Free speech, but only when “we” like it

Free speech, but only when “we” like it

Earlier this month, Harvard president Larry Summers, a former Clinton administration Cabinet official, caused a blowout when he proposed that maybe there are fewer women in science because there are differences between men and women. He said this at a symposium on the issue where everyone was supposed to be free to express themselves without recrimination. They even excluded the press for that very reason. Well, one woman didn’t like what he said, stormed out, and called the media.

The Boston Globe editorializes on the topic and ends with the following recommendation:

There is also pressing work for Summers. He should continue to raise controversial issues and tough questions. But he must do so with greater diplomacy and a keener knowledge of current issues. Future queries might ask both about individuals—why are few women in science?—and institutions—why doesn’t science attract more women?

Summers was already asking those questions, hence the symposium. But it was the answers, or at least the propositions he was willing to debate, that got him in trouble. Apparently, “greater diplomacy and a keener knowledge of current issues” are code words for bowing to politically correct sensibilities by telling people what they want to hear rather the bringing up unpopular theories.

In other words, we’re allowed to have free speech, but only when it’s popular, which really means there’s no free speech at all.

[Hat tip to Best of the Web Today]