Sunday, February 20, 2005
Martin Peretz in "Not Much Left" says what many have been saying for a while: that Liberalism is out of ideas. The curious thing about his intelligent and literate essay is that he never manages to explain why this condition has taken place....
Liberalism has lost its books because it has burned them. The campaign to dismiss Harvard President Larry Summers for remarking that women may have less aptitude than men for mathematics and sciences is a case in point.
Dershowitz (who disagrees with Summers on the substance):
"In my 41 years at Harvard, I have never experienced a president more open to debate, disagreement, and dialogue than Larry Summers," wrote Dershowitz, adding that "professors who are afraid to challenge him are guilty of cowardice."
As Wretchard, Peretz and Dershowitz all argue, academic liberalism no longer cares to contend with ideas on their merits, but objects that certain ideas are expressed at all. The New York Times editorial board, for example, argues this morning that Summers should not have said what he said:
We have been informed many, many times in the past that Dr. Summers likes to make waves, and who could blame him? It's fun to toss out provocative ideas and watch as everyone's ears redden and all eyes turn to the daring speaker who started the hubbub. But it's an exercise better restricted to radio talk show hosts than the heads of major academic institutions. Harvard is supposed to be teaching its students not just how to start a controversy, but also how to have an intelligent conversation.
That's right: The president of Harvard University needs to keep his mouth shut, at least if the words that would otherwise emerge from that mouth are not "intelligent," according to the arbitration of The New York Times. Astonishing.
Another interesting point over the Larry Summers "saga" is the liberal groups like NOW or other women's rights groups, were absolutely apoplectic over his comments, but where were they when Iraqi women came out to vote? Where was their support for "tha sistah hood"?
If you look at Mr. Summers entire speech, it was set as a hypothesis rather than fact. He just happened to be the target for the week, and I wonder if the continued lefty media groups are still discussing this as a reason for not having to talk about Eason Jordan.
Call me a conspiracy nut :)