The top American news story at the end of last week was the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, striking down the use of race in college admissions and thereby overturning nearly a half-century of its own past rulings.
The print editions of our leading national newspapers carried virtually identical front-page banner headlines, with the New York Times announcing “Justices Gut College Affirmative Action” and the Wall Street Journal declaring “Court Guts College Affirmative Action.” The banner headline in my own local Palo Alto Daily Post, a small distribution newspaper that closely tracks the media consensus, was even more emphatic: “Court Ends Affirmative Action.”
Although the ultimate consequences of any major legal decision may take years to be fully understood, the potentially sweeping implications of this dramatic ruling were suggested by the lead story on the Saturday website edition of the Times: “Affirmative Action Ruling May Upend Hiring Policies, Too.”
The editors of our national newspaper of record had apparently prepared themselves for this verdict. The ruling was announced Thursday morning and by that evening the Times website had already published a lengthy opinion piece on the long political conflict over racial preferences by Jerome Karabel, an eminent Berkeley sociologist. Karabel’s essay was allocated a full page in the next day’s prestigious print edition, thereby establishing him as the primary voice selected by the Times to respond to the controversial court decision.
- The Decades-Long Fight to Dismantle Affirmative Action
Jerome Karabel • The New York Times • June 29, 2023 • 2,400 Words
Although the history presented by Karabel seemed reasonably even-handed and accurate, I noticed a striking omission. As a scholar, he is best known for his award-winning 2005 study The Chosen, a magisterial narrative history of the last hundred years of Jewish enrollment at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. His research had heavily focused on the secret use of discriminatory practices to sharply restrict Jewish admissions, yet despite its obvious relevance to the current court case no mention of that topic appeared anywhere in his lengthy essay.
Karabel’s seminal research on Jews in the Ivy League served as the foundation for my own 2012 Meritocracy analysis, and although he carefully avoided that subject in his Times piece, I had explained in my article why I regarded it as central to understanding the long struggle over elite admissions:
Karabel’s massive documentation—over 700 pages and 3000 endnotes—establishes the remarkable fact that America’s uniquely complex and subjective system of academic admissions actually arose as a means of covert ethnic tribal warfare. During the 1920s, the established Northeastern Anglo-Saxon elites who then dominated the Ivy League wished to sharply curtail the rapidly growing numbers of Jewish students, but their initial attempts to impose simple numerical quotas provoked enormous controversy and faculty opposition. Therefore, the approach subsequently taken by Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell and his peers was to transform the admissions process from a simple objective test of academic merit into a complex and holistic consideration of all aspects of each individual applicant; the resulting opacity permitted the admission or rejection of any given applicant, allowing the ethnicity of the student body to be shaped as desired. As a consequence, university leaders could honestly deny the existence of any racial or religious quotas, while still managing to reduce Jewish enrollment to a much lower level, and thereafter hold it almost constant during the decades which followed. For example, the Jewish portion of Harvard’s entering class dropped from nearly 30 percent in 1925 to 15 percent the following year and remained roughly static until the period of the Second World War.
As Karabel repeatedly demonstrates, the major changes in admissions policy which later followed were usually determined by factors of raw political power and the balance of contending forces rather than any idealistic considerations. For example, in the aftermath of World War II, Jewish organizations and their allies mobilized their political and media resources to pressure the universities into increasing their ethnic enrollment by modifying the weight assigned to various academic and non-academic factors, raising the importance of the former over the latter. Then a decade or two later, this exact process was repeated in the opposite direction, as the early 1960s saw black activists and their liberal political allies pressure universities to bring their racial minority enrollments into closer alignment with America’s national population by partially shifting away from their recently enshrined focus on purely academic considerations. Indeed, Karabel notes that the most sudden and extreme increase in minority enrollment took place at Yale in the years 1968–69, and was largely due to fears of race riots in heavily black New Haven, which surrounded the campus.
Philosophical consistency appears notably absent in many of the prominent figures involved in these admissions battles, with both liberals and conservatives sometimes favoring academic merit and sometimes non-academic factors, whichever would produce the particular ethnic student mix they desired for personal or ideological reasons. Different political blocs waged long battles for control of particular universities, and sudden large shifts in admissions rates occurred as these groups gained or lost influence within the university apparatus: Yale replaced its admissions staff in 1965 and the following year Jewish numbers nearly doubled.
At times, external judicial or political forces would be summoned to override university admissions policy, often succeeding in this aim. Karabel’s own ideological leanings are hardly invisible, as he hails efforts by state legislatures to force Ivy League schools to lift their de facto Jewish quotas, but seems to regard later legislative attacks on “affirmative action” as unreasonable assaults on academic freedom. The massively footnoted text of The Chosen might lead one to paraphrase Clausewitz and conclude that our elite college admissions policy often consists of ethnic warfare waged by other means, or even that it could be summarized as a simple Leninesque question of “Who, Whom?”
Although nearly all of Karabel’s study is focused on the earlier history of admissions policy at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, with the developments of the last three decades being covered in just a few dozen pages, he finds complete continuity down to the present day, with the notorious opacity of the admissions process still allowing most private universities to admit whomever they want for whatever reasons they want, even if the reasons and the admissions decisions may eventually change over the years. Despite these plain facts, Harvard and the other top Ivy League schools today publicly deny any hint of discrimination along racial or ethnic lines, except insofar as they acknowledge providing an admissions boost to under-represented racial minorities, such as blacks or Hispanics. But given the enormous control these institutions exert on our larger society, we should test these claims against the evidence of the actual enrollment statistics.
For more than one hundred years and especially in recent decades, our elite colleges have served as a direct channel to the commanding heights of American academics, law, business, finance, and media, so dominating those institutions and determining their enrollment provides a considerable measure of control over our entire society. And as Karabel demonstrated in his fascinating volume, throughout the twentieth century those colleges therefore became the battleground of a silent struggle for power between white Gentiles and Jews. The former initially held the upper hand, but the latter ultimately proved victorious, and towards the end of his book the author celebrated their supposedly meritocratic triumph:
Indeed, Karabel opens the final chapter of his book by…noting the extreme irony that the WASP demographic group which had once so completely dominated America’s elite universities and “virtually all the major institutions of American life” had by 2000 become “a small and beleaguered minority at Harvard,” being actually fewer in number than the Jews whose presence they had once sought to restrict. Very similar results seem to apply all across the Ivy League, with the disproportion often being even greater than the particular example emphasized by Karabel.
Indeed, I think our nation’s fifty year struggle over Affirmative Action can best be understood as an element of that hidden ethnic struggle. As I explained in the closing paragraphs of my 2018 article:
Many years ago as a young and naive undergraduate, I would usually spend my dinners discussing all sorts of political and policy issues with my fellow classmates in our Harvard dining hall.
Affirmative Action was a regular topic of our conversations, and I would occasionally note how odd America was in that regard. No other example came to mind in which an ethnic group had established a legalized system of racial discrimination against its own members, while similar sorts of systems aimed at excluding or disadvantaging rival ethnic groups were all too common in world history.
As the decades went by, I gradually noticed that the huge and continuing increase in the enrollment of non-white and foreign students at our most elite universities had caused a complete collapse in the enrollment of white American Gentiles, but oddly enough, no similar reduction in Jewish numbers. It was well-known that Jewish activists had been the primary force behind the establishment of Affirmative Action and related policies in college admissions, and I began to wonder about their true motivation, whether conscious or unconscious.
Had the goal been the stated one, of providing educational opportunities to previously excluded groups? Or had that merely been the excuse used to advance a policy that eliminated the majority of white Gentiles, their primary ethnic competitors? With the Jewish population numbering merely 2%, there was an obvious limit as to how many elite college slots they themselves could possibly fill, but if enough other groups were also brought in, then Gentile numbers could easily be reduced to low levels, despite the fact that they constituted the bulk of the national population.
Asians represented an interesting test-case. As their numbers rapidly grew, white Gentiles were consequently pushed out, and this process was celebrated across the academic community. But by the late 1980s, Asian numbers had increased to such an extent that they inevitably began to impinge upon elite Jewish enrollment as well and future increases would surely worsen the situation. And at that point, the process suddenly halted, with Asian numbers being sharply reduced and thereafter permanently capped. The implications of this situation were already in the back of my mind when I published my 1998 Wall Street Journal column describing some of these striking racial facts.
The current high-profile trial in Boston is widely portrayed by the media as a conflict between Asian-American groups, whose educational interests suffer under the current subjective and opaque admissions system, and black and Hispanic groups, whose numbers might be sharply reduced under some proposed changes. Whites are largely portrayed as bystanders, with Harvard indicating that their numbers would scarcely shift even under drastic changes in admissions policy. But the term “white” encompasses both Jews and Gentiles, and thus may conceal more than it reveals.
The implications of my 2012 Meritocracy analysis are certainly well-known to all of the prominent participants and observers in the ongoing legal battle, but the fearsome power of the ADL and its media allies ensures that certain important aspects of the current situation are never subjected to widespread public discussion. Asian advocates rightly denounce the unfairness of the current elite academic admissions system, but remain absolutely mute about which American group actually controls the institutions involved.
Throughout the enormous media controversy surrounding the Harvard trial in Boston, all sides are doing their utmost to avoid noticing the 2% elephant in the room. And that fact provides the best proof of the tremendous size and power of that elephant in today’s American society.
Most American journalists and academics quietly recognize that matters touching upon Jewish sensitivities constitute the deadly “third rail” of their professions and the quantitative analysis that I had presented in my 2012 Meritocracy analysis was probably one of the most explosive published anywhere in many decades. In that study I demonstrated that the distribution of students at our elite colleges sharply diverged from that of our society as a whole or its highest performing segment, but instead showed a strikingly different ethnic skew:
The evidence of the recent NMS semifinalist lists seems the most conclusive of all, given the huge statistical sample sizes involved. As discussed earlier, these students constitute roughly the highest 0.5 percent in academic ability, the top 16,000 high school seniors who should be enrolling at the Ivy League and America’s other most elite academic universities. In California, white Gentile names outnumber Jewish ones by over 8-to-1; in Texas, over 20-to-1; in Florida and Illinois, around 9-to-1. Even in New York, America’s most heavily Jewish state, there are more than two high-ability white Gentile students for every Jewish one. Based on the overall distribution of America’s population, it appears that approximately 65–70 percent of America’s highest ability students are non-Jewish whites, well over ten times the Jewish total of under 6 percent.
Needless to say, these proportions are considerably different from what we actually find among the admitted students at Harvard and its elite peers, which today serve as a direct funnel to the commanding heights of American academics, law, business, and finance. Based on reported statistics, Jews approximately match or even outnumber non-Jewish whites at Harvard and most of the other Ivy League schools, which seems wildly disproportionate. Indeed, the official statistics indicate that non-Jewish whites at Harvard are America’s most under-represented population group, enrolled at a much lower fraction of their national population than blacks or Hispanics, despite having far higher academic test scores.
When examining statistical evidence, the proper aggregation of data is critical. Consider the ratio of the recent 2007–2011 enrollment of Asian students at Harvard relative to their estimated share of America’s recent NMS semifinalists, a reasonable proxy for the high-ability college-age population, and compare this result to the corresponding figure for whites. The Asian ratio is 63 percent, slightly above the white ratio of 61 percent, with both these figures being considerably below parity due to the substantial presence of under-represented racial minorities such as blacks and Hispanics, foreign students, and students of unreported race. Thus, there appears to be no evidence for racial bias against Asians, even excluding the race-neutral impact of athletic recruitment, legacy admissions, and geographical diversity.
However, if we separate out the Jewish students, their ratio turns out to be 435 percent, while the residual ratio for non-Jewish whites drops to just 28 percent, less than half of even the Asian figure. As a consequence, Asians appear under-represented relative to Jews by a factor of seven, while non-Jewish whites are by far the most under-represented group of all, despite any benefits they might receive from athletic, legacy, or geographical distribution factors. The rest of the Ivy League tends to follow a similar pattern, with the overall Jewish ratio being 381 percent, the Asian figure at 62 percent, and the ratio for non-Jewish whites a low 35 percent, all relative to their number of high-ability college-age students.
Just as striking as these wildly disproportionate current numbers have been the longer enrollment trends. In the three decades since I graduated Harvard, the presence of white Gentiles has dropped by as much as 70 percent, despite no remotely comparable decline in the relative size or academic performance of that population; meanwhile, the percentage of Jewish students has actually increased. This period certainly saw a very rapid rise in the number of Asian, Hispanic, and foreign students, as well as some increase in blacks. But it seems rather odd that all of these other gains would have come at the expense of whites of Christian background, and none at the expense of Jews.
Based on these figures, Jewish students were roughly 1,000% more likely to be enrolled at Harvard and the rest of the Ivy League than white Gentiles of similar ability. This was an absolutely astonishing result given that under-representation in the range of 20% or 30% is often treated by courts as powerful prima facie evidence of racial discrimination.
- The Myth of American Meritocracy
Ron Unz • The American Conservative • November 28, 2012 • 26,200 Words
Several charts and graphs effectively presented these remarkable findings:
As I explained last year:
These charts demonstrated the hidden reality that white Gentiles were heavily under-represented at elite colleges not merely with regard to their fraction of highest-performing students but even relative to their share of the college-age population. Academic administrators might publicly fret that blacks or Hispanics were not enrolled proportional to their national numbers, but the under-enrollment of non-Jewish whites was actually far more severe. To a considerable extent, the student bodies of our top colleges constitute the next generation of our national elites in embryonic form, and during recent decades white Gentiles had been increasingly excluded from that important pool.
All these meritocracy statistics were originally compiled ten years ago, but when I’ve occasionally updated them, I noticed that little had changed except that they had sometimes grown even more extreme. As mentioned, legal discovery eventually revealed that an internal Harvard study had largely confirmed my analysis of Asian discrimination but had been suppressed. Meanwhile, my much more explosive analysis of massive Jewish over-representation had never been significantly challenged despite the angry fulminations of a few agitated Jewish activists, but the topic had unsurprisingly disappeared from any public debate.
Soon after I published my original article, the overwhelming evidence I provided of enormous Jewish over-representation relative to Jewish academic performance provoked a series of heated exchanges with a handful of outraged Jewish activists. As a consequence, I published a series of follow-up columns in which I explained and justified my methodology, confirming that my controversial conclusions had been entirely correct. Those so interested should read these pieces, weighing my own arguments against those of my critics and then decide for themselves:
- Meritocracy: The Yale Debate and Surname Analysis
The American Conservative • February 1, 2013 • 1,800 Words
- Meritocracy: Response to Prof. Gelman on Jewish Elite Overrepresentation
The American Conservative • February 13, 2013 • 2,800 Words
- Meritocracy: Admitting My Mistakes
The American Conservative • February 21, 2013 • 2,200 Words
- Meritocracy: Gelman’s Sixth Column
The American Conservative • March 1, 2013 • 1,500 Words
- Meritocracy: Almost as Wrong as Larry Summers
The American Conservative • March 9, 2013 • 2,000 Words
- Meritocracy: Dangerous Cancer Statistics
The American Conservative • March 16, 2013 • 1,100 Words
Karabel must certainly be well aware of my findings, so his complete silence on Jewish matters in his lengthy Times piece was only to be expected. Karabel himself was a student of my late friend Nathan Glazer, the longtime dean of American ethnic sociology, who had been very impressed by my Meritocracy analysis and promoted it in his circles. Moreover, I had fully recognized the exceptionally explosive nature of my conclusions and therefore provided an advance copy of my work to the highly-regarded Berkeley scholar:
My first decision was to place my Asian Quota section near the front of my very long text. Aside from the intrinsic importance, this would also provide interested readers with a relatively safe “hook” that they could use to describe and promote my analysis, while allowing them to avoid mentioning any of the “third rail” material that constituted the bulk of my text; and this was exactly what eventually occurred. But such a strategy would obviously fail unless I could also somehow induce hair-trigger activist groups to maintain silence about my article rather than begin crudely demonizing it. Therefore, I decided to launch what I considered a decapitating first strike against those central organs of Jewish activism but to do so in a rather oblique manner.
Jerome Karabel certainly ranked as the world’s foremost authority on Jewish admissions to the Ivy League, and his celebrated opus had been the central text I had used, although my ultimate conclusions were radically different than his own. It seemed likely to me that once Jewish organizations became aware of the controversial elements of my article, he would be among the first individuals they contacted, both to seek his assessment of my analysis and perhaps also receive suggestions for an effective rebuttal.
Therefore, I obtained Karabel’s contact information and sent him an advance copy of my completed article weeks before it was generally released, explaining that I thought he would find it rather interesting although some of my conclusions were quite different than his own. My expectation was that once he carefully read my detailed analysis, he would conclude that the case I made was far too strong to be effectively refuted, and he would pass along that verdict to the activist organizations when they eventually contacted him, thus leading them adopt a policy of “strategic silence” in order to avoid drawing attention to my claims. For whatever reason, that was exactly how they reacted, and no prominent Jewish activist or group ever issued a public response to my extremely controversial findings despite the considerable attention these ultimately attracted.
In 2016 I had launched a high-profile campaign to elect a slate of candidates to the Harvard Board of Overseers, with one of our central issues being greater transparency in admissions, and although our effort failed, it may have had some longer-term consequences.
Neither our own slate nor that of our bitter opponents ever raised the issue of Jewish numbers, but the front-page story in the New York Times announcing our effort must surely have reminded activist groups of the explosive contents of my original 2012 paper, and the risk that the surprising facts I had provided might eventually slip past their media blockade and reach the American public, perhaps with fateful consequences.
All my enrollment figures had been drawn from the public estimates annually provided by Hillel, the nationwide Jewish campus organization, whose numbers had been used for decades by academic researchers and media outlets. My article had noted that even slight declines in Jewish enrollment had sometimes provoked enormous public controversies and demands that they be immediately reversed. As I wrote in 2012:
Meanwhile, any hint of “anti-Semitism” in admissions is regarded as an absolutely mortal sin, and any significant reduction in Jewish enrollment may often be denounced as such by the hair-trigger media. For example, in 1999 Princeton discovered that its Jewish enrollment had declined to just 500 percent of parity, down from more than 700 percent in the mid-1980s, and far below the comparable figures for Harvard or Yale. This quickly resulted in four front-page stories in the Daily Princetonian, a major article in the New York Observer, and extensive national coverage in both the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education. These articles included denunciations of Princeton’s long historical legacy of anti-Semitism and quickly led to official apologies, followed by an immediate 30 percent rebound in Jewish numbers. During these same years, non-Jewish white enrollment across the entire Ivy League had dropped by roughly 50 percent, reducing those numbers to far below parity, but this was met with media silence or even occasional congratulations on the further “multicultural” progress of America’s elite education system.
The year after our unsuccessful Harvard Overseer campaign, the Hillel website reported a sudden, massive collapse in Jewish enrollment at Harvard and many other top universities, a decline of more than 50% that was totally ignored by both the national media and normally alert Jewish activist organizations, and this striking disappearance of Jews at elite colleges has continued down to the present day. However, I quickly determined that this shift seemed merely to be one of redefinition, with students apparently now only counted in that category if they declared themselves to be practitioners of the Jewish religion, a change that had an enormous impact, as I explained in 2018:
These arguments based on general plausibility are strongly supported by quantitative evidence, and ironically enough, it is Baytch herself who provided it. Around the time she produced her lengthy and unpublished document, Harvard Hillel was claiming a Jewish undergraduate enrollment of 25%, and near the beginning of her text, she claimed that figure was obviously false by citing a Harvard Crimson survey indicating that only 9.5% of the Class of 2017 were Jewish. However, she failed to notice that the survey referred to being religiously Jewish, which is entirely different than being Jewish in the broader ethnic or ancestral sense, especially since Jews are among the most secular populations in American society and a full 42% of the Harvard students described their religious beliefs as atheist, agnostic, or “other.” Indeed, a worldwide survey finds that only 38% of (ethnic) Jews follow the Jewish religion. So if the Crimson survey were correct and Harvard Jews were typical in their religiosity, this would imply that 9.5% / 0.38 = 25%(!!!) of Harvard freshman were ethnically Jewish, exactly the figure claimed by Harvard Hillel. Fanatic ideologues such as Baytch sometimes have a tendency to score game-ending own-goals without even realizing what they have done.
In general, Jewish classification has a rather protean nature, with somewhat overlapping definitions based on religion, ethnicity, and full or partial ancestry, allowing it to be drastically expanded or contracted for various reasons. I suspect that Baytch’s confusion on this matter was entirely sincere, related to the obsessive tendencies she exhibited in real life. But others may employ these shifting definitions based upon more pragmatic considerations.
It is well known that for many decades the American Communist Party and especially its top leadership were overwhelmingly Jewish, even at a time when Jews were just 3% of the national population. But Jewish community leaders were not pleased with this situation, and they sometimes flatly denied the reality, insisting that there were actually no Jewish Communists whatsoever—how could there be, when Communists were hostile to all religious belief?
Similarly, my findings that Jews were apparently enrolled at Harvard and other elite colleges at a rate some 1,000% greater than white Gentiles of similar academic performance must surely have set off alarm bells within the leadership of Jewish activist organizations, who wondered how best to manage or conceal this potentially dangerous information. With a high-profile Asian discrimination lawsuit wending its way through the courts and my own unsuccessful 2016 attempt to run a slate of candidates for the Board of Harvard Overseers, the likelihood of growing public scrutiny surely loomed very large.
Baytch’s apparent confusion between having Jewish ancestry and practicing the Jewish religion would have been well-known in these circles, and offered an obvious solution. If Jewish numbers were suddenly narrowed to only include those students who claimed to follow Jewish religious practices, the flagrant over-representation of Jews on elite campuses would be greatly reduced. Meanwhile, large numbers of lesser-qualified applicants of Jewish ancestry but no religious belief could continue to gain unfair admission by writing essays about their “Holocaust grandmas” with America’s 98% Gentile population being none the wiser.
For whatever reason, Hillel seems to have recently adopted this practice, drastically reducing its published estimates of the Jewish enrollment at Harvard and other elite colleges, thus eliminating a glaring example of ethnic bias by a simple act of redefinition. For example, the Hillel website now claims that merely 11% of Harvard undergraduates are Jewish, a huge reduction from the previous 25% figure, and a total suspiciously close to the Crimson survey of a few years ago which counted Jews only based upon their religious beliefs. The Hillel figures for Yale, Princeton, and most other elite colleges have experienced equally sudden and huge declines.
One very strong clue regarding this new definition of Jewish enrollment comes from Caltech, an elite science and engineering school which is quite unlikely to attract Jews professing religious faith. According to the Hillel website, the Jewish enrollment is 0%, claiming that there absolutely no Jews on campus. Despite this, the website also describes the vibrant Jewish life at Caltech, with Caltech Jews involved in all sorts of local activities and projects. This absurd paradox is obviously due to the distinction between individuals who are Jewish by religion and those who are Jewish by ancestry.
As the 1999 media firestorm engulfing Princeton demonstrated, in the past even slight and gentle declines of Jewish enrollment over a fifteen year period would provoke massive controversy and angry denunciations from Jewish organizations. The absolute lack of any organized response to the recent sudden disappearance of nearly 60% of Harvard’s Jews certainly suggests that little more than a mere change in definition had occurred.
As I discussed last year, this apparent shift from a classification based upon Jewish ethnicity to one based upon Jewish religion seems to have successfully obscured the central issue:
My own Meritocracy analysis was viewed hundreds of thousands of times, but such numbers represent merely a tiny sliver within the vastness of the Internet, and after a few months my explosive Jewish findings had permanently vanished from any secondary coverage or other public discussion. So although well-informed individuals interested in Jewish matters or elite college admissions must be aware of my results, the complete silence of the broader media has ensured that everyone else remained entirely ignorant.
As an example of this, a few days ago a friend of mine pointed me to a Tablet podcast series on Jews in the Ivy League entitled “Gatecrashers” and hosted by Mark Oppenheimer, an Orthodox Jewish journalist who often focuses on religious matters. Although I listened to the episode “Harvard and the End of the Jewish Ivy League,” I found Oppenheimer’s obvious lack of quantitative skills or any true understanding of the issues involved rather disheartening.
However, the podcast page did provide a link to a very helpful article in the Harvard Crimson, presenting the results of four years of Freshman surveys on a variety of lifestyle issues, including religious faith. During 2013-2016, there had been a very sharp decline in most religious affiliations, with the percentage of Catholics and Protestants together dropping from over 42% to less than 35% in just four years, and a corresponding, even stronger decline in followers of Judaism, while the combined category of Atheists, Agnostics, and “Other” grew from under 42% to nearly 53%. We can safely assume that a very substantial portion of the adherents in those latter categories are Jewish by ethnicity.
Freshmen who were religiously Jewish had dropped to just 6.3% in 2016, but during the other three years the percentage had closely clustered around 10%, which is also the figure currently reported for Harvard on the Hillel website. So if we assume that Harvard College attracts Jews who are average in their religious faith, this indicates that the ethnically Jewish fraction of the undergraduate population would be roughly 25% or perhaps a bit higher.
If this estimate of Jewish numbers is even remotely correct, the implications are quite astonishing, and we can easily understand why switching from ethnicity to religion was employed as a subterfuge to conceal that reality. Since 1980 every college and university in America has been required to report the demographic characteristics of its student body to the National Center for Education Statistics. Our own website provides this public data in a highly-convenient form, allowing easy examination of the historical trajectory of all our thousands of undergraduate academic institutions, and we can examine a table showing the changing enrollment at Harvard College since 2012:
Harvard College Demographics Percentages
One of the most striking facts is that during the five years 2015-2020, the percentage of black students grew from 6.3% to 11.0%, a remarkable rise of 75%, certainly the most rapid in Harvard’s history, and despite the decline in 2021, the numbers are still up by nearly 50% since 2015. This dramatic rise was driven by extremely high acceptance rates, with blacks being 14.8% of the students admitted in 2020 and a whopping 18% of the 2021 admissions. The number of Hispanic, Asian, and foreign students also rose substantially during those same years.
The Iron Law of Arithmetic demands that percentages must sum to 100, so during this same period, Harvard’s white enrollment dropped by nearly 10 percentage points, steadily falling from 45.1% in 2012 to just 35.4% in 2021. And if, as seems likely, ethnically Jewish students are in the approximate range of 25%, the unavoidable conclusion is that although white Gentiles are nearly 60% of the American population and probably at least 60% of our highest-performing students, they are now approaching a single digit presence at our most elite college. As I noted in my original 2012 article, Harvard has long enrolled American blacks at a considerably higher rate than non-Jewish whites, but the former are now probably comparable in absolute numbers even though the latter are more than four times more numerous in our society.
These shocking conclusions must be carefully hedged with a couple of caveats. It is possible that for some reason Jews at Harvard are far more religious than the Jewish population as a whole, which would impact our ethnic estimates. There also seems to be some anecdotal evidence that the lure of Affirmative Action admissions has increasingly persuaded some white students to falsely claim non-white status, and perhaps those numbers have now become large enough to significantly distort Harvard’s official statistics. But aside from these two possible factors, both quite difficult to evaluate, the shocking conclusions I have drawn seem inescapable.
The increasing elimination of non-Jewish whites from Harvard and other top colleges is real, but the underlying factors responsible are far from certain. However, I should quote a relevant paragraph from my 2012 article, which noted the close historical parallel described in Jerome Karabel’s volume:
It would be unreasonable to ignore the salient fact that this massive apparent bias in favor of far less-qualified Jewish applicants coincides with an equally massive ethnic skew at the topmost administrative ranks of the universities in question, a situation which once again exactly parallels Karabel’s account from the 1920s. Indeed, Karabel points out that by 1993 Harvard, Yale, and Princeton all had presidents of Jewish ancestry, and the same is true for the current presidents of Yale, Penn, Cornell, and possibly Columbia, as well as Princeton’s president throughout during the 1990s and Yale’s new incoming president, while all three of Harvard’s most recent presidents have either had Jewish origins or a Jewish spouse.
When I published that article a decade ago, probably half of the eight Ivy League colleges had Jewish presidents, and that figure still remains true today; the ratio had been much higher last year before Amy Gutmann left the presidency of Penn to become our ambassador to Germany, while on July 1st Harvard’s Jewish President Lawrence Bacow was replaced by Claudine Gay, the first black to hold that position.
Relatively few Americans ever consider applying to Harvard or the other elite Ivy League schools. Indeed, I suspect that much of our citizenry probably regards the composition of those student bodies as totally irrelevant, of far less significance than the identities of our top professional athletes or pop music stars. Yet as I have repeatedly emphasized, those educational institutions tend to provide the next generation of America’s ruling elites, and this applies to the world of politics as well as many other sectors.
Consider, for example, the leading figures in our current Biden Administration, who are playing a crucial role in determining the future of our own country and the rest of the world. The list of Cabinet departments has wildly proliferated since Washington’s day, but suppose we confine our attention to the half-dozen most important, led by the individuals who control national security and the economy, and then also add the names of the President, Vice President, Chief of Staff, and National Security Advisor. Although “Diversity” may have become the sacred motto of the Democratic Party, the background of the handful of individuals running our country appears strikingly non-diverse, especially if we exclude the two political figureheads at the very top.
- President Joe Biden (Jewish in-laws)
- Vice-President Kamala Harris (Jewish spouse)
- Chief of Staff Jeff Zients (Jewish), replacing Ron Klain (Jewish, Harvard)
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Jewish, Harvard)
- Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen (Jewish, Yale)
- Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III (Black)
- Attorney General Merrick Garland (Jewish, Harvard)
- National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (White Gentile, Yale)
- Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines (Jewish)
- Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas (Jewish)
As I wrote last year:
In 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Moscow’s Jewish Center and noted in his remarks that 80-85% of the first Bolshevik government was Jewish. Although that statement was probably somewhat exaggerated, it does seem a very reasonable characterization of today’s American government, despite Jews constituting less than 2% of our population.
When a nation’s top leadership is drawn from such a narrowly insular, almost incestuous circle, in which standards of strict meritocracy have long since been replaced by shared ideological beliefs and perhaps even widespread implicit ethnic nepotism, enormous problems may develop. Our current inflation rate is now the highest in forty years, and a few days ago, prestigious Foreign Affairs, mouthpiece of the American political establishment, carried a major article discussing the looming possibility of a simultaneous war against both Russia and China and how we could successfully triumph in such a difficult conflict. Since my infancy, no American president has seriously contemplated a war with either Russia or China, but our current national leadership seems quite eager to embroil us in a global war with both of them at the same time.
My original 2012 article had closed with a strongly cautionary note:
Following the 1991 collapse and disintegration of the Soviet Union, some observers noted with unease that the United States was left as about the only remaining large and fully-functional multi-ethnic society, and the subsequent collapse and disintegration of ethnically diverse Yugoslavia merely strengthened these concerns. China is sometimes portrayed by the ignorant American media as having large and restive minority populations, but it is 92 percent Han Chinese, and if we exclude a few outlying or thinly populated provinces—the equivalents of Alaska, Hawaii, and New Mexico—closer to 95 percent Han, with all its top leadership drawn from that same background and therefore possessing a natural alignment of interests. Without doubt, America’s great success despite its multiplicity of ethnic nationalities is almost unique in modern human history. But such success should not be taken for granted.
Many of the Jewish writers who focus on the history of elite university admissions, including Karabel, Steinberg, and Lemann, have critiqued and rebuked the America of the first half of the Twentieth Century for having been governed by a narrow WASP ascendency, which overwhelmingly dominated and controlled the commanding heights of business, finance, education, and politics; and some of their criticisms are not unreasonable. But we should bear in mind that this dominant group of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants—largely descended from among the earliest American settlers and which had gradually absorbed and assimilated substantial elements of Celtic, Dutch, German, and French background—was generally aligned in culture, religion, ideology, and ancestry with perhaps 60 percent of America’s total population at the time, and therefore hardly represented an alien presence. By contrast, a similarly overwhelming domination by a tiny segment of America’s current population, one which is completely misaligned in all these respects, seems far less inherently stable, especially when the institutional roots of such domination have continually increased despite the collapse of the supposedly meritocratic justification. This does not seem like a recipe for a healthy and successful society, nor one which will even long survive in anything like its current form.
Power corrupts and an extreme concentration of power even more so, especially when that concentration of power is endlessly praised and glorified by the major media and the prominent intellectuals which together constitute such an important element of that power. But as time goes by and more and more Americans notice that they are poorer and more indebted than they have ever been before, the blandishments of such propaganda machinery will eventually lose effectiveness, much as did the similar propaganda organs of the decaying Soviet state. Kahlenberg quotes Pat Moynihan as noting that the stagnant American earnings between 1970 and 1985 represented “the longest stretch of ‘flat’ income in the history of the European settlement of North America.” The only difference today is that this period of economic stagnation has now extended nearly three times as long, and has also been combined with numerous social, moral, and foreign policy disasters.
Over the last few decades America’s ruling elites have been produced largely as a consequence of the particular selection methods adopted by our top national universities in the late 1960s. Leaving aside the question of whether these methods have been fair or have instead been based on corruption and ethnic favoritism, the elites they have produced have clearly done a very poor job of leading our country, and we must change the methods used to select them.