We Shouldn’t Be Afraid of the Truth

To the editors:

Re: “Calorie Cards Removed From Dining Halls”, news story, Sept. 24.

Harvard students lived without calorie cards for centuries, and will survive now that they’re gone. But what a symbol of the new relation of the university to its students: Harvard decided that students will hurt themselves with the truth, so plans to make it harder for them to find it. What if Harvard were to apply that paternalistic philosophy to its libraries, laboratories, and classrooms, where students also encounter dangerous information?


Cambridge, Mass.

September 28, 2008

The writer is a professor of computer science and a former dean of Harvard College and co-author of “Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion.”