Harvard historian beclowns self over Paris Climate Accord
Donald Trump's presidency has already caused a wave of self-destructive behavior to be born of blind fury. Kathy Griffin is the most public example of this, but she is far from alone in allowing her anger at Trump to cause her to lose sight of basic standards that should undergird her professional activities. We can now add a distinguished Harvard historian, the holder of an endowed chair, to the list of public figures inflicting damage to their reputations, blinded by fury at President Trump.
As President Trump announced American withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, the apocalyptic themes continually harped upon (but never realized so far) by warmists may have added extra desperation to the reactions to President Trump.
Jay Cost reports at the Weekly Standard:
Twitter has a remarkable power to make well-credentialed people look like fools. Case in point: Joyce Chaplin, who is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University.
In response to President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, Chaplin tweeted, "The USA, created by int'l community in Treaty of Paris in 1783, betrays int'l community by withdrawing from #parisclimateagreement today." Senator Ted Cruz would have none of this, and responded, "Just sad. Tenured chair at Harvard, doesn't seem to know how USA was created. Not a treaty. Declaration+Revolutionary War+Constitution=USA." Chaplin, apparently forgetting that discretion is the better part of valor, responded, "Sad. US Senator, Harvard Law degree. Doesn't know that national statehood requires international recognition."
Chaplin is not just wrong, but embarrassingly wrong. A 17-year-old high school student should know better.
Professor Joyce Chaplin (Photo: Harvard University)
Cost lists the six reasons she is wrong. They are all points that are familiar to anyone who graduated from an American high school before the bottom fell out of public education. For example:
- First, the Treaty of 1783 was not a multinational accord. It was a bilateral agreement between the United States and Great Britain.
- Second, the Treaty was a recognition of the facts on the ground, which were that, after their defeat at Yorktown, the British had no chance of reclaiming their American colonies.
Read the whole thing.
It is very sad to watch scholars betray their expertise in service to a political agenda. The atmosphere on most elite college campuses is so extreme, so focused on hatred of the right, that common sense is in short supply.
Professor Chaplin knows the history of the Revolutionary War, and that the United States was created not out of a multilateral negotiation. But that expertise has been subordinated to a political cause. There are many historical examples of scholars doing this, and it never ends well.