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The New Yorker, Senator Cruz, and Harvard Law School


In a recent post titled “Is Senator Cruz Our New McCarthy?The New Yorker continued the media attack on Senator Ted Cruz. While the article derides Senator Cruz for lacking nuance, its title is hardly a model of thoughtful consideration.

The article goes on to mock Senator Cruz for stating that he knew of only one Republican professor in his time at Harvard Law School.  Professor Charles Fried, who taught Senator Cruz in law school, rebuts the claim by noting that he knew of four Republican professors during that time. 

The New Yorker seems to think that Professor Fried’s rebuttal conclusively demonstrates how ludicrous Senator Cruz’s statement is. In reality, however, the “rebuttal” affirms the point that Senator Cruz was making.

As a current student at Harvard Law, I can only speak from my own experience. There are currently 101 full-time professors at Harvard Law School. When she was dean, Elena Kagan was sensitive to the ideological imbalance and made several right-leaning hires. We can take Professor Fried’s four Republicans as a baseline and double or even triple it. Let’s say there are twelve Republican professors at Harvard Law now. That means just twelve professors out of 101 are Republicans. 

Senator Cruz’s broader point was that Harvard Law School (and elite education more generally) is ideologically monolithic. The fact that The New Yorker thinks that it rebutted that claim by showing a numeric pittance of professors are right-leaning is absurd. 

The New Yorker is no doubt committed to diversity, but that commitment doesn’t seem to include intellectual diversity. Rather, it appears that the version of diversity championed by The New Yorker is one where those of different races, religions, and creeds all come together to learn how to think the same. 

Group-think, however, is never beneficial. A lack of intellectual diversity has a corrosive effect on intellectual integrity. In other words, if everyone agrees, then meaningful debate never occurs. 

Despite the lack of substance in the attack on Senator Cruz, the strategy seems fairly clear. The two ways that the Left most frequently tries to marginalize Republicans are by calling them intellectually inept or attacking them for being rich. 

Neither attack works on Senator Cruz, however. He graduated from Princeton and then Harvard Law (where he was magna cum laude). He isn’t from a privileged background either, as his father arrived in the U.S. penniless from Cuba. The only method left to marginalize Senator Cruz is to claim that he’s out of the ideological mainstream. 

Time will tell if the attacks prove effective or not, but if they do, the only victim will be the American public. Senator Cruz is as far away from Joe McCarthy and un-Americanism as a Senator can be. He’s passionate, exceedingly intelligent, and from humble beginnings. If a Senator like Ted Cruz isn’t welcome in the Senate, then perhaps that institution has changed for the worse.


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