If you think Harvard is a revolutionary communist hotbed, don’t apply. If you think Harvard is full of “pinheaded” professors, don’t enroll. And if you think Harvard pollutes the minds of its students, don’t walk out of here with a degree—and certainly don’t get two.
You see, lately, there seems to be a pernicious trend of public figures—especially those on the right—falling in love with Harvard just long enough to benefit from its educational resources and, yes, its social prestige, before turning against our school. Just recently, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas affirmed his belief that Harvard Law School was, during his years as a student there, home to a cohort of “Marxists who believed in…overthrowing the United States government.” In November, Fox News pundit and Harvard Kennedy School graduate Bill O’Reilly glibly referred to Harvard professors as “pinheaded” while implying that the Harvard community is morally suspect for its acceptance of Harvard College Munch, a group for students who share an interest in kinky sex. And last April, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who holds a J.D. and MBA from our fine institution, lambasted President Obama for having spent “too much time at Harvard.”
Such episodes of treachery are apparently attempts to curry favor with the more anti-intellectual members of our body politic. Yet it is finally time that we say enough is enough. We at The Crimson urge anyone who plans on one day scoring political points by maligning Harvard to neither apply, enroll, nor graduate from this fine institution.
If only we could have spoken to a young, wide-eyed Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, or Bill O’Reilly. We would have assured them that it was okay to be anti-intellectual, and that millions of people around the world do it every day. Although we didn’t share their dread of academia, we would have tried to make them feel comfortable with the lifestyle they were preparing to lead. We would have attempted either to disabuse them of whatever cognitively dissonant impulses gave them the urge to attend Harvard or, at the very least, try to prepare them for the potentially scary environment that awaited them. For one, we would warn them that Harvard has a few liberals. While they may seem strange and foreign to a young conservative, they are almost certainly not secret communists and probably actually less of a threat to the integrity of the United States government than some people back home. Second, we would warn them that education gives people new ideas that they might not have otherwise had. This may make them seem “pinheaded,” or it may even change them a bit, as Mr. Romney suggested about President Obama. But it probably doesn’t make them stupid.
If we could have spoken to these three young men, we could have spared them from the fear and anguish that must come part-and-parcel with seeing oneself as instructed by insurrectionists or buffoons. If we could have spoken to these three men, we would have told them never to come to Cambridge.