The Progressive Dream Lives on at Harvard: "Freedom Gets in the Way of Social Justice”

Michael Schaus
Posted: Feb 25, 2014 12:01 AM
The Progressive Dream Lives on at Harvard: "Freedom Gets in the Way of Social Justice”

A Harvard senior, and columnist at the Harvard Crimson, has decided that what’s really holding Academia back is intellectual freedom. (Wait… Don’t laugh. It turns out, that she’s serious.) Despite the fact that academia seems to be dominated by the American left, Sandra Korn has come to the conclusion that dissenting opinion should be banned out-right, and only liberal notions of “social justice” should be tolerated on university campuses. In fact, her subtitle pretty much summed up her dream of a tyrannical thought-policed academia: “Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice.”

Well, at least the she’s being honest about the left’s love of censorship. The problem with freedom, according to the academic left, is that it gets in the way of progressive agendas. So, for the sake of those who want to thrust upon the rest of society their utopian vision of “social justice”, freedoms must be limited… After all, what’s more “just” than a sanctioned intolerance of minority views?

Korn points out that many “controversial” (read: “conservative”) views promote sexism, bigotry and hate… Wow. Is Sandra a true student of the left, or what? In her column she argues that dissenting views are intolerable in academia, and therefore merit no consideration by students or staff. “Agree with me, or shut up” seems to be her driving mantra. Because, obviously, anyone who disagrees with Sandra Korn on any number of issues is simply peddling intolerance. (Which is strange… Given that she seems to harbor so much disdain for her political opponents, she’s willing to strip from them their right to express their opinions… Now who’s peddling intolerance, Sandra?)

In her Harvard Crimson column, Sandra explains her justification for the abandonment of intellectual diversity and free speech:

If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?

Why? Because what you might consider “racism” others might consider legitimate critiques of the President’s policies, or racial realities. What you might consider “sexism”, others might consider reasonable analysis of traditional gender roles. What you consider “heterosexism”, others might consider a made up word used to impugn the character of people who defend traditional marriage. Are we going to bar students in Academia the right to hear from a Cardinal, Bishop, or even the Pope because they preach traditional heterosexual relationships? Tolerance for opposing views has been the basis for not only American freedom, but intellectual discovery.

But she went on:

People on the right opposed to boycotts can play the “freedom” game, calling for economic freedom to buy any product or academic freedom to associate with any institution. Only those who care about justice can take the moral upper hand.

Only the left can claim the moral upper hand? Has it ever occurred to Sandra that “people on the right” believe in their ideology because they consider it the best vehicle for true justice? (Obviously this question is rhetorical. I think her column makes the answer pretty obvious.) A 2,000 year old utterance suddenly leaps to mind as Sandra claims to own the patent on morality: “Every way of a man is right in his own eye.”

Korn has a lot to say about promoting justice through the devolution of intellectual freedom, without ever realizing that liberty is intrinsic to justice. In fact, only through the liberal (classical use of that word) application of freedom, has the human condition improved. Throughout human history, the deterioration of freedom has been accompanied by oppression, corruption and enslavement. Justice has traditionally been defined as the preservation of liberty. Sandra’s suggestion to stifle freedom, in the name of “justice”, is reminiscent of tyrannical monsters such as Stalin, Hitler and Mao.

When asked how it is possible that a people would allow themselves to be enslaved by elites, one needs to look no further than Sandra Korn. The thought-police should remain an invention of dystopian science fiction novels, and not be a serious proposal from a senior at an Ivy League University. The oppression of diversity, and the censorship of dissent, have never lead a society to greater justice or equality. Justice can never exist without open debate, and intellectual honesty.

She concludes 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.

Sorry Sandra… Your vision for academia is the thing totalitarianism is built upon. Freedom is what has given you, and your liberal professors, the ability to peddle your intolerance as “social awareness” without penalty or persecution. Simply because you do not subscribe to a philosophy does not mean it is inherently immoral, or unworthy of the freedoms you yourself currently enjoy. After all, it’s pretty obvious that no one has censored Harvard columnists who have a deficit of intellectual integrity.