The Larry Summers Show Trial
culturally-deprived immigrant Editor: The title
references a classic HBO comedy called "The
Larry Sanders Show."—Steve.]
Brimelow replies: Oh.]
Nothing exemplifies the corruption
and decay of American intellectual culture more
grotesquely than The Larry Summers Show Trial.
At a private academic conference,
the Harvard president
dared to suggest that discrimination might not be
the only explanation why men outnumber women as
professors of math, science, and engineering at elite
The horror! No matter how many
apologizes for telling this truth, and no matter how
much in other people`s money and
other men`s opportunities he offers up as
reparations for his "gaffe,"
it just hasn`t been enough.
When the former
Clinton Administration Treasury Secretary finally
transcript of his off-the-record talk, it turned out
to be a humble but devastating demolition of the
reigning cant about the need for more diversity in
And that only exacerbated the
frenzy. Precisely because Summers`s talk was a model of
how the intellectual leadership of America ought
to be thinking about
important issues, he has been endlessly excoriated.
For example, the front page of
Wall Street Journal
featured a typical article,
Harvard Clash Pits Entrenched Faculty Vs. Brusque Leader,
by Robert Tomsho and John
Hechinger, reporting that Summers said:
does appear that on many, many different human
attributes — height, weight…overall IQ, mathematical
ability, scientific ability — there is relatively clear
evidence that whatever the difference in means` or
average levels of ability `there is a difference in the
standard deviation and variability of a male and a
Thus, for example, it`s a well established fact that,
while male and female IQs are about the same on average,
there are far more male morons…and geniuses.
here for Ilana Mercer`s
Richard Lynn`s alternate
theory that men enjoy a 5-point advantage in average IQ.]
"Mr. Summers also told
participants at the conference that women weren`t the
only group underrepresented in an important activity.
`To take a set of diverse examples,` he said, `the data
will, I am confident, reveal that
Catholics are substantially underrepresented in
investment banking, which is an enormously
high-paying profession in our society; that white men
are very substantially underrepresented in the
National Basketball Association; and that Jews are
very substantially underrepresented in
farming and agriculture.`
"According to the
transcript, Mr. Summers cited no sources for these
No sources? In other words: when it comes to whether or not white men are
statistically underrepresented in the NBA, who (to
Richard Pryor) are you going to believe: the
President of Harvard and
your own lying eyes—or the
Axiom of Equality that says that the world would be
infinitely homogenous if not for discrimination by the
White Male Power Structure?
And since the WMPS would want to hog the money and fame
that goes with playing in the NBA, then it must
obviously be an unsubstantiated "stereotype"
that most players are black!
Give me a break.
One of Summers`s earlier gaffes has been repeatedly
brought up again over the last month. The WSJ
at Harvard are still bitter that Mr. Summers singled out
one of the department`s stars, Cornel West, three years
ago for a highly unusual presidential scolding of a
tenured professor. Among Mr. Summers`s issues, according
to Prof. West`s associates: making a
hip-hop record and allegedly missing classes to help
political campaign. At the time, a person close to
Mr. Summers said he was only trying to encourage Prof.
concentrate on scholarship and teaching. The
incident inspired widespread publicity, and Prof. West
ultimately left for Princeton University."
But Summers` racial "insensitivity" spared
Harvard the embarrassment engendered by
Professor West`s next feat of scholarship: playing
role of a
"Councillor of Zion" in those two unbelievably
The Matrix Reloaded and
The Matrix Revolutions.
In "The Education of Larry Summers" in
the Feb. 28th edition of
The American Conservative (now available on
newsstands, but not online), I explore the brouhaha in
One topic in my essay that deserves more
consideration is: Where are all the female geniuses that
the feminist revolution was supposed to unleash upon the
Virginia Woolf claimed long ago that
often a female genius—"some
mute and inglorious Jane Austen" — had been silenced by male oppression.
Yet after decades of strenuously
celebrating women`s achievements, such as they are, we
don`t seem to have gotten many new Jane Austens, for our
troubles—or even many new
We`re about 35 years into the age of
feminism, but how many new geniuses do we have to show
In contrast, by the time 35 years had
passed after Jackie Robinson had
integrated baseball in
1947, the game had
benefited from Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Bob Gibson,
Roberto Clemente, Maury Wills, Reggie Jackson, and
Lets look at some hard numbers for the
hard sciences. The first human being to win two
Nobel Prizes was a woman: Madame Curie (Physics
laureate in 1903 and a Chemistry laureate in 1911).
Through 1964, women had won five times in Physics or
Since then, out of the 160 laureates in
those two fields, women have numbered … zero.
Women have done better in
Medicine/Physiology, but, overall, women made up 2.5
percent of the laureates in the three hard science
Nobels up through 1964 … and 2.3 percent ever since. (No
woman has ever won a
Fields Prize, the Nobel equivalent for
In Economic Sciences (I`ll remain silent
on whether that term is an oxymoron), women have
accounted for none of the 44
Nobel Laureates since that Prize was instituted in
Possibly the most prominent American
female economist today is
When I look at fields I`m more qualified
to judge, it`s evident that women are not currently
storming the heights of genius in the numbers Woolf
As a reviewer of nonfiction books, I
would probably pick
Sexual Personae as the single most brilliant
work by anyone, male or female, over the last 15 years.
After that, though, the pickings get slim.
As a film critic, I`ve noted that while
the number of female Hollywood executives has soared,
the number of top women screenwriters has declined since
the 1960s, the number of consistently strong female
directors is very small (women have earned only three of
the last 84 Academy Award nominations for Best
Director), and the number of outstanding woman
cinematographers is nonexistent (no woman has ever been
nominated for an Oscar in cinematography).
Since the death of
Pauline Kael, there haven`t even been many leading
women film critics.
Or consider a brand new field, one too
young for an Old Boys Network to control: blogging.
Of course, noting the recent lack of
female geniuses may be unfair to women, since we don`t
appear to be living in an age of male geniuses either.
Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in
the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950.
It uses the citations of individuals in leading
reference books in order to rank their importance.
Around 1400, Western Europe became a perpetual motion
machine for the creation of geniuses. But Murray`s
statistics show, on a per capita basis, a falling
off of individual accomplishment beginning in the second
half of the 19th Century and continuing up through 1950
(when Murray stopped in order to prevent ephemeral recent fads from
warping the data).
Murray`s subjective view is that human
accomplishment has dropped even more sharply in the last
half century, and I have to agree.
I asked my
blog`s readers to nominate works of art from the
post-1950 era that would likely meet Murray`s challenge
of still being appreciated 200 years from now.
Strikingly, a large fraction of the
nominees turned out to be from the 1940s.
For example, the first play I thought of
as likely to win a place in the permanent repertory was
Long Day`s Journey into Night, which debuted on
Broadway in 1956. Yet it turned out to have been written
15 years earlier.
Of the nominated works that were
actually created in the second half of the century, by
far the most came from the 1950s, with the 1960s in
So, it could be that the current
feminist era is just unlucky to have happened during an
overall slack period.
But, it`s also likely that feminism—with
its emphasis on self-pity, resentment of greatness,
hatred of logic, insistence upon social validation of
personal feelings, and demand for lying and browbeating
the honest into silence—has contributed to the general
decline in quality.
Modern feminism and modern decadence are
results of the same general trend. Feminism emerged at
the end of the 1960s precisely because the cultural
leaders of the era had rebelled against the
traditions that had made
Western Civilization such an incubator of geniuses
for over 500 years— above all, the preference for
truth over ideology.
Larry Summers is merely the latest, and
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and