Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Part Eighty-Six, Chapter Eight - Sex, Drugs, and That's About It

Last chapter the Heller-chaired meeting of Voltar's most noble nobles prevented the Apparatus from ever happening again by outlawing "those criminal patterns of intelligence" they imported from Earth.  Let's see what else we can learn about how to solve Earth's problems by watching how Voltar deals with the same issues, shall we?

Mortiiy wants to pick a new Grand Council, a general reminds him that the previous Council is now a bunch of drug-addicted losers, and Mortiiy unfortunately doesn't roll his eyes and say "which is why I want to pick a new Council."  An admiral wants to hurry up and ban drugs, but Mortiiy wants more information.

The admiral in charge of medicine

Wait, what?

said, "We never used them in the Confederacy.  We used various gases for surgery and such.

You'd think an admiral would know that drugs can inhaled as gases, but I guess that's why they made him in charge of medicine.

From what I've seen of drugs, they're poison." 

Anything's a poison if you take it in too large a dose.  Granted, depending on the substance the lethal dose can be very small.

Another admiral, this one with the more logical jurisdiction of "contraband and space patrols," informs the meeting that Voltar's drug problem started with Lombar Hisst, who got the idea from... well, you can guess what shows up on the display panels of the conference hall.

Mortiiy, from the higher level, stared down at it.  He read it. "That's impossible!" he said.  "A whole planet going crazy with drugs?"

"That's the analysis, Your Majesty," said Bis. "They take them morning, noon and night. They feed them to the schoolchildren,


the workmen


and the aged.


They even fight their wars with soldiers drugged to the hilt."

It takes a lot of antacids to deal with the stress of combat.

"That's Blito-P3 again!" said Mortiiy.

"It was Hisst's secret weapon against Voltar," said Bawtch, crawling out from under the table.  "That was why he was mounting that premature invasion of Earth.  To get more drugs so he could cave the Confederacy population in."

"It ought to be invaded," snarled Mortiiy.  "But not to get more drugs."

I'm under the impression that Hubbard spent a lot of his time at sea in an altered state of consciousness, so I'm wondering what the deal is with this anti-drug crusade.  Did he realize, toward the end, what his recreational habits had done to his body?  Was he trying to deflect allegations of drug use in the least subtle way imaginable?  Or - and this is a stretch - is all this a subtle satire of the rabid anti-drug culture of the late '80's establishment?  Is Hubbard presenting the world not as he sees it, but as they see it, to show readers how warped such a worldview is?

Probably not, since the rest of the book consists of the author's rants about psychological Nazis being behind everything.

Maybe I'm reading too much into the book's anti-drug angle, 'cause Heller once again comes to the rescue and explains that while drugs are a "rotten business," banning them doesn't work - Lombar already made such an order, and it only protected his own monopoly.  On drugs he couldn't reproduce.  So he could keep importing them from Earth.

At any rate, the solution is to completely decriminalize and ignore the drug problem, because drugs are only a profitable business when they're illegal (just ask the tobacco companies).  And drugs stop messing people up if you don't look at them, I guess.  So Mortiiy rescinds the anti-drug law, and that's that, problem solved.  Especially since the only drug-production facilities on Voltar are Teenie's marijuana gardens.

Continuing a theme of nepotism and unqualified government officials, someone suggests that since the old Grand Council is going through the shakes and watching purple spiders crawl out of the ceiling, they could simply appoint the sons of all those Lords to fill the posts.  But, ahah, the problem with that is Teenie kinda, uh...

Bis leaned over to his admiral senior and that worthy said, "Gentlemen, Your Majesty, I have bad news for you there.  Without a single exception, the sons of Lords here have become catamites."

"WHAT?" said Mortiiy.  "Where did that come from?'' 

Depends who you ask.  Some say it's something latent and natural that you can either express or repress, others think that your sexual orientation is a decision you consciously make at some point, which may be influenced by demons.

"Your Majesty," said the admiral, "we regret to tell you they were suborned by a very corrupt and perverted young girl who arrived here a few months ago and who, without doubt, should be executed for actually teaching sexual irregularities.  I understand they are common on her home planet.  She is an Earth girl.  She comes from Blito-P3."

"THAT planet again!" said Mortiiy. "First freaks, then corrupting governments with intelligence, then drugs and now catamites!" 

Can I just point out (for the nth time) that Voltar had catamites before Teenie showed up?  Twolah and Odur, remember those guys?  Or maybe the author's about to explain that they weren't gay until Hisst read about sodomy in a report on Earth?

No, he's not, because the proceedings are interrupted by Daily Speaker publisher Noble Arthrite Stuffy, who's been trying to be heard since Crobe came up.  He wants a law to ban the practice of something called psychiatry and psychology.

"Why?" said Mortiiy.

"Your Majesty, those two subjects claim that sex is the basis for all motivation."

"That's nonsense," said Mortiiy.  

Yet hard to argue against if you use these books as evidence.

"But it's just some crackpot idea."

"No, it isn't, Your Majesty," said Noble Arthrite Stuffy.  "Those subjects are a pack of falsities and lies that are used to undermine the population, corrupt them and hold in power vicious governments run by insane men!  Psychiatry and psychology played their role in bringing about the chaos we have just been through.  Abolish them quick!"

And Mortiiy asks, that's absurd, where did these ideas come from?  And the other guy says, the Aristocrats!

Stuffy demurs to go into detail about how these false doctrines managed to overthrow Voltar's government, at least in public.  Which is really convenient for the author, since in this case psychology was only used to influence a small group of wives, so they could pressure their husbands into letting Madison publish his stories.  Hardly the sort of apocalyptic "undermine the population" scenario we're supposed to be scared of.

Krak interrupts the meeting to whisper the latest update on the former monarch's condition (sleeping) into the new emperor's ear.  Even though she spent an appreciable amount of time on Earth, and played a... supporting role in the overthrow of Hisst, she wasn't invited to this council to decide the fate of the Confederacy.  Yet she still manages to contribute before the author sidelines her once more, answering Mortiiy's request for more information about psychology.

"They're awful.  The governments there use them to maim and kill and drive people insane when they don't like somebody.  They teach all the schoolchildren they're only animals so they'll act like animals."

"That's good enough for me," Mortiiy whispered back.

Two "expert" witness' testimony is all he needs to ban something.  But hey, a twofer for this chapter!  Solved Voltar's drug problem (by ignoring it) and rid the world (a few ladies) of psychology forever!  We'll be wrapping up this story in no time, right?  Right?

Madison's furious, though, and vows to keep fighting for the truth that "men are just rotten animals."  He does this by blabbering on about Heller's "gun moll" influencing the new monarch.

Little did Madison know that he was about to precipitate the wipeout of the planet Earth!

Well, as long as Earth wore its helmet and kneepads and was going at a safe speed, it ought to be okay.

Back to Part Eighty-Six, Chapters Six and Seven

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