The radical Left claimed its latest trophy this week, as Harvard University rescinded Kyle Kashuv’s admission to its undergraduate class of 2023. With yet another head thrust upon the outrage mob’s ideological spike, and another person’s life ruined by the clawing hands of the faceless masses, we must fight to protect three basic truths.
Children Are Humans, Not Weapons
Like all things in the eyes of the radical Left, children are seen as political tools. The Left truly adores children who are willing to become the flag-bearers of its agenda. Look to the adulation poured upon Swedish climate change advocate Greta Thunberg, or the endless media attention dedicated to the outspoken (and often controversial) gun control advocate David Hogg. Every child who is willing to become the Left’s voice-piece is immediately promoted as a mainstream authority figure, with supposed youthful innocence or sincerity acting as a convenient proxy for actual substantive knowledge.
As those who spend their time in the trenches of social media know full well, many on the Left who blindly idolize their figures of allocated authority and often demonstrate complete and utter contempt for those who do not conform — especially when these nonconformists belong to an intersectional group under the “protection” of the Left. The result is the destruction of characters like Kashuv, with cheers of delight as the mob witnesses their downfall.
Kashuv made the mistake of swimming against the tide by refusing to allow himself to be used as a leftist pawn in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting. Any such victim who is unwilling to allow his shoulders to become the foundation of leftist propaganda must eventually pay the price, and the Left’s macabre method of retrospective vengeance finally found its target in Kashuv.
Time Is Not Static
Time is a selectively malleable construct for those on the Left who hope to weaponize the past of their ideological enemies. It is uncontroversial to argue that most teenagers are emotionally and socially immature and, as a result, say or do immature (or even appalling) things. It is also uncontroversial to argue that we are not the same people at every stage of our lives. As our brains develop, our behavior develops, as does our opinion of our past selves. This is true year-on-year, if not day-by-day. It is certainly true if the child in question experiences a traumatic and life-flashing-before-your-eyes type of event, such as the Parkland school shooting, which may forever alter the individual and his perception of his past behavior.
Setting aside the undeniable fact that his language was despicable (Kashuv himself has admitted this publicly), his actions occurred months before the Parkland shooting — months before he became a public figure. We must acknowledge that his actions occurred as part of a timeline of human growth and progression, and that the 18-year-old Kyle Kashuv is not the 16-year-old Kyle Kashuv being condemned.
With our past becoming locked in an immortal electronic database, we must be forced to decide how we delineate human development. With many children holding some form of online identity at increasingly younger ages, there has to be some form of objective metric by which we measure behavior, and by which we can compare behavior across developmental stages.
Many will argue that Kyle Kashuv’s behavior was that of a stupid 16-year-old, but as an 18-year-old who has genuinely repented, he should be forgiven. However, we must also ask the broader question: What timeline should be used when it comes to rendering judgment? Would the Left have reacted with equal fury if Kyle Kashuv had used that same language as a 14-year-old? What about as a particularly vocal 1-year-old? If yes, can we ever escape our past?
Unless we can acknowledge the clear fact that we are forever developing, and that our past selves are often inferior versions of our current selves, we will be reduced to living as stagnant prisoners of our possibly immature and reckless childhood states.
Apologies Are Virtuous
The overwhelming reaction to Kyle Kashuv’s former actions demonstrates that the virtue of apology seems to be dying a slow and painful death. As discussed in The Federalist, this problem has been developing for some time. Apologies are not sought after in the hope of repentance or remorse, but to enforce an act of servile capitulation to the radical Left.
It is undeniable that Kashuv faced this public wave of criticism honorably, and his apology was offered sincerely and without equivocation. But that did not stop the bloodthirsty mob from calling for him to be preemptively expelled from Harvard, or from cheering with joy when the elite American university gladly obliged. Time and time again, we find that the act of apology leads inevitably to complete and public self-immolation. This leads us to ask the terrifying question: “Why apologize?”
In this modern world where our pasts are torn to shreds in order to uncover former misdeeds, where these misdeeds are weaponized to destroy our lives or livelihoods, we are left with a clear choice. The first option is to continue to do the honorable thing and acknowledge our wrongdoings: Own your mistakes, apologize publicly, and attempt to learn and grow. This act, which sacrifices one’s ego in favor of what is right, used to be hailed as a sign of virtue. However, the second option has become the only option which does not result in utter self-destruction: Deny and deflect. When faced with legitimate criticism, respond with a shameless refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
As a society, we are truly on the edge of a moral abyss. Either we return to the virtuous world where we encourage and value apologies, or we continue to spiral downwards by rewarding those who don’t apologize while screaming for the blood of those who do.
Regardless of how you feel about Kashuv, we should no longer allow mobs fueled by artificial outrage to destroy the lives of those who dare to oppose the mainstream Left. We should fight for a return to a world of virtue, instead of a world of moral destruction.
Kyle Kashuv is not alone. He is one of countless men and women who have moments in their past they regret — moments which define a person who no longer exists. Unfortunately for Kashuv, he entered the public fray and swam against the tide. When objectively criticized for his past behavior, Kashuv did the honorable thing and apologized. His reward was to have his academic future sacrificed in order to silence the hordes massing at the gates.
We’re in a battle for “sorry” over “not sorry.” Let’s pick the right side.