Michael Bloomberg excoriated the cloistered campus left in his commencement speech at Harvard University on Thursday. He reminded them that free speech is not merely a legal right, but a philosophical necessity for any free society, and proceeded to condemn both the politicization of academic work and the recent boycotts of commencement speakers. From an adapted version of the speech:
There is an idea floating around college campuses — including here at Harvard — that scholars should be funded only if their work conforms to a particular view of justice. There’s a word for that idea: censorship. And it is just a modern-day form of McCarthyism. […]This spring, it has been disturbing to see a number of college commencement speakers withdraw, or have their invitations rescinded, after protests from students and — to me, shockingly — from senior faculty and administrators who should know better.
The former Mayor of New York went on to note that 96% of the Ivy League faculties contributed to Barack Obama in the last elections. When the crowd began to clap, he continued, “there was more disagreement among the old Soviet Politburo than there is among Ivy League donors.”Bloomberg later returns to form, warning the academy not to become like Washington, where politicians try to “repress” each others’ views. Which policies in particular were subject to repression? Namely those he (and his audience) supported, while conservatives successfully opposed: gun-control measures and large federal investments in climate change research.Watch for yourself: