May 1st, 2010

Academia, Harvard Law School, and freedom of speech

Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School, has put another PC nail in the coffin of free speech at that august institution, alma mater of our president.

The topic? A private email sent by third year Harvard Law student Stephanie Grace to two friends, in which she wrote:

I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair. (Now on to the more controversial:) Women tend to perform less well in math due at least in part to prenatal levels of testosterone, which also account for variations in mathematics performance within genders. This suggests to me that some part of intelligence is genetic, just like identical twins raised apart tend to have very similar IQs and just like I think my babies will be geniuses and beautiful individuals whether I raise them or give them to an orphanage in Nigeria. I don’t think it is that controversial of an opinion to say I think it is at least possible that African Americans are less intelligent on a genetic level, and I didn’t mean to shy away from that opinion at dinner.

I also don’t think that there are no cultural differences or that cultural differences are not likely the most important sources of disparate test scores (statistically, the measurable ones like income do account for some raw differences). I would just like some scientific data to disprove the genetic position, and it is often hard given difficult to quantify cultural aspects.

One of the recipients of Grace’s note “arranged for the email to be sent out to the Harvard Black Law Student Association list-serv, including [her] name and the fact that after graduation, the author will be doing a federal clerkship.” The BLSA, up in arms, went to HLS authorities, and Dean Minow sprung into action, stating:

“Here at Harvard Law School, we are committed to preventing degradation of any individual or group, including race-based insensitivity or hostility’’…

Minow said she had met with leaders of Harvard’s Black Law Students Association on Wednesday to discuss the hurt caused by Grace’s e-mail….

As often is the case with PC campaigns against certain kinds of speech, it’s about the fact that the members of the BLSA were “hurt.” I have no doubt they were, but all Grace did was to speculate about a possible genetic cause for a phenomenon that is statistically demonstrable—the same as Larry Summers did about a similar circumstance related to women in the highest reaches of science.

Here’s the full text of Minow’s statement. Note that it begins with the following sentence:

I am writing this morning to address an email message in which one of our students suggested that black people are genetically inferior to white people.

In law school, one of the first tasks a student learns is to summarize the facts of the case. If I were a professor at Harvard Law and Minow was my student, I’d give her an “F” for that response. But that’s the sort of thing that passes for intellectual honesty at Harvard Law these days.

Minow goes on to state of Harvard Law that, “This is a community dedicated to intellectual pursuit and social justice.” I would humbly submit that not only is the latter a “progressive” buzzword that indicates Minow sees HLS’s mission as a leftist one, but that the two efforts are sometimes in opposition to each other.

To me, Minow’s official reaction is more disturbing than any speculation in which an HLS student engaged in a supposedly private email. But Ms. Grace has now made her public mea culpas, showing that she’s been sufficiently re-educated to take her place as a good soldier in the Harvard PC brigade:

I am heartbroken and devastated by the harm that has ensued. I would give anything to take it back…I understand why my words expressing even a doubt [that African-Americans are genetically inferior] were and are offensive.

As for me, I don’t happen to think that African Americans are genetically inferior in this arena. But I do think that banning speculation and/or research into the question is both intellectually dishonest and an affront to liberty. And I also believe that public excoriation of the private remarks of a student is a dangerous and very slippery slope—and that we’ve already slid at least halfway down that slope, with no end in sight.

[NOTE: As I noted, a related matter is the case of Larry Summers, who was forced to leave Harvard after his non-PC remarks about research into the paucity of women at high levels of science. I called one of my posts on that subject "Harvard in peril," and I see no reason to retract that observation now. Other posts of mine on the subject are this and this.]

[ADDENDUM: Ann Althouse offers further reflections.]

134 Responses to “Academia, Harvard Law School, and freedom of speech”

  1. strcpy Says:

    While this was a student colleges are well aware that this stifles research – that is the whole point of the tunure system. To put in a structure that allows them the freedom to explore pretty much anything and follow the results.

    Sadly few walks of research anymore follow that idea, most are now more into figuring out which is socially acceptable and going down that route. In my personaly opinion of all the things I see wrong with our world today this will be the largest and most destructive. We are building a world that does not and can not exist and are shaping our society around it.

    It is easy to catch the large ones (like AGW) even if it is a hard fight to stop it. But it is the mountain of smaller things that we simply take for granted that is going to rob us, those reach into so many different things that even if we do find out how wrong they were it takes decades to figure out everywhere that those assumptions had reached.

    In this particular case we all accept that there is something called “natural talent” in intelligence, math, science, literature, etc. I do not know where “natural talent” comes from other then genetics so we have established a link. Further we already accept that there are genetic differences between the races – even just small things like skin pigment, slight differences in bone structure, shape of the eyes, etc.

    As such I do not see it as a stretch to see genetic differences in intelligence. Indeed, I find it *worse* to ignore it than if we accepted that and made curriculum for the different groups (no reason one has to force anyone into any role – just have the curriculum there and let them choose).

    So, I’ll do my made up world – I define three types of “intelligence”. Mathematical, Verbal, and Mechanical. Personally I see this quite often – some of the best auto mechanics, roofers, etc are not really good at math or reading. Most academic people are either split into verbal or mathematics field.

    Now, we move into primary school curriculum (and I *do* think this is a real problem). That is the focus to go onto college ad “get a good job” makes those mechanical people out to be loosers when they may very well end up making a MUCH larger impact on society and make a MUCH larger salary that the hordes of business and English majors whom would have been better off in a mechanical career.

    Ignoring those differences and assuming that it is simply a case of nuture has produced a great deal of unhappiness and frankly poor workers. I have no idea if one would find more of one type in a specific race or not (some genetic differences do, some are just evenly distributed over “humans”) but I am certain there is a genetic component to that ability and we call it “natural talent”.

    It isn’t a self esteem builder to take an armless person and tell them how great a football quarterback they can be and put them into that position nor is it a self esteem builder to make an auto mechanic think that success is being an astronaut, putting them in that career track, and seeing them fail. Self esteem building *should* be performing to the top of your talent and if that makes you the best dang garbage collector on the planet then you are performing a vital and needed service for everyone – we couldn’t function without you. 50 years ago those were respected jobs, now unless you are on a college track many (if not most 30 and below now) see you as a failure and that is entirely due to ignoring reality and it is going to bite us hard.

  2. Occam's Beard Says:

    Oh, where to start on this one?

    With the cognitive dissonance of maintaining different groups cannot even in principle differ in intellectual ability, yet some need special help to compete in intellectual endeavors?

    With the ridiculous notion that different groups cannot even in principle differ in a given ability when they demonstrably differ in others?

    With the discredited Marxist view of Man as a tabula rasa, a view so necessary to creation of New Socialist Man, despite the everyday observation that boys and girls differ in personality from each other even as infants, and indeed siblings of the same gender do so as well.

    Furthermore, abilities are also partly genetic. Hank Aaron didn’t hit better than me because he took more batting practice. If I’d taken batting practice every waking minute of my entire life I’d never have hit as well as he did. I guarantee that.

    Clearly genetics plays a considerable role in abilities and behavior both. As we’ve discussed here before, no one questions broad characterizations of dog breeds (e.g., golden retrievers are sweet, highly intelligent, and easy to train; some other breeds are the converse) as “breedist,” points out that “breed” is not a biologically defined term (true), or asserts the need for special help for the none-too-bright breeds.

    Try these two statements on for size:

    I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that X are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent…

    where X = African Americans, and X = Ashkenazi Jews. One induces laughter, one spluttering rage. Why? Because one is obvious nonsense, by common observation, while the other…is feared to be true.

  3. IgotBupkis Says:

    >>>>>> I am writing this morning to address an email message in which one of our students suggested that black people are genetically inferior to white people.

    > In law school, one of the first tasks a student learns is to summarize the facts of the case. If I were a professor at Harvard Law and Minow was my student, I’d give her an “F” for that response.

    I’d do more than give her an “F”, I’d fail her out of school. Such total intellectual dishonesty is either a sign of mental incompetence or blatant charlatanry

    Ms. Grace acked the possibility of a genetic cause of something which is statistically demonstrable (Funny how little is said to note the predominance of black athletes in any sport they choose to approach en masse — suggesting an obvious genetic advantage in the physical realms).

    That does not mean Ms. Grace advocates the notion in the least.

    There is a massive difference between acking the possibility of a fact and supporting a factual statement in that same direction.

    It’s quite possible, to me, that Ms. Minow is a congenital idiot

    Far be it from me to claim it as fact….

  4. Occam's Beard Says:

    Good comment, strcpy.

    I define three types of “intelligence”. Mathematical, Verbal, and Mechanical.

    I’ve noticed people differ fundamentally in reasoning approaches, with some favoring a symbolic approach (those to whom equations speak loudly and clearly), whereas other reason spatially. I’m verbal (duh), so-so in math (as physical scientists go), poor in mechanical things, but strong in spatial skills.A 9 am lecture on line integrals meant less than nothing to me until followed in the next hour by a lecture on calculating the work done in moving a charged particle through an electric field through use of…line integrals. Ah. Got it. I needed a physical, spatial model to connect with the concept. (On the other hand, mentally reflecting a complex molecular structure in a mirror plane, rotating it about an axis, and determining whether it was the same as another structure – easy.)

    Team-teaching with theorists who think first and foremost in equations, symbolically, rather than constructing them as an afterthought (as I do) really brought home to me the difference in approach. Such people commonly have minimal verbal skills; their syntax approximates the literary equivalent of orthopedic shoes (subject-verb-object, repeat as necessary, with the verb “is” getting almost all of the air play). One guy, a math prodigy, was teaching graduate courses in math at age 19 and would have graduated from college early except he couldn’t meet the foreign language requirement (which entailed chatting with native speakers for 20 minutes). Hell, although a native speaker, he could barely do that in English, never mind some other language!

  5. Occam's Beard Says:

    Now let’s turn to the S.S. Minow:

    I am writing this morning to address an email message in which one of our students suggested that black people are genetically inferior to white people.

    “Are” != “may be.” One would have hoped – in vain, in the event – that a law school dean would have some facility in analyzing others’ writing and in expressing herself clearly. Her performance in this instance would embarrass a storefront lawyer.

    “This is a community dedicated to intellectual pursuit and social justice.”

    “Intellectual pursuit”…of what? This sentence doesn’t make sense. “What are we doing? We’re dedicated to intellectual pursuit.” Ah.

    “Social justice” is indeed a euphemism for socialism. One of the more irritating habits of socialists is prepending to nouns apparently narrowing adjectives that in practice reverse the meaning of the noun. “Social justice” is not a subset of “justice,” but rather its antithesis.

    Last, in the light of this episode, any second thoughts about the magna cum laude the Messiah received?

  6. Howie Says:

    I agree with the points of this article. That said, Ms. Grace might have been better to opine that African Americans might be genetically predisposed to be MORE or less intelligent. Does she have information that would rule either possibility out?

  7. JD Says:

    You missed the fact that while Minow put this in terms of “genetic inferiority,” the email author never said anything about superiority or inferiority.

  8. Fen Says:

    I think Minow’s response disproves any theory that racial genetics is any factor in determining intelligence.

  9. ken Says:

    Suppose that in today’s world, there really were some groups who were actually intellectually inferior. Also suppose that some of them were so inferior they did not realize their inferiority and thought that everything bad that happened to them was because of prejudice, and not their own mistakes or bad luck. My question is, then how would the world be different from how it is now?

  10. Scott Says:

    The first act that will chill free speech occurred when at least one of the two people Stephanie expressed her private thoughts to in the email breached her trust and shared the email with others. While I’m sure Stephanie’s confidence in that “friend” has been completely shattered, the incident reveals more about that person’s character than it does about Stephanie’s. After all, Stephanie was expressing an honestly held controversial opinion (opinion is even too strong, she’s simply suggesting a possibility). For whatever reason, the “friend” sadly decided to betray her confidence. Maybe the friend never intended for Stephanie to be ostracized by the community, but that is the result. Now Stephanie and others will be less reluctant to debate controversial subjects.

    The second but more obvious chill on free speech comes from the Dean herself, who publicly decides to inject herself in the middle of a conversation that was intended to be an intellectual “debate” between three people. Why does the dean feel the need to regulate an argument Stephanie is making – whether it has merit or not simply because it is controversial?

    Both the disloyal “friend” and the dean have ensured Stephanie will forever be reluctant to honestly engage in debate that the PC police may not agree with. This can not be good for society.

    Another PC nail in the coffin of free speech, indeed.

  11. Sergey Says:

    There is a name for this Harvard policy: Lysenkoism. That is how biological science, and genetics in particular, was destroyed in USSR. Ideologically motivated persecutions of everybody who suggested that individual and group differences can have a basis in genetics ruined lives of hundred researchers. Many were arrested or executed.

  12. THE BELL CURVE Says:

    All one has to do, is take a look at countries around the world and their racial make-up.

    What do you see?

    But an obvious point, which is “hurtful” is not allowed at http://www.Indoctrinate-U.com

  13. PA Cat Says:

    The dean acted stupidly. There’s a lot of that in Cambridge.

  14. Sergey Says:

    More than just free speech: integrity of science is under attack. Where this can lead, see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

  15. Manju Says:

    I’m still searching for the free speech angle. Harvard didn’t punish her other than to excoriate her verbally, which falls under protected speech too. Larry Summers was forced out but this isn’t the Larry Summers case.

    Perhaps the free speech angle is the lack of research into race and IQ, a related larger issue, but not exactly this case. Nonetheless, insiturions have the right to limit their research either because its academically unsuitable (Harvard has no intelligent design program, for example) or simply because finite resources demand a limit.

  16. Tom Says:

    White men can’t jump seems pretty genetic.

  17. Diggs Says:

    If the Harvard Student Union shows the movie “White Men Can’t Jump”, how would they advertise it?

  18. gs Says:

    Martha Minow stands up to the racist capitalist patriarchy.

    Martha Minow speaks truth to power.

    Martha Minow belongs on SCOTUS!!!

    ducks, scuttles away
    ***************
    I was about to submit the above frivolous joke when I asked myself if…if…naaaah! But just to be sure, I googled.

    Oh. Em. Gee.

  19. TimMan Says:

    First, I’m pleased to learn that I’m not the only one who has ever wondered if intelligence has some genetic componant. I’ve never had the courage to put that thought into writing as Ms. Grace has. Her experience has verified my belief that our world is not ready to consider such a possibility. Furthermore, even if some scientific inquiry were to conclude that one group was genetically predisposed to higher intelligence than another group, I do not believe our society is advanced enough to handle such a conclusion. Our society would likely, I believe, confuse intelligence with virtue or worth and disastrously disregard our moral belief that “All Men are Created Equal.” Intelligence is but one aspect of our humanity and by no means the measure of it. Such misunderstanding of the truth would carry the danger of its misuse by demagogues from the group determined to have said predispostion to intelligence.
    I’m left to wonder, then, if the mindlessness of Harvard’s PC idiots is accidenally doing us a favor by fascistically censoring thought and study on this subject. Again, I’m just wondering.
    Second, it should be pointed out to members of the Harvard administration that their famous motto is “Veritas” — Truth. Sometimes the Truth hurts. When it does, a university educated person — no, even a mere “adult” — should accept the “truth” and deal with the “hurt.” Such should how Ms. Grace should have responded to censors Minow and the BLSA — of course that would have taken very great courage.

  20. rickl Says:

    Is there a White Law Student Association at Harvard?

    If not, why not?

  21. LAG Says:

    Manju wrote: “I’m still searching for the free speech angle. Harvard didn’t punish her other than to excoriate her verbally, which falls under protected speech too.”

    Try this on for size: a powerful man with considerable influence in your chosen profession gives a young woman a mild rebuke in public.

    (I choose ‘old powerful man’ vs ‘young woman’ to increase the PC tension, but what’s the real difference anyway between Minow and an old privileged man?)

    Ms. Minow’s official position rests on some foundation–I would guess her money-raising renown–presumably within the educational/legal world.

    Any chance that a public rebuke from her could affect the afterlife of a student from her institution?

    If the true answer is anything but a full-throat-ed ‘NO!’, then the young woman has just been given a lesson in ‘sitdown-and-shutup.’ Sounds like speech control to me. (As any adult in the marketplace, government, or academe knows immediately.)

  22. Mr. Frank Says:

    Intelligence has become the third rail in academia both in practice and research. All students are assumed to be able to succeed if they work hard enough and are taught properly. Suggesting that some students lack sufficient ability to do school work well is evidence of a bad attitude. This has led to what I call the Wizard of Oz approach to education. As he said to the Scare Crow, I can’t give you a brain, but I can give you a diploma.

    Increasingly, students are found to have “learning disabilities” that allow for extra time on tests and someone to read the questions to them. In many respects the ultimate learning disability is low intelligence. At some point we will lower the bar for such people in the interest of fairness.

    The issue raised by the young woman is not controversial among most psychologists. Intelligence has a large genetic component. How large is open to research and debate. Research reviewed in the Bell Curve makes it clear that being born smart will take you farther than being born rich.

  23. Sergey Says:

    In some respects, American society is, indeed, too ideologically intolerant to cope with scientific truth about race and gender. In Russia human genetics and racial studies are not under such ideological press and are rather successfuly developed. My friend, a genetisist and anthropologist, once was at scientific conference in Columbia university and shown his results in ethnic craniology to his american collegue. And this american professor responded: I somebody have seen me with craniological compass in hands, I would be fired. And my friend proposal to organize a conference on human genetics in USA, he said that is is ideologically impossible. Then my friend proposed to hold such conference in Petersburg, all were exited, and this conference was held, with huge success. For many US researches this was the only chance to discuss their results without ideological pressure.

  24. Piedra Says:

    It might be useful for Dean Minow to receive your feedback. Her email address is minow@law.harvard.edu

  25. Manju Says:

    LAG Says:

    “Try this on for size: a powerful man with considerable influence in your chosen profession gives a young woman a mild rebuke in public…the young woman has just been given a lesson in ’sitdown-and-shutup.’ Sounds like speech control to me.”

    There is no free-speech issue at stake in the scenario you asked me to try on for size, unless (ironically) you adopt leftist (PC) notions of free speech, which require a lower standards of protection for those deemed part of a powerful group, under the guise that their speech violates the rights of those less powerful.

    but the classical liberal tradition on which our regime is built makes no such distinction–beaces a system where a person has legal recourse merely because another (more powerful) person responded with speech provides an opening to real censorship. A liberal university should follow that model.

    there is indeed a lot of political correctness going on here.

  26. Nolanimrod Says:

    OK. Another go at the funny.

  27. Parlour Pachyderm Says:

    Let’s assume for a moment that it’s true that the chance of having a high IQ is less for members of the Black community than for other ethniticities.

    Suppressing this type of fact would be more racist than airing it, because without acceptance of reality, the problem cannot be addressed, and thus, not solved (if it does exist that is).

    As an aside, what about the millions of Anglosaxons, Asians and Jews who have a way below average IQ — should these people feel ashamed of themselves and humbly accept they are lesser beings in the eyes of the likes of Ms. Minow?

    Btw, in many countries, publishing private emails without permission which belong to strangers would be a serious case of mail theft. I don’t know what happened in the US to make this kind of snooping legal, but, even if it is, it leaves one wondering what other things Ms. Minow will consider just to ‘get ahead’… putting one of her young students into the public stocks for the general entertainment of the crowd and destroying her career for life before it’s even launched is not something the dean of any school should do.

  28. Nolanimrod Says:

    Well … close, but no cigar.

  29. billo Says:

    You know, I just don’t know what the big deal is. Harvard is a private institution. There is no guarantee of free speech at private schools. If the Dean of Harvard wanted to dictate that all the students there had to stand up and pledge allegiance to Che Guevera, then mor power to her.

    Of course, there are repercussions to that sort of thing. One of them is that Harvard will continue down the road to becoming a backwater second-rate school. I hope that our current representatives in government do not view Harvard as “too big to fail.” Assuming that, then Harvard can make its students dress in clown suits and lick pictures of Obama for all I care.

    Screw Harvard. I’ll send my kid to a place that will teach him something useful — and go on a cruise with the money I save.

  30. Karl the Krud Says:

    Actually, it’s another nail in the coffin of Harvard.

  31. Federal Dog Says:

    “But that’s the sort of thing that passes for intellectual honesty at Harvard Law these days.”

    It’s not a question of dishonesty. It’s what has come to pass for intellectual competence at Harvard these days.

    I have no doubt that Minow cannot read critically enough to distinguish her off-the-wall and overwrought distortion from what the student actually wrote.

  32. ColoComment Says:

    rickl Says:

    May 1st, 2010 at 4:25 pm
    Is there a White Law Student Association at Harvard?

    If not, why not?

    I guess for the same reason there’s not a White Men’s Caucus in Congress….

  33. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Minow goes on to state of Harvard Law that, “This is a community dedicated to intellectual pursuit and social justice.” Should be reworded to “This is a community dedicated to social justice, not intellectual pursuit.”

    Fixed.

    Here’s the really difficult point of all this. African-Americans do score lower on all nonfacetious tests of intelligence – up to a standard deviation lower, though I think that will not hold over time. The standard explanations for this really uncomfortable data have not been supported by research. Bad schools. Well, when you correct for that, the numbers are only slightly better. Socioeconomic status. When you correct for that the numbers are sometimes a little better. Biased tests. This has actually pointed in the opposite direction. African-Americans actually do better on those subtests one would think most sensitive to bias, and worse on those one would think culture-free. Culture-bound definitions of intelligence. This is more promising, but the current research has yet to reveal anything solid that supports this. Worse prenatal and early-childhood care. Most variance remains when this is corrected for. Cultural emphases. This is most promising of all, but even the most subtle measurements only buy a few points. All of these together. Only about 25% of the variance so far.

    I really hope some explanation other than “genetically slightly less intellectually nimble” turns out to be the truth. Perhaps when I was young I might have reveled in the competitive We’re Number One aspect (though in the one youth I actually experienced I was on the cutting edge of 60′s-70′s PC), but at 57, I would far prefer peace and quiet and everyone feeling content with their charming and equal differences. But my desires have nothing to do with it. Stephanie Grace is right and Dean Minow is wrong, by any logically consistent meaning of those words.

  34. Nolanimrod Says:

    OK – a Blunt Object this time:
    I think what happened to that girl is horrid and discreditable to all the players. The only punishment sufficiently apt is a cat-o-nine-tails. She thought these were her friends. Maybe a good lesson, but … no words for that kind of smug betrayal.

    Here’s the blunt object part:
    http://nolanimrod.com/2010/04/30/agree/

  35. Fat Man Says:

    And we let an HLS grad become president.

  36. Nolanimrod Says:

    Perhaps, one day, when she is in Minow’s office, she can turn aside and whisper, “I still wonder.”

  37. Tom Maguire Says:

    Quibble and bonus quibble re: Minow’s “…email message in which one of our students suggested that black people are genetically inferior to white people.”

    The obvious quibble, as noted above – the email opened the possibility of *intellectual* inferiority, but did not declare the question to be resolved.

    Bonus quibble – who says intellectual inferiority equals overall inferiority? Imagine a race that is tall, athletic, handsome (the ladies are beautiful), brave loyal, honest, energetic, hard-working, great at helping little old ladies across the street and saving kittens from trees, but ever so slightly below average in IQ tests. Who would consider that race to be inferior?

  38. reader (Harvard alumnus) Says:

    In response to calls that she “say something,” the only proper response from the dean should have been to say, “Private messages exchanged between students do not, and should never, merit official comment from any administrator.”

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Individual justice, where the rules apply to everyone equally, is American. Social justice, where the rules apply according to what group one is, is Un-American left fascism.

  40. expat Says:

    I don’t know how anyone can completely sort out the nature/nurture differences in any way that would make more than vague generalizations possible. Those who think that Head Start type programs can compensate for poor nurturing simply don’t recognize how deep the relationship is between a child and a parent (who feeds, comforts, stimulates, rewards, perhaps with just a smile, perhaps by bringing home the child’s favorite ice cream, over the course of years). All of these little interactions produce physiological responses that could affect brain development, and it is impossible to do a controlled study of these things that would be predictive for an individual. Furthermore, the interests of the parents, the things they expose a child to, and the kinds of questions they ask him or her can influence whether a child opens his mind to the world. There is certainly a genetic base to intelligence, but there are probably culturally related child rearing practices that are not fully acknowledged.

    I am beginning to think the only thing one gets from a Harvard education is a list of contacts. Yes, the natural sciences are strong, but they are apparently not strong enough to stand up to the PC atmosphere of the other faculties.

  41. br549 Says:

    Obama, maga cum laude?

    Considering much of what he has said and done, my guess is he graduated thank ya laude.

  42. Jonathan Nolan Says:

    Hilarious to me is the fact that stifling debate prevents research that might disprove the theory… In other words the PC thugs would rather censor than challenge wobbly ideas to find scientific support

  43. Audrey Says:

    These “enlightened” administrators did everything but burn the heretic at the stake. They forced her to submit to a public confession and public flogging for daring to engage in a mild departure from liberal dogma *in a private conversation*. This intolerant and rigid mindset resembles nothing so much as the Spanish Inquisition, using the power of a large institution to control adherence to their PC doctrines. The scariest aspect of this is their complete and utter lack of insight into their assault against free speech and thought.

  44. DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH! Says:

    I think Dean Minow acted stupidly.

    http://www.AMREN.com = Veritas.

  45. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Tom Maguire – that “Bonus Quibble” is an excellent point, and well-put to boot.

  46. betsybounds Says:

    “Try this on for size: a powerful man with considerable influence in your chosen profession gives a young woman a mild rebuke in public.

    “(I choose ‘old powerful man’ vs ‘young woman’ to increase the PC tension, but what’s the real difference anyway between Minow and an old privileged man?)”

    I don’t know. I realize the analogy isn’t perfect, but I think we must grant that no analogy is. When I read the above quote, all I could think of was this: Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing liberals have been telling us for endless years now is grounds for harassment charges? Older, powerful superior (man or woman), younger dependent, with the first trying to master and control the second. The younger party is in no position to make an independent, uncoerced choice, and no action he takes can be seen as free. It’s a simple exercise of power, and it cannot be allowed.

    Maybe someone can tell me where I’m wrong. But if I were the young lady, I’d be looking for a good harassment lawyer and planning to bring suit against Minow and HLS and every other deep pocket I could find in the area.

    And that wouldn’t even begin to consider the merits, which others are addressing quite ably.

  47. INVA$ION USA Says:

    Meanwhile, the INVASION continues…

    http://www.BorderInvasionPics.com

  48. Wandriaan Says:

    David Horowitch: ‘US universities are islands of oppression in a sea of freedom’. That says it all. Political correctness is the enemy of truth, it kills the intellect at the deepest level of the soul. It frightens the soul’s longing and daring for truth into submission and death.
    Even medieval European universities were more free intellectually than Harvard today. Professors and students freely discussed all kind of positions that were in contradiction to the Catholic faith and were completely at ease with it. ( What are the arguments against the existence of God? Is the Christian Revelation true or not. etc)
    To me the question of the spread of talents among the races is a no-brainer. Blacks are superior in most sports. Asians in computerrelated skills. Jews in more verbal intelligence. Italians in art. To me this does not matter at all. All are equal in dignity as children of God. I even like it that they all are different in skills. Men and women too have on average different skills and powers, and still are equal in dignity. What a sad, grey world it would be if all the children of God had been gifted with the same skills and talents!

  49. Obamanation @ Notre Dame Says:

    The History of Political Correctness –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyu-9-OhHog

  50. Mike Giles Says:

    To paraphrase a well known movie: “Harvard is as Harvard does”. Why are we surprised anymore at the PC doings of “elite” universities?

    On the subject of genetic variations in intelligence, what has always intrigued me, is how would you allow for variables, and where would you find pure subjects for controls?

  51. Mike Giles Says:

    Oh, and one other point. With individuals of mixed race, would their “score” count for or against both groups? Or one group? Or neither group?

  52. SukieTawdry Says:

    As Neo points out, the position that there may be a racial component to IQ is statistically defensible. Over and over again. Academia treats it as a dirty little secret, but it’s nevertheless there. The error would be in assuming inferiority/superiority based on such.

    Shouldn’t judge on a single incident, but the dean seems a bit of a booby. What a great teammate she’d make for the Wise Latina!

  53. Teddy's SEARCH+RESCUE Says:

    OUR FOUNDER did not hold a grudge against Harvard – http://www.FATBOY.cc

  54. johnnyquark Says:

    HLS has a thought police and these people take it for granted. How many of them will go into our governments (fed, state, etc.).

  55. noahp Says:

    Quibble: Summers was not forced to leave Harvard but was forced to resign as President. IMHO he should resign from the admin as he has tacitly endorsed policies contrary to his own academic research.

    Minow sqandered an opportunity here.

    Pinker’s Blank Slate tells us all we need to know about this subject without even venturing into the PC minefield of putative genetic. Inferiority. Sad that both(Minow and student) are so uninformed undoubtedly because the ‘bubble’ conformity so ruthlessly enforced in libral academe.

  56. Occam's Beard Says:

    I’m still searching for the free speech angle. Harvard didn’t punish her other than to excoriate her verbally, which falls under protected speech too. Larry Summers was forced out but this isn’t the Larry Summers case.

    Where to start on this one?

    1. There is no free speech angle. The government isn’t involved. First Amendment doesn’t apply. Try to keep up.

    2. So public excoriation reported by the national media doesn’t count as punishment on Planet Manju? Comment under your own name, or retract this silly comment. After you’ve been criticized by name, publicly, then you can make light of such.

    3. Summers was forced out, but is at (or past) the apogee of his career (although some might argue that involvement in the Obama Administration might constitute the perigee). The fact that running afoul of the PC Sichersheitsdienst could cause the President of Harvard University to come a-cropper has to give you a small clue to the impact on a lowly grad student’s career. She is at the beginning of her career, or at least was. The perfidy of her backstabbing “friend” and her weak-minded, craven university will follow her for the rest of her life, with adverse consequences for her future prospects. Outside of that, no harm done.

    Perhaps the free speech angle is the lack of research into race and IQ, a related larger issue, but not exactly this case. Nonetheless, insiturions have the right to limit their research either because its academically unsuitable (Harvard has no intelligent design program, for example) or simply because finite resources demand a limit.

    You obviously have zero idea how university research is conducted. The university doesn’t fund research; the Federal government does, under grants. In particular, the university has zero input into what research is conducted, other than to decide whom to hire as faculty. Once they’re in post, that’s that.

  57. waltj Says:

    First, I’m pleased to learn that I’m not the only one who has ever wondered if intelligence has some genetic component.

    No, you’re definitely not the only one. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, try reading Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate for a full treatment on the genetic component of intelligence, i.e., “Human Nature”. It’s a bit dense in places, but easily readable by a layman. Pinker, an evolutionary psychologist, lays out the basic assumptions of the nature-nurture controversy, and comes down squarely on the side of there being a human nature that is stubbornly resistant to well-meaning (or not) social experiments in producing equal outcomes. He’s also clear about where uncertainties exist (e.g., across cultures, genetics can be demonstrated to only account for a percentage behavior, “nurture” a much smaller percentage, adding up to way below 100%. Where does the rest come from? Nobody really knows). The book is also richly footnoted, and his numerous citations of others’ research can be readily checked, if the reader is of such a mind.

    Pinker also describes how toxic evolutionary psychology is in to those who have a vested interest in propagating the idea that humans are tabulae rasa (mostly the left), or are subject to intervention by a Higher Power (often on the right). But mostly he skewers the left, because of its emphasis on censorship, and because of its outright hostility to the notion that humans aren’t infinitely malleable. If they’re not, and Pinker shows quite conclusive that they aren’t, then the possibility of “new socialist man” goes into the dustbin of history. The right, by contrast, tends more comfortable with the likelihood that man isn’t infinitely perfectible, and is content to seek improvements in external conditions (e.g., equal treatment under the law), and not try to force people into molds that will never fit.

  58. Occam's Beard Says:

    Yes, the natural sciences are strong, but they are apparently not strong enough to stand up to the PC atmosphere of the other faculties.

    Natural scientists at Harvard are not interested in wasting their time on playing grab-ass about this sort of thing. They’re there to do research – the prime directive at Harvard. Period. Anyone wasting his time on anything else would be considered to have lost his mind. Do Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez worry about the parking arrangements or price of hot dogs at Yankee Stadium? Here’s a factoid that’ll convey the mindset: Harvard’s chemistry department makes damned sure it keeps champagne in the stockroom refrigerator every October. Another occasion to break out that champagne is raison d’etre of the entire department. Nothing short of human sacrifice in other departments would even budge the needle in the natural science departments.

  59. Occam's Beard Says:

    My take on this gal’s egregious transgression: it was in the nature of asserting that a fellow guest at a dinner party was fat. Impolitic, inconsiderate, not nice, but not necessarily incorrect, either. Just probably better not brought up.

  60. SteveH Says:

    Looks like Stephanie Grace suggested the Earth is not the center of the universe and Ms Minow quickly scolded such heresy against church dogma.

    These control freak progressives make Richard Nixon look like a laid back liberal guy in comparison.

  61. LAG Says:

    Manju Says:

    “There is no free-speech issue at stake in the scenario you asked me to try on for size, unless (ironically) you adopt leftist (PC) notions of free speech,…”

    Well, yes, that’s just what they have done in the academy and the ‘higher’ circles of govt. It’s not my standard, but it is the one used to shut up timid people who operate in those climes.

    Besides, what difference does it make how they shut you up–it need not always be a club up side the head. Tailoring it to the victim just demonstrates their subtlety.

    Sorry, Manju, failure to see the point of the knife as a threat until it’s six inches under the skin is not a virtue.

  62. Curtis Says:

    When anything occurs that can even be considered as judgmental or offensive to black people, the full weight of authoritative outrage is immediately expressed. Consider the San Diego State private, off-campus party which was “decried” (there’s a buzz word) by California state legislators on the capital steps.

    When anything occurs that is biased and offensive against Jews, the full weight of authoritative tolerance and understanding for the perpetrator is immediately expressed. Consider the visit by Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., to UC Irvine when Muslim students stood up and screamed unintelligibly at him while other students clapped and howled. There were no corresponding protests by California legislators on the capital steps decrying the overt expressed hatred and discrimination, although UCI’s chancellor did, in an open later, state the following to the punks in the Muslim Student Union (MSU):

    I want to say to all students, including perhaps particularly members of the MSU, that we remain open and eager to work with you.

    I wonder if Harvard Law (screw them) is open and eager to work with Stephanie Grace.

  63. SteveH Says:

    Occam, and the first rule for men is to never ask a woman if she’s pregnant or how far along she is. I don’t care how big she looks. Can’t go there. Lol

  64. Curtis Says:

    I would recommend, “Intelligence and Ethnicity” by Thomas Sowell to Stephanie Grace. The book is a strong argument that IQ is not distributed differently per race and that if there are differences in current levels among racial groups, other factors besides race explain the differences.

    To Martha Minow I would recommend one hour in the soul and agony of Stephanie Grace when she found out she was going to be the next object lesson in the training of our finest legal minds.

  65. Occam's Beard Says:

    Occam, and the first rule for men is to never ask a woman if she’s pregnant or how far along she is. I don’t care how big she looks.

    Yup. Every man knows he’s gotta act as though he hadn’t noticed.

    Curiously, not all women have learned this. I once had a secretarial candidate out of my earshot ask my current secretary (who was superb, and whose excellent judgment I often solicited) how far along she was.

    Answer: she wasn’t. She was just overweight. But I invariably asked my secretary’s impressions of people…

  66. John Says:

    This country is in big trouble if its “best and brightest” cannot remember that the original “African-Americans” were chosen, bought, and brought over to America for their strength and endurance not their intelligence. In all likelihood the smart ones got away during the tribal raids. So the sample is skewed making the conclusion ridiculous. Both student and teacher richly deserve that “F”.

  67. Occam's Beard Says:

    In all likelihood the smart ones got away during the tribal raids.

    Assuming, of course, that they weren’t conducting the raids in the first place.

    A recent study claimed that Ashkenazi Jews were brighter because they’d been denied access to farming and other jobs involving manual labor (no idea whether this is true or not), and thus faced selection pressure for intellect. No comment from the NAACP, despite the obvious implications of the (implicit) converse proposition.

  68. Tinkerer Says:

    I am currently watching the Celtics play the Cavaliers and have not yet seen one player who is NOT black set foot on the court since I turned on the TV 20 minutes ago.

    There are no starting white running backs in the NFL.

    Of the fastest 100 meter dash times in the world, I don’t think that any of the top 100 were recorded by a man who is not black.

    I think it is reasonable to conclude that there are empirically measurable genetic differences between the races.

    If it is not heretical to conclude, as many people openly do, that blacks, as a group, are more likely to be athletically gifted, why is it so awful to SIMPLY ASK THE QUESTION if it is possible that as a group they may be less capable intellectually?

  69. rickl Says:

    Tinkerer Says:
    May 1st, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Of the fastest 100 meter dash times in the world, I don’t think that any of the top 100 were recorded by a man who is not black.

    Not only that, but I recall reading that the world’s best sprinters come from one part of Africa and the world’s best marathoners from another. Sorry, I don’t remember the precise details.

  70. Galtonian Says:

    Its interesting that Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and the third year law student Yelena Shagall (the woman who “outed” Stephanie Grace’s email) are both members of a special ethnoracial group that is small in number in the whole USA population (constitutes only about 3%) but yet is huge in number in the students and staff of elite American universities like Harvard (about 30%). Of course the reason Jews are present at about 30% proportion in elite universities and professions is because Jews tend to be much smarter than average whites, that is they tend to have higher levels of IQ-type intelligence. In this way they are sort of the mirror image of another ethnoracial group (African Americans) who tend to have lower levels of IQ-type intelligence. Why is it that Jews tend to be so smart? Many people suspect that the Jewish advantage in intelligence might be genetically determined.

    Henry Harpending (Chair of Anthropology at U of Utah and member of the National Academy of Sciences) published a paper which hypothesized that some particular gene alleles may have been selected for in the European Jewish population in association with selection for higher intelligence. Harpending’s hypothesis was an extension of an idea discussed by UCLA professor Jared Diamond (author of Guns Germs and Steel) in an essay entitled “Jewish Lysosomes” published in a 1994 issue of Nature. The Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinker has expressed in talks and in essays his view there is potential merit in Harpending’s hypothesis for a genetic basis for higher Jewish intelligence.

    In any event, I think it is quite ironic that many Jewish liberals often back enforcement of ethnoracial diversity policies such as Affirmative Action (the notion that it is imperative that ethnoracial groups be represented in elite schools and professions in proportions that match their respective demographic proportions in the general population), because if Affirmative Action was ever actually successfuly instituted in a full impartial manner, then about 90% of Jews would have to relinquish their plans for entering elite colleges and professions (as would be neccessary in order to decrease from their current 30% share down to their Affirmative Action policy-determined “fair share” of 3%). Clearly this would be a calamity for American Jews (and similarly for other higher-IQ ethnoracial groups such as high caste Indians and East Asians), thus it is totally ridiculous and inconsistent for liberals (especially Jewish liberals) to claim that they support Affirmative Action. The best course of action is to let the chips fall as they may and just deal with the reality of ethnoracial differences in intelligence by treating people as individuals and striving for equality of opportunity (but not for the pipedream of equality of achieved outcome). The whole notion of making ethnoracial equality of achieved outcome a goal is simply unrealistic within the context of a meritocratic society which respects individual rights.

    Occams Razor says that the simplest explanation is the most likely one, thus the most likely explanation for why Jews tend to be smarter than average and similarly for why Blacks tend to be less smart than average, is that it is mostly due to genetic differences associated with the natural history of evolutionary selection for gene alleles related to intelligence. Almost everybody realizes that Blacks tend to be less smart and less successful than average (and consequently far poorer than average) and that Jews tend to be smarter and more successful than average (and consequently far richer than average), so lets just face up to the facts and stop all the politically correct nonsense, OKAY?

    Hopefully the specific gene alleles that cause differences in IQ-type intelligence will soon be discovered so that we can finally resolve this controversy regarding the cause for ethnoracial differences in IQ-type intelligence. I am quite convinced that when the molecular genetic verdict finally arrives, the hereditarian side (Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, Linda Gottfredson, Phillipe Rushton, Richard Herrnstein, Charles Murray, Henry Harpending, Satoshi Kanazawa et al) will be vindicated.

  71. rickl Says:

    I’m white, non-Jewish, with somewhat above-average IQ but nowhere near the genius level. I used to get regularly picked on in school by the less-intelligent students. (My school was nearly all-white, by the way.)

    Nowadays we frequently hear stories that among black kids, the ones who are academic achievers are often derided by the others for “acting white”.

    Recently in a Philadelphia school, there were several incidents of violence between black and Asian students. No prize for guessing the identity of the instigators, although it was not immediately obvious in MSM accounts.

    I think I sense a pattern here. If Jews tend to be more intelligent than average, and I have no reason to believe that they are not, this could go a long way towards explaining the persistence and pervasiveness of anti-Semitism down through the centuries. It’s just plain envy and resentment.

  72. Tom Says:

    Seems to be an emerging consensus here that intelligence has genetic roots. That is a pretty obvious fact, despite all the PC harrumphing.

    BTW: Stupid people don’t know they’re stupid.

  73. Bob From Virginia Says:

    So we Jews are smart heh? Six hundred years ago being smart was being a landed warrior, note no Jews, in Renaissance Italy the smart people were artists, bankers and scholars, no Jews. Today being smart is defined as scholarly talent and getting paid for it, just a break for the talents developed by a bibliophilic people.
    Point, fashion also decides what is intelligent.
    Odd being intelligent did not stop 78% of Jewish voters from voting for a man with outstanding anti-Jewish credentials.
    Strange thing intelligence.

  74. rickl Says:

    Bob From Virginia Says:
    May 2nd, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Odd being intelligent did not stop 78% of Jewish voters from voting for a man with outstanding anti-Jewish credentials.

    That may be where the whole “guilt” thing comes in. Or not, I don’t know.

  75. rickl Says:

    I was planning on making this comment an hour ago, but I got sidetracked and now I don’t remember exactly where I was going with it. Anyway:

    For most of human history, IQ didn’t matter too much because the vast majority of people worked with their hands; whether on farms, in mines, or in factories. There were smart nobles and stupid peasants; but there were also smart peasants and stupid nobles.

    But nowadays in an information-based society, with computerized robots taking a greater share of “grunt work”, unskilled labor is less valued than it used to be. So today, IQ is a bigger factor than ever before, and even in coal mining, brain power is more important than muscle power to a degree that was unimaginable only a few decades ago.

  76. Manju Says:

    Occam’s Beard Said:

    “So public excoriation reported by the national media doesn’t count as punishment on Planet Manju?”

    It doesn’t count as the type of punishment that would trigger a free speech violation in an academic environment, like a suspension would…the academic equivent of jailing someone for cosnituionally protected speech.

    it counts as punishment, ergo my “other than to excoriate her verbally.” But since excoritating someone verbally, like “public excoriation reported by the national media,” is itself cosnsituiionlly protected speech, one cannot, in our regime, claim their rights are violated becase of such punishment. or else the enitre edifice of rights crumbles.

    it would be like goldman Sachs claiming their right to property is violated by competition from jpmorgan. your rights can’t be violated by a simple exercise of such rights by your opponents.

  77. Manju Says:

    LAG says:

    “what difference does it make how they shut you up–it need not always be a club up side the head. Tailoring it to the victim just demonstrates their subtlety.”

    Its actually the difference between tyranny and freedom. Free nations outlaw the initiation of physical force to censor someone. ergo lynching would be outlawed in a free nation. However, nazis marching on skokie, although intimidating and hurtful especially to the holocaust survivor who lived there, would be constituionally protected…because to censor them would be itself an iinition of force on a non-violent activity, and therefore contractory to the whole theory of rights.

    “Sorry, Manju, failure to see the point of the knife as a threat until it’s six inches under the skin is not a virtue”

    brandishing a knife at someone is not constitutionally protected becasue a reasonable person would see it as clear signal immanent force is about to occur. Me calling you a racist however, is not a sign that i’m about to put your life in danger. if it were, al sharpton would’ve killed like a billion people by now.

    you’d think neo-cons and teapartiers would be aware of such distinctions. but you’re not opposed to political correctness, you just want your own version institutionalized. and that explains why bush’s completely unfunded budget busting medicare pt d prescription drug program never resulted in marches on washington with signs portraying bush as a voodoo doctor.

    as pogo said, we’ve met the enemy and it is us.

  78. Manju Says:

    “1. There is no free speech angle. The government isn’t involved. First Amendment doesn’t apply. Try to keep up”

    Incorrect. The fact that there’s no first amendment issue at stake, since govt isn’t involved, doesn’t mean there is no free speech issue here, since most liberal universities have a contractual free speech obligation…given that they still identify as liberal intuitions and academic freedom mimics the logic of the first amendment, which is not to say its the same.

    however, in this particular case, i don’t see the free speech angle as I’ve been arguing. the student’s contractual rights were not violated, assuming these rights mimic the logic of the 1st, because the 1st doesn’t protect individuals from criticism from a superior. but that doesn’t mean there is no free speech issue at stake if university actually does censor someone.

    i understand this adds some complexity to an otherwise straight forward issue, but try to keep up son.

  79. Sergey Says:

    Criticism from superior is not criticism, it is unlawful harassment when applied to private opinion expressed in private correspondence.

  80. expat Says:

    Occam’s,

    You are right about science departments not being interested in enjoining this battle because they are doing science. Perhaps a better formulation would have been that they don’t seem to have influenced other departments or awakened their curiosity about real science. You would think that despite the publicity about the human genome project, despite good NYT articles on epigenomics, and despite all the sources of information available, the average scientific understanding of the non-science Harvard community seems pretty primitive. Is intellectual curiosity being bred out of our elites? Or is a group of loud-mouth activists simply dominating the picture?

  81. Sergey Says:

    There is a huge afflux of new information in human genetics and epigenetics. Genome sequencing became thousand times cheaper than 10 years before, quite soon we would be able identify individual genes and gene complexes in large population samples. Is society ready to assimilate this vast body of knowledge? “Blank slate” template is going to collapse under mountain of empirical data. Would PC survive this collapse? This is a big irony of history that Socialism and Lysenkoism is completely discredited and rejected in Russia, but became entrenched in USA.

  82. expat Says:

    I always think of the thalidomide babies, the folic acid factor in spina bifida, and the mental development of children kept in a closet. These are obviously big factors in development that can be identified rather easily. But we are a mind boggling complex of epigenenetic interactions. That a dean at Harvard is unable to direct students to opening their minds to such things says terrible things about what constitutes education.

    Instapundit linked to this article yesterday.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/25218/?a=f

    We are a long way from being able to understand what influences a few points’ difference in IQ.

  83. river Says:

    The last word has been spoken by TimMan. We are a very strange society. Let’s deal with it.

  84. Sergey Says:

    Epigenetics is hundred times more complex than genetics, and thousand times less studied than the latter. This is the main challenge in 21 century biology, and has potential to bury Darwinism completely. Untill biologists open their minds to this challenge, our understanding of life will be seriously retarded. Ideological diktat of Darwinian paradigm and PC is the main hurdle of scientific progress in our time.

  85. Artfldgr Says:

    By asserting no difference the population then doesnt examine how policies affect demographics. that is, if they are not different then does it matter who you take wealth from? if they ARE different, then taking wealth from the able to the less able (while not actually denuding the able who have succeeded at a high level), demographically breeds lower IQ for the general population… they become the roiling masses in misery that one sees in the wall mural in John Miltons office which comes alive and reveals their torment.

    if we are not different this way genetically, then no one is special. then it doesnt matter if you exterminate people, as you can make einsteins, not find them.

    if we are not different this way, then maybe we will agree to adopt children, rather than have children.

    perhaps later, with ivf, you can have the choice of clinton, obama, or perhaps cheney baby… like in lebensborn.

    its all about breeding humans and the ONLY way you can convince people is to make them ignorant if the actual functioning of genetics, and you do that by constantly hammering at them that any idea that they have that would say otherwise, gets hammered.

    lyseksoist…

    that the arguments we have for things like euthanasia, abortion, and such. are there to facilitate breeding of humans…

    a better way to put it..

    if they WANTED to breed and perfect socialist man (a domesticated lower form of human that serves without care for remuneration), what would you do if you were not allowed OVERT action?

    how would you destroy the middle.
    have wars in which the stupid stay and the middle die? make abortion a social good and use social engineering and redistributive policy so that smart people have one or two babies (which you insure never get to have free minds as you keep em in boxes and control what they experience), while less smart are being given enouh cash and no common sense to outbreed the smart.

    after all, when another group with similar slaves like this comes around, yhour going to need bodies to fight or else lose your animal farm.

    there are not too many ways to affect selective breeding that is different than natures selections…

    denial of it is how you get it…

    and has potential to bury Darwinism completely.

    and that is an inane sentence… epigenetics evolves just like the rest of the system. and i can even tell you how and what… (we are working on such a paper over a few years… its actually a very simple system and amazingly so)

    Ideological diktat of Darwinian paradigm and PC is the main hurdle of scientific progress in our time.

    but this recovers from that other statement in that IS the biggest problem and i agree with this point 110% (yes silly way to say emphatically)

    to open up an issue of hte lasted scientific american (communist), you see that they do nothing but talk about big grand ideas without ANY concept of economy to get there!!

    michio kaku on tv this morning discusses how surgury and computers and all these systems will do this and that.

    he evne went so far as to say, dont worry parents. doctors wont go anywhere, robots cant anticipate new things or odd differences, and so we will still need doctors.

    and here i sit going.. yeah? you mean doctors who are paid 1/3 what the cleaning people are?

    waht doctors? the soviet union while having the most incredible theoreticians in the world, had nothing for them to work on and cut their teeth. great ideas, but no matter to combine them with.

    why? because no luxuries for the common man. and without that, ALL the stuff that they imagine is not possible in any way shape or form.

    read g sachs in sci american and he is always talking about things like. if we tax every financial transaction…

    he is no different than the alchemists who said, if we bleed people… they will get better.

    he cant see that if he already accepts the idea of a collective body… then why cant he see that his idea of economics is blood letting?

    they are economically doing what people prior to modern medicine did. bleed the body and claim to make it better… and what you get is a more and more anemic system.

    meanwhile, we are not a collective.

    you cant invent, dicover, and do all that without challenging the prior ideas.

    so these societies are moribund in a dark age.
    a dark age in which they say lucifer brought us light.

    wacky…

  86. Artfldgr Says:

    by the way..
    feminism also insures a stupider population

    why?
    because the ideology gets the most able smartest women to abandon fecundity, and believe it doesnt matter… and so they will replace their genetic contribution to the world with an adoptee from say, africa.. (its stylish, like those pug dogs a few years ago)

    all one has to notice is that the smartest women, dont have babies, while the least smart have lots and they yell at them..

    EVERY policy visited to us by them as a new wave socal good either lowers our MASS INTELLIGENCE, or favors sociopathy, and cultism.

    how else do you get the brutes you need to beat up everyone else to keep them in line? (sociopathy) how do you get the masses to give up their own lives? (cultism and symbolism) how do you prevent them from reversing it (take capital and education away)

    if one cant make heaven on earth
    one CAN make hell on earth

    and for the rulers, hell on earth is the next best thing.

    who cares about those whose genetic legacy is to die out and to serve the others?

  87. Artfldgr Says:

    but all Grace did

    a VERY common phrase in a free state, a VERY uncommon idea your going to have to get rid of in your mind to survive a collective state.

    that is, there is no such thing as saying… “all she did” with the idea that that shows how minimal and nothing it is.

    is an ebola virus entity a minimal nothing?

    well, guess what? ALL she did was break thought crime laws, she did not have proper political mind.

    if they had the power now, instead of whacking on her through getting their cult followers to blindly do it. and the admins to do things from fear.

    she would be sent to re-education

    there is no looking at anything and saying oh… its tiny, so they will be reasonable.

    its time to get your mind around what the beast really is as its restrictions are coming off.

    the beast is not tolerant, understanding, compassionate, wise or, anything like that. the beast is black and white and extreme in its response to the tiniest infraction.

    to say “all she did” is to say that there is different shades and levels of law and extenuating circumstances and that justice is blind.

    justice is no longer blind, thanks to the ladies normalizing different treatment (even female defendants get to not be named just in case), and even pushing the whole PC thing
    with that soviet style conciousness raising…

    remember it was gender you couldnt say the truth about!!! that men skewed fire men tests just to keep women out for eternity… and didn’t want women on submarines cause they were lesser people, and weaker, when we know they are equal and no different. right?

    there are no understandings… she broke the rule. this is totalitarian. their denying it doesn’t mean they were telling the truth. go back to Moses Harmon, and even now to Alinsky. their idol is Lucifer, that should tell you about how dumb it was to believe them at all!!!

    whether god exists or not, if their idol in methodology and goal was someone like Simon Legree, maybe considering their ideas equal to yours or the best before, was pretty stupid. but they went through women. why? the bible says you can make heaven fall if you go through women. and you get to women by politics, vanity the most, and so forth – ie they are vulnerable and told they are superior (and you better not say a thing about that or the pc police that got summers, watson, and others will get you too. eventually that term will not be a joke!!! actually it isnt any more since lives get ruined, but hey all for womens liberation, they are making utopia!).

    they are serious about things you think are ridiculous to think of!!!!!!!

    no… excuses that loosen up your behavior and are wrongly tolerated will not be tolerated (any more).

    “all she did” is a plead which says “yes she committed the offense, but in such a small way”. the phrase is a statement of guilt, and will and is being treated thus.

    remember the scene in the pianist?.
    In another scene, a young Jewish boy is beaten to death while he tries to crawl under the ghetto wall after stealing some food.

    there is no more “all he did”, that is one of the the weakness that allowed the change. if the collective tells you to apoptos, then you dont steal food and defy the collective is the message. if they tell you there are 5 fingers up, when there are 4, there are 5. when they tell you women are the same as men and should be liberated from the home, thats what you believe, and fight for and deny any other view of what it is than the view they tell you it is as leaders!!!!

    that is, so many of the things that were normalized that facilitated the move to the new way will be removed. they were only allowed to facilitate things.

    PC is removing free thought, free inquiry, and the ability to conclude anything that the state wants, and nothing else. its also circumnavigating law and process, by using collective (cult) will and pressure to cause fear (red terror).

    It was Women in groups made by people like Harmon while the men were out working, that implementing it and then by teaching it all to the kids not to violate, like not looking both ways before you cross, and responding so badly to men who would make jokes or think that women were different? and have lawsuits and such, they created totalitarian thought crimes. by teaching the thought process and making it a goodness

    you have to let the 80lb grandmother be equal to the 270lb convict she is escorting to the bench. they are equal and she can stop him, right? well who taught everyone to curb their thoughts and not say the emperor has no clothes?

    in only 4 or so generations you made sure we understood the rules to that game… and could self police each other as the thought pattern is now dominant. now its just being more broadly used as the thought pattern is applied to everything and every relationship. notice how they are making us equal to animals? now if they didnt lift everyone up for financial equality, then you can be sure they are not doing that to lift animals up to mass man. (ie not rulers)

    if you could shut up all men, they could shut up all society with the same pry bar (as men refuse to act against things for fear of losing out for acting out. so there is no way us men could stop this!!!!!! the women would have ganged up on us, and did. they were getting their ideas and such from self proclaimed cultists and communists). once they controlled the pry bar and the main means of putting ideas in children, silenced the men, and move the smartest to self remove their genetic contribution to society (while using immigration to “hide the decline”), they had us.

    to discuss this kind of thing is to be discussing how grand the oak is now that its grown from the acorn that women who admired the collective living gave us.

    (by not working in outside industry, but for her own genetic family, women insured that society moved forward. the men would be tested, they would select the best, and then what is the demographic result? but if they work, the smartest work more, and they trade their genetic contribution to the future for some scarves from bloomies, and a life later on she complains didnt give her what she wanted, lower selection ability, and redistribution of her wealth from her family and children to the state and some other womans children seals the deal)

    as obama said. we will not be able to live the way we were used to. you will find protests will be gone… you will find very harsh penalties for litter. the higher classes who are able will end up earning less than broom sweeps.

    self determination is gone in a collective, that comes from having a life independent of state. to fulfil the move to the future and the collective will, thats gone too, or will be.

    ah..the CHANGE your going to believe in

  88. Curtis Says:

    Sergey says, “Epigenetics is hundred times more complex than genetics . . . Ideological diktat of Darwinian paradigm and PC is the main hurdle of scientific progress in our time.”

    Sergey,can you recommend any good books or resources on this topic? I’ve read the Wiki site on Lysenkoism and could go from there, but I’m looking for something that is accessible to a laymen.

  89. rickl Says:

    I just had my attention called to an excellent Peggy Noonan column about illegal immigration:

    The Big Alienation

    Peggy’s still got it, sometimes.

  90. Sergey Says:

    Alas, almost nothing accessible to layman on the topic exists. But the two last Nobel prizes in biology or medicine were given exactly for epigenetic studies. All this work with stem cells, embrionic or adult, belongs to this category. Ironically, these studies made more plausible Lamarckian idea about inheritance of aquired characters, which was at the heart of Lysenkoism, too. Wiki article on Epigenetics contains many sources, but they require some backround in genetics and developmental biology.

  91. expat Says:

    Curtis,

    Here is an older NYT article you might like. The left sidebar links to other artcles that are related.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/science/11genequotes.html?ref=science

  92. J.L. Says:

    I regret that its taken me so long to post regarding this…

    First, the student’s email was a perfect example of respectfully, intelligently and rationally considering an idea, and presenting examples in support of the idea she posits. It is an outrage that Dean Minnow has chosen to try to silence this effort at free inquiry. The student should not have been forced to cave in, and, in a better world, she wouldn’t have.

    Second, the email sent by the student was a private email , which makes the whole incident that much more disturbing. It is an outrage that we are not able to properly discuss important matters, such as those of genetics, without being subjected to this type of witch-hunt. Today’s McCarthy-ites on the left.

    Third, this should have been, and should still be, a cause for those who care about the first amendement and freedom of discussion and expression. I agree with Piedra, above that Dean Minnow should be sent emails to protests this matter. As Piedra has posted, Dean Minnow’s email is: minow@law.harvard.edu

    Fourth, the student did not , as Dean Minnow asserted, imply that “that black people are genetically inferior to white people.” She suggested that there were genetic differences which can cause intellectual performance, on average, to vary between racial groups. The difference between what the student wrote, and what the Dean suggested, is significant.

    Fifth, and lastly, I think there is much to consider about the idea that there are serious genetic differences which affect, among many other things, intelligence. I recommend the following article by Charles Murray in defense of the idea of human genetic differences, and “human biodiversity.”

    “The Inequality Taboo” by Charles Murray

  93. J.L. Says:

    TimMan says:


    First, I’m pleased to learn that I’m not the only one who has ever wondered if intelligence has some genetic componant.

    Actually, there are quite a few commenters on the subject online. Just google “Human Biodiversity.”
    I recommend Steve Sailer’s blog , and Half Sigma’s blog . Both write about Human Bio-diveristy in a rational, non-racist manner.

    Thankfully the discussion on this matter was re-opened by Charles Murrays early ’90s book “The Bell Curve.”

    I think its important that Human Biodiveristy be opened to discussion and free inquiry. As I said in a comment on Half-Sigma’s blog:


    As for the concern over “racism,” it is my contention that discussion of HBD should cease to be treated as a taboo subject for precisely the reason it merits discussion by intelligent, scientifically minded, rational people. To fail to do so abdicates this sensitive subject to those who are indeed mean spirited, and who are indeed hateful of people belonging to certain racial groups. It is better for this matter to be discussed openly by people with an objective of dealing with the problems and difficulties that HBD poses. To pretend that HBD is just an illusion, or that it is just a dirty prank by ill-willed people, is to stick one’s head in the sand.

  94. Maggie's Farm Says:

    The HLS cat fight…

    At neoneo: Academia, Harvard Law School, and freedom of speech. Good grief….

  95. Scott Says:

    I read every comment in this great thread. I think Neo has the most well informed and best commenters of any blog I read.

  96. Sergey Says:

    What protection this poor student can have if the most famous scientist of our time, discoverer of DNA structure James Watson coud be harassed by his collegues? A quote from Russian journal about “Watson’s racist remark”:
    “The words that awoke the wave of public outrage are all contained in a single paragraph of Ms. Hunt-Grubbe’s article:

    ‘He says that he is “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really,” and I know that this “hot potato” is going to be difficult to address. His hope is that everyone is equal, but he counters that “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.” He says that you should not discriminate on the basis of colour, because “there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level.” He writes that “there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so”.’

    Was the reaction of the scientific community to these words adequate? However mistaken he may have been, these words are no more than the scientist’s personal opinion. They were not intended by him as anything more, and contain no instigations to anything inhumane or unlawful. Furthermore, Dr. Watson publicly apologized. Even duels used to be called off if the offender apologized. But the Anger of the People is not so easy to call off. It was not even clear whether Dr. Watson actually said the words he was so widely condemned for. His original words could have been slightly edited to make them more provocative, or taken out of context. And if he actually said all those things, there was no evidence he intended them to be published — the remarks could have been an aside to the interviewer, his former protégée. She may have put them into the article without his consent. But all these circumstances were neglected by Dr. Watson’s outraged colleagues. Few of those who responded to what was labeled as “Watsons’s racist remarks” even cared to find out what these remarks actually were about. The logic of the scandalized scientists was simple: Watson said something racist, Watson is a scientist, ergo he discredits science and deserves punishment. Thus a few words published in a text authored by another person caused the great man, who did more for science than all but a few living persons, to be accused of racism and even betrayal of the interests of science, the interests he faithfully served throughout his long career.”

  97. Occam's Beard Says:

    The fact that there’s no first amendment issue at stake, since govt isn’t involved, doesn’t mean there is no free speech issue here, since most liberal universities have a contractual free speech obligation…given that they still identify as liberal intuitions and academic freedom mimics the logic of the first amendment, which is not to say its the same.

    Wrong. Academic policies re speech are as far from free speech as one can find this side of Pyongyang. This incident alone proves that unequivocally. Liberal-infested enclaves invariably adopt policies that everyone is free to say whatever he wants, as long as no racial or sexual minorities, or women, can conceivably take offense. For straight white males, of course, it’s open season.

    Here’s freedom of speech:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Doesn’t say anything about any other organization or institution. (Liberals commonly get this wrong, and think that “freedom of speech” means anyone can say anything at any time and any place, without repercussions. Try that on your boss and learn different.)

    This incident does not involve the government, and thus no free speech issue arises. The fact that universities try unsuccessfully and/or disingenuously to ape the First Amendment – with the proviso laid out above – is neither here nor therre.

    High school civics – it’s not just for high school anymore.

  98. Sergey Says:

    The full text of the article I quoted can be seen here:
    http://elementy.ru/lib/430659

  99. Occam's Beard Says:

    …the average scientific understanding of the non-science Harvard community seems pretty primitive. Is intellectual curiosity being bred out of our elites?

    Expat, I once had a conversation with an arts don about this. She cited a series of books that every person should have read to be considered educated. I agreed with her list (having read them myself, fortunately!), and then told her I’d include Feynmann’s Lectures on Physics to that list.

    She looked at me as though I were crazy. But I stand by that statement.

  100. Occam's Beard Says:

    I think the measure of the propriety of a statement is the degree to which it passes or flunks the change (or exchange, in potentially symmetric cases) of variables test.

    Specifically, if one removes all clues to group identity from a statement, would the statement still be considered improper? Put another way, if one has to know the group identities of the subject of the statement to make a determination of propriety, then the statement passes the propriety test.

    In this case, the assertion is that the performance of a group on IQ tests and functioning in life may reflect a genetic component.

    Perfectly reasonable, IMO. Someone who started reflexively bleating about racism could be reminded that the statement is unquestionably true for victims of Down’s syndrome. So the statement itself is perfectly defensible; the question is its relevance to a given group, which is a question of fact and evidence.

  101. Curtis Says:

    Thank you expat and Sergey and others for info and thoughtful comments.

  102. Manju Says:

    “Wrong. Academic policies re speech are as far from free speech as one can find this side of Pyongyang.”

    Typical hysteric teaparty overreach. In fact, there are only a handful of colleges that do not promise freedom speech and other basic academic liberties. Jerry Falwells Liberty U is one of them so you’d pretty much have no legal recourse if they expelled you for advocating evolution. Thats fair and square. Thats the american way.

    However, as FIRE points out: “The overwhelming majority of private colleges represent themselves as citadels of freedom, free expression, academic freedom, debate, and candor. Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Brandeis, and virtually all the rest of our nation’s most prestigious universities make extensive promises of free speech in their promotional literature, in their handbooks, in their contracts with professors, and in their presentations to prospective students, donors, and alumni.”

    This creates a contractual right to free speech. Traditionally, these rights // the logic of our founding documents. Occasionally they don’t, in which case the student has no legal recourse but could still criticize the university of failing at its mission. other times, the university is trying to have its cake and eat it too, ie censor students while simultaneously saying they honor freedom of speech. its here where you have legal recourse under the free speech principle, though not the 1st amendment.

  103. Promethea Says:

    What is espeially wonderful about this comment thread is that one of free speech’s most effective defenders is Sergey, who lives in Moscow.

    Somehow Segey managed to make it through all the marxist brainwashing and now helps us understand the twists and turns of the PC/collective/hivemind.

  104. Manju Says:

    “Academic policies re speech are as far from free speech as one can find this side of Pyongyang. This incident alone proves that unequivocally.”

    This demonstrates you don’t understand the first amendment. In order for this incident to “prove that unequivocally” it would have to be considered unconstitutional if the govt did it.

    So, if the prez criticized a a civil servant who sent an e-mail he thought repulsive, would the civil servant have legal recourse under the first. In your wouldview apparently he would–his right to free speech apparently means the prez can’t criticize him–but I’m quite suire there is no caselaw to substantiate this claim…as scotus considers “government speech” itself protected, as did the founders and liberal philosophers who proceeded them.

    Your interpretation of is actually more in line with PC ideas (power theories and the right not to be offended), and considering your exaggerated and ahistorical sense of victimization, “For straight white males, of course, it’s open season”, it doesn’t surprise me.

  105. neo-neocon Says:

    Manju: I think it’s at least possible that Stephanie Grace might have a cause of action against Dean Minow for libel.

  106. Manju Says:

    “This incident does not involve the government, and thus no free speech issue arises.”

    I see your engaging in argument by repetition now. its an important points so i’ll humor you and spell it out.

    the fact that the incident does not involve govt means it not a first amendment issue, but that’s not the same as a free speech issue. the 1st is just a subset of the free speech principle. academic freedom also falls under this umbrella, ie a free speech issue but not first amendment one (unless its a public university).

    the free speech issue at stake here is a contractual one, of which this student has no valid claim, imo.

  107. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Manju, you are treating a potential for legal recourse as the only standard as to whether this is a free speech violation. That you understand the various other implications of academic claims for free inquiry, the cost of personal embarrassment, etc, I can tell that the many subtleties are not beyond your ken. Is this a vocabulary issue of narrow versus broad definitions of free speech violation?

    rickl – West Africans, having a greater percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, dominate in sprints, high jump – many things that require explosive power from the limbs. East Africans, especially in a particular Kenyan valley, have more slow-twitch fibers and dominate in distance running.

  108. Manju Says:

    “Manju: I think it’s at least possible that Stephanie Grace might have a cause of action against Dean Minow for libel.”

    Well,for the sake of argument, lets assume Minow’s speech could be reasonably interpreted as hitting the libel standard and Grace proceeds to the courts.

    In that case, the only freedom of speech issue at stake would be Minow’s, since Grace would be using the government to try to silence her whereas Minow has not made any attempt, either via govt or via harvard, to try to silence Grace in a way that would violate the first amendment or the fee speech principle in an academic setting.

  109. neo-neocon Says:

    manju: libel laws are of ancient and hoary lineage, and do not silence anyone. They merely impose consequences on speech that is damaging and fraudulent by imposing a financial cost to such speech in cases that are found to meet the necessary standard.

  110. J.L. Says:

    Hmmm….

    let me revise my prior comments. This may not involve the First Amendmen’s preclusion of Congress from restriucting speech… but it definitely involves the harrassing of a student by an authority figure with the intent to limit free dabate. I understand that Harvard is a private institution, and perhaps this is an issue best dealt with by those who are students therein… but isn’t the free exchange of ideas (especially when done in a respectful, rational manner with the intent to increase knowledge about a relevant area of study) part of what a univeristy is supposed to be about?

    This young student has had her name dragged through the mud because of the contents of a private email… moreover, one that was drafted with a careful effort to deal with an issue in a balanced, respectful, rational way. She did not insult any race or ethnicity, nor did she suggest that any race or ethnicity was “less than” or inferior to any other…. she suggested that there were possible overall differences in intellectual performance which may be attributable to genetics.

    If she is wrong in making this careful, rational statemnt, then prove her wrong in a rational debate… but dont denigrate her character or make her the equivalent to some hateful Neo-Nazi or KKK member.

    I agree with Neo that she may have a case for libel. I would add, maybe even for invasion of privacy.

  111. Manju Says:

    “Manju, you are treating a potential for legal recourse as the only standard as to whether this is a free speech violation. That you understand the various other implications of academic claims for free inquiry, the cost of personal embarrassment, etc, I can tell that the many subtleties are not beyond your ken”

    well, if you consider “personal embarrassment” a good enough standard to restrict speech (in this case minow’s since she emarressed Grace) then whats your gripe with the black students union. they also want to ban speech which hurts their feelings (i assume, i haven’t actually heard them say that) and at least their restrictions are aimed at protecting a group who’ve actual rights have been denied by our regime (slavery, lynching, jim crow, etc) not unlike germany banned the nazi party (not that i think any of this is good idea).

  112. Manju Says:

    “manju: libel laws are of ancient and hoary lineage, and do not silence anyone. They merely impose consequences on speech that is damaging and fraudulent by imposing a financial cost to such speech in cases that are found to meet the necessary standard”

    they silence, but the silence is justified (like silencing yelling “fire” in a movie theatre). I’m not arguing against libel laws, just pointing out that the person bringing the case is the one doing the silencing which is why the libel exception is very very narrow in our regime, as it should be. (the UK has big problem here).

    so the civil libertarians primary concern would be to make sure grace doesn’t expand the libel exception to silence beliefs (such as, “grace is a racsit”) that she finds offensive. since grace is the one initiating force (the use of govt) the burden of proof is on her and, more importantly, the only person whose first amendment rights could theoretically be violted if such an action were taken, is Minows (if the courts overreach).

  113. J.L. Says:

    Manju Says:

    well, if you consider “personal embarrassment” a good enough standard to restrict speech (in this case minow’s since she emarressed Grace) then whats your gripe with the black students union. they also want to ban speech which hurts their feelings (i assume, i haven’t actually heard them say that) and at least their restrictions are aimed at protecting a group who’ve actual rights have been denied by our regime (slavery, lynching, jim crow, etc) not unlike germany banned the nazi party (not that i think any of this is good idea).

    That is precisely why the student has a cause of action and the Black Student Union does not.

    Slander, Libel and Defamation are acts that can be committed against a person, not against a group.

    There is no such thing as “group libel”, insofar as a group can silence an individual because they feel offended. Thats why individual Nazis, KKK members, and black racists like Louis Farrakan are allowed to speak their minds with full freedom. Its called freedom of speech. It may be painful for some, but it is essential to freedom.

    But a student who is made to suffer disparagement of their name because of a private communication… that is actionable under the law. She, as an individual, cannot be so targeted. Thats why New York DA Steven Pagones won his defamation suit against Al Sharpton .

    “Group libel” is exactly what the practioners of PC want to create, and it will destroy freedom … as well as the free inquiry essential for a successful university.

    Thats why what Dean Minow did must be stopped.

  114. Curtis Says:

    Under the common law, a defendant is not liable for defamation if he or she proves the truth of the defamatory statement.

    The defamatory statement:

    “I am writing this morning to address an email message in which one of our students suggested that black people are genetically inferior to white people.”

    Is this statement true? It is obviously false. And add to that the idea of “inducement,” that makes a statement actionable for libel if the facts and circumstances show the opinion of the readers was such that they derived a defamatory meaning from them.

    Get a lawyer, Stephanie. I think Manju recommended FIRE!

  115. Oblio Says:

    Manju, I don’t know why you are going on so long and so tenaciously about questions that are irrelevant to the issues at hand. Perhaps you just want to kick up dust and confuse everyone.

    Some of this is pretty simple.

    1. This is not a First Amendment case. (check)

    2. There could be an argument about an implied contract to some kind of free inquiry and free expression at private universities. That seems like a stretch, given how widespread campus speech codes are. I doubt there are many clear guidelines about what is permissible or impermissible under such a “contract,” so talk of this contract is a red herring.

    3. In misrepresenting Grace’s actions, Minow behaved both stupidly and inappropriatelyas the head of an institution dedicated to legal scholarship. Minow’s behavior may not be actionable, but that does not immunize her against criticism.

    4. Grace’s reputation has been injured, with implications that are unknowable, through a campaign that a fair reading would suggest has been libelous, if calling someone a “racist” is defamatory, which it surely is if anything is. Minow’s statement puts words into Grace’s mouth that Minow can twist into something that could be defined as racism, so Minow’s statement might be actionable on those grounds.

    5. What makes this damage so unjust to Grace is 1) it isn’t clear that she was advocating anything akin to racism, based on reading the email in question; 2) her private communications only had the power to cause harm when published in an act of revenge that was intended to harm her; and 3) the complete lack of any process to allow her to protect her rights or even to discover the truth of the matter. Dean Minow has disgraced Harvard Law.

    6. “Free speech” or more properly free inquiry and free expression aren’t just legal concepts; they are also philosophical, ethical, cultural values. Thus when people talk about “free speech,” if they aren’t lawyers, they are usually talking about a broader set of of concerns than can be brought into a lawsuit. There is no need to minimize the problem by insisting that only the legal perspective is relevant.

    I feel some compassion for Grace. The villain of this piece seems to be the ex-friend who published the email after sitting on it for six months. Her defenses might be that she did so out of a) stupidity (unlikely), b) naivete (ditto), or c) malice. She’s the one I’m worried about.

  116. Occam's Beard Says:

    In fact, there are only a handful of colleges that do not promise freedom speech and other basic academic liberties.

    North Korea promises free speech too.

    Article 13 of the Constitution Of The Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea:
    ARTICLE 13. Citizens of the D.P.R.K. have freedom of speech, the press, association, assembly, mass meetings and demonstration.

    Citizens are guaranteed the right to organize and unite in democratic political parties, trade unions, cooperative organizations, sports, cultural, technical, scientific and other societies.

    Great news: they’ve got freedom of speech in North Korea. Help me out here: is that a legal or a contractual obligation?

  117. LAG Says:

    Manju wrote:

    “brandishing a knife at someone is not constitutionally protected becasue a reasonable person would see it as clear signal immanent force is about to occur. ”

    Manju, you sound an educated man–are you new to metaphor? Or is descent into literal-mindness by design?

  118. Manju Says:

    “Under the common law, a defendant is not liable for defamation if he or she proves the truth of the defamatory statement.

    The defamatory statement:

    “I am writing this morning to address an email message in which one of our students suggested that black people are genetically inferior to white people.”

    Is this statement true? It is obviously false”

    Simply demonstrating damaging statements to be false is not enough to prove libel. You have to demonstrate the speaker knowingly said something false. If the speaker had s reasonable belief that the statement is true, or if its a matter of opinion, then its not libel.

    our system defaults on freedom of speech. the bar is very high for libel because censors could use the law to silence opponents, as supporters of islamic terrorism are doing in the UK.

    but wheteror not the Minow’s statement was libelou is irrelvant to my poin, which is that the only person who can theoretically be censored here, is Minow. even in this scenario, there is no free-speech issue at stake for grace. grace, and her supporters here on this blog, are the potential censors, not harvard.

  119. Manju Says:

    “2. There could be an argument about an implied contract to some kind of free inquiry and free expression at private universities. That seems like a stretch, given how widespread campus speech codes are.”

    If its far fetched how to you explain the existence of FIRE, which is argualby the primary organizaition out there fighting political correctness on campus? so, since they certainly have some street-cred among this crew, allow me please to save time by simply punting to authority:

    “The overwhelming majority of colleges promise free speech because they must do so if they wish to attract most serious students and scholars”

    “The overwhelming majority of private colleges represent themselves as citadels of freedom, free expression, academic freedom, debate, and candor. Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Brandeis, and virtually all the rest of our nation’s most prestigious universities make extensive promises of free speech in their promotional literature, in their handbooks, in their contracts with professors, and in their presentations to prospective students, donors, and alumni.”

    “The Constitution protects the right of freedom of association. It does not protect the right to defraud, lie, fraudulently induce, and otherwise misrepresent an institution in order to trick people into sending their children, attending, or donating to a college. That’s why FIRE battles with private colleges that promise freedom of speech and then deliver censorship.”

    –FIRE : http://www.thefire.org/article/10689.html

  120. Oblio Says:

    Manju, this notion that Minow is being censored is just bizarre. She is being criticized for having failed to make rudimentary efforts to make sure she had the facts right before making a statement on a matter that would inflame her community and damage one of her students. Or perhaps she knew the facts and acted regardless of the facts of the case, which is actually worse. Stay on point.

  121. Oblio Says:

    FIRE is doing yeoman work precisely because the contract they want is not clearly in place.

  122. Manju Says:

    “North Korea promises free speech too.”

    Occam’s Beard:

    Clearly you’ve been cornered and maybe a little hurt by the patronizing, so you’re going for reductio ad absurdum.

    But in the off-chance you are actually as hysterical and unnaunced as your argument, allow me to just go with your comparison and break it down.

    pc universities are indeed just like north korea. NK promises democracy but doesn’t deliver while universities promise free speech then turn around and censor.

    pc universities however exist within a liberal democracy called the usa, where such promises create a contractual right and are therefore actionable if the obligation is not met. ergo, the existence of FIRE.

    in this case however, Harvard does not appear to have violated the students free speech rights, since a similar action taken by a govt wouldn’t trigger a first amendment case.

    hope that clear things up for you.

  123. Manju Says:

    “Manju, this notion that Minow is being censored is just bizarre”

    That notion refers only to a potential libel suit. There is no such suit so no one is trying to silence her.

    But libel is indeed used by censors hoping to bully people who disagree with them. particularly worrisome is libel tourism.

  124. Oblio Says:

    No disagreement about the danger of libel tourism, or of legal tourism in general. It is a particular problem where the truthfulness of the statement is not a defense (or only a weak one), as in the UK, combined with the fact that it is both a contributor to and recipient of publishing across the English-speaking world.

    If Minow were to be sued for libel or defamation, that in itself would not silence her. It is hard to unring the bell, as I am sure you know, and is hard to see how Grace could recover meaningful damages, in the unlikely event that she won. Minow would endure no more than a slight chill to her freedom of expression, for which I am sure she would receive handsome compensation in the the form of the warm admiration of the Cultural Left.

    I still don’t see why you think this issue is so narrowly legal.

    You still seem to be missing the point that the

  125. Oblio Says:

    Sorry, I thought I had deleted the last sentence fragment. Apologies.

  126. Occam's Beard Says:

    pc universities however exist within a liberal democracy called the usa, where such promises create a contractual right and are therefore actionable if the obligation is not met. ergo, the existence of FIRE.

    Laughable. A pathetic response by a member of the cognitively challenged, and unworthy of exegesis.

  127. Oblio Says:

    By the way, if you think Occam’s Beard has been cornered in any way, you aren’t reading the same thread I am.

    His point is that anyone can make a promise; that doesn’t mean that there is a real contract that will be honored in fact.

  128. Occam's Beard Says:

    I hereby solemnly promise to treat “Manju” as having normal intellectual complement, and making arguments worthy of respect and serious consideration.

    Speaking of consideration, what consideration was there in the universities’ “contractual obligation” to protect free speech? Hmmm?

  129. Charles Says:

    “A private email sent by third year Harvard Law student Stephanie Grace to two friends”

    What I find most interesting in all this is the fact that no one in a position of authority seems to be condeming or even questioning the motive behind the one who forwarded the email (out of context, of course).

    In my opinion, that person is the one who should be expelled (along with so many of the simpleton educators!)

  130. ruralcounsel Says:

    At least an honest research project would have to address what is meant by “intelligence” and how is it measured, and how different cultural upbringing predisposes one to do better or worse on certain types of testing. Or how is “race” measured?

    Which probably puts big enough error bars around any measurements to obscure any differences between “races”.

    Harvard once again steps into the dogshit, proving that it neither the best nor the brightest.

  131. Reflections on the Harvard “Emailgate” controversy « Spin, strangeness, and charm Says:

    [...] UPDATE 2: Some good verbal ju-jitsu from Ann Althouse. See also Neo-Neocon. [...]

  132. mcnorman Says:

    Bigots can learn lessons and mend their ways. Malice is ingrained and used as an ugly power ploy over others.

    Perhaps it would serve HLS more to remember this unless this is what they wish to graduate more of?

  133. Artfldgr Says:

    hese studies made more plausible Lamarckian idea about inheritance of aquired characters, which was at the heart of Lysenkoism, too.

    actually they didnt… but they DO want to stretch it to make communism more valid…

  134. Artfldgr Says:

    Somehow Segey managed to make it through all the marxist brainwashing and now helps us understand the twists and turns of the PC/collective/hivemind.

    its not amazing..

    marxism is a cult… and there is no such thing as a perfect cult that can capture 100% of the public (religions are the closest thing but there ARE differences and major ones).

    so what everyone confuses is the dream or fantasy, which is more like the movies… that there is this guy who got power, but no one knows the steps, and that he has everyone misty eyed.

    when the truth is that only a few actually believed but the chess pieces are arranged that you have little choice. so you split your thinking… between what you know and what your duty is.

    so the truth is that once you capture ENOUGH people and have moved ENOUGH people, the rest are forced to follow. just look at the ratio of police to people and you will VERY quickly realize that in truth, the state governs at the consent of the elected…

    Sergey knows how things work. Russians are not addle brained people, and neither are chinese.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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