Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bring back ROTC to Harvard: Greg Mankiw

In my view, Harvard has a moral obligation to play an appropriate role in our nation's defense. No one benefits more from the freedoms that the military defends than academics, who use the freedoms of expression more liberally than the average American. It seems particularly reprehensible for us to free ride as completely as we do.

In addition, from a purely self-interested standpoint, Harvard as an educational institution would benefit from having more students who are considering a military career. If one judges "diversity" by worldview rather than merely skin color, more ROTC students would substantially increase the diversity of Harvard's student body. Their presence would enrich discussions in various history and government classes.

Finally, ROTC at Harvard would extend the university's reach in the world. We have run into diminishing returns filling the ranks of investment banking and management consulting. Wouldn't it be great if some of the next generation of military leaders launched their careers at Harvard? If the Harvard faculty wants to have influence, they should be eager to teach the next Colin Powell.
Greg Mankiw is former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors (for George W. Bush), professor of economics at Harvard, and economics advisor to Mitt Romney.


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