Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oh, No! College Kids Are Still Drinking!

University of Massachusetts, Amherst wants to make some new rules to curb college drinking.

UMass Imposes More Drinking Restrictions

Jan 31, 7:08 AM (ET)

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - No more drinking games at the University of Massachusetts. The school is cracking down on alcohol abuse on the Amherst campus with a list of new rules that go into effect this semester.

Along with banning games meant to get players drunk as quickly as possible, the rules include prohibitions on taps and funnels and large gatherings where more than 10 people are in a dormitory room with alcohol.

There will also be fewer bottles of beer lined up on the dorm room walls. Students who are 21 or older will be allowed to keep no more than 12 bottles or cans of beer, two bottles of wine or one bottle of hard liquor.

"These changes represent our continued efforts to reduce underage and binge drinking," said Jo-Anne Vanin, dean of students.

I suppose someone sees this as sensible. I sure the hell don't.

Now one thing that surprises some people about me is my attitude about college drinking. One would naturally assume that such an outspoken and enthusiastic lover of fermented beverages such as myself would come out in favor of college drinking shennanigans, and in the end their right, but not for the reasons one might think.

I actually despise the way people drink in college. I really can't stand such dilletantishness as keg stands, beer bongs, and shotgunning. I mean that's some childish shit right there. Even when I was in college I hated that shit. And believe me, at a small, Baptist university where any drinking is frowned upon, that's about all the drinking you see, albeit a little more surreptitiously.

If you wanna get smashed, don't just dump 5% ABV American "sex in a canoe" beer down your throat with a hose. Instead, crack open a bottle of Bourbon or vodka and mix a proper drink. If you drink at all, it should be because you like to drink, not to prove your manhood or try to fit in or some shit. If you're feeling insecure about whether or not all the cool kids will like you, I'm here to tell you the booze ain't gonna help.

What it will do, however, is remove your inhibitions which are preventing you from doing the stupid shit you are likely to do because you've got something to prove. Contrary to what we've all been spoon-fed, alcohol does not make you do something you don't want to do. It simply lowers the inhibition. If someone is going to make an ass of themselves, the booze will simply remove the inhibition and it's only a matter of time. Even if they do get through it all unscathed, they'll blame the booze in a bad way and end up further propagating the prohibitionist paradigm more effectively.

"See kids," The reformed college "alcoholic" says, "alcohol is bad for you. It made me sleep with all those frat boys and get AIDS. It made me drink that flaming shot and get third degree burns all over my face. It made me jump across that bonfire and break my legs. It made me do all those kegstands because I wanted to impress my buddies and drive home and wrap my car around a telephone pole."

I mean just look at our President. There's a man who needs to come out of the drunkard closet if I ever saw one. But that's another rant, and as we say in the tech support monkey business, "outside of the scope of this document."

My fellow drunkards and I refer to that as Amateur Hour. You get these young kids that are too young to remember when the martini lunch was de rigeur among professional types, or when you could drive home after having a glass of wine with dinner and not have to worry about random checkpoints. These people don't have any cultural experience with drinking, so their drinking is amateurish and irresponsible. They end up hurting themselves and in some cases dying before they ever can learn how to drink properly.

I feel sorry for them. You have an entire subculture of people who are the victims of neoprohibition. They've been fed all the stock bullshit about how alcohol is nothing but bad, and that if you so much as have a beer, your life will spin out of control and you will become a raging alcoholic and be a failure at life. I guess that these people figure that since they are "breaking the rules" then they might as well give up all control.

That way you end up with DUI's, wrecked academic careers, and the occasional death from alcohol poisoning, "a promising youth cut down in his prime," as the cliche goes. These people are victims of neoprohibitionism and a nannying society which rules us all to death and makes criminals of the innocent.

In the wake of this, of course, the response is to make more rules. There's a sensible solution. [/sarcasm]

Now keep in mind that for most of these milquetoast neoprohibitionist harpies, the definition of binge drinking is at least two drinks a day. Ironicly, this is the same amount that most doctors recommend as a minimum to help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and a whole other laundry list of things that doctors have recently determined that moderate alcohol intake is good for (and that sensible people have known that alcohol is good for since ancient times).

So with that mindset at work you have all these petty little regulations being implimented, which I'm sure will not even make a dent in the amount of binge drinking, either real or imagined, that goes on in college campuses. While the amateurish style of drinking does create problems, there are still plenty of folks going to college who don't have these problems. But screw it, let's just punish the whole lot for the sins of a few. And while we're at it, let's use the sins of those few as anectodal evidence to support more manufactured statistics and create more unnessesary rules.

Now I know some of you are reading this and going, what does this have to with Constitutional rights?

Well, I could argue that this subculture and these kinds of rules tie into a larger neoprohibitionist effort perpatrated by those who've been collectively undermining the Constitution since 1983. While that might be valid that's not why I chose to post this here.

What irks me specificly is that the University of Massachussets system is a public school which recieves funding from the State of Massachussets. As such they have to adhere to that annoying little document called the Constitution just like any public body. And if you live in the State of Massachussets, you're paying taxes for this shit.

You see there's this little amendment to the constitution, the 21st in fact, which specicicly repealed the 18th amendment prohibiting alcohol. Oh, bother, say the prohibitionists. Many argue that, failing the direct approach constitutionally, prohibitionists are passing lots of small laws that result in the end goal of prohibition anyway. But there's also the 1st Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now look at this bit from the article:

Along with banning games meant to get players drunk as quickly as possible, the rules include prohibitions on taps and funnels and large gatherings where more than 10 people are in a dormitory room with alcohol.

It seems to me like college students getting together for the purpose of drinking in a legal fashion constitutes peaceable assembly. Not only does the University policy violate the letter of the Constitution, I believe it violates the spirit of what the framers had in mind. Consider that in the time the Constitution was written, the drinking tradition was much stronger in this country. Every single one of the authors of our Government went out drinking at night. The idea that a hardworking, churchgoing, responsible American wouldn't drink would was ridiculous to them.

These college students who are drinking in their dorm rooms aren't there to engage in sedition or to incite violence, they're there to get their drink on. As long as it's legal (IE: everyone is over 21, etc.) There's no reason for that sort of rule.

Or more appropriatly, I should say there's not excuse for that rule.


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