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The *Real* Reason the Left Attacked Lawrence Summers

NOTE: This is the second of two posts. You really should read this post below first.

As I reported earlier, the transcript of Harvard President Lawrence Summers' remarks that have drawn so much criticism from the left was released tonight. Ostensibly his critics have gone after him for suggesting that there might be an innate component to the different test scores in science and math between the genders. I dismantled that argument to the point I was left wondering why they really attacked him. After reading the full transcript I found why the left hates him....

He's asking too many questions:

First, it would be very useful to know, with hard data, what the quality of marginal hires are when major diversity efforts are mounted. When major diversity efforts are mounted, and consciousness is raised, and special efforts are made, and you look five years later at the quality of the people who have been hired during that period, how many are there who have turned out to be much better than the institutional norm who wouldn't have been found without a greater search. And how many of them are plausible compromises that aren't unreasonable, and how many of them are what the right-wing critics of all of this suppose represent clear abandonments of quality standards.

Did he just question the validity of affirmative action? Ut Oh! We all know that according to the liberals, the sentence for that offense is death!

Second, what about objective versus subjective factors in hiring? I've been exposed, by those who want to see the university hiring practices changed to favor women more and to assure more diversity, to two very different views. One group has urged that we make the processes consistently more clear-cut and objective, based on papers, numbers of papers published, numbers of articles cited, objectivity, measurement of performance, no judgments of potential, no reference to other things, because if it's made more objective, the subjectivity that is associated with discrimination and which invariably works to the disadvantage of minority groups will not be present. I've also been exposed to exactly the opposite view, that those criteria and those objective criteria systematically bias the comparisons away from many attributes that those who contribute to the diversity have: a greater sense of collegiality, a greater sense of institutional responsibility. Somebody ought to be able to figure out the answer to the question of, if you did it more objectively versus less objectively, what would happen.

Heh. Now we know why he pissed off the left. He's a heretic!

Third, the third kind of question is, what do we know about search procedures in universities? Is it the case that more systematic comprehensive search processes lead to minority group members who otherwise would have not been noticed being noticed? Or does fetishizing the search procedure make it very difficult to pursue the targets of opportunity that are often available arising out of particular family situations or particular moments, and does fetishizing and formalizing search procedures further actually work to the disadvantage of minority group members. Again, everybody's got an opinion; I don't think anybody actually has a clue as to what the answer is.

Let me make this as clear as possible. Any university president asking valid questions about Affirmative Action instantly becomes a target of the left. No matter their past performance or qualifications, the left wants them gone. The whole gender thing was a red herring. They want him out of office for these remarks.

Releasing the transcripts backfired on his critics. Not only did he not say anything offensive about women but it revealed the true motives behind the attack. It will be interesting to see if his critics suddenly clam up. That would be the smart thing to do.... But past history tells us they will hit the bottom of this hole and commence blasting.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The *Real* Reason the Left Attacked Lawrence Summers:

» Young Pundit linked with Academia Swims In Hypocrisy

» Secure Liberty linked with More Attacks On Larry Summers

» ZuDfunck linked with Saturday Maze-ing

» Rip & Read Blogger Podcast linked with Rip & Read Blogger Podcast for 2005-02-20

Comments (17)

Well, I certainly am glad t... (Below threshold)

Well, I certainly am glad that the transcript was released, as I had no idea what to think of the media reports without a record to look at (thank you blogosphere, for making us all sticklers for primary documents. And yes, I too would like to see the Davos tape). It seems interesting that the emphasis was for so long exclusively on nature, then shifted in the popular mind to exclusively on nurture, and has been in recent years shifting back again. We can only hope that this swinging back and forth will not last too much longer and people will agree that the truth of our development lay somewhere in the middle. I often disagree with you but I must admit, this is a good post Paul.

m-m-m-mantis said:... (Below threshold)

m-m-m-mantis said:

"this is a good post Paul"

Excuse me while I duck from the lighting bolt.

Hey, credit where credit is... (Below threshold)

Hey, credit where credit is due.

The left will do what the l... (Below threshold)

The left will do what the left always does whether we have seen the transcript or not. They will dismiss any parts of it that motivated them to react in favor of the parts that they claim made them react. They have made an art form of twisting the truth and the more power they lose the more they twist it. Tonight's news has a story about Hillary wanting all ex-felon's voting rights restored, the party of dishonesty knows it can't win without the votes of dishonest people.

asking valid questions a... (Below threshold)

asking valid questions about Affirmative Action instantly becomes a target of the left.

Want to become a target? Try suggesting that we ought to pay for the invasion of Iraq with a tax increase. In no time at all you won’t know whether to shit or go sailing. Congratulations you have just discovered politics, good work.

Affirmative Action is one o... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Affirmative Action is one of the sacred cows of the left. Even if you have good evidence that affirmative action may actually be doing more harm than good.

I have a way to calm his cr... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

I have a way to calm his critics. Summers should announce the abolishment of tenure and declare that ALL jobs are, henceforth, open. He should further declare that the guidin principle in filling the jobs will be affirmative action only, so white men need not apply.

Then, we could all sit back and watch these morons' brains explode while they try to decide if affirmative action is more important or if their tenure is.

before someone from the lef... (Below threshold)

before someone from the left comes along and complains about me calling the democrats the party of dishonesty I'm offering this up as proof of their dishonesty and lack of trust within the party itself.


They can't even trust the outgoing party chairman to keep the one bargaining chip the DNC still held. This also means that there's little left to threaten congressmen who don't toe the line on blocking Social Security Reform, no stick, and nothing to offer to those who do, no carrot. They are destructing from the inside out.

Rick, try to stay on topic ... (Below threshold)

Rick, try to stay on topic for a change.

This story infuriates me. ... (Below threshold)

This story infuriates me. It's bad enough that the left is insane, but they can't seem to avoid making things worse for the people they claim to champion.

I have a dog in this fight. My granddaughter is a very smart girl and wants to be a scientist. It frosts me that she'll have to put up with these idiots who are hell-bent to make sure society will wonder if she's really brilliant, or just a token.

Here is an eesay I wrote on the topic:
Mars and Venus in the Lab

"An army,great in size,an h... (Below threshold)

"An army,great in size,an have a great effect in a small time.A smaller force can have a great effect,only if spread across a long time". "Then,Sam is wining". "Yes,Renfrew, He's winning". Paraprased from Zelazny's Lord of Light.

mantis wrote:We... (Below threshold)

mantis wrote:

We can only hope that this swinging back and forth will not last too much longer and people will agree that the truth of our development lay somewhere in the middle.

This is like all the debate about the book The Bell Curve, and these arguments about nature and nurture. I agree with you Mantis that the answer is in between...as far as intelligence goes genetics play a role, and so does culture.

I think there is a huge nat... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think there is a huge nature/nurture component, I think in almost all things it really is a both, not either/or, the real question is for various things how much of it is nature and how much of it is nurture.

I do believe that men and women in general think very differently, men and women view friendships differently, and I think you can see this in the areas of math/science and more verbal oriented subjects. It isn't so much that no girl can do one and no boy can do the other, and if you are talking high intelligience, it is likely the genders will be equally strong, but have a preference for one or the other. The stereotype holds very true in our house. My husband and I both got very good grades in high school/college and grad school, but if you asked dh if he would rather take a math test or write a paper and he will choose the test, ask me and I would rather write a paper.

lol, Just Me, I thought you... (Below threshold)

lol, Just Me, I thought you were male. Quoting Paul earlier "just goes to show"

You know, I always wonder a... (Below threshold)

You know, I always wonder about people who have a vested interest in denying any differences between men and women.

When will the old 70's Leftist schtick of "the personal is the political" wither away??

first jimjeff now lawrence ... (Below threshold)

first jimjeff now lawrence summer??? who the hell is lawrence summer anyways??? dont care what librel thinks. yawn

Several of the above commen... (Below threshold)
Frederick Table:

Several of the above comments seemed to favor a compromise between all-nurture and all-nature. That's fine except that that's already the position of those accused of being right-wing, male-chauv, racists by the leftists. It's the left that insist that it's all one way---nurture.






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