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Parallels exist between drunks, government

Mark Poyar | Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Each week, my view towards the government more closely resembles my opinion toward Fisher Hall’s dorm drunk – when he throws up on the side of the building on Monday night, it is hardly an unexpected event, yet still quite pathetic. Similarly, as the government continues to spew bad laws and make poor decisions on a daily basis, it is still disgusting, but it happens so frequently nowadays that I’m never surprised. However, there are a number of reasons why the dorm drunk is preferable to the United States government.

Firstly, the “legislation” emanating from the dorm drunk rarely impacts me, despite the fact that I live in Fisher Hall as well. Sure, I might catch an occasional whiff of upchucked Blazing Sea Nuggets (rightfully so). I might have to side-step them on the second floor stairwell on the way to lunch on Tuesday afternoon. I might even have to help the dorm drunk stumble into his loft and turn him on his side so he can pass out. But the dorm drunk’s actions rarely have a lasting impact on me; they are fleeting college experiences that I will one day look back on and laugh about. I’m never worried that the dorm drunk is going to install surveillance cameras in my room or steal my money and call it the income tax. The dorm drunk will never ban drinking or gambling and tell me it is for my own good. The government, on the other hand, does all these things with impunity.

Secondly, the dorm drunk doesn’t even attempt to rationalize his actions. He knows his actions are corrupt and doesn’t make vague references to incoherent concepts in an Orwellian fashion. He doesn’t claim he did the technicolor yawn all over the 3B bathroom last night for the common good, moral values, national security, spreading democracy, the poor or the children. He isn’t foolish enough to tell me that banning online gambling protects “American values” (apparently freedom of choice, personal responsibility and the right of contract aren’t “American values”). He won’t attempt to persuade me that I have a “right” to universal health care (apparently, the “right” to steal other people’s money through the tax code and use it for your own purposes was what John Locke was talking about when he talked about “rights”). He doesn’t start wars and then pretend the purpose was to spread “democracy” or “freedom.” He doesn’t pretend that his actions are anything other than what they are – he engages in no double-speak. The US government and its politicians, on the other hand, do all these things.

Thirdly, the dorm drunk usually limits his partying to the area directly around the dorm. He is seen as a good-natured fellow (albeit a drunk one) by the rest of the Notre Dame community who rarely does them wrong. Yes, he might occasionally wander in a drunken haze all over campus and pee on the side of another dorm, but he parties almost exclusively in Fisher Hall. Unless one of the other dorms hurts his person or steals his booze, he has no motivation to venture outside the walls of Fisher. His actions are confined to his home. He exists peacefully alongside everyone else. The dorm drunk does not go braying into battle like a learning-disabled jackass against another dorm that did him little or no wrong. The dorm drunk isn’t foolish enough to give those who already don’t like his partying ways another excuse to hate him. He does not warmonger. The US government, on the other hand, does all of these things.

Finally, the dorm drunk isn’t too much of a burden on society. Yes, perhaps he will mistake a fellow Fisherman’s laptop for a urinal in the wee hours or the morning or pass out naked in Ellie’s bed (our rector’s dog) in the middle of the first floor entrance way, but at least his shenanigans provide much needed college stories to a college that is relatively tame compared to other schools. Although it is true that he wreaks havoc on other people’s belongings, he is still personally fiscally responsible for whatever damage he causes. He cannot legally take 39 percent of my earnings without repercussion. He is not endowed with the power to take half of the belongings of my dead relative without suffering the consequences of doing so. He can’t institute programs to punish the productive for being successful. The US government, on the other hand, does all of these things.

While there is certainly a resemblance between the US government and our dorm drunk, the dorm drunk is obviously preferable to the US government. Let’s replace our representatives with dorm drunks. It can’t get any worse.

Mark Poyar is a junior Finance major and Vice President of the College Libertarians. Their website is http://ndlibertarians.blogspot.com. He is currently studying abroad in England and can be contacted at mpoyar@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.