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Every academic knows how completely in thrall to identity politics and quotas our universities are. I heard a refreshing comment on this recently at a physics research talk. The speaker was a scientist originally from the Soviet Union, now at an American university famous for its liberalism and political correctness. He was in the middle of a technical discussion about the fact that all elementary particles of a given type are absolutely indistinguishable, when he stopped and said, "We hear a lot about ‘diversity’ nowadays. Here is an idea that I don’t think they would like back at my university." And he put up a slide on which the following statement appeared: "Individualism, the ultimate diversity! " I chuckled appreciatively, but I may have been the only one.

(Click here to email the author about this item. Stephen Barr is a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware, and a member of the editorial board of F IRST T HINGS .)

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