Lawrence Summers was invited to speak at University of California about competitiveness of the UC. He's quite an eloquent, engaging, and thoughtful speaker who has a lot of things to say and I am sure that many people wanted to hear him. Many other people would become happy after they would hear him. A third group would feel irritated but they would appreciate that they have learned a lot a few years later. And of course another group wouldn't ever find Summers' talk useful. That's how it always works.
However, a Maureen Stanton has decided that it shouldn't happen. She collected about 350 signatures of fellow Feminazis - the University of California is clearly an infinite heat bath of this stuff or, using the words of Santa Cruz Sentinel, a self-appointed cabal of leftist elitists - under a letter saying that Summers is a symbol of sexism whose visit is inappropriate.
What did the Regents do? Well, this question is really equivalent to the following one: is the Academia more influenced by top scholars, economists, and policymakers such as Lawrence Summers, or by hysterical far-left activists? As you know very well, this question is a rhetorical one. The answer is that the Academia - and University of California in particular - is controlled by a self-invited far-left thought police.
Everyone either agrees with them, or is so scared of them that he or she effectively agrees with them, or is eliminated. The result? Lawrence Summers was instantly disinvited. How does Regents chair Richard Blum justify his highly controversial disinvitation? "It is not an issue I want to deal with. There are many more important things to deal with." Well, your somewhat arrogant proclamation doesn't seem to be correct, Mr Blum. It is actually one of the most important things that UC administrators mustn't buckle to ideology because it would be at odds with everything a college should stand for.
Let us first discuss how the real world actually works and then we will have a look how it works under the control of a far-left political movement.
During a January 2005 conference about women in science that was overrun by politically correct pseudoscientists, Lawrence Summers very carefully suggested that the participants could perhaps think about the actual likely reasons behind the male-female cognitive differences that keep on surviving, despite 40 years (two generations) of aggressive affirmative action. Biological differences and different roles of men and women in families are among the first issues that must be considered.
It's a well-known story that the reaction of the politically correct "establishment" was explosive. Summers and all people who agree with him were ostracized, Summers was forced to resign one year later, and he was eventually replaced by a scholar who is not really comparable to Summers, to put it very mildly. As John Leo says, after Summers comes the Fall.
Is Maureen Stanton right? I personally find it alarming that a person as ignorant or blinded as Maureen Stanton has ever received a PhD from biology. I don't believe that anyone can understand what's really going on in biology if he or she can't figure out that millions of years of evolution have left different fingerprints on different groups of people (such as two sexes), or that hormones influence both anatomy as well as physiology of the brain. To make things worse, she is an "evolutionary biologist".
How can she be an evolutionary biologist if she doesn't get the simple fact that millions of years of evolution of humans - and tens of millions of years of evolution of mammals - have optimized men and women for different kinds of tasks? When one or two creationists who have made it through the university system end up with similar anti-evolution opinions because of their religious reasons, everyone is upset. When feminists end up with analogous unscientific opinions because of their feminist ideology, we're supposed not only to tolerate them but even promote their misunderstanding to the status of the only allowed "truth".
I think that granting her a PhD in 1980 was already an example of political correctness in action. But it was just a minor example. Political correctness and affirmative action have filled the Academia with thousands of people who shouldn't be there and who are starting to use their loud voices and immoral techniques to destroy basic principles of scholarship.
Many people often say that it doesn't hurt when extra people are admitted somewhere. It actually hurts a lot: the terror against people like Lawrence Summers - and be sure that his case is one of the more peaceful examples - is a part of the price for giving the likes of Maureen Stanton their PhD degrees and not only PhD degrees.
Freedom of expression
Let's not discuss biology because it is very clear that the people who prefer their egalitarian dogmas over very elementary facts about biology will continue to disagree. Instead, let us analyze the incident from the viewpoint of freedom of expression and a fair scholarly exchange of information.
There's no doubt that the decision of the Regents is shameful. Even if you disagreed that the biologically-driven cognitive differences between groups are a fact, it is certainly an opinion shared by dozens of percent of population and a similar percentage of scientists who can also back it up by quite some evidence. It is not acceptable for a university to be suppressing one kind of ideas in similar cases. Papers, talks, authors, and speakers must be judged and chosen according to their coherence, evidence, content, and other quality aspects instead of ideological colors.
In churches, political parties, and environmental movements, you can use an ideological key. And indeed, it is used all the time. But the standards of the Academia have been much more universal and fair at least for 7 centuries. What is happening right now is a brutal suppression of the basic values of scholarship and rational discourse in general, a decline of the Academia.
In the Academia, the sane, non-leftist people have effectively been exterminated. So let us talk about the leftists instead. Are they happy about the disinvitation? Well, there is no consensus about it but you will see that this fact is not such a good sign as you might a priori think.
For example, Bitch PhD writes an incoherent text about the topic whose only comprehensible component is the intriguing title: "Larry Summers: zombie or pirate?" In the comments, she explains that the right answer is probably "dick". She disagrees with some people who have criticized the disinvitation - such as Prof Eric Rauchway whom she considers a respectable "right-on feminist dude" - but her explanation makes no sense. So let's summarize: the most well-known female leftist Academic blogger in the U.S. - and I hope that she is going to be flattered by my posting - informs us in her latest work that Larry Summers is a dick. And she probably doesn't mean Dick Feynman even though Dick Feynman was a "sexist pig", too. ;-) This observation shouldn't be unexpected for those who know something about the feminist garbage that has filled the U.S. universities. Most feminists have similar qualities as this Dr Prostitute, at least when it comes close to any topic that is supposed to be covered by their favorite ideology.
Sean Carroll, another well-known far-left blogger, argues that the disinvitation was a mistake. But you shouldn't get too happy about his conclusion. If you read Carroll's explanation, you will see that the main thing he cares about is "the bad image it projects": conservatives may "beat the drum of leftist intolerance". Is it OK to conclude that according to Sean Carroll, if there were no conservatives who talk about these things, the "bad image problem" would go away and the leftists would be happily filtering all speakers, including former members of Democratic administrations, on an ideological basis?
Well, I happen to know that the answer is Yes. They have always done it whenever they were allowed to do so and I was "lucky" to live in one country where they did it for 41 years. This is an innate feature of all leftists. Leftist ideology is inherently totalitarian in character and it can't be otherwise. It's the very purpose of their ideology to control the whole society and to "optimize" it against the will, interests, opinions, and even scientific results of individuals and in contradiction to the values of a free society. Whenever the percentage of the true leftists gets above 15% or so, the society or organization is in big trouble because there is a "tipping point" or a "phase transition" above which the leftists are destined to take over the whole society or the whole organization.
I wonder how many more Stalins we will have to see before most people start to realize that the leftists are far greater a threat for the society than, for example, hungry grizzly bears or climate change. ;-)
And that's the memo.
P.S. If you worry about the freedom of speech, there are also good news. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be unanimously and enthusiastically welcome as a speaker at Columbia University; see this interview that Mahmoud considered to be non-interview. ;-) Peter Woit may show us a new map - gift from the president - without Israel that is not even wrong. Donald Rumsfeld's new job faces protests at Stanford but he still has an infinitesimal chance, despite 2500 signatures of haters. Erwin Chemerinsky may be re-elected as the dean because those who protested were not leftists but just some ordinary lawyers.