The Power and the Reflected Glory

Bank robber Willie Sutton would probably be lost to history if not for one quotation.  When asked why he robbed banks, he supposedly replied, “That’s where the money is.”

Sutton’s profession was both lucrative and tax-free, but it was not high status.  The truly ambitious seek money and power.  Consider the case of Melinda French.

Born in Dallas on August 15, 1964, Melinda Ann French was the daughter of an aerospace engineer and a non-working mother.  She was the valedictorian of her class at Ursuline Academy in the super-snooty Preston Hollow area of Dallas.  From there, she went to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  She earned a degree in computer science in 1986 and followed it up with an MBA from the same institution in 1987.

As far as resume-building goes, this is about as good as it gets at the front end.  After finishing up at Duke, French went to work for Microsoft as a product manager and worked her way up to general manager of information projects before age 30.

When she started at Microsoft, the percentage of females majoring in computer science had already peaked.  According to the National Science Foundation, women majoring in computer science fluctuated between 12-17% (I’m gleaning these statistics from a chart, so I’m estimating) from the mid-60s to the mid-70s.  No surprise that the subsequent rise of computers in everyday life inspired more women to take up the field.  The percentage peaked at 35% in 1985.

Since then, it’s been a downward trend with the percentage leveling off at around 20%.  In fact, 22% of high school students taking the Advanced Placement test for computer science are girls, so the current proportion of college majors would appear to be an accurate reflection of female interest in the subject.  But females are supposed to be in ascendancy, so a decline in female participation in any area sets off alarm bells in the media, even when perfectly reasonable explanations can be uncovered without much digging.

For starters, consider how many subjects a college student can major in today  – and that’s not including women’s studies or any other leftist in-gatherings.  You could major in Puppet Arts at the University of Connecticut; Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of North Texas; or Floral Management at Mississippi State.  If you are fortunate enough to gain admittance to Melinda French’s alma mater, you can major in Canadian Studies.  What does that entail?  Beats me.  Maybe students get extra credit for attending NHL games in nearby Raleigh (home of the Carolina Hurricanes).

Curiously, the percentage of women majoring in physical sciences (physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology) in 1965 was the same (about 15%) as women majoring in computer science.  Both percentages increased through 1985, then diverged.  Physical science continued to rise while computer science declined.  So a certain amount of the decline in computer science can be blamed on competition from other scientific majors!  I don’t know how that could be blamed on the patriarchy, but I’m sure a feminist could come up with an explanation.

So in the year 2017, what is the ideal percentage for women in computer science?  Well, if you’re not a Canadian Studies major, you can always consult Justin Trudeau.  His position is left wing and Ottawa is his home base, but he doesn’t play for the Senators.  Pretty sure he’s never been cross-checked in his life, but he knows the score:

The right answer to the above question is 50%.


Because it’s 2017!  Consider this quote:

Parity is success to me – when you have 50 percent of college computer science graduates as women….And then I would look to leadership positions, and see if we’re getting 50 percent of the leaders of tech companies being women.

This is not Justin Trudeau speaking.  It is a kindred spirit, however: our old friend Melinda French.  Now she goes by the name Melinda Gates.  You see, soon after going to work for Microsoft in 1987, she met head honcho Bill Gates.  Coincidentally, this was the first year he appeared on the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people.

In 1987, Gates was only 32 years old.  By any criteria you use, other than personal appearance, he qualified as a good catch.  I guess we could say he took the bait. On New Year’s Day, 1994, Melinda officially reeled him in.  That’s a pretty long courtship, but the bigger the trophy fish the longer it takes to get him gaffed and into the boat.

After marriage, Melinda “retired” from Microsoft.  On a more pedestrian level, her biological clock was counting down (she was 29 when she and Gates made it legal).  The newly crowned queen had no time to waste if she intended to squeeze out some princes and princesses (she eventually gave birth to one of the former and two of the latter).

Of course, it would have been unseemly to keep working at Microsoft after marrying the CEO.  Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion, you know.  Her salary, which was probably considerable, was nothing compared to the riches she had access to after marriage.  After all, what could she have attained at Microsoft if Bill Gates had not been smitten with her?  A vice-presidency of some sort?  Squeaking in one last Piscean figure of speech, Melinda Gates had bigger fish to fry.

On the surface, she was a stay-at-home mom while daddy brought home the bacon in enormous slabs.  But you can’t characterize her as a tradcon housewife when hubby is as rich as Croesus and as powerful as anyone on the planet aside from the folks who have access to the nuclear launch codes.

Well, Melinda could have glided into the post-menopausal bliss of society matronhood and a life of leisure, but that wasn’t enough for her.  So in the year 2000, at age 36, she and Bill gave birth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation They were right on schedule, as the behavior of the super-rich over the past century has shown.

It all started with the Revenue Act of 1913, which not only established the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve banking system, but also ushered in tax-free foundations dedicated to “promoting the common good and general welfare.”

As you might suspect, what does or does not constitute the “common good and general welfare” can be a matter of opinion.  Nevertheless, muckety-mucks of the highest order do not hesitate to define it for us.  The Rockefeller Foundation, founded in 1913, is the template for these organizations.  Its mission is “promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world.”  This is almost the very dictionary definition of the word philanthropy.

Today, in addition to the Rockefeller Foundation, we also have the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation.  Apparently, once you reach the highest stratum of money and power, you are obligated to become a philanthropist.  That would seem to be a good thing, yet in some circles George Soros is considered a philanthropist.

A tax-free foundation is not just the ultimate status symbol for the solons of big business; it is also a great way to shelter income while influencing public servants and public opinion.  It is no coincidence that public relations professionals started to proliferate around the time the Revenue Act of 1913 was passed.

If you go to the BMGF (as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is abbreviated) web site, the slogan is “the premise of this foundation is one life on the planet is no more valuable than the next.”  I find that statement downright laughable on its face, but coming from the richest man on the planet (estimated net worth: $86.9 billion) and his wife, it’s a knee-slapper of biblical proportions.

Who would guess that a couple of Squatemalan peasants living in a tarpaper shack and subsisting on dung beetle stew were the equal of the world’s richest power couple?

Aside from the obvious difference in income, benighted sods in third world countries do not lecture the world’s people on how they should live.  They are not in a position to influence or patronize others.  Bill and Melinda Gates – Time magazine’s 2005 Persons of the Year; 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees –have no such reservations.

BMGF is the world’s largest private philanthropic group.  Their goals include the usual global do-gooding, but empowering third world women is one of Melinda’s pet projects.  It was just a matter of time before she shifted her focus to first world feminism.

Hence her launch of Pivotal Ventures, her own foundation dedicated to gender parity.  Given her background, she is particularly focused on the computer industry.  “How is it that girls feel unwelcomed, and if they feel unwelcomed, why do they feel unwelcomed?”  She asks the eternal question and then offers her answers in an article published in The National, Amtrak’s in-transit magazine:

Right around when this drop [in female participation] started, computers were moving into homes.  And the thing that really first got computers into the home were games, and the gaming industry was very male-oriented, and that seems to be when women started dropping out of the pipeline in droves.  Something like that can have this momentum effect, where women don’t see role models and so they don’t get into the industry – it’s a leaky pipeline that starts all the way back in kindergarten.

I think some of the tech companies that are newer, maybe those started by a young man or a couple of young men, you get that kind of rah-rah mentality.  They don’t necessarily come from a very mature place, and they haven’t been around very long.  And so some of those places, at least when I talk to women in the [Silicon] Valley, they don’t feel very welcoming to women and women don’t see women actually coding or running a project team; they don’t see them as leaders.

If I’m the only one on the team, even if I’m surrounded by 10 great guys I enjoy working with, I’m just not as comfortable as I would be if there were more women on the team.  That’s when they say, “Eh, this just doesn’t feel like a place I necessarily want to work.”

She doesn’t come right out and blame the patriarchy, but you get the message.  What we have here is failure…failure to gynocentrize!

Well, I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t be more efficient to just jettison the lone woman on the team rather than recruit more women.  Anyone who has studied anthropology knows that the male group is a fundamental social unit.  Wouldn’t all-male groups in STEM be more cohesive and hence boost morale, productivity, and profits?

No, no, a thousand times no!  Any executive recommending that would be asked to resign within minutes if not seconds.  Remember the unwritten law of corporate gynocentrism: female morale is always more important than male morale, even when males greatly outnumber females.

According to progressivism, if a selected field of human endeavor does not perfectly reflect demographics, heroic measures must be taken to achieve parity.  Given that dictum, any grade school kid who knows fractions and percentages can tell you the “right” answer to the question of how many women should be in computer sciences.

It’s all in the demographics.  There’s no need to take other factors into account.  You’ll just get confused.  Curious how people think the likes of Melinda Gates are super-smart when they indulge in such intellectual laziness.

Of course, the rule of parity is selectively applied.  If most women use computers every day, does that mean more of them should take up computer science?  After all, American women flush toilets every day yet female plumbers are extremely rare.  Almost all American women drive cars, but female mechanics are in short supply.  In any occupation where you get your hands dirty, progressives are not clamoring for change.

Melinda Gates’s prescriptions for social justice are no different from those made by parity-mongers of less prominence.  But there is a delicious irony in her life.

As mentioned above, Melinda’s education and work history were outstanding.  She got a great start on a Silicon Valley career.  But that wasn’t what provided her with the exalted platform she enjoys today.

In the bad old days, two of the time-tested ways for women to move up in class were (1) marry money, or (2) marry the boss.  Melinda French did both.

Willie Sutton stole an estimated $2 million in his career.  Chump change, right, Melinda?  You knew better than Willie Sutton where the money was.

And the power.

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