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February 23, 2006

Summers Purged From Harvard

Harvard President Lawrence Summers now has some idea what it must feel like to take the fall in a Stalinist purge. Of course, in a real Stalinist purge, if you get pegged as ideologically impure, you get a bullet in your brain. Luckily for Summers, all he gets is an opportunity to escape from a madhouse. The unlucky ones are those left behind.

Summers resigned having "reluctantly concluded that the rifts between me and segments of the Arts and Sciences faculty make it infeasible for me to advance the agenda of renewal that I see as crucial to Harvard's future."

As OpinionJournal points out:

Those "rifts" included quarrels with a largely left-wing faculty that has about as much intellectual diversity as the Pyongyang parliament. Or, as a group of Harvard protesters so charmingly put it a year or so ago, "Racist, sexist, anti-gay — Larry Summers, you must pay." Only on an American university campus could Mr. Summers, a former Clinton Treasury Secretary, be portrayed as a radical neocon.

Summers's crimes — in the minds of Harvard's Arts and Sciences faculty — include suggesting that Cornel West do some work for a change, expressing concern about the anti-Semitism that is so trendy on the Left these days, putting in a good word for the military, and acknowledging the theory that there are gender differences in math and science aptitude.

This last was the ultimate outrage. As Thomas Lifson notes, "It has now been established that orthodox feminism, not free intellectual inquiry, determines what may be said by the leaders of Harvard." Summers groveled and abased himself afterwards, but by apologizing when he had done nothing wrong, he was only helping to dig his own grave.

Summers was not run out by the university as a whole. As Bloomberg News columnist Amity Shlaes
notes, a poll in the Harvard Crimson just last weekend showed that undergraduates supported him 3 to 1. Summers's enemies were localized on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which demands rigid adherence to its anachronistic flower-child ideology.

Alan Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard for 42 years and hardly a conservative, finds it alarming that this single faculty is proving itself able to impose its fanatical worldview on the rest of the university:

It was arrogant in the extreme for a plurality of a single faculty to purport to speak for the entire university, especially when that plurality is out of synch with the mainstream of Harvard. It was dangerous for the corporation to listen primarily to that faculty, without widely consulting other professors, students, and alumni who supported Summers. Now that this plurality of one faculty has succeeded in ousting the president, the most radical elements of Harvard will be emboldened to seek to mold all of Harvard in its image. If they succeed, Harvard will become a less diverse and less interesting institution of learning governed by political-correctness cops of the hard left. This is what happened in many European universities after the violent student protests of the late 1960s. It should not be allowed to happen at Harvard in the wake of the coup d'etat engineered by some in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

If it is allowed to happen, sooner or later a price will have to be paid. Already people are getting fed up with academia's rejection of conventional reality in favor of the warped Never-Never Land of its bitter leftist dogma. One of the many beauties of the free enterprise system that the liberal intelligentsia holds in such disdain is that it rarely fails to provide alternatives when a demand for them arises. As the academic establishment's reputation continues to deteriorate, look for less ideologically deformed competition to emerge.

Thank you Byron for tips.

Lawrence Summers: purged.

Posted by Van Helsing at February 23, 2006 6:40 AM


The Left has deeply entrenched itself in academia, most professors having secured tenure and iron-clad contracts for themselves. Those who haven't often have little to fear, as they enjoy the protection of like-minded folks in high places. Moderate or even (heaven forbid!) conservative professors who manage to get through the filters are often thrown out on the flimsiest of accusations or leave out of frustration. And any administrator foolish enough to rock the boat is quickly purged through strong-arm tactics.

Sadly, as I've often said, these fools keep running under the assumption that, when the revolution does come, they'll end up as the ones in charge. Yet, in every previous communist revolution, it was the "educated upper class" who were first against the wall, while the "uneducated, unwashed masses" were the ones who took charge.

Posted by: Targetpractice, Worst of Both Worlds at February 23, 2006 10:42 AM

As Krauthammer said last night on Special Report with Brit Hume: If Summers, a center-left relic of the Clinton administration, could be run out of Harvard on ideologic grounds (primarily), that says something pretty scary about Harvard, and academia in general.

Heh, but we knew that already. Just look at how their nipping at the heels of poor Hillary on her (opportunistic) hawkishness. Makes you just want to cry.

Posted by: The MaryHunter at February 23, 2006 10:55 AM

Harvard has just come off the list of prominent Universities one would want to send their children to, unless you are a feminazi fanatic with no ability to listen and discuss facts. Too bad, it began as a place to educate and prepare religious leaders and ministers.

Posted by: Chief RZ at February 23, 2006 11:09 AM

Just how DID these freaking commie eggheads become dominant in most of academia? They are virtually powerless in real America. I don't get it.

Posted by: nikko at February 23, 2006 1:13 PM

"acknowledging the theory that there are gender differences in math and science aptitude."

oh noes!

It's not a theory, as the man on the street uunderstands the word. but a proven and nearly irrefutable fact of life. The vast majority of men think very differently from the vast majority of women, for entirely biological (as opposed to environmental) reasons, due mainly to our roles in primitive life. In men, the problem solving areas of the brain are closely tied to the motor skill areas, which is why a man with problems will go in to the garage and bash things with a hammer until he feels better. In women, those problem solving areas are tied in to the communication and empathy areas of the brain (I'm using loose terms here, their real names are quite complicated latin thingies). This is why the vast majority of women like to "talk" when they're solving problems. Engaging the mouth engages the problem solving areas of the brain and lets them think it through.

Men and women are different. You'd have to be stupid or in a deep, self-decieving denial over basic biology not to see this. Of course, deep denial and self-deception seem to be the base-state of leftist academia...

Posted by: Archonix at February 23, 2006 2:05 PM

Oh yes, nikko: remember the saying. "Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach".

They can't do, so they teach, believing that they're entititled to the adulation of their peers without doing any of the real-world work. That's socialism, comrade.

Posted by: Archonix at February 23, 2006 2:06 PM

Speaking of moonbat academics, Juan Cole is fixin' to Sue David Horowitz

Posted by: V the K at February 23, 2006 2:44 PM

The left controls education (indoctrination)

What is needed is an alternative to the corrupted means of gaining a degree which is about future employment. Perhaps a Jesse Jackson type pressure group pushing top firms to reject all Harvard applicants would help a bit? Perhaps a long series of lawsuits due to failure to provide a balanced and complete education? Perhaps just let it rot enough that future students wouldn't ever consider it.

Posted by: DL at February 27, 2006 5:20 AM