Жанр книги: Научная Фантастика
Robert A Heinlein To Sail Beyond The Sunset

Albuquerque was favoured also through having been bypassed by many of the ills of the Crazy Years. Despite its size - 180. 000 and growing smaller because of the roadcity south of it; such shrinkage was usual - it continued to have the sweet small-town feeling so common in the early twentieth century, so scarce in the second half. It was the home of the main campus of the University of New Mexico. .. a school blessed with a chancellor who had not given in to the nonsense of the sixties.

Students there had rioted (some of them) just once; Dr Macintosh kicked them out and they stayed kicked out. Parents screamed and complained at the state capital in Santa Fe; Dr Macintosh told the trustees and the legislature that there would be order and civilised behaviour on the campus as long as he was in charge. If they did not have the guts to back him up, he would leave at once and they could hire some masochistic wimp who enjoyed presiding over a madhouse. They backed him up.

In 1970 at campuses all over America half of all freshmen (or more) were required to take a course called ‘English A' (or something similar) but known everywhere as ‘Bonehead English'. When Dr Macintosh became chancellor, he abolished Bonghead English and refused to admit students who would have been http://o-gps.ru required to take it. He announced, ‘It costs the taxpayers a minimum of seventeen thousand dollars a year to keep a student on this campus. Reading, writing, spelling, and grammar are grammar school subjects. If an applicant for admission to this university does not know these grammar school subjects well enough to get along here, let him go back to the grammar school that had dumped him untaught. He does not belong here. I refuse to waste tax money on him. '

Again parents screamed - but the parents of these subliterate applicants were a minority, while the majority of voters and legislators were discovering that they liked what they heard from Chancellor Macintosh.

After Dr Macintosh revised the university prospectos, it carried a warning that students were at all times subject to surprise tests for drugs-urine, blood, whatever. If they were caught - expulsion, no second chance.

A student who flunked a drug test found his quarters searched at once, all legal and proper, as there were seven judges in town willing night and day to issue search warrants on ‘probable cause'. No attention was paid to tender feelings; all who were caught in possession were prosecuted.

Especially for the benefit of drug dealers the legislature reinstituted a fine old custom: public hangings. Gallows were erected in plazas. To be sure, drug dealers sentenced to death always appealed to the state supreme court and then to Washington, but with five members including the Chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States having been appointed by President Patton, it worked out that drug dealers in New Mexico had little reason to complain of the ‘Law's Delays'. One bright young entrepreneur lived exactly four weeks from arrest to jack Ketch. The average time, once the system got rolling, was less than two months.

As usual, the ACLU had a fit over all these matters. Several ACLU lawyers spent considerable time in jail for contempt of court, not in the new jail, but in the drunk tank of the old jail, with the drunks, the hopheads, the wetbacks, and the quasi-male prostitutes.

These were some of the reasons I moved to Albuquerque. The whole country was losing its buttons, a mass psychosis I have never fully understood. Albuquerque was not immune but it was fighting back, and it had enough sensible men and women in key posts that it was a good place to live during the ten years I was there.

At the very time that America's schools and families were going to pieces the country was enjoying a renaissance in engineering and science, and not alone in such big items as space travel and roadcities. While students frivolled away their time, the research facilities of universities and of industry were turning out more good work than ever - in particle physics, in plasma physics, in aerospace, in genetics, in exotic materials, in medical research, in every field.

The exploitation of space flourished unbelievably. Mr Harriman's decision to keep it out of government hands, let private enterprise go at it for profit, was vindicated. While Pikes Peak Spaceport was still new, Spaceways Ltd was building bigger, longer, and more efficient catapults at Quito and on the Island of Hawaii. Manned expeditions were sent to Mars and to Venus and the first asteroid miners headed out.

Meanwhile the United States went to pieces.

This decay went on not just on time line two but on all investigated time lines. During my fifty years in Boondock I read several scholarly studies of the comparative histories of the explored time lines concerning what was called ‘The Twentieth Century Devolution'.

I'm not sure of my opinions. I saw it on only one time line, and that only to the middle of 1982 and in my own country. I have opinions but you need not take them seriously as some leading scholars have other opinions.

Here are some of the things I saw as wrong:

The United States had over 600. 000 practising lawyers. That must be at least 500. 000 more than were actually needed. I am not counting lawyers such as myself; I never practised. I studied law simply to protect myself from lawyers, and there were many like me.

Family decay: I think it came mainly from both parents working outside the home. It was said again and again that, from mid-century on, both parents had to have jobs just to pay the bills. If this was true, why was it not necessary in the first half of the century? How did labour-saving machinery and enormously increased productivity impoverish the family?