Arkansas Senate candidate Rep. Tom Cotton has earned some flack for his Harvard Crimson columns, in which he at turns compares a golf cup to battle, calls libertarians “sanctimonious,” brushes off feminism, and says affirmative action is “superficial” diversity. A new trawl through the archives shows Cotton wrote a review for the Harvard Salient, the university’s conservative political journal, of America in Black and White by Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom. The thesis of the book seems to be that Democrats refuse to accept how much better life is for black people today (read: in the late ‘90s) than in the pre-war era.
Here’s the most salient part, by my eye [emphasis added]:
The systematic and quantitative case they make is difficult to refute, and it comports with simple common sense: If one counts by race, then race counts, which of course means that it divides rather than unites.
Common sense, however, has never been the forte of race-hustling charlatans like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Unfortunately, it also seems lost on supposedly educated people like Roger Wilkins, Lani Guinier, and Derek Bell. They and other leaders of the civil-rights establishment—one of those many groups that lives off the capital of a noble heritage—blithely ignore all data on racial attitudes in America, as well as all trends of behavior that prove the sincerity of those attitudes. They state that racism is still “as virulent and as obvious as weeds in a garden,” racism is “worse today than it was in the ‘60s,” and that “white men are the most lying creatures on the face of the earth.”
These are not unintelligent people. They could pass the QRR and can analyze trends and data. They know, however, that to acknowledge the incontrovertible arguments of this book would be to marginalize themselves even more than has already been done. If race relations are better now than at any time in our history and would almost certainly improve if we stopped emphasizing race in our public life, what would the self-appointed ‘civil rights leaders’ have to do with themselves? For this reason, they continue to make hysterical and wholly unsubstantiated claims that inflame public opinion and create a gnawing cynicism in the American people.
Click to enlarge the full review:
There really isn’t anything in here you couldn’t hear on Fox & Friends, but it goes to show how much of an uber-conservative Cotton is. People who already support Cotton and read this may even grow to like him more.
Update: Here’s a comment from Cotton’s campaign: “Most college students think they know it all, and most who later look back on what they wrote in college—including Tom—would probably put things differently today.”