Phi Beta Cons

The Duke Rape Case and Larry Summers

In his New York Times review of Stuart Taylor, Jr. and K.C. Johnson’s Until Proven Innocent, about the Duke lacrosse case, Jeffrey Rosen notes that in the final chapters, the authors express their belief that the disgraceful behavior of Duke president Richard Brodhead was prompted by his “trying to avoid the fate of Lawrence Summers, deposed as president of Harvard for his incorrect views about gender equality, and that in the ‘alternative universe’ of academia, no university president can challenge the conceits of political correctness that are corrupting our greatest campuses.”
It’s not clear which is worse–that someone like Brodhead actually believed that he was justified in throwing all fairness and proper procedure to the winds, or that he knew he was doing wrong but did it anyway because he felt the pressure of PC and was afraid of being fed to the wolves as Summers was.
Either way, it is important to note the distance that PC-liberalism has travelled from the older type of liberalism. In the older type, proper procedure, rule of law, innocent until proven guilty, etc., were highly respected principles, and informed many works of literature and popular culture, such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Twelve Angry Men.  But PC liberalism is like Leninism–morality is what serves the revolution, so to speak.


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