Saturday, February 12, 2005

Lawrence Summers flap, Pt. 2

Syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg makes an excellent point (here): why are the free speech types giving Ward Churchill a pass and not Lawrence Summers?

You don't know who Ward Churchill is? For shame! He's the chairman of the Ethnic Studies department at the University of Colorado who wrote in a speech that the people working in the World Trade Center were "little Eichmanns" and deserved their horrific deaths.

Now what I find most interesting is this: by almost any measure, Churchill is a fraud. His main claim to his position as chairman of the Ethnic Studies department at CU-Boulder is that he is an American-Indian. He does not hold a Ph.D. so it's not his academic credentials. (Frankly, ethnic studies departments are about the only departments you are likely to find with tenured professors who are not Ph.Ds.) It must be his heritage.

Except that Churchill isn't an American Indian as it turns out. Others have detailed his fraudulent claims far better and more extensively than I can (check out Ann Coulter's take). What I find interesting is that so many people are willing to give this pinhead the benefit of the doubt, but not Lawrence Summers.

Now, Lawrence Summers really is a professor - in a real discipline (not some pseudo-discipline like Victims Studi - er, I mean, Ethnic Studies). He has a Ph.D from Harvard in economics. He taught economics at Harvard before entering public service in 1991 as the chief economist of the World Bank. His public service career culminated in 1999 as secretary of the treasury. Summers became president of Harvard in July 2001.

Here's another little factoid (again, credit to Goldberg) that you may not have heard. At the particular portion of the conference during which Summers made his "controversial" remarks, participants were encouraged to think unconventionally. And during the course of his speech, Summers warned his audience that he was trying to be provocative!

Good grief! MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins seems like even more of a twit now than before.

And yet you haven't heard one peep from so-called "free speech advocates" in support of Summers, have you? Of course you haven't. Because what he said does not conform to liberal dogma (i.e., white people and men especially, bad; people of color, especially women, good).

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