To borrow a line spoken by some proper Victorian woman, upon seeing the play Salome (I think it was; had to include the reference to ol’ Alexandrina Victoria on the anniversary of her death, by the way), “How different, how very different, from the home life of our own dear Queen.” Another German cabinet member has been caught plagiarizing, with the result that the university duped is instituting proceedings to investigate and if warranted to strip her of her title. And she’s the Minister of Education!!! A couple of years ago the defense minister got busted and lost his doctorate, and if memory serves there’s been a third one out there as well, in the interim.
Well, I’ll tell you what gives: People will do anything to receive those imprimaturs which, in the society in which they operate, give them the best chances of advancement with the least corresponding effort. Hayek wrote about the same dynamic, by the way, in The Road to Serfdom, in the chapter titled (I’m working from memory here, folks, so forgive me) “Why the Worst End Up on Top.” He demonstrates, very briefly, why in any political system those people with the least scruples to use the hand-holds and points of leverage available within that system will always advance the farthest. And since under socialism the stakes are little less than physical survival itself (there was a reason why Stalin’s henchmen fought so desperately for face time with him, after all), the encouragement is all the greater. And it’s the ones with the least scruples of all who will do best at the game because there is that much less that they won’t do.
In Germany, with its traditions of the Bildungsbürgertum, the brass ring is the doctorate. In the previous post I noted the peculiarly German usage that in written address each doctorate the addressee holds is mentioned separately. I’ve actually seen on a brass plate outside someone’s office “Dr. Dr. Dr. So-and-So,” and it wasn’t a physician. It’s that important that people will scramble to damned near any lengths to get one. Politics attracting those of the least scruples in any event, is it surprising that politicians turn out to be more susceptible to the temptations of getting the ring the easy way? In contrast, here in the U.S. yesterday we observed a national holiday established in honor of someone who got caught plagiarizing a dissertation, red-handed. Our vice president is likewise a known plagiarist. But here the doctorate is what your slightly weedy cousin went to get after college because he didn’t have a girlfriend to support. It’s not a social rank here, so we just don’t care all that much if you gun-decked your dissertation.
By way of further contrast, and demonstrating my point, consider that in America’s grievance culture the highest imprimatur to have is that of victim, preferably someone who can claim to have been a victim of white males. The descendants of African slaves can of course legitimately make that claim, but they’re a bit limited in that they were victimized by and large within a very narrow area of the country, and only for a limited time, and within that period only to limited extents (1619–1965, call it, with the last 100 years being a combination of mostly social oppression combined with — in that same limited area, legal ostracism). Also, if you’re going to pretend to be someone you’re not, it’s sort of hard to pretend to be black if you’re actually of Asian descent. While intermarriage between blacks and other subsets of the population is increasing and in fact has, so far as I can tell, passed the point where it’s even note-worthy, it’s still possible for the pretty untrained eye to tell. Pretending to be black isn’t really a viable option for the American equivalents of the German Education Minister.
Ah, but the aboriginal populace has had centuries of interbreeding with other groups, to the point that in the Eastern U.S. you really have little idea whether the person standing next to you on the street corner does or does not have any ancestry in that regard. It’s easy to fake, and the Indians have been getting it hard and fast since the 1580s. And victimhood? With all respect the Africans didn’t do too badly in comparison. Sure, they were brought here in chains and worked like . . . well, like the slaves they were intended to be. But their population actually not only reproduced itself, it flourished here. Their descendants today, no matter how poorly they are treated relative to their fellow citizens or how they stack up on any socio-economic measuring points, are still miles better off than those left behind in Sub-Saharan Africa, on any material scale you care to pick. Call it one of the ironic tragedies of American history — and I suppose African, too — that a system as monstrous as chattel slavery could have so benefitted its remote descendants relative to the descendants of those who escaped it.
The aboriginal populations however got it good and hard from start to finish. Begin with European diseases, which decimated their populations years before the whites even got to their part of the continent. Enslavement was tried with them, and it just killed them off. Unable to exploit them, the whites drove them ever-westward, away from the habitats they’d inhabited for generations, away from the game that was their source of life and culture, away from the climates where grew the crops they knew how to cultivate. We destroyed their territory, their food sources, their social fabric. We made war on them, continuously and mercilessly, from the 1580s until the 1890s. We sent soldiers to shoot their old men, their women and their children, to burn their crops and their villages. We took entire nations and shoved them into tiny corners of the once limitless lands they claimed as their own (and by the way, don’t hand me any nonsense about Indians not having any sense of ownership of the land; if you believe that then explain the wars they fought for the right to possess land — the Iroquois Confederation was not originally from where the white settlers found them, but had rather invaded and conquered the lands from their previous possessors; the Chickasaw and the Comanche likewise Did Not Play Well With Others). To this day the Indians measure far, far below every other recognizable ethnic group in American society. If you’re a black kid with a 1400 SAT, you can pretty much count on it that you’ll have your pick of colleges. If you’re an Indian kid with that same score you won’t be able to cash the scholarship checks fast enough.
Easy to fake? Check. Spotless credibility as victims? Check. Open checkbooks and advancements if you can point to one in your organization? Check. The Indians are the perfect faux victims.
Exhibit A: Elizabeth Warren, who lied about who and what she was, to get to Harvard and now the U.S. Senate. Her “scholarship” has likewise been de-bunked as fraudulent as well.
Exhibit B: Ward Churchill, about whom the less said the better.
Frau Schavan, meet Senator Warren. You’ll recognize each other. Mr. Churchill will be joining you presently.