The president of Harvard, Larry Summers, upset the feminists by suggesting that there might be some biological reason why more men than women occupy the top positions in science and mathematics.
Oh, how the feminists howled, joined by their eunuchs. This was a sacrilege against the concept of gender equality. It is also an excellent opportunity for a little lesson in general semantics.
"Gender equality" is a political term. It has nothing to do with reality. Whether or not there are some biological differences that affect abilities in math and science is a scientific question. It can be answered by tests and experiments. Certainly there are plenty of physical differences between males and females, including how their brains work.
What the storm at Harvard is all about is just the latest manifestation of one of liberalism's oldest axioms, which is grounded in another political concept: equality. That, too, has nothing to do with reality. Liberals have always refused to admit that human differences are biological and therefore not subject to manipulation. They have always argued that whatever significant differences are measurable are due solely to societal influences. In short, it's nurture, not nature, that makes the difference.
I've always thought that this was nonsense. What made Shaquille O'Neal grow to his great height? It certainly was not diet and exercise. It was genes. I got an excellent diet and plenty of exercise as a kid, but I stopped growing well short of 7 feet. Again, it was genes.
What our genes do is give us potential and set limits. We might or might not achieve our potential (that's where nurture comes in), but we can never exceed our genetic limits. You can saturate a woman with testosterone and steroids and turn her into a bodybuilder, but she will never attain the muscle mass of a male bodybuilder.
The truth is, people are not equal. They differ in height and weight and sex and metabolism and IQ and aptitudes and talents and potentialities. These differences are biological, and ideology and politics notwithstanding, there is nothing to be done about them. All we can do is help children achieve their potential, but they will never exceed it.
The screeching and squawking of feminist harpies is not important, but it is important to recognize the terrible danger of trying to substitute political concepts for reality. That's essentially what destroyed the Soviet Union. People are not equal, and they never will be. When Thomas Jefferson said all men are created equal, he was talking politics, not biology. The statement was directed at the European concept of aristocracy, where people were afforded special privileges simply because of their birth into certain families. What Jefferson was saying was that the state and the law should make no distinction between one person and another based on birth.
God knows that is difficult enough to achieve without deluding ourselves that politics can trump biology. It cannot. Whenever our laws and concepts contradict nature, nature will win.
Only recently Bill Gates said that every child should be prepared for a college education. That won't work. Not all children are intellectually equipped to deal with university studies. That has nothing to do with teachers or educational systems. It has to do with biology. Until the American people face the fact of IQ differences, which are largely genetic, and the effects of those differences on the individual, then they will just continue to spin their wheels in frustration. You can't win the Daytona 500 in a four-cylinder car, and you can't make a legitimate college graduate out of a kid with an IQ of 95. I said "legitimate" because, of course, in the service of ideology, you can dumb down the curricula.
As for women's aptitude or lack thereof for science and math, that is a question for science — not politicians and feminists — to answer.
March 5, 2005
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.
© 2005 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.