Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Friday, January 17, 2003
See, if you wait long enough, old posts become relevant again. Here's a meme I'd like to see propagated to help this issue get talked about honestly:

A "critical mass" is a quota on the lam.

You're going to hear people accusing Bush of misrepresenting Michigan's program by calling it a "quota." But he's not. Not really. It's Michigan that misrepresents its quota by disguising it, making it gain and lose weight like Robert De Niro changing movie roles, bed down in a different place each year like Saddam, travel under the assumed name of "critical mass." But you know and I know that the phrase "critical mass" means bupkiss if not "we need at least X many." Oh, X won't be the same as last year, we'll keep it a moving target to keep the Bakke police off our backs. We'll use plus factors calibrated to diminish with the added marginal diversity of each admittee until we get a number we're comfortable with. One that's "meaningful." Say it with me, boys and girls:

A "critical mass" is a quota on the lam.

If you want to make the argument that diversity is a compelling value that justifies ensuring a certain minimum number of minority students in each class, fine. Be forthright about it. Call for the overruling of Bakke and its replacement with a rule that says quotas are okay as long as they're done in the service of what you regard as a permissible motive. Let's have a real debate about the real issue.

But spare me the smoke and mirrors.

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