Video: Heather Mac Donald Addresses the Wednesday Morning Club

The author of 'The Diversity Delusion' on the crises facing America today.

On August 25, 2021, the David Horowitz Freedom Center was honored to host Heather Mac Donald, author of The Diversity Delusion and The War on Cops at its monthly Wednesday Morning Club luncheon. She addressed some of the dire issues facing the state of California and the country, including rising crime and the border crisis.

Don't miss the video and transcript of her speech below:

Transcript:

Heather MacDonald:  It is an honor to be back at the Horowitz Center.  And it's a testament to both David and Michael’s charisma that this institution remains so strong and powerful.  I'm not usually an optimist, but this group of people makes me optimistic about California.

Today I’m going to lay out the case against optimism, however.

California may be summed up in the following two vignettes.  The first is from an article in the Los Angeles Times, not about white supremacy this time.  It's about two female friends, reminiscing about how they first fell in love.  Not with a man, as the Times coyly put it, but with Venice Beach.  One of the females recounted her pleasure in hearing waves crash against the shore when she woke up and letting her dog roam the sands while she made art -- and here is the punchline -- in her tent.

(Laughter)

It turns out that these two beach lovers were vagrants who had been colonizing the Venice boardwalk until a recent halfhearted cleanup effort.  The Times reporters made their experience normative.  We were meant to see the world through their eyes.  Their carefree beachside lifestyle became the touchstone against which the rest of the world was measured.

The second vignette concerns the reaction of retail stores to California's shoplifting epidemic.  Walgreens has closed 17 outlets in San Francisco over the last five years in response to a level of theft that is four times higher than Walgreens experiences nationwide.  Rather than stand and fight, Walgreens has simply folded up the tent and left the field.  Senior citizens who relied on those 17 Walgreens outlets for their medications and healthcare supplies were out of luck.

Likewise, Target now closes all its San Francisco stores at 6:00 p.m. in the hope of avoiding more inventory losses.  Any San Francisco worker who can't shop during the day was also out of luck.

Both these episodes reveal the defining trait of California today.  Let's call it the Great Inversion.  The law-abiding and the hardworking are no longer the main concern of policy and elite attention.  Instead, the interests of the deviant and the dependent govern.  California is a living experiment in what happens when a society loses confidence in such bourgeois norms as personal responsibility, self-discipline and respect for property.

The results are already in: spiraling crime, education failure, streets mired in squalor, and a poverty of values as well as of income.

Let's explore the most visible manifestation of the Great Inversion: homelessness.  Street vagrants live in a protective bubble.  Their occupation of public and private space is not just exempt from punishment; it is enabled by government-subsidized free tents, free cell phones, and free food.  If those items are not immediately ready to hand, you can just steal them, with impunity.  Starbucks has told its San Francisco employees to let shoplifting vagrants walk out of their stores with whatever they want to take.  Is it any surprise that California has half the nation's homeless population?

Behaviors that were once considered shameful are conducted in plain view, enabled by government support.  San Francisco relentlessly sends the message that drug use is not just acceptable but fully expected.  Users dig for veins on the sidewalk.  Health authorities distribute more than 4.5 million syringes a year, along with alcohol swabs and instructions on how to tie a tourniquet.  Needle disposal boxes have been erected outside the city's public toilets, signaling to children that drug use is a normal part of adult life.

In a reporting visit to San Francisco a few years ago, I wanted to test whether any inhibitions on drug dealing remained.  So I set about to make my first score of fentanyl.  A few blocks from Civic Center Plaza, I inquired among the swarms of illegal Honduran drug dealers and their clients about the going fentanyl street price.  I offered $8, not wanting to overpay, and was directed down the block.  At the corner of Hyde and Golden Gate, I struck a deal at $16.  The seller took the cash halfway up the block and exchanged it with a skinny, bare-chested man covered with tattoos, who handed him a small zip-lock bag containing a crumbly white pellet.  "Hey, baby, remember me," the seller crooned as he handed me the packet.

I verified the authenticity of my purchase with an addict sprawled across the curb.  I had gotten a stupendous bargain as a first-time buyer, he told me, visibly jealous.  The Honduran dealers assumed I would be back and that they would be there to service me.  That second assumption was perfectly rational.  They had nothing to fear from either immigration agents or from the San Francisco police.

California's vagrancy problem is not a naturally occurring phenomenon arising inevitably out of poverty, inadequate welfare services or steep housing costs.  Rather, it is a function of a loss of will, the will to enforce norms against street disorder.  Decades ago, it would've been unthinkable to hold small business owners and their employees hostage to derelicts who use their premises as toilets and shooting galleries, or to expect homeowners to navigate around encampments while taking their children to school.  Now, however, we put the phantom rights of the antisocial ahead of those of the law abiding.

Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin earlier this year proposed a permanent homeless camp at Will Rogers State Beach, another example of the Great Inversion.  The only reason that the proposal did not go forward was that the site lacked adequate sewer access and electrical service.  Otherwise, those two Venice Beachcombers could've moved into new state-subsidized beach digs, while families out for a coastal outing would've had to dodge the inevitable feces, trash, and syringes.

What about those closed Walgreens and Target stores?  Their capitulation is part of a broader abandonment of law and order.  That abandonment is being driven by one thing: disparate impact.  And here we get to the driving force behind nearly every aspect of the Great Inversion.  There is not a single standard of behavior or accomplishment that does not have a disparate impact on non-Asian minorities.  That is not because America is systemically racist; it is because of vast behavioral and academic achievement gaps that may not be discussed in polite company.

Take Los Angeles.  Blacks are nine percent of the population but commit 46 percent of homicides whose offender is known.  Whites are 28 percent of the Los Angeles population but commit four percent of homicides, most of those domestic violence, not street crimes.  A black Angelino is 35 times more likely to commit a homicide than a white Angelino.  The victims of these homicides are themselves disproportionately black.

Such disparities mean that the LAPD and the LA Sheriff's Department cannot go where people are most being victimized by violent crime without concentrating on minority neighborhoods.  Those whom they stop and arrest based on victim and witness descriptions will be overwhelmingly black.  The police do not wish this reality.  It is forced on them by the reality of crime.  The only way to end the disparate impact of law enforcement is to end law enforcement itself.  And that is what we are doing.

Walgreens and Target would rather deprive themselves of revenues than accost shoplifters, because accosting those shoplifters means disproportionately accosting minorities.  And that means being accused of racism.  The San Francisco and Los Angeles District Attorneys have announced that they will not be prosecuting a range of offenses, from trespass to disorderly conduct and driving without a license.  The reason, again, is disparate impact.

The Los Angeles DA, George Gascón, will not charge suspects with resisting arrest, a particularly unfathomable carve-out in light of the attempted assassination of two Los Angeles sheriff's deputies last September.  The suspect in that attempted assassination, longtime felon Deonte Murray, walked up to the deputies' parked squad car and shot them both in the head as they sat inside.  Bystanders cheered.  Anticop protestors continued the celebration later at the hospital, where the deputies were on life support.

Since the George Floyd riots, officers in California and across the country have been shot at, assaulted with lethal projectiles, firebombed, and run over.  That open season on cops has only gotten worse in Los Angeles, with Gascón's declaration that officers' authority may be resisted with impunity, a declaration that strikes at the heart of civilization itself.

California is emptying its prisons to reduce so-called mass incarceration, a misnomer, since what we have is mass crime, not mass incarceration.  The only reason for this concern about the state prison population is that blacks are disproportionally represented among inmates.  The imprisonment rate for black men is 10 times the rate for white men, not because the system is racist but because the black crime rate is at least that much higher.  If whites were disproportionally represented among the state's inmates, no one would give a damn.  The reaction would be: throw away the key.

George Gascón claims that "lives in our communities have been destroyed by harsh, unjust and deadly police practices."  A brief translation: "Communities" is code for Hispanics and blacks.  Whites don't have communities in the eyes of the Left; they just have bunkers, at least if they're Trump voters.

Gascón's statement about the police is a shameful lie.  Blacks' astronomical death by homicide rate, 13 times higher than that of whites, is not due to the police.  It is not due to whites.  It is due to other blacks.  The police could end all use of lethal force tomorrow, and it would have virtually zero effect on the black death by homicide rate.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block issued a groveling apology for allowing the LAPD to muster on a campus-owned parking lot during the George Floyd riots of June 2020.  Knowing that there were police officers nearby apparently caused enormous trauma for UCLA's black students.  The trauma experienced by Santa Monica and Beverly Hills employees, as SUVs rammed into their stores, was of no concern to Block.

The demonization of cops also lies behind the growing lawlessness.  The LAPD had a 43 percent reduction in arrests in 2020 and a 27 percent reduction in street stops because cops feared being accused of racism for generating disproportionate stop-and-arrest data.  Crime responded predictably.

In Watts, murders were up 140 percent this year compared to 2020, when they were already vastly elevated.  In LA County, homicides were up 111 percent this year through late May.  Assaults on officers in Los Angeles in 2020 rose 36 percent, to which Gascón undoubtedly says, so be it.

Remarkably, the progressive Left considers this crime wave a success.  The head of a coalition which funded the campaigns of George Gascón and San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin recently claimed that progressive prosecutors are "proving that the best way to keep communities safe is to push for a more equal justice system."  If dozens more children shot in drive-bys constitutes success, one wonders what failure would look like.

California's schools used to be the envy of the nation, routinely turning out Nobel laureates and contributing to what was the most rigorous public university system in the country.  Today, California's schools compete for bottom place with Mississippi and Alabama.  Yet the compulsion to avoid disparate impact is unwinding educational standards further.

California is about to ban the grouping of math students according to ability.  If your child is a high-achiever, ready to charge ahead in algebra and pre-calculus, he won't get that chance.  Instead, he'll be stuck in classes with the mathematically incompetent until at least the 11th grade.  The reason, as usual, is disparate impact.  Fifty-four percent of black eighth graders do not possess even partial mastery of the most elementary eighth grade math concepts.  There is not a single county in California where the majority of Latino students are proficient in math.

Grouping students by ability produces white and Asian advanced math classes, on the one hand, and black and Hispanic remedial classes, on the other.  That is unacceptable.  So we must depress the development of our math talent to support the fiction that there are no glaring academic achievement gaps.  But being put in a class of highly capable students is not going to help those are who are struggling.  What will help them is parents who monitor their homework and attendance and who inculcate an ethic of hard work.

Personal responsibility, however, is punished and lack of effort rewarded in the Great Inversion.  The LA Unified School District is now prohibiting teachers from passing out zeroes for missing and failed assignments.  Instead, nonperformance and failure must be graded as at least 50 percent.  I can't help recalling Nigel Tufnel's bragging in "Spinal Tap" that his amplifier went up to 11, therefore, he suggested, it is really loud.  The same principle is at work here.  If we change the measurement scale, we believe we're changing the underlying reality.

The University of California has banned the submission of SAT scores.  Students who have mastered verbal and math skills, especially those from poor backgrounds, will be denied the opportunity to demonstrate that mastery through a colorblind objective test, just so that the University of California won't have to cover up its illegal racial preferences with the same degree of sneakiness as before.  And if the state's minority students still don't find themselves admitted to UC's top campuses in numbers reflecting their share of the population, California's proposed ethnic studies curriculum will provide them with a ready explanation: white supremacy.

Cataloging California's abuse of power during the coronavirus pandemic would keep us here for the rest of the afternoon.  We're living through the greatest public policy failure in the nation's history.  It is no surprise that San Francisco was the first city in the country to lock down and California the first state to require universal masking.  The contempt for entrepreneurs and their employees has been sickening.

Today I'm going to address just one aspect of the state's scientifically illiterate coronavirus policy: the school shutdowns.  Of the nation's 10 largest school districts, only in Los Angeles, the second-largest district in the nation, have students gone an entire year without in-school instruction.  The record is not much better in the rest of California.  This is another inversion.  Teachers unions are putting their own perceived interests ahead of children, whom they purport to champion -- obviously nothing new for the unions.

The results have been catastrophic.  IQs are dropping, and the black-white achievement gap and social adjacent gap are widening.  This means that racial demagoguery will only worsen in the years to come.  It will be even more impossible to achieve proportional representation at Google, Caltech, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and Kleiner Perkins without efficiency-deadening racial preferences.  Yet the denunciation of the racism that allegedly blocks the hiring of black engineers and lawyers will only grow in volume and destructive power.

If you have a white male son or grandson, he will be even more cheated in the future than he is now, unless he can check off some compensating intersectional box in the great victimhood matrix.  You may not be around to see his struggles, however.  California made its war on whites quite clear when it deprioritized the administration of corona vaccines to the elderly, simply because the elderly are whiter than California's general population.  Good riddance, the message was.

Finally, there's illegal immigration, the epitome of the Great Inversion.  For decades, California has been transferring resources from the law abiding to the lawless, from citizens to those whose first act upon entering the country was to break the law.  It is busily erasing any distinctions between those legally present in the country and those illegally present.

In 2016, California conferred eligibility for free healthcare on illegal aliens 18 and younger.  Last year, it extended that entitlement to illegal aliens under the age of 27.  And this summer, illegals over the age of 50 become eligible.  Need I say what is coming next?  Illegal pushcarts pushed by illegal aliens make downtown Los Angeles look even more Third World than it already is.  No problem! Rather than enforce the law and protect legitimate retail business, we'll just declare the pushcarts legal, which recently occurred.

Demographics is destiny.  The deliberately engineered browning of California is changing the quality of life.  We have been importing the culture of poverty, and LA's litter-strewn streets show it.  The corruption scandals in Maywood and Bell in recent years suggest that we are importing Third-World government practices as well.  An entitlement mentality reigns in many immigrant neighborhoods.  Santa Ana police officers tell me that the residents of that city expect to be addressed in Spanish, having made no effort to learn English.

So what should a Governor Larry Elder do to restore California's greatness?

(Applause and cheers)

Well, he hardly needs advice from me.  But if I were advising him, I would say reverse the Great Inversion.  Put order, neatness, excellence and respect for legitimate authority ahead of anarchy, predation, mediocrity and exploitation.

(Applause)

The homelessness crisis can be solved with one thing: enforcement, as unlikely as such a reversal may be.  You don't allow people to camp out on the streets, period.  The crime crisis and the immigration crisis can also be solved with one thing: enforcement.  When you stop enforcing the law, you do not get racial equity, you get chaos.  Officers must be allowed to stop suspicious persons and make arrests without fear of being called racists.  Their police chiefs and mayors -- and I am referring to you, LA Police Chief Michel Moore -- must back them up and tell the truth about racial crime rates.  We must stop incentivizing illegal immigration.  Governor Elder must crack down on every sanctuary city and county.

(Applause)

Education should be colorblind.  Achievement and excellence should be rewarded, not penalized.  It is probably too late to end the cult of diversity.  But I will point out anyway that the claim that diversity is our strength is a fiction.  The liberal sociologist Robert Putnam discovered, to his dismay, that the more diverse a community, the less its members trusted each other.

Here's a translation key.  Diversity is simply a code word for racial preferences.  Given the academic skills gap, you can have meritocracy or you can have diversity.  You cannot have both.  But California's racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity is by now an immutable fact.  The debilitating effects on social cohesion can be overcome only by insisting that all Californians abide by shared standards of bourgeois norms and that the Great Inversion be righted to put the law-abiding and the hardworking ahead of the lawless and the parasitic.

Thank you for your attention.  I look forward to your questions.

(Applause)

So Michael has a microphone, it looks like.

Michael Finch: I'll come back up.  Go up to the front first.

Unidentified Audience Member: Thank you very much.  If I may, Professor?

So I want to say something for you to comment on.  My sister lives in Beverly Fairfax, traditionally an incredibly wonderful Jewish neighborhood between Fairfax, La Brea, Melrose Avenue and Beverly Boulevard.  Melrose Avenue, between Fairfax and La Brea, was rock-n-roll, New Age, eccentric sensibility.  It has become hip-hop hell.

(Laughter)

Unidentified Audience Member: In the last few months, there've been two murders, one of them one block from my sister's home inside the neighborhood; and the other, three, four blocks away.  There have been six or seven shootings in the last few months.  Just comment, please?  And her brother is going out of his mind over this.

Heather MacDonald: Well, it's a tragedy.  It's horrifying.  And frankly, the crime situation is not going to change, though, until white children start getting shot.  The media that likes to think of itself as so antiracist and woke -- in fact, it doesn't give a damn about black lives.  There've been 50 black children last year who were gunned down in their beds, in their front yards, at barbecues, in their back yards, in drive-by shootings lethally.  We haven't heard about one of them from the national media, because they were blacks shot by other blacks.  The media only cares about crime and black lives in the rare instance when a police officer shoots a black person.  And that is overwhelmingly because that person was armed, violent and dangerous.

But the crime is starting to bleed now into white neighborhoods.  And that may get the attention of CNN.  But it is because law enforcement has deliberately emasculated itself.  When you stop enforcing the law, when people with the inclination to carry guns know that their chances of being stopped, questioned and possibly frisked have evaporated, people start carrying guns more.  And they're using them.

And I've heard about, in the hotels as well in California, with gangbangers showing up with huge wads of cash, taking over, you know, having no socialization -- things will change if people start fighting back.  And as I say, if white kids start getting killed, then we will have a change.  The whole notion that these liberals are antiracist is just B.S.

But I'm very sorry for your situation.  And this is why Gascón has to go and, ideally, the mayor as well.  You know --

Unidentified Audience Member: If I may?

Heather MacDonald: Yup?

Unidentified Audience Member: It's unbelievable.  Garcetti is being nominated to be ambassador to India!  Such an important country.

Unidentified Participant: Poor India.

Unidentified Audience Member: I mean, it's poor everything.

Heather MacDonald: Yeah.

Unidentified Audience Member: What are the qualifications of that man to represent our 330 million people to 1.2 billion people?

Heather MacDonald: Well, there's no -- for the progressives, there's no failure.  Again, if we're supposed to learn that progressive prosecutors have been a success -- as I say, I don't know what it'll take.  But this problem is solvable.  That's the thing.  Nobody should accept that violent crime is the inevitable feature of American societies, which is what we were told through the 1980s.  Even the FBI used to put a disclaimer in its annual national crime report saying, well, of course we all know that crime is a social phenomenon that you can't solve until you get rid of such root causes as poverty and inequality and racism.  And that was the received wisdom.  It gave a great excuse to police chiefs.

And then we got Mayor Rudolph Giuliani -- the good Giuliani in those years, not the crazy one -- becoming elected in 1994 in New York City, bringing in William Bratton as New York Police Commissioner.  And they did something unprecedented.  They set themselves -- Bratton set himself a benchmark.  He said, in my first year, I'm going to lower crime by 10 percent.  He met that benchmark, and bested it.  He upped the ante the next year by holding the police accountable and paying attention to those small public order offenses that are the breeding ground for more crime.  They brought crime down.  The COMPSTAT revolution spread to the rest of the country, including to Los Angeles.

And now we have forgotten all those lessons simply because of disparate impact.  As long as disparate impact remains the governing philosophy of the United States, and the only allowable explanation for disparate impact is racism, the Left wins.  The Left wins.

We have to start talking about the behavioral gaps and the academic gaps that are responsible for disparate impact and challenge the racism explanation.  If we don't, it is all coming down.  Every institution is coming down.

Unidentified Audience Member: Heather, in your universe of knowledge, I was wondering if you folks have figured out what two plus two is equal to.

Heather MacDonald: Did I catch that?  What does two plus two equal?  Yeah, very hard.

Unidentified Audience Member: Have you figured out what two plus two is equal to?  I think this is an attack not only sociological [ thinking ]; this is an attack on the very science of mathematics.

Heather MacDonald: Right.

Unidentified Audience Member: And there are some people who just -- what is the answer?  Whatever you want it to be.  That is the disaster for academia right now.

Heather MacDonald: Right.  And I mean, I'm always amazed at the optimists who thought for years that science was going to be immune from this.  And people who said -- I always hated the snowflakes term, which was in vogue maybe three years ago, for these absurd narcissistic, delusional college students that purported to be sent into the emergency room for oxygen transfusions by reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, which is one of the great works of human history that does describe the male libido with a certain degree of accuracy.

And so these people say, oh, those snowflakes, ha ha ha, aren't they silly?  They will get a stronger spine once they get out into the real world.  And Michael Barone, the great political journalist, he even wrote a book talking about soft America, which is the university, self-indulgent world of trauma; versus the hard America of the free market, which was going to make these narcissists face reality.  That was naïve.  Soft America is transforming hard America.

And most worrisomely, it is transforming the science fields.  The federal science bureaucracies, the NIH, the National Science Foundation, have been obsessed with diversity for decades.  They would rather have a diverse lab working on Alzheimer's cure than they would a lab filled with the most competitive neurologists and nano-physicists.  They are literally putting our scientific edge at risk.

And of the many things that Trump didn't get around to before he left office was the critical need to airlift a cargo plane of gender feminists onto Beijing University to start injecting into China the same absurd identity politics as has destroyed our competitiveness.  Because as long as they care about meritocracy, they will pull ahead.

Michael Finch: Okay.  We have time for maybe two, two more questions.

Unidentified Audience Member: Heather, thank you.

Heather MacDonald: Thank you.

Unidentified Audience Member: And one of the points that was made in the introduction about you and David always prepared to tell the truth.  I want to flip that slightly and ask this question.  This is an older audience.  We're past our -- well, there's no phrase I've ever heard called conservative activist.  Because our temperament is not that of the liberal activist, thank God.

But my question is, are there some simple, practical things that people in this audience can do to push back?  Because the grand gesture, when you're 72 years old, it's great to talk about with your friends.  But things like -- I mean, I've withdrawn support from some organizations and written letters explaining why.  Is that going to be a seismic change in those organizations?  No.  Can I sign a petition?  Can I get Larry Elder on the ballot and help him get elected?  Yeah.  But do you have any other practical tips, the little things that we could leave here and say, but we could actually do this to move in the right direction?  Thanks.

Heather MacDonald: Well, first of all, do no harm.  And if any of you are sending a cent to your alma mater, you're idiots.  Stop!

(Applause)

Please, stop! Do not think you can segregate the funding.  I met a guy recently when I was in Sun Valley who said, well, I support the Stanford in Italy program, a school year abroad type thing.  A successful businessman  should know:  money's fungible.  The money you're giving to your favorite, possibly serious, reality-based program is just being used to allow more to go into the damn diversity bureaucracy.  So don't give them another damn cent.

And activism is not my forte.  You know, it's David's, it's Karen Siegemund's.  These are the people who know where the levers are.  I guess I would just say that if you're in discussion, if you have any more liberal friends anymore -- and it gets harder and harder, I have to say, like the cross-pollenated marriages that just blow my mind.  . . . I don't see --

(Laughter)

Because these things are very fundamental.  And we are now -- I keep asking myself, where do we divide -- is there any common ground left between liberals and conservatives?  And if we can't even agree that there's two biological sexes, I don't know where there's any common ground.  I really don't.  I mean, this is very serious now.

But if you do have liberal friends with whom you talk about sports or something, and it comes up -- you know, cops are killing black Americans, there's a war on black Americans -- get the facts.  You can just change one mind at a time.  Never be frightened by the accusation of racism.  Do not apologize, and stand your ground.

(Applause)

I thank Michael for mentioning my article on classical music, and I do recommend it.  Because I spent a lot of time, and it's had quite an effect in the classical music world.  But I was moved to write it by what I call to myself the betrayal of the guardians.  What is so heartbreaking to me is that the people who have been given the privilege of curating the greatest traditions in civilization -- whether it's classical music or classical literature or philosophy -- they are silent before this poisonous lethal assault.  They do not have the courage to say no.

Classical music, it was a European tradition.  Of course the composers are white males.  That's who Europe was until the 20th century.  Get.  Over.  It.

(Applause)

And just be grateful for the beauty that they have bequeathed on us unworthy mortals.

Michael Finch: I know there's a lot of hands up.  I'm going to try to squeeze in just a couple of more.  Here's Bill.

Bill: Could you tell us more about the attack on classical music?

Heather MacDonald: Well, it's based on two things.  Because orchestras are not 13 percent black, they must be discriminating against blacks.  Now here's the interesting fact.  Auditions for an orchestra spot are usually they're blind.  They occur behind a screen, so that the audition committee doesn't know who is performing, whether it's a male, whether it's a female; and what the race or ethnicity is.  So we now have -- this gets to your point again about two and two [ plus ] four.  We have a logical impossibility that a blind audition is nevertheless discriminatory.  It's impossible.  And yet, that is the claim of the New York Times classical music critic, Anthony Tommasini, and many others.  So we're supposed to de-blind auditions so they're no longer colorblind in order to make them fairer.  It's an impossibility.  So that's one charge.

And the other charge is that because the canonical composers have overwhelmingly been white until we get to the 20th century -- when you had more participation of blacks and a jazz tradition -- that classical music itself is inherently racist.  This is -- as I say, my heart breaks at this.  My heart breaks.  Because there is nothing more important.  And yet, when we had the George Floyd riots of June 2020, opera directors, orchestra directors, the classical music press across the board started putting out these puling disclaimers saying, we are so sorry for our historic racism.  We promise to make amends.

And a group of radicalized black opera composers and performers are going around cleaning up.  Many of them are musically qualified.  Lawrence Brownlee is one of the great Bel Canto tenors of our time.  But sadly, he has joined the woke contingent to claim that there's racism in classical music.  Are you kidding me?  He has sung in every great opera house in the country.  Audiences love him.  And yet he's playing the race card.

And as I say, there has not been a single conductor or world class soloist-- I contacted Riccardo Muti, I contacted Claudio Abbado, I contacted Lang Lang, Anna Netrebko—to ask: would you please respond to this calumny against your tradition?  And they were all silent.  They are cowards.  They've made it, and they're willing to allow this tradition to go down.

The thing that kills me the most is the classical music press.  They're presiding over a tradition that shrinks in salience by the year, sadly.  They are giving young people an excuse for ignorance, another excuse to not even listen.  Because those young people have been told that classical music is racist and sexist.  And that's happening in literature, it's happening in art, history.  We are valorizing the empty heads of young people.

Michael Finch: We have just a couple more minutes.  We're going to go rapid-fire.

Unidentified Audience Member: Ten years ago, if you would've asked what 2020 is going to look like, and if you described what it is actually today, everybody would have thought you're crazy.  And the rapid change, I think, is very much driven by technology.  Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple -- these are all Bay Area-based companies with employees in Bay Area.  And many of them in third-world countries like Pakistan are controlling the technology, and therefore controlling our thoughts.  Google can basically make you think the way they want you to think by using it.

There is a role we can play as conservatives by identifying technology that goes against the trend.  There are a lot of technologies out there.  We don't have to use Google browser.  We don't have to use Google search engine.  We don't have to use Twitter.  If the conservatives switched, I think it'd be a different world.

Heather MacDonald: Well, I agree with you up to a point.  And it's a very tough nut to crack.  And that's beyond, certainly, my technological prowess to figure out alternatives.  I would say, though, that the other thing that is driving this is the yearly exodus of brainwashed college graduates into corporations.  And so you have these CEOs now who are terrified of their employees.

And so yes, technology may've accelerated it.  But I'm certainly not surprised -- 10 years ago, I saw this coming.  Because these trends have been going on for a long time in the universities.  And it kills me when I hear conservative philanthropists -- New York is filled with all these well-meaning Republican philanthropists that have this and that social uplift program in Harlem and the South Bronx.  And their universal metric of success is the college-going rate of their graduates in the, you know, after-school chess program and whatnot.

Conservatives have to stop pretending that the way that everybody should succeed is by going to college.

(Applause)

Because as long as every year colleges are vomiting out these insane people -- these insane females, above all else -- it's going to be a very hard thing to turn around, even with an alternative set of platforms.  And if you're the victim of a Twitter storm, just say to hell with it, I don't care.  Do not be afraid, and do not apologize.

Unidentified Audience Member: Hi, Heather.

So two things.  First thing is I fund a program at USC.  It's a school within a school, my alma mater.  But I made sure that pro-Trump people were fellows.  And when they kept bringing RINOs, I kept sending emails like, I don't want to pay for this, this is not the Republican Party anymore.  The Republican Party is not America last, whether you have a D or R next to your name.  So as a result, we have now been getting famous Trump people, even from his administration, as fellows at USC.

So it can work, if you apply the money and the pressure strategically.  And it's working.  So I hope these kids' eyes and ears are opening a little.

My question to you is this.  Now that Biden is completely, unmitigated, catastrophic failure -- there's no way to cover it -- I have called him, for over a year, a demented grifter.  I say it now openly.  I don't care if you're a Biden voter.  I have a few in my household.  I say it, I have the goods to back it up -- democrats are very quiet.  I have liberal friends who are not answering me, they have no defense, they blame Trump.  They can't even do it with a straight face.  Do you think the tide could be turning because he's such a catastrophic failure?  And his administration and his Vice President are absolutely -- beyond the pale, loser is kind.

Heather MacDonald: Well, I'm going to give you a secret of sort of public speaking.  The received wisdom is always be optimistic.  You know, give people hope.  You guys want hope.  But I'm going to give you another secret.  I am constitutionally a pessimist.  I would rather be pleasantly surprised than have my heart broken with disappointment.

So take my reaction with a grain of salt.  Because, again, if I were an optimist -- and I think these things are genetic in a sense -- I would be with you.  But two years is a long time away, and a lot can happen.  And as I say, we've got the college-going demographics going against us.  To be perfectly honest, I don't think Afghanistan is going to matter at all in the coming election.  Americans have short attention spans.  It's going to be out of sight, out of mind.

So it's going to be a very hard fight.  And he's going to double down on the identity politics.  We were talking at lunch about some of his judicial nominees.  Very scary what's coming onto the bench that are chosen purely for diversity and not for any judicial knowledge.  And when they start making decisions, God help us.

So, you know, maybe -- the crime rate is going to keep going up.  And we will have more riots.  Because the message has been sent that you can get away with anything in this country.  Maybe that will start turning things around.

And again, with the energy in this room -- and you guys are able to reach out and organize people -- it may make it -- I'm not saying give up.  But it is going to be a hard fight, and nobody should feel at all complacent about what's happening now and its long-term effects.

Michael Finch: I know there was other hands up, and I'm a stickler for a schedule.  We are out of time.

Ladies and gentlemen, please thank Heather MacDonald.

Heather MacDonald: Thank you.

(Applause)

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