Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
The outcome of “decolonization” is barbarism. For Hamas, it means murdering women, children, and the elderly, executing innocent people on the street, and mutilating infants in their homes. For the radical academics, the process is less brutal but barbaric all the same: it means destroying our best institutions, obliterating academic standards, and elevating witchcraft, voodoo, and pseudo-science into positions of prestige. The philosopher Leo Strauss once defined nihilism as opposition to civilization as such—and this is precisely what the decolonizing academics have done, acting out their vengeful fantasies to “abolish” Harvard, once a crowning symbol of Western civilization.
Harvard finds itself in an ideological bind. Following Hamas’s horrific terror attack against Israel, the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee issued a statement, co-signed by 33 other student groups, blaming the Jewish state for the murder, rape, and mutilation of its own citizens by Hamas. “Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum,” the statement read. “The apartheid regime is the only one to blame.”
The reaction was swift. The media, the public, and prominent political figures condemned the students for rationalizing atrocities against innocent people, including women, children, and the elderly. Harvard’s administration, long accustomed to toeing the radical line, hesitated for days before releasing a generic statement of condemnation and writing that “no student group—not even 30 student groups—speaks for Harvard University or its leadership.”
Meantime, former Harvard president Lawrence Summers expressed surprise, wondering on social media why the university could not “find anything approaching the moral clarity of Harvard statements after George Floyd’s death or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
It is hard to believe that Summers is being sincere. As anyone in Harvard’s orbit would know—especially a long-time professor and former university president—the politics of decolonization, critical race theory, and anti-Israel agitation has been a staple of public life on that campus for decades. And it is not a cause driven solely by misguided students: administrators, department leaders, and prominent faculty have all developed it, institutionalized it, or at least publicly deferred to the radicals who did.
One needs only to browse the current Harvard course catalog to see how deeply the rhetoric of “decolonization” has been embedded. One course, “Global Rebellion: Race, Solidarity, and Decolonization,” draws on critical ethnic studies, a subfield of critical race theory, and promises to promote “Black, Asian, Latinx, and Indigenous radicalism”—that is, left-wing ethnopolitics for everyone except whites and Jews. The goal, according to the course description, is to “discuss how BIPOC communities forged cross-racial, internationalist solidarities to rebel against global white supremacy.”