Heather Mac Donald
|Heather Mac Donald|
|Born||1956 (age 56–57)
|Residence||New York City|
Stanford law school (1985)
|Known for||conservative advocacy|
Heather Lynn Mac Donald (born 1956) is an American political commentator and thinker known for her advocacy of secular conservatism. She has advocated her positions on numerous subjects including crime prevention, immigration reform, academia, the art world, and politics. She is a prolific essayist addressing significant attention to urban problems, which caused columnist George F. Will to write that "no journalist now writing about urban problems has produced a body of work matching that of Heather Mac Donald". She is a John M. Olin Fellow of the Manhattan Institute. Critic Robin Finn of the New York Times described Mac Donald as an "influential institute thinker". In addition, she is a contributing editor to New York's City Journal, and a lawyer by training. She has written numerous editorials in newspapers such as USA Today and she is the author of several books. She believes in the power of ideas, and that bad ideas must be "fought at their origins".
Mac Donald was born in California. She attended Phillips Academy in Andover and graduated in 1974 as a member of the school's first co–educational class. She graduated from Berkeley College, Yale in 1978 summa cum laude, studying literary deconstructionism, which she later repudiated. She won a Mellon Fellowship to attend Clare College, University of Cambridge, receiving an M.A. in English literature. She returned to Yale in 1980 to work on a doctorate in comparative literature but became dissatisfied with literary theory and withdrew after a semester. She graduated from Stanford's law school in 1985, worked for liberal Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the Court of Appeals, and for the Environmental Protection Agency. At present, she no longer practices law but is a full-time political commentator.
Mac Donald has advocated a variety of political positions, including the following:
- Secular conservatism. Mac Donald identifies herself as a secular conservative, and argued in USA Today that conservative thinking is superior to liberalism by virtue of the ideas alone and that religion should not affect the argument. Mac Donald has caused controversy in conservative circles by arguing that religion is not necessary for conservatism. She is not religious herself, and has stated that it would be difficult for her to marry someone who regularly demonstrated piety, though she could marry someone who could joke about her atheism. She argued that conservatism does not need God.
- Victimization. She criticized the notion of treating boys as a new victim group, and criticized universities for seeking to hire "diversity consultants" to "help boys succeed".
- Philanthropic institutions. Mac Donald blamed philanthropic institutions such as the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation for advocating for a right of welfare and because of this advocacy, "generations have grown up fatherless and dependent", she wrote in her collection of essays, The Burden of Bad Ideas. She wrote that the right principle to guide philanthropy was doing what you love.
- Immigration policy. Mac Donald criticized American immigration policy as "importing another underclass", referring to Hispanics, which has the "potential to expand indefinitely". Mac Donald's views that Hispanics have tremendous fertility were criticized as being "hostile" and trying to tap into a "deep-seated fear" of minorities by conservatives, according to one writer in the Huffington Post.
- Divine intervention in human affairs As an atheist conservative, Mac Donald was profiled in the New York Times. She criticized John Ashcroft for giving gratitude to God rather than members of the US Justice Department.
- Urban panhandlers. Mac Donald criticized pan handlers in San Francisco as "aggressive young vagrants" with an "oversized sense of entitlement" who have grown more "territorial and violent". She praised a proposed ordinance called "sit-lie" which would ban persons from sitting or lying on city sidewalks from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.
- Law and order. Mac Donald advocated improved policing procedures such as Compstat, a data–driven urban approach used by big city police departments in New York and Los Angeles which focuses police activity on known crime areas, and holds precinct commanders accountable for results. She argued in 2010 that crime was not a result of economic hardship or poverty and bolstered her analysis with statistics showing that crime had dropped during the 2008–2009 recession. She suggested "an increase in the number of people incarcerated had a large effect on crime in the last decade and continues to affect crime rates today". Mac Donald appeared on Fox News television to discuss her views about crime prevention with moderator Paul Gigot in 2010 and argued that successful crime prevention statistics from 2008–2009 were a result of efficient policing, high incarceration rates, more police officers working, data–driven approaches such as CompStat which helps commanders target high–crime areas, and a policy of holding precinct commanders accountable for results. She contended that much of the decline of American cities, beginning during the 1960s, was a direct result of crime "spiraling out of control".
- Racism. Mac Donald argued that the high rates of African-American young males in America's jails was not a result of a racist policy by police and that "study after study has shown that the criminal justice system responds to the crime and the criminal history of the offender, not to his race". She criticized the thinking of African-American Jeremiah Wright for making racist statements when Wright said that "blacks have inherently different learning styles". Wright was a pastor at the church where presidential candidate Barack Obama attended, and Obama's connections to Wright became controversial during the campaign for the presidency in 2008. She sided with police when the New York City department was accused of racism in a lawsuit and wrote a book exploring the issue of racism in the police force.
- Terrorism prevention strategies. Mac Donald advocated for increased use of computer database searches to catch terrorists in a growing technology called data mining. She criticized privacy concerns about computer searches as "irrational paranoia" and argued that it was hypocritical to permit an individual human to examine files on a case by case basis but for a privacy violation if a computer was permitted to do it. To fight al-Qaeda and terrorism, Mac Donald defended the Patriot Act and argued a case for secrecy and speed as well as the sharing of information between departments within the intelligence community without worry about legal hurdles, although she agreed that it's important to weigh the benefits of government power against the risks of abuse. In contrast, in a debate with Mac Donald, Julian Sanchez argued that government should take "reasonable" and "balanced steps" in fighting terrorism, but he was concerned about giving government a broad and unchecked power to spy on "not only suspected terrorists but anyone" and about losing protections based on the Fourth Amendment. MacDonald argued for police investigations to use racial profiling on the grounds that "you cannot be an Islamic terrorist unless you're a member of the Muslim faith".
- Torture. Mac Donald argued in 2006, in The Torture Debate, that the Abu Ghraib fallout was overblown and that opponents of President Bush used it to construct an exaggerated "master narrative" and asserted that the torture at Abu Ghraib was "torture lite" compared with more brutal atrocities such as those of Pol Pot. She defended rough coercive interrogation techniques as necessary in some circumstances.
- Welfare. Mac Donald criticized welfare programs as metamorphosizing into a "dysfunction enabler", as writer Robin Finn described Mac Donald's views in 2000. Mac Donald's position that food stamps were a form of "unhealthy dependence" was criticized by several writers to the op-ed column in the New York Times.
- Politics. Mac Donald criticized talk radio for fueling "heightened rhetoric" and thinks that the attacks against president Obama have been overdone. She sees Obama as a moderate or "standard-issue" liberal, not a radical. She deplored hate gestures, in which the doors and windows of Democrats who voted in favor of a health care bill were broken, as "cowardly and juvenile" acts.
Reviews of her books 
Mac Donald's book, The Burden of Bad Ideas, was reviewed in 2000 by New York Times critic, Allen D. Boyer, who wrote, "Among discussions of urban malaise, where so much hot air has been recycled, this book has the freshness of a stiff, changing breeze".
- Heather Mac Donald (2000). The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society. Ivan R. Dee. ISBN 1-56663-337-0.
- Heather Mac Donald (2003). Are Cops Racist?. Ivan R. Dee. ISBN 1-56663-489-X.
- The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave, "City Journal" Winter 2004
- The Immigration Solution, by Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson and Steven Malanga
- ROBIN FINN (November 28, 2000). "Excoriating the Enablers, in 12 Chapters". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Morrow, Lance (2010-11-04). "Articles about Heather Mac Donald". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Manhattan Institute Scholar | Heather Mac Donald
- Heather Mac Donald (2010-11-04). "Conservatism doesn't need God". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Heather Mac Donald (APRIL 30, 2008). "The Wright Side of the Brain". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- 1985 Yale Alumni Directory, p. 501.
- http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/profiles/heather_macdonald.htm and Manhattan Institute op. cit.
- op. cit.
- USA Today. 2006-10-22 http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20061023/opledereligion50.art.htm
|url=missing title (help).
- Lukeford.net op. cit.
- Heather Mac Donald (2006-05-29). "Not another class of victims". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Allen D. Boyer, reviewing Mac Donald's The Burden of Bad Ideas (December 24, 2000). "Books in Brief: Nonfiction". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Heather Mac Donald (Winter 2009). "Never Enough Beauty, Never Enough Truth". City Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- George F. Will (May 24, 2007). "A Bill That Earned Its Doubters". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- John Riofrio (August 14, 2010). "Cable Loves Big White Families". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Mark Oppenheimer (February 18, 2011). accessdate= 2011-02-19 "A Place on the Right for a Few Godless Conservatives". New York Times.
- HEATHER MACDONALD (October 2, 2010). "San Franciscans Try to Take Back Their Streets". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Heather Max Donald (January 4, 2010). "A Crime Theory Demolished". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- A transcript of the weekend's program on FOX News channel -- Paul Gigot, Heather Mac Donald (February 8, 2010). "Hey, Big Spender". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Heather Mac Donald (July 15, 2008). "Cities You Can Believe In". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Clair MacDougall (July 15, 2010). "NYPD Sued Over Housing Project "Vertical Patrols"". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Heather Mac Donald (May 31, 2004). "Common Sense and Computer Analysis". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Julian Sanchez (September 10, 2003). "PATRIOTism Debated: Heather Mac Donald and Julian Sanchez discuss government power in the War On Terror". Reason Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Mike Pesca (August 3, 2005). "NYC Mulls Effectiveness of Racial Profiling". NPR. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Review by Lance Morrow (January 29, 2006). "Necessity or Atrocity?". The New York Times: Books. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Geofferey Campden (August 14, 1999). "Food-Stamp Decline Is a Real Concern". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Mary Ellen Burns (Aug. 12, 1999). "Food-Stamp Decline Is a Real Concern". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- "Are Smashed Windows Signs Of Cultural Divide?". NPR. March 25, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- "Excoriating the Enablers, in 12 Chapters", By Robin Finn, New York Times, November 28, 2000
- Mac Donald biography at NNDB.
- Video of conversation between Heather Mac Donald and Glenn Loury at Bloggingheads.tv
- Video (and audio) of debate/discussion with Heather Mac Donald and Mark Kleiman on Bloggingheads.tv