Cornel West and the Brotherhood

Dear Dr. West,

I am watching with interest your dispute with Harvard regarding your tenure.

I speak to you as an individual who is an opponent of Harvard University.

I make these comments respectfully.

As an outsider, I feel I can offer perspective.

When you attend Harvard or work at Harvard you can lose or fail to gain perspective of Harvard’s purpose. It’s difficult for a person to be objective about him or herself. In fact it’s damn near impossible.

Harvard University is not some sleepy, detached liberal arts college which makes social commentary from afar about the affairs of the world and the empire that rules it.

Harvard is the Empire.

Harvard’s purpose is to train the officers of the Empire.

Harvard is the city of Rome.

As both a graduate of and professor at Harvard University, you have, knowingly or not, for many decades received a first class ticket to everything that the Empire can offer.

Anything that you desire within reason is yours for the taking.

Whether that be a book deal, an appearance on a national television program, an audience with the pope or perhaps a world leader, the Empire will provide that for you.

You can cut a record if you desire, and your lack of singing ability will make no difference.

If you desire to start your own asset management company, and you are high enough on the ladder as you are, the Empire within reason will comply. The Empire will have one of its many hedge fund managers divert off a couple of hundred million dollars along with an attendant asset manager for you to supervise. All you need to do is sit back and collect the loot.

If you would like to attend the Super Bowl, the Empire will provide you tickets.

A seat behind home plate at the World Series is not a problem.

Maybe you would like to meet Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. If so, that will be arranged.

How about a corporate board seat?

No problem.

Startup money for a new private venture?

Legal advice from top corporate lawyers?


Within reason there is nothing that the Empire cannot give to you.

But, there is a price to be paid for that First Class ticket.

As we would say in the 1960s: “Ass, gas, or grass. Nobody rides for free.”

And so it is with the Empire. Nobody rides for free.

Now, if you’re lucky, the Empire will not necessarily ask you to do anything that you don’t want to do. Most of the time the Empire only asks that you go along with its program.

You have wondered aloud that perhaps your stance on Gaza is the reason you are not being granted tenure.

I would say that’s a very good possibility.

You see, the Empire, which obviously includes the United States of America, which in turn is run and fueled by Harvard University, has no interest in permitting any type of high quality lifestyle for the people in Gaza.

If the Empire had wanted that, it would’ve been done already.

You are to be commended for standing up for these afflicted people.

Unfortunately, the Empire does not feel that way. And if it’s one thing the Empire does not like or permit, it is when recipients of the largesse of the Empire stand up to the Empire.

Furthermore, the Empire does not brook disobedience.

It’s one thing for me as an outsider to criticize the Empire and its role in humiliating the Palestinians in Gaza. It’s quite another thing for you to do that.

We human beings are not noble creatures. We do not forgive betrayal.

I would say confidently that the Empire, which includes Harvard University, views your stance on Palestine as a betrayal.

They’re going to punish you for that betrayal. Regardless of how many supporters you have, the chances of you receiving tenure are between zero and zero.


If Harvard does, however, decide to be merciful, it may come at a price that you may not be willing to pay. They may ask you to recant everything that you have stated about Gaza.

That’s the way the world works.

Now, let me shift focus ever so slightly and talk about David Karp. I don’t know who David Karp was, and I don’t know what his life experience was; but he must have been a very wise man.

He must have been a very wise man because he wrote a brilliant screenplay which will help depict the situation you are in.

Many years ago David Karp wrote a novel and a screenplay entitled The Brotherhood of the Bell. This screenplay was made into a movie, and it starred Glenn Ford, Dean Jagger, and William Conrad.

In the movie, Glenn Ford plays Andy Patterson, a professor. He is asked to do a favor for the Brotherhood, an organization in which he belongs. The Brotherhood is a secret organization.

In a nut shell, Andy Patterson decides not to comply. He finds the request immoral. The Brotherhood then warns him that he better obey or else. When this occurs, Andy Patterson goes to his mentor, Chad Harmon, played by Dean Jagger, and complains.

Chad Harmon reminds him that the Brotherhood did everything for him. Andy Patterson responds by saying that he was the one who was responsible for where he got in life. Chad Harmon then says to him in so many words: “No, Andy, the Brotherhood did everything for you. It’s safe to say that you have never competed for a single thing in your life.”

Andy then rebels and tries to take down the Brotherhood. He doesn’t succeed. He goes on television to plead his case to a talk show host, Bart Harris, played by William Conrad. Bart Harris makes a fool of him. Andy’s life gradually descends into chaos. The Brotherhood destroys him.

But, because it’s a Hollywood movie, there is hope. Andy reaches out to another member of the Brotherhood to help him. At the end of the movie we are teased with the possibility that someone might come to Andy’s aid.

Will anyone come to your aid, Dr. West?

I hope so, for you are now experiencing what the rest of us have been experiencing for many decades now. You are getting a taste of the Empire’s power, and not in a good way.


Archer Crosley

Copyright 2021 Archer Crosley All Rights Reserved

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