Steve Landsburg is a glibertarian econ guy at my university. A lot of my friends know him quite well, because he was originally a mathematician, but after failing to find employment in math, he switched to economics where he has become fairly well-known. (I won’t comment here on what that tells you about the relative competitiveness of the two fields or more broadly on whether courses and degrees in economics should exist at all.) He seems to have landed in a bit of hot water:
He (Landsburg) says that Limbaugh has been accused of disrespecting Fluke but says Fluke’s position on this issue doesn’t deserve respect.
“Her position– which is what’s at issue here—deserves [no respect] whatsoever,” Landsburg writes in his blog. “It deserves to only be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty.”
He went on to say in the post that he doesn’t agree with Limbaugh using the word “slut” to describe Fluke. Landsburg suggested that “prostitute” was a better word and said there was nothing wrong with demanding to be paid for sex. He also suggests that “extortionist” is a better word to describe Fluke.
This rhetoric prompted university president Joel Seligman to respond.
In a statement released Wednesday, Seligman said:
“I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.”
Update. Clawback points out that Landsburg is well-known as a contrarian Slatester and Freakaonomics wannabe, not as a research economist, in fairness to the field of economics.