Friday, February 04, 2005

 

Walter E. Williams: Anti-intellectualism among the academic elite

Walter E. Williams has written an excellent piece describing the elitism of the lefties on college campuses.

Dr. Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, has been excoriated for suggesting that innate differences between men and women might be one of the reasons fewer women succeed in the higher reaches of science and math. Adding insult to injury, he also questioned the role of sex discrimination in the small number of female professors in science and engineering at elite universities.

Professor Nancy Hopkins, an MIT biologist, attended the National Bureau of Economic Research conference titled "Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce" where Dr. Summers gave his lecture. She had to leave the lecture, explaining to a Boston Globe (Jan. 17, 2005) reporter, "I would've either blacked out or thrown up." In today's campus anti-intellectualism, it's acceptable to suggest that genetics explains some outcomes, but it's unacceptable to use it as an explanation for other outcomes. Let's try a few, and guess whether Professor Hopkins would barf.

Suppose a speaker said that sickle cell anemia is genetically determined and occurs almost exclusively among blacks. Would Professor Hopkins stomp out of the room, charging racism? What if it were said that a person's chances of being a carrier of the gene for Tay-Sachs disease, a disease without a cure, is significantly higher if he is an Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jew? Would Professor Hopkins barf and charge the speaker with anti-Semitism?


Indeed.

The elitism of the left is basically defined by their belief that any dissenting opinion is the product of racism, ignorance and/or discrimination. Just as Dr. Summer's would not even entertain the words from the president of Harvard, most liberal elites shoot down and disregard as stupid anything they disagree with. This type of behavior is accepted - and even expected - by the political elites, but shutting down ideas without discussion of their merits on college campuses is harmful. Most people would agree that racism is wrong. However the question of WHY it is wrong has to be studied and examined in order to illuminate the subtleties of racism and how those apply to everyday life, our culture and our behaviors. If we are going to have no discussion of any issues in our institutions of higher learning then there is no learning going on at all, just indoctrination. Williams finishes with this:

Suppression of ideas that are seen as being out of the mainstream has become all too common at universities. The creed of the leftist religion is that any difference between people is a result of evil social forces. That's a vision that can lead to the return to the Dark Ages.


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