A new shock poll from Harvard’s student newspaper, the Crimson, shows that of graduating seniors, only 6.4% are conservative-leaning in their politics. This is of course wildly out of step with a country almost evenly divided ideologically. While the poll raises familiar questions about progressive hegemony in arts, entertainment, corporate boardrooms, and a plethora of other American institutions, in this case, it is particularly dangerous.
Harvard, and indeed the entire Ivy League play a unique role in how America governs itself. In fact, they always have. Part of the raison d’etre of America’s oldest college was to produce men who learned enough to serve in the government of the fledgling Massachusetts Bay Colony of the mid-17th Century. Nearly 400 years later Harvard is still a pipeline to power, it is still where those who make decisions for others are trained in such pursuits.
There is a key difference today, however.
Back in 1640, policy in Boston was decided almost exclusively by elected officials who answered to voters. Today, however, most of America’s government is composed of unelected bureaucrats. Because of this, the far left bias of the highly educated produces bizarre results that nobody ever voted for. Things like men competing in women’s sports, grants for Critical Race Theory (CRT), and even “disinformation boards,” are codified not by ballot, but by the progressive whims of our Ivy-educated elites.
This is not entirely new, of course. In fact, in the 1950s the seminal text of movement conservatism was a book titled, “God and Man at Yale.” The author, William F Buckley, decried the excesses of liberalism at his alma mater, but while he saw extreme bias in the institution, he did not see the utter and total lack of tolerance for “wrongthink” that has become the center of our current discussions about higher education.
Today, these campuses are home to a toxic combination of beliefs, where conservative ideas are not only rare to find, but any attempt to bring in outside voices that reflect the views of millions upon millions of Americans are shut down as bigoted, or unsafe.
This progressive silo is how so many graduates of elite schools—who run much of our nation—come not only to believe that their political beliefs are the right and true ones, but that in fact, they are the only ones.
Many esteemed thinkers argue that the woke progressivism in vogue at these top schools is, in fact, a new religion. And while some of the rituals have a religious flavor, one key ingredient is missing. Religion requires a duty to a God or object outside of oneself and one’s whims. In contemporary progressivism, the source of all morality and even reality itself is the self. Hence, phrases like “this is my truth.”
What we have here is not a religion, but a grand unifying principle. Religions produce consistent maxims or rules that generally apply to all people in all circumstances. The grand unifying theory of modern progressivism produces no such precepts, rather it creates a network of tenuous connections that buttress each other. Another way to say this is that the principles of progressivism intersect. This intersectionality—in which only certain people are allowed to say certain things based on their self-described identity—is how a Supreme Court nominee can say, with a straight face, that she has no idea how to define the word woman.
Today we find ourselves with a batch of young, high-end civil servants who learned more about the principles of equity than the principle of government, who are more rooted in the sins of our founding than in its elegant promise. The upshot of this is that these unelected officials lead a nation and a culture that they don’t really like very much.
There are two basic ways to address this problem. One is for the institutions like Harvard to, dare I say, liberalize and allow for a broader ideological range of thought. Don’t hold your breath for that. The other option is for all of us—but especially those who do government hiring—to end this primacy of the Ivy League. Are we truly convinced anymore that a Harvard man can better lead us than a good student from a state university? Perhaps one that actually has conservatives on campus?
So long as we continue to pretend that Harvard and other elite schools produce uniquely qualified public servants, the farther our government will stray from the ideas and the will of the people. Let’s cut off the ‘Ivy-to-government’ pipeline and give some other folks a chance. If nothing else, it might wake up the woke ivory tower and show them how single ideology education is a path to its own irrelevance.
David Marcus is a writer and theater artist based in Brooklyn, NY.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.