bring release. This step might require arnfederal “transition” program which, inrnturn, might obligate other bureaucrats tornmonitor employment progress with periodicrnevaluations. If the newly gained “independence”rnmisfires, safety-net programsrnstand by for additional retrainingrnand counseling.rnIgnoring blacks politically is precarious;rninner-cit’ residents are not detachedrnAppalachian whites or apathetic Asians.rnThey can burn down cities. Imagine professorsrnopting for Korean immigrants tornachieve their agenda—who would mindrnthe store if millions marched in Washington?rnObviously, the centuries of genuinernmistreatment of blacks bestow anrnuncontestable legitimacy to clamors forrnassistance. Nevertheless, the threat of violence,rnespecially of the mindless rampagingrnvariety, lends a powerful urgencyrnto their pleas.rnTo see how this all adds up, considerrnthe example of employment policy. Beginrnwith a simple question: Why dornblacks lag economically? The ready liberalrnprofessorial answer, authoritativelyrnannounced to whites and blacks alikern(but far more keenly absorbed by the latter),rnis that whites discriminate againstrnblacks, consciously hiring less-qualifiedrnwhites over capable blacks. Indeed, thernnature of the American economy, fromrnbanking to the tax code, intrinsically conspiresrnagainst blameless blacks. Alternativernexplanations are brushed aside. Furthermore,rnsince prejudice is so deeplyrningrained in our racist culture, onlyrnmighty Washington can uproot this evil.rnHaving heard the revealed truth,rnblacks demand governmental action.rnNational officials, ever willing to correctrnhistorical injustices, begin modestly, withrnenhanced vocational training or educationalrnloans. Slow progress only fuels therndemand for greater bureaucratic inter-rnention. After all, if the problem lies notrnwith the potential employees, it must liernelsewhere. The possibility of misdirectedrneffort is unthinkable. Further professorialrnanalysis discovers fresh remedial statistrnstratagems. Ever-attentive minority studentsrnare told that “market capitalism” orrn”white definitions of merit” are anti-blackrnand must be replaced. Sympathetic Departmentrnof Labor apparatchiki concur.rnHiring procedures, from aptitude-testrncontent to obtaining criminal records,rnnow become ensnared in detailed federalrnregulations. Ambitious academics arernsoon concocting even more interventionistrnprojects.rnThe battle widens, and additionalrnscholarly consultants are enlisted. But, asrnany well-schooled black leader knows,rnprogress still lags—yet more programsrnneed to be contrived. Energetic professorsrnare exhausted from traveling tornWashington, drafting hurried reports,rnand attending conferences. Promotionrnand discharge policies and nearly everythingrnelse now fall under governmentalrninvestigation. Scholars torture data tornshow that “merit” is merely a culturallyrnladen arbitrary construct. Some professorsrnabandon teaching altogether, toornbusy serving as expert witnesses, crunchingrnemployment statistics, and devisingrnremedial schemes.rnUltimately, academics and their bureaucraticrnallies outrank elected officialsrnor industry executives. The professoriaternmutates into a modern priestly class ofrnunaccountable interpreters and advisorsrnmumbling in numbers and lowercasernGreek letters. Power multiplies as obstaclesrnbecome more perplexing and unfathomablernstatistical techniques definernthe issues. As kings once commandedrnprivate clerics, senior bureaucrats nowrnpossess personal scholarly counselors.rnWill increasing the minimum wagernharm blacks? Does educational investmentrnyield comparable returns for blacksrnand whites? How can society be saved?rnSuch questions require that a professorialrnpriest examine the entrails.rnOur argument does more than clarifyrnthis marriage of convenience; it helps explainrnthe peculiar blind spot liberal academicsrnhave for the debilitating, dumbeddownrneducation received by blacks. Thernsilence is deafening. If white academicsrnwere, as claimed, true friends of Americanrnblacks, we would hardly expect themrnto tolerate rock-bottom academic standards,rnshifting blacks into vocationallyrnworthless fields, or the mindless stampederninto Afrocentrism as “authentic”rnblack education. Imagine if the professors’rnchildren were awarded honorificrndiplomas after passing impossible-to-failrnfantasy courses. Indeed, white liberals,rndespite their sighs of “concern,” are hardlyrnalarmed by tales of incompetent blackrnteachers launching their charges on a searnof misinformation. Eliminating systematicrneducational incompetence is simplyrnnot on the white liberal academic agenda.rnWhy are those ostensibly committed tornlearning not outraged by educationalrnatrocities? Surely, professors can painlesslyrnresist idiotic programs solely intendedrnto placate misguided blacks.rnSurely, professors are not compelled tornparticipate in social passes to boost blackrngraduation rates. But, unfortunately, thisrndebilitating “education” virtually guaranteesrnfuture dependency, to be remediedrnthrough expert bureaucratic intervention.rnEscaping the plantation is nowrnnearly impossible. Genuinely helpfulrnadvice —for example, heightened diligencernand stricter grading —offers fewrnopportunities for intervention to thernacademic class. Rather, the would-bernguardians of learning demand a rethinkingrnof testing, altering social definitionsrnof “knowledge,” and similar grand exercisesrnby learned experts. More generally,rnwhen schools cultivate laziness or fail tornteach basic literacy, it is “the system,” notrnthe blameless victims, that must be reformed,rnand who better to direct thisrntransformation?rnDumbed-down education fuels thernfires of resentment, which, in turn, drivernthe relentless demands for governmentrnprogramism. The mechanics are elementary.rnFirst, under the guise of “providingrnopportunity,” black students arernover-placed academically. When barelyrnliterate high schoolers show up at demandingrncolleges, their inevitable failurerncreates resentment and anger, not gratitude.rnIf they cannot master calculus, itrnmust be someone else’s fault. Somernteachers themselves confirm this fantasy.rnAngry marginal students will soon denouncernthe white establishment as racist,rndeceitful, uncaring, and otherwise “insensitive”rnto the needs of those requiringrncontinued massive government intervention.rnSuch outrage, needless to say, willrnbe interpreted by the chattering class tornmean the need for even more governmentrnintervention. Politically useful ragernwould be far less likely if blacks studentsrnwere placed in more suitable schools.rnI am not insinuating that all white liberalrnacademics consciously promote orrnapplaud black educational failure.rnSome, at least abstractly, may genuinelyrndeplore the silliness and horrible record.rnIt is a question of toleration, standing idlyrnby and tacitly cooperating, not directlyrninsisting on lower standards or inane curricula.rnWhen given the chance to act,rnfew white liberal academics offer “toughrnlove.” At every stage of the process, fromrngrading freshmen essays to certifying dissertations,rndecisions typically rewardrnminimal performance. Many blacks getrneasy diplomas; bureaucrats, thanks tornprofessorial tolerance, receive clients forrnSEPTEMBER 2001/45rnrnrn