Moral Panic Alert: Ban Fraternities?

How about no


Animal House
Animal House

National Review's Katherine Timpf made a great point during a Fox and Friends debate about the vices of fraternity culture. Host Steve Doocy and author Alexandra Robbins asserted that frat life was becoming more dangerous based on little more than recent headlines. Timpf responded:

Well, this is all disgusting stuff right and that's why it's in the news, because it's disgusting stuff. Normal dude in a fraternity does normal stuff isn't really a headline. …

We should be shutting these frats down that are doing these horrible things, but I don't know if there's so much of an overhaul of the system, I don't know who you want to do the reforming or what specifically you are proposing, but I think a lot of it is going to end up resolving itself, especially with things like social media and there are a lot of good things about social media of course. …

Timpf was also specifically critical of Robbins' contention that Dartmouth's recent fraternity and alcohol reforms were worth celebrating:

Dartmouth has got a horrible idea in general with all of its new policies. It's banning liquor from campus, like that's going to work, no one is going to drink liquor on campus? They're just going to hide things and it'll be worse because they're going to do it in secret instead of out in public. Generally, I don't know why we're deciding that regulations are always better, not necessarily the case. We don't need to solve everything from up top.

I agree. Cherry-picking the headlines and acting like fraternities are an ever-worsening root cause of student misbehavior smacks of unfounded moral panic.

At the same time, there are reforms that I suspect would curb some of the worst tendencies of the college drinking scene.