Saturday, February 22, 2014

Harvard's Sandra Korn and the Leftist Crusade for 'Academic Justice'

When I first read about Harvard radical-feminist activist Sandra Y.L. Korn and her crusade for "academic justice," I was reminded of the classic piece from Zombie a few years back, "Justice Justice."

As Zombie notes, for the radical left, any and all political issues devolve to some form of "justice." Because who really can oppose justice? Americans are if anything a people committed to justice, especially in the late-20th century, when the United States made more legislative and political efforts to ensure civil rights and justice than any other nation in history. When you confront a decent, law-abiding citizen with the accusation that they are denying others justice you are wielding a powerful club of guilt over an otherwise innocent member of the polity. Leftists will hammer you with demands for justice, and you'll will submit:

Sandra Korn photo Sandra_YL_Korn_Harvard_zps9ebf7270.jpg
The trend started with the two justice titans: “economic justice,” and “racial justice.” And someone must have thought: Why stop there? Soon we started seeing demands for “environmental justice” and “reproductive justice.” And then the floodgates were opened. The global warming scare brought us “climate justice“; the drive for socialized medicine became “health care justice“; amnesty for illegals transmogrified into “immigrant justice“; and on and on it went. By now we have

food justice
housing justice
gender justice
workplace justice
farmworker justice
urban justice
media justice
disability justice
transformative justice
birthing justice
prison justice

…to name just a few. Go to any protest or visit a left-wing Web site and you’ll find dozens more “justices” that need immediate resolution.

Want to give your hobby the veneer of righteousness? Just think of a noun, affix the word “justice” after it, and voilà: You’re part of the solution! Yes, it’s that easy.
So, hey! It's just another skip and a jump to "academic justice."

In any case, be sure to read Korn's piece at the Harvard Crimson, "The Doctrine of Academic Freedom: Let’s Give Up on Academic Freedom in Favor of Justice."

And as always, I tweeted the piece over to Robert Stacy McCain, who's been doing a seminar on radical feminism of late, and he came up with this, "‘The Second Time as Farce’: @sandraylk’s Recycled Marcusean Marxism":
Most of us who lived through the 1960s and ’70s have no desire for a repetition of that carnival of radical errors. Unfortunately, many of those who do remember that era fondly are leftist academics who have turned American university campuses into cauldrons of radicalism, where they inculcate in their young protégés a misplaced nostalgia for an idealized make-believe version of the Sixties. Brainy youth at elite institutions are therefore filled with an obsolete revolutionary zeal to “smash the system,” as if the Establishment today were as oppressive as the administration of Clark Kerr, the hapless liberal whose misfortune it was to be president of the University of California when the Berkeley “Free Speech Movement” erupted.

Because today’s radical youth do not know the actual history of the Sixties, but only what they have been taught about the Sixties by leftist academics, the students are ill-equipped to avoid the typical errors of radicalism, and seem not to realize how stale and predictable their supposedly “innovative” ideas actually are.

And so we come to Harvard senior Sandra Korn’s celebration of the hippie student mau-maus who protested psychology professor Richard Herrnstein’s research about heredity influence on IQ...
Keep reading.

And then see Bruce Bawer, "Harvard’s Rebel Without a Clue":
Ms. Korn, I further discovered, is not only a prolific columnist – writing regularly for both the Crimson and the Harvard Political Review – but an active member of Occupy Harvard, the Progressive Jewish Allliance, the Student Labor Action Movement, and BAGELS, “Harvard’s group for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgendered Jews.” In her columns, she’s paid tribute to the Black Panthers, celebrated the Occupy movement, and chided those who cheered Kim Jong-Il’s death. She’s opposed allowing ROTC back onto the Harvard campus, one reason being that “[i]nternational students…from countries not allied with the United States” might object to their presence. She’s criticized Harvard’s plans to distribute lecture courses on the Internet as the latest development in “a long history of imperialism in which U.S. elites have told an increasingly globalized world that what they thought was best.” She’s written that “[w]hile violent resistance through Hamas is not right,” it’s “not incomprehensible,” given that “non-violent resistance cannot make the international community pay attention to the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza.” And she’s dismissed as “Islamophobia” any statement of the objective fact that anti-Semitism is a core element of contemporary Palestinian identity.

Speaking of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, summer before last Ms. Korn went on a free ten-day trip to Israel courtesy of Taglit-Birthright Israel, then wrote a column savaging the “right-wing rhetoric” she was fed – by which she meant that, for example, her tour guides displayed an unapologetic pride in Israel and were honest about the systematic inculcation of anti-Semitism in Palestinian schools. While in Israel, she wrote an article lamenting that the country – which some of her family members admired half a century or so ago as “a workers’ nation, a socialist utopia” – has now “adopted capitalism with fervor,” an action which she plainly deplores. She is, indeed, no fan of capitalism. More than once, she’s ranted about the fact that many Harvard graduates get jobs in finance. In one column (reprinted by The Nation, where she was an intern) she savaged Harvard’s Office of Career Services for steering students toward Wall Street, and wondered aloud whether they do so in order “to guarantee wealthy alumni donors.” She concluded her piece by underscoring the need to “destroy…the well-paved road between the Ivy League schools and Wall Street.” When she went to England last summer to do “research” at Trinity Colllege, Cambridge, she found stuff to complain about there, too: “Why do the fellows here dine in the same hall as undergraduates but on a raised platform apart from them?”

In the wake of the 2011 Mumbai bombings, Ms. Korn was outraged – not at the terrorists, but at Subramanian Swamy, an Indian politician and Harvard economics lecturer who responded to the atrocities with an article about how “Muslims of India are being programmed by a slow reactive process to become radical and thus slide into suicide against Hindus.” Ms. Korn and some of her confederates jumped into action, agitating for Harvard to – as she put it – “discontinue its association with an offensive figure.” The action succeeded; Swamy was banished....

Who, then, is this fierce critic of American empire, this enemy of capitalism, this scourge of Wall Street? Well, as it turns out, she’s from the affluent suburb of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, where she grew up in a house at 61 Darren Drive that was purchased in 1998 for $800,000. (If you check it out on Google Maps, it looks like the very image of the American dream: a peaceful paradise of large, pretty houses separated from the quiet street by broad, manicured lawns dotted with shade trees.) Her parents are Elizabeth A. Korn, a pediatric endocrinologist, and William D. Korn, whose own Harvard degrees are in economics and business administration and whose website describes him – the father of this proud 99-percenter – as follows:
Bill Korn is a veteran technology executive with more than 30 years of experience managing fast growth businesses. As Chief Financial Officer for seven companies he has raised over $250 million of capital, including debt and equity financing. Bill has completed seven acquisitions, including negotiating terms, arranging financing, performing due diligence and integrating teams. He has successfully created many successful partnerships and joint ventures.
The bio goes on for several more paragraphs, providing details of his years at IBM and other corporations and his involvement in the National Association of Corporate Directors and the New Jersey Economic Growth Council.

Sandra Korn is, then, the child of two parents who, taken together – to judge by their CVs – personify pretty much everything she’s rebelling against. She’s a product of precisely the kind of upper-class American suburban life for which she has professed an ardent class contempt. And she’s about to collect an immensely valuable diploma after utterly squandering a magnificent, world-class opportunity to actually learn something. Instead of grasping this opportunity, she’s spent the last four years marinating in her own ideology by writing articles, participating in activism, and taking “courses” that are about nothing more than Being Ideologues Together.
There's still more at the link, but it's hard to disagree with a key part of Bawer's conclusion: "To the extent that this young woman represents the next generation of the American elite, America is doomed – period."

What to do? Well, push back against these idiots, since their programs have a long lineage in regressive leftist "hate speech" codes on America's campuses. For example, see FIRE's piece on Korn's leftist intolerance, "‘Harvard Crimson’ Column: Time to Get Rid of Academic Freedom":
Korn’s case for “academic justice” is quite similar to the cases put forth for establishing “hate speech” laws that curb free expression, as well as many of the defenses of campus speech codes. The argument posits that there are opinions and ideas out there that, if spoken or publicized, harm listeners. Why shouldn’t we be able to censor such expression and punish those responsible for it? Just like the case for hate speech laws, the case for academic justice falls into the same trap.

For one, a regime of academic justice would surely demand fealty to a legion of nebulous concepts over which people disagree wildly—not the least of which is the notion of “justice,” which has been intensely debated for thousands of years, frequently at the cost of tremendous loss of human life. Just as the Supreme Court famously declared in Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15, 25 (1972) that “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric,” one man’s idea of “justice” may vary significantly from another’s. This does not mean that one is right and one is wrong. Yet it seems safe to say that there is one acceptable concept of justice in Sandra Korn’s framework, and that is Sandra Korn’s. FIRE has seen where this leads before. Columbia University’s Teachers College, for instance, has litmus-tested students in part on how they conformed to Columbia’s concept of “Respect for Diversity and Commitment to Social Justice.” The University of Delaware forced students in its residence halls through a coercive, invasive “treatment” program where they were forced to adopt highly politicized positions on sensitive topics.

Another major obstacle to this kind of value-based system is that such systems nearly always establish hazily-realized ideals as rules and trust their enforcement to those in positions of power. Proponents of such measures tend not to see much problem with this, because it is hard for them to imagine anyone having values different from their own....

Hence the danger of Korn’s position that “[o]nly those who care about justice can take the moral upper hand,” when dismissing bipartisan criticisms of the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli institutions. Korn’s argument presumes we have all the answers and can therefore stop asking the questions. It takes the position that “bad” speech should be silenced, rather than challenged with more speech. In that respect, Korn’s “social justice” framework is no different from any other form of censorship.
More at the Jewish Press, "Sandra Korn’s Academic Totalitarianism."

So, fight back against these totalitarian freaks and privileged hypocrites. Sandra Korn is a perfect representation of today's radical left. Intolerant, hateful, and hypocritical. Don't let the f-kers get away with it.