My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Monday, April 25, 2005

Summers in trouble again...

This is really a nutty story. Participants at a conference on Native-Americans are upset at Summers' comments - but the conference was last September!
Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers has found himself in the position of having to explain another speech he gave at an academic conference, offending many participants.

This time, the debate revolves around his welcoming comments at a Harvard conference on Native American studies last September. In his speech, Summers said that many more Native Americans were killed by disease than by European settlers, and talked about ''the vast majority of the suffering" as a ''coincidence that was a consequence" of assimilation, and ''nobody's plan."

A number of participants say they were deeply offended by what they viewed as an effort to downplay Colonial violence, but their concerns did not become public at the time. After another Native American conference on campus two weeks ago, rumors about Summers's remarks began to spread more widely.

Summers's office released a transcript of his remarks Tuesday afternoon in response to requests from reporters.

Summers said in a statement that "I did not for a moment mean to diminish the severity or ferocity of the widespread violence that claimed a great many lives."

However, some of the attendees reacted to his comments in much the same way as female scientists who objected to Summers's now-infamous remarks on women in science in January. Professor Kay Shelemay, one of the people who invited Summers to speak in September, said she was disturbed by the way he chose to greet the participants.

"I don't see how one can portray the history of Native America in terms of Euro-American settlement as unconscious," said Shelemay, who is chairwoman of the music department and also chairwoman of a committee on ethnic studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences." It is not comforting to people who have seen their societies disrupted and their ancestors diminished in such a way, to be told that it was the outcome of unconscious actions."
Don't these people have better things to do than carp on statements made months ago. What's worse is that Summers is totally correct. Some people need to get a life.