Big Head Press


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 567, April 25, 2010

Authoritarian sycophants in the lamestream media


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Re: "Letter from Neale Osborn"

Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy. (Was that an ad for paper towels, garbage bags or toilet paper?, I just buy what's on sale).

NOTA wins once, abolish the office forever. Have a plumber pound the "YES" button out from the bottom of the desk. (Locking in the NO button can't be trusted, electrons are slippery).

Fuck that second chance. I'm kind to animals (I shoot straight), most children and women. Not to politicians (they can bleed out on the sidewalk they require me to maintain). I damn near bled out on my front porch a couple weeks back when a vein in my left ankle popped—glad La Esposa is a nurse who also (I know too, but I was in sort of a panic, what with the spewing blood) knew about where to apply pressure for the hour before the ambulance we pay taxes for (and were billed for the other day, the ambulance not just the usual) finally showed up.

Does lemon juice remove blood stains from pressure-treated wood? It's been several years (too long, I know) since the last treatment with Thompson's Water-Seal. But if I apply it now, that porch will always look like I clubbed, stripped, and ate a baby seal on it. I don't eat carnivores (unless I'm really hungry) and don't like to leave my front porch looking that way.

Ward Griffiths
wdg3rd@comcast.net
home.comcast.net/~wdg3rd

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Evolution

Re: "Letter from E.J. Totty"

One of these days people should get rid of the word evolution and replace it with something like differentiation.

Human beings do not all have the same genetic code. At least 50 percent of the human race's genes are so different from the other half that their clitorides (correct fancy Latin spelling to match correct spelling further on) and ovaries are outside of their bodies and their vaginae (yeah that's the correct spelling according to my snobby Latin writing spell check program. Who knew?) are gone. I won't even get into differences in the shapes of noses, hair, eye and skin color, height, handedness, and IQ derived from genes.

When the common ancestor of humans and apes started mutating who said they had to have the same mutations? And who said that evolution, or rather differentiation, isn't happening among humans even now? A recent report on women's breasts getting larger claims that at least part of this change is due to genetic change. Women with genes for larger breasts have better reproductive success (attract more mates) and have more kids. This is evolution at work via sexual selection.

Not all evolution is good or even as pleasant as the example cited above. Orthodontists and optometrists are making a living off the fact that since we don't need jaws big enough to fit our teeth and twenty/twenty vision to survive people with "defective genes" are not dying before they reproduce and raise their children to adulthood.

Most evolution happens over resistance to viral and bacterial infections. People with lower levels of resistance die before they can reproduce or have their ability to provide for their progeny compromised. Keep this up long enough with populations separated sufficiently by space, especially if they are exploiting different food sources and exposed to sufficiently different pathogens and environmental conditions, and you will eventually get one species differentiating into others.

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs@hotmail.com

To which E.J. Totty replied:

Albert,

My remarks interspersed with your own below:

Albert Perez wrote:

I would claim that the difference between the x and y chromosomes is a major genetic difference. In fact this is a bigger difference than merely genetic.

One maybe two generations is selection (natural or sexual). When after three or four generations you have have two or more breeding populations expressing different genes you have evolution.

The idea of 'evolution' is that of achieving something which wasn't in evidence priorly.

The mere act of procreation is akin to 'mixing and matching.' But nothing 'new' comes of it.

Genetic diversity imparts nothing new to the genome, and the only way that would happen is if a space alien with compatible DNA were to mate with a human.

My Mother was a space alien ... ;-)

Many people claim that Cro-Magnon (or Early Modern Human) were bigger brained and generally bigger bodied than humans through most of the historical era. They may have been stronger and smarter (or bigger brain may have been needed to control bigger bodies). Interestingly, except for disease resistance, EMH experienced more selective pressure than we did. Combine with need for braces, problems with impacted wisdom teeth, etc., and who says we haven't gone downhill physically since the Palaeolithic.

You neglect to consider the 'environmental' aspects which have a far greater affect on how the body develops.

People develop physical abnormalities as a result of many things, but mostly it has much to do with the parents predisposition to certain affects which are then passed on to their offspring. And then of course, additional environmental factors will affect them. Developing fetuses are impacted by just everything the woman carrying them.

For instance, what possible environmental factor was the causative agent which produced genetic hemophilia? Since not everyone is afflicted with that genetic disorder, then we may presume that it was caused either by the absence of a requirement or the imposition of something which changed the genetic structure of a progenitor.

Another example is the Celtic Curse, or that malady particular to those with a Celtic lineage—usually Irish, Scots, and some English and Welsh—which causes the body to go out of its way to store iron in greater quantities than is needed. Ireland's soil is notoriously iron poor and it is thought that some ancestor way back when developed that genetic predisposition as a way to compensate for the environmental lack of iron.

Now, is that a matter of 'evolution' or merely a matter of adaptation? I will say the latter, for the simple reason that nothing else changed.

You see? That quality of the genome to adapt to a severe situation speaks to its ability to move things around in order to adjust to the circumstances of the environment. But that can't in any way be said to be 'evolution.'

So, those matters you mention are very likely the result of one or another genetic deviation as a result of environmental influences.

You talk about braces and wisdom teeth. How about this: I had a baby's tooth that lasted until I was 47, and it was only that the second tooth was coming in that pushed it out. Tell me: Why did that happen?

Morally and culturally is a different matter. As you pointed out, too many "alphas" used to feel they had the right to rape the women they chose. To this day intense social pressure is needed to successful prevent this behavior, and even then often it is merely extremely well sublimated.

The laws of Man are more the matter of convenience than of necessity. I say that because it is more convenient that we all manage to associate peacefully than it is for any degree of necessity.

The corollary: When push comes to shove, people have exhibited the trait of 'dumping the law' out of 'necessity.'

It's for this reason we need a different word. Evolution implies going from a lower state to a higher, differentiation simply means breaking up into different breeding populations adapted to different environments or to use resources in the same environment differently.

A loaf of bread is still a loaf of bread, sliced or not. Now I will suppose that the term 'differentiate' could well be a valid when making superficial distinctions regarding the various breeds of Man, but when the term is used in the biological sense it fails on its primary premise: Subspecies in the animal kingdom seldom seek mates from another subgroup. Humans aren't that way. But of course some humans seem to want sex with any other species that will submit!

For what it's worth, I have no doubt that thanks to God's grace we are more evolved spiritually, including respect for the liberty of others, than our ancestors, something our material advances makes necessary!

More it is I will think, that through the long history of humanity with children raised to be respectful of others rights, that the lessons have become ingrained, but only in the cultural sense. Ingrained, but certainly not inherited. Think: Lord of the Flies.

E.J. Totty
ejt@seanet.com

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A most astute remark

Re: "Yet Another Letter from A.X. Perez"

"It is hubris to put such a high value on human effect on the environment. It is Lysenkoism to pretend that there are no other factors and /or that they do not outweigh the effects of human activity on the environment. And it is flat out tyranny to demand that the common people give up their wealth and their chance to gain wealth at the command of an elite who will continue to enjoy a rather extravagant life style."

A more astute remark I could not even begin to pretend or suggest: It whacks the nail on the head thusly!

E.J. Totty
ejt@seanet.com

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E.J.Totty and evolution

When E.J. Totty says, in his letter in the April 18th issue: "The strongest evidence which supports my side of the argument is just this: Were Man to have had a common ancestor with the primates, then they too would have all of the genetic material that man has" he shows that he doesn't understand evolutionary biology. If that were indeed the case, then the simplest cyanobacterium would have the same genetic code as a human. They are, after all, our ancestors just like the early primates; just a bit further removed.

Genetic material gets mixed (sexual reproduction), it gets transferred from species to species (through viral "infection" in some cases), it gets copied wrong, and it gets damaged. Since most of our genetic material is "turned off", most of the mutations occur in these "junk" areas and do nothing. However, those mutations are still there, waiting for something to flip the switch and turn them on. The environment is one thing that can provide that "something". The environment is not static. Each new change in the environment causes the organisms to have to change to keep up. It is a constant process. Sometimes they are able to use one of those previously "switched-off genes" to their advantage. And then, evolution occurs.

This reminds me of the silly argument that the evolution of the eye was impossible, since a "half an eye" is useless and would not give its bearer an adaptive advantage. Tell that to the protists with "eyespots" that are nothing but light-sensitive areas. In the land of the blind, the critter that can sense where the light is is king. Recently I saw a video of a gecko jumping across the air to reach a new perch. In slow motion you could see him flapping his little featherless forelimbs. Science deniers claim that a "half-a-wing" gives no evolutionary advantage, yet tell that to a little dinosaur who evolved a tiny fringe of protofeathers on his already flapping front legs, and could therefore jump just a tiny bit further than his competitors.

The constant clamor for "the missing link" is ridiculous. I could show you a rainbow and you would ask for the "missing link" between green and red. So I point out yellow. Then you ask for the "missing link" between yellow and red. I show you orange. Then you ask for a "missing link" between orange and red, and I show you orangish-red. Being a spectrum, this could go on indefinitely, with you never being satisfied. Species, in their historical existence, are the same way: a spectrum that blends seamlessly from one to the next, but with us only seeing individuals and assigning them to some species without seeing their origins and common ancestors. Each new species that is shown the science denier, to answer their demand for "the missing link", only causes them to ask for a new "missing link". There is not "a" missing link, each individual is a missing link.

I'll guarantee you that the great apes we see today have evolved into "something else" compared to their ancestors who existed at the time of the split that produced humans and gorillas/chimps/orangutans. Humans did not evolve "from" apes, since we are still fully ape.

I don't care what Darwin's personal faults were. He was not the only scientist getting the evolutionary light bulb over his head at that time in history. If not Darwin, someone else would have figured it out, published first, and gotten the credit (or blame). It was an idea whose time had come, due to the confluence of evidence from many branches of inquiry and the loosening grip of superstition. Unfortunately, it seems superstition is benefitting from the swing of the pendulum once again.

Kent McManigal
Albuquerque Libertarian Examiner
dullhawk@hotmail.com
KentForLiberty.com

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I continue to be amazed by traditional leftwingers. On the one hand they make it abundantly clear that they distrust American political leaders (wise of them) distrustful of the majority of Americans because of the bigotries to which so many of pur countrymen subscribe (I commend their intelligence), and view police of whatever stripe as fascist jerks (here I find their attitude exaggerated as I know many cops who are trying to respect and protect people's rights, but I admit it's a good test assunption to help keep one's teeth in one's head).

On the other hand they wish to surrender control of our economy, freedom of speech, press and religion to politicians, desire that government pander to the passions of the mob (18th Century meaning) and express a belief that only police officials should be trustedf with guns.

Their desire to surrender political, economic and armed power to those whom they define as unworthy confuses me. It cannot be that they see this power as devolving to themselves as events of the last fifty years shows them unable to gain and hold power.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Crazy Al


Re: "Evinces a Design" by L. Neil Smith

One of the bad things Obamanistas want to do, according to El Neil, is "amnesty for illegal aliens that will eventually allow them to vote the left into power forever." This from the same writer who states, just a few paragraphs earlier, "Most people now understand that advertised ideological differences between "progressives" and "conservatives", and between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, are a bald-faced lie, and that, in terms of their practical effect on the everyday life of the average individual, they are—or might as well be—a single all-consuming entity."

This boogeyman of "illegal aliens" (amazing to read that phrase in a site devoted to liberty) amounts to them voting for one wing of the "Boot On Your Neck" Party that is no different from the other wing? This is supposed to upset us?

Let's be clear here. Any notion of "illegal" aliens is statist. And arguing they will make things even more statist is demonstrably false. People come to this country for freedom; more than they are used to, anyway. They know how bad it can get when there is no freedom. How many Mexicans do you know who don't pay taxes? They are the good guys; they don't feed the beast! I've known a lot of immigrants from a lot of places. They are clearly less statist than the "natives", on average.

Some day America will break up. If we are lucky and work hard on it, perhaps one of the new Americas will be free. There will be no notion of "illegal" immigrants in this free America. There will only be immigrants who want to be free, and emmigrants who don't want to be free. What's the problem?

Paul Bonneau
2.paulbx1 -at- dfgh -dot- net

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Now I Remember

Several people whose value on liberty and erudition I respect have suggested that several of the states secede from the Union. To a certain degree I support this notion. A weakening of the central government would definitely stop it from messing with our liberties. Perhaps it would be better if the states whose value freedom highly form separate nation states from those who do not. Yet I remain uncomfortable with the notion, and now I remember why.

Remember the miniseries Amerika back in the 1980's? I myself had all but forgotten it until a totally illogical train of thought brought it to mind. The story is that basically the Soviet dominated UN divides the unresisting US into satrapies enjoying the benefit of socialist rule. I have to ask myself, if the US was broken up by secession by some of the states would the most of them fall into this type of government?

The answer keeps coming back to one idea: maybeso we need to keep the current system in place and bring it into the service of liberty.

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs@hotmail.com

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A stimulus success story....

Begin Forwarded Message:

The Stimulus at Work

Some have said that the stimulus hasn't saved any jobs, but here is a case where at least one job was saved. Oregon State University Athletic Director BobDeCarolis was considering firing their basketball coach, Craig Robinson, after an 8-11 start (2-5 in the Pac 10 conference). When word of this reached Washington , Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter was dispatched to Corvallis with $17 million in stimulus money for the university. Craig Robinson's job is safe for this year. For those of you unfamiliar with Coach Robinson, he just so happens to be Michelle Obama's brother. Just a coincidence I'm sure!

End Forwarded Message

L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com

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OH THE TRAGEDY! OH THE HORROR!

[LINK to NY Times]

L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com

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Dear TLE,

The Mises Institute had a seminar in Phoenix, fiefdom of your friend and mine Sheriff Arpaio, on the 10th of April, 2010, entitled "The Inflationary Path to Despotism":

http://mises.org/media.aspx?action=category&ID=229

Those presentations are online, I finally finished listening to them today.

Anyone who wants to understand or debate the present economic mess would do themselves a great favor by listening/watching these presentations. Just the quotes from "the elite" demonstrating their stupidity, ignorance and arrogance are well worth the effort.

I have no reason to believe that the present and historical level of "stupidity" being demonstrated in Washington City is real. The depth of malice by those who inhabit that swamp only seems like stupidity from the outside because of how utterly incomprehensible such motivations are to "normal" people.

Curt Howland
Howland@priss.com

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On Monday April 19th 2010 I saw and read about eight referrences to the Oklahoma City Bombing on mainstream media news. I saw one, maybe two references to the Battle of Lexington.

I'm sure many of the bosses would be happy to see the American people forget that this nation was born in armed resistence to tyranny. I'm sure many would love to strengthen the fear of terrorist fanatics to get people to submt to what they conceive to be benevolent despotism disguised as democracy.

So, next year, perhaps it would be good to organize 236th Birthday Parties for the US on 19 April.

Party hearty dudes!

Crazy Al
Somewhere in Far West Texas


Re: "Letter from Paul Bonneau"

After reading Paul Bonneau's latest response, I would like to point out that I can take criticism as long as it is constructive and not hostile. Mr. Bonneau may not have attended to make his criticism sound like a personal attack, but when he accused me of being a person who likes to beg for his freedom it sounded hostile. I am willing to have a reasonable debate with anyone, as long as there is no hostility.

I still believe that it is a bad idea to openly carry a firearm during a protest. Mr. Bonneau may not care about image, but I believe that it can be used against the movement if we are not careful. I will explain more in an article that I plan to submit in the near future.

Sean Gangol
rgangol@sbcglobal.net

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Immigration

As I write this people are getting angry at the state of Arizona for passing a law regarding immigration. A lot of people feel it is harsh and tyrannical (me among them, to put in a disclaimer.). But...

When Dubya was elected he promised he would push through immigration reform. He didn't pass it before 9-11. He got distracted by 9-11 (though arguably just immigration reform would make it harder for terrorists to sneak into the country). His party blocked his efforts at making reform. When the Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 general election they did not deal with this issue. Ever since President Obama has been in office he and his Congress have not dealt with the issue (except to exclude illegal aliens from "Obamacare". No se hacen innocentes, dude.)

If the Federal Government will not meet its obligations the states will step in. If they are scared and upset enough they will pass tyrannical laws.What is happening in Arizona and what has happened earlier in other states are prime examples of this.

As long as we inflict government on ourselves we must face the fact that when those with authority (the right to use power because of some moral basis) fail to act justly they invite those with power and tyrannical inclinations to act unjustly in acts of autocracy or demagoguery.

That is what happened in Arizona and will happen elsewhere.

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs@hotmail.com

To which Dennis Wilson replied:

Once again I will say it. I said it with detailed proof in the 2007-June-10 issue of TLE and many times since, so please pay attention:

"Immigration control is UN-Constitutional!"

REALLY! Its TRUE! The US Constitution does NOT authorize immigration control!P.S., that goes for EXIT control also!!

What that means, Al, is that in spite of your erroneous assertions, the Federal government HAS NO OBLIGATIONS regarding this issue, except to butt out!

As for Arizona, in spite of some recent advances, I am utterly appalled at the dominant racist attitude as exhibited in this recent State action.

Dennis Wilson
dennisleewilson@yahoo.com

To which A.X. Perez replied:

Dennis,

I agree with you. In fact I do not claim the Federales have any obligation except to butt out, it is the Feds who claim these power and authority and the obligation(s) that go with them. Yet they have failed to exercise this power in a manner that meets the obligations they claim. This creates a perceived vacuum of power which bigots, autocrats, and demagogues rush to fill.

By the way, since the Constitution does not give the Feds the power to control immigration this power falls to the States under the Tenth Amendment. Until the Feds pass just regulation of immigration (announce the country willm let anyone in) they have no right to complain about Arizona or any other state passing ther own immigration laws.

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs@hotmail.com

To which Dennis Wilson replied:

You asked, so I will answer.

Your "new" argument is merely a rehash of your original—and contains the same errors that I detailed in my article and my replies.

How about something simple, like this:

Those who deny freedom to other people cannot morally claim freedom for themselves.

and/or

I am utterly appalled at, and explicitly repudiate, the open, blatant, naked racism of Arizona's (and the Federal government's) tyrannical attempts to deny me the voluntary services of people from Mexico.

Best regards. I'm sorry I was unable to convince you.

Dennis Wilson
dennisleewilson@yahoo.com

To which A.X. Perez replied:

I think we're talking past each other. Last try. The Feds have no right under Constitutional law to regulate immigration. I think we agree on this point.

When in a display of sheer naked force they tyrannically exercise this power anyhow they do so badly, leading to greater acts of tyranny. I am not conceding that they have the authority to do this, I am simply acknowledging that they are in fact exercising this power and criticizing their exacerbation of the situation. Criticizing a thief for incompetence in his crimes is not conceding him the right to steal, it is simply pointing out he isn't good at thieving. In the matter of immigration, the Federal government is acting tyrannically and apparently incompetently and I am calling the Feds on this.

To be honest why should they get it right? the current inefficient system allows the creation of a permanent class of underpaid labor who dare not seek state assistance in protecting their rights, creates an excuse for checkpoints, and gives the cops another excuse to require that we have our papers in order. I should screw up so profitably!

By the was I was not "arguing" in favor of the current system. I was describing the system as I perceive it and expressing my disdain for the incompetence of the Feds in this case.

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs@hotmail.com


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Cash and Carry

I have frequently asserted that in Texas it is theoretically possible to complete all paperwork and pass Federal Instacheck to buy a gun before your credit clears to purchase said gun. This assertion assumes you can write quickly and fill out your Federal paperwork correctly and that the Instacheck system is working (big assumption that last one). If you have to apply for credit on the spot or your credit/debit card company gets a notion you are making an unusual purchase and gets fussy this works (talked to gun store clerks to verify). Please note this is in Texas where you don't need a permit to buy pistols, full length rifles, and full length shotguns.

This is one more reason to buy firearms cash, takes less time to complete the purchase. If the Feds flush your Instacheck info the way they're supposed to (huge assumption) and there is no particular need for the Feds to check your vendor's 4473 files (don't know how creative your local ATFE guys are so can't tell how effectively this "need" can be ginned up) cash is very anonymous. Anyone who can get into my checking account/debit card files knows I bought a Taurus 9mm Millenium Pro back in July of 2008. Even a check leaves a footprint (an eight hundred dollar check to The Collector's Gun Exchange is probably for a gun, ammo, and accessories.).

Of course y'all knew that. But who really thinks about using cash being faster? So next time you get the notion to buy a gun and thimk you really aren't worried about busybodies getting into your business, consider whether it's faster to pull cash out of the bank than wait for your credit to clear or to argue your bank into letting you make an unusually large purchase on your debit card. To be honest it probably isn't, but it gives you an excuse to protect your privacy a little better.

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs@hotmail.com

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Happy 100th Birthday, Boy Scouts of America, Now Grow Up!

To start this off, I am a Cubscout Packleader, and a Boyscout Assistant Troopleader. I am NOT anti-Scouting. But I DO have problems with it. I have 4 children, 3 boys and the youngest child is a girl. She has watched her brothers go through scouting (one working on Eagle, one a Star scout, and the youngest in his last year of Cubs, prior to going into Boy Scouts), and she doesn't get it why SHE can't do it herself. But enough background. Here's what I wanted to say.

100 years ago, America was introduced to Boy scouts (created in England by Lord Baden-Powell) with the introduction of the first US Scout troop. Over the years, Scouts have supported the war effort in both WWI &WWII, by scrap metal drives, victory gardens, aiding Civil Defense Wardens, blood drives, freeing adults from minor tasks so they could aid the war efforts, and by many other methods. Eagle Scouts (the highest award a boy can earn) aids boys in getting better jobs (employers take it as a sign of both integrity and dedication in addition to showing a hard worker), attain higher rank quicker in the military, and are 10 times more likely NOT to be involved in drugs, alchohol, and criminal difficulties.

The Girl Scouts were established to let girls have some of the opportunities that boys have (not a bad idea when it was introduced, but we have progressed farther than that). Mostly, I yield to none on the way America has lead the world in innovations in politics, economics, and the sciences. But we are CONTINUING our abysmal record of starting off leading a civil reform, stopping halfway, and letting the rest of the world pass us. Yup, I'm talking about equal rights for females. In Scouting around the world, except for some backwards Muslim countries where women are still kept imprisoned as propertyof the male in their life, it is NOT Boy Scouts over here and Girl Scouts over there. It's just Scouts, segregated only in sleeping arrangements and bathing. But in backwards America, we're no better than an Arab extremist insisting that women remain covered in Bhurkas, subservient, and second-class citizens at best. Isn't it time we grew up, America??

The next thing we need to grow up on is even simpler. Gay doesn't equal pedophile. I have met hundreds of gay men and women over the years. Two of them were pedophiles. I have met hundreds of straight men and women who have wound up convicted of pedophelia. Personally, I think there is no crime worse than pedophelia, and I would cheerfully shoot every pedophile I meet. But letting an openly gay man be a scout leader is less dangerous than letting your 12 year old son be a Catholic Altar Boy. And with the emphasis these days on 2-deep leadership (Never having less than 2 leaders present when there are no parents around, the boys are even safe from the closet pedophillic leaders they may already have. So again, it's time to grow up, America.

Well, those are MY opinions of it. The BSA (Boy Scouts of America) IS an excellent organization, doing wonderful things for boys from every walk of life, and it deserves your support. but by becoming involved in scouting, and gently (or not so gently) urging us to grow up would be a wonderful thing. Just remember, as a privately owned and run organization, they have the right to deny membership to whoever they so desire, so we must chang their desire, NOT try to legislate away the rights of any private organization to run itself it's own way. That's what I'm doing, won't you join me and others to helps us step into the 21st century??

Neale Osborn
nealebooks@hotmail.com

To which Richard Bartucci replied:

Dunno about that "less dangerous than letting your 12 year old son be a Catholic Altar Boy" bit. I was myself a Roman Catholic altar boy for a bunch of years straddling Second Vatican Council, and the most "dangerous" thing about the job was tripping over your cassock. That and encounters with hot wax.

I look back on all those years and tend now to think of myself (and all the other altar boys in my parish) as having been short-shrifted. Not once did any priest so much as leer at any of us. If anything, I got the distinct impression that they considered us a bloody nuisance, and would rather have served Mass without having any of us around to keep in line during services. They didn't even bother to recruit new altar boys as I recall. We took care of that ourselves, extorting likely candidates into the corps as older guys literally grew out of their cassocks.

Not exactly a "status" role, and we had to put the pressure to younger brothers and cousins because—the way we saw it—somebody had to get up there and handle the cruets. Besides, if the parents were going to haul us to Mass every damned Sunday, serving on the far side of the rail beat the hell out of sitting in a pew being bored out of your skull.

The only perq of the job I remember was the tips you got for serving wedding masses. Could be pretty lucrative. Funerals? Fuhgeddaboudit.

But no sex. Zero. None. And none in any of the other parishes in which any of my contemporaries and parochial school classmates served. Not "no scandals revealed" but nothing whatsoever anywhere.

And I can be pretty sure of that because if anybody was getting anything in the way of tickle-and-poke along with the Pater Nosters, he sure as hell would've been bragging about it. The priest in question probably would've been swamped by horny Italian-American kids who'd happily hump a hippopotamus if we could pin one down long enough to make a run at it.

From Boy Scouts I know far less. Apart from first aid and my first encounter with structured firearms safety rules, I got pretty much nothing out of it. Growing up in farm country, I got more than sufficient time in the woods on my own and with the guys in my home town, running around the Pine Barrens (which is an area of if-the-plane-goes-down-there-good-luck-finding-it wilderness in South Jersey about the size of Yellowstone National Park) pretty much as we pleased, so the Boy Scouts seemed to us nothing more than an excuse for the grown-ups to cut in on our fun.

Having raised one daughter and with a bunch of granddaughters coming up, I can see the sense in having the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts concert their activities. The Girl Scouts teach some skills which I realize young men could and should acquire to their personal benefit, and there's nothing in the Boy Scouts' repertoire of activities in which Girl Scouts could not participate with equal enjoyment. Moreover, structured familiarization with the tropes of the opposite sex would, I think, help to reduce the alienation that makes for so damned much discomfort in adolescent interactions across gender lines.

A bit less of the Mars/Venus dichotomy and a bit more down-to-Earth, if you catch my drift. F'rinstance, I was a married man before I learned the finer points of devising a rustic latrine for the distaff side. Better by far to have put that knowledge in my personal storehouse while working on merit badges in the BSA, don'tcha think?

Richard Bartucci
bartucci01@verizon.net

To which A.X. Perez replied:

Contrary to current Anti Catholic Church propaganda the fact is 5 to 9 percent of Catholic Clergy are inclined to pedophilia as compared to a general population rate of 4 to 8 % of the general population. Attempting to cover up and not applying Torquemada's methods to deal with pedophiles has caused the Church to get a bad rap.

This brings several points to mind; How do RC clergy compare to other clergy (and even secular groups) entrusted with the care of young people re percentage of pedophiles who enter? How and how effectively have other groups screened to prevent infiltration by pedophiles? How do other groups discipline pedophiles? Do other groups also have a problem with covering up pedophilic and other sexual misconduct? Is the Catholic Church being unfairly singled out for attention on this issue and other groups being given passes? If so is this a result of the Church setting a high standard for itself that it fails to live up to or is this a result of antiCatholic (or at least anti Institutional Church) bigotry?

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs@hotmail.com

To which Richard Bartucci replied:

In addition to other religious denominations with "youth outreach programs," it would be worthwhile also to look into organizations such as the Young Men's Christian Association (which has long had a reputation for hanky-panky of this nature) and the old Boys' Clubs of America, which would seem to me a sort of fish-in-a-barrel (or would that be "chicken-in-a-coop"?) venue for those of such inclinations as are under discussion here. Likewise organized sports like Little League. peewee football, and the many child soccer leagues which proliferate unnaturally and teach American children the vices associated with an activity damned near as boring and pointless as golf but of great appeal to nations prone to both socialism and the cult of the caudillo.

I do not really trust the appetites of grown men who deliberately devote time and attention to flocks of small boys in short, baggy pants, all in pursuit of exercises better suited to Guatemalans than to the children of the American Revolution.

Richard Bartucci
bartucci01@verizon.net


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