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Right Intention: Larry Summers

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Larry Summers

The National Review Online has an interesting article up on the background of some of the more strident Lawrence Sommers critics.

The Harvard faculty of arts and science just last week passed a motion expressing a lack of confidence in the leadership of President Lawrence Summers. Such censure is unprecedented in Harvard's near 400-year-history. Summers unwittingly stepped on the third rail of university politics when he speculated that innate differences between the sexes might be one reason there are fewer women than men at the highest echelons of math and science. To understand the hornets' nest Summers has stirred up, one needs to have a close look at the main hornets.

Be sure to read the whole article, it's interesting.

Before I start, let me say this. I fully believe in the equality between men and women, as well as between the various races. I also believe socialization accounts for a good chunk of the differences we see between the various groups. That said, I have a couple of thoughts on this topic.

1. Men and women are equal, not identical. There is a difference.

2. There is a large body of research that suggests that men's and women's brains work differently. No serious inquiry into the topic of differences in achievement in math and sciences can exclude this angle and still be intellectually honest.

3. Liberalism is showing itself to be a very weak ideology if it cannot withstand even a modicum of scrutiny of one of its core beliefs.

4. This is tangentially related, but interesting nonetheless. There is much more coverage of Summers’ "offensive" off the record remarks than of Eason Jordan's "offensive" off the record remarks. Looks to me as if questioning liberalism invites a vicious backlash with lots of media coverage while questioning whether the military is committing war crimes by murdering journalists is largely met with silent approval by the same people. Hmmm. And then the media wonders why people are convinced of liberal media bias.


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3:12 AM  

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