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Keeping the Right People Out

The name Andrew Napolitano, former NJ Superior Court Justice and current Fox “news” hack, came up in conversation recently. I didn’t know much about him, so I hopped onto the web (where everything you read is true!) to learn a little more. I learned little of interest about Napolitano germane to that conversation, but I did bump into a reference to Concerned Alumni of Princeton, yet another organization at the intersection of privilege, bigotry, and crazy. CAP is interesting for some of its distinguished alumni. Bill Bradley quit the organization, condemning it for innuendo and unsupported allegations; even Bill Frist condemned the organization as right-wing extremists. So it should come as no surprise that Samuel Alito was a proud member.

CAP’s purpose is to preserve Princeton University as a “no girls allowed” club. After its precursor failed to prevent the admission of women at all in 1969, the founding members, of which Napolitano is one, turned to seeking to limit the number of women enrolled. Naturally, CAP opposes affirmative action, and casts itself publicly as the champion of meritocracy, claiming enrollment quotas enshrine prejudice and undermine merit. Alito went so far as to cite membership in the CAP among his personal qualifications in Reagan’s justice department, before being named to the Supreme Court by Bush the lesser. According to the Daily Princetonian, “Alito wrote that he is ‘particularly proud’ of his work on cases arguing that ‘racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.’”

Racial and ethnic quotas, mind you. Apparently gender quotas are all right. Not because we need to ensure opportunities for women, mind you. Oh, no! That would never do. No, the CAP, despite crusading against one kind of quota, has actively campaigned for quotas favoring men at Princeton, hoping to preserve 800 of the roughly 1300 admission slots for males exclusively. To make sure that real merit, the kind belonging to wealthy, white males, rises to the top. Because wealthy, white males don’t always perform so well against standards that don’t award bonus points for being wealthy, white, and male. And to minimize outbreaks of cooties.

The CAP stands as a poster boy for just how toxic the institutions designed to preserve privilege can be. Their goals, being nothing more than self-serving double standards, cannot survive open examination, so instead they depend on secrecy, undermining or eliminating rational discourse, and getting the “right people” in place to make decisions free of accountability. And, although one can find cogent arguments against affirmative action, it’s hard to trust them very far when looking at their most public defenders, and especially how so many of those defenders think that only particular kinds of quotas are unacceptable.

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