“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Diversity in the Navy

"You can put your mind at ease.."

The Naval Academy’s Double Standard
Posted on July 6th, 2009 by Patrick J. Buchanan American Conservative

“Naval Academy Professor Challenges Rising Diversity,” ran the headline in The Washington Post.
The impression left was that some sorehead was griping because black and Hispanic kids were finally being admitted.
The Post’s opening paragraphs reinforced the impression.

“Of the 1,230 plebes who took the oath of office at the Naval Academy in Annapolis this week, 435 were members of minority groups. It’s the most racially diverse class in the nation’s 164-year history. Academy leaders say it’s a top priority to build a student body that reflects the racial makeup of the Navy and the nation.”

Who can be against diversity?

What the Post gets around to is that 22-year English professor Bruce Fleming objects to a race-based admissions program that was apparently used to create a class that is 35 percent minority.

According to Fleming, who once sat on the board of admissions, white applicants must have all As and Bs and test scores of at least 600 on the English and math parts of the SAT even to qualify for a “slate” of 10 applicants, from which only one will be chosen.

However, if you check a box indicating you are African-American, Hispanic, Native American, or Asian, writes Fleming, “SAT scores to the mid 500s with quite a few Cs in classes … typically produces a vote of ‘qualified’ … with direct admission to Annapolis. They’re in and given a pro forma nomination to make it legit.”

If true, the U.S. Naval Academy is running a two-tier admissions system of the kind that kept Jennifer Gratz out of the University of Michigan and was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“Minority applicants with scores and grades down to the 300s and Cs and Ds also come, though after a year at our taxpayer-supported remedial school, the Naval Academy Preparatory School.”

If true, this is a national disgrace. It would represent a U.S. Naval Academy policy of systematic race discrimination, every year, against hundreds of white kids who worked and studied their entire lives for the honor of being appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy and becoming career officers in the Navy or Marine Corps.

If true, what Annapolis has done and is doing is worse — because it is premeditated and programmed racism — than the cowardly act of the New Haven city government in denying Frank Ricci and the white firefighters the promotions they had won in a competitive exam. At least New Haven could say it acted out of fear of being sued.

Yet, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and the Superintendent of the Naval Academy Vice Adm. Jerry Fowler seem quite proud of what they are doing.

Fleming quotes the CNO as saying that “diversity is the number one priority” at the academy. Fowler says he wants Annapolis graduates who “looked like” the fleet, where 42 percent of enlisted personnel are nonwhite.

The diversity midshipmen, says Fleming, who teaches them, are over-represented in “pre-college lower track courses, mandatory tutoring programs and less-challenging majors. Many struggle to master basic concepts.”

Thus, though unqualified for college work, these students will be operating the most sophisticated and complex weapons systems ever built — aircraft carriers, Aegis cruisers, nuclear submarines.

“First of all, we’re dumbing-down the Naval Academy,” charges Fleming. “Second of all, we’re dumbing-down the officers corps.”

Supporting Fleming’s claim, 22 percent of incoming plebes in 2009 had SAT scores in math below 600, compared to 12 percent in 2008.

If the facts are as Fleming states — the academy is accepting dumber and dumber students to get its racial composition right — who can deny that the price of diversity is deliberate acceptance of a less able and competent United States Navy?
“Diversity is our number one priority,” Roughhead is quoted. Can one imagine Adm. Chester Nimitz or “Bull” Halsey making an insipid statement like that? Can one imagine what Adm. David “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Farragut would have thought of such a policy?

Whatever happened to the Hyman Rickover-Jimmy Carter motto for the Naval Academy and U.S. Navy: “Why Not the Best?”
Consider. If hundreds of black and Hispanic kids who applied to the academy had been rejected though they had higher grades and SAT scores than those admitted, this story would not have been in the Metro section of the Post. It would have been bannered on page one. And Roughead and Fowler would be explaining to a congressional committee why they should not be relieved of their commands.

Fleming, who still teaches at Annapolis, and has likely had some unpleasant moments since he blew the whistle on his superiors, has shown considerable moral courage.

Hopefully, Congress will show the same moxy and investigate this outage. Hopefully, some of those white kids, cheated out of their life’s dream of attending the Naval Academy — while less qualified kids were admitted — will sue the academy, just like Frank Ricci and those gutsy firefighters sued the city of New Haven.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. And the Navy has been moving in this direction for how long?

    Betcha an Amero to a doughnut the policy did not begin 20JAN09.

    No indeed.

    Stay the course, amigos, stay the course!

  3. 2164th said...
    "Victor, just noticed you were not linked, a grievous error mostly Whit's fault of course, but duly noted and corrected."

    Before I head off to bed, Deuce, I want to thank you for the link. Same to you, Doug, for the link to BC.

    As for Whit's "grievous error": he will be dealt with according to the laws and customs of this Great Elephant Bar. (Which no doubt took its name from the famous warrior Shaka Zulu who was known as the Great Elephant who, in the early 1800s .... ah, but I digress)

    But just what are the laws and customs of The Great Elephant Bar? Perhaps Ash and DR can help me. And if they don't know, perhaps they can help me make something up.

    Now, I must be off. I have a surprise for the little woman.

  4. “diversity is the number one priority” at the academy...

    Another proud institution bites the dust.

    Any minority candidate who wants to obtain a naval commission has the opportunity to enroll in NROTC at a land grant university. Nothing bars that path that I'm aware of. No need for all this pc crap which only diminishes standards at the academy.

    Incidentally, of the officers I've served with, the mustangs are far and away the most outstanding from my personal experience, and some of the biggest asshats were academy graduates. That was forty years ago, and I've no doubt the services are overall better manned now than then. I'd still take a mustang over a ring knocker.

  5. WASHINGTON (AP) - A much-criticized subsidy for rural air travel would get a budget increase of more than 40 percent under a spending bill unveiled in the House on Monday.

    The legislation approved by a House Appropriations subcommittee would give $173 million in the upcoming budget year to the Essential Air Service, which provides subsidies to small airlines to fly unprofitable routes. That's a $53 million increase.

    In many cases the flights are nearly empty. In other instances, such as flights between Buffalo Niagara International Airport and Jamestown, N.Y., just 76 miles away, it's quicker to drive than fly.

    The Bush administration sought unsuccessfully to cut the subsidies, which keeps flights going to 107 communities spread across 31 states in the continental U.S. and 45 tiny towns in Alaska. But the Essential Air Services program enjoys strong support among lawmakers; in April, 22 senators wrote White House budget director Peter Orszag to demand more money for it.

    "Simply put, the Essential Air Service program was a promise made to rural America, and a promise that must be kept," the senators wrote

    It's a "Right", to fly?

  6. Damn Right!
    Kid wants to be a Combat Controller:
    Isn't 28 too old to start?

  7. Flemming claims they can't even check the authenticity of people claiming to be of a diversity enhancing stripe:

    So, a Ward Churchill wannabe would pass with 1% Indian Blood, or zero, maybe?

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. 15. Parabellum:

    "I remember back in the good old days when captured spies were shot."
    We've come a long ways, baby.