Saturday, August 20, 2005

Atonement, academia style

By now, if you follow such things, you know that Harvard is in another twist over diversity. President Lawrence Summers committed the multi-culti sin of wondering aloud if innate gender differences account for the scarcity of women in high-level math and science position.

In penance, Summers has humbled himself before the Left's trinity: race, sex, and class. He's ponied up $50 million of the university's money for a fresh layer of bureaucracy, hiring more and more people to chase fewer and fewer qualified women and minorities for faculty positions.

It's sad and humiliating to see intelligent, responsible grown-ups turn into dancing bears when the diversicrats twitch their leashes. But, even this disgraceful scene is all part of the students' education.

As usual with societal trends like these, First Things published insightful commentary about it earlier. Barry Bercier:

Diversity can rightly be called a value-free term. All it does, ordinarily, is identify a condition of unlikeness between or among things. It reports this difference as a fact and by itself indicates nothing of the goodness or badness of that fact. Rather, the happenstance of goodness or badness depends on factors other than the diversity itself. [...But in the university], diversity emerges not as a fledgling and friendly standard to be nestled among the older standards that have traditionally defined the university but rather as a proclamation of a transvaluation of all values, an attack on the very heart of the university and on the whole constellation of principles that constitute its life. Here diversity breaks free of questions of racial justice and calls into question the standards of justice themselves as they have historically been represented by the university. The righteous anger roused in the face of black slavery surges forward as a driving force clearing the path for an assault on all authoritative institutions taken to be implicated in such crimes. The anger directed against slavery serves in fact as the spearhead of another anger, one originating at a far deeper level of the soul of Western man and concerned with a host of things that have less to do with racism, American history, or slavery (or, for that matter, the war in Vietnam, “the military-industrial complex,” “the Establishment,” or “globalization”) than they have to do with the constitution of the West itself.

No placating that attitude.

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