“It was exhilarating. … It was energizing.”
That’s how Cornell University history professor Russell Rickford described the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel reminiscent of a modern-day pogrom.
This moment in time apparently has been “exhilarating” for some of the esteemed members of the American academy, but it should be clarifying for everyone else.
Rickford’s Twitter bio says he’s a historian of the black radical tradition. In the past, he’s voiced support for the Black Lives Matter and defund the police” movements. His shocking statement, made at a pro-Palestine rally, is only one of the more disgusting examples of terrorism apologia we’ve seen from Ivy League schools in recent days.
But Rickford isn’t an outlier. He’s a symptom of a disease that’s rapidly eating away at the legitimacy of higher education in America.
How did Ivy League schools—with their noted commitment to protecting students from “microaggressions” and all that—react to the open support of violent terrorists on their campuses? They suddenly rediscovered their unwavering commitment to unfettered free speech.
“Our university embraces a commitment to free expression,” Harvard President Claudine Gay said. “That commitment extends even to views that many of us find objectionable, even outrageous. We do not punish or sanction people for expressing such views, but that is a far cry from endorsing them.”
She said that the school could “issue public pronouncements declaring the rightness of our own points of view and vilify those who disagree. Or we can choose to talk and to listen with care and humility, to seek deeper understanding, and to meet one another with compassion.”
Keep in mind that the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression rated Harvard the worst campus for free speech in the United States this year. If you think Gay’s statement demonstrates the university’s commitment to academic freedom, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn, as my father frequently likes to say.
When conservative scholar Charles Murray came to speak at Harvard a few years ago, the school melted down. Gay, who was at the time the dean of the faculty of arts and science, was eager to weigh in, saying that Murray’s scholarship had no merit.
Ah, but when groups on campus promote terrorism, the campus leadership pontificates on the benefits of free speech, neutrality, and dialogue.
Murray had a great response:
When the Left talks about free speech, what it really means is: “Free speech for communists and decolonizers, and censorship and cancellation for you and anyone to the right of Hillary Clinton.”
Lest you misunderstand where Harvard’s sympathies lie, the Harvard graduate student union is considering creating a fund for students who were “doxxed” after signing a statement castigating Israel immediately after the terrorist attacks.
“The union’s contract with the university requires Harvard to set aside money for graduate students facing unexpected hardship, such as a medical emergency or family crisis,” the Washington Free Beacon reported. “The resolution, which is set to be debated Monday evening, would allow students who have faced blowback for their vicious anti-Israel advocacy to apply for up to $1,500 a piece, funded not by union dues, but the university’s own coffers.”
One of these poor, beleaguered students is Josh Willcox, the son of wealthy British businesswoman Jo Malone.
I really don’t need to bother saying: “Imagine if it was conservative students who mildly opposed the Black Lives Matter movement who faced cancellation.” You know what the response would be.
Reward your friends and punish your enemies. That’s how they think. And it’s clear who they see as their enemies.
Harvard, of course, has zero commitment to intellectual diversity.
According to a campus newspaper poll, only 6.4% of students identify as “conservative leaning.” There appear to be more students on the Harvard campus who sympathize with Hamas terrorists than Republicans.
Not only have our elite education institutions failed to pass on and nourish the great ideas and traditions of Western and American society, they’ve also actively worked to undermine our way of life. They cultivate people who celebrate savagery and openly advocate for violent “decolonization.”
This has been obvious for some time, but now it couldn’t be clearer if it were posted on a neon sign in front of campus gates.
If anyone at all should pay for this bailout besides the students, it shouldn’t be the average American taxpayer. It should be the universities sitting on endowments tens of billions of dollars.
That well of donor money might start running dry soon, too.
It seems at least a handful of Ivy League alumni who’ve been a bit slow on the uptake are starting to figure out that something has gone horribly wrong. A significant number of high-profile donors have revolted over the anti-Israel statements and announced they’d pull their financial support over the matter.
That’s good to see. But this isn’t a short-term blip with a temporary solution.
When the difference between savagery and civilization was demonstrated in the most obvious, vivid way, our elite institutions did all they could to turn a blind eye to evil. Never forget that.
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