The Ironically Named \"Liberty University\"

Liberty comes in all shapes and sizes:

  • Attendance at a dance - $25 fine
  • Gambling - $25 fine
  • Possession and/or use of tobacco - $25 fine
  • Attendance at, possession or viewing of, an "R," "NC-17" or "X"-rated movie - $50 fine
  • Entering the space above ceiling tiles - $50 fine (wtf?)
  • Participation in an unauthorized petition or demonstration - $50 fine
  • Association with those consuming alcohol - $250 fine
  • Failure of three Christian/Community Services without reconciliation - $500 fine
  • Involvement with witchcraft, séances or other satanic or demonic activity - $500 fine
  • Assault/sexual assault - $500 fine
  • Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages- $500 fine

And, of course,

  • Abortion - $500 fine

Wondering whether you have the liberty to sneeze without getting fined at Liberty [sic] University: priceless.

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"I went to an Ultimate

"I went to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament there once.

It was a shithole. The students didn’t look very happy. The Rev. Jerry Falwell was in their homecoming parade. I think all these observations are related."

I have a house in Lynchburg so I'm there quite frequently. Liberty is definitely not a shithole. Almost all of the buildings are brand new (they're rolling in money) and there's new construction going up all over "Liberty Mountain" (Falwell/TRBC bought Candler's Mountain and is trying to get the town to rename it).

As far as the unhappiness of the students, I had a large number of neighbors who attend Liberty (including a large number of self-financed Koreans) and they all like it. Believe it or not, there are actually a large number of people in the US who prefer to live with extra rules and strict boundaries. As long as they keep their rules to themselves, then I'm a happy camper.

Then with respect to Falwell joining in the homecoming parade, he is the chancellor and founder of Liberty. The Pres and Chancellor shows up for Va Tech's Founder's day activities, so it seems appropriate to me that Falwell takes part in Liberty's homecoming parade.

Also while Micha and others have a point about the apparent absurdity of the name of Liberty University in light of fines, I will point out that the neighboring town of Bedford was known as "Liberty" until 1892 and that there's also a Liberty Lake and Liberty High School in the area that predate "Liberty University." While Falwell/TRBC may have also had other thoughts in mind when renaming Lynchburg Baptist college in the 70s, I suspect that regional traditions also played a part.

Everything has a Price Via

Everything has a Price
Via Catallarchy, a list of punishments at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University:

Improper personal contact (anything beyond hand-holding) - $10 fine
Unauthorized borrowing (plus financial restitution) - $10 fine
Attendance at a dance - $25 fin...

So, if you're going to

So, if you're going to gamble, make sure your expected winnings exceeds $25 * the probability that you'll get caught.

It just makes the betting a little more complicated.

Hector, the right to do

Hector, the right to do something fundamentally assinine (like imposing a set of rules that appear to equate alcohol consumption with rape) does not imply a right to be free from mockery for that behavior. Nor do libertarian principles prevent one from mocking or condemning someone for doing some assinine or immoral thing that they otherwise have the right to do.

In this particular case, Liberty University has imposed a set of rules that do not in any way comport with their name. In particular, the rules set indicates that the values held by the leadership of that university are, to put it mildly, bizarre. One wonders if they debated whether or not to ban laughter. The only reason it matters, and it's not just a good laugh at the expense of our own domestic religious wing-nuts, is because the founders of Liberty University, in particular Jerry Falwell, have made it clear through word and deed that they wish to use the power of government to impose similar restrictions on all of us, without our consent.

It's David Boaz, isn't it?

It's David Boaz, isn't it?

Boaz! Get back to work!

Hector, Stop trolling. I

Hector,
Stop trolling. I know you're at Cato, and I have a pretty good idea of who you are.

Hector if this is what you

Hector if this is what you think of as "go[ing] nuts," you should what we think of taxes!

Maybe someday I can be an

Maybe someday I can be an arrogant ass too…

Whoa, whoa, not without passing the government licensure exam.

Libertarians kill me. They

Libertarians kill me. They believe that private institutions should be able to do just about anything with other parties as long as its consensual. They rail up and down about companies can be racist if they want or people can contract themselves into slavery, but when it comes to a private university, with consenting students and parents, that's had this code of conduct for years, they go nuts. Maybe someday I can be an arrogant ass too...

"I need not violate any

"I need not violate any libertarian tenants."

LOL. Violating libertarian tenants is a $500 fine.

Fine with Me Liberty

Fine with Me
Liberty University issues fines for students violating their code of conduct: Along with forbidden things like any public affection beyond...

Joe Miller: No, the best one

Joe Miller:

No, the best one is "Immorality" being in the worst-offense category.

What's immoral? Anything they so label, I'd imagine.

But of course nobody's

But of course nobody's choices are being suppressed.

And yes, it is a bit odd for a group to penalize beer drinking at the same level of rape -- but I don't see what that has to do with liberty.

Scott, liberty doesn't mean

Scott, liberty doesn't mean the absense of rules, nor does it mean the overwhelming suppression of choice.

I listed the fine for sexual assault as a counterpoint to the more ridiculous transgressions. As a number of others already recognized, it is a bit odd to penalize beer drinking the same way they penalize rape.

My favorite is the $250 fine

My favorite is the $250 fine for "sexual misconduct and/or any state of undress". Must make showering a bitch.

But does a religious school

But does a religious school with such crazy rules really need to call itself Liberty University?

Yeah, that one where they fine you for sexual assault is insane.

If one thinks liberty means "an absence of rules," which is the definition I take from much of this commentary, then I don't find the concept attractive. After all, I rely on rules to keep people from beheading me in my everyday life.

Luckily, I think "liberty" commonly refers to something else, and voluntarily-attended universities fit well within the concept.

So I'll remain a libertarian.

They apparently account

They apparently account raping someone and having a beer as equivalent offenses... wtf? That's a seriously fucked up set of values.

Indifference Curve, "Say

Indifference Curve,

"Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, at least it's an ethos."
~The Big Lebowski

Involvement with witchcraft,

Involvement with witchcraft, séances or other satanic or demonic activity

It seems like they probably just put this in there so as not to appear soft on Satan, because who is really doing séances at LU? Beer drinking in college, sure, I've heard of that.

Wow, it only costs $500 to

Wow, it only costs $500 to sexually assault someone -- that's a deal!

Masturbation probably counts

Masturbation probably counts as sexual misconduct or "immorality," if they catch you doing it. So don't get caught. :twisted:

At least for some of the actions that are directly felonies you also can be suspended for a couple of semesters.

And the real problem isn't the fine, it's the repremands.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS OPPRESSIVE NO MATTER ...
Micha at Catallarchy discovers the disciplinary code for Liberty University.

I think it's ironic too, but

I think it's ironic too, but then that shows that my understanding of "liberty" is different than Falwell's.

I am reminded of David Hackett Fischer's book "Albion's Seed" where he discusses the different ideas of liberty and freedom held in the four different "folkways" that colonized America. A good summary (quickly googled up): http://modoblog.blogspot.com/2005/06/american-politics-and-regional_17.html

Clearly the founders of Liberty U are coming from a position on liberty that emphasizes Puritan "Ordered Freedom" and Cavalier "Hegemonic Liberty", as versus the more natural understanding of liberty (IMO) as the Quaker "Reciprocal Liberty" or the Scottish-borderer "Natural Liberty".

What about masturbation? Is

What about masturbation? Is the fine more than $25? If it's $25 or less, well, I could live with that.


:peter

What's wrong with

What's wrong with witchcraft?

Moreover, I did not claim to feel threatened by the existence of these groups, though if I wanted to, I could come up with good reasons why libertarians and others should be wary of such groups and discourage, through ridicule, attendence there. Jerry Falwell, who founded the University, has an explicitly political agenda, and wants to push his religious views on others through the coercive power of government. Brainwashing a new generation of acolytes is part of that agenda. Further, I need not violate any libertarian tenants by discouraging what I believe to be silly, counter-productive, and ultimately unwise behavior - i.e., not having enough fun in life.

I agree with Micha on the

I agree with Micha on the clear irony of the school's name.

Aside from that, I guess if becoming a minister, pastor, nun, etc, or any other type of strict Christian-devotion work is in one's future plans, LU is probably a good place to start getting accustomed to this type of lifestyle. (Of course, so long as its subjects refrain from trying to force its edicts on the 'outside world')

BTW, I think a $500 fine for assault/sexual assault is surprisingly lenient. It's the same penalty as holding a can of beer in your hand.

I don't think anyone feels

I don't think anyone feels "threatened," or thinks they shouldn't be allowed to do what they want -- as you state, it's voluntary.

We're just laughing at the idea that they themselves should call it "Liberty" when to be there, one is (voluntarily) sacrificing so much "liberty."

I don't see why some

I don't see why some libertarians feel threatened by the existence of groups with voluntary membership that insist their members conduct themselves a certain way. It may seem cultish, but when it's a cult based on good works and nonviolence, I don't have a problem with it. Gullible follower types are better off reading the Bible and fingering rosary beads than practicing witchcraft and performing child sacrifices.

But does a religious school

But does a religious school with such crazy rules really need to call itself Liberty University?

Clara, the Nazi's had rules

Clara, the Nazi's had rules too; should we get over that?

Micha, religions have rules.

Micha, religions have rules. Get over it. (I did -- and that's why I switched to public school after ten years.)

What bothers me about many

What bothers me about many libertarians is that they don’t recognize the fact that self-destructive behaviors are, well, self-destructive.

Have you gone and read the rules we're talking about? On what planet is dancing, having a beer, or kissing your significant other on the cheek, or participating in a political action not authorized by the school administrators (all banned under the rules we are discussing) self-destructive behavior?

Just to use your hypothetical Liberty Roofing company, this would be like requiring that the owners of the house not drink at any time during the roofing job, even after the crew went home.

My favorite is the $250 fine

My favorite is the $250 fine for “sexual misconduct and/or any state of undress". Must make showering a bitch.

Like Ned Flanders, they wear swimming trunks in the bath so that they don't see their own "wee wee". :roll:

I agree with Micha on the

I agree with Micha on the clear irony of the school’s name.

I disagree. Suppose I started a business called Liberty Roofing and entered into contract to build someone a roof, and the contract had penalties for poor service. Would my roofing business have an ironic name? Would a "more libertarian" roofer build roofs without a contact? Of course not.

What bothers me about many libertarians is that they don't recognize the fact that self-destructive behaviors are, well, self-destructive. That does not mean that the state should coerce morality any more than it should coerce the terms in which I build a roof. But what it does mean is that libertarians should recognize that private contracts for moral behavior are no less libertarian than private contracts for putting up a quality roof.

Liberty University is not

Liberty University is not named for political liberty but for spiritual liberty. The New Testament teaches that Christians were the slaves of sin, and the blood that Jesus shed while on the cross paid the price of the slave-debt. Subsequently, Jesus frees the Christian. The name celebrates freedom from slavery to sin, not freedom from slavery to fellow man.

As a sidenote, these rules would seriously cramp my naked witchcraft poker night.

- Josh

Justin, Dude, the world does

Justin,

Dude, the world does not revolve around libertarianism. There is more to life than that. Just because I consider myself a libertarian doesn't mean that whenever I criticize something, I am criticizing it on strict libertarian grounds. Sometimes I criticize things because they are silly and stupid. This is one of those cases.

I'll bet the parents who are

I'll bet the parents who are paying the tuitions are in agreement with the rules. Really, dude-discourage people from going? There are a lot more universities doing much greater harm to your "freedom" than Liberty!
You don't sound like you're angry with the rules as much as with the institution's foundation!
I'm sure that students are well aware-up front-that these rules....and fines apply! If you don't like them, don't freakin' enroll!

Clara:"I don’t see why

Clara:"I don’t see why some libertarians feel threatened by the existence of groups with voluntary membership that insist their members conduct themselves a certain way."

The problem is that the membership isn't always voluntary. I'd be willing to bet that most of the kids who go there didn't have a "choice", they were forced to attend by their parents. Or, they might have had the choice between Liberty U and no university at all.

The sad thing is that Liberty U might actually foster more freedom and intellectual curiosity than the homes these students came from.

Christian extremism is all too often forced upon the young. In its wake it leaves depression, suicides, and shattered lives.

I went to an Ultimate

I went to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament there once.

It was a shithole. The students didn't look very happy. The Rev. Jerry Falwell was in their homecoming parade. I think all these observations are related.

Justin, _A lot of parents

Justin,

_A lot of parents don’t want to pay $30,000 a year so that their child can party their way to a “C” average. I know that liberal parents and students would say that the loud parties, the 3:00 AM pizza runs after smoking pot, and the one-night stands and never calling the girl back are all part of the college experience and they build character. But other parents and students believe that chastity, temperance, and studying hard on a saturday nights are what build character._

First, a clarificatory question. Doesn't C just mean average? So wouldn't that mean that most students at any institution are C students? Now I'll admit that it's possible that an institution could engage in grade inflation, in which case, average now means B, but unless a school manages to inflate more than everyone else, the same problem really will remain. So I'm not sure that I see how it is that Liberty, with its strict standards, is really going to produce a smaller proportion of C students than will some other school filled with drugged-out, oversexed, party animals.

One could respond here that Liberty students are just better educated than are other students at "party schools". Maybe that's true, but I somehow doubt it. I'd be pretty willing to stack the students at my $30,000 per year private school, or even my $15,000 per year state university against Liberty students on pretty much any measure of educational achievement that you'd like to name. I can think of several: GRE and LSAT scores; percentages of students in medical, graduate, or professional schools; starting entry-level jobs; you just name it. If you're wondering, I attended Hampden-Sydney College and the University of Virginia.

I'm not quite sure what to say about the building character thing except that I suppose that it requires some character for upstanding Liberty students to know that they're going to end up working for a bunch of libertines from UVA. :twisted: (Full disclosure here: my wife attended Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg. Brother Jerry charmingly referred to them as "the whores on the hill" so you'll have to excuse me when I heap scorn on his 'university'. Besides, they're not really whores. They're mostly lesbians. :smile:)

But let's leave the personal attacks aside. First, I'm not sure what it is that you mean by 'aggression' in the context in which you use it above. How exactly does a corporation engage in aggression that is best checked by government? Is Fox News (the example of corporate Newspeak I offered above) guilty of some sort of unjustified aggression? Is the NYT doing the same when it calls terrorists 'insurgents'? I know that libertarians are sometimes fond of framing all wrongs in terms of aggression, but this seems a stretch.

I suppose that there really is little to be gained from trying to explain a joke, but I'll take one more crack at it. I happen to find it amusing that a university that asks college students to forego all sorts of harmless amusements--in other words, a university that gives its students less freedom than university students elsewhere, whether voluntary or not--then calls itself "Liberty". And the fact is that Liberty students have less liberty than do students at most other colleges. That may well be a choice that students make freely, but there is still some irony there.

only take issue when people

only take issue when people think that private rules are somehow incompatible with libertarianism, or liberty.

I never stated or implied that these rules are incompatible with libertarianism. They are, however, incompatible with a generally accepted conception of liberty, even if these restrictions are in some sense "chosen." Self-imposed slavery is also incompatible with a generally accepted conception of liberty.

No worries. Happens to the

No worries. Happens to the best of us. Me, too.

Sorry, you are right, my

Sorry, you are right, my last post was over the top. I entered this discussion with good intentions!

Joe is capable of defending

Joe is capable of defending himself, but nevertheless, there's no need to be condescending, Justin.

As it stands, I agree with you. But being vituperative does nothing to strengthen your position and much to weaken it.

The mere fact that in

The mere fact that in Orwell’s book, Newspeak is a state contrivance doesn’t imply that nonstate actors can’t also do things that look very much like Newspeak.

Sure, through aggression. And stopping that aggression is one of the few legitimate uses of goverment. However, Liberty University is not forcing students to attend so the aggression argument does not apply.

I know the distinction between liberty and libertine;I think it’s really foolish to sign away one’s freedom to kiss a girl on the cheek; and it’s really ironic to refer to a university that bans pretty much all of the things that made college fun as “Liberty University".)

If you do know the distinction then you would realize that the school's name would be ironic only if it were called "Libertine University." So far you have yet to show that you know the difference between aggression and voluntary contracts or the difference between libertine and liberty.

But as you point out you aren't a libertarian so perhaps that isn't surprising. So lets put it in terms that a liberal might understand, which is to say, we forget about self-determinatin and try to decide if we can win approval from the central planners:

A lot of parents don't want to pay $30,000 a year so that their child can party their way to a "C" average. I know that liberal parents and students would say that the loud parties, the 3:00 AM pizza runs after smoking pot, and the one-night stands and never calling the girl back are all part of the college experience and they build character. But other parents and students believe that chastity, temperance, and studying hard on a saturday nights are what build character.

Justin, _Newspeak was the

Justin,

_Newspeak was the official state language of Oceania, and its vocabulary and grammer were determined by the state._

Yes, but it doesn't follow from that fact that _only_ a state can engage in Newspeak, nor does it follow that any reference to Newspeak must by definition be about a state. Look, Anglicanism was (and still is) the official state religion of the UK. It doesn't follow, though, that I cannot use the word 'Anglican' to describe some belief without at the same time invoking the machinery of the state. The mere fact that in Orwell's book, Newspeak is a state contrivance doesn't imply that nonstate actors can't also do things that look very much like Newspeak. Similarly, I can call someone a Scrooge without implying that the person in question owns a counting house or sees spirits. Why is it that you think that the mere fact that Orwell is worried about Newspeak from totalitarian states implies that any reference to Newspeak must also condemn totalitarianism?

_Many libertarians have trouble separating voluntary contractual obligations from state aggression when those contractual obligations are in the moral realm._

That may be; it doesn't strike as being true of most of the folks at Catallarchy. For the record, I'm not a libertarian; I know the distinction between liberty and libertine; I think it's really foolish to sign away one's freedom to kiss a girl on the cheek; and it's really ironic to refer to a university that bans pretty much all of the things that made college fun as "Liberty University". (And note that I said that Liberty bans all things that are fun, not that all the things that Liberty bans are fun.)

Newspeak was the official

Newspeak was the official state language of Oceania, and its vocabulary and grammer were determined by the state. Many libertarians have trouble separating voluntary contractual obligations from state aggression when those contractual obligations are in the moral realm. As eddie pointed out, libertine and liberty are two different things.

So my question is: what if a

So my question is: what if a LU student gets invited to a wedding where there’s dancing and drinking? I have to believe the administration at LU has thought of this, and isn’t so rigid as to say, “you can’t go.”

Comment by Septimus — July 28, 2005 @ 8:08 am

Actually, they do. At least, you have to get permission from the dean of your college (men and women are kept under separate arms of the administration, naturally) to attend such a function, and they can definitely say no. If you go to something without clearance, you get fined/given demerit points.

I have an acquaintance who goes to L.U. who works as a counselor for some YMCA functions where I also work, and she has to get clearance because we stay in a hotel and there are dances held.

Justin, In defining

Justin,

In defining Liberty's name as "Orwellian" I meant to be referring to Newspeak, which is something that private entities as well as governments can engage in. That's the standard usage of "Orwellian" in applying the label to words.

I don't think that I compared any of Liberty's policies to government policies except to note that, in each case, the name signifies exactly the reverse of the policies. I'm not sure why it is that you think that this is the type of thing that only governments can do. Want a different example? Fox News: Fair and Balanced. There's a private entity with a name (or a slogan, in this case) that directly (and knowingly) contradicts its content.

Warning: Amanda's Annoying

Warning: Amanda's Annoying Religion Post
Why I am a Catholic and no longer an evangelical. Have an abortion while attending Liberty University? That’s a $500 fine. Enjoying a cigar and a glass of brandy off campus? That’ll cost you $525. Lesson to kids in their...