Return of the Adult?

by Brad Nelson   2/13/15

I was intrigued by this article by Gerald D. Skoning at The American Spectator (Prohibition on Campus: In Loco Parentis Run Amok?) about the prohibition of hard liquor on campus at Dartmouth.

Not only do I think this is a terrific idea, I would ban all alcohol. Lest we forget, the purpose of college is not a continuation of adolescence. The point is not to sort of have an extended party before the real world hits, although that’s what much of college life has turned into.

Unfortunately, the point of the prohibition does not seem to be either to forward sobriety or an attempt to refocus upon the academic. The point seems to be to try to reduce the number of sexual assault cases. In practice this means saving women from themselves (something parents, particularly fathers, used to do by reminding women to beware of men because they tend to want only one thing).

Helping save women from themselves (and men from themselves as well) isn’t a bad thing, even if this saving should have come earlier from the parents and/or the churches. Better late than never, and it would certainly be good if colleges furthered the good standards of the family rather than actively working to undermine them, as has been much of the point of a “Progressive” college education since at least the 1920’s.

But from what I gather from this article, not only is the idea of refocusing on academics not the point, but the idea of reigning in sexual abandon isn’t the point either of this hard alcohol ban. As framed by Skoning, this appears to be a factor of “growing pressure from the federal government under Title IX to reduce binge drinking and alcohol-related student misbehavior.”

So as much as I might want to read into this the return of the adult on campus, the return of sobriety, and the return of a focus on academics, it could be a case of same-old, same-old: reacting to the gorilla in the living room (the Federal government) in an effort to keep the dollars flowing.

One hopes for a certain amount of wisdom from adults, but reading some of the comments underneath that article, one wonders if that is possible anymore. The reigning thought seems to be “There’s no use banning anything because people will find a way around it.” I guess when I was young and dumb, I likely mouthed the same juvenile words — words devoid of any wisdom and full of rationalizations.

But we don’t get rid of laws because people break them. Laws are there as an expression of society’s standards based upon (hopefully) wisdom. It’s true that if you ban hard liquor (or all liquor) from campus that some students will find a way around it. But that’s beside the point. To have that standard sends a clear signal about what the point of university is. And, more importantly, it gives moral and intellectual weight to the students who do not want to take part in Bacchanalian ways just to fit in. We owe it to our children to do no less, despite whatever goof-ball rationalizations that libertarians and other types will come up with.

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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21 Responses to Return of the Adult?

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Considering this is Dartmouth, I’m not sure how much good returning to academic concerns would do any good. Of course, one might note that the legal drinking age is generally 21, so most Dartmouth students would be too young to drink alcohol legally (for whatever that matters in academia). I would note that saying all men only want one thing is a bit unfair, though it’s pretty accurate at the age of most Dartmouth students (and perhaps also most Dartmouth professors, for all I know).

    Title IX has also been used to get rid of many college sports. The interpretation (put in under Clinton and never reversed) is that the law requires not only giving girls an equal chance to get involved in sports, but an equal number of male and female participants regardless of interest levels.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I would note that saying all men only want one thing is a bit unfair…

      Unfortunately, what I hear is that most “men” these days are boys. And boys want sex, which can be easily found. There is no need for romance. And women, amazingly, proliferate this. I hear stories (real ones, not Brian Williams ones) from parents whose boys in junior high or high school are routinely sent risque or even naked pictures from the girls.

      That’s quite an amazing turnaround from the traditional state of womanhood which is to at least make the man work for it to show the he truly “wants more than one thing.”

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I find myself wondering what IngSoc would think of the hookup culture. Julia argued that all the political enthusiasm was just “sex gone sour”, but prostitutes still existed (Winston Smith discusses an encounter with one in his journal). Given Jonathan Brent’s observation that Stalin placed the state (and the party as its avatar) above everything else, I suspect that the real objection would be to romance and commitment, not casual sex.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I find myself wondering what IngSoc would think of the hookup culture.

          As a friend of mine says (only half in jest), “Why couldn’t I have gone to high school today when the girls were dressing like hookers and throwing themselves at you?”

          Or words to that effect. First and foremost we’re dealing with a deep metaphysical divide. The naturalist or materialist worldview gives no reason to delay gratification, to be noble, to be restrained, to value truth, to value integrity, or to value things disconnected with the groin area.

          We live in a world polluted to a great extent by the libertarian philosophy (which I don’t think actually originated with them). It’s the idea that if something is allowed (is not illegal) it is therefore considered a morally good thing, if not a moral imperative. After all, in the secular materialist culture, there is only the legal/illegal, not the is/ought.

          Certainly we’ve seen this regarding views on sexuality. If coyness or restraint is considered backward or “repressive,” then it’s a moral good, if not an imperative, to be a slut. The legalistic materialist world view offers no other option.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    This may be as good a place as any to mention an article by Michael Schaus on about some SIB (Stupid Ignorant Bigot) spewing out 28 reasons why she hates conservatives for being intolerant and judgmental. The link is:

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      What’s funny is how “hate” is so central to the way of viewing the world for the Left. One doesn’t just disagree on the appropriateness of same-sex marriage, for instance. We’re all “haters.” Presumably every culture that did not have same-sex marriage since the dawn of time was a “hater” culture.

      These are the little barbarians who now populate our culture. They are intolerant political narcissists. They are deeply dissatisfied with their own life and, for whatever reason, their only outlet and explanation for this is that it is someone else’s fault. In this case, the fault lies with conservatives.

      This Left is not just a goofy religion. It is a destructive one, personally and civilizationally. I don’t “hate” them any more than I “hate” the flu virus. But I do recognize how destructive they can be and certainly think one should do what one can to protect oneself from them.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        What’s funny is how “hate” is so central to the way of viewing the world for the Left.

        The use of the words, “hate” and/or “haters” by the Left are intentional distortions of the language in order to form the narrative and create a mental attitude in the unthinking masses whereby anyone who is a target of the Left becomes suspect in all areas. Thus, they become pariahs who must be shunned and anything they say is, by definition, wrong.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          This is why leftists always project their own derangements on their enemies (i.e., those who oppose them politically). Notice how quickly Muslim “leaders” have used the North Carolina murders (by a left-wing atheist) to attack Fox News and the GOP. This is what liberals do, every chance they can, because this is what liberals are.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            One of the aspects of God that is so important is to have a point of reference above tribal man. Tribal man is a mindless man. “Good” is truly relative…relative to what is good for the tribe. In this way of thinking, truth and integrity are non-existent. (Allah, by the way, is a completely BS god.)

            Speaking of anti-Semitism and the reason for it (from another thread), I remember reading someone’s explanation for it (and I don’t think this particular one was from Dennis Prager). The gist of it is that the Jews were the first tribe on earth to extend the idea of law and of goodness beyond the narrow limits of tribe. They (Moses, via God) brought forth not endless rationalizations and moral relevance, but the idea that is it is wrong to murder – not just Jews, but anyone.

            Who is always the most despised person at the party? Right. It’s the one who points out the degradation and evil of others. You make no friends by pointing out how the other is a sexual heathen, is viciously violent, mindlessly uncouth, intolerably uneducated, and anarchically lawless.

            The Big Picture reading of Christianity would be that Jesus furthered the universality of Jewish law and morals (and put His own sort of interpretation on it). But whatever the case may be, the heathens (and that includes Islam, a religion that ravages man instead of lifting him up) resent those who, if only by passive example, point out their corruption and evil. We could argue all day (and perhaps we should) about the fine points of the illogic and dishonesty of Muslims such as the ones trying to take political advantage from those unfortunate murders. But there is a deeper problem.

            The West has little or no idea about how we gained civilization and some semblance of order and decency over and above Hobbe’s laws of life being nasty and brutish. And in this order is the rather obvious acknowledgement that there are those who are the enemy of civilization and goodness as either can be reasonably defined by men of good will and of some wisdom.

            And having no idea how we got to where we are, they’re pissing it away even as we speak. Because they hate the good, they have no reply to the disingenuous Muslims who would use any excuse to try to spread their totalitarian ideology.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Just FYI, I thought this was a terrific article by Daniel Hannan: The Objective Correlative of the E.U.

    Here’s a look at the monstrosity.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The Nazis, like the Soviets, were really big on gargantuan buildings. Albert Speer (who was involved in designing many of them) commented on this (and on their excessive nature in retrospective — all the bigness needed something smaller as a balance, in his hindsight) in Inside the Third Reich, and Robert Harris played on this (and the envy behind it) in Fatherland.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        One of the buildings which Hitler had designed was a domed structure ala the Patheon in Rome. It was so large that it was calculated that it would create its own climate inside.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I cracked up in the article when Hannan compared the EU building in Strasbourg with Pieter Bruegel’s painting, Tower of Babel. I think he noted that others have noted the same similarity.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I checked Brueghel in 1000 Masterpieces of European Painting From 1300 to 1850, and they mentioned “The Tower of Babel” but didn’t show it. However, Wikipedia has an entry on it showing his version, and I can see what Hannan means. And a very appropriate comparison it is.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              They had a small thumbnail of the painting on page 2 of the article I think.

              Let’s just say that it takes a lot of chutzpah to set yourself up like a king like that. And that’s basically what we have — a castle for the new ruling class.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Actually, the EU ruling class is the bureaucracy, not the Parliament, which has limited power (but no doubt makes a very nice mask for tyranny).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Some aspects of this massive group of buildings are awe-inspiring. And yet this also looks like something The Borg might have constructed if they lost their cube fetish.

        And clearly it is Hannan’s belief (as it is mine) that this whole system is a parasite on Europe.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Timothy said:

    Actually, the EU ruling class is the bureaucracy, not the Parliament, which has limited power (but no doubt makes a very nice mask for tyranny).

    So the elected political functionaries are…the what? Court Jesters? Marie Antoinettes? It seems certainly true, as Mark Steyn says, that it’s the bureaucracy that runs things and remains permanent — and thus gives a permanent spin to the whole point of the place. As Steyn notes as well, the liberals may win the elections one year, and “conservatives” the next, but the general character of the EU or its missions does not change.

    Certainly there is a class of people who thinks this is exactly as it should be. This is anything but the will of the people being represented. And that is considered a good thing not only because they believe themselves to be smarter, but because the “will of the people” is the thing they are pretty sure needs to be subverted and gotten around so that another major European war doesn’t erupt.

    And to help cement this even further (and enhance the viability of the welfare super-state), let’s import a lot of Muslims to water-down the native populations. I was a bit surprised in reading that article to find out that Belgium is very nearly now a Muslim majority country. How effin’ bizarre and amazing is that? Europeans are self-destructively nuts even in peacetime.


    “So as much as I might want to read into this the return of the adult on campus, the return of sobriety, and the return of a focus on academics, it could be a case of same-old, same-old: reacting to the gorilla in the living room (the Federal government) in an effort to keep the dollars flowing.”

    I’m afraid that’s exactly what it is, Brad – all they care about is the money (another good reason to banish the Federal Government from education). Obviously, college and university Boards of Trustees are among those institutions conquered by the Left, and retaking them should be among Conservative objectives. When we start putting an end to the party culture on campus, and close down all those horrid “Ethnic Studies” programs (actually, when we clean out the Augean Stables that almost all Humanities departments have become), we’ll know we’re finally on course to fully take America back as a free nation of competent and self-reliant citizens.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I would say that the priorities in college should be: 1. Get rid of the various “studies” since they’re nothing more than liberal madrassas. 2. Get rid of the various bars on conservative academics, so that there will be a reasonable mixture of views. 3. Get rid of the more militantly political types in genuine academic fields, especially the humanities (though I gather they’re spread all over the place to some extent). This would actually require cleaning out the managing bureaucracy and executive “leadership”, but that would be much harder since it’s largely up to the trustees.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      If it’s true, as Dennis Prager says, that the modern Western university functions as a left wing seminary then it may be a sort of badge of honor not to have gone to university. This is particularly relevant regarding Scott Walker.

      I had two years of community college. I really can’t say that it was a particularly enlightening two years. But I certainly believe in being educated. It’s just that outside of the hard sciences (and even then), you’re not going to get much of an education at a modern Western university. You’ll get leftist indoctrination.

      For my own purposes, I continue to read a good assortment of non-fiction books and histories. And to fight in the culture wars, one has to have a background more solid than just skill with rhetoric. Rhetoric (which accounts for perhaps 50% of content, even on conservative sites) can be a useful skill. But it is often little more than mental masturbation. Tit-for-tat, even when using a plethora of 10-dollar words, is still tit-for-tat.

      So one has to keep learning because it takes a lot of work to effectively refute even one lazy lie. That’s just the way it is. But I can’t imagine living a life without a certain amount of intellectual integrity. Can you imagine whoring out your very soul, personality, and mind in order to fit in with a group of degenerates and malcontents?

      No thanks. Have I stated things clearly? Yes. Scott Walker, you could learn a thing or two from us.

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