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There are six speakers in Ariadne's dialogue on affirmative action.
Their names are Ann, John, Fred, Liz, Malik, and Dee. Each has
a different view of the ethics of strong affirmative action programs,
their desirability, their probable outcomes, and their justification.
The bulk of the conversation is among Ann, John, Fred, and Malik.
Liz and Dee speak less, but they have strong views to express.
- Ann believes in an active government that should tackle economic
and social problems with zeal. She is solidly liberal on all aspects
of race relations. She supports strong affirmative action.
- John is difficult to classify. He listens to what the others
say, assuming that there is some truth in each of their views.
His proposals are often attempts to weave together policies that
are fair to all parties.
- Fred is a conservative who wants less government and less
'social engineering.' He is opposed to racial discrimination,
but also opposes strong affirmative action.
- Liz is a social democrat. She prefers a government that will
act vigorously to help working people, both black and white. She
does not fear big government, but her policies would not be based
- Malik is concerned about the condition of many black Americans.
He supports strong affirmative action, but would prefer a large
scale program of reparations administered by and for blacks themselves.
- Dee is a libertarian. She advocates minimal government and
maximum freedom of contract between individuals. She opposes government
mandated affirmative action, but she does not object to voluntary
programs carried out by private schools and employers.
In many cases Ann and Malik will agree, but their approaches also
differ in important ways. The same is true for Fred and Dee. Keep
in mind that sometimes a speaker will say something that he or
she is thinking about but does not firmly believe. In conversation
we often ask questions and throw out ideas to see what others
think or to get more information.