If Mark Zuckerberg were a Harvard student today, developing his Facemash website (the prototype and precursor of Facebook), not only would he not have succeeded, his hearing before the Administrative Board likely would have ended in expulsion rather than Zuckerberg agreeing to take the site down. If he had been born a decade later, Hillary Clinton and her young feminist minions would be denouncing Zuckerberg as a threat to womankind.
For those too young to remember, in 2002 Zuckerberg created Facemash.com and then later TheFacebook.com as a means of turning the traditional paper version of pictures and information about Harvard students and staff into an interactive online website. Upperclassmen and women had long used the traditional paper “Face Book” as a means of discovering which new freshmen were date-worthy. (This wasn’t just a Harvard tradition; all of the Ivy League universities and many other colleges had their versions of the annual “Face Book”).
Recognizing an opportunity to digitize this tradition, Zuckerberg created Facemash.com, which allowed everyone to view information online and to share what they thought about it with their friends. The website was an instant hit because, in addition to being able to see everything online, it invited visitors to compare two student pictures side-by-side and decide who was “hot”and who was “not.” The immediate success of the concept is why Zuckerberg is now the sixth-richest man in the world.
Why would Zuckerberg fail today? Look no further than this report from CNN:
A sexist tradition has cost the Harvard men’s soccer team the rest of the season. Harvard University canceled the remainder of the 2016 men’s soccer season following an investigation into reports of a custom of ranking women’s soccer players’ physical attributes.
Essentially, the men on the soccer team were doing what generations of Harvard students (and other undergraduates) have been doing for decades: rating and comparing the physical attributes of other students. The horror.
As pearl-clutching Harvard Athletic Director Bob Scalise said as he collapsed onto his fainting couch: “We strongly believe that this immediate and significant action is absolutely necessary if we are to create an environment of mutual support, respect, and trust among our students and our teams.””
The immediate popularity of Zuckerberg’s product in 2002 is testament to the adage “necessity is the mother of invention.” He saw a need and provided a product that soon resulted in enormous success and wealth. He monetized the natural inclination of young, hormonally charged human beings to seek out their peers for conversation about the physical attributes of members of the opposite sex. This may not be the noblest occupation for a young person, and one may wish that it could be channeled in better ways, but is it actionable? A cause for punishment and outrage?
On today’s campus, the combined forces of feminism and political correctness are stifling human nature and interaction to the point where spoken thoughts and feelings are increasingly subject to unimaginable scrutiny and punishment—even when it happens in private with friends and teammates. How far down this dangerous road we have travelled is perfectly illustrated by pondering how Zuckerberg’s genius likely would be viewed today at Harvard.
The greater danger is that this cancer will metastasize into the wider culture and, worse, into our law. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a Hillary Clinton administration’s Department of Education Office of Civil Rights acting to force all schools, colleges, and universities to police their students for any and all words or actions they deem antithetical to “an environment of mutual support, respect and trust.” It isn’t difficult to imagine what rules the Clinton Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division would try to impose on the nation’s workplaces in the name of “mutual respect.”
If we actually had journalists in this country, they’d be making a beeline to Zuckerberg and asking him to opine on all of this. And, for good measure someone needs to ask Hillary what she thinks about all of this.