You probably beat Harvard’s moral IQ

Harvard has done deep damage to its brand since October 7th.

By Noah Beck | | Topics: Antisemitism, Gaza
Dr Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and the Workforce Committee at the Rayburn Building in the US Capitol, Washington, DC, USA, 05 December 2023. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER
Dr Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and the Workforce Committee at the Rayburn Building in the US Capitol, Washington, DC, USA, 05 December 2023. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

It’s never been easier to beat Harvard’s moral IQ, which has dropped to moronic levels since the Hamas massacre of October 7th. Thirty-one Harvard student groups promptly defended the Hamas atrocities, and the university came under fire for its tardy and weak response. When Harvard president Claudine Gay finally spoke with greater moral clarity, over 100 faculty members condemned her for itNow Harvard will be federally investigated over claims of campus antisemitism.

The university’s president testified on December 5th before the House committee on Education & the Workforce but only made things worse. Her performance was so abysmal that there are now Congressional calls to defund Harvard.

To see if you beat Harvard’s moral IQ, just take this quiz by indicating if one should PRAISE or CONDEMN the following (the correct answer appears after each question, so that you can score yourself).

1) 3,000 terrorists breach a sovereign border to murder over 1,000 people and abduct hundreds more, including countless elderly, women, and children (CONDEMN)

2) The terrorists incinerate babies, behead innumerable victims, burn entire communities, rape and murder women and then parade their mutilated bodies before cheering crowds (CONDEMN)

3) The above atrocities will cause even more civilian suffering because they will predictably provoke a justified and massive military response (CONDEMN)

Two “harder,” bonus questions:

1) Should any answer change if the victim is more privileged than the perpetrator? If you answer yes, then your wokeness has obliterated your moral IQ.

2) Should any answer change if the victim is Israeli and the perpetrator is Palestinian? If you answer yes, then you are an anti-Semite.

If you managed to get all five questions right, your moral IQ beats Harvard’s!

The fact that Harvard admits students who can’t pass such an absurdly easy moral quiz, and then – having admitted them – failed to educate them enough for them to ace the test during their time at Harvard, and similarly failed to react appropriately during the very public demonstration of such failures, downgrades the Harvard brand to ethical idiocy.

Still confused? Here’s a crash course in Ethics 101.

Culpability hinges on intent. A woman who tries to save a drowning boy but ultimately fails deserves praise, not blame. But if the same woman tries to drown the boy but fails, she’s guilty of attempted murder. In each example, judgment depends on what outcome was intended.

This simple principle applies to all moral judgments, including those of military operations. And yet when it comes to Israel, campus activists (even at “elite” universities like Harvard), much of the media, and the international community all suffer from a staggering blind spot around the fundamental issue of intent.

When Hamas committed all of the atrocities mentioned above, the terrorists indisputably intended all of the civilian harms they caused, as evidenced by their chosen targets and celebration of their crimes.

But the intent of the Israeli military response is to protect Israeli civilians from a bloodthirsty terrorist group that openly plans to commit more October 7th-type massacres.

When Hamas militarily operates from hospitals, and otherwise uses Gazan civilians as human shields, Hamas intends the civilian harms that predictably result when attacking from behind those noncombatants, knowing that return fire will target that position. Civilian casualties are caused by Hamas’ cynical decision to sacrifice Gazans because the world will (wrongly) blame Israel when Gazans are inadvertently hurt by Israel’s attempt to strike at Hamas.

Does the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intend to harm Gazan civilians? If that were the goal, the IDF could have killed hundreds of thousands of Gazans in a few days by leveling every high-rise building in Gaza. Israel wouldn’t bother trying to evacuate civilians, despite Hamas’ persistent attempts to thwart such evacuations.

Israel endangers its own soldiers to protect Gazans with its time-consuming reliance on ground troops. That far more painstaking and dangerous approach also imperils Israeli civilians because they remain exposed to Hamas rocket attacks. In fact, Hamas broke the latest ceasefire with rocket barrages that would have been impossible had the IDF simply flattened all of Gaza in a few days.

Absurdly, global calls for a ceasefire pressure Israel to accelerate its operations, but haste will only increase the very civilian casualties that the international community presumably wants to minimize. The same demands for a ceasefire also overlook that there was already one in place on October 6th and Hamas brutally broke it.

All of this should be glaringly obvious to anyone with a minimum moral IQ, which is why Harvard has done such deep damage to its brand since October 7th.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic submarine thriller about Iranian nukes, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

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