CLEARLY, gender discrimination is the main issue surrounding the final clubs, and it should be taken seriously. But the staff seems to be picking and choosing the Constitutional rights it deems worthy to advocate. Constitutional provisions for the freedom of association and the right to privacy should not be trivialized in the manner of such flippant phrases as "right to exist." Certainly they are worthy of the same consideration afforded gender discrimination.
First, the staff directs its wrath toward the "elitist" nature of the clubs. This position, when taken to its logical conclusion, bears frightening consequences for American society.
By this argument, such characteristics as personal disposition--whether one is amiable, witty, etc--the quality by which clubs presumably choose their members are not valid criteria for selection.
This argument fails to consider that intelligence, the primary characteristic by which Harvard judges its applicants, is probably more arbitrary, more innate and less under our control than personality traits. Yet the staff does not call for the dissolution of selective educational institutions in favor of an egalitarian public system. Morever, most Americans don't find the existence of such elitist associations as country clubs especially objectionable.
The staff points to the clubs' history of racism and anti-Semitism as proof of the ills begat by elitist institutions. There is no denying the inglorious past of the clubs, but again, I do not hear anyone suggesting a boycott of Harvard, which itself took part in propagating the same parochial atitudes.
Secondly, the staff examines the issue of gender discrimination in a vacuum, instead of in its proper context. Our society resolutely affirms equality between the sexes and races in terms of basic political rights. But it is far less clear whether it means to maintain such unqualified equality in all aspects of life. Special provisions for women in terms of military service, athletics and personal privacy lead one to the notion that the sexes cannot be amalgamated in the same way as can the races.
The desireablity of removing all separations between the sexes is far less clear than the staff maintains. Paternalistically seeking to restrict the choice of men and women to associate with whom they please adds nothing constructive to the debate.
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