One day while serving as a fill-in host for radio giant Rush Limbaugh, black economist Dr. Walter Williams related an interesting personal story about affirmative action. He said that as a young man he declined an offer of a professorship at a prestigious Ivy League university, explaining to the institution that, since he wasn’t qualified on paper, it would be obvious he was hired only because of his race. And when he later accepted a position at George Mason University, he said to the interviewer (this is a close-to-verbatim paraphrase), “If I find out you hired me based on affirmative action, I will quit on that day.” What integrity.
Having said this, what Williams exhibited is perhaps what they call in informed theological circles “heroic virtue.” I don’t really blame minorities and women for availing themselves of opportunities offered. William F. Buckley once explained his reasoning behind participating in programs you disapprove of by saying he believed that, in a democracy, you accept the determinations of the majority — unless those determinations become tyrannical. My reasoning is a bit different: You have to suffer because of the ways in which the system is disadvantageous to you, so there’s nothing wrong with benefiting from the ways in which it’s advantageous to you (as long as you’re not committing a grossly immoral act in the process). But there is one condition:
You not vote to perpetuate the bad system.
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