Ask Dr. Salvo
January 11, 1994
Dear Dr. Salvo,
Recently you mentioned letters would be welcome about the Libertarian Party and its members.
Libertarians are like their cousins, Republicans -- Conservatives are mean selfish people. They completely lack a social conscience, are not concerned about the less affluent and the disadvantaged in our society. They would like to dismantle our welfare system, do away with social security, Medicare, Medicaid and our public school system. A National Health Plan fills them with horror.
They do have the good sense to realize that making drugs legal is the only way to erase the drug problem.
One of their founders and principal guru was the Russian-American novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982). Rand was wrong on social issues but correct on other matters.
Once at a party meeting, a brain-dead jerk put on a gloomy face and mentioned God. Rand flew into a justifiable rage as I would have and told the jerk to shut-up, "that not a single intelligent person has believed in God for over a hundred years."
She could have been more specific and said that anyone who believed in anything supernatural was insane and should be confined to a mental institution for their own safety and welfare.
Thanks for your opinionated, iron-headed letter about Libertarians. As usual, you are wrong in your conclusions in several respects, but your thumbnail review of Ayn Rand was superb. It confirmed my long-standing aversion to reading her works. One used to hear a lot of talk about her, in the 80's, apparently as a warm-up for another decade of greed and gross materialism: "It's every man for himself," said the elephant as he strolled through the chicken yard.
That does seem to be her general drift. However, I know one Libertarian pretty well, and he is not mean and selfish, nor lacking in a social conscience. It is just that he feels more keenly about the Declaration of Independence than he does about the Constitution. This is an attitude that was widely accepted only two hundred years or so ago, before anyone dreamed of the welfare state.
Libertarians are, however, much concerned about the Bill of Rights, and are strongly opposed to coercive government, a view that deserves serious consideration in view of the rise (and, possibly, fall) of totalitarian governments in the 20th century.
Thanks for volunteering a vote in favor of legalization of drugs (recreational), an idea espoused even by William Buckley, but too fearful to be mentioned by candidates for public office. The sad lesson of our attempt at Prohibition has been lost upon our leaders -- so we are doomed to keep repeating it.
You are wrong again, you and Ayn Rand, in your notion that religious believers are stupid or crazy, and need to be locked up. They are simply accepting the terms of Pascal's wager, and betting on the issue they most desire as the outcome. How can they lose? However, I will leave this argument in the hands of some of my most esteemed atheist bashers in Mobile County. They should be speaking up any day now.
I am glad you still take an interest, however, in the question of who should be locked up, these days. As you may recall, Dr. Bacamarte of Itaguai bravely risked his career, nay, his life in addressing this puzzle by front-line experiments: First he incarcerated the unbalanced, but the citizens threatened riot. He released them and locked up the excessively balanced -- but this precipitated an armed rebellion. He publicly admitted his error, then immersed himself in the Green House, where he died.
Dear Dr. Salvo,
Fishing, hunting, and boating are part of the southern heritage, so claims almost every terrestrial of this burg. While these activities bring the participants in direct contact with Nature, they seem to have little respect for Mother Earth. Just the other day while driving along Dauphin Street, I saw a well-dressed caucasian lady throw a cigarette butt out of her late-model car, and an African-American man who was walking along the pavement throw a styrofoam cup onto someone's yard. All within three minutes of each other! And the government agency that is supposedly the watch-dog against pollution by industries is nothing but a lap-dog.
Perhaps you would perform a medium Brazilian analysis on this unique L.A. (Lower Alabama) phenomenon to enlighten us extra-terrestrials.
It is indeed difficult to make sense of the trashy behavior you describe, both at the personal, local level, and with regard to industrial pollution of our air, water, and soil. For a long time a charitable explanation was ignorance: Settlers from the cramped/crowded Old World looked upon the vast open spaces and seemingly limitless waterways of the New World and felt confident in the immensity of it all. Surely it couldn't matter if waste or garbage was thrown in the rivers or the oceans -- why the great waters would cleanse themselves! The forests and grasslands and swamps would likewise heal over after any amount of pollution and abuse. A huge tree loaded with pecans or hickory nuts would simply be cut down for harvesting, as there were always plenty of trees. And so on.
I expect ignorance will no longer serve to excuse, or even explain the abuse of our world. Even school children know about ecology now. It looks as if the explanation today must be based on the greed of the big polluters and the callousness (and even despair) of the individual mess-maker. Perhaps if the careless litterers could be induced to save their trash, then dump it in the front yards of the large polluters -- owners and top management -- then the culprits might become aware of what they are doing to their neighbors. But -- this would be illegal! True, but Mobile Bay is still polluted with impunity, and we beg and bribe more corporations to come and complete the ruin of the Mobile River.
Hard cheese, E.T.
Dear Dr. Salvo,
I am enclosing a letter to the editor that was published in the Mobile Mullet Wrapper. The logic and honesty of this letter-writer in arguing that the Tailhook sexual assault should be hushed up is so strong that it probably makes a noise louder than a tree falling in a forest when on one is there to listen. At least it makes a noise loud enough that we extra-terrestrials heard about it.
So, how's that logic in Dr. Salvo's eyes?
Take Tailhook out of the public eye
Reading about the Tailhook convention scandal in the Mobile Register prompted me to write.
Tailhook was a wild old Roman orgy of heroic proportions and seems to have been going on for quite a number of years. I believe it needs to be hushed up, swept under the rug and dealt with quietly by the proper government agencies.
The woman who brought the charges seems, from testimony reported, to have been in the thick of things, so she is tainted with the same brush. I have my own theories as to her motives.
Be that as it may, my reasons for suggesting Tailhook should be out of the limelight are as follows: It is not to be expected to ask young men to act the barbarian by flying a lightning-fast plane in pursuit of other young men with the sole intention of killing them, and not understand they are going to be barbarians on the ground. The reporting of explicit details of what went on at the convention makes the Navy, and by association the other branches of the armed services, look suspect to the American people. This in turn is relayed to our representatives in the Congress and to the executive branch, and could have a detrimental effect on recruitment and the military budget. The perception by the enlisted men of officers indulging in such activities has to be harmful to military discipline and morale. The consternation of the citizens of this country to be made aware of the rapacious sexual activities and drunkenness at the Tailhook convention, as reported by the media, is to say the least, "to leave us all agog."
What went on at Tailhook should be put to rest and taken out of the public eye, as it leaves a bad taste in the collective American mouth and makes a laughing stock of the Navy to our foreign friends and enemies.
Ida G. Miller
I believe I agree with both you and Ida, to some extent, but fully realize I am in danger of being a male chauvinist pig. Let me explain: It is very unlikely that anybody in the armed services was surprised or shocked at the revelations of what went on at Tailhook. The name alone of this festival should alert any female guest to the nature of the gathering. Not croquet. More like a Dionysian revel dipped in a bacchanal. And not very different from many more modest festivities put on by college fraternities, and never considered newsworthy. Ida is onto the truth about what we expect of our warriors. If all this fuss had come up during a war it would have created scarcely a ripple. Perhaps a few editorials about "our boys" and what they must endure, therefore entitled to relax, etc., etc. One ripple after the Thomas hearings was a flier or broadside saying, "Incidents of sexual harassment in this establishment will not be reported. They will, however, be graded."
Somehow I imagine that would be Ida's reaction were she to witness the Tailhook celebration. Any ladies who felt otherwise should have stayed home.
January 11, 1994