Saturday, June 09, 2012

Are Cheap College Degrees like Gay Marriage?

This article argues that giving scholarships and degrees to athletes who can barely read devalues everyone else's college degrees from that same institution.

While I agree that the practice described is deplorable, my first thought was that the argument is the same as the anti-gay marriage argument: in other words, someone else's degree devalues my degree in the same way that someone else's marriage devalues my marriage (or the institution of marriage).

These are not similar. If I get a degree from UW, and it hits the papers that the athletic department was giving away degrees, my degree actually looks less valuable, and I might be less likely to get into a good grad school or find a good job. Therefore, someone else's degree might actually have a material effect on me.

However, another person's marriage has no material effect on me. Even if I take the Rick Santorum analogy a step further, and say that the slippery slope of marriage will lead to people marrying animals, that outcome will not in any way affect my desire to get married, nor will it affect the quality of my marriage. In fact, while I think gay marriage has no effect on marriage as a whole, bad marriages DO have an effect.

That is, if I love someone and decide I might want to get married, if I survey the landscape and see gay people married, that will not affect my plan to spend the rest of my life with the person I love. However, if I look around and see a sea of shipwrecked marriages, it might make me think twice about getting anchored. And THAT would harm the institution of marriage.

So, I guess my point is, I hope that Congress passes a Constitutional amendment banning bad marriage.

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