Abigail Shrier’s review of Heather MacDonald‘s latest book for Commentary magazine highlights disturbing information about the impact of affirmative action in higher education.

She begins with a serious discussion of the “positively sadistic” harms inflicted by affirmative action on its beneficiaries, even at California’s schools, which have managed to skirt California’s anti-affirmative-action law, Proposition 209, “through fiendishly clever compliance with the letter of the law, while riding roughshod over its spirit.” In 2004, UCLA law professor Richard Sander published a groundbreaking empirical study that showed affirmative action in law-school admission actually hurt the chances of minority students eventually passing the bar exam. The resulting “mismatch” (the title of Sander’s book) between the preference beneficiaries’ academic preparedness and the rigor of the school made it harder for them to learn the necessary material. (Sander found that black students, in Mac Donald’s telling, were also “twice as likely to drop out as whites” and “six times as likely to fail the bar after multiple efforts.”)

In fact, preference beneficiaries are often so ill-prepared for the universities to which they are admitted that they flee economics and the more demanding sciences for those humanities classes where grievance offers an alluring succor and even an academic major. If administrators hoped to advance minority students or to encourage minorities in STEM subjects, this would seem counterproductive. But the point of these efforts, Mac Donald argues, is for administrators to “flatter their own egos, so that they can gaze upon their ‘diverse’ realm and bask in their noblesse oblige.”

Under the diversity mantle, college administrators have mangled every aspect of universities from hiring processes to disciplinary proceedings to curricula in the humanities and even in the sciences.