In Loco Helicopter Parentis

The following is an outtake from my run-of-the-mill hedonism essay–

Some colleges try to fight run-of-the-mill hedonism to a draw. At many campuses during major entertainment events where alcohol is served, “spotting the ambulance” reveals the contradictory dynamic. The ambulance in this case, often tastefully tucked around a corner, represents just about the last vestige of in loco parentis or the parental commonsense proposition in collegiate life, for near the ambulance are emergency medical technicians and student affairs staff: the alcohol poisoning rescue squad. Their job is to make sure no one dies at the event. This squad wades into the crowd when an imbibing student collapses at risk of cardiac arrest, and runs interference with the student’s friends who don’t think there is anything really wrong and who think they can all “handle it,” and gets the ill student quickly to the emergency room where the student’s life can be saved. The rescue squad represents a firm point of contradiction to our Zeitgeist’s rejection of parental responsibility, despite systematic efforts by civil libertarians over the greater part of a century to reduce parental authority. The rescue squad stands in loco helicopter parentis, whom, it turns out, colleges need after all.

© Copyright 2013, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


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