Joanna Mareth

Recent Articles

Vermont's Right Not to Bear Arms

Vermonters have long stood behind their right to bear arms, boasting some of the highest rates of gun ownership and the least restrictive gun laws in the country. Currently the only state that allows its citizens to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, it may soon be the first to require a permit for the unarmed in its ranks. In what could be the most extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment's tricky syntax yet, a Vermont state legislator recently introduced a bill requiring all unarmed Vermont citizens to pay $500 for the privilege of not owning a gun. Under the bill, adults who choose not to own a weapon would be required to register their name, address, Social Security number, and driver's license number with the state. Those of military age, with the exception of police and members of the armed forces, would be required to pay the $500 fine. Representative Fred Maslack proposed the bill not to encourage Vermonters to protect themselves against crime (Vermont's crime...

Color-Blind Affirmative Action

If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, is social science the last resort of a losing cause? We may not know the answer for some time, but there's no question that some of the heaviest hitters in the fight to preserve race preferences in college admissions are now desperately trying to convert the findings of social research into an argument for what lawyers for the University of Michigan call "the compelling need for diversity in higher education." With the strong backing of the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, they are also trying to prove that some of the traditional measures colleges use in admission—test scores in particular—are biased and unrelated to college success. The attempt is understandable, but it's likely to be an uphill fight, and not a pretty one. In the past half a dozen years or so, the news for the defenders of race preferences in such things as public contracting and university admissions has been almost invariably bad, both in...

Picture Windows and The Old Neighborhood

Flying over San Jose at 4,000 feet, Silicon Valley unfolding below, one sees the stretch marks of the digital boom. Acres and acres of new tract housing, neighborhoods in progress, push their way up the verdant hillsides of the rolling Santa Clara Valley, waiting to absorb the thousands of newly minted dot-com millionaires and almost-millionaires fueling the area's astonishing growth. Except for the size of the houses, the scene calls to mind the 17,000 homes dropped by the Levitt brothers onto the potato fields of Long Island to make room for young families beginning to prosper in that earlier, postwar era of remarkable expansion. As in Levittown, the houses are all single-family dwellings, placed on uniform lots at uniform distances. An occasional cul-de-sac lends suburban flavor. But even from 4,000 feet up, the houses appear enormous, their unfinished three-car garages yawning to the sky. A car, or perhaps...