MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

How To Fix College Admissions – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 27, 2020

We do not want government run newspapers or television stations. They should function as checks and balances against an overweening public sector, e.g., totalitarianism. But exactly the same principle applies to higher education. None of these institutions can accomplish this role under the thumb of government.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/walter-e-block/how-to-fix-college-admissions/

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First we separate all institutions of higher learning into two categories. In one, we include those that are purely private, which accept no direct subsidies from government whatsoever; in the other, all the rest.

Into the first classification we place Hillsdale College, Michigan; Grove City College, Pennsylvania; University of San Francisco, California; Christendom College, Virginia; Pensacola Christian College, Florida; Patrick Henry College, Virginia; Wyoming Catholic College, Wyoming; Gutenberg College, Oregon; Yeshiva Toras Chaim Talmudic Seminary of Denver, Colorado; Biola University, California; Bob Jones University, South Carolina, Goldsboro Christian Schools, North Carolina. There may be a few more, but not too many.

What should be our perspective on the admissions policies of universities in this first, private category? They may do exactly as they please. We live, hopefully, in a free country, and freedom means the right to inaugurate your own policies, provided, only, that you do not violate the rights of others. No one has any right to be enrolled in any of these places without the permission of their owners. That would constitute trespass. High up on the list of liberty is freedom of association. These colleges should admit whoever they choose, with no non-discrimination requirements imposed upon them at all. They may use SAT and ACT to their heart’s content. Or not.

What of the remaining 99.99% of universities in the country which are directly subsidized, or owned outright, by the state? While private persons and schools should be free to discriminate, the same does not apply to government or quasi governmental institutions. They should not be allowed to discriminate on any basis whatsoever. For example, the controversial ACT and SAT tests should be forbidden to them as admission criteria.  These discriminate, mainly, between people with high and low IQs. It is intolerable for a state or state-related institution to make such an invidious distinction. After all, the government does not impose intelligence tests on those it admits to its buses, trains, libraries, parks, hospitals, museums, art galleries, concert halls, zoos, sports arenas, beaches, etc. In some countries, the government owns the airlines; in Canada, PetroCan owned a string of gas stations. No intelligence requirement was obligatory for service from these state institutions either.

This non-discrimination policy should apply not only to admissions, but also to grading. Enrolling students who can hardly read, write or do math will not suffice, for with any such system they will soon fail out. Other public institutions, see above, have no such grading systems, which would remove the intellectually non-gifted after a while. There is simply no justification for doing so in education either. This is NOT satire. I am very serious about this. These recommendations follow, logically, from the premise that it is and should be unlawful for government to discriminate against the intellectually challenged.

Of course, this would spell the ruination of these public universities. At present, the following US institutions are highly ranked in terms of prestige: University of California , Los Angeles; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill; University of Virginia; Georgia Institute of Technology; University of Texas, Austin; University of Florida; University of Georgia; University of California, Berkeley; Indiana University.  So are these ostensibly “private” ones: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Chicago, Stanford, Duke, Hopkins. Many of these are highly ranked in world compilations. Were freedom instituted, none of this would be true any longer. Smart students would no longer enroll due to the intellectual diversity of open admission. Accomplished professors would go elsewhere.

Would that be a detriment to this modest proposal? Of course not. If these universities wished to retain the prestige they presently justifiably enjoy, they will have to eschew all direct government grants (the relation between the state and their students is entirely a different matter, and an irrelevant one). But this is precisely the goal of the freedom philosophy. The desiderata is not only separation of church and state, but, also, separation of education and state. We do not want government run newspapers or television stations. They should function as checks and balances against an overweening public sector, e.g., totalitarianism. But exactly the same principle applies to higher education. None of these institutions can accomplish this role under the thumb of government.

Be seeing you

 

 

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