I noted last night the raging debate among the elite scholar-bloggers as to the stimulant of choice for the long hard slog through the life of the mind. Eugene Volokh joins the fray, noting that,

Even before Levy and DeLong, Socrates himself famously said, “An uncaffeinated life is not worth living.” Or something like that.

Jacob Levy reflects on the decline of academic civilization from the vaunted days of yore. Once, gentlemen scholars would sit around the faculty lounge for hours sipping brandy and playing chess. Now, they must trudge out in 5 degree weather, walking up hill –both ways– through the snow to get a decent cup of coffee so they can toil further into the night.

If only–if only–they sold coffee making machines that were affordable on a professor’s meager pay that could be put in the office. Maybe that day will come.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Nick says:

    James, I recommend reading this intriguing piece by Malcolm Gladwell:

    He postulates that caffeine made the modern world.

  2. Paul says:

    It’s getting deep… and I don’t mean the snow.

  3. JW says:

    Humph. I’ll agree with the basic premise that caffeine is essential to the academic life in that faculty meetings and assorted convocations on excruciatingly academic-minutia topics would put anybody to sleep–even seriously committed academics like yourselves.

    But you have no IDEA how dependent the economy is on working moms having unfettered access to their caffiene of choice. I’m a freelance writer, and between getting up at 6 a.m. to dress the kids for school and going to bed at 10:30 p.m. after writing my assignment for the day, I can cut through 36 ounces of Dr. Pepper or Coke easily while checking email, researching on the web, cooking dinner, trafficing the kids to church and activities, cleaning house, supervising homework, and doing laundry. Imagine how much caffiene women who also commute, put in 40 hours and overtime, and volunteer with every school group imaginable need. If it were ruled a controlled substance, the US economy would tank within months. 🙂