Sunday, 26 September 2010

Harvey Mansfield Inteview

Around the 1.30 mark in segment four of Peter Robinson's interview with Harvard University professor Harvey Mansfield:
Peter Robinson: "... you have made the point that on [sic] the government department [at Harvard University] there are roughly fifty professors, and you have said about three conservatives..."
Harvey Mansfield: "Yes."
PR: " I put to you what you already know, which is that if there were fifty professors, and only three women, Harvard University would be all over that in a moment; if there were fifty professors and only three persons of colour, the University would be all over that because Harvard University cares about ethnic and gender diversity... but fifty professors and only three conservatives... shrug. Why doesn't the University, of course Harvard is the example we're using but what we're saying is true of University after University, why shouldn't it care most about intellectual diversity?"
HM: "Well of course it should, but it doesn't. These people all of a sudden go moral in saying oh you musn't force us to make appointments on the basis of politics, so we only choose whoever's best and if it just turns out that you've got fourty seven liberals and three conservatives... well that is... funny... but it's not really objectionable... and it isn't as if you conservatives really suffer... you're ah, your being conservative, you probably have more money than the rest of us."
More incisive commentary from Professor Mansfield straight off the mark in segment five of the same interview:
PR: "Quoting you again Harvey: "Sensitivity is today's version of the "soft despotism" that Alexis de Tocqueville worried about in democracies, and it would not have surprised him that the worst of it would be found in the halls of the intellect", let's take that one step by step - what did Tocquville mean by "soft despotism"?"
HM: "It's democratic despotism. It's a despotism which arises from the.. dangerous... what he calls individualism in modern democracy. That's when people decide that they can't do anything on their own... with other people, that they are the victim of huge historical forces that are mindless and extremely powerful, and so they react by turning to their own private lives, their families, their friends, and themselves... and let governemnt run their politics for them. So it's a kind of despotism that results... automatically.. without being intended by anybody and works through benevolent measures.. big government, or the "immense being of government" that Tocqueville refers to... is perfectly well intentioned and doesn't mean to lord it over you, but it just ends up doing that mostly because people decide to allow it to do that."
For now, I would only add, and Professor Mansfield would surely concur, that his description of big government coming about "automatically" under democratic conditions ignores the very purposeful infiltration of both government and universities by the far left (chiefly the Frankfurt school of cultural Marxism and its latter day derivatives).

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