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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Ann Arbor Bobos vs UofM Students

Right now there's a lot of whining going on in some local (Ann Arbor) blogs about a proposed porch couch ban. (Ann Arbor Is Overrated, Arbor Update)

Now, up front, let me be clear that I'm a hard-core libertarian. To me, the obvious solution is to let landlords decide whether they want a stinking, rotting, vermin-infested fire hazard on their porches. Worrying about patio furniture is the last thing on which the government ought to be wasting its time. Personally, the issue doesn't affect me, since I don't live near any students, and porch couches are the least of the things that make living near them objectionable.

But in Ann Arbor – which is the Cambridge, MA of the Midwest – everything is regulated within an inch of your life, especially relating to property values. So, it's a given that the council wants to ban the porch couches, and it's not surprising that they would do it during the summer, when the student population is mostly gone. Wow, politicians being sneaky and wasting time and tax dollars on foolish issues – what a shocker.

So why am I writing this? To express my aggravation at the students who have chosen to make this their cause celebre. I'm absolutely appalled that men and women who can't be bothered to vote, volunteer, or otherwise expend energy on anything other than partying, whining about their lives, and occasionally studying (although you wouldn't know it from the poorly written press release issued by Michigan Student Assembly president Jason Mirinov), now have determined that the one thing that will get them off their duffs and involved in the community is whether or not they'll have a couch on their porch this fall.

There are lots of things in this world that need changing, and porch couches fall pretty damn far down on that list. Help a child learn to read. Take a homeless dog for a walk. Help build a house for a hard-working family who's never had one. But these students ought to do something that helps someone other than themselves.

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