by Max Brantley
The Daily Caller, whose politics lean far right, is out with a story on Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, the freedom-loving independent thinker who's going to announce for U.S. Senate next week.
Arkansas Republican Rep. Tom Cotton pushed for a campus-wide ban on cigarette smoking in Harvard in 1997.
The Daily Caller notes that one in 5 Arkansas residents smoke. I'd note that some conservatives, on libertarian ground, oppose government intervention in smoking. Not us liberals at the Times, of course.
Cotton apparently wrote strongly on the subject in the Harvard Crimson newspaper back in 1997 as a lad of 20.
“Smoking is addictive, harmful and annoying… Smoking is wrong because it enslaves and destroys the body,” wrote the 20 year-old student, who subsequently served in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2005 to 2009.
He was elected to Congress in 2012.
“Quit equivocating on our smoking policy and take the hard line. Harvard should not allow smoking anywhere on its property,” Cotton wrote in the April 9, 1997 edition of the Harvard’s Crimson newspaper.
“Harvard, acting in loco parentis, should make this judgment,” he said in the article, which was titled “Ban Cigarettes in Toto.”
“It should forbid smoking by all individuals on Harvard property, for their own sake and for the sake of those around them. If students or employees want to smoke, they can go to public property. If this is too inconvenient, maybe they will break a destructive habit.”
I've asked the Cotton staff for a comment. He's gained attention for Harvard-days writing before. That was when he wrote for the Crimson that connecting classrooms to the Internet was a "terrible idea." Remember?
But the Internet does not just fail to educate children; it even obstructs their education. The information on it lacks veritable scholastic quality because it is not filtered through the ordinary editing and publishing process of books and magazines. Moreover, the Internet has too many temptations—ESPNet and Playboy come to mind—to distract students bored with their assignments and looking for some fun.
He later said his thoughts about the Internet had changed since then.
I'd hate to be held responsible for what I said and did in college, if only I could remember it. I do remember that I was a card-carrying member of the Washington and Lee chapter of Young Republicans. How's that for embarrassing?