Skip to comments.The generation gap at Harvard ( students far more conservative than faculty)
Posted on 03/23/2006 10:06:04 AM PST by SirLinksalot
The generation gap at Harvard
Posted: March 23, 2006 1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
There is a generation gap at Harvard University. The students are far more conservative than the faculty. The aging radical professors haven't enough to do, so they nitpicked their president's words and pressured his resignation. The students are dismayed.
President Larry Summers' resignation last month followed a "lack of confidence" vote by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In a poll released March 13 by the Harvard Crimson, 66 percent of surveyed Harvard students claimed to "disapprove of the way that members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences have handled their relationship" with President Summers. Only 15 percent agree with the faculty's handling of grievances.
The faculty is dominated by left-wing '60s radicals, all of them aging despite their former fantasies. It is perhaps from the realization that the sands of time are sinking and a new generation is rising on campus at odds with the values of the '60s that makes the Faculty of Arts and Sciences so desperate. Because they know their days are numbered and that their establishment is uncertain, they sought their president's ouster. Even left-wing Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz calls it an "academic coup d'état by the die-hard left of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences."
Summers pushed aggressively for progress in science and technology programs, and he developed friendly teaching relationships with students.
Summers also conflicted with noted African-American Studies professor Cornel West, for which West left Harvard. Summers expressed his strong support for the ROTC program, which had been excluded from the campus for decades. For appearing to align opponents of Israel with anti-Semitism, Summers was accused of hampering dialogue. And when Summers dared suggest that differences between men and women cause a disproportionate representation of the sexes in the sciences, the faculty panicked and reckoned upon the advance of Armageddon. Professors met several times and decided to assert their no-confidence vote.
Now, the students of Harvard have no confidence in their left-wing professors.
One editorial in the Crimson headlined, "No Confidence in 'No Confidence.'" Despite that the FAS is one of nine faculties at Harvard, its radicalism is loud, and it must be held accountable, the editorial urged. "As much as discontented Faculty members may lack confidence in Summers, we would modestly submit that, at this point in time, we lack confidence in them."
After Summers' resignation, Pieropaolo Barbieri wrote in the Crimson that "there is a world beyond FAS." Summers should not have resigned, Barbieri said. "Unlike the Faculty's foggy qualms, Summers' achievements keep materializing on campus and in students' lives."
Another Crimson editorial stated, "Whatever satisfaction was today enjoyed by the elements of unrest in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, it is unrepresentative of the sobering sense of emptiness that now pervades Cambridge's streets. Harvard's loss is real." The Crimson staff registered their agreement with Summers' vision, a vision that was perceived as a threat by "too many of today's entrenched interests" on the faculty.
The day Summers resigned, students repaired in mass to Harvard Yard where they joined in unison, "Five More Years!"
When Summers first spoke publicly about his resignation, undergraduate students flocked to Massachusetts Hall. Summers didn't know whether they were there to cheer or boo him, but when he began shaking their hands it was clear which side they took. They shook his hand warmly. As the Crimson editorial said, "Students believe in Summers' vision."
It is more than a passive belief; it is a belief of action that runs against almost every revolutionary stronghold of the aging professoriate. As Ruth Wisse writes in the Wall Street Journal, "Student response to the ouster suggests another long-term outcome. Although the activists of yesteryear may have found a temporary stronghold in the universities, a new generation of students has had its fill of radicalism. Sobered by the heavy financial burdens most of their families have to bear for their schooling, they want an education solid enough to warrant the investment. Chastened by the fallout of the sexual revolution and the breakdown of the family, they are wary of human experiments that destabilize society even further. Alert to the war that is being waged against America, they feel responsible for its defense even when they may not agree with the policies of the current administration.
"If the students I have come to know at Harvard are at all representative, a new moral seriousness prevails on campus, one that has yet to affect the faculty members because it does not yet know how to marshal its powers."
Here is hope. Even at Harvard, bastion of the left, there is a revolution underway. Not since the professors had their revolution 40 years ago has there been anything like it. Only this time, there is a return to that little word on the Harvard logo that is its motto: "Veritas." By the generation most counted upon to finally reject truth, truth is welcomed, if yet undiscovered. And even if Larry Summers will no longer preside at Harvard, his legacy is just getting under way.
Powerful dictators of the Left (Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro) seemed to presage an inevitable march toward Totalitarianism. The media was seduced. The academics were seduced. The entertainment industry was seduced.
But in the end, after almost 100 years of "progressivism", what did the Left have to show for their work? Any strong economies? The USSR? Cuba? I don't think so.
Any breakthrough ideas? Chomsky? Derrida? Foucault? I don't think so.
Any political solution to tenacious problems like Terrorism? Nope.
The swing of the pendulum away from the Left is a foregone conclusion. Their long period of "unrealized potential" is testimony to their complete lack of potential.
All the success stories belong to the Right. Smart kids at Harvard can see it.
But the radical left faculty will remain self-replicating by giving tenure only to young nutjobs. These elite shcools won't change until they're hit with seriously declining admissions and reduced donations, which will force the boards of trustees to act. I won't hold my breath.
This is how history happens.
Forty years ago, the young overthrew the entrenched and remade society in its image -- and now they are the old and entrenched, and want to ensure their own permanence at the top of the pecking order. History, evolution, progress -- doesn't happen that way, with the entrenched few allowed to ensure their own survival at the expense of the greater society's.
A great part of the quandary of these times is that with the union seniority system, a lot of the venerable institutions only have the leaders of the past who are now merely clinging on to life and their glorious past -- and the new and the young, the vital engine of society, is largely shut out. Meanwhile, as time moves on, the entrenched become older and more enfeebled, more cut off from the youthful because they are more threatened each day -- and cannot compete with the new. So it is just a matter of time before there is the first breach and then all the institutions that defined a previous era begin to fall -- more likely evaporate.
The most visible are the media, schools, universities. With the newspapers, readership and now advertising is falling with no relief in sight. So there is a shrinking or at least stagnate pool and seniority rules require that they keep those who are paid the highest, do the least, and are the most incompetent. In many of these union jobs, although 10 people are hired to perform a job -- one guy does all the work while the other 9 "supervise" in some "administrative" or titular capacity.
The emerging alternatives are the bloggers, the electronic forums, all the creative energy not just doing it for the money but because they just want to -- indicative of their passion and talent for doing so, because that's what they were meant to do. They're an unstoppable force. That's the first arena for this cultural change that is well underway and already a foregone conclusion -- because in a war or revolution, you cannot lock out the talent and energy on the outside, and not expect that they will not beat down their doors and blow away whatever resistance can still be mustered.
The schools and universities are much more institutionalized and because they are much more protected enclaves, have even less survival skills to compete in a free and open market that does not ensure their government protected monopoly. Most of these people were not there on the leading edge bringing about the revolution forty years ago -- but were quick to move in once they recognized that the old no longer existed. They were merely opportunists.
So in the next revolution, they cannot recognize all the signposts of how fundamental change comes about -- and will repeat the mistakes of the previous revolution.
We already see it happening at the University of Hawaii -- where a very vocal, demanding minority (liberal studies) wants to rule the university and impose their own interests on the others, who are going about their business doing research or teaching classes. But the radical, leftist fringe wants to impose their political correctness on all the others. Its not the first wave but the last gasp -- of the 60s revolution; thats how far theyre behind -- one generation. The next revolution is not simply a repeat of the last revolution. It is something entirely new. So these self-appointed leaders, are not the leading edge of the next revolution but the tail end of the last, soon to be obsolete revolution. And thats why such people hope that history always repeats itself -- because they are fully prepared and in position, to be the new leaders in the last revolution.
Bump for a later read.
You are right - the far Left is self replicating in Universities. However, we can not treat this problem as we have the media bias by withdrawing from the consumer base. The internet and radio made it possible to REPLACE the media party. We can not do the same with our great Universities. We have to take them and expunge the left with a plan. Horowitz has the plan.
How could they not be? The students could be out-and-out Bolsheviks and would still be to the right of that faculty.
Harvard is awash in money, more than it knows how to spend. This money funds a vast realm of liberal projects. Liberal academics recruit and bring on board like-minded liberals to help spend this legacy. Dissenting viewpoints are not sought; in fact, most Harvard professors are barely aware that there ARE dissenting viewpoints. I seriously doubt that the direction of Harvard will change significantly in our lifetimes. Remember, in the 2004 election, Kerry got 84 percent of the vote in Cambridge, about 7 points higher than he managed even in Boston. It will be a long struggle to turn this place around.
Time to agitate to abolish tenure. It's time to bring back accountability to the faculty.