The Magazine

Obama in Leftland

Don't know much about history...

Oct 6, 2008, Vol. 14, No. 04 • By DAVID GELERNTER
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To understand this generational shift in the making, consider the resignation of Harvard president Lawrence Summers in 2006, under attack for having said that, just possibly, the far greater number of male than of female scientists might have to do with innate differences between men and women-something that a large majority of working scientists (male and female) almost certainly take for granted (whether or not they are willing to say so). But Summers had expressed a forbidden thought, and (despite his abject confessions and apologies at the Harvard show trials) was duly banished. In the gen-CR age now approaching, such embarrassing accidents will no longer happen. Forbidden ideas simply won't occur to the Harvard presidents of the future.

Obama is the perfect model for a modern Harvard president. He might look back at his nation's history and see only a blur. But it's hard to imagine him ever thinking (much less saying) the sort of erroneous thought that doomed Summers. America's future has been intellectually housebroken. That's progress.

David Gelernter, a WEEKLY STANDARD contributing editor, is a national fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and professor of computer science at Yale.