One benefit from a generally terrifying economic crisis may be the demise of political correctness. Notice the lack of serious complaint over the appointment of Larry Summers to one of Obama’s top economic advisory positions. Three years ago, Summers was forced out of the presidency of Harvard because he noted that biological difference may play some part in the explanation for the relative dearth of women professors in the math and the physical sciences.
(I’m not an expert in psychometrics , but I think it’s commonly understood that there are more boys than girls at the very top reaches of the math SAT scorers and even more at the higher reaches if you were to subdivide the 800 scores. And similarly, there are many more boys than girls classified as mentally retarded or autistic. If you plotted the scores out on a bell curve, the male curve would be flatter.)
In any case, Summers’ remark produced an indignation outburst from the academic feminists, culminating eventually in his resignation. When his name was floated a few weeks ago for a top post, there was a fair amount of tittering among the female talking heads– “Summers claimed girls can’t do math, ha ha” and he was considered a longshot.
Then the credit markets seized up again, fear of a real meltdown spread, and more people decided that having a really smart guy advising Obama just may be more important than rigid adherence to political correctness. There will be more of that, on a wide range of issues, in the years ahead.