Environmentalism

College Freshman: Leftward and Sober into the Future!

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UCLA has been tracking the attitudes of college freshmen on many topics for 43 years. Here's some data, courtesy of the always interesting Inside Higher Education, from the latest tally: 

The proportion of students who describe themselves as "middle-of-the-road" politically continues to decline, hitting an all-time low of 43.3 percent, while the proportion who describe themselves as liberal and far left grew to 31 and 3.2 percent, respectively. "This is the largest percentage of students categorizing themselves as liberal since 1973," states the survey. The survey finds that 20.7 percent of freshmen characterize themselves as conservative, down slightly from 23.1 percent the year before.

The report finds increasing support among freshmen for liberal causes—including same-sex marriage. Support for environmental causes continues to grow.

Freshmen are also, apparently, partying less in high school. In 2008, 18.8 percent say they partied an average of six or more hours a week, half the 36.8 percent total in 1987.

The percentages of freshmen who drank beer (38 percent) and wine or liquor (43.9 percent) occasionally or frequently as high school students are also the lowest they've been in 43 years of collecting data.

More here.

Well, thanks George W. Bush, for turning a generation more to the left and making them sober up. Yet another legacy to be proud of!

Eighty-six percent reported that they "frequently or occasionally" discuss politics, an indicator of engagement that will doubtless garner praise from most quarters. That might be the one that fills me with sadness the most. Politics are of course crucially important, especially in an overweening state such as ours (and one that keeps getting bigger and bigger across every dimension). But politics is ultimately a grim zero-sum theater of operations. And life is so much richer in other areas of human activity.

It's hard to know without seeing the full survey (which costs a good deal of moolah to access) precisely what those students describing themselves as liberal are thinking in terms of government action. To be pro-gay marriage, for instance, could be a sign of an incipient libertarian streak in students, rather than a traditional big government liberal.

NEXT: Repeating Our Economic Woes

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  1. I’d be quite interested to see the same college freshmen answer the same questions in ten years (excluding the ones who are still in school). A few years in the adult world, with a real job (again, not a job in academia) does strange things to one’s politics.

    Of course, in ten years we’ll all be working for the fedral gummint, so maybe their politics won’t change a whit.

  2. A bunch of drab socialista wealth appropriaters. greeaaat… bet the sorority chicks are fat too.

  3. You miss the point stubby – the students who were identifying as conservatives in much higher numbers ten and fifteen years ago hadn’t spent any time in the adult world, either.

  4. “Well, thanks George W. Bush, for turning a generation more to the left…”

    How do you know he’s responsible for it?

  5. A few years in the adult world, with a real job (again, not a job in academia) does strange things to one’s politics.

    In what sense is working in academia not a real job?

  6. I think part of the problem might be high school civics classes. I think a lot more people (left or right) have libertarian leanings, but my high school social studies teacher (and the textbook)lumped libertarianism in with the anarchists and adherents of social credit, and had kinder words for socialists and communists. It’s never really presented as a viable and respectable third party option. Even in a place like Canada, the LP was coming in fourth in Federal elections well into the eighties.

  7. Personally I find that most people who I graduated with and work with tend to have more libertarian leanings. It’s just that they would be hard pressed to identify these leanings as libertarian. Noted, it gives me hope, not for the Libertarian Party, but for people in general. I suppose as Ron Paul said once, “Freedom is popular”.

    “Big L” Libertarianism will sadly, not ever be popular, but the attitude certainly is.

  8. There’s no question that the conservative brand suffers with the young folks because of the association between “conservative” and “drooling gay basher.” Kids today just aren’t as judgmental about gays as they were when I was in high school.

    If the GOP wants to win over the youth, they’re going to have to break that association. It’ll require guys like Dick Cheyney treating his daughter as a social asset instead of a social liability.

  9. phalkor: Yeah, most people I run into have a libertarian streak, phalkor. But, politically, it all comes down to team red vs team blue.

  10. it all comes down to team red vs team blue

    Hooray tribalism!

  11. Of course students lean left.They heard Obama was going to forgive their student loans.

    I didn’t check when the data was collected but %86 having “political discussion” in an election year seems low.

  12. In what sense is working in academia not a real job?

    In every sense other than receiving a paycheck?

  13. Hmmmmmm. This sounds about right minus stubby’s comment about “real” jobs. I, too, have noticed the apparent trend in my fellow students going FULL RETARD political wise.

    Stubby,

    Dude! I’ve been working since I was 14. Most of the people I know have been working since they were 16. Could just be the fact that everyone was a hell of a lot poorer in Mississippi about 15 years back(before the casinos) though.

  14. SIV,

    You nailed it. I call graduate students “indentured slaves”. Think about it for a minute. You’ll get it.

  15. In what sense is working in academia not a real job?

    LOL! Goddamn it, parse. That dry sense of humor just kills me.

  16. They are freshman so they probably are quite libertarian in mindset but don’t know the philosophy even exists. Get to them while they are in college and they can be effectively directed. They are students, afterall. I never heard the term until I got to college. I never thought of myself until after college but my experiences there solidified it almost as much as paying taxes when I got out into the real world.

  17. Was this a study on college freshmen everywhere, or just in California, or just in UCLA?

  18. I’m starting my day with a heapin’ helpin’ of calm optimism. I decree that these most excellent young adults are using “liberal” in the classical, uncorrupted-by-the-DemocraticParty sense of the word.

    You know, pursuit-of-happiness style liberalism, not nannytarian liberalism.

  19. To be pro-gay marriage, for instance, could be a sign of an incipient libertarian streak in students,

    Cheesies Crust, here we go again. How is gay marriage related to libertarian principles again? It’s a friggin argument over words, and you guys are elevating it to a more important position than taxes, guns, eminent domain, etc.

  20. I suppose as Ron Paul said once, “Freedom is popular”.

    Freedom for oneself is popular. Freedom for others, not so much.

    People will bloviate to no end about the greatness of freedom and how grateful we should be to those that fought and died so we could live our lives as we wish. Then when a neighbor wants to paint his house purple, their true colors come out.

  21. How is gay marriage related to libertarian principles again?

    It can be when people come at it from a “let consenting adults do whatever they want” perspective than a “oh, those poor oppressed minorities” stand point.

    Young people are liberal right now because it means “anti-Bush.” Once it stops meaning that exclusively, it will shift back. And, of course, the fine teaching moment when they open that first paycheck and see that a 1/3 of it has been stripped away for benefit of people who didn’t actually work for it.

  22. If anyone out there is surprised by this, smack yourself in the head for me. I’d do it but I can’t reach.

    As for me, I’m not a liberal, but if my choices in the political milieu are between “let’s ban trans fat” and “let’s invade other countries and pretend like torture isn’t morally repugnant”, I know which one I’m picking.

  23. KT,

    I always go for the property rights option.
    I prefer a tasty pie crust over the well-being of Khalid Sheikh-Mohammed.

  24. SugarFree, we’re not talking about legalizing homosexual sex here. And if you want to apply “let consenting adults do what they want” to marriage law, gay marriage isn’t nearly the end of it, as Woody Allen, Sun Yi, and a bunch of polygamists would testify.

    In any case, my cosmotarian friends tend to blow gay marriage’s import as a libertarian issue out of proportion. It really should be down there with legalizing ferrets.

  25. But politics is ultimately a grim zero-sum theater of operations. And life is so much richer in other areas of human activity.

    …like getting drunk? Seriously, Nick, you sound almost disappointed that high schoolers are spending more time sober.

  26. Wait, now ferrets are illegal?

  27. It really should be down there with legalizing ferrets.

    Far more important than gay marriage.
    Property rights.

  28. SIV’s presentation of the choices involved would make more sense if the GOP hadn’t just increased the size and scope of government at the greatest rate since the New Deal.

    I also don’t notice a lot of GOP politicians standing up for trans fats. Maybe you could point them out to me?

    There is very little Obama could do on the economic liberties front that Bush didn’t also do.

    The choice between “Economic Freedom Party” and “Personal Freedom [of a sort] Party” becomes easier when you realize that every word the Economic Freedom Party guys say is a lie and every policy they pursue is the opposite of what their rhetoric promises.

  29. It can be when people come at it from a “let consenting adults do whatever they want” perspective than a “oh, those poor oppressed minorities” stand point.

    And that’s not even it. Liberals are totally comfortable with letting consenting adults do what they want, as long as it doesn’t involve owning property, making money, or (God forbid!) employing people. Once you start engaging in those activities you’re the government’s bitch.

    Note: I’ve framed it in exactly this way to liberal friends, and they agree; yet they continue to hold to their liberalism.

  30. cunnivore,

    I have no problem with polygamy. I don’t give a fig if some guy wants to marry one, in fact. Any intrusion into a person’s private life that the government makes is a teachable moment for libertarianism over liberalism. It is a time to make the argument against all intrusion, not just half of the menu. If marriage equality brings people over to our side, I say: the more the merrier.

    Disclaimer: Yes, the proper response is to get the government out of the marriage business, but since they aren’t anytime soon, equal protection carries the day.

  31. Who cares about homos? There are more important issues like being able to smoke on airplanes again.

  32. The choice between “Economic Freedom Party” and “Personal Freedom [of a sort] Party” becomes easier when you realize that every word the Economic Freedom Party guys say is a lie and every policy they pursue is the opposite of what their rhetoric promises.

    Considering that Dems wholeheartedly support the Drug War and warrantless wiretapping (as long as the right people are in charge of it), and oppose school choice, I don’t see how there’s any significant difference.

    After Taft-Hartley gets repealed, etc, I have a feeling you’ll notice how much less bad the Economic Freedom Party was on economic freedom.

  33. Seriously, Nick, you sound almost disappointed that high schoolers are spending more time sober.

    I think there’s a bias that overly-sober people tend to swing into nanny statism with frightening ease.

    Tell the truth – after you listen to an abstemious and earnest crunchy yoga person [or a Mormon, to come at it from the other side] list the things they won’t indulge in, don’t you expect their next sentence to be a rationalization of why the government shouldn’t let you indulge in any of those things, either?

  34. Fluffy,

    I didn’t present the choices, I just picked one of KTs.I consider my property rights to be more important than the treatment of a murderer of 3000 innocent people (who killed them, in part, because he wants to deny my rights to own pork products and alchoholic beverages).

  35. And another thing (not leveled directly at you cunny)… what’s with the “don’t give gays the economic benefits of marriage” idea? The main economic benefit seems to be two gay guys being taxed at the lower married couples rates. Since when is it a bad thing to deny government excess tax money in a legal way?

    We may have no choice but to feed Leviathan, but I see not onus that they must the choicest cuts.

  36. If marriage equality brings people over to our side, I say: the more the merrier.

    There’s no way it brings more people over to our side, as the left has already taken that issue over. In any case, I highly doubt that support for gay marriage, when coupled with support for nationalizing industry and taxing the wealthy at 95%, is a sign of incipient libertarianism, as the Leather Jacket Poobah seems to hope.

  37. !,

    Negative liberty over “positive liberty” every time.

  38. Hell we shouldn’t even have trials for him, SIV, let’s just string ’em to a tree if they look guilty!

  39. Fluffy, chicken and the egg. Is it soberness that leads to nanny-statism or nanny-statism that leads to soberness?

    I’m not convinced of either, to be honest, since I know way too many people who were libertine in every fashion in their youth and have since become supporters of every kind of govt-enforced asceticism. And I myself have never smoked a cigarette and drink about four beers a year, and think people should be allowed to drink and smoke until their livers explode, scattering pieces of blackened lung as shrapnel.

  40. Yeah, cunnivore, I have to agree it is the “thinkers” that lead themselves to agreement that anyone should be able to imbibe whatever they choose, rather than those that actually did at one time imbibe anything they chose and then got sober as they aged. It’s the “there’s a time and place for that and its called College” mentality. “If you aren’t in college, and you do drugs you must be a criminal, or fed the disease by the CIA, so it MUST BE STOPPED!!!”

  41. The main economic benefit seems to be two gay guys being taxed at the lower married couples rates.

    “Human dignity” posturing aside, the major driver of gay marriage activism is gaining access to the (significant) financial benefits available to heterosexual married couples. Pension benefits, insurance coverage, that sort of stuff. Big money.

    I see a market opportunity ready to be exploited, but I don’t sell annuities.

  42. I see a market opportunity ready to be exploited, but I don’t sell annuities.

    I’ve already seen it. I work in an inn in a state near two states that have recently legalized gay marriage, and we’ve already booked three of them in the last two months. (They have the wedding in the other state, ten minutes away, and then have the reception here.) That’s about $5000 worth of business right there.

  43. “there’s a time and place for that and its called College”

    Drugs? I always thought that was a quote about lesbianism.

  44. As a recent graduate and former lefty, I find that more and more of my friends are going in a libertarian direction. In fact, I think that libertarians are as likely to gain new recruits from the left as from the right. Particularly because the left is starting to become infatuated with the idea that they can force people to care about the environment and force them to live a healthy lifestyle, and that this nanny shift is separating the liberty-minded lefties from the totalitarian ones.

    What made me a libertarian was the realization that many of the issues I cared about as a liberal (drug policy, civil rights, civil liberties) had an underlying theme: that a person should have the right to pursue whatever interests they deem worthy so long as they don’t harm others in the process (thus preventing others from doing the same). This “libertarian golden rule” won me over.

    I didn’t get into the free-market side of things until much later. As I see it, there are a number of good ways to win liberal youth to libertarianism, and none of them involve trying to convince them of the wonders of the free market. Instead:

    a) appeal to libertarian values/topics that liberals can appreciate (drug policy, gay marriage, civil liberties, civil rights, privacy)

    b) show them that change by mandate – no matter how good the idea – is still authoritarian (“You can’t force people to do good”.)

    c) convince them that reform via state/local governments is not only more effective, but allows a diversity of ideas to compete in the real world, whereas federal mandate kills legislation by way of black and white imposed “solutions”

  45. The choice between “Economic Freedom Party” and “Personal Freedom [of a sort] Party” becomes easier when you realize that every word the Economic Freedom Party guys say is a lie and every policy they pursue is the opposite of what their rhetoric promises.

    I think the better description right now would be the “Economic Freedom [except in most cases] Party” and the “Personal Freedom [except in most cases] Party.”

  46. Capitalism has been demonized. It’s difficult to expect people to look further than CNN when there’s a crisis on our hands. Young liberals see that something is wrong, and it’s all blamed on those “greedy, greedy capitalists.” Don’t forget that the New Deal is generally taught as a good thing in public high school too. Hell, they’re observant enough to know that the Republican Party along with Bush talked non stop about the benefits of capitalism. When it all goes to shit, who’s to blame?

    We might think it’s obvious that the problems actually came from government intervention. But might that be because we spend our time reading Reason, Mises, Hayek and the like, instead of just flipping on CNN like everybody else? If you are intelligent, but aren’t interested enough in economics to investigate it further than the “capitalism sucks” message that is so popular, chances are that you will vote Democrat.

    So why is gay marriage important here? And yes, it is. It’s something that people can be very sure and opinionated about without having to actually study anything like economics. The “live and let live” message is very common among young liberals, it’s just difficult to translate that message over to support for free markets.

    Expecting more young people to identify as conservative is foolish. The conservatives we know are the ones who yell the loudest (and might be the most numerous too), and those are the gay bashers. If you find yourself talking to a young liberal, try to describe to them the meaning of classical liberalism instead of expecting them to accept conservative views.

  47. I think there’s a bias that overly-sober people tend to swing into nanny statism with frightening ease…blah blah blah biased story…

    I always get such weird looks when I talk about legalizing drugs/whatever the hell else when I’ve never gotten drunk or have done drugs or smoked cigarettes.

    Honestly, have you noticed that the biggest drug warriors are prior drug users? I was at a gas station in Detroit a month or two ago and the cashier was selling weed to the customer in front of me. Later I told my girlfriend (who was a prior “blazer”) and she nearly flipped out as she was calling the police.

  48. This is what happens when hippie ideals are merged with consumerism. “Everyone should be treated as special and equal and we should all make sacrifices for the common good.” Of course, they all want to lead the same lifestyle as a Real World cast member.

  49. Leftward and Sober into the Future!

    Just proves that the 21 age for drinking is working as inforced.

  50. Particularly because the left is starting to become infatuated with the idea that they can force people to care about the environment and force them to live a healthy lifestyle, and that this nanny shift is separating the liberty-minded lefties from the totalitarian ones.

    Uh, Zac, those aren’t new developments at all. Still, I hope you’re right that people are finally seeing them for what they are.

  51. Later I told my girlfriend (who was a prior “blazer”) and she nearly flipped out as she was calling the police.

    I hope you dumped her on the spot, Butts.

  52. Jacob-

    Is she still your girlfriend? If yes, why? IMO, a libertarian and a nanny state significant other are just not compatible.

  53. Libertymike,

    we just broke up for different reasons.

    Uhh..I’m not sure if you know this but girls at my age(i’m 24) there is almost always an inverse relationship between coherent political beliefs and hotness.

  54. Uhh..I’m not sure if you know this but girls at my age(i’m 24) there is almost always an inverse relationship between coherent political beliefs and hotness.

    fixed

  55. Just throwin’ it out for consideration, but I’d be interested to see ethnic constitution of the freshman class with that data…

    I suspect it may be a mitigating factor at UCLA.

  56. “Public health” liberals are to the left what evangelicals are to the right.

  57. IMO, a libertarian and a nanny state significant other are just not compatible.

    I know for a fact this is not the case.

  58. Elemenope’s relationship is doom DOOM DOOMED!

    (via Warren, PBUH)

  59. “Public health” liberals are to the left what evangelicals are to the right.

    Where have evangelicals sought, and more importantly achieved restrictions on our liberty?

    Public health liberals creed is far less tolerant.

  60. El,

    You GF is a libertarian? Wow!

  61. I was a liberal when I was a freshman, too. One reason is that, superficially, liberalism can appear as more freedom-friendly than conservatism. Liberals tend to be pro-freedom on what I call the “big-ticket” items, the ones like abortion and gay marriage that are controversial and headline grabbing, but actually effect a relatively small number of people. It was a long, long time before I realized they were nit-picking our freedom to death in the details, the more mundane things that effect your everyday schmuck on a day-to-day basis like smoking, emissions testing, taxes, etc. that conservatives tend to be better with.

  62. El,

    You GF is a libertarian? Wow!

    The best laughs are cheap. However, since dogfighting is still illegal, I have the upper hand! MWAHAHAHAHA!

  63. Abortion, gay marriage, Terry Schiavo, among others, but nothing you care about SIV so it really doesn’t count.

  64. “Liberals tend to be pro-freedom on what I call the “big-ticket” items, the ones like abortion and gay marriage that are controversial and headline grabbing, but actually effect a relatively small number of people. It was a long, long time before I realized they were nit-picking our freedom to death in the details, the more mundane things that effect your everyday schmuck on a day-to-day basis like smoking, emissions testing, taxes, etc. that conservatives tend to be better with.”

    This is 100% true.

  65. Oh yeah, and evangelicals bitch about dirty music, violent videogames, and girly magazines at Wal-Mart (strangely enough they agree with the public health-type liberals on this!) They’re really very similar.

  66. IMO, a libertarian and a nanny state significant other are just not compatible.

    I know for a fact this is not the case.

    I think this depends on how much you like to talk about politics and how the other party likes debate and discussion.

    I had a very liberal girlfriend who would get pissed at me anytime I tried to engage her in a political discussion. She just didn’t want to to talk about it. She pretty much had an agree to disagree mentality. I tried to give it a go but I quickly realized I need to talk about it. So half our conversations would end in awkward silence anytime someone (usually me) accidentally brought up politics.

    Needless to say I got bored and walked.

  67. I think this depends on how much you like to talk about politics and how the other party likes debate and discussion.

    I consulted for the college debate team she ran. Needless to say, she likes to argue, so that ain’t a problem.

  68. BDB

    Abortion? Legal last I checked.Most pro-lifers would call it murder and they aren’t using metaphor or hyperbole.

    Gay marriage? how does this restrict liberty one way or the other?

    Terry Schiavo? Still dead. FL followed her husband’s wishes and killed her.It wasn’t the Federal governments business as was ultimately determined by the courts.

    Public health liberals? Well there is the War on Drugs for starters…..

  69. Yeah, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, they were just a bunch of flaming libs, thats why they upped to drug war.

    Oh, I forgot. Reagan was just an innocent bystander and Tip O’Neil shoved it down his throat. Okay, whatever helps you feel better.

  70. “Abortion? Legal last I checked.Most pro-lifers would call it murder and they aren’t using metaphor or hyperbole.”

    They have nothing to back that up except their very strong feelings and personal beliefs.

    What about the property rights of the mother?

  71. Don’t forget that access to the internet (lots of Europeans) and other types of media will bring more young people into contact with socialist creeds than with any other ideology. College freshman are just a year out of that 4-year experiment in popularity that we call high school, of course they are going to see being a leftist as the way to go.

    The internet is great for libertarians though, as both parties want to do naughty things to it, and nothing will bring more people into the fold then having the government try to tell them how they can or cannot masturbate.

  72. BDB,

    Woman can own anything they like, but a uterus is public property. No 3rd Amendment for uteri.

  73. “SugarFree | January 22, 2009, 12:10pm | #
    BDB,

    Woman can own anything they like, but a uterus is public property. No 3rd Amendment for uteri.”

    Are you serious? Are your testicles public property then?

  74. Sarcasm, dude. Didn’t you read the dramatis person? handout that came in your reason.com membership packet?

  75. Where have evangelicals sought, and more importantly achieved restrictions on our liberty?

    Well, they succeeded many times in the past, though thankfully the forces of liberty or whatever overturned most of their egregious crap from yesteryear.

    For example, censorship. It was once illegal to send public health information and materials regarding contraception through the mail (in some places, illegal to possess it at all), never mind the ownership and transmission of pornography and erotica. I hasten to mention, not all of this nonsense has been successfully expunged from the laws and regulations we live under.

    The “temperance” (prohibition) movement was fueled in great part by evangelicals, who you will recall at the turn of the century were in alliance with your hated progressives. (William Jennings Bryan should ring a bell.)

    Evangelicals interfered and continue to interfere with what can and cannot be taught in schools, stooping to changing legal definitions and throwing teachers in jail for mentioning scientific theories.

  76. “All your uteri are belong to us. Proliferate.”

  77. Are your testicles public property then

    A man can dream.

  78. Sorry, SF. It’s hard to tell tone in type!

  79. No problem. I just figured the 3rd Amendment crack would tip most people off.

  80. Are your testicles public property then

    A man can dream.

    I think I would retain them as private property, but freely grant performance and likeness rights.

  81. n what sense is working in academia not a real job?

    LOL! Goddamn it, parse. That dry sense of humor just kills me.

    Always happy to amuse, Sugar Free, but it wasn’t intentional. I hear people use various permutations of “academia is not part of the real world” fairly often–certainly the phrase “ivory towers” is not unknown to me, and I have a notion of what this is meant to imply, but when you get right down to it, I don’t understand quite what people mean to suggest when they adopt this meme. In all seriousness, can anyone be a little more explicit about why we should regard college campuses as located somewhere outside of reality?

  82. To be pro-gay marriage, for instance, could be a sign of an incipient libertarian streak in students, rather than a traditional big government liberal.

    If I wanted to be a niggling pedant, I would suggest that demonstrating an enthusiasm for getting the government more involved in the private affairs(!) of individuals is not necessarily an indicator of incipient libertarianism.

    Somebody else brought that up earlier, I think, but I sometimes get the urge to use the phrase “niggling pedant”.

  83. parse,

    As someone who works on a college campus and who deals with academics from all over the world, I can tell you that they don’t have the outlook on work and society that people who work in the private sector do. While there is more than a small bit of truth that they are in an environment that reinforces idealism rather than shattering it, I think the real problem is much more fundamental.

    Academics just don’t work very hard for the amount of money they make. They don’t face constant deadlines, their job is almost never on the line, there is no larger organization that their individual actions can destroy. They also get lavish benefits, rarely have children, and have enormous freedom at work to speak and behave however they feel like. This freedom is often used to worry over social issues and silly economic flights of fancy. In this sense, I think it’s valid to say they don’t have “real” jobs.

    Since the human tendency is to only imagine how other people live through the lens of your own life, they assume that other people don’t really work very hard in their own jobs and have all the freedoms they do. This leads them to think that people who would rather keep their money rather than give it away are somehow greedy, as opposed just feeling like they deserve to keep what they have worked for.

    (I expect a flood of “Academics work hard” rebuttals. Trust me, they don’t. I see it everyday.)

  84. but I sometimes get the urge to use the phrase “niggling pedant”.

    Racist.

  85. More importantly, the entire spectrum has shifted left to the point where what was centrist two decades ago is now considered right wing.

    To illustrate: JFK is a Reagan Democrat and was more conservative than either of the Bush presidents.

  86. Many of you are using evangelical as interchangeable with “progressive” and “main line protestant”.Prohibition of alchohol, drugs and tobacco all have their origins and rationale in public health.

    Although not exactly my personal beliefs some might think an unborn child’s right of self ownership (life) should trump the inconvenience
    of a woman who decides she wants to “break the lease” on her womb 🙂

  87. Excellent at 12:40 SansSucrose.

  88. I don’t understand quite what people mean to suggest when they adopt this meme. In all seriousness, can anyone be a little more explicit about why we should regard college campuses as located somewhere outside of reality?

    Lifetime job security for starters.

    Everything Sugar said.

    Plus on major campuses many of the professors do not teach the classes, Grad Students do. So, the parents pay tens of thousands of dollars to send their kids to schools who promise them the best teachers on earth only to discover they’ve been swindled.

    Bait and switch. Look at our faculty roster! Except your kid is going to be taught by a grad student.

    And, it was a good gig for Mrs TWC. She was incredibly well paid to teach undergrads while she was working on her advanced degree. Beat the crap out of slinging hash or working in day care.

  89. Nick,

    You discuss politics several times a day. You chose a career devoted to discussing politics.

    Maybe you could do a Scared Straight type of dealie with the college kids. Then again, that jacket would probably glamorize it.

  90. Prohibition of alchohol, drugs and tobacco all have their origins and rationale in public health.

    No, no, and yes. Alcohol prohibition was through-and-through a religious movement. “Drugs” is broad as hell; it’s certainly not true of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, but is probably (more) true of the more modern drugs (MDMA, LSD, PCP).

    I’ll give you tobacco, sort of. Certainly its the only one that the entire medical community has gotten behind. Underneath that, though, really what’s driving it is people whining about have to breathe other people’s smoke. “I’m allergic! WAHHH!!” That’s not public health, that’s just bitchiness.

  91. I prefer a tasty pie crust over the well-being of Khalid Sheikh-Mohammed.

    Only bad guyz whose names you know get killed in wars.

  92. Damn, college sounds depressing these days. It’s one thing to be drunk and talking about bringing down The Man, but it’s entirely another to say it while sober.

  93. joe,

    I was referring to torture. Reportedly (not that I believe it) only 3 guys got waterboarded.
    I know the name of one of them.

    Pie crusts are best made with lard but I try to be tolerant of vegetarians so I’ll accept trans fat as a substitute.

  94. El,

    We’ve been all through this countless times before but here is the origins of American drug prohibition

    Religion isn’t a part of it excepting the progressive urges of mainline protestantism.

    Prohibition is a bit more complicated although wiki cites a scientific origin in the US One suggestion had come from one of the foremost physicians of the late 18th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush. In 1784, he argued that the excessive use of alcohol was injurious to physical and psychological health (he believed in moderation rather than prohibition). Apparently influenced by Rush’s widely discussed belief, about 200 farmers in a Connecticut community formed a temperance association in 1789. Similar associations were formed in Virginia in 1800 and New York in 1808. Within the next decade, other temperance organizations were formed in eight states, some being statewide organizations.

    Prohibition was a political movement that triumphed as part of the Progressive agenda along with women’s sufferage.There was a signicant religious constituency largely of mainline protestants.Evangelicals are a rejection of the worldliness of ml protestantism although that doesn’t mean they oppose prohibition but it isn’t really their “thing”.

  95. We’ve been all through this countless times before but here is the origins of American drug prohibition

    I find it amusing that the article you link to pretty much says that drugs were outlawed *because of RACISM*. That was the long and short of it. Sure there were other pretexts (including, every once in a while, “medicine”), but at bottom it was about controlling “negroes” and “chinamen”. Read the damn article.

  96. FWIW, part of the problem in the wider argument is that it is hard to separate out the social agenda of mainline churches with evangelical churches, and these days the two blend together in bizarre ways.

    Also, while many of the arguments were originally started and brought forth while mainline denominations were still atop the Christian world in the US, the evangelical community has been more than happy to pick up the ball and run with it into the modern age.

  97. El, Back in the Progressive era RACISM was known as “science”.Most junkies at the start of narcotics prohibition were white women.
    The original enforcement was targeted at Doctors rather than minorities.

    The claim that cocaine caused Negroes to crave raping white women while improving their pistol marksmanship, while racist, was offered by a Physician as his scientific opinion.

    Also, while many of the arguments were originally started and brought forth while mainline denominations were still atop the Christian world in the US, the evangelical secular progressive community has been more than happy to pick up the ball and run with it into the modern age.

  98. So, SIV, can you explain why it’s the *left* wing of the Democratic party that is gung-ho to repeal drug prohibition, while the centrists are left holding their dicks?

  99. So, SIV, can you explain why it’s the *left* wing of the Democratic party that is gung-ho to repeal drug prohibition

    How can I explain what isn’t so.
    The only call for repeal I here is from libertarians and a minority of conservatives.

    There are mumblings on the left about taxing weed and substituting “therapeutic” sanction and control for other drugs.

  100. They have nothing to back that up except their very strong feelings and personal beliefs.

    What about the property rights of the mother?

    Property rights don’t apply when someone’s life is at stake. If a door to door salesman collapses with a heart attack while talking to you at your front door, on your private property, uninvited and all, you can’t legally just shove him out onto the sidewalk and ignore him. You have a legal obligation to call emergency services on his behalf.

    Likewise with the unborn in the womb; when an occupant is not able to leave your property, and the only option for enforcing one’s property rights is to kill (or make die) the unwanted occupant, the property rights take a backseat.

  101. SugarFree gets the win with:

    “”there’s a time and place for that and its called College”

    Drugs? I always thought that was a quote about lesbianism.”

  102. SugarFree wins all the threads. Just don’t tell joe, let him think he is the winner.joe is a very sensitive boy.

  103. Sadly, that wasn’t me. I didn’t think of it fast enough.

  104. Joe is the thread winner
    Joe is the thread winner
    Joe is the thread winner
    Joe is the thread winner

    gotta keep my search stats up!

  105. for the record: if Lesbian until Graduation is still out there somewhere – call me…

  106. Academics just don’t work very hard for the amount of money they make.

    Took me a while to figure this out. So now I’m angling for a job there.

    Racism was a big motivator for all of the anti-drug movements. A lot of the original prohibition arguments were anti-Catholic.

  107. BTW, there was absolutely no connection between those two statements.

  108. A lot of the original prohibition arguments were anti-Catholic.

    “Fekkin’ leprechauns!”

  109. “Racism was a big motivator for all of the anti-drug movements. A lot of the original prohibition arguments were anti-Catholic.”

    Or anti indian?

  110. domo, I think the Indians were already smacked down by the time prohibition was enacted.

  111. I don’t understand why it would be better to get the state out of setting the standards for marriage. We have thousands of religious sects; each of them can say what they want regarding the marriages of members. What about the millions of people who are “unchurched”, for lack of a better term? Whose standards are they supposed to follow? As it stands, civil marriage is the foundation, with basic standards (age of consent, consanguinity, etc.) set by the state. Those couples who feel the need to, can additionally conform to the standards of their religion, to add the ceremony.

    If it had been Terri and Michelle Schiavo, we never would have heard of them. in the absence of LEGAL spouse, the parents are automatically regarded as “next-of-kin”. It is completely legal to leave long-term partners out of the loop entirely, even to the extent of not allowing them to visit loved ones in the hospital because they are “not family”.

    For a different take on the argument,

    http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~usclrev/pdf/074401.pdf

    This is a law review article (102 page PDF) suggesting that the act of entering into a civil marriage is an “Expressive Behavior”, much like flag burning, and therefore should not be limited to heterosexual couples on First Amendment grounds (other than freedom of religion).

    Peter McWilliams wrote a book called , exploring the rise of “victimless crimes”.

  112. So were the Irish, all the more reason for a snort…

  113. Yes, but the Irish deserved it…

  114. BakedPenguin @ 3:00pm

    A lot of the original prohibition arguments were anti-Catholic.

    Wait, I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out before. You’re a toking nun, right?

  115. BDB @ 12:11pm

    Are you serious? Are your testicles public property then?

    Testicles are dangerous weapons, and they ought to be registered. You think I’m joking? Ha! We’ve already outlawed open carry.

  116. If it had been Terri and Michelle Schiavo, we never would have heard of them.

    And that’s a bad thing?

  117. If a door to door salesman collapses with a heart attack while talking to you at your front door, on your private property, uninvited and all, you can’t legally just shove him out onto the sidewalk and ignore him. You have a legal obligation to call emergency services on his behalf.

    Question, would this be a law in Libertopia? I suppose it is a brother to the flagpole on fire argument.

  118. This is not to say there are no interesting ways

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