Sunday, September 8, 2013

Re-education at George Mason

Walter Williams has been for years and remains today one of my favorite columnists. This column demonstrates why. I can only imagine how much he drives the liberals at George Mason University crazy.

"This week begins my 34th year serving on George Mason University's distinguished economics faculty. You might imagine my surprise when I received a letter from its Office of Equity and Diversity Services notifying me that I was required to 'complete the in-person Equal Opportunity and Prevention of Sexual Harassment Policies and Procedures training.' This is a leftist agenda for indoctrination, thought control and free speech suppression to which I shall refuse to submit. Let's look at it.

Ideas such as equity and equal opportunity, while having high emotional value, are vacuous analytical concepts. For example, I've asked students whether they plan to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire them when they graduate. To a person, they always answer no. If they aren't going to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire them, what's fair about forcing employers to give them an equal opportunity to be hired?

I'm guilty of gross violation of equality of opportunity, racism and possibly sexism. Back in 1960, when interviewing people to establish a marital contract, every woman wasn't given an equal opportunity. I discriminated against not only white, Indian, Asian, Mexican and handicapped women but men of any race. My choices were confined to good-looking black women. You say, 'Williams, that kind of discrimination doesn't harm anyone!' Nonsense! When I married Mrs. Williams, other women were harmed by having a reduced opportunity set."

After discussing those issues and others like the racial disparity on the George Mason basketball team, Walter goes on to some issues a lot more serious like the moral relativism and multiculturalism that claim every society and culture deserves to be treated with the same admiration and respect as our own. I disagree for reasons like this.

"Allied with the purveyors of equity, diversity and inclusion are the multiculturalists, who call for the celebration of cultures. For them, all cultures are morally equivalent and to deem otherwise is Eurocentrism. That's unbridled nonsense. Ask your multiculturalist: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan Africa and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Sudan and Niger; is that a cultural equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits on women — such as prohibitions on driving, employment, voting and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to those of the West?

Western values are superior to all others. Why? The greatest achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights. The Western transition from barbarism to civility didn't happen overnight. It emerged feebly — mainly in England, starting with the Magna Carta of 1215 — and took centuries to get where it is today."

Western values that enshrine the rights of the individual are superior We are so blessed and fortunate to have inherited them in our society. And to the extent that the political emphasis on rights by group identity takes away from the value of the individual enshrined in our Declaration of Independence our individual rights and liberties are placed at risk.

Re-education at George Mason