Dr. Batra’s Theory:” Appalling”
Ruth Fitzgibbons’s Editor’s Page on Dr. Ravi Batra [July] was better suited to The National Enquirer than to D Magazine. Individuals seeking personal profit from societal fears are nothing new. Today, however, they usually masquerade as religious cult leaders rather than university economists. Nevertheless, they are one and the same and deserve to be exposed for what they are lest some not-yet-educated undergraduate student plan his career for a doomsday economy.
Dr. Batra’s basic message is that one can look at economic history of the past 250 years in decade-long chunks and see a pat-tern. In the field of economics, where few tenets are virtually accepted, it is virtually accepted that one cannot look at economic history over long periods of time and see a pattern. This is because: l)We do not have available reliable economic data for any period prior to the 20th century; 2)The world economy has grown and changed so much over the past several decades, let alone the past twenty-five decades, that even if we had good data available it would be as ineffectual as comparing acceleration curves of a horse and carriage with those of a Boeing 747; and3)Even if we had good comparable data available (as we will have in the year 2000 for the prior century), il would still be inutile because the greatest determinant of macroeconomic cycles appears to be the “wild cards.” Wild cards include major world wars; economic embargos and the actions of cartels, as in the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973; and major technological changes such as the conquering of plagues or the development of irrigation.
There is a developing theory that there may be a pattern to the wild cards that seems to determine world macroeconomic cycles. One of the current spin-off projects of the advanced supercomputers developed for our Strategic Defense Initiative is to search the world history of major events for a pattern that we currently cannot recognize as such due to our limited human mental capacities and/or current knowledge of mathematics. The implication by Dr. Batra that his mental abilities and knowledge of mathematics are far enough advanced to detect a pattern in major world events is appalling.
The rapid expansion of our economy shows no signs of slowing down, as we now have a backlog of major technological changes to implement. In 1990 we will begin the second decade of the economic expansion hegun by the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which provided businesses with massive assistance in retooling their outdated plants and equipment. The risk ahead is that a small minority of Americans who have not participated in this expansion (due mostly to their own behavior) will sell the majority a story based on books like Dr. Batra’s, and we might return to the “misery index” mentality of the late Seventies promoting its own negative self-fulfilling doomsday prophecy. Unless we see a massive political return to these former policies, Dr. Batra will be forced to write in 1989 “The Great Continuing Economic Expansion of 1990,” explaining where he went wrong in 1985.
Paul Zane Pilzer Dallas
Violence and the Mentally III
“Death in the Family” by Skip Hollands-worth [July] was a stunning account of one family’s experiences with mental illness and “the system.”
Many members of the Alliance for the Mentally HI were disturbed that a rare story on the brain disease schizophrenia seemed to highlight a murder. It seems to further fears, caused more by stigma than statistics, that those with mental illness are dangerous. They are no more violent than the general population, are more likely to be victims, and their behavior is more withdrawn than acting out. So at first reading, the focus on this family seemed to accentuate the problem. But Skip Hollandsworth is a caring, competent researcher, and much information is imbedded in the article. Your cover reference to “An Impotent System,” and his story, which shows the “revolving-door system hopelessly ill-equippod” to handle this debilitating disease that affects one in four families, does tell a lot, Thank you.
Maura McNiel President, Alliance for the Mentally III
As a relative of a person disabled by chronic mental illness, I am deeply troubled by your article emphasizing the violence in the Breitbarth family. This emphasis on violence reinforces the public perception that most former patients of psychiatric wards are violent, making it more difficult to get the needed tax-supported services, the necessary zoning for community facilities, and, significantly, volunteers to help the private organizations who are trying to make a difference. Also, it is easy to recognize that stigma has an impact on the suicide rate among the mentally ill. The truth is that the mentally ill are no more violent than the general public. There is reliable documentation to support this position.
My observations are more than those of a grieving family member. I am a founder and president of Herrin House and also of An-i chor Services. Herrin House is a small, private group home that has provided, quality rehabilitation services in East Dallas for twenty-one months. Anchor Services is a vocational training and employment service for porsons with emotional disabilities.
My family spent many hours with Skip Hollandsworth to give him the information that led to his excellent story about Karl and Erik. This was not done to gain any profit or sympathy, but rather to alert the populace to the danger of not helping the mentally ill.
To those parents of mentally ill children who complain about the picture of violence, I say-Have you seen the frustration in your children’s eyes? How many times have you seen the anger, the hopelessness, and the utI ter loneliness that’s part of mental illness? The mentally ill who do not have wealthy parents or very caring parents end their lives | as suicides, or on the streets, or in the prisons. Do they have a choice? With properI care and medication, these would not be violent people, but desporate people doI get violent.
I hope this story will aid in getting the mentally ill the help they desperately need. I They do not vote, nor are they elders in church. Having no influence in society, they I are indeed the true minority hidden and I forgotten. Their screams for help are muffled, or unheard until a shot is fired.
Mary Lou Breitbarth Dallas
Chris Tucker’s “Parting Shot” in July’s edition regarding Gary Hart was wonderful. Many concerns I have felt since this issue became public were expressed. It makes me very sad to think that Mr. Han will never be able to run for public office again because of this particular issue. Your article made a good point regarding the people who have never been accused of “womanizing.” i.e, Richard Nixon, George Bush, Gerald Ford. It scares me to think of the kind of people| who will now be running for office. Thanks again for this article on Senator Hart, and for your publication.
Trina Wadnal Dallas
Sunday School: “Humanistic Remarks?”
I’m certain that 1 am not the only Christian who takes exception to “The ChurchesWhy Full-Grown Adults Still Go To Sunday School” by Skip Hollandsworth [July]. It has amazed, me that this writer went to such great lengths to elaborate on a subject that he is obviously so ill equipped, to discuss, and amazing still that he would decide to discuss a topic about which he was so ill informed-Why does it confound Hollandsworth that so many Christian adults are anxious to become better educated, about die Bible and what it teaches concerning God’s will for Believers, and instruction concerning how to deal honorably and honestly with our fellow-men, and further, to learn how to endure living in this world as it is today?
I understand that without a Faith in Jesus Christ no one, not even Hollandsworth, can understand the ways of the Lord, or why it is expedient for Christians to live as we do and why we follow the instruction in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is”; and also in II Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Mrs. Jack E. Jones Irving
Fortunately, we do live in a society that espouses freedom of speech and I am entitled to mine. Unfortunately, a publication develops a reputation by the tone and/or subject matter found therein. This recent article. if an example of your literary thoughts, somehow appears to have missed the real meaning of adults attending Sunday School. There is not any mention of spiritual life and/or religious development.
Hollandsworth is obviously a young, single individual who yet lacks the maturity to discern the importance of the need in one’s life to nurture religious growth. Lest he forget, this great nation was founded upon religious principles and freedoms and I dare say, without them, we will surely lose the moral fiber that has kept us together.
Johnny Rutledge McKinney
Being a born again Christian. I was rather disturbed by the humanistic remarks reflecting the Sunday School and the fact that Mr. Hollandsworth referred to Christianity as a “weird business.” I agree that in the secular viewpoint of Christianity, through the eyes of a humanist who judges all Christians to he nothing more than Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and Oral Roberts clones, it would he a rather “weird business.1’ I gather by reading your article that you are a Humanist and not a Christian. Anyone who would call Christianity a “business” of any sort must not believe in God, the Bible, or anything referring to Jesus Christ and his sole purpose of reigning and then dying on Earth for all of our sins.
I hope you don’t mind me putting your article on the bulletin board in our Sunday School class. We’re also going to continue praying for men like yourself and never give up hope thai someday Jesus Christ will come into your hearts, and his true meaning will make you come out of the darkness and see the light upon the lampstand.
Bruce W. Hanby
Good Riddance to Shoemaker
Captain Richard Shoemaker’s lawyer was correct when he said Dick made Southwest Airlines safer to fly [“Incident at Gate Five,” July], I know I feel better going to work and looking in the cockpit and not seeing Dick in charge of my life, fellow flight attendants, and our very valued, passengers.
Getting Crosswise With Terrell
I am writing concerning a statement made by Richard West in “A Pasha Play” in your June issue. First, I would like to state that I have always been a reader and supporter of your magazine.
Your statement, and I. quote, “The whole thing [the Pasha deal] might have been planned by a cross-eyed catatonic from Terrell State Hospital” is a slur to our community and to our fine state hospital. I feel that you exercised bad judgment, and your statement has upset a numher of people in our community. We are continually working to overcome a negative image in the minds of many D/FW people concerning Terrell and the state hospital. This one statement in your magazine does nothing to assist us in changing that image.
Danny R. Booth
Executive Vice President
Greater Terrell Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Batra’s Theory:” Appalling”