INTRODUCTION
I recently applied to a prestigious graduate school offering an online Graduate Certificate in Clinical Bioethics program. Alas, my application was speedily rejected. I then applied to a second esteemed graduate school, which rapidly accepted my application. The primary difference between the two applications was merely the emphasis of the personal statements, for the rejected application disclosed my anarcholibertarian political philosophy, whereas the accepted application strategically did not. Please use this anecdote as needed to inform your opinion about the commitment of the American “academy” to intellectual diversity. Below, I reprint excerpts from both personal statements — eliminating all references to the relevant institutions — for your perusal.

REBUFFED PERSONAL STATEMENT
I am applying to ____________________ because I want to become a more professional board-certified radiation oncologist, particularly in regards to the delivery of palliative and other end-of-life care. As I participate in local, regional, and national clinical oncology trials, I also desire to become a more ethical investigator. In addition, I hope to utilize a certificate in Clinical Bioethics as a springboard to obtain a Master’s of Arts in Bioethics & Health Policy (M.A.) and, ultimately, a Doctorate in Bioethics (D.Bioethics). With these advanced bioethics degrees I expect to transition from a full-time radiation oncology position to a full-time bioethics position so I can perform clinical bioethics consultations and spearhead clinical bioethics research at a medical institution (academic or private) interested in actively taking part in the evolution of modern bioethical practice.

I also have a special interest in the philosophical construction of libertarian bioethics, in which libertarian rights theory is exploited to analyze controversial medical situations. The Marlise Munoz (the thirty-three year-old Texas woman who was declared brain-dead when she was fourteen weeks pregnant), Jahi McMath (the thirteen year-old California girl who was declared brain-dead three days after tonsillectomy complications), and Sarah Hershberger (the eleven year-old Ohio girl who was taken into hiding by her parents after their decision to stop chemotherapy for leukemia was challenged in court by their local hospital) cases are three recent examples of disturbing medical scenarios that would have benefited from public awareness of libertarian bioethical analysis. Libertarian philosophy also meshes well with the stated commitments of ____________________ to “social justice in medicine and society,” “addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health care,” and “fostering cultural humility and competence,” for libertarianism, specifically the left-libertarian variant I advocate, opposes corporatism, racism, sexism, nationalism, and war. Also, my acceptance to the certificate program would contribute to diversity of ideology amongst the student body, which is consistent with the “pluralistic” self-concept of ____________________.

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WELCOMED PERSONAL STATEMENT
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I am applying to ____________________ to initiate career plans to utilize a certificate in Clinical Bioethics as a springboard to obtain a Master of Arts in Bioethics (M.A.) and, ultimately, a Doctorate in Bioethics (D.Bioethics). With these advanced bioethics degrees I aim to transition from a full-time radiation oncology position to a full-time bioethics position as soon as feasible. In such a position I expect to perform clinical bioethics consultations, spearhead clinical bioethics research at a medical institution (academic or private) interested in actively taking part in the evolution of modern bioethical practice, and participate in the analysis of regional, national, and international bioethics controversies.

As I traverse the bioethical training programs I hope to reinforce my professional goal of perpetual dedication to medical professionalism, which rests on fundamental ethical commitments of the physician toward the individual patient. I believe these ethical commitments include, but are not limited to, the following: patient welfare, patient autonomy, professional competence, honesty, patient confidentiality, avoidance of inappropriate relationships with patients, continuous improvements in quality of care, scientific knowledge, and trust. Maintaining a high level of medical professionalism in regards to the conduct of clinical trials is of particular importance to me, for I commonly participate in local, national, and international oncology studies.

My research interests, though evolving, are the following: advance care planning & advance directives, end-of-life issues, physician aid-in-dying, termination of life-sustaining treatment, futility, maternal-fetal conflict, resource allocation, do not resuscitate orders, and parental decision making.

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SUMMARY
Revealing that one is an anarcholibertarian may not be the wisest choice if one is applying to American graduate bioethics programs.