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GMU Econ alum Nikolai Wenzel, writing with the Universidad Francisco Marroquín’s Luis Carlos Araujo Quinter, remind the world of the genuine greatness of George Washington. A slice:

Enter George Washington. Upon military victory in 1783, the Continental Army’s supreme commander resigned. Even if he held vast emergency powers to fight a war against the world’s leading superpower, he relinquished all control and authority, leaving the Continental Congress in charge of the newly independent country. He refused any political power, despite support for a Washington-led monarchy and some army officials’ calls to violently take backpay.

Megan McArdle is optimistic about the resilience of American society. A slice:

Watch Americans dealing with one another day to day and you will mostly see them going out of their way to be nice. There are far more random acts of kindness in this country than there are drive-by shootings, and far more people acting with honesty and integrity, even when no one’s looking, than there are con men and thieves. We focus on the latter precisely because they are rare.

Which is why, for all the bad, America is better than it thinks itself. And I dare to believe that, in the future, it will be better still.

Deirdre McCloskey talks with Chris Kaufman about the bourgeois era.

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley asks for evidence that Clarence Thomas benefitted from affirmative action. Two slices:

The political left’s reaction to Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence in last week’s Supreme Court ruling that bars the use of racial preferences in college admissions is more evidence that affirmative action stigmatizes black achievement. Justice Thomas has been labeled a hypocrite for opposing racial preferences because he supposedly benefited from them as a college student, yet no one has produced any evidence that race played a role in his admission to Holy Cross College or Yale Law School.

According to press accounts, Justice Thomas was recruited to Holy Cross by a dean, Father John Brooks, who wanted to increase the number of black students on campus, but the justice has long denied this claim. He started college at Immaculate Conception, a seminary in Missouri, but left after a year and returned home to Savannah, Ga. In his memoir, he says he applied to Holy Cross at the urging of a nun who had taught him in high school. “I ranked near the top of my class at Immaculate Conception, so Holy Cross had quickly accepted my application,” he writes. “The only problem was money, but the director of financial aid told me that something could be worked out.”


Nor is there any evidence that Justice Thomas was admitted to Yale Law School under its affirmative-action program rather than through the regular admissions process. He graduated from Holy Cross ninth in his class (of more than 500 students). According to the New York Times, eight Holy Cross graduates were admitted to Yale Law between 1968 and 1978, the decade that included Justice Thomas’s law school career. Why assume that he got in only because of his race? Why question the justice’s credentials but not Bill Clinton’s or Hillary Rodham’s, two of his fellow Yale Law students? The reason is affirmative action, which has made people suspicious of black academic and professional success.

Charles Cooke writes wisely about Justice Clarence Thomas and affirmative action.

Hans Bader is rightly unimpressed by the dissenters in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard.

Arnold Kling reviews Jean Twenge’s Generations.

Each with a letter-to-the-editor in the Wall Street Journal, David Boaz and Christopher Hanford ably defend libertarianism from Barton Swaim’s assertion that it is “studiously amoral.” Here are those letters:

In his review of “The Individualists” by Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi (Bookshelf, June 29), Barton Swaim refers to the “studiously amoral philosophy of libertarianism.” A popular summary of libertarianism, “don’t hit other people, don’t take their stuff and keep your promises,” is just the sort of basic morality that allows human beings to live together.

David Boaz
Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

The core tenet of libertarianism is that a person is free to do as he chooses until he inhibits the right of others to do the same. That principle will never need “an obituary.” Far from avoiding life’s biggest questions, it can be a guide for answering them.

Christopher Hanford
Benicia, Calif.