Monday, January 31, 2005

Gender and ethnic differences

Pat Buchanan comments on the biological differences found in the human species:

Italians have produced many of the world's great works of art and sculpture. African-Americans invented the only original American form of music. If one were to list the greatest running backs in NFL history, the greatest players in NBA history, the greatest athletes in track and field, blacks – though 12 percent of our population – would have several times that representation in the respective halls of fame.

In intellectual and academic pursuits and Nobel Prizes, one finds an extraordinary overrepresentation of Jewish-Americans.

In short, it seems not irrational to conclude God sprinkled his gifts and talents unevenly among individuals and peoples. Early in the 20th century, Americans like Sen. Albert Beveridge argued that the English and Americans were uniquely endowed with the gifts of governance to rule the world.

Among friends, at bars and around dinner tables, such things are commonly discussed. The late great Murray Rothbard, the famed libertarian and polymath, once confided to me at a most politically incorrect dinner, "All stereotypes are true."

And it is not just ethnic groups that vary:

As much of the country now knows, Larry Summers, at a closed session in Boston to discuss the progress of women in academia, suggested their under-representation might be due to the fact that boys outperform girls at the highest levels of math and science.

Statistically, this is undeniable. But Summers' suggestion there might be a link between heredity and intelligence, between maleness and an aptitude for higher math, just as there is between gender and strength, caused one female Ph.D. to react as though she had been gassed.

"I felt I was going to be sick," said biology professor Nancy Hopkins of MIT. "My heart was pounding, and my breath was shallow."

"I just couldn't breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill." Had she not fled from the room, said Hopkins, "I would've either blacked out or thrown up."

Economics professor Claudia Goldin of Harvard, however, spoke up at the inquisition: "I left with a sense of elation at his ideas ... I was proud that the president of my university retains the inquisitiveness of an academic." As of now, count has been lost as to how many times Summers has begged forgiveness.

So, what does this tell us about Harvard, and about America?

Nothing that is good.

That a Ph.D. at MIT almost collapsed at hearing a central tenet of her liberal orthodoxy questioned, that Summers has been forced to grovel and apologize for an honest opinion, testifies to a neo-Stalinist intolerance of politically incorrect thought at Harvard. Why are U.S. taxpayers being forced to subsidize these liberal madrassas?

Maybe because the average American taxpayer is as spineless as Larry Summers?

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