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Aaron Brown reveals shoddy reporting by the New York Times on a shoddy paper on private equity. Here’s the lead-in:

Researchers trumpeted a statistically insignificant finding and attempted to explain away contrary data. The Gray Lady further garbled the evidence.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali ponders “Claudine Gay and the mafia of mediocrity.” Two slices:

DEI is the programmatic implementation of an intolerant progressive agenda that views the existing structures of government, education, media, and industry as deeply unjust. It presents these institutions in the light of a hierarchical “intersectional” model of the oppressors and the oppressed. The ultimate oppressor is white, male, and straight. Blacks, women, gays and others are defined as their victims. To redress these past wrongs, DEI is supposed to design new structures of “positive” discrimination, or “affirmative action”.

This is how individuals such as Claudine Gay secured promotion to the commanding heights not just of the Ivy League, but of many other august institutions. Merit, qualifications, the ability to lead — all these criteria were cast aside as expressions of “systemic racism” and “white supremacy”.

The blame for this, of course, cannot be solely pinned on the individuals who have since benefited from DEI. As Gay ascended the ladder of academic preferment, her ambition was central but hardly sufficient. Rather, she did so with the complicity of a network of gatekeepers: the admissions offices of Princeton and Stanford; the peer reviewers who overlooked her plagiarism; the Harvard committees that promoted her through the various ranks of the professorship; and, finally, the members of the Harvard Corporation who deemed her the most suitable candidate for the position of president.

Thanks to their collaboration, and the fall-out following their exposure, the truth about DEI has been thrust into the mainstream. As an acronym, it still holds, but not in the way they intend. In reality, the Dstands for the degradation of the standards once upheld at institutions such as Harvard; the E stands for their erasure; and the I stands not only for the indoctrination that follows, but also intimidation. Gay, after all, not only plagiarised the work of Carol Swain and other black academics. As dean and then as president, she set about destroying the careers of black scholars who choose to play by the rules of merit and academic integrity, notably Roland Fryer.


In her graceless attempt to portray her downfall as something more than the result of her exposure as a fraud, Claudine Gay alleged that there was “a broader war to unravel public faith in pillars of American society… Trusted institutions of all types — from public health agencies to news organisations — will continue to fall victim to coordinated attempts to undermine their legitimacy and ruin their leaders’ credibility.”

The reality is very different. Harvard — like the New York Times, which published her screed — has done the work of unravelling public faith all by itself. It has made a mockery of itself as surely as the Somali Sports Ministry did when it fielded a manifestly unqualified runner. The difference is that Harvard humiliated itself for the sake of an ideology, as opposed to plain nepotism. Until that ideology is extirpated not just from one university but from American education as a whole, the mafia of mediocrity will continue to march on — and produce many more Claudine Gays along the way.

Sofia Hamilton writes that “welfare is great – for the welfare bureaucrats.”

Here’s David Henderson on Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post.

I’m eager to read my GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan’s new book, You Will Not Stampede Me.

Timothy Taylor: “I’m not overly confident that any of these studies on whether economics causes selfishness should be treated as dispositive. But the empirical evidence that does exist for the claim seems weak.”

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

It’s tough competition, but the people who study health and economic development & supported lockdown are among the most disappointing. They make a living studying deep poverty, but supported a policy that they should have known would cause the poor to starve, suffer, and die.