RAICO ON SEX EDUCATION
Sex education in government schools under a regime of compulsory attendance laws (the system we are likely to have for a long time to come) is different from driver education or volleyball instruction, although James D. McCawley (Letters, REASON, May 1974) unfortunately wasn't able to gather it from my brief article. The difference lies in the most important fact I tried to set forth ("Against Sex Education," REASON, February 1974): namely, that the motivation behind the sex education movement, incorporated in the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), whose head and moving spirit Mary Calderone is, is to promote a specific set of values in sexual feeling and conduct. There really can be no justification for McCawley employing the transmission of the basic facts concerning pregnancy, etc., as the rationale for sex education: a major point of my article was that that has been part of a dishonest public relations image of the government, which, in her HUMANIST interview, Calderone was candid enough to disavow. The mere transmission of facts is not what sex education is about. Rather—as I thought my article had shown cause to believe—the case is as follows: there is an organized movement which has succeeded, partially through talk about spreading the "facts" about sex, in having formal sex education courses set up in perhaps half of the public schools of the country. This movement has as a fundamental aim the instilling of certain values in young people in regard to sex. Those values turn out, upon examination, to be very conventional, left-liberal ones; in the last analysis, the sex education people are setting out (unconsciously) to turn everyone into characters in Feiffer cartoons. This seems to me worse than driver education, or even biased American history courses—even where all of these are supported through tax funds—for the following reasons: (1) the government and its ideologists are now presuming to interfere in a peculiarly intimate area of human action, much more central to the personality than the ability to drive a car or read Latin or the holding of certain political values; (2) this is the clearest case to date of the extremely dangerous process which, I suspect, will become increasingly the rule—namely, the use of the public school system as a conduit for the inculcation in society at large of the value-laden, but allegedly "scientific" findings of positivist "social scientists;" (3) the values themselves—in part because of the way they are arrived at—are tacky and unworkable ones; and (4) in keeping with the anarchist approach of contrasting formal, hierarchical methods of doing business of life with more natural and flexible ones, courses in sex education (rather than direct sexual experimentation) are to be viewed as part of a style of avoiding coming to grips with experience; that was the point of my praise of the concrete, real-life ways people come to know about sex, in contrast to the abstract, artificial and ideologized method proposed by the sex educationists.
Why McCawley believes that the organized attempt to use the public school system to promote liberal culture's sexual values is not something libertarians should vigorously oppose, is a mystery to me.
State University College
KUDOS FOR MAY ISSUE
I have just finished reading and studying your BIG ISSUE, "Financial Survival in a Troubled World" (May 1974) and can't praise it enough. I surely do appreciate the time and trouble you took to put out such a beneficial treasure of facts which everyone needs so badly to know at present. I shall act on any number of them knowing full well I could never afford the money nor have access to the brains of these men who authored the articles I have just read with such pleasure. Thanks a million.
Mrs. P.M. McFee
I was quite impressed with your recent issue on financial survival. However, the sophistication of some of the articles made me feel a little "left out." I don't think I was alone either. I tend to believe that your readers are few in number who are sophisticated in finance and economics.
It would have been helpful had the writers all assumed a wider audience than I think they did. Then too, one article could have been added to aid the less sophisticated. Terms like "swap" cover could be defined and more elementary paraphrases would be provided.
It is characteristic of many in the Liberal establishment to talk above their listeners. It is also characteristic to pretend to understand even the obscure and unintelligible. Such is the social-metaphysics of snobbery.
For the Libertarian, however, clarity at the expense of snobbery is no vice. The Libertarian should always attempt to talk to his listeners—not above them.
I do believe that those who contribute to REASON generally try to define and communicate their ideas. When your contributors fail to appreciate that your audience includes individuals with varying educations, please help them out if you can.
I was disappointed that your excellent financial issue did not contain more on the subject of treasury bills. The recent high was 9.35% equivalent annual rate for 91-day bills, and these are quite easily purchased by mail from the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco by anyone who has the $10,000 minimum. The U.S. government credit rating may not be too good, but it is certainly better than any bank or institution!
But a point needs to be made. Libertarians are agreed that inflation is caused by deficits. It is sophistry to blame it on wages, waste, or business price increases; these are effects, not causes. Pain does not cause cancer; cancer causes pain.
During World War II we were told that buying war bonds was anti-inflationary. Money borrowed through the banks and Federal Reserve is 6-7 times more inflationary than money borrowed directly from the public. And yet a few years ago treasury bills were made more difficult to buy by raising the minimum to $10,000, when precisely the opposite should have been done.
It seems to me that we ought to establish an IBM-card-type T-bill in, say, $50 denomination that can be sold through post offices and banks at the weekly discount established by the competitive T-bill auction, with the earnings tax free. This would have the effect of removing fuel from the credit inflation of some $2.5-trillion total debt and thus stabilizing what is now a highly unstable situation in which any major adversity—failure of a bank or large company—could trigger an economic collapse.
This, coupled with repeal of the gold prohibition laws and a return to hard money might head off disaster. If we must have deficits, then at least their effect can be minimized.
R.W. Johnson, P.E.
Ben Lomond, CA
IS SYMMS LIBERTARIAN?
Your readers may be somewhat confused and/or distressed about the relation between Congressman Steven Symms and the Libertarian Party. Contrary to popular belief, Mr. Symms was not a candidate of the Libertarian Party, nor was he ever endorsed by the Party, or any committee of the Party. The L.P. should not be identified with any positions he may take in Congress, unless they are, in fact, L.P. Platform positions.
The Congressman from Idaho is a Republican. As your interview demonstrated, he is not—nor does he consider himself—a "full-fledged" libertarian. Mr. Symms did campaign on L.P. Platform positions (and used some Party literature). For that reason, he received prominent and favorable mention in two L.P. Newsletters.
His speeches and activities in the House of Representatives have been truly commendable. He has pursued libertarian issues and introduced legislation to dismantle coercive government programs.
It is disappointing that he has taken a position against amnesty (particularly distressing to draft dodgers like myself) and voted for improper spending programs. Yet, the value of Mr. Symms' actions on other issues cannot be denied.
There are dozens of Libertarian Party candidates across the country this year. They have been properly nominated in convention by libertarians. If critics must disparage the Party ad hominem, they might at least pick an L.P. candidate.
I was pleased to see the "No 'Right to Reply'" editorial in the June issue.
The attack on the press is once again the result of collectivist premises, specifically the idea prevalent in this nation that the freedom of the press is based on "the public's right to know," and not on the individuals' right to be free to say what he thinks. This entails the implication that one may only be considered worthy or deserving of rights when one "serves" others.
Since, in a bureaucrat's mind, the only justification of the press's freedom is its service to the public, then it won't take much illogic to convince him that it is the government's "social responsibility" to assure that there is a "balance" and "fairness" in reportage, to protect the "public good." It is obvious who, in reality, the bureaucrat wants to protect from the threat of journalistic "bias."
What is disgusting is that the majority of newspapers function on the same premises, not realizing that they are pleading their case on their enemies terms.
And the beat goes on…
Los Angeles, CA
"RIGHT TO REPLY" LAWS
You have no idea how gratifying it is to me that someone has finally had the guts to say that they would not obey a fascist-inspired law that presented a direct threat to their freedom. I wish every newspaper in the country would take the same stand you do with regard to the proposed "right to reply" legislation. If more people would recognize that elected assemblies do not govern by divine right, mankind would not be enslaved to the extent that it is at the present time.
Gary R. Shroat
Fairview Heights, IL
FREE MARKET ELECTRICITY
Robert Poole's story "How Free Enterprise Returned to the Electric Power Industry" (June) was magnificent! It was the most joyous entertainment I've had in a long time to read of the return of freedom told in such a realistic, straightforward way. Particularly the outrageous political-pressuring schemes that brought about the deregulation. And the insights into the kinds of competition and innovation such deregulation would bring about were beautiful!
Keep up the fantastic work—REASON continues to be worth twice the price of admission. But don't let that get you to thinking of doubling your prices, or I'll…I'll just…well, uh, I'll just pay it. Gladly!
DEALING WITH LARGE-SCALE CRIME
I feel sorry for John Holt. He keeps asking what Libertarians would do with the monsters and nobody answers. It is a question deserving an answer. If he could see a production or even read the script of my play "State 59 Versus Megalith", he would learn what one Objectivist would do with them. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get a production or publication so I guess he will have to go on asking questions of the wind. Libertarians of the anarchist branch seem to think only small civil crimes or easily detected thefts are committed. Have any of them heard of uncontrollable males suffering from XYYY chromosomes? What would they do with the Patty Hearst kidnappers, who are anarchists?
OPEN LETTER TO JOHN HOLT
I read with great interest and puzzlement your letter published in the May issue of REASON. I say puzzlement since you live in the same area I grew up in and have apparently come to opposite conclusions about the social environment and the street scene vis-a-vis groups like the Mafia.
From my observations these groups exist in a feudalistic client relationship to the state. Their bulk income is derived from activities declared illegal by the state whose agents can nevertheless be bought off. Called "corruption" and "bribery" when discovered, it is in fact a monopolistic franchise bought and paid for with licensing fees, as much as any radio or TV station.
When I was growing up back East there was a bar in my neighborhood with a perpetual crap game in the back which also served as a drop for the local numbers racket. However the local American Legion Thursday night bingo game was closed down since they were in no position to pay the customary fees.
In short, "organized crime" functions as a parallel state in quasi-vassalage to the regular government, often forming the germ of the successor state when that government falls (remember John Hancock's income came from organized crime). The Mafia has not been stamped out by government but in fact derives its existence from it as much as any state-subsidized corporation.
It has been some years since I've been back East so I look forward to your observations of the street scene that led you to your conclusions.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Letters".