## Friday, February 17, 2006

### Namby pamby presidents

The Crimson has increased the fraction of the articles related to the adventures of the president of Harvard.

The 2006 Woman of the Year, Halle Berry, thinks that Summers is wonderful.

The top lawyer of Harvard explains that the accusations that Summers is anything else than innocent in Shleifer's activities in Russia are bullshit.

The newspaper explains that if you know whether Summers will decide to resign by June 30th, you can make a bet.

In the main article that The Crimson published today, Steve Pinker argues that the president must defend himself, otherwise it may be an equally good idea to have a namby pamby president just like all other universities. Harvey Mansfield agrees with this sentiment and argues that the president himself should refute his miserable critics.

The term "miserable critics" is a very elegant way to express the same idea without actually using the F-word. ;-)

As you know, your humble correspondent is surrounded by many nice people, i.e. Summers supporters, but the attitude expressed by Pinker and Mansfield is a strengthening one. Another famous senior colleague of mine disagrees. He says that even when our current president acts in the most namby pamby way, he is still less namby pamby than any other president, and this itself makes him an asset. This particular colleague sees the whole set of events as a part of the culture wars (between the sciences and the humanities).

I kind of agree with both sides. I mean with both types of Summers supporters, of course, not with the miserable critics. ;-)

It would be certainly better if we had a completely peaceful atmosphere here in which various attitudes that Summers expressed would be legal not only de iure but also de facto. On the other hand, the idea of a new president is not an attractive one because it would very likely lead to the realization of dreams of the miserable critics, i.e. some kind of totalitarian system controlled by intellectually questionable organized groups of scholars.