In brief 2

April 19, 2002

Evan Harris does not know what meritocracy is. It is taking people on the basis of performance. We do that for football and opera, where arguments for affirmative action are never heard. Affirmative action gives beneficiaries a leg up. It means ignoring their academic merits for the sake of something else. If we were clearer about what higher education is for, we would be clearer about what that something else might be.

Alan Ryan
New College, Oxford

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