is Not Crime
two weeks ago, Harvard President Lawrence Summers ignited a controversy by
thinking. One would expect an August institution such as Harvard to reward
thinking, not punish it, but Mr. Summers committed what is regarded in
some circles as a thought crime: he thought the dominance of men in the
physical sciences could be partially explained by innate differences
between men and women.
Mr. Summers was on trial for a thought crime can be seen in the reaction
to his words, or rather, to the reaction to the straw man created from his
words. MIT Biologist Nancy Hopkins started the straw-stuffing shortly
after the echo from Summers’ words had stopped: “He shouldn’t admit
women to Harvard if he’s going to announce when they come that, hey, we
don’t feel that you can make it to the top”, she announced. The
National Organization of Women, callously followed suit in their call for
Lawrence Summers’s resignation:
Summers' Jan. 14 remarks, he proposed that innate genetic differences
between the sexes may be one explanation for why fewer women succeed in
math and science careers. NOW applauds the women who challenged his
comments at the conference and afterward. We thank the hundreds (if not
thousands) of women who have written to newspapers and to Summers directly
to set him straight about the challenges that face women in
notion that women are innately inferior to men is simply archaic,"
said Gandy. "For decades, women have been making dramatic advances in
science and technology fields while negotiating a minefield of gender
stereotypes and obstacles created by ignorance. It has been a rocky road,
but women have risen to the challenge. It's time to remove the barriers,
and one of them is
Summer's failure to either state “women can’t make it to the top” or
“the notion that women are innately inferior to men,” in no way
stopped the accusations from coming forward.
Crimes against Islam
vicious the attacks on Lawrence Summers have been, at least he did not
criticize Islam. Criticizing Islam brings forth a barrage of abuse,
condemnation, and deceit usually reserved for the worst thought offenders.
Accusations of racism are a favored tool used in what I'll describe by its
rightful--if cumbersome--name: ritualistic character assassinations.
attempted character assassinations, I'm sorry to report, usually end up in
character murder. A person thus targeted ends up with a damaged
reputation, forever answering questions about their alleged racism, their
adherence to Zionism, their hatred of Islam.
such pressure, individual thought-offenders such as radio host Paul
Harvey--who said on air that Islam encourages killing--usually cave in to
apology demands. Those apologies, surely, are often insincere and
meaningless, but apologies they are, giving the character murderers the
clout they don’t deserve and the legitimacy they crave.
who refuse to apologize, such as Daniel Pipes, endure a worse fate. Dr.
Pipes was nominated by President Bush to the United States Institute of
Peace, a decision that did not please the Muslim supremacists at the
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR mounted a campaign to
discredit Dr. Pipes, which resulted in servile Democrat Senators refusing
to grant him a confirmation hearing. As
a consequence, Dr. Pipes was unable to obtain a permanent position at the
United States Institute of Peace.
vicious attacks and their aftermaths, understandingly result in what has
been called a chilling of speech. Individuals and Institutions who might
otherwise criticize Islam choose to remain silent. Some of them might
even, in the name of political correctness, propagate what ought to be
described as pro-Islam falsehoods. Truth is thus drowned in a sea of
of speech, however, is not the worst consequence of the ritualistic
character assassinations. That occurs in the mind, when we refuse to think
offending thoughts. When we fear to speak our minds, when we want to avoid
conflict, when we wish tough choices--the really tough choices--would just
go away, we end up installing a mind censor: and there are no worse
censors than those ones.
reader might doubt he carries something as insidious as a mind censor.
Fair enough; I’ll leave it to the every individual to evaluate his own
mind. Yet, if the reader:
it is a good idea to stop Muslim immigration into the West, but a soft
voice murmurs “racism.”
the desirability of the Sudanese or Israeli Peace Processes, but his soul
longs for peace.
the failure of our “hearts and minds” campaigns, but his own heart
reader should reflect.
few years ago, I was sitting in an Introduction to Philosophy class. The
wise Professor asked:
is more important, to know what is right, or to do what is right?"
know what is right,” I answered, "because if you don't know the
address, how can you get there?"
know the address, we must explore all paths. To know the nature of our
enemies, to map our plan of action, we must to examine all ideas, even
“heretical” ones. The mind censor should have no power over our
thoughts, and no control over our subsequent actions. I urge you to think
boldly and freely – our own future, nay, the future of the world, is at