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.

Wizbang movie pitch contest -- the winners
Confirmed: Lawrence Summers Bashed For Telling Truth


  1. mantis February 18, 2005
  2. Paul February 18, 2005
  3. mantis February 18, 2005
  4. bullwinkle February 18, 2005
  5. Rick DeMent February 18, 2005
  6. Just Me February 18, 2005
  7. Steve L. February 18, 2005
  8. bullwinkle February 18, 2005
  9. McGehee February 18, 2005
  10. Tim McNabb February 18, 2005
  11. LINCOLN February 18, 2005
  12. r.a. February 18, 2005
  13. Just Me February 18, 2005
  14. Henry February 19, 2005
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  17. Frederick Table February 23, 2005