Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Re: In Loco Parentis


Regarding Alston’s post below, well, I have not thought out everything but here are some ideas. I would begin by repudiating the ideals of liberalism and libertarianism, both of which are built on fantasy–the first that human nature is good and anything bad comes from society, and the second that human nature, left to itself in freedom, will choose the good. (Alternatively, some libertarians argue more narrowly that individuals should be free to do whatever they like as long as they accept their own actions’ consequences, which is unrealistic because the consequences of individual action are invariably laid at the feet of society and refract upon us all.)

I would also want an acknowledgement that men and women are different. Then I would focus on what I want most–to get students through four years of college with minimum trouble, without rapes and rape charges, lawsuits, murders, unwanted pregnancies, criminal indictments, suicides, interracial antagonism, class hatred, drug and alcohol addiction, and the like.

Obviously a lot of this unwanted behavior comes from the mingling of the two sexes. I think a return to single sex dorms might be considered. I think a kind of coarsening toward the opposite sex occurs with that, making women too available and too ordinary. Thus strippers seem a chance to get something more exotic, with the accompanying lack of respect as seen in the Duke incident. A ban on alcohol use would also be very important, as, quite obviously, drinking brings on a lot of problems. I understand in the Duke case there was even underage drinking, which would mean automatic suspension in my book.

One could work out some further regulations from some of the awful incidents we have seen, thinking of what might have prevented them. For example, if a team is meeting as a school team, even off-campus, we might require that they cannot hire a stripper unless three of the team’s mothers are present. Things like that. But, as I say, there is a lot of room for negotiation. If you look back on old college rules, or just see some old movies, you get a lot of inspiration. And anything to do with drinking and the sexes is a good place to start.

I can’t work out everything, especially since no one is seriously asking me to do so, but I’ve tried to give some ideas. Obviously people in charge are making rules and decisions every day on college campuses. Let them be rules that everyone can see clearly and understand the basis for, so they know how to stay out of trouble.

I can’t remember the title now, but I once did an essay with a class by someone who had grown up under a Communist government, and the worst part, the author said, was the arbitrariness of the rules: Letting certain things go by, and then suddenly cracking down; allowing a certain kind of behavior, and then punishing its predictable consequences; letting some people get away with it, and then singling out others, and vice versa and back and forth and so on. That is practically the very definition of tyranny.


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