In their letter decrying Princeton’s “hookup culture” (March 4), professors Robert P. George and John B. Londregan assert that though morally problematic, this culture “exerts powerful pressure” on Princeton students: “Students, like other human beings, want to fit in. So life for those who reject the hookup culture can be difficult.”
There is a G-rated organ of the human body whose natural function it is to deal with this predicament. It’s called the backbone. Perhaps students who reject Princeton’s hookup culture ought to acquaint themselves with it, and use it to resist the supposedly “powerful” pressures being exerted on them by their peers and elders. The development of the requisite moral fortitude will do them more good than a thousand professorial complaints about the turpitude of hookup culture.
Indeed, it’s instructive that professors George and Londregan are so uncompromising about the hookup culture, but are so appeasing when it comes to the abject conformity that they suppose to be the human condition. “Hookups” are unconditionally to be condemned, even when it’s unclear what they are; meanwhile, the supposedly “human” desire to “fit in” is to be taken for granted, dressed in moral guise, and turned into a source of grievance.
Professors George and Londregan make a plea to Princeton to “exercise national leadership by recognizing the problem” represented by the hookup culture. Perhaps the real problem is that the University has yet to figure out whether it wants to be an institution of higher learning or a very expensive day-care center for post-adolescents. Professors George and Londregan’s solution to this latter problem consists of the infantilizing suggestion that we turn a day-care center for the promiscuous into a day-care center for the chaste. I have a better idea. Why not abandon the day-care model of the university altogether?