Larry Summers Announces His Resignation from Harvard
February 21, 2006
The problem is that if a university president were to be fired because he expressed the views put forward by Summers, it would become only a matter of time before professors, researchers and students would also be subjected to discipline for expressing similar views.Once a point of view becomes an impermissible one on a university campus, nobody can express it without fear of recrimination. Dismissing a president on such grounds would give an imprimatur of legitimacy to censorship of the views that formed the basis for his dismissal.That is why this issue is bigger than Summers or even Harvard University. It is really about a long-term, systematic effort to impose a political-correctness straitjacket on certain views, especially at universities.It began with the enactment of speech codes, harassment policies and other disciplinary mechanisms designed to censor speech deemed offensive to some. The Summers presidency has stood in stark contrast to political correctness. He has refused to subscribe to the first commandment for university presidents: make only speeches that risk offending nobody.