Occupy Harvard Yard

I hesitate to link to Rod Dreher twice in a single week, but, well, he linked to me and he drives more traffic.

One thing Rod never lacks is the courage of his convictions.  As he shows in “Fatuous Ivy League Twits,” he’s also not above a little name-calling.  But you know, two of the men most influential on my thought — Jesus and Kierkegaard — indulged in a little creative now and then as well.  I probably would have edited Jesus — “Brood of Vipers” is just so incendiary and hyperbolic; let’s dial that back a little! — but perhaps I’m a little too tame.

While I’ve mostly written about Princeton Theological Seminary this week, some students at another of my former schools, Harvard University, staged a walkout from conservative economist Gregory Mankiw’s Economics 10 course in order to show their solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.  The “protestors” issued the following statement:

We are walking out today to join a Boston-wide march protesting the corporatization of higher education as part of the global Occupy movement. Since the biased nature of Economics 10 contributes to and symbolizes the increasing economic inequality in America, we are walking out of your class today both to protest your inadequate discussion of basic economic theory and to lend our support to a movement that is changing American discourse on economic injustice.

I want to have a serious conversation about the virtues and vices of the Occupy Wall Street movement next week.  For now it’s worth hearing the thoughts of Rod Dreher:

This Harvard stunt is just childish and stupid.

I’m all for these privileged students coming to realize their own responsibilities to the broader society, especially given what’s happening now with Wall Street and the recklessness of financial elites (many of them Ivy grads).

But walking out of a class to protest the way the professor teaches it is tantrummy silliness (I doubt very much they would be complaining about the lack of intellectual diversity in the class if the teacher were a doctrinaire Marxist who followed an exclusivist pedagogy instead of a former Bush administration official).

And Megan McArdle:

Harvard students show their committment to OWS by skipping a class they don’t like. Brilliant.

But as a former Ivy League protester, I find it esp grating when future elite “does something” about inequality by cutting.

If Ivy Leaguers want rad econ change, drop out, work at Wal-Mart, & give ur place to kid from Fayetteville or Watts. Otherwise, go to class

Apparently the students believe that what Harvard needs are fewer conservative professors.  Yyyyeah.  The inclination not to refute but to exclude dissenting points of view here is a worrisome sign for the future.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • Shannon

    Hi Tim! I’m a senior at Harvard right now, and I’d just like to point out that the vast majority of Harvard kids think the walkout was “childish and stupid” as well. Only about 70 students from a class of 700 participated in the walkout, which was organized by a group of overexcited freshmen. The prevailing sentiment on campus re: the walkout seems to be embarrassment, especially since Ec 10 is well known for being an even-handed and unbiased introduction to the social sciences. I think this piece that my (liberal) friend wrote for the Harvard Political Review better expresses the undergrad body’s sentiments as a whole: http://hpronline.org/campus/in-defense-of-ec-10/. I don’t mind that you & Rod Drehr wrote about this event (although I think it’s hardly newsworthy), but the “tantrummy” actions of the Ec 10 protestors are certainly not representative of the views held by most Harvard undergrads.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Definitely agreed, Shannon!
      -tim

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

    Your last line is the most important one, Tim. “We refuse to listen to someone who present a different perspective” is not a message that alleged freethinkers should be sending.

  • Shannon

    Hi Tim! I’m a senior at Harvard right now, and I’d just like to point out that the vast majority of Harvard kids think the walkout was “childish and stupid” as well. Only about 70 students from a class of 700 participated in the walkout, which was organized by a group of overexcited freshmen. The prevailing sentiment on campus re: the walkout seems to be embarrassment, especially since Ec 10 is well known for being an even-handed and unbiased introduction to the social sciences. My (liberal) friend wrote a piece for the Harvard Political Review called “In Defense of Ec 10″ that I think better expresses the sentiments of the undergrad body as a whole. I don’t mind that you & Rod Drehr wrote about this event (although I think it’s hardly newsworthy), but the “tantrummy” actions of the Ec 10 protestors are certainly not representative of the views held by most Harvard undergrads.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Definitely agreed, Shannon!

      -Tim


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