The Corner

Re: Drinking Makes You Smarter

At the beginning of Jim Webb’s third novel, A Country Such as This, there is a scene in which three soon-to-be graduates of the Naval Academy are drinking beer at Riordan’s (I haven’t been there in a while, so I’m not sure if that’ the right spelling) in downtown Annapolis. One of the characters, not surprisingly the one who will son be commissioned a lieutenant of Marines, orders another round. One of the other character objects, saying “don’t you realize that alcohol kills brain cells?” To which the first character replies: “any brain cell that can’t take a little alcohol deserves to die!” He then argues that alcohol gets rid of the “non-hacking” brain cells, implying that drinking makes us smarter because only the fittest brain cells survive.

Based on that reasoning, I shall soon be Einstein.

Mackubin Thomas Owens — Mr. Owens is the editor of Orbis and the author of U.S. Civil–Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil–Military Bargain.

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