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Eventually, tech theorist Clay Shirky has argued, so many people will have nude photos on the internet that there will be no shame in one of them being yours. Privacy will no longer be necessary. It will be a halcyon time for politicians: No matter how much dirt your enemies dig up, none of it will stick, because having done bad things and making stupid mistakes will be considered normative.

Eventually isn’t here yet. So in the meantime, people who are either too boring to have done anything wrong or so lucky that they haven’t gotten caught are deploying social media in a vicious online pogrom against those deemed politically incorrect. It’s Orwell meets the Salem witch trials via “The Lord of the Flies,” social justice warrior-style.

Thoughtcrime is already a prosecutable offense. A U.S. federal court has indicted WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange for thinking about, for merely what-if musing in conversation with Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, about hacking a government computer. The government admits there was never an actual hack. Undercover FBI agents entice young Muslim men into nonexistent terrorist plots in order to entrap them. An Ohio man on probation for possession of child pornography was sentenced to seven years in prison for a handwritten diary he had written for his own use that depicted rape and torture of children — disgusting but purely theoretical.

Coming of age pre-internet, I rest secure in the knowledge that most of my screw-ups and youthful indiscretions remain blissfully undigitized and unsearchable. I was wrong, I did bad things, and hopefully, I learned and won’t repeat the same ones.

People under age 35 or so don’t have that luxury. As Edward Snowden remarked, “They understand what it means to make a mistake, have someone with a smartphone in the room and then have it haunt you for the rest of your time in high school or college or whatever.”

If and when Shirky’s vision is realized, it won’t matter. Digital evidence of intemperate language and drunk texts and obscene selfies will be so widespread that their revelation will be met with a collective shrug. Until then, we will have cases like that of Kyle Kashuv.

Kashuv, 18, is the right-wing counterpart of David Hogg. Both men survived the mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, and both got into Harvard College. Unlike Hogg, however, Kashuv is a right-winger and speaks at pro-gun rallies. Also unlike Hogg, it has been revealed that Kashuv spewed a bunch of racist and anti-Semitic slurs online when he was 16. After Kashuv issued a series of apologies, Harvard rescinded his acceptance.

Let that sink in: when he was 16.

Kashuv claims to have become “a better person.” Maybe, maybe not. But even if he hasn’t, even if he’s still and really a bigot, how are his private and political thoughts any of Harvard’s business as long as he keeps his racist BS to himself?


Harvard is extremely unforgiving of its prospective freshmen. They previously rescinded admissions from 10 kids who shared dirty memes about the college on Facebook and also famously rescinded admission from from a woman who served time in prison for murder, because she didn’t reveal her record on her application. Why should she have to? She did her time. Let her study up and move on.

It is notable that Kashuv apologized at length, eloquently, repeatedly. The only way to fix bad words is with good words, and he did that. Was he sincere? Only he knows that; frankly, that should be enough.

The admissions officers are punishing something even more ephemeral than thoughtcrime. Call it post-thoughtcrime.

Harvard is turning this guy away either because they suspect he is insufficiently repentant or, more likely, because they think that what he said two years ago was so awfully distasteful that he deserves to be sanctioned despite and after he recanted, reformed and (claimed to have) stopped being the person who wrote those racist and anti-Semitic comments. Thoughtcrime is sinister and invasive; post-thoughtcrime goes still further because it eliminates even the possibility of redemption.

This, Harvard College is telling the world, is not a young man, a tabula rasa whose future is unwritten. Rather, his racist comments at age 16 make him a filthy demon worthy only of scorn and contempt, as forever toxic as Chernobyl. Harvard chooses to believe that he is as he behaved at his worst, two years ago. They choose to ignore him as he claims to be now, better. The evil must be true; the good must be a lie. Apologies are worthless, merely the self-serving rhetoric of the justly condemned villain. There is nothing for Kashuv to do but slink away and die.

Social media comments about Kashuv applaud Harvard’s lack of mercy. It never occurs to the howling mob that someday they or someone they love might need and want some mercy themselves.

Harvard’s attitude is no outlier. It is an interesting iteration of a society that sentences criminals to the longest prison terms in the world, and they’re getting longer. If and when you get out, the system forces you to tell employers that you’re an ex-con, so you can never find a good job. In America, all it takes to ruin your life is one bad decision.

Even in “1984,” all that Orwell’s totalitarian state required of its citizens was to love Big Brother. Former dissidents cured of their heresies by terror and torture were permitted to live out their lives. The Party didn’t hold the fact they hadn’t always loved Big Brother against them.

Ted Rall, the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.” He is on Twitter @TedRall. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.

Copyright 2019

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Academia, Political Correctness 
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  1. Eventually, tech theorist Clay Shirky

    This is where it all becomes surreal.

    After graduating from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine art in 1986, he moved to New York.[7] In the 1990s he founded the Hard Place Theater, a theatre company that produced non-fiction theater using only found materials such as government documents, transcripts and cultural records[7] and also worked as a lighting designer for other theater and dance companies, including the Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service and Dana Reitz.[8] During this time, Shirky was vice-president of the New York chapter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and wrote technology guides for Ziff Davis. He appeared as an expert witness on cyberculture in Shea v. Reno, a case cited in the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Communications Decency Act in 1996. Shirky was the first Professor of New Media in the Media Studies department at Hunter College, where he developed the MFA in Integrated Media Arts program. In the Fall of 2010, Shirky was a visiting Morrow Lecturer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government[9] instructing a course titled: “New Media and Public Action


  2. Matthew says:

    Maybe avoiding Harvard is good for Kashuv. Other places offer good education without bad politics

    • Replies: @Zimriel
  3. Let that which they have prepared for others, come upon themselves.

  4. Years ago I knew a young man who was a student at Harvard in the early 1970s (true story).

    He had long hair, smoked dope, listened to Reggae music.

    His “secret” was that he subscribed to virtually every white nationalist, kkk, neo nazi publication that existed at the time. He collected them in big piles that he kept in a corner of his dorm room.

    He did it because he was eccentric and had a dark sense of humor (and because he just couldn’t resist “forbidden fruit”). He loved showing off these publications and laughing while his visitors freaked out.

    These days he would be expelled for sure.

  5. I’ve said this on other posts, but I’ll repeat it again for newbies. The university is returning to its traditional role as the developer and enforcer of religious orthodoxy. The modern religion is the Cult of Absolute Racial Equality and Negro Veneration. Any serious deviancy (e.g., heresy) from the Cult means expulsion and ostracism from the religious (university) community. It doesn’t matter when or the circumstances under which the heresy was uttered; no challenge to the orthodoxy of the believers can be tolerated.

    The Holy Inquisition was, in a way, more merciful. A heretic who sincerely repented his heresy and committed to orthodoxy could be welcomed back into the community. Of course, the Inquisition also tortured and executed unrepentant heretics and the present orthodox community doesn’t do that . . . yet.

    • Agree: Digital Samizdat
  6. It’s fun to watch old-school liberals like Rall bemoan the Frankenstein that they’ve created. They demonized white culture (from which the Enlightenment and its ideals sprung) and any white who might be proud of their people and heritage.

    Then, in a bout of unimaginable hubris, they opened the floodgates to non-white immigration to the West, assuming that these people would naturally transform themselves in the dark-faced versions of liberal whites because, well, white liberals are the pinnacle of evolution. (Well, evolution would suggest that various races – population groups if you want – would adapt to their various environments and cultures, leading to physical and behavioral differences, so evolution is racist and thus evil so let’s not use that word.)

    Now, they are shocked – shocked! – to discover that Enlightenment ideals such as free speech and open debate are no longer valued and, indeed, despised. Well, Mr. Rall, would exactly did you expect? By the way, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until whites are a minority, which won’t be too long. Some kid losing admission to Harvard will be the least of our problems.

    That multi-culti fantasy land that people like Rall imagined in their salad days will look a lot more the Haitian revolution or the current South Africa. Thanks Ted. You guys did a bang up job of destroying the ideals that you claimed to love.

  7. It is notable that Kashuv apologized at length, eloquently, repeatedly. The only way to fix bad words is with good words, and he did that

    It is notable? Notable of what? Apologies do nothing, except incite the lunatics further. NEVER APOLOGIZE.

    It’s not the only way to fix bad words. It’s not the way to do anything at all.

    And while we are at it, let’s take back “bad” words from the crazies. All of them. The n-word is used every day in every way by black people. It’s time that everyone uses it every day in every way.

    Kashuv should have stood his ground. He should have said simply, I was joking around with friends. I am not ashamed of that. Would I joke around in the same way now that I am older? Probably not. But so what? It was just words among friends.

    And even if it wasn’t? So what? What is this word police nonsense that is spreading like a deadly virus throughout Western Civilization?

    Take the culture back. Don’t apologize. Look where it got Kashuv or any of the other examples you mentioned. No where. Take the culture back. Stop apologizing for using words that everyone usea all the time anyway.

  8. @restless94110

    Whites need to stop apologizing for being white and wanting to be around other white people and our culture.

    I prefer to live in white neighborhoods because whites create a culture and a feel that fits me because I’m white. I don’t hate other races, but I do acknowledge that they are different and that the culture that springs from the biology of whites will never be created by other groups. Nor should it. They create worlds that fit them.

    People like Rall are infantile in the way only intellectuals can be. Time for whites to grow up.

  9. @Diversity Heretic

    Our theocracy has to be brutal because it’s built on a lie and its morality (hate whitey and his ideals) is unsustainable. They can’t allow any dissent. As things get worse, their repression will grow.

  10. From the standpoint of cultural change, Kashuv’s treatment is probably a good thing. If he reacts normally, it will be with a fiery and lifelong hatred of the system that has treated him so unjustly. Harvard has perhaps made a revolutionary, where before it might have made just another bureaucrat.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
  11. anon[381] • Disclaimer says:

    It is notable that Kashuv apologized at length

    He should have denied it. The bigger the lie, etc.

    Larry Summers got fired for saying men are better at math, after all.

    As a general strategy, its impossible to erase anything from the internet, but possible to be mis-identified.

  12. At least he doesn’t have to go to Harvard.

  13. Even in “1984,” all that Orwell’s totalitarian state required of its citizens was to love Big Brother. Former dissidents cured of their heresies by terror and torture were permitted to live out their lives. The Party didn’t hold the fact they hadn’t always loved Big Brother against them.

    It’s not clear that that’s true. From Part 3, Chapter 4 of 1984:

    All the while, with one part of his mind, he wondered how soon they would shoot him. ‘Everything depends on yourself,’ O’Brien had said; but he knew that there was no conscious act by which he could bring it nearer. It might be ten minutes hence, or ten years. They might keep him for years in solitary confinement, they might send him to a labour-camp, they might release him for a while, as they sometimes did. It was perfectly possible that before he was shot the whole drama of his arrest and interrogation would be enacted all over again. The one certain thing was that death never came at an expected moment. The tradition — the unspoken tradition: somehow you knew it, though you never heard it said — was that they shot you from behind; always in the back of the head, without warning, as you walked down a corridor from cell to cell.

  14. lavoisier says: • Website

    Harvard’s attitude is no outlier. It is an interesting iteration of a society that sentences criminals to the longest prison terms in the world, and they’re getting longer.

    Only certain crimes are worthy of punishment.

    Thou shalt not speak ill of the Jews


    Thou shalt never suggest that there is such a thing as race.

  15. Both men survived the mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida

    Sorry to be impertinent, but neither of these boys stared down the barrel of the shooter’s gun, nor were they injured. Neither was even in the same room as the shooter at any time. So, in what way were they survivors?

    This constant referral to people being within a kilometre of a shooting as “survivors,” much less all the importance being attributed to their young skulls full of mush is galling to those who have actually survived someone taking shots at them.

  16. Zimriel says:

    Yeah? Where? It’s Harvard now. It’ll be Rice next. And then Podunk Community College.
    They are ALL taking government, banker, and corporate coin. This Deep State is making it harder and harder to disagree with the Narrative, and harder and harder to hide that you disagree.

  17. There’s a reason we don’t let 16-year olds vote, drink alcohol, or buy weapons — most are not responsible enough to make the right choices, though we hope they’ll wise up later in life. A black thug who mugged people at 16 would surely be forgiven as a misguided kid who made some bad life choices. But white racism can never be forgiven, even as a joke told by a minor who arguably didn’t know better.

  18. The Scalpel says: • Website

    Mr. Rall,

    What do you think of this quote rgarding 9/11 from Paul Craig Roberts?:

    ” Ted Rall says: “Everything I’ve read and watched on Truther sites is easily dismissed by anyone with a basic knowledge of physics and architecture. (I spent three years in engineering school.)

    Wow! What powerful credentials. Has Rall ever designed a high rise steel building? Could Rall engage in a debate with a professor of nano-chemistry? Could he refute Newton’s laws in a debate with university physicists? Does Rall know anything about maneuvering airplanes? Does he have an explanation why 100 firefighters, janitors, and police report hearing and experiencing explosions that they did not hear or experience?”


    Is Mr. Roberts guilty of thought crime?

    • Replies: @The Scalpel
  19. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @The Scalpel

    “as forever toxic as Chernobyl”

    but presumably not as toxic as Fukushima

    Ted Rall on thoughtcrime, perhaps a wolf in (admittedly excellent) sheep’s clothing

  20. Why would a self respecting white boy want to go to Harvard?

  21. Or, maybe Harvard didn’t want Kashuv because he can think for himself.

    Independent, original thought? This is the 21st century. We can’t have that.

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