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George Leef points us to a report on Harvard’s desperate effort to save face in light of its refusal to dismiss plagiarist Claudine Gay from its presidency.

Even Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post is among those who argue that Claudine Gay should go. A slice:

Gay’s dissertation — which nowhere cites Palmquist and Voss — contains nearly identical language. “This is one sign that the data contain little aggregation bias,” she wrote. “If racial turnout rates changed depending upon a precinct’s racial mix, which is one way to think about bias, a linear form would be unlikely in a simple scatter plot. A linear form would only result if the changes in one race’s turnout were compensated by changes in the turnout of the other race across the graph.”

That’s not sloppiness. That’s plagiarism. Harvard’s own material underscores this conclusion. “Plagiarism is defined as the act of either intentionally OR unintentionally submitting work that was written by someone else,” its manual for students advises. “If you turn in a paper … in which you have included material from any source without citing that source, you have plagiarized.”

Perhaps the most disturbing example is the least academic — Gay’s borrowing of words from another scholar, Jennifer L. Hochschild. In her acknowledgments for a 1996 book, Hochschild described a mentor who “showed me the importance of getting the data right and of following where they lead without fear or favor” and “drove me much harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.”

Gay’s dissertation thanked her thesis adviser, who “reminded me of the importance of getting the data right and following where they lead without fear or favor,” and her family, “drove me harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.”

Now, can I just say? Acknowledgments are the easiest, and most fun part, of writing a book, the place where you list your sources and allies and all the people who helped you get the manuscript over the finish line. Why not come up with your own thanks? What does it say about a person who chooses to appropriate another’s language for this most personal task.

My GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein writes about the history of “liberal.” A slice:

Smithian liberalism is like other political philosophies in that it affirms the ethical supremacy of the good of the whole, equality before the law, and a special concern for the least-well-off. Like other political philosophies, it understands that a dollar means more to a poor person than it does to a rich person. These beliefs are not what divide philosophies and produce polarities.

What makes the political left the political left is the policies and agendas it espouses. There, the left collides with Smith. The left promotes bigger government, which Smith opposes, by and large.

Smith showed no enthusiasm for the welfare state, the nanny state, or the regulatory state. Quite the contrary. Smith disliked bullies and nudgers. His attitude was that everyone has a right to go to hell in his own toboggan.

Like Thomas Sowell, Smith saw intrusive government as the chief problem. Voluntary society has mechanisms for correcting its own errors and mischiefs, moral and economic. But in government and politics, the correction mechanisms are weak and often pathological. There is no invisible hand in government. Government errors and mischiefs are not corrected. Indeed, Smith indicated that big government tends to breed wickedness.

Yet Smith was the original liberal.

Kevin Williamson takes on the eco-warriors who are taking on Christmas. A slice:

In one of the season’s most predictable developments, climate activists have declared war on Christmas trees, vandalizing holiday displays in cities across Germany.

Like any new religion, the climate cult despises competition, and so its members target religious symbols — not only Christmas trees but also Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna” as well as civic institutions, recently having defaced Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

With great pomp and gloom, the anti-Christmas tree group calls itself Last Generation (Letzte Generation), and, while apocalyptic youth cults do not have a very inspiring record anywhere, they have an especially ugly history in Germany — Seig heil and jackboots and all.

I do not make the comparison lightly.

There is a real debate to be had on climate policy, but these young vandals are not a part of it.

I wonder if someone will tell Thomas Piketty et à ses cohortes socialistes.

Here’s John Cochrane on the Colorado Supreme Court’s finding that Trump is ineligible to appear on the ballot in Colorado. A slice:

Hypocrisy is hardly new in politics. But it is noteworthy that the party bleating most loudly about “threats to democracy” is so distrustful of democracy that it is waging legal battles to keep Mr. Trump from being democratically elected.

Paul Schwennesen is correct:

The basic problem with each side in today’s culture wars is that they know too much. Progressives self-consciously seek “progress,” (and they know what that means) and conservatives seek to “conserve” valuable forms from the past (and they, too, know what that means). The problem, of course, is that they’re both full of baloney. Neither side is inclined, shall we say, toward intellectual humility. The fact is, nobody knows precisely what “progress” should look like, nor is anyone wise enough to know precisely what traditions are worth keeping in the long run. Despite this, the majority of us non-extremists are caught out on an artificial teeter-totter of political divisiveness, struggling to stay sane in the demilitarized zone between two camps that presume to know more than we do.

Arnold Kling writes insightfully about what he calls “fashionable beliefs.” A slice:

I see Mr. Trump’s opponents as stoking unreasonable fears about another Trump Presidency. At the same time, I see his supporters as failing to realize that there are better alternatives in the Republican field. But I have no hope that fashions will change. It looks to me as if the most likely outcome in 2024 is a Trump victory, followed by massive street demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of disruption (dare I say “insurrection?”)

Jeff Jacoby thinks It’s a Wonderful Life to be wonderful. A slice:

“It’s a Wonderful Life” provides one last example of how a second chance can transform failure and disappointment into success and joy — not a character or scene in the movie, but the movie itself.