Unearthing politics over principles, Bill Ackman steps in at Harvard in wake of antisemitism

December 5, 2023

By Tim Worstall

Bill Ackman returns to fight the good fight at Harvard. We’ve talked about his work on this before, including the idea that struck terror into students – tell me who signed those letters supporting Hamas so that I and my colleagues on Wall Street can make sure we don’t hire them. Nothing like a threat to the wallets of privileged students to make them think for a moment, is there?  

Recall the background here. After the Hamas attacks, varied groups at Harvard signed a letter stating that it was all just great. The oppressed fighting back by killing babies, all that. We reacted by sending the truck to call out the antisemites on their own campus. The fact that the students are seriously unhappy about us shows that we’re working. The fact that the students are equally angry at Bill Ackman shows that he’s also working on the same problem equally effectively.

Ackman has been digging deeper, and that’s what’s interesting about this latest. For what we’d all like to know, is it just college students who are in the grip of this delusion? That somehow it’s the only democracy in the Middle East that is in the wrong and worthy of violent attack?

What Ackman finds out is that, no, it’s not just the students. It’s the faculty. Harvard has become what it never used to be: a place ruled by politics, not excellence. The DEI idea – that diversity, appropriate opinions on it, trumps scholarship – has not just taken hold; it is determining the future path of the entire place. As one correspondent puts it:

“Each department decides whom they want, and the university can accept or reject the candidate. Left-leaning faculty appoint other left-wing faculty because they get to decide whom to hire and promote. It’s a bit like the Twitter algorithm which continues to feed you the points of view you want to hear. Eventually, each department reaches the tipping point.”

Another points out that:

 A number of the faculty bemoaned that, in many cases they cannot hire a substantially more qualified person if he is a white or Asian straight male as the proposed candidate “has to be a woman or BIPOC person.” I was told that behind closed doors, it is expected to hear: “I clearly don’t think this is the strongest candidate, but we can see where the train is headed. I therefore have no choice but to vote for the [lesser-qualified candidate.]”

One of America’s finest universities is descending – has descended perhaps – into politically acceptable mediocrity. At which point there are only two potential answers. One is to stick a fork in it; it’s done. The other is to fight back and attempt to reverse this. Do we need yet another generation of students taught this mishmash of politically acceptable hate and antisemitism?

That’s the decision and the fight. So, what do we do about it?  


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