God, it is because it is inexplicable that somebody with power and knowledge would allow the daily slaughter of the innocence as God does, or He doesn’t have that knowledge and He’s not what He’s cracked up to be.

Doug Monroe:

Well, of course you could be atheist and you wouldn’t expect God to intervene in anything. You’re basically complaining to God about how God designed the world. And I leave that between you and God. I made a reference to Stephen Meyer-

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t know.

God as Placeholder for Ignorance

Heather Mac Donald:

God, to me is a placeholder for ignorance. It’s no more to say we don’t know the origins of the universe, which is absolutely true. The mind crush is crushed by thinking of what was in the beginning. Is it nothing? Is it something? We cannot go there. Our minds are not capable of it. To say, “Well, it’s God,” doesn’t answer anything. What is God? What preceded God? So that to me is throwing up your hands and saying, I can’t answer it so I’ve got this pat answer. You still have to explain what the heck is God and how did He come into being? So then you just define it and say, “Well, He’s what always was and-“

Doug Monroe:

Well, I will interrupt you there. It’s not turtles all the way down. It can be just one turtle that starts it. And we don’t know that or not.

A Conversation on the Evidence for God and Miracles

Doug Monroe:

What about just personal experience? Do you ever feel God, do you sense God’s presence in your life? And just the little details of the way the world is, or the fact that I’m sitting here with you, I would say, “Hmm, this is weird, Doug, how did this happen?”

Heather Mac Donald:

No, I don’t feel-

Doug Monroe:

You don’t feel that?

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t feel that at all. I know there’s a book I think “Father Knew,” sort of book about coincidences or something, that there’s no coincidences. That’s preposterous. We notice the coincidences, we don’t notice all of the things that are not coincidental, where things go wrong or they’re just random. The human mind seeks agency, it seeks pattern. And there’s an inclination to believe that agency exists in things that it doesn’t necessarily. We want to believe in teleology and cause, and sometimes that just it’s simply things are random and if it’s-

Doug Monroe:

They don’t appear too random, they don’t see randomness. So I’m just going to use your argument on truth against you, could be just different truths. But so what about all the paranormal experiences people have, like at UVA, you go to their library, it’s filled all over the world. Verifiable scientific stuff. It’s there I’m not Yeah. No, it’s there.

Heather Mac Donald:

Like ESP?

Doug Monroe:

Tons of other lives, yes.

Heather Mac Donald:

I would say human delusion, the capacity of craziness of, again, believing in miracles or seeing miracles, having visions, the brain can short circuit and human beings want to ascribe… It’s interesting that the rate of miracles has way, way tapered off since we have much better-

Doug Monroe:

It hasn’t though. That’s…

Heather Mac Donald:

Oh, really? People are still seeing-

Doug Monroe:

You need to do some research.

Heather Mac Donald:

… bleeding crucifixes? Burning bushes, God talking from bushes?

Doug Monroe:

Yes, believe it or not, stuff happens all the time.

Heather Mac Donald:

I’d love to see that picture. I know. People see UFOs too.

Doug Monroe:

If you’re looking, well, that’s a thing that I personally am curious about. I’ve never seen one, but don’t kill the messenger. It’s all over the place. Eric Metaxas writes about it, all that. It’s not made up. Things happen that cannot be explained. And it’s not just one person’s mind, it could be groups of people, things happen. And so anyway, I’ll just leave it at that. To me, if you want to know how Doug thinks, what you don’t, I think that Michael Jordan’s a great basketball player, I’ll never be a great basketball player. And he has a skill that maybe not everybody has. Some people have different skills they bring to the table and they can see different things and they do. And that’s as objectively verifiable as anything in this room. You don’t have to believe that, but it’s just there. And it’s not getting less, it’s getting more. So anyway, we’ll leave it at that.

Heather Mac Donald:

We witnessed with the January 6th rigging narrative, as well as COVID hysteria, that human beings are very capable of mass delusion. So to me, the scientific method is one of the greatest discoveries of the human mind, of randomized controlled experiments. Postulate a hypothesis, test it with a randomized controlled experiment with a control group. And to me that is a litmus test of truth. So I would like these miracles to be subjected to something like that. And I’ll put my faith in medical science.

Doug Monroe:

Well, you’re putting your faith in the truth and you just said you don’t believe in it. You’re using the words-

Heather Mac Donald:

I’m putting my faith in using words in testing and empiricism.

Doug Monroe:

Okay. Well, that’s what I’m saying, go do it. He’s listening to a tape right now. Eben Alexander, are you familiar with him? He was a brain surgeon at Harvard that died for five days. And so he’s not a materialist at all, he’s gone to the exact opposite. Just like you’ve become conservative, he’s become everything’s consciousness, that’s all there is. And he’s just as smart as you and I are. So, I mean, you go have the conversation with him. Again, I’m the messenger that’s all, but I appreciate you being so honest with me and probing this important issue. It really is important.

How is diversity a delusion?

Heather Mac Donald:

Yes, we can either have diversity or we can have meritocracy. At this point in time, we cannot have both because the academic skills gap are so large. The reason we’re talking about diversity is because a color blind meritocratic system will not generate a racially proportionate student body or workforce. And the reason that it won’t is not because there’s implicit bias or there’s racism on the part of admissions officers or faculty hiring committees, it’s because the academic skills gap are so big. The average black 12th grader reads at the level of the average white eighth grader, 43% of black eighth graders do not possess even partial mastery of eighth grade math. The recent ACT exams showed that 6% of black 12th graders are college ready in math and science and history, 6%. And yet we have schools with much, much higher percentage of black students and their student body, because they are bringing them in under greatly lowered academic standards, which sets them up to fail.

So I don’t want to be held to the title. I didn’t necessarily come up with that, but I would say among the many delusions in the diversity ideology is the idea that America today is systemically biased. That is completely false. Black privilege is the reality, not white privilege. There’s not a single mainstream institution in this country that is not tying itself into knots to admit and promote as many minorities as possible. That is not incentivizing managers to promote minorities against qualifications.

The Consequences of Diversity vs. Meritocracy

Heather Mac Donald:

You can talk to people that are in the corporate world that will tell you sotto voce, their stories about having to promote less qualified minorities and they don’t do well. And so you sort of establish a firewall around them. This is most scary in the science fields that the optimist or the naive among us thought that meritocracy would inevitably at infinitum hold firm in the stem fields, it has not. Medical school admits black students with MCAT scores that would be automatically disqualifying if presented by whites and Asians. Those students either fail and drop out, or if they stick around, they’re passed onwards because nobody wants to be accused of racism if they’re not promoting blacks through residencies and into professorate or labs or into hospitals. And so this is very, very worrisome.

And again, it’s a lie, here I am invoking truth, to say that we are discriminating against qualified minorities. Google, the big tech companies, they are scouring the planet for competitively qualified, underrepresented minorities that they can hire and promote. Nobody, no black engineer, no black physicist is being denied a job because he’s black. To the contrary, he has every job offer in the world being presented to him on a gold platter that he can choose. It’s the white males today who are being screwed. We are literally calling whites from institutions because we think that they are a scourge on civilization and the bears of oppression, which is ridiculous.

The Problem of Diversity Bureaucracy at Universities

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, the diversity bureaucracy is huge. We treat tuitions as naturally occurring phenomena and the colleges get off easy. It’s remarkable. The colleges are held harmless by public opinion, and they think that tuitions just rise of their own accord and the only solution is more college loans from the federal government. Tuitions are a function of the growing bureaucracy and the diversity bureaucracy is a massive part of that. And it’s not just faculty who then go into administration, it’s full-time administrators that, they have whole PhDs now and student services, which is completely bogus field.

A large reason for the growth of this student service bureaucracy is racial preferences, that we are letting students in, who are not competitively qualified for the schools in which they find themselves. They’re qualified for college, nobody’s disputing that. It’s just that it is the sad fate of black and Hispanic students to be catapulted into academic environments, for which they’re not competitively qualified with their peers and they struggle. I would struggle if MIT, which is totally a left-wing organization now, and it has gender preferences up the gazoo, if, and it would, admit me to MIT with, let’s say 650 math SATs, and all my peers were close to 800, but there I was because I needed to fill a sex quota. I would struggle enormously in my first year calculus class, because it would be pitched to the average of my student body and I would fall behind. I may drop out of a stem field. I may drop out of MIT and the bureaucracy would tell me that the reason I’m struggling is because of rape culture. And I would learn to blame my environment and see hostility and sexism all around me.

The same thing happens to black students. They struggle, they drop out of their stem intended majors, they feel out of place, they congregate in the dining room for emotional support. And the bureaucracy tells them the reason you’re struggling and feel out of place is because of racism. The institutions would rather blame themselves for phantom racism than tell the truth about racial preferences and truth about the academic skills gap. So the bureaucracy is in large part, we have all these specializations now. We have the first gen bureaucracy, first generation students. Well, the World War II G.I. Bill also brought first generation college students to college. And it didn’t need a huge bureaucracy for them. Why? Because they were competitively qualified. They were not being admitted to schools where they did not possess these qualifications as their peers, so they didn’t need this huge bureaucracy.

But now first gen college students is just a euphemism for students who were not academically prepared. And so they get their own hand-holding bureaucracy. And every other group that wants to claim victimhood gets its own bureaucracy. And there’s this co-dependency between these narcissistic, self-involved victim students and the eager bureaucrats who are a willing audience for their little psychodramas of oppression that the students act out in front of them. And they both need each other. And it’s very telling that whenever the students launch another set of demands on their willing docile compliant universities, high up on the list is always an expansion of the diversity bureaucracy. And it’s interesting that they realize that these are their supporters and that they’re going to sort of give them more fuel because they will then support their claims of victimhood.

The Civil Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and the Concept of the Disparate Impact

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, the civil rights laws were very quickly hijacked to require racial preferences. And another term is affirmative action, but racial preferences is much more clear. Affirmative action can still be interpreted or translated by liberals as simply outreach, which it may have been for two days after the civil rights laws, but it very quickly morphed into lowered standards. Outreach has been going on forever. So you had the idea that you needed to lower standards to bring blacks into institutions. And, if you insisted on immediate integration to the point of proportional representation, that was true because there was back then as well, an academic skills gap.

I would say the most pernicious concept that came out of the law was the concept of disparate impact, which was a US Supreme Court case. Griggs v. Duke Power from 1971 that said that even if an employer was not discriminating against minorities, was colorblind and had no intention to discriminate, but had job qualification tests that had a disparate impact on blacks because of the academic skills gap, that unless the employer could justify that under a very high standard of validity, that that jobs qualification had to be tossed.

And so what we have now with the concept of disparate impact is that any behavioral or academic standard that has a disparate impact on minorities is being thrown out the window and replaced with double standards. So the law right now is very happy to tolerate racial preferences and double standards and treating reverse discrimination as the norm. And the jurisprudence in equal protection for college preferences is just an absolute nightmare, it’s a horror, it’s incoherent, it’s filled with deceptions and fictions that just makes one cry. The whole thing should be tossed out and replaced with the empirical theory of mismatch, which is as far as I’m inserted, much more interesting way of getting it racial preferences than equal protection jurisprudence.

Will Griggs v. Duke Power be overturned?

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t know, I’m not a court watcher, court predictor. I think that the court has an understandable bias towards maintaining precedent and is reluctant to overturn precedent. But whether the majority on the court now will be willing to do so, I would hope so. It would obviously create a huge fear in the country, and that will be even more the case with Roe v. Wade. I mean, I can’t even think what that would bring about. But I would hope that the court would put its weight behind the very powerful mismatch theory as a way to do it, which is to say preferences do not help their beneficiaries, they harm them. And the empirical data is unequivocal about that.

What’s happening in the public-school system?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, the ’60s saw the rise of an oppositional culture in both sort of the larger elite culture, but also in black culture, where rather than saying, we’re going to embrace bourgeois values and compete, instead, the ghetto culture started embracing opposition, dysfunction, rejecting hard work and academic success as acting white. And one can ask why that happened. But at this point there simply is not a very strong ethic of academic effort and achievement in black culture. I mean, there’s this conspiracy of silence among public school teachers, not to talk about what they’re seeing in their classrooms, but it’s a nightmare. It’s an absolute nightmare in these inner city schools of violence, predation, sexual, just grotesque promiscuity. There was a period where you could still kind of get into public schools, now they have wised up.

I got into a public school on the upper west side of Manhattan and the students were all sitting with their backs to the teacher and their headphones on. And this was just normal. The teacher had no authority. And we have this incredibly ridiculous conceit that if black students are disciplined more, it’s because the teachers are racist. Teachers are the most left wing profession in the country. Teacher at school, Columbia Teachers College, or Bank Street school of education is one long, two-year marination in white privileged theory and multiculturalism and hatred for Western civilization.

Break Down of the Family and Toxic Masculinity

Heather Mac Donald:

The reason that black kids get disciplined at higher rates is because they’re so insubordinate and they are insubordinate because the family’s broken down, women cannot on average do as well raising children as the mother and father together. Males are different than females. On average, they bring very different orientations towards child rearing. On average, again, there’s always in individual exceptions, but the male, the father is going to be more insistent on courage, on heroism, on risk taking, on sucking things up and can be a role model for civilized masculinity. There is toxic masculinity. I would not say masculinity is per se toxic, but when I see these idiots going a hundred miles an hour on the freeway or down New York, Second Avenue on a motorcycle, those are idiot males. And that kind behavior, the positive side of that risk taking is entrepreneurship and Western civilization and competition and empire building, and enterprise building.

But it needs to be civilized, and marriage civilizes males by raising them in a culture that says, “In order to be able to have access to a woman’s sexual favors, you need to develop the bourgeois virtues of deferred gratification, self-control, make yourself a marriageable mate, by making yourself an employable worker. You do not scream at your boss, you do not beat him up. You do not walk off the job in a huff if you don’t like the authority being directed at you, and if you want to have regular access towards sex, you need to make yourself a marriageable male.” And when the marriage norm breaks down and it becomes the norm in the black community for these young teenage males to go around serially impregnating females, and nobody expects them to take responsibility for their children, those males never learn the primary, the very first obligation, the very first human responsibility, which is responsibility for your children. And after that, it’s going to be hopeless to civilize them.

Rape Culture and Personal Responsibility

Heather Mac Donald:

No. Well, I started writing about the sex issue in college because of the campus rape epidemic. This idea that colleges were these hot beds of campus rape that there’s just this tsunami of sexual violence. And I was skeptical to begin with. And when you look at the numbers, it’s just clear, this is completely fictional. And what you have are these drunken hookups with females, deliberately drinking themselves blotto precisely in order to lower their sexual inhibitions so that they can engage in this promiscuous hookup sex.

And it’s again, an abdication of personal responsibility. The female then blames the male for regretted sex the next day and claim she was raped. But if we want to, as a place we’d have called them rape, they are almost a hundred percent avoidable. Unlike what most people I still think, think of as real rape, and I’m going to use the term, which would get my head shopped off by the feminists. But I would say real rape is not acquaintance rape, it’s a stranger coming into your room through an open window and raping you at knife point or gunpoint. That’s terrifying. Having regretted sex with some guy you met at the frat party, sorry, it’s not the end of the world. And if you didn’t want this to happen, don’t do your pre-gaming drinking and hike over every Saturday to the frat house.

Females are either really stupid or they’re lying through their teeth because if they weren’t stupid and this rape epidemic was going on, there would be universal consensus, don’t go to the frat parties. If you guys really believe that they’ve set aside a rape room, boycott the damn parties, but instead you can go to UVA, you can go to Rugby Road every Saturday, they’re trooping over to the frats. So either stupid and they literally cannot learn from one week to the next, or there’s no rape epidemic going on. And what they know that what’s going on is something far more complicated, far more squalled in which females are trying to ape male brutal sexuality. And then they’ve got this bureaucracy to take it out on males and try and take them down for their own sexual libido.

Advice to Incoming College Students: Beware the Hermeneutics of Suspicion!

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, I’m not sure there’s any students now going into college that haven’t already been exposed to the white hatred that characterizes our culture today, or the male hatred. It’s way down into K through 12. So I think they already know what’s going on. But I suppose if you’ve been homeschooled or you’ve gone to a classical academy, you may not know that. And it’s very tough. I guess I would say if they tell you that you’re in a world that is discriminating against people that you don’t see as being discriminated against, be skeptical, don’t believe that.

It’s funny because high school students all compare their SATs. We’re all living this lie. It’s incredible. We’re all living this fiction that there’s no racial preferences, but they all know, they know that their black school mates got admitted to schools that everybody else got rejected to and those black classmates had much lower GPAs and SATs, but then we get to college and we’re all supposed to pretend that preferences don’t exist. And if you talk about them, you are a racist.

So that alone kind of gives students a little forewarning about what’s about to happen to them. And I guess as far as advice, I would say, seek out every literature course you can, try to find any if they exist that spend most of the time reading the books, not theory. And even if you are reading, if your professor is trying to put on you a what has been called the hermeneutics of suspicion that is reading allegedly against the grain, seeing a text as kind of a con game that it’s trying to cover up its subtext, read with joy, read for human experience, read for insight and try to stay critical or skeptical of the theory.

I was not. I’m saying something that I did not accomplish myself. I found high theory very seductive. And it seemed like a hidden, dangerous power that was only given to the initiated, those in the sacred mystery rights. So I understand the lure of the belief that you are in possession of a theory of knowledge that nobody else has. But I wish that I’d spent more time just reading great books and not doing theory. So for students, if you can find things that have not been saturated with the identity politics, throw yourselves into it.

What is the future of feminism?

Heather Mac Donald:

I don’t know. I’m not, I do not consider myself a feminist. I find it boring. I think it’s a manner discourse at this point. The idea that there is anything other than full sex equality is ridiculous. Females are the beneficiaries of preferences just as much as minorities are. I’m confident that I’ve been myself put on panels or chosen for things because they needed their damn gender quota. And frankly, on average, females are a disaster. They’re why the university is going so far left. It’s females that are the supporters of speech codes of this ridiculous conceit of people being injured by ideas and being vulnerable and trauma. The whole mental health idea that all these student are suffering from mental crises, it’s BS, but the therapeutic ethos is female driven. They gave us the COVID hysteria. They’re taking over the universities and the faculty. The administration is overwhelmingly female.

And females on average, and there’s many exceptions, but they’re not as rational thinkers as males. They’re coming into the economics profession now and they’re complaining that it’s become so quantitative, but so they want to push back against that. Now, arguably it is over quantitative. It may be that they’re not doing enough actual, empirical work of observing markets. But still I’ll take the over quantitative over what I fear females were going to bring into, which is a much more ideological approach to reality. So yes, whether we saw the reaction in Virginia of the elections where we hear that it was the soccer moms who said enough for the indoctrination of white privilege and maybe the transgender stuff.

I hope so, but I think that even not particularly political soccer mom still holds on to this idea that females are oppressed in this culture. They still want to think that. And for them, abortion is still a very important right. I’m agnostic on it. But if there’s places where it no longer is a right, it’s not because of anti-female, it’s because of a sincere belief in the sanctity of human life from conception forward. And that’s not anti-female, it is simply a different understanding of when a human being begins. So I don’t know of whether females will be willing to give up their favorite victim status, but it is very curious. I mean, what one observes in our world is the constant churn in the great totem pole of victimhood. And one never knows who’s going to be on top at any given point.

Women’s Rights vs. Transgender Rights

Heather MacDonald:

And what we’ve learned, interestingly, and I wouldn’t have predicted this, is that females are not necessarily the top dog victims, now trans are. And so who would’ve thought that that so many females would be either complicit in, or simply silent about letting males into their daughter’s locker rooms, and letting males take over female sports. I love it because females have managed to decimate male sports in colleges out of Title IX. So you have perfectly viable male sports teams being dismembered so that we can create some gender equity sports. So to me, it’s fair revenge that now you get some males showing up on the female track team and squashing those female runners, because we’re supposed to pretend he’s a female. Or I wish you’d get a whole team of males claiming that they’re female squashing the little female soccer team that have been doing all their soccer mom practice to get into Stanford on an athletic scholarship or softball team for that matter.

So it’s very interesting that females have not been able to defend their own rights against the trans phenomenon. And that is mysterious is to me. I think maybe what trans is about is the ultimate wedge against the two parent nuclear family. And it’s the ultimate wedge against male female differences. And there being any kind of normalcy, a normal sexuality where that no longer is you can’t talk about that anymore. It’s all just a series of perversions.

What is the future of American politics?

Heather Mac Donald:

Well, I’m a pessimist by nature. I think, again, these are some of these divides, like being for graffiti versus anti-graffiti. They’re things that are pre rational and that just determine your outlook. And so I’m inclined to always see the bad things. And I know that there’s people that will say, “But how can you ignore all the good things?” But I look at the world I’ve been involved in since the ’70s and I see no improvement there. I see one long decline. We have won no battles, period. We won welfare reform, which is a different area temporarily in the ’96, it did very little.

So, it’s hard for me to see how we get out of the dominance of identity politics, but maybe what it will take, I think is for whites to say, “I refuse to be villainized any longer.” But if it’s viewed as unifying rhetoric for Joe Biden to give his inauguration speech one long screed against alleged white supremacy. If that’s viewed as unifying, if whites are that passive and that willing to be denigrated constantly, it seems to me fair play for there to be some sort of white identity politics, if not inevitable. At some point, maybe not the white elites, but the white working class may say, “We refuse to be tarred like this. We’re not the problem.”

And I think that’s what it’s going to take to push back against this fiction that we are a racist society. But until that happens, if the only allowable explanation for racial disparities remains racism, and that is our current state, the only allowable explanation in the New York times and the Washington post and CNN and MSNBC for the fact that there is a disproportionate number of blacks in prison and in under representation of blacks in Google and at Covington & Burling, and at Kleiner Perkins, if the only allowable explanation is that there’s discrimination against blacks by the police or discrimination against black engineers at Google, the left wins. And it will continue tearing down every institution of Western civilization in the name of racial equity.

The Solution to U.S. Divide: Start Talking!

Heather Mac Donald:

The solution to this is to start talking about behavioral disparities. The fact that the black crime rate is astronomical. That’s why blacks are disproportionately incarcerated. Nobody would give a damn about so-called mass incarceration if there weren’t racial disparities in the prison population. The reaction would be, these criminals throw them in prison, throw away the key. It’s the only reason we’re talking about mass incarceration is because of racial disparities. But if we can’t say that those disparities arise out of crime, we’re going to continue tearing down the police, we’re going to continue unwinding law enforcement, crime will continue shooting through the roof, blacks will be the disproportionate victims of those crimes.

And if we can’t talk about the academic skills gap, we will continue unwinding meritocratic standards in our institutions, and we’ll take them down. They’re all coming down. We will not much longer have the Washington, D.C., that will not be allowed. We’re already getting rid of Jefferson. We won’t have The White House much longer, we’ll have to rename that because it’s white privilege. It is all coming down. There is no bottom to my pessimism if we can’t turn this around. There’s not a single institution of American history, which will not come down.

Closing Remarks  

Doug Monroe:

So I’m not going to ask you whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic about the United States, I think you answered that. I will pat myself on the back, I totally resisted asking you any questions about “The War Against Cops.” That in an is a beautiful book. I can see why the best seller. I mean, you were just ahead of the curve, who could have imagined that 2020 would happen. And now we got more. I mean, you’ve got to be the hottest thing out there.

And I will tell you, I wrote a little book to my own kids who are all grown now, married with kids. And in the ’90s saying, “You know what? Your dad doesn’t feel like as a white male, he’s very well liked in this world.” There’s dark forces that are forming around here. And it was while you were writing all those essays that became “The Burden of Bad Ideas” and it’s just exploded. So I like to say I’m an optimist, but I need more optimism. But Heather, thank you very much I just really enjoyed it…

Heather MacDonald:

Thanks very much, yeah.

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