HARVARD HUBRIS

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO’S THE SMARTEST ONE OF ALL?

Sandra Korn, a student at Harvard and a columnist for the HARVARD CRIMSON, has raised eyebrows over her assertion that adherence to liberalism trumps academic freedom, and Harvard should lock out those who do not agree with her. I suppose she’s getting her fifteen minutes in the limelight, but let’s look at what she has to believe in order to make such a proposition:

That Sandra Korn is the smartest woman in the world, or at least at  Harvard (which, in her mind, may be the same thing.)
That she knows everything, so no other ideas are needed.
That anyone who thinks other than she is at least her inferior, if not downright stupid, and probably evil.
That free thought and free speech should not be tolerated in academia, so Harvard must bar its doors against such folk. (I thought they already had, so this point may be moot.)
That she has the right to determine what other people think and say.

In another context I had quoted Soren Kirkegaard as follows: THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO BE FOOLED. ONE IS TO BELIEVE WHAT IS NOT TRUE; THE OTHER IS TO REFUSE TO BELIEVE WHAT IS TRUE.

Sandra seems to have put herself on the horns of a dilemma here. What she says and why she apparently believes she has the right to say it are completely illogical and profound foolishness for the following reasons:

Sandra has not told us her IQ, but it is possible that smarter people than she exist, some may even attend Harvard, or no university at all.
It is impossible that she knows everything and has no need of other ideas. What a closed mind that would be.
Very intelligent people, some way smarter than she, may very well disagree with her.
Free thought and free speech are the very essence of TRUTH and LEARNING.
What other people think and say are, frankly, none of her business. If she chooses to engage them in debate then she is obliged to remain civil.

What she says, and apparently believes, is not true and meets Kirkegaard’s first test of foolishness. Her REFUSAL to believe that free ideas and free speech are vital to academic freedom meets his second test of foolishness,

Sandra appears to be a foolish person on all counts and the horns of her dilemma are very sharp, they might even break her ego mirror on the wall.

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