This was also the time when the State of Florida decided to nip all of us budding Bolsheviks right down to size with a mandatory civics offering called ‘Americanism vs. Communism’. I knew when I was taking this course that it would some day merit a mention in my memoirs. The text was predictably hysterical, although making no effort to take a serious critical look at Marxist-Leninist thought, it did try to summarize the main points, like the cyclic theory of history, class struggle and dialectical materialism. The only problem was that even though these concepts were roundly criticized in the text, the analysis always seemed very compelling in their favor. It all made sense to me, by the time I had finished the course I was convinced that Communism in theory wasn’t that bad after all, it had just been taken over by bad people. Whether this was a result of the stupidity of the educators who put the course together, or the result of a colossal propaganda coup by an underground cell of Tallahassee Reds I will never know. Of course, I didn’t need a right wing pep talk to convince me Communism was as hideous in practice as Nazism, the catalog of documented horrors in Russia, China and Cuba was enough for that. But the glowing description of the virtues of capitalism in that little book were so lame that I’m surprised the student body wasn’t soon building barricades and waving red flags. It was about that time that I began forming my own political opinions and I like to think that course played a major role in defining my position. I realized that planned economies cannot be as efficient as a free market, not only are they unable to take advantage of natural self-regulation, but they fail to either recognize or exploit the unstoppable desire of every human being to live as well as he can, to work hard for it, and to risk everything to achieve it. Not only that, all-powerful governments lead inevitably to corruption and tyranny. On the other hand, I could also see that capitalism is inherently unstable and if left alone will lead to monopoly or depression, usually both. Neither is it immune from tyranny. The only way to put together a humane economic system is to do precisely what America has always done, let the economy run itself, but kick the businessmen in the ass every now and then when they start to get out of line. The truth, as always in partisan matters, is usually somewhere between the two extremes.
So you see, there IS a precedent to the “Don’t Say Gay” law.