Category: The Contrarian

Don’t Dismantle Legacy. Expand It.

AT GREAT universities like ours, the privileged children of alumni and faculty don’t need to bribe their way in—that’s what legacy admissions are for. Since the bribery scandal broke, plenty of ink has been spilled on the ethical implications of legacy admissions. Seldom, however, are the arguments in favor of legacy taken seriously: let’s break them down.

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In Defense of Utopia

When I first came to Stanford, I had high hopes for the diverse intellectual atmosphere I would encounter here. And although I have met some incredibly bright and interesting people, I feel we have lost the art of discussion around campus. Conversations lack intellectual idealism and tend to narrow viewpoints to simple binaries, leaving little room for nuance. We judge ideas solely on their practicality, and have a tendency to dismiss as out of hand controversial ideologies, decreasing our ability to effectively evaluate ideas, especially those ideas we disagree with. To put it bluntly, we seek comfort, not intellectual rigor, from our discussions both inside and outside the classroom. But in so doing, we leave our opinions unchallenged, and with it, the ability to both defend and criticize our views – a tool we cannot afford to lose at a university.

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The Libertarian Case for Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a welfare scheme in which all adult citizens receive a regular cash payment regardless of employment status. At first glance, it is easy to see why those self-professed bastions of American freedom – libertarians – oppose this measure so vociferously. Right-libertarians see UBI as overly generous to unemployed, able-bodied people (so called “lazy people”), and also as implying redistribution on a large scale, which conservatives see as a radical expansion of the welfare state. But the impression that UBI is exclusively leftist is a misguided one.

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The Radical Left: America’s Sole Bastion of Free Speech

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” These words start the American Bill of Rights and, supposedly, guarantee the freedom of speech to American citizens. While this may sound nice, America’s immemorial commitment to free speech is a simply a myth.

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