Creation doesn’t entitle excess
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Fifty. Seven. Zero. Fifty is the number of dollars I would pay Patrick McMaster to read Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Seven is the number of times I swore while reading his Letter to the Editor. Zero is the number of true statements he made in it.
Is all we have to worry about as Notre Dame students when to eat? If so, then my pessimism about intellectual life on this campus has been confirmed. If anyone really thinks that he is attending this University, at the cost of 40 some-odd thousand dollars a year, simply to get wasted and “have fun,” then the so-called “townies” do have a right to be upset. Are we not students at the nation’s foremost Catholic university to develop our minds and to learn how to lead a life of virtue?
McMaster’s letter shows that the former has been forgotten and the latter has been mocked. If God did not want us to partake in the miraculous golden goodness that is beer, why would he create it in the first place? What about food? If he didn’t want us to eat it, then why would good-tasting food exist? The answer is that God most certainly wants us to partake in the things of creation, alcohol and good food included. However, the ability to partake is not license to abuse. To justify drunkenness to the point of vomiting with a miracle of our Lord is analogous to justifying severe obesity with God’s creation of food to begin with. Just as a puritanical, or as McMaster calls it, a “prohibition-reminiscent,” attitude errs on a deficiency in partaking in pleasure, so too does his attitude err on the side of excess. Both puritanism and drunkenness with regard to drinking are vices, and virtue is found in temperance – knowing what, where, when and (perhaps most importantly) how much to drink.
I now realize I erred in my earlier statement; one thing McMaster said is almost correct, and sadly so. His letter itself proves it: “trying to convince college students not to drink makes less sense than the Church of Scientology.” But this effort is only absurd because of the outrageously widespread lack of rationality among students. I would not be surprised if the majority of students, who, according to McMaster, lack any rational capacity when it comes to pleasure, are incapable of being convinced of any truth at all.