Monday, 27 March 2006


I like to think that most people, at heart, try to do the right thing. Moreover, I have to wonder how people can get along in their daily lives operating under the assumption that people who don’t agree with them do so out of malice or spite. It seems like having that attitude would destroy one’s soul after a while.

Then again, maybe I’m just in a melancholy mood from putting together a bunch of IRB paperwork and finishing up my lecture notes on multiple regression, or perhaps just from stopping Love Actually at the emotional low point of the film.

George Mason: ridiculous poster boys for libertarianism

Will someone explain to me exactly how George Mason’s run to the NCAA Final Four is supposed to be a victory for libertarians? Yes, the economics and law faculty have a few more libertarians than the average (although this is offset by the political science faculty), and yes, George Mason wasn’t much of a federalizer, but I’m unconvinced how a team full of “scholar-athletes” (read “partial qualifiers”) who I doubt can even spell “libertarian” at an institution that receives millions of dollars of subsidies from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the federal government every year represents some big victory for classical liberalism.

Y Discriminate

The apologia by Kenyon College’s dean of admissions for her college’s policy of discriminating against female applicants in favor of promoting campus gender balance has raised hackles from traditional opponents of affirmative action and proponents alike. Closer to my regular reading lists, Laura of 11D also reacts.

My sense is that Ms. Britz’s argument, like most supporting affirmative action of any kind as an end in and of itself (or those justifying it in any terms other than as a narrowly-focused effort to redress past discrimination at institutions that engaged in such discrimination in the past), falls on its face, but that Kenyon—as a private institution—ought to be able to pursue whatever admissions policies it thinks are appropriate, no matter how misguided the college may be. Of course, whether or not taxpayers ought to subsidize those policies directly or indirectly, which they do at Kenyon and most other institutions of higher education in this country, is another question entirely…