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DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Theodore Dalrymple on The Bland Leading the Bland. A youn…

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Theodore Dalrymple on The Bland Leading the Bland.

A young man called Kyle Kashuv had his offer of a place at Harvard withdrawn when unnamed persons informed Harvard that two years earlier he had placed racist remarks on social media. The young man apologized as abjectly as any alleged miscreant at a Soviet show trial or during the Great Cultural Revolution in China, but it did not save him. The decision, apparently, was final.

There were undercurrents to the story. Kashuv was the pupil of a school in Florida at which a massacre took place. Thereafter, Kashuv and another pupil, David Hogg (both of whom were accepted by Harvard, though Hogg’s academic qualifications were considerably below those of Kashuv, and below those normally required by Harvard), campaigned respectively for and against the right to carry a gun. Thus Harvard’s decision to admit Hogg but not Kashuv could be, and of course was, interpreted as little more than an expression of political bias.

A great deal has been written about Harvard’s decision. The whole situation might have been avoided if Harvard admitted students strictly according to their score on tests, in which case what Kashuv wrote two years previously would have been irrelevant; on the other hand, such strict adherence to admission by test results would, or might, result in cohorts of test-passing automata.

The most significant thing about the whole wretched episode, however, is the way in which young people seem to be creating a totalitarian environment in which they denounce one another, as Kashuv was denounced. Thus the social media that were originally going to set opinion free and give voice to everyone will end by stifling expression and creating fear.

Indiscretions such as Kashuv’s can never be effaced, and it surprises me that so many public figures have not yet realized this and post comments that are certain to bring anathema down on them. It appears the world is full of people like Madame Defarge, who knitted the names of aristocrats at the base of the guillotine, contemplating their beheading with sadistic malice.

Curiously, Jacobin knitting has become all the rage of late.

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

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