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The Consequences of Ignoring Reality

In a meeting this week with the President of a major U.S. university, I was introduced to the "Kalven Report," issued in 1967 in response to the protest movements and civil unrest on campuses during the late 1960s.

The report's main conclusion was that "neutrality" is vital to a university's mission: "the discovery, improvement, and dissemination of knowledge."

Well, a few questions. 

Firstly, regarding which types of political or social actions should the president of a university remain neutral? Are there any red lines?

Secondly, what is the definition of knowledge? What about blatant lies or historical inaccuracies?

Harvard University's shield is embedded with the motto 'Veritas,' which means 'Truth.'

There can only be civil discourse in the pursuit of knowledge if there is an agreed-upon premise. The simple, universally accepted premise is that of 'truth.' Without this, there is no common language.

Academic leaders should be primarily responsible for providing a healthy framework so that civil debates can thrive in a productive manner. Any declaration of blatant historical lies and moral perversion must be called out by the leadership.

This makes sense from a moral standpoint and is also the pragmatic thing to do. Lies have consequences and are not sustainable, as they are not based on reality.

As Ayn Rand said, “You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

Yosef Vogel

1 Comment

Well said

I'm sitting on a balcony of a Jewish house on the hills of the Shomrom (Samaria) in what is known as Area C under the fateful Oslo Accords

The v same green hills & valleys around Shechem (Nablus) where Abraham & his sons once walked & received covenants, hills & valleys now covered all over with competing Jewish & Arab settlements (Yeshuvs)

And below is the whole of the centre of Israel, visible, on a clear day, from Ashdod & Ashkelon on the South to Haifa in the North, with all the key residential, commercial, industrial, scientific & transport & power infrastructure of the Jewish State- trains airports Sea ports power stations & desalination plants

And it's just…

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