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OH HARVARD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
Harvard, you were a wilderness seminary in 1638 when the Reverend John Harvard willed half his estate and his library to you. You took his name. Your 1650 college charter declared your object to be the education of the English and Indian youth of this country in 'knowledge and godlynes.'
You were more than 140 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed, and eight from Harvard were among the signers. You were over 200 years old when the Civil War was fought. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the White House you observed your tricentennial.
From the very start your graduates have been active in government, theology, and law. Wealthy and prominent individuals sent you their sons to be educated. Many who hoped to be prominent, useful, wealthy, and influential regarded a degree from Harvard as their passport to fame, fortune and respect. Some were not disappointed.
For the most part, during the early centuries, you were faithful to the principles of your Christian origin. Josiah Quincy, who was your President from 1829 to 1845, said in a speech at the Divinity School:
Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom; freedom none but virtue; virtue none but knowledge; and neither freedom, virtue, nor knowledge has any vigor or immortal hope, except in the principles of the Christian faith, and in the sanctions of the Christian religion.
The Nineteenth Century brought changes and improvements, in both the physical property and the academic offerings, but the most profound changes were the changes in moral and philosophical attitudes. Harvard, you became involved with Auguste Comte's positivism, sociology, and Religion of Humanity. Although the French philosopher/mathematician died in 1857, it was not long after that you began to overlook the object of your charter and promote the idea that positivism contained the formula for society's evolution toward perfection. It was becoming your religion and you began to phase out Christianity.
When Charles William Eliot became your president in 1869 Comte's positive philosophy and Religion of Humanity, and Herbert Spencer's sociology received a warm welcome. In the 1870s your law school dean, Christopher Langell, applied positivism and evolution to the law. He claimed that since man was evolving, judges should assume that the law and the Constitution must also evolve, and they should play a part in that evolution. Following Langell, Roscoe Pound, continued support of positivism and also carried what has been called sociological legal science to other universities.
In 1907 Professor A. Lawrence Lowell, who two years later became your president, suggested to Professor Frank W. Taussig that the school of business administration which was contemplated be patterned after the law school. He suggested that business education should be limited in a way similar to the way the study of law had been limited. He wrote:
No doubt you will say that business is a part of political economy. So law is a part of jurisprudence, but the Law School teaches that part alone, without requiring any knowledge of the rest. For example a man may graduate, and frequently does graduate, from the Law School without knowing the difference of actions 'in rem' and 'in personam' and without being able to give the slightest definition of sovereignty or of law. Most of the graduates could not pass the most elementary examination on jurisprudence. The German professors of law would reject them as being hopelessly ignorant of everything. In other words, they are strictly students in a professional school which trains them for the practice of common law; and the school has jealously kept itself free from contact with academic students and professors. Could we create a school which could teach certain branches of business--let us say railroading and banking--on such a basis? If we could, I think we might make a great success, and mark an era for education in business. The World of Business, edited by faculty members of the Harvard Business School, Simon and Schuster, 1962, Vol.III, P1555 .
You had earned respect over the years and therefore it was near certain that other institutions would follow your example. In 1909 counselor-at-law, Philip Mauro acknowledged your influence in his book, The Number of Man:
Probably there is no institution in the United States which exerts a greater influence upon the formation of ideas than Harvard University. Some of the best minds of the country have their ideas formed and their ideals shaped in the atmosphere of that ancient and highly respectable seat of learning, and upon leaving it they become propagators of those ideas and ideals. In doing this they are aided by having, in addition to their own personal intelligence and culture, the weight of the influence and authority of the University. By sampling, therefore, the ideas that prevail, and are held in esteem at Harvard at the present time, we may learn what ideas will shortly become (if they be not already) current among the intellectual, or so-called "thinking," classes all over the land.
What the main thrust of those ideas would be Mauro found exemplified in the much- publicized class poem of 1908 which was titled "Man," the poem's theme being that mankind is the only savior of man:
Mankind, the Christ retried-- Recrowned, recrucified; No god for a gift, God gave us. Mankind alone must save us. . .
The quest for 'knowledge and godlynes' was being replaced by the worship of man and the achievements of man. You taught that collective mankind (under your direction) must be changed. You indulged yourself in an overwhelming conceit. You sought to change society and the way it was organized. Many who passed through your halls of learning adopted your goals and your philosophy. From law and business to theology education and politics--ambition and power were overtaking 'knowledge and godlynes' as your motivating forces. Success or lack of success in reaching your goals was becoming your standard to determine what was right and what was wrong.
You were uprooting your heritage and dishonoring your historical Christian foundation even as Christian ministers and Christian missionaries in the Nineteenth Century were helping to improve life for millions in many countries. In India the custom of suttee, or the sacrifice of a Hindu widow on the funeral pyre of her husband was being discontinued. Widows remarried. The caste system was breaking down. In China foot binding had been discredited and in 1905 it was outlawed.
Africa was no longer the Dark Continent. To reach remote spots missionaries had become explorers, and they contributed enormously to the store of geographical knowledge. David Livingston alone added about a million square miles to the known land surface. Missionary roads had been built all through the continent, and a wholesome form of trade, stimulated and encouraged by missionaries brought material benefits to once-isolated tribes. The Congo, Nile, Zambezi, and Niger rivers and their heavily populated valleys had been made known to the outside world largely through missionary efforts.
The Bible was translated into hundreds of tongues and dialects during the nineteenth century. British missionaries alone were responsible for the illustration of nearly two hundred African languages and dialects with grammars, dictionaries, vocabularies and translations of the Bible. They translated not only the Bible, but textbooks and literature such as Pilgrim's Progress, Shakespeare's works, Tennyson, Edmund Burke, Jefferson, the United States Constitution, Benjamin Franklin, etc.
Missionaries became advisors to once-tyrannical rulers whose children were sent to mission schools. Christian hospitals, schools and charities were improving life in the cities. Even skeptical observers in the last quarter of the 19th Century were aware that Christianity had become a powerful force for good.
But your answer to all this was to agree with Auguste Comte's materialist/positivist call for the elimination of Christianity. You threw away your compass and claimed the freedom to travel without direction. Your social science professors became obsessed with the idea that they could find a grand formula to manage a perfect world.
In this endeavor the power of the purse was with you. The Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford, Danforth and other foundations cooperated in your experiments and your rush to enshrine social science as the savior of mankind. The federal government was generous with grants. You have had wealth beyond imagination and you have used it to set standards, form organizations and dazzle elected officials. Barely realizing what they were doing many exchanged loyalty to the home folks who elected them for loyalty to policies concocted at Harvard.
Was this what should happen in a free country? Did the free citizens of the United States need to have the Constitution dishonored and their collective future planned by a swarm of university social "scientists?" James Bryant Conant, your president from 1933 to 1953, thought this should be the case. Your professors were to be more than teachers of students. They were to become policy makers in education, business, science, religion, government, and law. In his 1948 book, Education in a Divided World, Conant wrote:
The methods of certain of the social sciences have already been developed to a point where studies of society by competent scholars can provide basic information to assist the leaders of the nation. The scholars in these disciplines can help train not only public officials but those who carry responsibility for resolving the many human problems in our complex industrial economy. P. 35
More and more I believe that the nation and different groups within the nation (geographic, social, or economic groups) must look to university scholars for guidance in handling basic social and economic problems. To this end the professors of these subjects must explore vigorously not only the fundamental aspects of man's behavior but the applications of our present knowledge. P. 172
If one hopes, as I do, that within fifty years the deep cleavage now dividing the world will become only a relatively shallow ditch, the children now in school may live to see the day when the present arguments for world government may not be entirely fantastic. P. 217
World government? Citizens of the United States of America to submit to a government of the world? What kind of an insane goal was this to foist on the people of Wisconsin? Minnesota? Illinois? Missouri? Texas? North Dakota? Nebraska? Virginia? Rhode Island?.......all of the states? Should they be governed by managers from Africa, Asia, South America and Europe? Was your president Conant out of his mind? You did not seem to think so. You continued to believe you had a mission to manage and change your countrymen into obedient subjects, rather than self governing citizens.
To make the changes you visualized, the emotions of those affected would need to be changed. You had a terms for this process which you called, "emotional reeducation" or "human relations training." In 1943 you began inviting corporate executives to Harvard for human relations training. FORTUNE magazine of February 1949 tells us that by 1949 more than one thousand top executives had taken thirteen weeks out of their business lives to study Harvard management practices. They emerged from the courses, FORTUNE tells us, with attitudes so different they seemed to be "changed" men. Since then thousands more have participated. I expect they felt honored out of their wits to be included.
The young also needed to be educated to your beliefs and goals. Every philosopher with world management ambition knows the importance of education but how would it be possible to control education at the national level when the states, not the federal government were in charge? Never mind. Conant had a plan. He wrote about it in his 1964 book, Shaping Educational Policy:
Why not a new venture in cooperative federalism? Why not a compact between all the states? To be quite specific, let me be bold and make a suggestion for a possible way by which the road to development of a nationwide educational policy might be opened up. Let the fifty states, or at least fifteen to twenty of the more populous states, enter into a compact for the creation of an "Interstate Commission for Planning a Nationwide Educational Policy."
Before a year had passed, and with grants from the Carnegie Corporation and the Danforth Foundation, plus a push from the National Governors' Conference the project was on its way. The Education Commission of the States was born with most of the states participating.
After the formation of the Education Commission of the States it was easy to control education policy and shut out local parents, teachers and school boards. In each state the seven members included everyone necessary to establish control and carry out plans. In Wisconsin the governor appointed a state senator to introduce legislation in the senate, a state representative to introduce the same legislation in his governing body, the chief school officer to promote and carry out changes, the president of the university system, a private university representative to give his sanction, and a public school representative.
Harvard, in almost every area of life you have blocked the ability of citizens and tax payers to make their own choices. You set up groups as decision makers. You set up courses to indoctrinate new university presidents, new mayors, new legislators, judges. They all learned the HARvard Management System. They all received some form of emotional reeducation.
When Conant and others called for busing children away from neighborhood schools parents who objected did not know it, but their battle was lost before it was started, especially since in addition to pressure from the Education Commission of the States, and support from the Chamber of Commerce, the Federal judges who heard the arguments had been told how to decide the cases before they were heard. (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL -October 4, 1975)
When parents all over the country objected to having their children trained in the moral reasoning of your Professor Lawrence Kohlberg they fought in vain. Teacher training for Moral Reasoning had already been funded by Carnegie Corporation. Children were taught that the highest stage of moral development is when they decide for themselves what behavior is moral. That was exactly what Charles Manson and his little band of lost souls had done. They had no consciences. They were moral reasoners. They could contrive a reason for anything they wanted to do.
Some people seemed to believe if a program came from Harvard it had to be OK. You really had them fooled on that. I expect you were proud of what you had done because it showed you had power over people. Your human relations knowledge was paying off.
B. F. Skinner was another Harvard professor who thought along the same lines as Kohlberg. To his mind men did not need a conscience because they could be controlled by their environment. He wrote:
A scientific analysis of behavior dispossesses autonomous man and turns the control he has been said to exert over to the environment. The individual may then seem particularly vulnerable. He is henceforth to be controlled by the world around him, and in large part by other men. . . environmental contingencies now take over functions once attributed to autonomous man, and certain questions arise. Is man then abolished? Certainly not as a species or as an individual achiever. It is the autonomous inner man who is abolished, and that is a step forward. . . His abolition has been long overdue. Beyond Freedom and Dignity, B. F. Skinner, Bantam/Vantage Book, 1971, P.196, 205. (NOTE: Book funded by the National Institute of Mental Health).
In your drive for power you have had little to fear from the mass media. That was taken care of years ago by the Nieman scholarships for journalists. Since 1938 an average of a dozen working journalists have been awarded one year scholarships to Harvard--complete with maintenance. Hundreds of journalists with an intense loyalty to Harvard have thus been created.
Harvard, you have had trust, knowledge, wealth, respect and honors, but it was not enough. Your campus was not enough. Your state was not enough. You wanted the world. You sought authority, power and control. But you no longer know what is right and what is wrong. You might consider yourself the intellectual powerhouse of the world, but you don't know right from wrong. You know how to form and control groups, but you don't know right from wrong.
Your management system and your lust for power are changing our country, our states, our cities. It has changed the way business is conducted. It has changed relationships between people. It has changed the way children are taught. It is robbing us of our heritage. OH HARVARD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
© 2004 Erica Carle - All Rights Reserved
Erica Carle is an independent researcher and writer. She has a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been involved in radio and television writing and production, and has also taught math and composition at the private school her children attended in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For ten years she wrote a weekly column, "Truth In Education" for WISCONSIN REPORT, and served as Education Editor for that publication.
Her books are GIVE US THE YOUNG--$5 Plus $2.00 P&H WHY THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE--$16 PLUS $4.00 P&H BOTH BOOKS -- $25 Total. A loose leaf collection of quotes titled, SIX GENERATIONS TO SERFDOM is also available--$15 Plus $2.00 P&H. Mailing address: Erica Carle; PO Box 261; Elm Grove, WI 53122.
"You had a terms for this process which you called, "emotional reeducation" or "human relations training." In 1943 you began inviting corporate executives to Harvard for human relations training. FORTUNE magazine of February 1949 tells us that by 1949 more than one thousand top executives had taken thirteen weeks out of their business lives to study Harvard management practices."