As the keynote speaker at its annual diversity conference, Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences selected Tim Wise, an “anti-racism writer, educator and activist.” Here is a Facebook post by Wise from 2015.
This is America…people basing their beliefs on the fable of Noah and Ark, or their interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah…rather than science or logic…If you are basing your morality on a fairy tale written thousands of years ago, you deserve to be locked up…detained for your utter inability to deal with reality…NO, we are not obligated to indulge your irrationality in the name of your religious freedom…but we will provide you a very comfortable room, against which walls you may hurl yourself hourly if your choose. Knock yourself out….seriously, knock yourself out, completely, for weeks at a time…I’m sorta kidding but not by much…I don’t believe lunatics like this should be locked up, but I do think they have to be politically destroyed, utterly rendered helpless to the cause of pluralism and democracy …the world is not theirs. They have no right to impose their bullshit on others. They can either change, or shut the hell up, or practice their special brand of crazy in their homes…or go away. Their choice. And this argument applies to any fundamentalist religionist of any faith who thinks they have a right to impose their beliefs on a secular, pluralistic society. Go away.
There is no evidence that Wise has moderated these views at all. He didn’t issue a direct attack on Christians at Harvard; he did say that President Donald Trump is and “always was” racist, and that his election shows that “this country is more sexist and more racist than I realized” (because there was no reason not to want Hillary Clinton as President other than racism and sexism, I guess). He argued that academic institutions like Harvard should embrace the struggle for social justice and solidarity “not just at the level of rhetoric but policy.” This means, Wise said, “Schools must make mission statements up to date,” and tell potential applicants that “if you’re not down with this mission, then you don’t actually fit in with us as an institution.”
You know: diversity!
Wise explained that current students should be required to prove their commitment to “this mission” by institutions like Harvard installing “community service requirements … relevant to solidarity.” If students don’t meet this standard, “then you don’t graduate.”
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:
Is Wise a responsible and appropriate choice as the keynote speaker at a Harvard diversity conference?
My answer? It depends. Wise’s positions are the opposite of diversity. If the idea of making this narrow-minded ideologue the intentional catalyst for serious discussion about how intellectual diversity as well as democratic principles are endangered by the increasingly totalitarian orientation of the extreme American Left, an orientation that Wise flamboyantly represents, then sure. Throwing a bomb at the beginning of a conference is a valid strategy. (I’ve been recruited for that role myself.)
Keynote speeches are also sometimes meant to represent the over-all goal of the conference, however, and if someone like Wise is regarded as mainstream at Harvard, then it is time to be afraid, very afraid.