A conversation with Christina Hoff Sommers

In the latest of his Conversations, Bill Kristol draws out former philosophy professor Christina Hoff Sommers on the myriad of subjects to which she has contributed her wit and wisdom over the past 20 years or so (video below, about one hour). Among the subject on which she speaks with authority and interest are the movement for “safe spaces” on campus, how feminism went awry, the war against boys, the mythical “war on women,” and “Gamergate” (don’t miss her on “Gamergate”!).

The interview is posted and broken sophy of constitutionalism on which the American experiment is founded as well as the development of American political parties with which it must live. The video is also posted and broken into chapters here; the transcript is posted here.

I watched this video from beginning to end and found it utterly compelling, It is full of quotable quotes. I highly recommend it. Is it too late for her to throw her in the ring for 2016?

Quotable quote (on speaking at Oberlin): “[T]here was one moment where a very lovely philosophy professor just sort of stood up and urged the crowed to be civil, and he was told to be quiet and sit down. It was a mob. So here we are at Oberlin College with these students who were supposed – among the most privileged, who were supposed to be getting a good education, and this is how they acted out and then to behave that way – to me, alright, a controversial speaker – but their own professor. It was sad, a sad spectacle.”

One more: “I would say that right now on many campuses, probably not all, but many and especially small liberal arts colleges – the more elite university the more likely this is happening. I think it’s a contagion of hysteria. And I don’t use those words lightly. Because in the past I always thought it was eccentric, it was strange, these young women were a little carried away. This is more than carried away. And, it’s not all the students, of course, but a sort of critical mass of young women and some young men believe that students, at places like Swarthmore or Wesleyan, Bard College, Columbia University, that they are – women are captive to the tyrannical, patriarchal, oppressive, violent culture, and they aren’t going to take it. But on the other hand, they’ve been so injured and traumatized that a lot of effort goes into ministering to their, their various afflictions…”

One more: “Femininity and masculinity are real and most people, not all, but most people, many of the stereotypes are true. That women do tend to be more nurturing and risk-adverse and have usually a richer emotional vocabulary, and men tend to be a little less explicit about their emotions, emotionally flattened – we’ll say, stoical to be nice. More stoical, more competitive and they do engage in a lot of risky behavior, for better or worse. Men tend to show up at the extremes of success and failure more than women because they are sometimes more – single-minded in the pursuit of, more obsessive pursuits – more likely to do that than women. But you take gender studies and they say, ‘Oh, it’s all a social construction.’ Unless you’re gay, then they say, ‘Okay, that’s just the way they are, and then if you’re trans, I don’t know how they’re going it account for that….”


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