By Tom Rhodes, 2/25/2014
If you read or hear about any ideas from Ivy League school, like Harvard, or any graduate from those schools you should consider such ideas as intellectually dishonest, and devoid of thought, but most certainly doubt them. The demonstration of how current Ivy League students and professors think is summed up in the writings of Sandra Korn, a Harvard senior, and columnist at the Harvard Crimson. She writes and boldly proclaims that dissenting opinions should be banned. That’s right she believes that freedom of speech and academic freedom are an impediment to justice.
She out right says that Harvard should not put up with research if the results don’t support her goals. Truth be damned. She concluded her ‘If you don’t agree with me Shut Up!’ diatribe with “I would encourage student and worker organizers to… use a framework of justice. After all, if we give up our obsessive reliance on the doctrine of academic freedom, we can consider more thoughtfully what is just.”
So we are supposed to give up Academic Freedom; an interesting but misguided position. First let’s consider what Academic Freedom is:
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008, Academic Freedom is the freedom of teachers and students to teach, study, and pursue knowledge and research without unreasonable interference or restriction from law, institutional regulations, or public pressure. Its basic elements include the freedom of teachers to inquire into any subject that evokes their intellectual concern; to present their findings to their students, colleagues, and others; to publish their data and conclusions without control or censorship; and to teach in the manner they consider professionally appropriate. For students, the basic elements include the freedom to study subjects that concern them and to form conclusions for themselves and express their opinions.
According to The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Academic Freedom is The right of teachers and students to express their ideas in the classroom or in writing, free from political, religious, or institutional restrictions, even if these ideas are unpopular.
Basically Academic Freedom is freedom of speech and thought for both teachers and students. The principle is that the government or other institutions don’t have the power nor authority to control what information teachers and students share nor what conclusions they make from what they learn. So Harvard Crimson approved and published an article that says we can consider what is just only if; we give up on freedom of speech, silence ideas that are not politically correct, censor research that doesn’t deliver the politically correct results, and not allow students to reach conclusions that are not politically correct can? WTF?
If that’s the kind of thinking that results from an education at Harvard and other Ivy League schools, then all I can say is forget an Ivy League education, it is worthless. That the Harvard Crimson would even consider publishing such totalitarian ideas promoting censorship shows the counsel of Harvard Professors on the same level as the publishers and editors of Mad Magazine (my apologies to Mad Magazine, at least it knows it’s satire, foolishness, and humor). Harvard’s vision taught to its student’s as expressed in the student paper the Harvard Crimson, is a vision that forbids research and discussion and ideas that whomever is in charge find objectionable is the same vision totalitarians have had and instituted throughout history.
The concept is that any ideas or philosophies that Sandra Korn doesn’t like are inherently immoral, unworthy, and don’t deserve to expressed, and those who hold philosophies or ideas she doesn’t approve don’t deserve the same freedom that allows her to publish such twaddle. She must have zero faith in what she believes because she will not tolerate having to compare her ideas to others. She must have a very shallow idea on what justice means, if she cannot “consider more thoughtfully what is just” when ideas she doesn’t approve of are rationally included in the discussion.
Besides ignoring the First Amendment to The Constitution all she is asking us to do is to disavow Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
All I can say is if you’re a parent considering sending your child to an Ivy League School, Don’t. It’s hard to believe that after 12 years of schooling in the USA, and 4 years at Harvard, a person could consider and promote the idea that censorship is a valid path to justice.
To Sandra Korn, all I say “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But make no mistake, Ms. Korn, you better be willing to fight to the death to force us to give up “our obsessive reliance on the doctrine academic freedom.” Or do you propose to send others to fight to the death in your stead? We will not give up our “obsessive reliance” on freedom, you and your ilk will have to take it, and that you can’t do. In order to take our “obsessive reliance” on the doctrine of freedom, including academic freedom, you’re going to have to kill us. Is that what you call just?