June 27, 2003 -- Much will be written about the legal flaws of the Supreme Court's decision on the University of Michigan's admissions policies. The court found race-based admissions in the name of "affirmative action" to be constitutional, upheld that university's law school admissions criteria, but struck down Michigan's practice of automatically awarding points to government-approved minorities for undergraduate admissions.

Of course, private schools should be free to use any admissions criteria they wish, and all schools should be private. But most schools are government-operated or -funded, and when governments are involved, they should not treat individuals differently based on race. And unfortunately the Bush administration, while opposing Michigan's particular policies, supported the concept of affirmative action.

As TAS Executive Director David Kelley pointed out recently, "diversity" is a code word of the cultural Left, whose "agenda is based on the view that an individual's identity is essentially a function of his race, class, and sex, and that such groups are engaged in ceaseless conflicts of oppression and resistance". It is through moral confusion, degeneracy, or worse that many Americans actually believe that individuals should be judged based on accidents of birth rather than on their own achievements. It is also revealing that many who support affirmative action in the name of diversity also support political correctness policies on campus that curtail the most important form of diversity on a college campus: diversity of opinion.
These facts illustrate the need to fight for a free society based on the principles of individualism. In a culture in which individuals, in the words of Martin Luther King, "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," neither students, their parents, alumni, nor foundations and businesses that fund universities would tolerate the race-based policies upheld by a morally and politically confused court.

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Edward Hudgins

About The Author:

Edward Hudgins is the former director of advocacy for The Atlas Society, the author of numerous Atlas Society commentaries, and the editor of several books on politics and government policy. He is now research director for the Heartland Institute. He has also worked at the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

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