The following articles are contained in Harvard Magazine, July 2021:
Ideologically, Harvard is committed to dismantling privilege, including meritocracy and capitalism. Yet Harvard is built on exclusivity, wealth, and a power unknown to the rest of the world. The cognitive dissonance should be enough to fry even the most overgrown brains at Harvard. How do you mask the greatest hypocrisy of all time?
Exhibit A: Theodore V. Wells, Jr., is a Harvard JD-MBA, class of 1976, and sits on the board of the Harvard Corporation. He is a partner at the renowned international law firm Paul, Weiss and represents clients like Exxon Mobil and Philip Morris. How does he atone for his participation in these hegemonic structures? By joining other black executives and speaking out against voter ID laws, of course. According to Harvard Magazine, this symbolic act “says something good about their guide stars – and about the character of those entrusted with University governance.”
Apparently, as long as you have the correct skin color and political views, you can privilege as hard as you want. Just do a little virtue signaling along the way, and you’re good to go.
The cover story is about the “pervasive new threat” of disinformation – which the article defines as deliberate misinformation. How one is to accurately identify disinformation is not addressed directly. Nonetheless, we get the idea from the accompanying illustrations. Disinformation means to question the 2020 election, question the value of wearing masks, and / or support hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment – in other words, to challenge the main tenets of the Democrat party establishment is to engage in spreading disinformation.
According to the article, the origins of disinformation can be found in televangelism and Rush Limbaugh (“That pushing of outrage and identify confirmation through hatred of the other… becomes big business”). Other boogeymen include Fox News (of course), Breitbart, and “staunch pro-Trump news organizations like One America News.”
So what does Harvard propose as a solution? Urgent government regulation, of course, including internet “librarians” to curate news that is “timely, local, relevant, and accurate.” In other words, silence and exclude opinions other than those of the radical left. Our First Amendment protections are, unsurprisingly, never mentioned in the article.
In case you haven’t noticed, police and prison are considered dirty words today. Police departments are unsupported and defunded, inmates are being released in record numbers, and prosecutors are refusing to charge perpetrators. In the eyes of some social activists, our justice system is surely broken. But what are the alternatives?
I found this article on the restorative justice movement quite interesting. The cornerstone of restorative justice appears to be attending a meeting or a “circle” in the presence of the victim, where the perpetrator takes responsibility and attempts to repair the harm. I am somewhat sympathetic to these ideas – after all, the Old Testament legal system did not include long-term incarceration. Some offenses required restitution, and others required the death penalty.
Harvard, of course, does not take the Old Testament route. The article concedes that restorative justice is ancient, but places its origins “with indigenous peoples around the world, including Native American and Canadian First Nations civilizations,” not to mention parallels in African and Maori traditions. In fact, one of the biggest concerns to practitioners of restorative justice is “cultural appropriation,” where “restorative practices that originated in indigenous communities have been adopted without credit or adapted in ways that sever them from their original purpose and meaning.” Thus, the article goes on to bemoan the fact that many restorative justice programs “are in white, suburban neighborhoods, dealing primarily with nonviolent offenders” instead of minority communities.
Forgive me for my pessimism, but I don’t think whining about cultural appropriation will bring justice for crime victims, especially not those in minority communities.