It’s too bad that Larry Summers got fired from Harvard, which is essentially what happened. I find the entire episode rather disturbing but couldn’t quite put my finger on why until I read this:
Summers’ intrinsic aptitude comment, like the Mohamed cartoons, exposes the conflict between free inquiry and multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, whether practiced by Islamic fundamentalists or radical feminists, holds as its highest value that no one should be permitted to hurt the feelings of privileged minorities.
The controversy over Summers’ remarks shows that the multicultural left has a strong dislike of even considering ideas contrary to their world view.
What if Harvard decided to study the differences between men and women when it comes to math and science and comes to the conclusion that there are real differences that explain why women are less prone to enter the field of mathematics or basic sciences, will Summers get his job back and an apology?
This article in the Washington Post highlights an important aspect of this story that hasn’t been told.
“It says that one group of faculty managed a coup d’etat not only against Summers but against the whole Harvard community,” said Alan M. Dershowitz, longtime law professor at Harvard and a Summers ally. “He is widely supported among students and in the graduate schools.”
According to a poll the Harvard Crimson did on the topic, Summers did enjoy strong support with only 19% of the students polled supporting the decision to resign. In the end, Harvard is the real loser here by allowing a single department to derail the significant transformation of Harvard as a whole.