In particular, what do I do about Harvard?
Harvard, beginning approximately during the regime of the previous president, Drew Faust, has been infested with serious ethics rot, and it continues to progress. I have documented some, but far from all, of the most disturbing aspects of this process, like the University’s practice of discriminating against Asian-American applicants (as well as whites, of course), which they are now defending in court. What is supposed to be the role model for the entire higher education system in the United States continues to give credence and respectability to unethical practices and values, spreading its own affliction to other institutions far and wide. Worst of all, it is indoctrinating its students to be anti-American, anti-individual rights, anti-Western civilization and culture allies of the radical Left, while attempting to demonize opposing views on campus and off.
What’s going on here? The graphic above should make it clear, but if it doesn’t, this should:
Revoke Their Degrees
Add your name here to the petition here.
The campaign to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election left five dead and nearly killed many more as armed, organized insurrectionists with Confederate flags and Nazi paraphernalia stormed the Capitol in search of members of Congress to kill or capture. Nationwide violence is expected in the weeks to come.
Is Harvard University prepared to take a stand for representative democracy and against violent white supremacy?It’s no secret that over a dozen Harvard graduates worked hard to spread the disinformation and mistrust that created last Wednesday’s insurrection – from Representative Dan Crenshaw (HKS ‘17), who supported the December Texas lawsuit to invalidate the election, to Senator Ted Cruz (HLS ’97), one of the loudest claimants of fraud and a rare senator still objecting to the election certification after the violence at the Capitol, to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany (HLS ’17), who dutifully denies the validity of the election.
Harvard must revoke the degrees of alumni whose incendiary language and subversion of democratic processes–rooted in a history of white supremacist voter suppression –incited the violent insurrection on January 6. This includes all who have used their platforms to deny the validity of the presidential election. They do not and should not represent a university committed to “strengthening democracy” and “the advancement of justice.” A wide body of evidence , including studies from Harvard researchers , suggests that societies cannot recover from civil strife without a process for holding violent actors accountable.
Communities that eschew justice in favor of “moving on” fall victim to violence once more because the perpetrators never experienced consequences for their actions. So it is unsurprising that a growing chorus of Harvard faculty members like HKS Professor Juliette Kayyem has demanded accountability from the Trump administration on both moral and practical grounds. But what of the Bacow administration? Are those who demanded that Republicans have the courage to impeach the President prepared to exhibit the same courage within their own institution? After Wednesday’s insurrection, Government professor Ryan Enos and HKS Student Body President Diego Garcia Blum both renewed demands that the University pledge not to invite implicated political figures for speaking engagements or teaching positions. This is an important first step, as is Harvard Kennedy School Dean Doug Elmendorf’s welcome decision to remove Representative Elise Stefanik (College ’06) from the Institute of Politics. However, banning someone from a committee or campus because they incited a violent attempt to overthrow the U.S. government is the least the University can do; it still grants them the benefits of their Harvard degree everywhere outside of Cambridge. Those like Rep. Stefanik, who will wear a ban from Harvard as a badge of honor , may be less sanguine about a career without their B.A or J.D. Revoke their degrees. There is long-standinginstitutional anxiety that penalizing alumni will chill open discourse on campus. Harvard should be confident in its ability to expose students to diverse viewpoints without empowering the instigators of a violent, racist revanchist movement.
There should be little concern of a cascading “slippery slope” of degrees revoked – unless more alumni choose to encourage armed insurrection in the future. As Prof. Enos writes, avoiding a role in the armed overthrow of your own government is not a difficult standard to meet. Accountability is not a partisan demand because the validity of armed insurrection is not a partisan issue. Voices from the right and the left must always be welcome, but the acceptability of violence in politics should not be up for debate at Harvard.
An absolutist commitment to the free exchange of ideas in this moment resembles a commitment to treating white supremacist uprisings as “politics as usual” and maintaining a dangerous culture of impunity. This cannot be the position Harvard wants to be remembered for at this pivotal moment in American history. The violence on Capitol Hill is not an isolated incident, and it will not be the last if institutions like Harvard continue to allow white supremacy to go unchallenged. The preemenence of white supremacy was on display among protestors carrying confederate flags and wearing Nazi symbols, reaffirmed by police officers who met Black protesters with riot gear and live ammunition but welcomed white supremacists with selfies and warm embraces, and immortalized by politicians who continue to label BLM protesters as thugs and criminals while describing Capitol Hill insurrectionists as patriots and American heroes.
Harvard values democracy, equality, and the rule of law. Does it value them enough to hold its own alumni accountable for the most flagrant attack on these principles in recent history? A Harvard degree is a privilege, not a right. Harvard had no qualms about rescinding offers of admission to high school students because of racist activity online that did not reflect the University’s values. But holding teenagers accountable is easy. Harvard should have the will to hold adult insurrectionists to the same standards.
Add your name here to the petition here.
Nice. Although the petition was written by students, various Harvard professors are supporting it in addition to the named Professor Ryan Enos, the director of graduate studies for Harvard’s Government department, Harvard Kennedy School Dean Doug Elmendorf, and Prof. Juliette Kayyem. (Kayyem proved with her tweet posted here that she is a fascist of the Left.) The petition’s arguments are disingenuous and hypocritical, though relatively erudite (I had to look up “revanchist,” which is definitely a word the American Left is estopped from using as an accusation). At least they are teaching something useful at Harvard.
The Harvard petition is part of a wider effort of isolation, intimidation and revenge by victorious Democrats, as they emulate totalitarian regimes that follow ascensions to power with retaliation against their opponents. Blacklists and campaigns of harassment are underway, and, amazingly, being framed by their advocates as virtuous. They are, in fact, the opposite, and represent the real threat to democracy, not the stupid and pointless attack on the Capitol.
In addition to being a direct assault on the political and speech freedoms of its graduates and a speech-chilling threat to its students, revoking an earned degree is almost certainly illegal as well as unethical, embodying the unconstitutional principle of the ex post facto law. As Prof. Turley points out, “it would send the message that any degree is subject to the shifting political winds of a university and that attaining a degree remains only tentative and subject to revocation by majority demand.” (Turley also says, “This effort is being spurred on by the rhetoric of figures like MSNBC’s Joy Reid who called for the “de-Ba’athification” of the Republican Party and CNN’s Don Lemon insisting that Trump voters as a group are supporters of Nazis and the KKK. Wow. If Harvard faculty and grads are really being influenced by the low-wattage likes of Reid, Lemon and Cuomo, those degrees they are threatening to cancel are worthless anyway.)
As for me, I turned my Harvard diploma to the wall long ago. The conduct of my alma mater (and that of my father and sister, where my mother worked for over 20 years and served at one point as an assistant dean) has been an ongoing embarrassment, but I am running out of options to express my disgust. Harvard only pays attention to money, essentially, and it is already in better financial condition than most states. Even if I was foolish enough to contribute to Harvard (I don’t send gift certificates to Jeff Bezos either), there would have to be about six zeros at the end for my generosity to entitle me to any influence.
If Harvard goes through with this degree-pulling scheme, I will seriously consider publicly renouncing and surrendering my degree while urging other graduates to do likewise, if I think I can start a national discussion by doing so.
What do you think?