Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Buchananís cool reception at Harvard Universityís Kennedy School
of Government last week reminded this 1994 graduate of what life
was like at what has been affectionately described as the Kremlin
on the Charles.
question period that followed Patís speech on campaign finance reform
featured the usual venom. One male student, doubtless expecting
to fluster the speaker, asked if Buchanan would go out on a date
with him that night. Pat, of course, always funnier and more jovial
than his stern-faced detractors, looked at his wife, Shelley, and
asked, "Shelley, would it be O.K.?" Laughing, he told
the audience, "She said it would be O.K.!"
the student body appears to have been on its best behavior for Pat.
When Peninsula, the conservative student publication I joined while
at Harvard, distributed its first issue across campus, the apostles
of tolerance and good will followed closely behind, confiscating
and destroying every copy they could find. Ours was the only conservative
publication at Harvard at the time-one too many, evidently. Oh,
and one spokesman of the forces of love and brotherhood threatened
to attack one of our editors, now a Catholic priest, with an AIDS-infected
Mansfield is practically the only conservative faculty member Harvard
can boast-but again, he is one too many. Every time he expresses
his political opinions he is met with protests, candlelight vigils,
and hunger strikes.
the 1995 commencement exercises, a protest during the Latin oration-the
speaker, you see, had expressed forbidden opinions in print-was
canceled at the last minute when his obvious charisma raised the
possibility that a hostile demonstration might backfire. (Leftists
had planned to stand up and turn their backs on orator Brent McGuire
for the duration of his speech. Classy, eh?)
was the last time Harvard leftists worried even for a second that
one of their speakers would be treated with contempt or shouted
down by hate-filled right-wingers? To ask the question is to answer
do the Harvard students admire? Angela Davis, for one. Remember
her? In addition to spending time on the FBIís Ten Most Wanted list,
she has been a Lenin Peace Prize recipient and vice-presidential
candidate on the Communist Party ticket. Throughout the 1970s she
was welcomed with open arms by the ruling cliques of every Communist
nation she visited. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn recalls an incident in
which Davis was asked by a group of human rights activists to use
her influence to secure the release of several prisoners of conscience
in Communist Czechoslovakia. Davisí reply? "They deserve what
they get. Let them remain in prison."
was in the audience for Davisí standing-room-only appearance at
Harvard-I was covering the event for our subversive publication-and
I vividly recall the thunderous standing ovation she received. This
is a woman, mind you, who during the question period frankly regretted
the passing of the Communist regimes in eastern Europe. The usual
strategy for disillusioned leftists was to claim that those governments
had instituted only a perversion of socialism and not the real thing.
Not Davis. She was genuinely sorry to see those governments toppled.
views on controversial moral questions, whatever one might think
of them, were held all but universally not long ago, not only in
the United States but around the world and indeed in every civilization
that has ever existed. Davis, by contrast, is an apologist for Stalin.
Pat, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, gets a "cool reception"
at Harvard; Davis has them on their feet cheering.
thatís one of the reasons William F. Buckley, Jr., once said heíd
rather be governed by the first few hundred names in the Boston
telephone directory than by the faculty of Harvard University.
E. Woods, Jr., a 1994 graduate of Harvard College, holds a Ph.D.
in history from Columbia University and is currently a professor
of history at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, New York.