by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
John Hasnas writes for the Martin Center about his reaction to recent events at Georgetown.
On my return to Georgetown’s campus this fall, I was greeted with the following broadcast e-mail message dated September 6:
“Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,
“We write to inform you of a recent report of a bias-related incident and to reiterate our commitment to diversity and civility as we commence the school year.
“Last night, a swastika was found carved onto the interior of an elevator in one of our residence halls on campus, Village C West. If you have any information about this incident, please contact the Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD) at . . .
“As a community, we condemn all acts of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and any form of hate. …”
… There is little that we can do to eliminate this sort of behavior short of having 1984 style surveillance of all public spaces. There is much that we can do to increase the incidence of such behavior, however.
Instead of merely painting over the swastika, we can publicize its existence, greatly magnifying the number of people offended by it. We can invest the event with great significance, calling it a bias-related incident and condemning it as an act that is “antithetical to our values as a Catholic and Jesuit university and our commitment to be inclusive and welcoming to people of all faiths and racial and ethnic backgrounds.”
We can spread alarm by analogizing it to “last month’s violence in Charlottesville.” We can exaggerate its potential effect by suggesting that members of the University community may need counseling to deal with it.
We can do all the things that will increase the emotional payoff the perpetrator receives from his or her transgressive act, and make it more likely that he or she will seek to repeat it or others with the same personality trait will seek to copy it.