TCS Daily


Hey, Harvard, Hire Me!

By James D. Miller - February 22, 2006 12:00 AM

Dear Harvard Corporation:

You have just effectively fired Harvard president Larry Summers. I request that you consider me as his replacement.

As you surely realize, the Summers controversy mirrors the fight over the Mohamed cartoons. Summers' original sin was suggesting that intrinsic aptitude might explain the dearth of female science professors. Although men and women probably have on average the same level of mathematical talent, some evidence suggests that the distribution of this talent in men is greater than in women. As a result, there may be many more men than women who are extremely good at math.

Summers' intrinsic aptitude statement was sacrilege to the multicultural feminists who dominate your social science and humanities faculty. Multicultural feminists hold that any statistical under-representation of women must be due to white male oppression. For Summers to suggest otherwise would be analogous to the King of Saudi Arabia suggesting that Mohamed wasn't a prophet.

Summers' intrinsic aptitude comment, like the Mohamed cartoons, exposes the conflict between free inquiry and multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, whether practiced by Islamic fundamentalists or radical feminists, holds as its highest value that no one should be permitted to hurt the feelings of privileged minorities. Unfortunately, freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry often cause hurt feelings. Indeed, some of the best scientific research deliberately sets out to offend others by falsifying their cherished beliefs.

Summers unfortunately gave in to the feminist multiculturalists. He apologized and gave them $50 million. Such a Neville Chamberlain-like approach doomed his presidency. Once the radicals knew he could be intimidated he could never again do anything they opposed. My hope is that you have fired Summers so as to put someone in place who can and will take on the radicals now in control of your Arts and Science Faculty. I am such a person.

If made president of Harvard I would spend the $50 million Summers pledged to the feminists to instead set up a center to study genetic differences in intelligence between men and women. The center would prove that Harvard, once again, is committed to free inquiry.

The social science and humanities departments at Harvard, similar to most other U.S. colleges, lack intellectual diversity. The controversy over Summers' remarks shows that the multicultural left has a strong dislike of even considering ideas contrary to their world view. We certainly couldn't expect them actually to hire faculty who hold anti-multiculturalist views. As president of Harvard I would strive to increase diversity even though doing so will anger members of the academic left. Under my presidency, any department at Harvard that is not ideologically diverse will lose the right to make hiring decisions. A department that, for example, has systematically excluded Republicans, conservatives and libertarians shouldn't be trusted with the power to make new hires.

I suspect that many qualified applicants will seek the Harvard presidency, so I understand my chances are slim. But if you don't pick me I urge you to choose someone who will stand up to the radical multiculturalists.

Imagine what would happen if the Danish government apologized for the cartoons, fired the editor of the paper that printed them, and gave $50 million to the radical Islamic protestors who have demanded the heads of the cartoons' creators. Islamic radicals across the world would become empowered and freedom of speech in Western civilization would be at risk.

If you allow the feminist multiculturalists to win this battle then intellectual diversity in higher education will be imperiled. Consider the fate of a graduate student or untenured professor who holds "politically incorrect" views. If the president of Harvard can be fired for expressing such views, surely lesser beings in the academic world will fell compelled to self-censor or leave academia. The best hope for academic freedom is that you don't let the radical feminists win, and choose someone they will despise even more than Larry Summers.

James D. Miller writes The Game Theorist column for TCS and is the author of Game Theory at Work.

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26 Comments

Josh wil hire white supremacists and anti-semites and gay-baiters
None of this PC stuff: he'll bring real diversity.

diversity rules!
I think a man should be in charge of womens studies, a white in charge of black studies, a person of color in charge of white studies, women (or any person who feels like they are a woman) in frats and men (from birth) in sororities. Jews should teach muslim culture. Hispanics teach jewish religion. Golfers teach tennis. Of course, we still let the jocks play football (for now).

We should be free to preach, teach, and discuss all things (except cartoons) as long it confirms to our echo chamber buzz word insert touchy feely emotional response here core beliefs. All others need not apply.

The life cycle of institutions
Harvard has been a great university. Arguably, it was until recently the most highly regarded university in the world. Nothing, however, is forever, and the loss of Larry Summers may well be a turning point in Harvard's history.

A strong open minded leader like Larry Summers is the only kind of person who could have maintained Harvard's role in the academic world.

The childish, self-absorbed, faculty members who drove him away are now indistinguishable from the children of privilege who will more and more come to dominate the school's student body.

I predict that the great teachers and the great students will no longer look to Harvard, and its glory will fade.

Sic transit gloria mundi

Sure, only 43 Nobel laureates
...but it's all the fault of that darn faculty, not Summers.

Josh promises: no more emphasis on "distinction:" more room for mediocrity!
"Harvard is thought of as a truly excellent institution, perhaps the world's best," he says. "Isn't this elitist? Isn't this unfair to the dim and confused? We must hire some truly stupid faculty to bring balance to this place. Appoint me, and I guarantee they will come."

erics world view
anyone who disagrees with a pc position is a racist, anti-semite, homophobe, etc.

time lines
eric, do you know the difference between past and future?

Josh will hire MarkTheGreat to select the racists, anti-semites and homophobes...
... to make sure they are _real_, sincere, committed racists, anti-semites and homophobes, and not just token wannabes.

(who is eric)?

Dim bulbs
It seems to me that the place is probably already well stocked with dim bulbs.

Sure, ask the Nobel Prize committee, the NAS, NAE, NIM and Research Council
That's what they're looking for when they award prizes and memberships: stupidity and lack of achievement. That's why Harvard does so well in these departments.

Obviously not...
Fortunato is a major troll. Timelines and facts mean nothing when faced with the mighty power of a smart-ass comment.

Nobel Prize? So what!
It means nothing anymore. Just another political chip on the table. Arafat got one, Carter got one, ElBaradei(?) got one, not to mention any other number of idiots. If I ever received one I would urinate on it immediately. Do you have the total percentage of Nobels won in relation to the total number ever given out? Also, what percentage of scientists and researchers come from Harvard? Please give some factual teeth to your screed.

You seem to put a lot of faith in political institutions. You would be surprised to learn that most ground-breaking research no longer happens at Yale, Harvard, or Oxford. The current trend at these overpriced schools is to make connections, not breakthroughs.

Out of tune
Just because something shines brightly at one particular wave length is no indication that it will at any other wave length. Thus accolades gifted out for such aren't a total indication of response to entire spectrum. Likewise, care should be used before flipping the switch to 'OFF'.

James need not apply
There is some evidence to suggest that conservative don't have the intrinsic aptitude for academic role in our uni's. That is why there is not many in the academic world.

The evidence is academic
Can it be assumed that 'wwgeek1' is a conservative? Or was 'wwgeek1' just fat fingering the keyboard?

Not the peace prize
We're talking literature, physics, medicine, chemistry, economics.
Look it up -- 75 have some affiliation, third behind Cambridge and U Chicago.,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize_laureates_by_university_affiliation

According to Harvard 42 Nobelists are or have served as faculty members. In 2005, Harvard professor Ray Glauber won have the physics prize, so they aren't complerely used up yet.

>You would be surprised to learn that most ground-breaking research no longer happens at Yale, Harvard, or Oxford.

in what fields? What's your source?

Out of reality
do you have a point? What does this have to do with Harvard or anything else?

"Timelines and facts"
What timeline was offered? What facts were presented?

regarding the rest: let's put you down as a minor troll with a dumb-ass comment.

eric just confirms how bigoted he is.
and how incapable of rational thought.

clue for the clueless
not that it will do anygood to those who fight so hard to remain willfully ignorant.

The original post said that this event may mark the beginning of the decline for Harvard.

You point out that Harvard has had 43 nobel prize winners on it's staff.

The original post points to the future.
Your post points to the past.

Get the difference yet?

academic aptitude
Of course to a liberal academic aptitude implies nothing more than being able to recite the liberal dogma, and be willing to force it on everyone in sight.

MarkTheGreat will accept the job!!
He'll make sure that PC thought is exterminated. Mark, mail your resume right away, even though many people would think it isn't that impressive.

Aha! someone knows the future!
>The original post said that this event may mark the beginning of the decline for Harvard.

The original post could equally accurately have said "this event may mark the end of life on earth." Saying doesn't make it so.

Especially in physics.
that's where liberal dogma truly rules. That's why conservative physicists have so much difficulty being taken seriously. Medicine and chemistry too.

Lugs et Veritas
I think I'll pass on Jim's nomination petition. There hasn't been an indigenous Harvard president since Nathan Pusey, and his successors from Stanford , Princeton, and downriver have proved such a weedy bunch that Harvard Yard is beginning to look like a switchgrass plantation.

Maybe he should get The Center for The Study of Popular Culture to run David Horowitz for Yale prexy, to give us an example of what a true blue uncivil antilibertarian can do to an ivy patch.

While we await the results we can redouble our efforts to clone Conant and Lowell- we should make a bundle renting out the spares to run brown, The University of Chicago, and Bob Jones.




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