Letters To The Editors

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Fifth Estate # 34, July 15-31, 1967

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To the Editor:

The first meaning in The American College Dictionary defines “reform” as “…the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, etc.; social reform.”

But how does Governor Romney define the term? One can only assume from the public position he has taken that reform is the furthest thing from his mind. Ever since Con-Con, Romney’s gubernatorial launching pad, his opposition to a state graduated income tax has been patently clear. But now when the state supposedly needs money, he doesn’t fight the addition of this new tax to the polyglot of provincial personal state taxes already in existence.

No, instead, he welcomes this tax in addition to all the others, Romney is even more amenable to a flat, across the board income tax which alone is almost as burdensome as the 4% sales tax on the middle and lower income brackets, but in addition to the existing chaotic tax structure, it would be intolerable.

This is not fiscal reform—more straightforward and reform—minded citizens would have called the animal by its name: tax increase.

Romney’s odious misnomer is obviously not just a deliberate misuse of terms. It is the substitution of a backward tax, benefiting only corporations and upper income groups, for a graduated state income tax which would replace the sales and sundry nuisance taxes that plague the middle and lower income brackets.

This is the issue that should be brought before the citizenry in a public debate and referendum and not held as the exclusive property of the legislature.

John G. Ditzhazy
East Lansing, Michigan

Dear Fifth Estate:

“So you want to be a hippy and live like hippies do!” Thus begins a Jane Lee reply, in the Sunday Detroit News of July 2, to a letter from a teenage girl (‘Our Parents Are Savages’) about to take off for San Francisco.

“I think you have the qualifications” continues Jane, and “I don’t care” attitude about anybody or anything else but your own preferences.

“…the ‘life’ you are dreaming about, and which seems so glamorous to you now, will turn out to be a succession of psychedelic orgies in health-hazardous rooms smelling of unwashed humanity.

“You’ll share all right, an indiscriminate sharing of boy and girl friends for lovemaking…

“…the term ‘savages’ is still better applied to those hippies who live in a state little removed from that of animals.:.

“I’m afraid you and your girl friends have been hooked by the biggest con game of the current generation if you look to hippy life for future happiness.”

And so Jane Lee. What can we say to her, this symbol of the whole liberal conservative best-of-all-possible-worlds outlook? How can we best answer her?

Notice her first clobbering the young girl with guilt, calling her selfish. Notice the concern with “orgies,” the obsession with dirt and germs, with “unwashed humanity” (what psychoanalysts call pleasure-anxiety).

Notice the snobbish “don’t live like an animal,” strong words from a member of that animal breed that makes the mass-killing of its own breed into a science known as war. Notice the mistrust and labeling of the unfamiliar as con game.

What, then, can we say to her? That she read (or re-read) Thoreau, Tolstoy, Wilhelm Reich, or Christ himself? Or perhaps this: That hippies are a painful reminder of something, to wit, Life, are to the Jane Lees about what Blacks are to White Southerners, or workers to bureaucratic bosses, or children to bossy schoolteachers and dirt-obsessed, sex-horrified parents, or non-western “underdeveloped” peoples to western.

Painful reminder.

But Jane, I suppose, is over 30…

Sam Cohen
Detroit.

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