Make Like Henry: Dissolve the Ivy League

Michael Walsh11 Dec, 2023 6 Min Read
An idea whose time has come. Again.

As part of his private war against the Pope in Rome, during the years 1536-41 Henry VIII -- he of six wives fame -- ordered the dissolution of the monasteries of Britain and Ireland, stripping these longstanding institutions of their property, income, money, and destroying the priceless Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman cultural heritage of the British Isles in a fit of priapic pique. Churchmen were executed, and monastic libraries were torched. How bad was it

Monastic land and buildings were confiscated and sold off to families who sympathised with Henry’s break from Rome. By 1540 monasteries were being dismantled at a rate of fifty a month. After the disposal of their monastic lands and buildings, the majority of monks, friars and nuns were given money or pensions. However, there were some abbots and religious house leaders who refused to comply. They were executed and their monasteries destroyed. Thousands of monastic servants suddenly found themselves without employment. One of the saddest legacies of the Dissolution was the loss and destruction of monastic libraries and their precious illuminated manuscripts.

Ah well, as another psychopathic monster, Uncle Joe Stalin, was reputed to have said some 400 years later: "You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs." Britain and its renegade church, now on its last legs with the remains of the "Windsors" as its titular head, has been culturally much the poorer for it ever since. 

Bare ruined choirs: Rievaulx Abbey,

But what if Henry was in part right, and that what Britain needed was the abolition of the institutional hotbeds of sedition and moral inversion that he considered Catholic monasteries to be? England and the United Kingdom went on to have some of their best innings as a nation after his reign, a winning streak that started in earnest with Good Queen Bess ended in the disaster of World War I, when German princelings resident in London fought German princelings resident in Berlin, who were fighting German princelings resident in St. Petersburg, and everybody lost.

What if we follow his lead, then, and abolish not the monasteries -- the current incarnation of the post-Vatican II Catholic Church is taking care of that all by itself -- but the Ivy League and a few other "elite" universities, the nests of "progressive" saboteurs who have inflicted incalculable damage on the United States since the arrival of the Frankfurt School on these shores just before World War II.

Surely, the stunning, clueless malfeasance of three female Ivy League presidents would indicate that a thorough housecleaning is in order. The ritual self-immolation of one of the most egregious offenders, Penn's Liz McGill, was a good start, but let's face it there's lots more work to be done, boys and girls. Writes Andrew Sullivan:

It may be too much to expect that the Congressional hearings this week, starring the three presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn, will wake people up to the toxic collapse of America’s once-great Ivy League. But I can hope, can’t I? The mediocrities smirked, finessed, condescended, and stonewalled. Take a good look at them. These are the people who now select our elites. And they select them, as they select every single member of the faculty, and every student, by actively discriminating against members of certain “privileged” groups and aggressively favoring other “marginalized” ones. They were themselves appointed in exactly the same way, from DEI-approved pools of candidates. As a Harvard dean, Claudine Gay’s top priority was “making more progress on diversity,” i.e. intensifying the already systemic race, sex and gender discrimination that defines the place.

How it started.

As my friend and colleague Victor Davis Hanson remarked on X/Twitter:

The recent testimonies of the three university presidents (Claudine Gay of Harvard, Sally Kornbluth of MIT, and University of Pennsylvania’s Liz McGill) concerning their inaction about endemic anti-Semitism on their campuses have probably done more damage to higher education than any recent event in memory. We know they know they failed because two at least clumsily tried damage repair over the next few days that only confirmed their initial stupidity. 

Meanwhile, this can't be good for soon-to-be-former Harvard president Gay. From Chris Rufo:, who has the receipts at the link:

EXCLUSIVE: @RealChrisBrunet  and I have obtained documentation demonstrating that Harvard President Claudine Gay plagiarized multiple sections of her Ph.D. thesis, violating Harvard's policies on academic integrity. This is a bombshell.

This mess has been a long time coming -- the length of the Long March Through the Institutions, in fact. Its roots are many: the Frankfurt School of "progressive" Marxists injected the poison of Critical Theory between the wars, which later penetrated the gullible American universities -- it's incredible to think that Dwight Eisenhower was president of Columbia University during the time it was still sheltering the refugees from Institute for Social Research -- who then regurgitated it to generations of college students. One of the Frankfurters, Herbert Marcuse, was widely influential during my own college days in the 1960s and early '70s, although even then the clear-minded among my cohort could see he was ridiculous: a pretentious mittel-Europa pompous ass. God bless the Coen brothers, who are geniuses:

Since then we've watched higher education devolve from the pursuit of knowledge to grubby credentialing, turning students into consumers but also cogs in the job machines -- I think Marcuse would agree with me here -- and thus drones in the service of the authoritarian-progressive state. "Firsts" became an excuse for iconoclasm: down came the founders of every American institution and in their places came the boundary-pushers and glass ceiling-breakers, three of whom just bumped their heads good and hard on their own Peter Principles last week. 

Curiously, the harder Left the universities have swung the more intolerant they've become. Harvard was once famous for its exclusionary policies regarding Jewish applicants; now it's once again notorious for its overt anti-Semitism. And yet in between came a parade of Jewish presidents not only of Harvard but other top schools. At Harvard alone, recent Jewish presidents include Lawrence Summers, Neil Rudenstine, and most recently Lawrence Bacow.

Did they turn a blind eye to recrudescent anti-Semitism at their own schools? Or was the rot so deep, and their focus of attention so otherwise distracted by fashionable "progressive" educational baubles that the destructive energies of "progressivism" were able to escape full notice until just now, when DEI policies have dictated that only women, and preferably black women, make up the only acceptable talent pool. "Meritocracy" has, after all, become a dirty word.

Enough is enough. The Ivy League has become a clear and present danger: 

America faces a formidable range of calamities: crime out of control, borders in chaos by design, children poorly educated while sexualized and politicized against parental opposition, unconstitutional censorship, a press that does government PR rather than oversight, our institutions and corporations debased in the name of “diversity, equity and inclusion”—and more. To these has been added an outbreak of virulent antisemitism. Every one of these degradations can be traced wholly or in large part to a single source: the corruption of higher education by radical political activists.

Schools like Harvard, which are sitting on mountains of cash, happily sailing along tax-exempt even as they grubbily collect billions in federal monies, and indulge in blatant racial discrimination have become the very definition of a racket. Plus, their straight-A students don't even know anything any more except the indoctrinating cant of their professors, although their self-esteem is off the charts. The Ivies are the madrassas of the Left, transmitting the tenets of their faith to their students' memories while the poor saps learn nothing of real-world value.

How it's going.

So revoke their charters and close them all down for a period of at least ten to twelves years -- the Ivies plus Stanford, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Duke, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Davis, and Irvine. Fire everybody and start over again, eliminating useless majors, returning a core curriculum of Western civilizational values, reducing grade inflation, abolishing affirmative action and anything smacking of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. What we need is the educational equivalent of a denazification program similar to the one instituted in Germany after World War II, to yank it out the moral corruption, root and branch. Only when the purge is complete should we allow them to re-open under the original terms of their chartering and under careful adult supervision.

Henry VIII would be licking his chops at the prospect of confiscating their endowments and their (tax-exempt) real estate, liquidating any refractory leaders, and using the employees as serf labor in the vineyards of the State. Why shouldn't we? One thing we don't have to worry about, though, is the loss of valuable illuminated manuscripts. In the rubble of the Widener Library, all we'll find are tattered copies of Das Kapital, Mao's Little Red Book, A Critique of Pure Toleranceand the complete works of Ibram X. Kendi.

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints, and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace and its sequel, The Fiery Angel. Last Stands, a study of military history from the Greeks to the present, was published by St. Martin's Press in December 2019. He is also the editor of Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, published on Oct. 18, 2022. Follow him on Twitter: @theAmanuensis


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8 comments on “Make Like Henry: Dissolve the Ivy League”

  1. How about 3 years full time employment and a plan to pay for your education before you can apply? This might help all those students that do not understand student loans require the student to pay them back, not me.

  2. I understand that one pays enormous costs to be admitted at Harvard non for the education, but for the connections one makes there; but really, I find foolish to spend 70 - 80 grands a year and be in debt for ever for that piece of parchment, when with half that money you can send your offspring to study in any European or Asian good University, not yet infested with the woke virus (this excludes UK too); here in Italy you could live like a princeling, if you're a student with 2K Euros per month to spend in, say, Bologna, Perugia or Pavia (the latter being my Alma Mater).

  3. The idea here if I understand this involves closing down the schools. Chains on the gates. US Army MPs patrolling the grounds. Freezing cash and other assets. Suspending emails and internet accounts. I don't know. I'm thinking it might not work; not as easy as it sounds. Wouldn't it be more practical if every Ivy School Graduate had to serve four years as a Border Patrol Agent.

  4. Comrade Commissar, I see lot of broken eggshells, but where is this omelet you're always talking about?
    -- Soviet-era Russian Joke

  5. If dissolution of the Ivy League is too radical to be politically possible, I would like to propose a more manageable alternative. I think the Republican Party should campaign on the promise to "nationalize" the hefty endowments of ALL universities while promising to use those funds to payoff student loans. This solves several problems for Republicans and conservatives: 1. It seriously cripples higher educations ability to "indoctrinate not educate"; 2. It endears the Republican Party to Gen-Z student loan borrowers; 3. It puts Democrats squarely on the defensive - having to argue against student debt relief; and 4. Not the least, it will greatly, greatly appeal to the conservative base in that the Republicans are actually taking steps in a conservative direction (even if "nationalization" is not a traditional conservative tactic).

    All of that money sitting in university coffers is currently being used only for anti-American purposes. I do not believe that the "nationaliztion" legislation would get out of congress but the mere notion of "nationalization" could work for America by getting conservatives elected.

    1. That could certainly be a part of the dissolution: confiscate (for the "greater good") their endowments, pay off student loan debt. Sale of the buildings and/or demolition for site renewal/new tax land could be another part of it.

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