Awakening: A Conversation with Heather Mac Donald

In this weekend episode, Victor Davis Hanson talks with Heather Mac Donald about her new book When Race Trumps Merit, the crises in our culture caused by identity politics, and other current topics.

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37 thoughts on “Awakening: A Conversation with Heather Mac Donald”

  1. Dear Mr Hanson,
    A wonderful discussion. Thank you both. Ms Mac Donald is amazing. Brave, honest, and fearless in her assessments. I’m always searching for her latest comments and writings. Think the Churchill comment regarding going through hell, to just keep going is appropriate. There is no stopping this slow motion disaster. Hopefully America makes it through.

    1. Good point and true. The mass is great, maybe too great to overcome.

      However, they reminded me of Eric Hoffer and his claim vis a vis, mass movements, and for the same reason he argued: the result may be regrettable in the extreme.

  2. Thomas O'Brien

    Both Heather and Victor say that what is needed is a politician on the national stage being fearless enough to not cower if called a racist. The only name they could come up of with such a brave soul was Governor Ron DeSantis (23:00).

    No one else, they said, fit this description.

    I nearly fell off my chair when I hear this. What are you talking about? Donald Trump doesn’t fit this description? This man is as fearless warrior as they come. He ran his 2016 and 2020 campaigns in such an unorthodox manner because he was not afraid of calling a “spade a spade”. The Left has labelled him with every derogative name in the book, including racist, and he remained undaunted by their collective, and continual character attacks.

    It was Trump that I believe gave other politicians the courage to be so bold, knowing that the electorate has an appetite for this plain talk, speaking out against what is clearly wrong in our society.

    So, why was he not mentioned, Heather and Victor???

    1. Spot on! TRUMP – RINO is embarrassed by him, supporters love him, enemies fear him.

      If you say you love America and a conservative, but Trump is still not your first and only choice in this late stage, then in the final analysis you rather “lose nobly”. That makes you a RINO.

      1. “you[d] rather “lose nobly” or as Derek Hunter puts it, taking the high road only affords you a bird’s eye view of your defeat.

    2. True enough.
      However, although we donated multiple times to Trump and still would support him if he wins the Primary. However, we should note how inept Trump was with regard to selecting advisors and confidents. Some assert this was an error of Ivana/Jared, difficult to say for sure. But from Fauci, to the ridiculous Wray, to the obese, woke military man Milley, plus several others. Now he attacked the person who defended his positions the most – McEnany. Not cool. Could he have not said that she had a bad day or anything except what he precisely he did say? Possibly he is getting punchy from the years of 24/7 attacks and is now attacking some who helped him the most. IF so, it’s great that we have a such a good bench in Trump, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, Elder.

      1. Thomas O'Brien

        Leroy, allow me to push back a little.

        Yes, Trump went through a lot of advisors that were not in full support of what he was trying to accomplish. He claims this is do because being at that time a Washington outsider (he was a New Yorker, thru and thru.) he was unusually dependent on his advisors for his selection of key people. His second term would be far less so, he claims. That sounds plausible to me. Also there is the simple point that Trump was such a disrupter (Thank God for that) it was hard to find others team members willing to be so bold. Inspite of all the personnel changes he made, judge him by what was accomplished his first chaotic term. It goes far beyond his three supreme court picks.

        I agree he did treat the very loyal and capable Ms. McEnany shamefully. It is times like that that make Trumpers, such as ourselves, cringe. But it wasn’t the first time, nor will it be the last that he will do such things. That is just part of the Trump package. In my view the good far outweighs the bad.

        Yes, we do have a very good bench, and I think this is largely due to Trump. He has shown that one can still get elected even if they speak bluntly about what fundamental changes they intend to implement. Their time to prove themselves will come. It should not be in 2024, though.

        In the meantime I pray that we stick with the only conservative candidate that has indeed proven himself, and that is the nasty (among many other good traits) Donald Trump.

        He is Trumpism.

        1. I agree, Thomas, wholeheartedly. Right now, the Nation does direly need a rough guy (uncouth, LOL) to break a few dishes and some of that precious glassware in the elite’s china shop. It may well be our last opportunity to truly shake things up in DC.

          In some reading earlier this morning, there are some claims on Pence that, IF true, suggest he (Pence) was compromised by an association with the Koch org, along with Kellyann. Again, IF true, it suggests we need the likes of McEnany all the more to present and temporarily defend. And then, this morning we learned from VDH and Jack that she was undergoing a serious health issue. Wow, talk about a superwoman. Then, IF it is the case, as Prof. VDH & Mr. Fowler suggested this (Tue) morning, that Christy’s main goal is to inflict sufficient damage in order to take Trump out in the first debate, clearly, the media will have a hay-day. Since politicians and the media know that public memory fades at two weeks, the media will work 24/7 to extend that into the fall. All the more will we need the likes of McEnany and others, as voices of reason out front to counter the leftist/elite’s repetitive lies. In any case, I agree with your position wholeheartedly. Thank you. Thank goodness we do have a good bench. If T prevails, one or two of them might make exceptionally good cabinet members. Every time wifey donates, she writes a suggestion on advisors hoping to be heard by him eventually. We need a change in decency levels.

        2. Larry Jackson

          I my opinion Donald Trump is the only candidate strong enough to fight the Left and Deep State. Even when being attacked on every side Trump accomplished more in his term than any President in my lifetime. I am in my 70’s.

          Numbers do not lie. Under Trump every demographic group was far better off than ever before.

          Our Government has become totally corrupt and much too powerful! If Donald Trump is not elected in 2024 I fear the only thing that can save our once great nation is another civil war!!! No one wants that!!!

      2. In 2016 they said the same thing. Trump is disqualified, and the least favorite of the 17 candidates, but should he win the nomination, they’ll support him because the Democrat candidate is even worse. Good luck trying to build a strong team with your least favorite candidate as the leader. Lets face it, no one likes Mr. Trump, except the People.

        Folks don’t seem to realize the presidency doesn’t have much power without the cooperation and control of the congress. A big fat thumb down at 3 o’clock in the morning. Remember that? In Spite of all this crap, Trump was turning the country around.

        Trump is no Jesus Christ, but he is damn more capable than any living politicians or generals.

        1. Thomas O'Brien

          Glad to hear you are pro-Trump, Phil, flawed as he is.

          I beg to differ with you on another point, though. Presidents have tremendous power. Just look at how Joe Biden (or those telling him what to do) has damaged this country (open borders, divisiveness, sickening deference to our enemies, etc.) with his power. Couple that with the power of executive orders, all done without any help from congress.

          Leroy, I knew that McEnany had opted for a double mastectomy as a precaution due to the breast cancer that runs in her family. But I thought that was some time ago. Did not know of current health issues.

          1. Dennis Prager married 3x, and talked about sex constantly on his radio show for the past 30+ years. Would you call him flawed?

            Republican presidents don’t have the same amount of power as the Democrats. And Trump even less. Have you forgotten all the fake outrage when Trump implements the travel ban, or accused him of putting illegal aliens in cages, but no problem when Obama did the same thing?

            That guy with his big fat thumbs down 3 oclock in the morning was a really hateful thing he did before he died. And, that other choker was so animated and vindictive with Trump. Imagine if he had channel that hateful passion against Obama.

            Those damn losers! Never again!!

          2. Thomas O'Brien

            Phil, I would not consider Dennis Prager flawed in the sense that Donald Trump is. It is hard to match Trump for his petty ad hominem attacks. Also, I did not know that Prager was inordinately focused on sex? I listened to his radio broadcasts at times in the past, and never picked up on this.

            You were talking about presidential power, right? Rather, than the media’s feigned outrage for it being exercised when there is a Republican president whom they dislike ?(just about all of them, right? But Trump especially, because he is the most threatening to them.)

            When Trump did the travel ban from China, I viewed that as a great example of a courageous president exercising his enormous power, and congress had no voice in the matter.

            BTW who among the current Republican rivals would have had the courage to do this ban? Few or none, I would suspect. But we really don’t know, do we? But we do know that Trump had it. He made this decision and was severely criticized at the time for it by many. That he would go out on such a limb makes his leadership exceptional in my book.

            I doubt very, very much that if Bill Clinton were still president that he would have done such a thing when there was no political support to do so.

            Trump through use of his power made great accomplishments in his first term as president. He could have been awarded several Nobel Peace prices for what he did for us.

            As for your 3rd paragraph, I do not know the “guy” and “choker” you are referring to? Sorry.

    3. Would you consider covering the following on one of your podcasts:

      Given we must each, according to our station, do our part to say “No” to woke insanity. And given that the President has gas lit the public over white supremacy being our #1 terror threat. We can conclude that push back against the woke will put us in the cross hairs of intelligence agencies.

      How do we win against these weaponized agencies, without running afoul of their rules?

      1. It’s called a fight. You can lie down and lay dead or risk losing
        The current political algorithms are tantamount to dying. Waiting for someone to say “better red than dead”.

  3. Robert Stewart

    When I heard yesterday that you were going to interview Heather and talk about her new book, “When Race Trumps Merit”, I immediately went to Amazon and bought a Kindle copy. But I wonder, how does Heather know that Amazon is giving her an accurate count of the number of copies they have sold? I had the same concern for Mark Steyn’s “Prisoner of Windsor”. which I also bought on Kindle/Amazon. I hope there is some way to verify the number of copies sold.

    I presume there is some sort of code in the url I see displayed for the download. Does Heather get a list of those numbers, or is all this done on faith? Given the elite’s willingness to “bend the rules”, or make up mythical new rules such as in banning “disinformation”, I fear that my purchases are simply amplifying Amazon’s massive profits. Trust but verify.

    1. We should never forget who owns Amazon: the iphone texter himself, Jeff Bezos, a short canoe ride across Lake Washington from Bill Gates’ former mansion. Maybe there is something in the air or water that causes such gross and grotesque misjudgment.

  4. Victor – Is the Left’s push for equity of result, victim and victimizer, division, chaos, and cultural revolution a part of a communistic take-over of the United States? Also, are you able to verify Barack Obama’s relationship with Saul Alinski?

    Barack Obama is said to have taught “Rules for Radicals,” a field manual for activist organizations that was written by his mentor, Saul Alinski.

    Alinski, who had worked with the Communist Party in the 1930’s in Chicago, advocated for community organization to agitate and stir up division between the haves and have nots, rich and poor, white and blacks, young and old. This disunification is thought to be a leftist tactic to divide groups by prejudice, create conflict and chaos, and to achieve greater government control to stop the chaos. Was Obama’s racial division an effort to achieve these goals and Communism in the United States?

  5. Heather MacDonald is an absolute heroine.Fearless defender of truth.Outstanding guest and very memorable conversation showing how far the diversity rot has gone.I will buy the book.Thanks so much Dr Hanson.

  6. Robert Stewart

    @45:50 Heather mentions that schools are not going to provided advanced algebra or calculus classes for their students. This is a feature of progressive thought that goes back over one hundred years to Thomas Dewey and William Heard Kilpatrick. It has influenced American Teachers Colleges (now “universities”) ever since. Kilpatrick thought that algebra, geometry and trigonometry were luxuries that were wasted on high school students. In 1910 56% of all high school students enrolled in algebra classes. By 1955, enrollment had dropped to 25%. I think this was, and is, a form of intellectual arrogance. And it has become racialized with the current difficulties we have in dealing with reality of the poor preparation of Black students in our urban schools. Heather’s concern is with advanced placement classes, but the problem is much deeper and far reaching. The public schools are denying their students a proper background in mathematics beginning with their elementary school curricula. It is likely that this is another area where parental involvement is critical to a student’s learning, and deficiencies may propagate into subsequent generations.

    1. Parental involvement, ah yes. One might argue that we live under a tyranny of the ignorant. Two friends left that field because of parental involvement of the negative brand. One taught mathematics in hs. Both districts were formerly ok but degenerated very noticeably over the years. Kent and Auburn WA. Seattle schools are worse with examples of students who physically attack teachers. Otoh, I had interns from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore who studied calculus in hs. Some of their classes were quite large compared to class size here. It’s also common study in China’s hs, you know, where they graduate 8x the engineering graduates here. Poor parenting values and teacher unions here promote poor education and turn-off curiosity, thus, our hs grads often rank 28th or 29th, or worse, when compared to those of other, first world nations. It’s the culture.

  7. A real win for the Podcast! An interview like this raises the level of the whole site. Keep going!

    P.S. I’m sad Sami’s question didn’t get answered, but I’m glad Uictor gave her a Kleos-bump by mentioning her CV.

      1. Yup. I like a good old New England prep school story, but I’m sure both women had the sort of negative experience we can all recite in our sleep by now. True, true.

  8. Two brilliant and well-informed people discussing one of the two most destructive scams infecting western civilizations today…..”diversity is our strength”…and “the fight against climate change.” What a pleasure to know that we are on the same team.

  9. Victor you’re absolutely right. We need to place constitutional amendments controlling campaign contributions and funding of election by individuals or organizations. Donations to campaigns must only be allowed by people who have the ability to vote in the election and the limit should be low enough that people on welfare can afford to donate. Elite have stolen the system and money needs to be severely limited and voter id enforced. End all PACs. Please address the election money corruption in your wonderful way

  10. Phillip Madonia

    When race trumps merit is nothing new. My medical school physiology lab was interrupted when the professor asked a student to adjust one of the devices up a couple centimeters. The student asked: what is a centimeter? At this point the professor drew two lines on the chalkboard. He told the student that one was three feet long or 36 inches and the other line was a little longer approximately 39 inches. He further explained that if you divide the longer line into 100 segments each segment is a centimeter. This was almost 50 years ago when affirmative action was in its infancy.

    The May 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine had an article in which the authors were asking for segregated medical schools so that students of color would not have to deal with bullying or contend with “white fragility” (not sure what this is). I believe a case could have been made for segregated medical schools based on general knowledge and intelligence as evidenced by the situation described above.

  11. I tell my half-european/half-asian, Catholic, Eagle-Scout, ambitious 4.3, 4.03 and 4.1 gpa kids with 1400+ SATs (One got a 1590 and perfect ACT) who were rejected by the Ivy but went to or are currently attending well-regarded Catholic Universities on full scholarships to think about Australia or New Zealand because the U.S. is in deep decline. Just like the Italian peninsula at the fall of Constantinople I believe the last frontier of the English-speaking world has much to gain from an American meritocracy diaspora.

  12. If the skills gap ultimately comes down to innate ability, like the IQ differences reported on by Charles Murray, then there is no fixing the disparity gap, ever. But the left will not let it go.

    1. Why go there? Given the history of pseudo-scientific racism in the US, shouldn’t we want to firmly rule out ALL other reasonable causes before revisiting the idea of innate characteristics?

    2. The way she talked about group averages really rubbed me the wrong way. I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t think it is healthy, maybe not even helpful. It seems kind of stupid to be honest. But she’s well respected, so what do I know?

      1. You know you had a moral intuition that something wasn’t quite right: that’s one type of knowledge. Next comes finding the right words to explain it so you can check head logic against heart logic. I think it might be that Heather Macdonald believes that the Progressives are so willfully far from the truth that only ruthless study of the statistics can counter their lies. One question for her could be: what are the negatives or trade-offs of your approach and why do you think it’s still worth it? -just my thoughts.

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