‘Academic Justice’: Inside the Abyss of the Academy

sandra-korn-300x234Sandra Korn is a Harvard University undergraduate student and a writer for The Harvard Crimson.  In a recent edition of the school’s paper, she argues for abandoning the traditional value of “academic freedom” in favor of what she calls, “academic justice.”

Korn may still be but a student, but both the lines along which she thinks as well as the ease with which she articulates her thoughts reveals to all with eyes to see the character of the academic environment in which she’s been reared:  those whom she wishes to deprive of academic freedom are just those academics who refuse to endorse the leftist ideology of Korn and her professors.

Korn singles out as instances of teacher-scholars who should have been stripped of their academic freedom just and only those figures who are noted for their penchant for smashing the sacred cows of the left.

Richard J. Herrnstein is one such example.  Herrnstein is probably most distinguished for having co-authored, along with Charles Murray, the now famous, The Bell Curve. However, the thesis that IQ differences vary with race and that, to at least some extent, these differences are genetic, is one that he defended two decades earlier, back in 1971.  Because of this position of his, militant student activists disrupted Herrnstein’s classes and demanded that, along with sociologist Christopher Jencks (another thought criminal), he be fired.

Quoting Herrnstein, Korn relays that while claiming to have not been “bothered…personally” by the attacks against him, Herrnstein admitted that he was deeply troubled by the fact it was now “hazardous for a professor to teach certain kinds of views” at Harvard.  Korn replies that this was precisely the point of “the SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] activists—they wanted to make the ‘certain kinds of views’ they deemed racist and classist unwelcome on Harvard’s campus.”

Harvey Mansfield is another person upon whom Korn sets her sights.  She charges Mansfield with “publishing…sexist commentary under the authority of a Harvard faculty position” and avows that she “would happily organize with other feminists on campus to stop him” from continuing to do so.

Korn admits that while it could very well be the case that student activists are guilty of infringing upon the academic freedom of the Herrnsteins and Mansfields of the world, this “obsession with the doctrine of ‘academic freedom’ often seems to bump against something [that] I think [is] much more important: ‘academic justice.’”

The “obsession” with academic freedom Korn thinks is “misplaced,” for “no academic question is ever ‘free’ from [such] political realities” as “racism, sexism, and heterosexism.”  After all, since “our university community opposes” such things, “it should ensure that this research…promoting or justifying oppression…does not continue.”  This is in keeping with the demands of “academic justice.”

So too does the craving for “academic justice” account for the decision of the American Studies Association at Harvard to boycott “Israeli academic institutions until Israel ends its occupation of Palestine.”  The ASA, Korn explains, are interested, not in resorting to “the ‘freedom’ game” of “those on the right,” but in achieving “social justice.” Thus, they “take the moral upper hand.”

Korn concludes by reiterating the central thesis of her essay that our “obsessive reliance on the doctrine of academic freedom” prevents us from considering “more thoughtfully what is just.”

In a sane world, a world that hasn’t been subverted by decades of leftism, it would be viewed as nothing less than a scandal that any college student, let alone a student at one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, would hold Korn’s views, to say nothing of publishing them. Traditionally, the university had been regarded as among the premiere civilizing institutions, the place where students were educated in just those intellectual and moral habits that would enable them to formulate, articulate, and defend their own convictions while treating those of their opponents with respect and even charity.

The academic world inhabited by the Korns of our world is a radically different kind of place.  Views with which one disagrees are not to be refuted, but condemned, and their proponents demonized.  The university exists not for the sake of acquiring and conveying truth and knowledge, but for the sake of “social justice”—i.e. a totalizing leftist ideology that is to be imposed, “by whichever means necessary,” upon both students and faculty alike.

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  • barrycooper

    I find it quaint that you would consider Harvard a “premiere” academic institution. They have sucked for many decades. No doubt they have small niches of decency, but mostly they are smart stupid people, well-funded by the same.

    • ratonis

      Right. Hah-vad is a once-great institution fallen into pretentiousness and sophisticated stupidity. I share a dinner table with a Hah-vad guy some years ago. He was a nose-in-the-air jerk. A person can get as good an education at any number of small liberal arts colleges and for a lot less money.

      • barrycooper

        I have argued for years that there are positions that are so stupid that they can ONLY be held by overindoctrinated people with high IQ’s.

  • Insecticide

    Sandy Crack Korn and I don’t care, bring her a Palestinian dildo to play with

    • Michael Garfinkel

      Insecticide – an appropriate name for a commentator as yourself, whose redegrade the discussion and generally stink up the place.

  • oxpoqxo

    Sad that she’s probably receiving accolades for her “brilliance.”

    • BS77

      She’s making Mommy and Daddy real proud. The neighbors must be too. I ll bet they are beaming over her “achievements” at Harvard, especially her intellectual brilliance. heh heh

      • A Z

        Her Mommy& Daddy know that they will have to leave her an inheritance if she is to survive.

        They know there is only so much room at the top with concomitant of money and power and that she is not one of the chosen ones. At most she will be is an aparatchik.

        As we have seen the top spot are reserved for those with pedigree like Ronan Farrow who gets an award after 3 days of work.

  • Servo1969

    I fell very safe in assuming that Miss Korn has never spent a day of her life wondering where her next meal will come from or how she will stay dry, safe and warm. She has never gone without any of life’s necessities or likely many of it’s luxuries. Her quality of life is greater than that of royalty only a century ago. She attends one of the most prestigious schools in the world in the greatest country in the world. She has never struggled for anything unless she wished to do so and has never had to earn money. She has absolutely no responsibilities beyond pursuing her own desires.

    Because of all this and more she can afford to spend her days tilting at windmills built by wiser, more experienced people while fancying herself a great heroine worthy of praise and regard. The whole of her education has been spent earning degrees in useless subjects and protesting her own existence. She has not and will most likely never produce anything of real value to any other person. She is a highly educated parasite. Were this young fool to be successful in changing all with which she disagrees she would probably starve to death.

    I hate say this but I see a government position in her future.

    • Richard Fontaine

      Well said and unfortunately I think you are right about the Government position.

    • nomoretraitors

      She’s probably already negotiating a position in the Obama Regime

      • kikorikid

        Yeah, Korn is following the “ends justifies the means”
        strategy, like Obama, and Lenin.

    • Marlin B. Newburn

      Your post is dead-on accurate, but suffice to stay, this narcissistic, loudmouth child will graduate with a degree from a prestigious university, a status of which will open profitable employment doors for her for the rest of her unnatural life.

      This is one of the pathologies of our society. A kid can play tin-pot dictator while finishing a liberals arts major, and then be taken seriously after graduation; all due to having attended High-Falutin’-U.

  • Skank Patrol

    BDS REALLY should stand for Buy a Douchebag for the Skank! Get her one as a consolation prize.

  • cxt

    Again, what I find honestly scary about Korn and her worldview is the assumption that she and her fellow travelers will always be the ones getting to decide what “justice” might look like.
    In the first place the same reliance on “current best thinking” and group opinion trumping reason led directly to blacks, women and gays not being allowed to attend college. At one point Ms. Korn would not have been allowed to attend Harvard because everyone in the “community” knew women did not need and could not handle the rigors of advanced education.
    So I find it odd that she would be willing to advance a modern version of such outmoded and demonstrably false……well I hesitate to call it “thinking.”
    In the 2nd place, “what is just” depends rather heavily on whom your asking. And I am surprised that Korn cannot grasp the implications of her article should people she despises come to power—-without academic freedom and embracing HER POV they would likely censor her speech and fire her.
    I am honestly stunned that she simply can’t see what a Joe McCarthy or the dreaded leftist boogeyman George Bush would have done with the very power she so desperately wants.
    The fact she does not grasp that academic freedom is there for HER protection and for the protection of CURRENTLY out of vogue/controversial POV’s is simply proof that Harvard is failing to educate her.

    • semperparatus1

      Well said.

    • WalterBannon

      Harvard is failing to educate every one

  • The Facts

    I laughed when this goofball academic “analyst” started trying to bring back The Bell Curve. This article falls apart at the appeal to a “sane world.” When that phrase poked out, I knew the writer was some kind of crappy philosopher sophist. Sure enough:



      Itching to bring back book burning?

      • The Facts

        By your standard, Alan Dershowitz is.


          Burning books is the work of socialists.

          See your national SOCIALISTS and their descendents the islamofascists.

  • Loupdegarre

    Hand me my Claymore

  • Tradecraft46

    Well she is just tapping into her tradition.


      Her tradition is dog ugly SOCIALISM.

      Korns only hope is some dumped lesbian will take her under her hairy armpit wing.

      • Tradecraft46

        Look its genetic: she can’t help herself any more than a dog can help itself in the presence of a tree.

    • http://www.ronlewenberg.com/ Ron Lewenberg

      Her tradition is cultural Marxism. As such she hates traditional liberalism and Israel. Given your postings, it is clear that you share much with Ms. Korn, Cultural Marxists and even Marx: hatred of Jews.
      Grievance politics rot the mind.

      • Tradecraft46

        Typical: I despise her and hall her works. But you being what you are cannot detect that. Anything said about bad behavior in these circumstances is automatically anti-Semitism. If you think you are God’s chosen people that of course is true, prima facie. For you Jews no, matter what, can do no wrong.

        Do not forget that every groups needs to provoke hatred and feel it for others. If that goes then internal unity goes. That is why groups commit atrocities: tough to surrender when your group does. The US is a nice place hence the silent holocaust your Landsmen whine about. When in external pressure is off, no body wants the tsouris.

        What bothers you is that I point out the racism of Korn;s Judaism and you can’t stand that. I have noted that her views actually have a great deal of resonance within her community.

        Do I want Israel to disappear? Absolutely not. Brighton Beach as enough people as it is.

        • http://www.ronlewenberg.com/ Ron Lewenberg

          I understood your comment and its context when you said it was genetic. I then looked at your profile and say your comment history, where you attack Jews and Israel.

          Are you going to deny that you called ciommunism “Jewish millenialism” just a few hours ago and claimed that Ms Korn was acting on behalf of Judaism a few days ago?
          Unlike you, I do research. I don’t just wollow in soul and mind destroy grievance politics.
          Had your mind not been corrupted, you would have seen taht I attacked MS. Korn in my response to you and in another post on this article.
          In so far as Ms. Korn is a leftist who has previous ly attacked Judaism, you have no argument. Retract like an adult.

          • Tradecraft46

            Proudly admit to calling Marxism Jewish Millenialism, a view I share with Nial Ferguson of Harvard.

            I find it silly that you accuse me of grievance politics when I have never done that.

            Lastly if you claim to be a thinker, you might also learn to use the spell check: it is wallow rather than wallow.

          • http://www.ronlewenberg.com/ Ron Lewenberg

            “Proudly admit to calling Marxism Jewish Millenialism, a view I share with Nial Ferguson of Harvard.”
            It is an atheist parody of Jewish messianism. It is an atheist immanentization of the eschaton.

            Eric Voegelin got this right, not the alternate historian.

          • Tradecraft46

            The Church called every non-Christian truth the same. A god’s power on exists in the mind of its followers..

            I would say that it certainly is a parody, because it believes in human power, not the Divine. It still uses the language to attract, and people believe it from vanity.

            I have found this exchange very gratifying because, not including you in anyway, I am forced to again see that people can believe the most absurd things when they have no understanding.

            You can be bright and your word are empty if you do not have insight into the truth. Sadly people believe out of self-pity and vanity, and use their ideas to bully and harm.

  • richarddonna

    I am sure Korn feels Che Guervara gave “justice” to the 600 teenage boys he executed at LA Cabana concentration camp and I am sure Korn believes MUHAMMAD gave “justice” to the 900 unarmed Jews he PERSONALLY decapitated in 627…What a compassionate typical fascist liberal she is!

  • GinoMachiavelli

    Not all fascists wear swastika and sharp black uniforms, some appear in a form of this particular species, vindictive, dark, unloved and unmourned …

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    “obsessive reliance on the doctrine of academic freedom” prevents us from considering “more thoughtfully what is just.”

    Translation: “People who disagree with me should not be allowed to speak.”

    Having taught in a university, myself (I gained tenure, and spent thirty years at it), I can truthfully say that academic freedom is absolutely necessary for students to gain an ability the judge the conflicting arguments between opposing viewpoints. The Left desires nothing more than to turn off … as it were … one of the viewpoints, so that education becomes indoctrination.

    Ms. Korn is preaching absolutism …

    • USNbubblehead

      “Ms. Korn is preaching absolutism …”

      As do all totalitarians.

    • Drakken

      How you made it that long is beyond me? Patience of Job perhaps? Or many a Brandy bottle had your name on it?

      • Wolfthatknowsall

        Oh, a brandy … now and then … sure does help.

        But once I’d gained tenure, and “came out of the closet” as a conservative, there was a waiting list, for my sections, of eager students who wanted to hear a different perspective. That kept me going, along with the hope that some of those young people would become conservative leaders of the nation, in the future.

        Indeed, one of them is, but he won’t allow me to tell anyone, until he gets to the White House …

        • Drakken

          Well Wolf, thank God you made it through, many of my relatives are and were teachers, principals and college profs. I could tell what kind of day they had by how tall a Brandy they poured. I sure do hope that the one student you had, does become President, we sorely and desperately need some leadership at the helm of our ship of state.

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            He would be an astonishingly good President … conservative and strong, well-spoken, and with a quick intelligence that would amaze. The only hint I will give: He’s a currently-serving governor. Have fun …

  • GoodBusiness


    “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” ~ JAMES MADISON

    I cannot be more plain-spoken than this.
    “It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” ~ Voltaire

  • bigjulie

    I get an eerie feeling Ms Korn will soon be claiming she has Native American blood in her veins and be shouting “You didn’t build that!!” to everyone who built something. She definitely has a bright future in the Democratic Party.

  • nomoretraitors

    Another example proving my point the left isn’t interested in freedom or justice but in POWER and REVENGE

  • trapper

    Her argument is no different than that of any totalitarian fanatic. Nazis, Communists, Fascists, and tin pot dictators all believe they are 100 % correct and their enemies are 100 % wrong and must be shut down. She is a silly and provincial little girl with no knowledge of the world. Unfortunately, she is replicated in leftist enclaves everywhere.

  • trapper

    I think these Leftists prattling about “justice” would do well to read Plato’s dialogues on the subject. But they more than likely are ignorant of Plato.

    • WalterBannon

      justice – humbug.

      Nazi’s always twist the meaning of words to suit their propaganda.

      That’s why they call themselves progressive.

  • frodo

    Ms. Korn is laughably wrong–and thank goodness is only one undergraduate who, despite writing for the Crimson, remains just one voice. No one does or will take such nonsense as swapping traditional notions of academic freedom for this pretty stupid idea of “academic justice” (which is neither). At the same time, it’s not wise to generalize from the case of this student’s views (or the kid at Swarthmore elsewhere discussed).

    I think *The Bell Curve* is bad social science, but that doesn’t mean that I want it suppressed. I think that the Chicago School’s economic positions are misguided, but don’t want their work consigned to the fire. *That’s* the normal position, not this kind of silly posturing. I don’t think that the characterization of the academy here is accurate.

  • oneteedoffpatriot

    It’s only going to get to the point where they not only shout protest but get phyically violent. Time to start thinking about malitias.

  • WalterBannon

    Sandra Korn is an odious cretin. She is ugly on the inside.

  • http://www.ronlewenberg.com/ Ron Lewenberg

    Ms. Korn’s article is derivative cant, plagerizing the ideas of Herbert Marcuse’s Repressive Tolerence.
    ” Within the solid framework of pre-established
    inequality and power, tolerance is practiced indeed. Even outrageous opinions
    are expressed, outrageous incidents are televised; and the critics of
    established policies are interrupted by the same number of commercials
    as the conservative advocates. Are these interludes supposed to counteract
    the sheer weight, magnitude, and continuity of system-publicity, indoctrination
    which operates playfully through the endless commercials as well as through
    the entertainment?

    Given this situation, I suggested in ‘Repressive
    Tolerance’ the practice of discriminating tolerance in an inverse direction,
    as a means of shifting the balance between Right and Left by restraining
    the liberty of the Right, thus counteracting the pervasive inequality
    of freedom (unequal opportunity of access to the means of democratic persuasion)
    and strengthening the oppressed against the oppressed. Tolerance would
    be restricted with respect to movements of a demonstrably aggressive or
    destructive character (destructive of the prospects for peace, justice,
    and freedom for all). Such discrimination would also be applied to movements
    opposing the extension of social legislation to the poor, weak, disabled.
    As against the virulent denunciations that such a policy would do away
    with the sacred liberalistic principle of equality for ‘the other side’,
    I maintain that there are issues where either there is no ‘other side’
    in any more than a formalistic sense, or where ‘the other side’ is demonstrably
    ‘regressive’ and impedes possible improvement of the human condition.
    To tolerate propaganda for inhumanity vitiates the goals not only of liberalism
    but of every progressive political philosophy.”

  • v

    What disturbs me most about those liberals, particularly liberal so-called Jews, is that they are adopting Adolf Hitler’s policies. May be they are just ignoring history or just plain ignorant about it. In either case they are dangerous people, and the only way to fight them, in my opinion, is by defeating them and crushing them, the same way Hitler was stopped and for that matter any other dictatorial regime.