Phi Beta Cons

Summers Never Ends

The New York Sun reports that Lawrence Summers is advising the Obama campaign but is doing so quietly, so as not to alienate potential female supporters still bristling at the memory of his famous words back in 2005 — at a closed panel discussion where he only raised the possibility that innate differences might be part of the reason for the paucity of women in the very highest echelons of science, as compared to men.
Leave aside the ample scientific evidence to support Summers’s speculation, some of which is detailed in an upcoming article by Patti Hausman in Academic Questions. (See also this article by Christina Hoff Summers, which discusses a number of related issues.) Leave aside all that. Is there anyone who has had to suffer as much as Summers for a few tentative words uttered in a closed discussion group and meant simply to provoke thought?
Summers is advising Obama on economic issues, about which he is an expert, but the Furies continue to pursue him for daring to utter a forbidden thought about innate differences — a thought that violates the feminist insistence on absolute equality and sameness in all things — and his mere presence in the background of the campaign is evidently enough to set female teeth on edge, to mix metaphors from Athens and Jerusalem.

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