Liberal Education

August 1, 1996

Ten points in the debate over affirmative action:

1. Affirmative action opposes civil rights . One is about equal rights and equal opportunity; the other is about privileges and preferences. One is democratic, the other aristocratic.

2. Because affirmative action is aristocratic (or elitist), it is partisan, and it opposes the common good.

3. For affirmative action violates the American political tradition’s great ideal of equality of opportunity; it is a shake-down, not a fair shake. It stresses one’s group (racial, ethnic, sex) and its past: color-consciousness, not color-blindness.

4. Thus affirmative action emphasizes past injustices, and getting even—not enjoying equality and looking to the future. In its search for scapegoats, this new injustice discourages initiative, discipline, education, and ingenuity.

5. Affirmative action necessarily means quotas, and that means injustice to those who can’t fit the bureaucrats’ accepted and proper categories, which includes minorities and non-minorities alike.

6. “Goals and timetables” and “diversity” = some of the deceptive euphemisms and hence for quotas or ceilings = “don’t bother applying.”

7. It requires the rule of incompetent bureaucrats creating and enforcing such arbitrary justice-by-the-numbers— in employment, promotions, and university admissions. It fosters injustice, inefficiency, and ineptitude, at an untold economic cost and an incalculable moral one.

8. It encourages the claimant mentality of the welfare state, with its slavish dependence on government. Proponents cannot specify an end-date to it, because it is self-perpetuating.

9. It leads to the dangerous fad of “multiculturalism,” which prefers cults to culture. In universities and other elite settings, it means the destruction of learning through the imposition of leftist agendas (such as homosexual rights), developed hand-in-hand with bureaucrat friends.

10. It distracts us from American solutions to social problems, and encourages the seeking of tribal ones. It is a divisive political policy, designed by divide-and-conquer politicians.

Remember the four As: Affirmative Action is Anti-American.