Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tidbits 24Feb05

Ok this is a bit Summers heavy - but as a Harvard alum it's got me all hacked off and I wish I had a couple hundred million that I could threaten NOT to give them for the arrant stupidity of a large part (32% who called for his resignation) of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences.

1. Jay Nordlinger, naturally. A tad long today but a couple of appetizers:

I included in that piece a statement by an Indian American — a Muslim, as it happens — who outlined for me his political history. (Please bear in mind that when I say Indian American, I'm talkin' Subcontinent, not Navajo.)

He said, "I became a Republican when I was 17, at Berkeley, of all places. This was in the '80s, and the number-one issue on campus was affirmative action. I had gone to a high school where there were kids of every stripe and color, and race was never an issue. When I got to Berkeley, I thought I was in the Balkans, because everyone hated each other. I couldn't stand the racial fixations. That's what drove me to the Republican party."
Let's turn to a little Larry Summers.
The ostensible cause of his current trouble is his speculation about women in the sciences. But is that really why they want him out?
And what are they — "they" — mad at Summers about? For confronting Cornel West (and prompting his departure). For speaking against the rise of anti-Semitism on campus — anti-Semitism disguised as disagreement with Israel. For having a good word for the U.S. military, including the ROTC (still banned from the Harvard campus). For warning against grade inflation. For wanting this great university to have standards other than multiculturalism, political correctness, and leftism.
And, with regard to the US-European alliance, he quoted Disraeli - as I did yesterday :)

2. Peggy Noonan in OpinionJournal on Summers brouhaha:

Summers now seems to be saying he made a mistake in airing the idea of gender-related differences in the interests and aptitudes of scholars. But here is what he may be forgetting, for people under pressure often lose track of their lack of culpability: Summers did nothing wrong. He thought aloud about an interesting question in a colorful and un-defended way. That's what universities are for.
But what the Summers story most illustrates is that American universities now seem like Medieval cloisters. They're like a cloister without the messy God part. Old monks of leftism walk their hallowed halls in hooded robes, chanting to themselves. Young nuns of leftist deconstructionism, pale as orchids, walk along wringing their hands, listening to their gloomy music. They become hysterical at the antichrist of a new idea, the instrusion of the reconsideration of settled matter.

3. Debra Saunders at RealClearPolitics characterizes what Summers did wrong:
i. he talked about the wrong gender - being 'anti-male' is ok in Ivy
ii. he's male
iii. he didn't treat women badly - see Bill Clinton
iv. he was reasonable - see free speech maniacs defending Ward Churchill

Then, after banning the ROTC, Harvard profs whined that Summers is "dismissive and arrogant" -- as one professor told the Boston Herald. Dismissive and arrogant? If anything, Summers is too accommodating. He keeps apologizing and promising to be more sensitive and a better listener when he ought to be blasting his critics for their intolerant rush to exile people who express unpopular ideas.

My advice to the Harvard president: Don't apologize and promise to be a better listener. Be a man. [emphasis mine]

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