Religion & Liberty Online

The politically correct rule at Harvard Law

What do President Donald J. Trump and Ronald Sullivan, a professor at Harvard Law School, have in common? At first glance, nothing. However, a careful reading of recent news reveals that these two men were victims of a political trend that has engulfed American society and has been turning the land of freedom into a grotesque experiment of authoritarianism.

Let us start with Sullivan. A black law professor occupying a senior position in one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States, he saw his life turned upside down when he agreed to defend the infamous Harvey Weinstein. You read it right! Sullivan decided to be a lawyer for the alleged criminal who triggered the #MeToo movement. Such action could not go unpunished on one of America’s most progressive campuses. Last week, due to the mobilization of snowflake students seeking safe spaces, Sullivan lost his post of residential dean — he was the first black to occupy such position.

In the Roman legal tradition — one of the pillars of Western civilization — the figure of the lawyer could never be mistaken by that of the defendant. In many Latin American dictatorships, lawyers defended communist terrorists and political prisoners without being victims of state persecution. In 2019, a bunch of Harvard students decided that it did not matter.

Lawyer Sullivan has been punished for being a lawyer.

Alan Dershowitz — who taught at the same university — said that McCarthyism had come to Harvard. He’s wrong. Joe McCarthy was a patriot who fought the well-documented infiltration of communist agents into the American government. The Harvard students are a bunch of hysterical teenagers, political fanatics in search of a cause, pyromaniacs eager to set fire to anyone who does not pray according to the politically correct creed. Things are indeed worse, but it is all quiet on the Harvard front.

The issue involving Trump is better known, but more complicated. After two years of a criminal investigation that would make Comrade Beria proud, Robert Mueller found nothing, strictly nothing.

Mueller was appointed to decide whether to indict the president or not. He had only two options and ended up creating a third one entirely fanciful. To make matters worse, Mueller decided to throw a tantrum on Attorney General William Barr about the disclosure of the criminal investigation report. One report, by the way, that is a shame due to the lack of rigor in its conclusions. However, Mueller could not leave empty handed the very media that since 2016 has been falsely spreading the lie that the president of the United States is an agent of Vladimir Putin. So, as his last act before leaving the stage, Bob Mueller advanced a bogus theory of obstruction of justice, which in its bottom line implies that any action that defendants make that do not please prosecutors and investigators is obstruction of justice – even complaining about the investigation itself.

Many prosecutors nowadays are behaving like Hollywood divas, 21th-century prima donnas. They do not see themselves as law enforcement agents — abide by the rule of law –, but as vigilantes.

And no, that is not Stalin’s Russia, it is America 2019.

These two cases are not an exception. For decades, an erosion of the rule of law has been orchestrated by bureaucrats, politicians, and interest groups who, through a spurious association, have expanded the power of the federal government and, consequently, their control as well.

Lawrence Stratton’s The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000)– widely praised by Alan Dershowitz and Milton Friedman — gives a proper dimension of how prosecutors and bureaucrats abuse the law to oppress citizens without power – and resources – to defend themselves. Stratton’s book last edition is from 2008, but any careful observer of American political life can conclude that, ten years later, the situation is much worse.

This uncontrolled expansion of state power has been the most outstanding feature of the western world since at least the beginning of the last century as states historian Robert Higgs. This trend worsened in the 1960s considerably, when the ever-growing public administration decided to adopt a philosophy of its own, aiming to justify its existence and to ensure that the process of bureaucracies’ expansion of power vis-à-vis the citizens’ individual freedoms would never be in jeopardy. This ideology is political correctness, which since the 1960s began to monopolize the political debate in the United States and, at the end of the Cold War, became the dominant ideology.

Not so much Roosevelt’s New Deal, but Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and its ideological dimension, which empowered the federal bureaucracy to fight prejudice. And what is prejudice? As well as hate speech, prejudice is any thought or act that runs counter to the ruling class’s desire for power. The Frankfurt School’s politically correct ideology and the tendency of bureaucracies to never stop expanding have led to a more or less official policy that all those who do not follow in line with the ruling class need to be re-educated.

Republicans and Democrats alike have been accomplices of the transformation of America into a vast mental gulag, in which all dissenting thinking must be corrected, and all dissatisfied should bend to the knees before the enlightened elite. As Democrats push the country even further to the left, Republicans not only accept it but also promote a foreign policy based on the same principles. In other words, Democrats rule as Jacobins in internal affairs and Republicans, when they can, spread this ideology across the world.

In part, the hatred of the elites towards Trump is nurtured by his refusal to weaponize the American government as an agent of Jacobinism as known as neoconservatism.

Left-wingers such as Gabriel Kolko, William Appleman Williams, and Nomi Prins, and libertarians such as Murray Rothbard and Higgs agree that what drove the process of concentration of power in the federal bureaucracy was precisely the idea of transforming the United States into an imperial power. As Trump campaigned to throw away the ruling elites’ imperialist goals, he became the first existential threat the establishment had to deal with since the re-election of Richard Nixon in 1972. And, therefore, someone needed to tear him apart.

The illegal activities of the FBI, CIA, NSA, et tutti quanti, on the one hand, and the hysterics of the #MeToo movement, on the other, represent two faces of the same problems: the rise of an authoritarian regime which, contrary to Fascism, promises to crush freedom in the name of love, of humanity and of everything that is good. The Conservatives have slept for too long, and it is likely that the tipping point has already been reached. The profound transformations that have annihilated the old constitutional order seem to me all but reversible.

Homepage picture: WikiCommons.

Silvio Simonetti

Silvio Simonetti is a Brazilian lawyer, graduated in international affairs from the Bush School at Texas A & M University. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Acton Institute. Silvio loves history and the Catholic Church.