Monday, June 17, 2019

Harvard really shouldn't let social justice mobs drive its decisions


Robby Soave on Reason discusses Harvard’s rescinding of its admission to “conservative” Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv. 

Two years previously, at age 16, Kyle had apparently indulged in some silly behavior with racial slurs on on Google Docs.  It appears that he thought that this chat was “private”. It also appears that social justice warriors dug it out, on both the far Left and far Right.

Of course, as a private institution Harvard can do this lawfully, but I think that it is a serious mistake for universities to pay attention to information sent to it deliberately by “mobs”.  We are seeing Patreon all over again. 


It is also disturbing that Harvard invited Kyle to write an explanation and apology letter, and still rescinded admission.

I remember saying some pretty horrible things myself particularly in ninth grade (age 14) which got me a rare call into the office.  Had that happened today it would have meant expulsion and being set to an alternative school. Dr. Phil, in some programs back around 2007 centered on Myspace, would talk about “Internet mistakes” and warn that the teen brain is not mature enough to see around corners. True, some teens are mature enough now to invent anti-cancer tests or fusion reactors.  The best teens are more mature today than they were when I was growing up.

This is a very regrettable incident. Reason reports that right-wing mobs have tried to get David Hogg disinvited, and it’s hard to ignore the likelihood that Kyle’s association with conservative views contributed to the disinvitation.

David Brooks weighs in with a paradox on how we develop morality as we grow up. 

At this point, it's important to realize that this incident happened on a Google Docs study group document that was not supposed to be published in public mode;  it was intended to remain private. We all know Dr. Phil's warnings, again, about the corners. Maybe this is a disciplinary action for the school -- or would have been had it been caught at the time.  Private messages really should not become fodder of SJW's in the future. 

Zack Beauchamp of Vox gives a detailed explanation of how conservatives and liberals view this incident.  In general, the problem is that racism (and maybe sexism and homo/transphobia) is seen as such a structural problem that enhanced awareness of behavioral codes is demanded of everyone, even with private communications. 

Forbes Richard Vedder regards Harvard as an "embarrassment". 

Monica Hesse writes a piece in the Style section of the Washington Post  (the "Kyle's" of the world) that might sound vengeful. What does happen now to Kyle? 

We need to pay attention to how, especially the far Left right now, acts like it finds that combativeness works, rationalized by the need to protect its own tribe from random violence from “enemies”.
  
If you want to look at a great channel by a Harvard undergrad, look at John Fish (from Canada).  99% non-political (he seems to follow Jordan Peterson’s idea of individualism), but he has talked about the “attention economy” and the dangers of social media recently.

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