Avid readers of The Washington Post were regaled Wednesday morning by Hope C. Bogorad’s letter to the editor ridiculing student complaints about Georgetown’s new alcohol policies. Besides being based on multiple logical fallacies–most notably, straw man (claiming that Georgetown students can’t complain about anything else while the country is at war, even though activism on both fronts is not mutually exclusive) and poisoning the well (more on that later), with a nice bit of spotlight (believing all 18-25 year-olds should be drafted because of a few quotes from Georgetown students against an unrelated policy), ad hominem (we must always pass out when we drink) and special pleading (unless, of course, Hope spends all her days solving the dilemmas of Iraq and Afghanistan) thrown in. That’s five fouls in 50 words; it’s the logical equivalent of fouling out five minutes into a game without scoring. And that’s before even touching the obvious grammatical error in her first four words (which should read “if there ever were“).
What’s more, she bemoans the “appalling behavior” of Georgetown students (this is the well being poisoned). Let’s count up every single one of the actions Post article depicts students taking: 1. Not having parties at a “typical party spot.” 2. Feeling blindsided by a rule change that did, in fact, come without discussion. 3. Creating a Facebook group. 4. Bringing home a case of Bud Light and not have many people over to drink it. 5. Offering various docile quotes in opposition to the party. 6. Allegedly holding noisy parties, with no direct quotes about it. Appalling!!!
Most disturbingly, let’s take Hope’s argument out to its logical conclusion: students who are willing to be vocal about infringements on their rights to assemble peaceably and (especially for the many students who are 21) to imbibe alcohol (which actually very rarely involves passing out) should be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, where they would risk death. Students who want to enjoy weekends the same way college students (before, during and after Hope’s generation) have traditionally done should be forced to risk death.
Rest assured, Hope, that we would never harbor any similar wish for you. We just hope you’ll think responsibly in the future.
-Mike Stewart, Managing Editor