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LETTER

Discrimination is a Two-Edged Sword

As an alumnus who has been disturbed by MIT’s discriminatory race-based and sex-based policies over the years, I was pleased to see your headline [“Colleges Agree to End Inequalities for Women,” Jan. 31]. I hope this means that MIT is planning to end affirmative action and to go back to treating white men equally.

Edward Friedman ’57


[LTE]Capitalism: The Forgotten Ideal[body]
In the Jan. 31 Tech both Jason Wasfy and Veena Thomas identify major problems facing the United States. However, their proposed solutions are of the same mindset that caused these problems in the first place, and would thus make things worse.
Wasfy has observed firsthand how far from reality the politicians in Washington truly are. By quoting the Senate staffer, he beautifully illustrates the level of deception and evasion they have sunk to. Indeed, it is disgusting that lobbyists are down there fighting out this “battle of the bucks.”
Similarly, Thomas has noted that finding good teachers is quite difficult given the sorry state of American education.
These are fundamental political problems. And, as such, they have fundamental causes.
In the case of campaign finance and lobbying, the government has the power of life and death over industry, through non-objective laws and regulations. Take, for instance, the “antitrust” laws which punish successful companies like Microsoft for being successful, or the price controls and environmental regulations that have caused the California power shortage. As a result, such companies must fight a “battle of the bucks” to make sure that self-important bureaucrats don’t legislate them out of existence.
The clear solution is to eliminate all such laws and regulations, so that the government cannot interfere with production and trade. This would render the lobbying industry obsolete. However, what Wasfy suggests is in fact increased government power. By “limiting big money in politics,” he actually means limiting private money in politics. Under such a revised system, the private citizen no longer has the ability to support the candidate of his choice. Instead, government officials would use our tax dollars to decide who is worthy of what funds, and what advertising individuals and corporations have the “privilege” of sponsoring.
As Wasfy points out, this might give MIT a strategic advantage which would reduce our tuition. Stop and think for a minute about this. As students at MIT, he argues, we should be glad to see private individuals and corporations muzzled so that the Institute can muscle in on a greater share of federal money (i.e. tax dollars). In addition to being blatantly immoral, this kind of pragmatism is shortsighted as well. After all, we’re not going to be at MIT forever.
Now, what is the problem in education? Through tax-funded public schools, local governments have established monopolies in education. People pay for public education regardless of whether they use it. Since public schools don’t answer to the laws of supply and demand, there are no consequences for mismanagement and ineptitude. Thus they stagnate; such is the result of any socialist program. As a consequence of this system, districts have neither the funds nor the incentive to pay good teachers what they’re worth.
Again, the solution is to get the government out of education (and this includes subsidizing universities like MIT) and allow education to be a truly private enterprise. Hasn’t history taught us that only way to achieve prosperity and progress is through economic freedom?
However, Thomas suggests the opposite -- increased government involvement through ROTC-like teacher training programs. I ask this: how many of these contracted teachers would remain in the profession after a few years of working in today’s public schools?
After reading articles like these, I wonder how many people truly understand the basic principles of politics and economics. Where are the defenders of the social system this country was founded on? Where are those who recognize laissez-faire capitalism as the moral and practical ideal?

Michael E. Rolish ’04[sig]
[LTE]The Tech Online, Sort Of[body]
Your masthead “the oldest newspaper online, est. 1993” is appropriate for how fast and frequently an issue is placed online.
The current online issue is Jan 10.[sig]

Rick Ottolini ’76