Magazine article Insight on the News

Ends Don't Justify Means in Current Crusade for Equity

Magazine article Insight on the News

Ends Don't Justify Means in Current Crusade for Equity

Article excerpt

When the last great picture is painted, and the tubes are twisted and dried... " Well, not that long away and perhaps all too soon. But when the dust of our civilization is pawed over, the historians of the future should reserve a hot corner in the cultural infernal regions for such chaps as the educrat at Brown University.

There are hundreds, probably thousands, similarly culpable in reducing higher education to absurdity. But Brown is prestigious among institutions of higher custody.

The Rhode Island school recently opened its newest "theme" dorm, Harambee House, primarily for black students. Brown already has Hispanic House, French House, Slavic House, East Asian House and German House -- catering to student insistence on separatism based on race, nationality, cultural interests and so on.

However, with the new Harambee House, even Brown's deans, deputy deans and deans-designate are beginning to worry about what they have wrought. This concern was expressed by he who shall deserve a searing judgment hereafter: The university won't open any more theme dorms until the effects can be studied, solemnly said Executive Vice President Robert A. Reichley.

He was quoted in the news report as adding, "We don't want to have a balkanization of the campus."

He doesn't want balkanization at Brown! After he and his pals already have sliced the campus into compartments for every category but redheads from Belize!

This trend is now common on many, if not most, college campuses. Ostensibly the separatism is instituted at student request to rev up the old collective self-esteem. In these odd years, no college administrator could be expected sensibly or courageously to assert that segregation defeats the purpose of diversity -- the grail supposedly being sought.

If this infantilism were restricted to campuses, it could be shrugged off Colleges now essentially are holding pens for critters not broke to the saddle.

But the wider society is pounding along in imitative haste -- as in the creation of "majority-minority" electoral districts at both state and national levels. These are rigged to ensure the election of a minority candidate and justified in the hallowed name of equity.

Liberty and equality always tend to get in each other's way, thrashing about and colliding as they contend for social right-of-way. What has developed, though, is beyond that intrinsic tension. The irony is that in the cause of equity, the individual is being defined by and subordinated to the group -- in repudiation of America's basic ideal of personal dignity.

Thus, "fairness" becomes a taffy pull for lawyers, regulators and the tribe of wonks. …

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