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Thursday, January 10, 2013

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  • Discrimination has been treated by large parts of the academic community as though it were not amenable to logical analysis, be it economic, ethical or political; as though the very consideration of alternative view- points were somehow unsavory. The philosophy of “feminism,” “human rights,” “multiculturalism,” and “political correctness” have so permeated intellectual discussion that criticisms of the mainstream view take on an aura of illegitimacy at the outset, even before arguments are heard in their behalf. This is highly unfortunate. If nothing else, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty should give us pause before closing our minds to alternative perspectives. At one time in our recent history, the term “discriminating” had a positive value. It was a compliment. To say that a person was discriminating was to say that he was able to make fine distinctions. Today, of course, to say that someone is discriminating is to charge him with prejudice. This modern view is embodied in the so-called human rights codes of society, wherein it is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, sexual preference, age, etc. Discrimination now carries a legal penalty—a fine, and even a jail sentence to back up the prohibition.
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