Bucknell University Economics Department and Drinking

Re: Professor Sackrey’s March 27, 1997 letter in the Bucknellian, Bucknell University’s student paper.

Let me say that as a personal matter I support letting Bucknell seniors drink alcohol at “tent party.” By the time seniors graduate all (or most) are responsible adults. In fact, most 18 year olds who are responsible enough to vote and serve their country in the armed services are responsible enough to drink. However, given the current law, it is the University President’s decision regarding drinking on the Bucknell University campus. There is a big difference between the University saying Seniors can not drink on Bucknell property and a government saying someone can not do something anywhere and enforcing it at the point of a gun.

As for Professor Sackrey’s letter to the Bucknellian (March 27, 1997), comparing the Bucknell struggle to Che Guevara’s, it is outrageous to even hint that they might be in the same class of struggle. However, it is interesting to note that in the “inalienable rights” area, Sackery –typically– omits thought of property rights of the owner of the property, in this case, Bucknell University. He confuses what he wants with the belief that has he the right to force someone else to provide it for him through their labor.

Similarly, one would expect that the Bucknell University Economics department would recognize the “inalienable rights to food, shelter, medical care and the things people need to feel their life has dignity and purpose,” all come at a cost to someone. For someone to receive the inalienable rights that Sackery enumerates, someone else must produce them. And after someone else produces these goods, someone, probably the government, must take them from the producer by force. Forced labor being advocated by the Bucknell Economics Department over drinking? Without the concept of ownership of the products of ones actions, freedom can not exist, unless one means the freedom to make others slaves.

Professor Sackery, please note that Bucknell University owns the property and can proscribe what people may do upon that property. Of course, given the classes we had in the Economics Department, one would expect the Bucknell Economics department to have trouble with the concept of private property, let alone the concept of defending it.

So, is Professor Sackery really arguing that the Seniors should take their “inalienable right” to alcohol — since, perhaps, it gives “dignity and purpose” to their final meeting together — and just ignore the University’s rules? And the Bucknell Administration wonders why the alumni don’t support the University financially as much as they might.

Christian H.F. Riley, Esq.