The Other McCain

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Harvard Abandons America (Or: Ted Kaczynski Is Not ‘Anti-Intellectual’)

Posted on | March 1, 2013 | 30 Comments

What has been well-known for years is now official policy: Conservatives need not apply at Harvard University.

This is really full-circle Back to the Future stuff, because the American conservative movement can be said to have properly begun in 1951 with the publication of William F. Buckley Jr.’s God and Man at Yale, which exposed in detail for the first time the Ivy League elite’s embrace of collectivism and abandonment of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Today’s near-totalitarian hegemony of the Left in academia began as toleration (under the rubric of “academic freedom,” an attitude Buckley rightly described as a “superstition”) of what were then the unpopular beliefs of a marginal fringe of atheists, socialists and other disgruntled misfits. The liberal fetish of “tolerance” made elite campuses a soft target for radicals in the 1960s, and radicalism became dominant in subsequent decades as Marxists undertook The Long March through the institutions.

While the Left had invoked “academic freedom” to defend themselves in  the early years of the Cold War, however, this “tolerance” has been systematically denied to opponents of the Left now that the erstwhile dissenters are firmly ensconced as the regnant arbiters of orthodoxy. In 1987, Allan Bloom surveyed the encroaching nihilism in The Closing of the American Mind and, by 1991, Dinesh D’Souza was able to describe political correctness as a ubiquitous campus phenomenon in Illiberal Education.

Now the staff of the Harvard Crimson sniffs that the university’s critics are attempting “to curry favor with the more anti-intellectual members of our body politic” — i.e., anyone who is critical of Harvard is anti-intellectual, Q.E.D.

There has been a trickle-down effect from the radical takeover of elite academia, in large part because graduate schools of the humanities and social sciences are producing more Tenured Radicals than the faculty of elite universities can employ. Thus, we find Professor Erik Loomis, eminent expert on the gay sex lives of anarchist lumberjacks, struggling to survive on a pittance as an untenured assistant at the University of Rhode Island.

This trickle-down radicalism first came to my attention when Orit Sklar and Ruth Malhotra were forced to sue Georgia Tech to protect their First Amendment rights against a totalitarian “speech code” regime.

Georgia Tech! Radical gays and militant Muslims bullying a Christian and a Jew at Georgia Tech?

My uncle attended Georgia Tech. Being a native Atlantan, I had trouble imagining this engineering school that UGA alum Lewis Grizzard always jokingly called the “North Avenue Trade School” — perhaps most famous for its proximity to The Varisity drive-in — could have been taken over by political correctness. Yet here were Orit and Ruth being terrorized by campus radicals for refusing to accept the administration’s Orwellian speech-code policies. What we have witnessed in American intellectual life the past half-century is a top-down revolution that seeks to impose on the nation a homogeneity of opinion, calling to mind one of Buckley’s cogent observations:

“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”
William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism (1959)

Faced with the iron grip of radicalism on the country’s most prestigious institutions, we see that the cherished tolerance of “academic freedom” Buckley so long ago described has been replaced by its exact opposite, as prophesied by Marxist academic Herbert Marcuse in 1965:

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.

Thus, whereas Ortega y Gassett in 1932 had warned of The Revolt of the Masses, we are instead today confronted by the result of what Christopher Lasch in 1996 described as The Revolt of the Elites. David French, the Harvard-educated attorney who defended the rights of Orit Sklar and Ruth Malhotra, reflects on the current situation:

[T]he idea that conservatives who attend Harvard have some kind of “dread of academia” is similarly amusing. No, my conservative classmates and I attended Harvard in large part because we were seeking an academic challenge, because we wanted to experience life at allegedly the best academic institution in the world. We did not bring anti-intellectualism to Harvard; anti-intellectualism was inflicted on us. . . .
While there were some bad days, I simply refuse to believe that we conservatives should abandon an almost 400-year-old American institution — arguably the most important academic institution in the world — to one side of the political, cultural, and religious debate.

Who has abandoned whom, David? Isn’t this rather like chastising Israelis for not supporting Hamas? Could Harvard — which purged Larry Summers as too “conservative” for its tastes — be any more explicit in its hostility to dissent?

Why should conservative parents spend $52,650 a year to send their children to be indoctrinated by the Marxist faculty of Harvard, when they could instead send their children to Hillsdale College for $21,390 a year? For that matter, if bright young people have sufficient confidence in their own ability that they don’t insecurely crave the imprimatur of elite credentials, why not just save all that private tuition money and attend a state university?

It’s hard to imagine anyone dreams of boasting that their child attended Harvard, alma mater of the Unabomber.

(By the way, the pharisaical editors of the Harvard Crimson might notice that I’ve cited the titles of a few books. Anyone care to bet that none of the fanatical ignoramuses have ever read any of those books? Also, just for good measure, permit me to recommend The Higher Education Bubble, by some guy who went to Yale Law.)

Update (Smitty): welcome, Instapundit readers!




30 Responses to “Harvard Abandons America (Or: Ted Kaczynski Is Not ‘Anti-Intellectual’)”

  1. Mm
    March 1st, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    Abortion activists like Sandra Fluke need not apply at religious universities. This will henceforth be known as the “Harvard Rule.”

  2. PGlenn
    March 1st, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

    Spot on, RSM.

    To extend your analysis just a bit, I’ve synthesized the key elements of the Crimson’s “argument,” by removing the fluff:

    “. . . public figures [who] benefit from its educational resources and, yes, its social prestige, before turning against our school. [Just recently, three such figures criticized Harvard] = episodes of treachery . . . [and] it is finally time that we say enough is enough. We at The Crimson urge anyone who [might] one day malign Harvard to not apply [echoes of “Longhaired freaky people need
    not apply?].”

    Criticizing Harvard = being “anti-intellectual” and exhibiting “dread of academia.”

    “Harvard has a few liberals.”

    “If we could have spoken to these three men, we would have told them never to come to Cambridge.”

  3. K-Bob
    March 1st, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

    The assumption that some aged brickpile in Massachusetts is the seat of intellect is exactly like the assumption that real photographers will always demand film.

    Quaint, in a sad way, but kind of cute, like kids are at that age.

  4. K-Bob
    March 1st, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

    Sounds more like having actual standards of academic ability.

  5. K-Bob
    March 1st, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

    And by the way Stacy, this new VAWA (which, just as a moron-like observation, has a sort of echo of “vajajay” in it’s structure) that passed the other day makes certain, vaguely-defined speech illegal.

    So these stupid, unconstitutional “speech codes,” with which the Orit Sklar and Ruth Malhotra case was concerned, have reappeared in a bill that Eric Cantor whipped the Republicans into supporting.

    Further, for saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, you can now officially be stripped of your Second Amendment rights.

    Up next: Thought Crime!

  6. Bob Belvedere
    March 1st, 2013 @ 8:47 pm
  7. Bob Belvedere
    March 1st, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

    Damn well done, Stacy.
    None of the high-faluting schools are worth the price anymore.

  8. K-Bob
    March 1st, 2013 @ 9:10 pm


  9. Groty1
    March 1st, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

    I am very confident that we are on the cusp of a radical, revolutionary way to consume and deliver educational services. See Khan Academy, Udacity, etc. as examples. Harvard’s days are numbered. I give it two decades. Maybe three. An educator in the top 1 percentile of all global educators worldwide can reach hundreds of thousands of people using the Udactiy model, at virtually no cost. How can brick and mortar universities compete against those economics and quality?
    Yogi Bera warns, “it’s always dangerous to make predictions, especially about the future.” But I feel pretty good about this one.

  10. DaveO
    March 1st, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

    So… Ted Cruz was correct? And right?
    Until we get a POTUS who doesn’t draw his top advisors and staff from Harvard and Goldman Sachs, does it matter if bears sh*t in the woods to make academics?

  11. Adjoran
    March 1st, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

    If it were a Harvard problem, it would be a manageable problem.

    But you mention Hillsdale – there, Grove City, maybe a few others, these are the rare exceptions. Georgia Tech, everywhere else in major academia, they’ve all gone to far left hell.

    The whole idea of tenured faculty was to ensure free speech and thought and expression, that no one could be pressured for going against orthodoxy. Yet the practical effect of tenure has been precisely the opposite. And in many or most institutions, the tenured faculty have a voice if not an absolute veto over who is offered tenure to join them.

    It’s a vicious, downward, leftward spiral upon we descend, my compatriots. And we are paying for the privilege.

  12. catorenasci
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    Why should conservative parents spend $52,650 a year to send their children to be indoctrinated by the Marxist faculty of Harvard, when they could instead send their children to Hillsdale College for $21,390 a year?

    The answer to this question is obvious – choice of a college in the upper-middle and upper classes is not about the academic education per se, but about the social signalling a particular institution confers upon its graduates. It’s about networking and credentialing, not particular knowledge.

    Yes, your child may well get a more complete, academically more rigorous, education at (e.g.) Hillsdale, but it won’t get her into the Harvard Club, or even the University Club, in any major city. It will not facilitate — and may in fact hinder — admission to better graduate schools (more signalling and credentialing) or the higher, more selective, reaches of finance and business. Many top firms hire (for real management tracks) only graduates of a very few elite institutions, usually a subset of the ivies, and little ivies plus Stanford and (regionally) one or two other private universities or liberal arts colleges.

    Hillsdale is not one of them.

    You may not care about these things, but many conservative parents still do.

  13. HenryBowman419
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 8:06 am

    This conversion of American Universities was begun quite deliberately by the USSR starting as far back as the late 1950s to early 1960s. Yuri Bezmenov, a KGB defector, explained it succinctly (for example, here: )

  14. John Pepple
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 8:37 am

    For what it’s worth, nothing turned me away from the left more than watching how tenured leftists dealt with the oversupply of Ph.D.s. What did they do? Nothing. In other words, they used the free-market solution, a solution they claim to hate.

    Conservatives need to attack them on this as often as possible. Get through to grad students about how worthless their professors are, and a new generation of professors will take over who are skeptical about the left.

  15. teapartydoc
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Good. Less competition getting my kid into Hillsdale.

  16. Suffering at Harvard
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 9:08 am

    Mr. McCain, you don’t even know the half of it. I work at Harvard. The place is OPENLY hostile to anyone not toeing the liberal line. I have had entire staff meetings dedicated to bashing conservative opinions on alumni affairs. They openly mock alum Grover Norquist in the halls on a weekly basis. It’s a tough place to be if you’re not a Fellow Traveller, but I’m doing my best.

  17. Bertibus
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    You can now buy a video camera that’s the size of a button. I suggest you use it for as long as you care to, and then publish.

  18. marvgoux1
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 10:34 am

    Yet she did apply to Georgetown and was accepted, how did that happen?

  19. marvgoux1
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Yes the virtual university will eliminate all the leftist deadwood as well as the minor league sports edifice.

  20. DaveO
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    In the usual manner, with insider help. Fluke’s not there to study law, she is there to attack the Roman Catholic Church through corrupting one of its institutions.

  21. Erich M. Schwarz
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

    Check out the comments to that Harvard article. Not *everybody* agrees; one junior there just commented that it was “pathetic”. The actual Harvard campus is probably quite a mixed bag.

  22. Micha_Elyi
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

    University of Phoenix’s football team will never be defeated!

  23. Ed Driscoll » And a Little Bieber Shall Lead Them
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

    […] The Bieb couldn’t do any worse than whoever is teaching our future politicians about “responsible […]

  24. alex parkhurst
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

    I went to Harvard and am conservative. I make it a point to throw every fund-raising letter form Harvard in File 13 as soon as I get them.
    Harvard’s motto is “VERITAS”. Yeah sure, whatever.

  25. Thomas
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

    Remove Harvard from honest American academic institutions like you would pull a decayed molar.

  26. Russell Davis
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

    What Robert forgets is that for some specially gifted students God has a calling for them to reform what others imagine to be unreformable, and the gates of hell will not prevail against them (Matthew 16:18). Sadly most today are so stupid they fail to comprehend that “gates” are entirely DEFENSIVE devices trying to withstand an attacking enemy, the Church, whom God has sent/is sending to destroy satan & his kingdom and bring back his captives to God’s kingdom (Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he says, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.).
    Glory to God alone!

  27. Winston Smith
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

    That won’t happen.

    I work at a major public university and everyone there has come to the conclusion that MOOCs simple won’t ever replace the traditional academic environment.

    They simply are not high quality enough.

    Can’t you remember back to the early 1960’s when Japanese automobile companies tried to break into the American market?

    Their stuff was cheaply made and couldn’t compete with high quality goods made by the most unionized workforce in the industry.

    Can you name even a single Japanese car company that dares to sell even a small model in the USA?

    Of course not!!!.

    All The Super Smart Humanities Professors are certain the same fate is in store for MOOCs.

    So …

    Give it a couple of decades and the vast majority of the current groups of colleges and universities will just be memories of their unemployed alumni struggling to pay off their massive non-dischargable
    college loan debt.

    But I’m sure they will STILL SAY THEY BELIEVE all the stuff they were force fed back at the diploma mill.
    Because, if the don’t, the government will cut off their food stamps.

  28. werewife
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

    This is positively Breitbartian! Please do it!

  29. harkin
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

    Anyone who requires $170/month of taxpayer money to maintain her sexual choices is not in my mind a “thinker”.

  30. marvgoux1
    March 2nd, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

    Go DeBry!