Friday, September 17, 2010
By George F. Will
Thursday, September 16, 2010; A25
The scene of the crime: New Jersey, 1971. Prudence Goodwyfe (AKA “Venus De Hotbuns”) increases the price of 15 minutes of healthy, normal sexual intercourse from $20.00 to $19.75. Not only does this frustrate her business competitors—who fear that an inflation will reduce customers--but furthermore she stands in violation of President Nixon’s Phase One price controls.
Prudence was merely a working mom trying to provide for her family, but the Nixon Brain Trust had decided in all of its wisdom that the price of 900 seconds of oral pleasure was exactly 20 Yankee dollars.Hence the Nixon Administration had now decided that the Prudence was a ‘criminal,’ and actually jailed her after one such act.
Amity Shlaes, in "The Forgotten Man," her history of the New Deal, reports that the NRA "generated more paper than the entire legislative output of the federal government since 1789." (Although to be fair, so have my books about baseball.)
Her book documents a shocking case, in which the Stalinist Roosevelt regime, in attempting to deal with the worst economic crisis in modern history, attempted to control prices.
Prudence was an immigrant from Poland, which in the Cold War would become familiar with the concept of "economic crimes" and the use of criminal law for the "re-education" of deviationists. (Obviously the future Stalinist occupation of Poland worked backwards in time somehow in a way. And let’s not forget that 1945-Roosevelt had his picture taken with Stalin, no doubt further influencing in a backwards-time-causal manner the actions of 1934-Roosevelt. Moreover, 1941-Roosevelt sided with Stalin in a war against the free-enterprise loving folk of Germany. The specter of the backwards-causal-collective was no doubt at work.)
Maged not only spent three days in jail, but was also judged by a judge. As anyone who has ever been in a courtroom knows, this is incredibly unusual. Forced to conform, dragged through the mud, his soul doubtless dead and buried, Maged did the only thing a man in his position could do: Go back to work. Oppressed, unfree, work in which he was no doubt part of The Collective, he continued to iron slacks until his untimely death from cancer. His spirit, however, once soaring free as an eagle as he wielded steam press with a pride that only the poor and desperate can know (Oh! How I envy them!), had now become like a soggy damp shirt which refused to be neatly pressed and was now sadly limp, wrinkled and unstarched. Just to add a sad note to this story, he died a broken man at the young age of 54 from cancer. (Possibly also due to the increasing use of tetrachloroethylene in dry cleaning, which just happens to cause a bit of cancer now and then, but let’s not confuse a good story with facts, ifs, ands or buts.)
The point is is that my outrage is stems from the fact that this hard-working, impoverished immigrant was just like me: A college-deferment-Vietnam-draft-avoiding opinionated trombenik who’s spent his life in front of a typewriter. And there’s never a bad time to stir the fear of Bolshevism, even if I’m the only one left who remembers what it means.