Blogs > Liberty and Power > Horowitz, Diversity, and Merit

Jan 12, 2006 3:44 pm

Horowitz, Diversity, and Merit

Conservatives used to oppose racial and gender preferences, arguing instead that individual merit should trump other considerations in personnel decisions. Apparently, this is no longer the case, at least at the Frontpage. Instead of making a principled case against racial and gender preferences in his testimony this week to the Pennsylvania legislature, David Horowitz called on the legislature to pile on new ones covering ideology:

you could recommend that universities amend their diversity mandates, which now cover race and gender, to include “diversity based on political and religious affiliation.”

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Jeanine Ring - 1/13/2006

Chris Pettit,

What if that which is in fact the truth happens to be believed only by a despised minority, such that any agreed-upon centralized standard of truth will dismiss it as falsehood? Doesn't your system demand, in effect, that nobody be exposed to any view which the consensus of majorities or experts views as antisocial?

It is interesting to consider what the practical effect of your doctrines would be say if the conventional wisdom was- Oh, I don't know- say the Christianity of the 13th century. You are basically saying that academic freedom is unnecesary because we already know the truth and know well enough what is good. And besides, we don't have time to encourage people to spout wierd ideas which distract from our society's mission of social justice. I wonder what Socrates would think about this.

Y'know, the practical, public, analogue to your little academic unfreedom doctrine is the view that keepers of the peace can ignore the rights of classes of persons whom everyone knows are a poisonous blight upon the social fabric. As a person who everyone knows is a poisonous blight upon the social fabric, I rather resent this. Places that go after Socrates tend to end up going after other forms of social impiety. I would hate to see the sumptuary laws in your polis if unpopular *ideas* are a useless extravagance.

"we could actually create an educated populace who might actually be able to make rational decisions"

Wow. I'm sure the populace would love to know it's so piteously unable to make rational decisions it needs to be remade in your image. (Who's "we"? Elites like you who are better than the 'populace'?) Does that include me? Which part of "'the populace' ain't your property" do you not understand, berk?

Dear goddess, WHAT A PRICK.

Jeanie Ring

Who is up this early because she has to attend the 9 AM court hearing of a friend and colleague who needs a REAL human rights lawyer.

chris l pettit - 1/13/2006

...and not dealing with the problem at the core. If we want to talk about equality of opportunity, we need to start at the core problem...primary and scondary education. Even as a human rights lawyer and academic, I do not support affirmative action in most forms because it simply applies a band aid or smoke screen to the real problem. We must recognize historical and cultural inequalities...something libertarians oftentimes find very creative ways of ignoring...but we must do it in a way that attacks the probelm at the core. If we paid teachers what they were worth, made sure they were actually educated, got rid of the jingoistic and seriously misguided curriculum based in ideology, did away with these idiotic standardized tests that tell you nothing and achieve only the dumbing down of our students, and made sure that everyone had an equal opportunity from the beginning (which would mean state control and money...this is not possible with private interests...much like water privatization is a total failure...basic rights cannot be left to ideologized "individuals") we could actually create an educated populace who might actually be able to make rational decisions...and then be able to truly make decisions based in merit instead of simply ignoring historical inequalities and arguing against affirmative action on rather shaky grounds (as many now do).

On the "ideology" front...why is everyone still missing the elephant in the room that an idea must be critically defensible and not based in ideology in order to conform with the universal right to education. I keep bringing this up, either to be ignored, or to have those based in ideology try and somehow defend faith based ideas such as ID, etc. Students have the right to be free from indoctrination and propaganda from all sides...this is one of the major aspects of the right to education. THis means there must be some sort of system in place to analyze what is being taught, and ensure that indefensible ideological positions on both sides of the lunacy we call the political divide are rooted out and kept in their proper place (indivdual thought and the bizarre little enclaves of ideology that exist). There are those knowledgeable to undertake such tasks...unfortunately they are nowhere to be found in the businesslike, inefficient, corrupt, and politically based administrations of universities all over the country. I can probably count on two hands the number of truly decent university environments in this country (and thankfully happen to teach at one of them).

So by all means, lets have a discussion why speech codes and the ABOR are utilized for ideological purposes...but instead of taking the indefensible position of everything should be allowed...which means we should teach Stalinism as a "legitimate alternative" as well as ID, as well as the spaghetti monster, as well as militant Zionism, as well as Palestinian extremism...tell me how we put a system in place that guarantees the right to education without indoctrination - the universally agreed upon standard that overcomes and overshadows any ideologically based position on "academic freedom." To take the "academic freedom" approach is to impose your own ideology of "freedom" and control...and to allow anyone to indoctrinate or teach what they want how they want...even if it is indefensible and unable to be critically defended...violates the rights of the students...and establishes your own version of control.


Anthony Gregory - 1/12/2006

Some of the same people that argue, correctly, that the racial or gender demograpic makeup of a university's students does not necessarily indicate sexism or racism in society — that there are numerous factors explaining why some groups are "overrepresented" — argue that the fact that universites lean to the left must be a sign of some sort of systematic inequity or conspiracy to shut out "underrepresented" viewpoints. Claptrap.