Bloomberg at Harvard: Ivy League Censorship is 'Modern McCarthyism'

Thursday, 29 May 2014 07:29 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg scolded Ivy League liberals Thursday, delivering a graduation address at Harvard that decried university censorship of conservatives as "just a modern form of McCarthyism."

"Think about the irony," said Bloomberg, an independent who endorsed President Obama's reelection, Business Insider reported.

"In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species."

"And that is probably nowhere more true than it is here in the Ivy League."

Bloomberg decried recent campus protests of commencement speakers because of their views, including Condoleezza Rice at Rutgers University, where protests targeted her role in the Iraq War; and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who canceled at Smith College because of student criticism of her agency's policies.

"The more we embrace the free exchange of ideas and the more we accept that political diversity, the healthier we are and the stronger our society will be," Bloomberg said, the Boston Globe reported.

"A liberal arts education must not be an education in the arts of liberalism," he said.

Bloomberg also lashed out at campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty members during the 2012 presidential race that showed heavily Democratic university staff, the Globe reported.

"In the 2012 presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data, 96 percent of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama," he said. "There was more disagreement among the old Soviet politburo than there is among Ivy League donors."

The lack of diversity deprives students of differing perspectives, he said.

"Neither party has a monopoly of truth or God on its side," he said. "When 96 percent of Ivy League donors prefer one candidate to another, you really have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a great university should offer. A university cannot be great if its faculty is politically homogeneous."

Bloomberg received an honorary degree along with former President George H.W. Bush.

"It is seldom on this stage that we take the occasion to honor a former member of the cheerleading squad at Yale," Harvard provost Alan Garber said of the 41st president.

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