REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM
- In his recent address to the United Nations, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko reminds us what year it is:
Provocative intrigues are still going on against the sovereign and nonaligned people of Pakistan. The foes of the Afghan people will stop at nothing and will not abandon their hopes of plunging it back into its medieval benightedness. To this end, military incursions from the outside are being organized. Is it possible to solve the foreign policy aspect of this problem? Yes it is. The way to do this is stop forming, arming and infiltrating into the country from outside anti-Government gangs of bandits and saboteurs and not to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. There can be no doubt that Afghanistan has followed and will continue to follow the path it has taken-the path of independence, freedom, social progress, peace and nonalignment. New York Times, September 28, 1984.
- Secretary of State George Shultz on the Gromyko-Reagan talks:
"Mr. Gromyko, of course, expressed his views very powerfully and aggressively, as he always does," Shultz told reporters after the Soviet foreign minister left the White House, "and the president listened to him carefully" . . . . [Leaving the White House, Gromyko] clasped his hands over his head in a boxer's victory salute, [and] stepped into a limousine. . . . Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1984.
- Foreign journalists cope with the mysteries of the American political campaigns:
Mikhail Beglov, one of seven Washington correspondents for the Soviet news service Tass, explains, "I don't think we did a story about 'Hymie.' It's not a tradition of the Soviet press to make negative remarks about this or that nationality. Also there is a problem of translation. We could only use a vulgar Russian word, which was out of the question." Wall Street Journal, June 18, 1984.
- Los Angeles Times headline of June 26, 1984: "400 Believed Killed by Twisters in Soviet Union; Weathermen Purged."
- Dr. Helen Caldicott, antinuclear activist author (Missile Envy):
A weak man, an unattractive man, is a man who never admits he's made a mistake, never shows any feelings, who hides behind a defense system and who builds missiles. . . . Such a man . . . has a case of acute missile envy. Such a patient is (Defense Secretary) Casper Weinberger or (Secretary of State) George Shultz. . . . I mean . . . it's all phallic. Los Angeles Times, June 27,1984.
- Just one from Jesse Jackson, Saturday Night Live host:
Women should never again support an all-male slate. Blacks should never again support an all-white or female slate. And part of our mission must be to destroy racism and sexism and unleash our brains. New York Times, August 10, 1984.
- San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, on KCBS radio: "I think the Olympics should be non-political. And, uh, persons just should not come to the Olympics if they intend to defect from their countries." May 12, 1984.
- [Robert] Scheer: Do you think that the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was any more brutal and appalling than the U.S. intervention in Vietnam?
[Walter] Mondale: I think the intervention, the decision in Vietnam, was a very bad mistake. It was one regrettably in the early years that I participated in. I'm proud of the fact I spent five years of my life opposing it, but even if your question is exactly accurate, two wrongs don't make a right. Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1984.
- Speaker of the House Thomas P. O'Neill: "If only [Mondale] could only talk head-to-head with people . . . he's so knowledgeable, so talented, and so brilliant that the election would be a landslide." Washington Times, September 7, 1984.
- Geraldine Ferraro on abortion: "I was raised in a convent. They do a little bit of a number on Catholic women-Catholic men, too, but less than Catholic women-on this particular issue." Washington Times, September 4, 1984.
- Hobbesian morality as articulated and practiced by one of its exponents:
A book of moral philosophy, originally scheduled for publication next month has been postponed and may be canceled because the author wrote a bogus letter [attributed to Harvard philosophy professor Robert Nozick] that gave the book a ringing endorsement. The author, Timothy J. Cooney, said . . . he "forged the letter out of desperation" because without it "no one in the world of publishing would even read the manuscript". . . .
The book, titled "Telling Right From Wrong," had been scheduled to be published in Random House.
"It's a dilemma, because the book is absolutely brilliant . . ." said Jason Epstein, editorial director of Random House.
[According to Cooney, the deception] "has no moral or ethical implications . . . considering my book is now in galleys I'm very proud of what I did. . . ."
. . . . The Cooney argument, in brief, [the book manuscript's editor] said, is that there is such a thing as morality, that it is highly restricted and that which is immoral is that which in some sense would threaten or destroy society. . . .
A source close to Mr. Cooney . . . added, "His philosophical position is that only a few things are immoral-murder, theft, injuring another person physically and in other ways. . . . New York Times, September 13, 1984.
- The spirit of popular sovereignty lives at Brown University, where students voted to urge the school's health service to stockpile "suicide pills" for use following a nuclear attack. The organizers of the successful campaign wanted students to associate nuclear war with suicide. Two of the organizers "said many students signed the petition to put the question on the ballot not because they supported the measure but rather 'to let it get on the ballot in the spirit of democratic process.'" New York Times, October 11, 1984.