Discourse / Editorials / November 12, 2008

Library hours, toilet paper and fascism

Knox students like to make claims. Many times they like to speak for the collective body, and even act on behalf of the collective body without precedent. A prime example of this would be the recent senate amendment to increase library hours, at least on a trial basis, to keep the building open and accessible twenty-four hours a day.

This is a wonderful idea, and yet a small consortium of students is adamantly working against this resolution for various confusing reasons, including changing social tides and electricity concerns. These students smugly consider themselves progressives, a term which not only implies that they are somehow more competent than others to lead the social policies of the institution, but also that they believe in overbearing fascistic governmental interference against the goals of the common, not-so-progressive men and women to achieve their own prerogatives.

“Fascistic?” You now ask, what is he talking about? The political term “progressive” came about thanks to a man named Benito Mussolini, who believed that his genius could lead Italy forward more effectively than the Italians themselves. While I do admit Knox progressives are not attempting to rule even the College itself, the ideology is the same.

As of now, Seymour Library closes at an arbitrary hour: one a.m. Why? Well, it used to be a twenty-four hour library and as demand decreased, so did hours of operation. The approach used then was that of capitalism, as demand falls, supply is decreased. Yet, in this situation, these people want to deal with the issue by taking greater control of our lives, freedoms, and autonomy.

If students want to study until four a.m., and there are enough of them doing so to make increasing library hours reasonable, then why not do so? If this increases the interest in having a twenty-four hour food option on campus, why should we not have that available?

Sustainability is an important part of our campus, but if we all wanted to make Knox College completely sustainable, we would have to close Knox College. Knox is here to educate students; students are paying for their education, and as such they school has a responsibility to cater to the interests of the majority of the student body before the minority.

Another such instance of progressivism/fascism recently on the campus was a decision by a single person to switch from double-ply to single-ply toilet paper. Knox had single-ply paper until last year, when students began rallying for double-ply. Now, all of the work and interests of the majority have Knox students have been pushed aside for the cause of environmentalism. Besides the fact that students likely use more sheets of single-ply than double-ply, due to absorbency, and the fact that toilets clog more often with single-ply paper, wasting water, the opinion of the students was once again ignored by a progressive. The libertarian/liberal approach to such an issue would be to have the school provide both options, allowing those students who would like to use single-ply paper to do so, without taking the double-ply from those who want it. I know I am not the only student on campus that has gone to Wal-Mart to buy double-ply paper, rather than use single-ply. This policy is not only unpopular, but is actually benefitting Wal-Mart, a corporation which many students at Knox despise, but still shop at.

There are a great deal of things Knox could do to better the quality of life at Knox: finish Wallace Lounge, build a real student union for the students, offer a competitively priced convenience store and bring businesses to areas near campus in order to eliminate needs for students to drive as many places, and build and remodel many residences on campus to be more sustainable and comfortable for students. For now, wasting time in an attempt to place overarching controls on the rights of the student body for the sake of progressivism is not only unnecessary, but just plain wrong.

Marc Dreyfuss


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