The following was authored by Dr. George Phillies, and is published on LFV with his permission.
At some point, you have to draw a line
Bob Barr Advocates for Discrimination Against Women
Of course, Bob Barr calls it “Title IX Reform”. And he doesn’t say the rest out loud. You have to read between the lines.
Three decades ago, Congress imposed a requirement on educational programs and activities that received Federal Financial assistance. If a school accepted both men and women, it could not have programs that discriminated against men or against women. In 1972, this was a very radical idea. College athletics meant ‘college *men’s* athletics, and at many universities programs for women were very much second rate in their support, even when women outnumbered men on campus.
Now there comes to us Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr who in a August 11, 2008 press release calls for “an end to Title IX’s gender quota system that has devastated so many of our collegiate sports programs” and his claim “…In turn, this has forced colleges and universities to either cut men’s teams or shrink their roster size in order to comply…” He then signed an online petition found at http://www.petitiononline.com/csc2008/petition.html and quoted below.
Barr quotes College Sports Council President Leo Kocher as claiming “…If the state’s schools were simply allowed to use online surveys to measure actual interest, they would be able to add wrestling programs without fear of running afoul of the law…”
Of course, a real libertarian might have advocated for ending those Federal programs, because if there were no Federal program, Title IX would have no effect. Many of the more purist readers on this list can even enumerate the Federal programs in question. But that’s not what Barr did.
A few will note that some of those programs are Veteran’s benefits, that the Veteran’s friends have already paid for, paid for by dying for their country*.
A Federal candidate who was actually interested in the health of future Americans might have advocated for intramural athletic participation, by voluntary choice, as opposed to varsity athletic programs. My alma mater did this, and in one year my dormitory fielded volleyball teams Burton House A, Burton House B,… on through Burton House VV. Barr didn’t advocate a policy that would substantively benefit America, either.
Instead, Barr inveighed against Federal antidiscrimination rules, using Republican reactionary dogwhistle language about ‘quota systems’. Dogwhistle? A reasonable libertarian reads ‘quota’ and hears ‘a Federal program. Where is the call to repeal it?’. A sexist Republican reads ‘quota’, starts foaming at the mouth, notes the references to ‘wrestling’, and hears ‘discrimination for good old boys! Yes!’.**
And that ‘a simple survey’? Does anyone know how to lean a survey?
In fact, what Title IX requires is that male and female students — most of whom are taxpayers who paid in part for the Federal programs in question — not have their tax dollars be used to subsidize discrimination against them.
The actual outcome of Title IX has been an enormous burgeoning of athletic teams for women in colleges across America. There has been an end to second-class treatment of women. I can see the result at my own university, where the fraction of women who choose to participate in varsity athletics now matches the fraction of men participating. Also, it has been extremely visible that team athletics are much more positive in their benefits for women than for men, which is not to say that many men have not benefited form intramural or varsity athletics.
Having said that, a school that wants to discriminate against its coeds without crossing Title IX has but to decline the Federal money paid by female taxpayers.
The Barr Press release “Barr signs petition for academic sports freedom” should be seen for what it is. It’s not a call for liberty. It’s a dog-whistle appeal to southern white male chauvinists.
Finally, as a college professor, I assure readers that wrestling programs are perfectly legal. I should know. My university, WPI, has one, not to mention one and a half dozen other varsity teams, and around 20 — depending on interest — club sports, many coed.
Oh, yes, the petition:
To: U.S. Congress
WHEREAS … Today, June 23, 2008 marks the 36th anniversary of the passage of Title IX …
WHEREAS … Men’s collegiate athletic teams are being eliminated and rosters are being capped at an alarming rate in order to comply with the “proportionality” enforcement prong …
WHEREAS … Women collegiate athletes are being robbed of their training partners, teammates and biggest supporters when men’s teams are eliminated …
WHEREAS … Straightforward and common-sense fixes to the enforcement mechanism are already available – such as a simple survey that would allow any student, male or female, to express interest and be given opportunity …
WHEREAS … The law’s current method of enforcement is discriminating against male athletes and artificially limiting opportunities to participate …
WHEREAS … The current tenor of the debate over the future of Title IX sets up a zero sum contest pitting men against women that hurts the collective cause of all college athletes …
BE IT RESOLVED … That men and women across the country come together to discuss and implement a set of common sense reforms to Title IX enforcement that maximizes the opportunities of all college athletes regardless of gender.
*One of my drill sergeants in basic showed me how to use this line, for which I am most grateful.
**Mind you, some football and wrestling teams have simply allowed coeds to join.