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Publisher Description

In March 2005 the Harvard faculty of arts and sciences did something that was unprecedented. It passed a motion overwhelmingly expressing lack of confidence in Harvard President Lawrence Summers. Although a self-proclaimed Democrat and Jewish liberal, Summers had committed an act so outrageous that female members of his faculty stated they had been on the point of fainting when they learned of it. An outraged feminist professor of ethics with an appropriately multicultural name, Mahzarin Banaji, told the Harvard Crimson: "In this day and age to believe that men and women differ in their basic competence for math and science is as insidious as believing that some people are better suited to be slaves than masters." Summers' inexcusable sin was to have included a speculative aside in a speech delivered a few weeks earlier about a possible genetic difference between the sexes that would account for why men dominated the top five per cent of mathematical aptitude tests. While both Harvard professors and the feminist faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pouted and fumed, several reports in the impeccably liberal New York Times offered the speculative hypothesis that Summers had hinted at about gender differences and scientific testing. The NYT presented the tested supposition about gender and intelligence as a reasonable inference drawn from an objective survey. But Summers would have done better to accept the politically correct view of his faculty: Gender, he should have made clear, is a social construct; and if women do not achieve scores as high as those of as men on scientific tests, that can be ascribed to systemic prejudice. The same systemic prejudice is the cause of the disparity in test results for different races. In fact, all human differences are allegedly attributable to the lingering effects of oppression, which government social policy, if applied broadly and persistently enough, will eventually wipe out.

Politics & Current Events
June 22
Council for the National Interest
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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