I have to get writing soon, since the deadline is October 1. And it is clear that I have more material than I can possibly include to demonstrate why a Harvard diploma for this graduate is now an embarrassment and not to be celebrated. Another example was forwarded to me today.
A reliable blogger and respected lawyer with excellent ethics credentials tweeted that he had spoken with a man who had applied for a job at Harvard for which he was not only well-qualified, but one of the few individuals who was qualified. He had heard nothing for three months, and finally inquired, whereupon he was told via letter that he had been rejected because he did not have the requisite qualifications. By chance, the blogger knew the individual who had signed the letter, and called him up. Off the record, the individual informed him that not only qualified, but the only applicant qualified for the opening. However, he was a white, heterosexual male, and thus was rejected by the hiring committee for not meeting their demographic requirements.
[Note: the tweets did not mention the institution by name, and only alluded to the school’s address, leaving open the possibility that M.I.T., which is just down the street in Cambridge, could also be the school at issue. However. M.I.T. is not currently being sued for discriminatory practices, nor has it defended the same. My own inquiries have persuaded me that Harvard is the culprit here, but the lawyer-blogger did not break his “off the record” promise, though he came close.]
Allow me to stipulate that it’s unethical for a President of Harvard University to make his students stupid. Can we agree on that? In truth, it would be unethical for the President of what is supposed to be America’s most distinguished, selective and eminent institution of higher learning to make anyone stupid, but surely the leader of such an institution has a special obligation to his own students, correct?
Apparently Mr Bacow doesn’t comprehend this. Harvard President Larry Bacow issued a message to all “Members of the Harvard Community” this month. Usually such broadcasts from Olympus involve a particularly earth-shaking event on campus, but this one was standard issue climate change propaganda and fear-mongering:
“Climate change is the most consequential threat facing humanity. . . . We are going to need a little optimism to preserve life on Earth as we know and cherish it today. The last several months have laid at our feet undeniable evidence of the world to come—massive fires that consume entire towns, unprecedented flooding that inundates major urban areas, record heat waves and drought that devastate food supplies and increase water scarcity. Few, if any, parts of the globe are being spared as livelihoods are dashed, lives are lost, and regions are rendered unlivable.“
Who would have predicted that a nasal-voiced Trinidad rapper’s ridiculous explanation that her cousin’s friend’s swollen testicles were why she was unvaccinated against the Wuhan virus would bind together Joy Reid, the CDC, The White House, Twitter, “The View,” the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Harvard College in public controversies highlighting the Totalitarian Left’s increasingly ominous enthusiasm for curtailing free speech?
And yet here we are, because the United States of America has lost its collective mind, with progressives and Democrats leading the madness. For the third Ethics Alarms post in three days about a celebrity I would normally ignore, we have this addition to the Nicki Minaj Affair: a Harvard undergrad using the Twitter handle @imjustjuice tweeted two weeks ago that he and his suitemates had been contacted by Harvard authorities and told to remove from their window a flag showing an unusually restrained Minaj saluting in front of Old Glory. (I missed this story at the time because, as noted above, I pay no attention to Minaj. I also pay increasingly little to my alma mater, which regularly disgraces itself.) The latest example of Harvard’s abuse of common sense, civil rights, authority and ethics sat relatively unnoticed until Swollen Testiclegate erupted, but now we learn that Minaj fans have unleashed their fury on America’s oldest, most prestigious and, of late, most obnoxious university.
1. Fair Harvard, you continue to be an embarrassment. This is a candidate to make it into my “why I’m boycotting my reunion” note for the Class book: Giang Nguyen, executive director of Harvard University Health Services, sent a campus-wide memo telling students to follow these rules while eating and socializing in the dining halls. (I learned more eating in the dining halls and in late night snack sessions than I did in my classes):
“Eating and drinking together are a cornerstone of human social interaction, but there are ways to interact that minimize the time spent unmasked and in close proximity,” Nguyen wrote.
Among his requests to students:
- Follow the “Quick Sip Rule” when drinking. Lower your mask, take a sip, and then promptly cover your mouth and nose. A straw can make this more efficient.
- Do not linger with your mask down. If you wish to slowly savor a hot beverage, do it away from others.
- Consume and cover! Consume your meal and immediately mask up when done.
- Conversation, checking your phone, and other activities should be masked, even when you are in a designated indoor dining area.
- If you are taking your time between bites (for conversation, for example), put your mask back on.
- Dine in small parties of 2-to-4 people.
- Avoid table-hopping.
- Consider dining consistently with the same small group of people rather than a different group at every meal of the day.
- Keep your close contacts to a minimum.
- Limit each interaction to under 15 minutes.
- Plan events that don’t involve eating, drinking, or removal of masks
My advice to the author of such a “request” were I a student today: “Bite me. Then put your mask on.” Harvard has a 94 percent vaccination rate among its students. As of this week, its test positivity rate is 0.18 percent.
2. Fake Woolly Mammoth ethics. This article managed to go on at great length about how a new company is planning to “de-extinctify” Wooly Mammoths and start new herds in Siberia as if it all made perfect sense. They’ve fooled private investors into giving them $15 million for the project: this is a scam, whether they know it or not. As far as the Times piece goes, it rates an ethics foul for never once mentioning “Jurassic Park.” Come to think of it, the article should have mentioned “The Producers.” Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D, and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, explains just how absurd the project is:
“What they are doing is making a genetically modified Asian elephant by inserting into its genome a maximum of sixty mammoth genes that they think differentiate the modern species from the extinct one: genes that involve hairiness, cold tolerance, amount of fat, and so on. What they’d get would be a genetic chimera, an almost entirely Asian elephant but one that is hairier, chunkier, and more tolerant of cold. That is NOT a woolly mammoth, nor would it behave like a woolly mammoth, for they’re not inserting behavior genes…Further, a lot of other genes differ between a mammoth and an Asian elephant. What guarantee is there that the inserted mammoth genes would be expressed correctly, or even work at all in concert with the Asian elephant developmental system? But it gets worse. Since you can’t implant a transgenic embryo into an elephant mom (we don’t know how to do that, and we would get just one or two chances), [the group] has this bright idea…’make an artificial mammoth uterus lined with uterine tissue grown from stem cells.’
1. I have some ethics observations on this thing that was sent out to white parents in the Highland Park area of Texas by a Black Lives Matter-affiliated group:
Here they are:
- As long as white individuals hesitate to push back on BLM’s outrageous assertions and demands, the group will continue to grow more audacious and arrogant
- The logic of this demand can only make sense to someone who has no concept of right, wrong, and fairness. “We want you to handicap your own children in order to clear the way for our children, who can’t compete and who shouldn’t have to work especially hard to overcome obstacles that you and your children are not responsible for placing in their path.”
- The screed is an excellent example of how the concept of equal opportunity has been warped into “equity,” meaning not just equality of results, which life never guarantees, but punitive measures to ensure advantages of favored groups over those that are disfavored, aka whites and males.
- The extension of the argument in the letter would require athletes fortunate to have advantages of strength, speed, and skill to pledge not to compete against those not so “privileged” as to be born with these advantages, and job applicants of superior talent, intelligence and character to refuse to place themselves in a position where they would be chosen for a job over less fortunate job-seekers.
Most people younger than me don’t know (or care) that before he was the king of late night TV on “The Tonight Show,” Johnny Carson was the young, engaging host of a pseudo-quiz show called “Who Do You Trust?” I think of that show’s title when, as is increasingly the case, I encounter stories like this one, which is described in excruciating detail in a plaintive article in the Chronicle of Hight Education.. The main facts are these:
—A 2014 Harvard Theological Review article by Harvard Divinity School professor Karen L. King purported to have uncovered an ancient papyrus fragment in which Jesus refers to “my wife.” This, coming after the sensational best-selling novel “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown and its subsequent film version starring Tom Hanks, both of which were based on a fanciful conspiracy theory regarding Mary Magdalene’s alleged relationship with Jesus Christ, understandably caused quite a stir in academia, theological circles, and the popular press.
––King’s article was deemed unlikely to the point of absurdity by many scholars from the moment it was published. “Almost everything we know,” one expert wrote, “about the nature of historical evidence points to forgery.”
—King had failed to take basic steps to vet the manuscript, which she’d provocatively named “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.” Worse, two of the journal’s three peer reviewers had decided the papyrus was a fake. Only one had not: an acclaimed papyrologist named Roger Bagnall. Bagnall, however, had helped King draft the very paper the journal asked him to review. This is called a conflict of interest, indeed a screaming conflict of interest. Not only had King identified him in the paper as her primary adviser, but Bagnall had been filmed declaring the papyrus’s authenticity for a forthcoming Smithsonian Channel documentary.
Two rueful thoughts before I begin:
- One of my college graduating class’s big reunions is next year. Harvard always does an amazing job of throwing a party (having a bank account larger than the treasuries of some countries let you do that , I have many friends and room mates I yearn to see again, and I haven’t been back home to Boston in 17 years. But I’ll be damned if I’ll honor Harvard with my presence. It has been an ethics disgrace consistently for several years, and I am ashamed of my association with the institution, as well as my family’s association (my father and sister graduated from the college, and my mother worked there for over 20 years, culminating in her becoming an assistant dean.)
- I could really enlighten NPR’s listeners about the difference between law and ethics in this case, if I hadn’t been blackballed for daring to explain how accusations of sexual harassment against public figures like Donald Trump were not necessarily fair even if they were sincere. Oh, well—NPR can bite me.
With that introduction, be it known that in the case of Barkhordar et al v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, Harvard University won a dismissal today of a lawsuit by students over its decision not to partially refund tuition when it evicted students from dorms and moved classes online early in the Wuhan virus pandemic. Continue reading
Only my recent travails have delayed my letter not only withdrawing from my Georgetown Law Center class reunion committee but announcing that I have no intention of attending any celebration of a degree that has embarrassed me repeatedly for several years, most notably in this revolting episode. But, to be fair, my undergraduate degree has been rendered equally nauseating, and over a much longer period. That Harvard—it has to be #1 in everything.
This Month’s Harvard Magazine continued the apparently irreversible trend. The Harvard Library announced that it is removing the “illegal alien” subject heading from its collection descriptions, citing the hoary progressive talking-point that “actions can be illegal, but people cannot.” This has always been sophistry and rhetorical sleight of hand to make it linguistically difficult to describe what it is that is objectionable about those who illegally cross our borders and remains here, receiving the benefits of this nation without having been granted them. When the elite and educated in a society start bolstering bad ideas and flawed logic by abusing their perceived authority and confusing the ignorant and gullible, propaganda gains overwhelming power.
The “no person is illegal” trick is intellectually dishonest, of course. Illegal aliens are people who are in this country illegally. Ergo, while remaining in this country, their existence here is illegal, and hence they are illegal. One could say with equal validity—that is, none—that no drug can be truly illegal, because objects themselves can’t do anything, legal or not. It’s what is done with the drugs that is illegal–make them, distribute them, sell them, use them. You can’t prosecute an object.
1. Today this post, from two years ago, is suddenly getting a lot of views. The reason: there was a resolution of the long-shot law suit by the descendants of two slaves in photographs owned by Harvard University. The slave’s descendant, Tamara Lanier, had employed Benjamin Crump, legal race-hustler without peer, to sue on the Hail Mary theory that
“the images are the “spoils of theft,” because as slaves Renty and Delia were unable to give consent to being photographed., and that Harvard is illegally profiting from the images by using them for “advertising and commercial purposes.” By keeping the photos, the lawsuit claims, Harvard has perpetuated the hallmarks of slavery that prevented African-Americans from holding, conveying or inheriting personal property.”
Sure, Ben….from the post:
“Harvard and other universities set themselves up for this by caving to historical airbrushing demands by the students they have helped indoctrinate, such as when Georgetown University established a policy giving an edge in admissions to descendants of slaves who were sold to fund the school. I would say they have this coming and let them sleep on the bed of nails their laziness and cowardice have made, but therein lies a real danger. Harvard, which of late has been devising and defending one bad progressive idea after another (like discriminating against Asian Americans as Harvard’s own way of helping African Americans get admitted to the college), might just decide to be woke rather than responsible, and let Mrs. Lanier take the photos, thus setting a precedent with endless potential to cause havoc.”
Justice Camille F. Sarrouf of Middlesex County Superior Court this week acknowledged that the daguerreotypes had been taken under “horrific circumstances” but said that if the enslaved subjects, Renty and Delia, did not own the images when they were made in 1850, then their descendant who brought the lawsuit, Tamara Lanier, did not own them either.
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: