February 24, 2006

Intellectual Conformity at Harvard

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are fond of saying that The New York Times gets everything wrong. If the Paper of Record is covering it, you can presume it’s screwed something up.

Now, to be fair, that may be a bit overstated. Surely some reporters do good work at the Gray Lady. And we must admit that the weather forecast is often dead-on. Still, we think you get the point.

A recent Times piece that broke the news about Larry Summers' announcement of his upcoming departure as the president of Harvard University is a perfect case-in-point. Titled “President of Harvard Resigns, Ending Stormy 5-Year Tenure,” the article offers the following jaw-droppling obtuse sentence:

The announcement by Dr. Summers, an economist and a former Secretary of the Treasury, disappointed many students on the campus and raised questions about future leaders’ ability to govern Harvard with its vocal and independent-minded faculty.

Oh, dear. Now we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are fully prepared to admit that Harvard’s faculty is “vocal.” Sure, it may not be as “vocal” since the departure of rap impresario-cum-academic-fraud Cornel West, but it’s pretty vocal all the same.

But “independent-minded”? Puh-lease!

Need we remind the Gray Lady of the brouhaha that landed President Summers in such hot water in Cambridge? He ventured to guess that biological factors contribute to the lack of a strong female presence among the faculty in some math and science departments at Harvard.

That’s it. That’s all. He didn’t praise Mussolini. He didn’t praise Idi Amin. He didn’t praise Bush (perish the thought).

And how did Harvard’s “independent-minded” faculty respond to such an un-orthodox supposition? Like a bunch of sickening crybabies, that’s how. The Faculty of Arts & Sciences even offered a formal “No Confidence” vote, thereby demonstrating that such suggestions were beyond the pale. At Harvard, you may feel free to love Mao, warmly embrace Palestinian terrorism, and get misty-eyed about the Cambodian killing fields, but half-hearted discussions of innate differences between the sexes are simply verboten.

If we must say so ourselves—and even if we must not—this strikes us as a premium example of intellectual conformity. Provided the next Harvard president mouths every leftist shibboleth, he should do just fine.

Harvard, it seems, is as encouraging of independent thought as North Korea.

Posted at February 24, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack