Posted by Dan Draney on February 24, 2006
The Left Wing Loonies of the Harvard faculty finally got their way, as Harvard President Lawrence Summers submitted his resignation this week. We suppose the handwriting was on the wall when he backtracked under intense pressure from the same can of nuts after daring to suggest that genetics might have something to do with aggregate differences between the sexes in career choices and proficiencies.
At the time one female, or perhaps we should say “womyn,” professor who heard the speech claimed to be so upset she became physically ill and had to leave the lecture. We guess that proves conclusively that women are just as capable as men in all areas, not overly emotional bags of hormones, as Summers was obviously implying. But we digress…
Actually, any reasonable person who looked at what Summers really said in context would have a hard time finding much to disagree with, let alone descend into sustained apoplexy. Unfortunately, Summers quickly gave up on defending the reasonable, temperate remarks he had given in a speech designed to challenge rigidly fixed ideas. Instead he turned to appology for “offending” those who leap to take offense at any deviation from the PC Line. A crowd that has built its influence on nursing grievances is not about to accept any appologies either.
This mindset is one of the many reasons Tycho never considered going to Harvard. (Price and value are two other excellent reasons.)
A Harvard professor herself, Ruth R. Wisse, writes of the Summers lynching:
The movement to unseat Mr. Summers remains a mystery to most people outside Harvard. In the early days of his presidency, he challenged several tenured professors to account for the direction of their research and teaching. After some faculty had signed a petition urging divestment from Israel, he warned against the recurrence of anti-Semitism in a new guise. At an academic conference on the under-representation of women in science, he speculated on the implications of the differences between male and female test scores. At convocation ceremonies he congratulated Harvard students who served in the ROTC, which had been banned from the campus since the days of the Vietnam War.
Each of these actions offended one faculty interest group or another, and jointly they signaled a bold style of leadership in a direction broadly perceived as “conservative”–though it was in the service of once-liberal ideals.
Interestingly, Wisse reports that Summers is extremely popular with the Harvard students. She believes this “coup d’école” may cause a student backlash against the faculty involved. We hope she’s right about this, as a student body radicalized against left-wing radicalism in the faculty would be a delicious irony. We’re not holding our breath on this, though. It’s not like these tenured twits have to pay any attention to what their customers think. At least not yet…