elitism rules

December 11th, 2007

So the University of Auckland has allowed itself to restrict entry to all undergraduate courses. Predictably, not everybody is happy with this, and that familiar, foul old cry of “elitism!” can be heard ringing throughout the land, apparently. But there’s an editorial in the Herald saying, “Good. This is elitist like it’s bloody well supposed to be.” And good on the Herald.

Well, if, like the nay-sayers say, this policy results in the “whitening” of the university, or of otherwise intelligent, talented but “disadvantaged” (poor, alright? Just say poor) losing access to tertiary education that is open to those from rich, white families, then something will have gone wrong.

But, on the other hand, New Zealand has too long a history of shitting on it’s best and brightest young talent. The idea that universities should be open to all comers is one example of this childish anti-intellectualism. Universities should not be open to all comers; they should be reserved for expanding the capacities of the most intellectually capable.

This does not mean that I, or anyone else, sees those shut out by Auckland’s new policy as in any way inferior. Get that ridiculously immature chip off your shoulder right now. There is nothing wrong with any other form of education or training, nor is there anything in anyway inferior about different mixes of skills and abilities. What is wrong is trying to drag the bright kids down to the average level just so average (pathetic, insecure, little) Kiwis don’t get upset at the possible suggestion that somebody might be more intelligent or academic than them. And that is something that New Zealand’s education system has been geared towards for far too long.

So good on ya Auckland. Go right ahead and restrict entry to all undergrad courses. Take only the best applicants and give them the best opportunities for advancement. Just make sure you’re getting the best from all social strata, because there is no connection at all between intelligence and wealth or social status.

I will be very, very happy when Otago follows suit….

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