Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reflections on the Passing of a Comrade

“Thank you for participating in my cheap substitute for much needed therapy. The tone of my posts is best interpreted if you imagine a can of beer next to my keyboard.” --Fred Bartlett

'Crime is easier than calculus.'
Fred Bartlett

Fred passed away in January.  He was a regular on the Rebirth of Reason and Objectivist Living discussion boards. On OL, he posted as "Frediano."  (His family name had been Americanized from Italian some generations back.) This was his last contribution, placed on OL: 
 Posted 31 December 2014 - 10:04 AM[quoting a previous post to which this was his reply] The practice of homosexuality is jealously protected by secular leftist libertines who regard it as a Holy Sacrament of their political religion. Perhaps.   But my politics are somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun.  I view the issue as a primary example of free association, in the most personal and individual sense of free association; the choice of one's life partner.  
I also see the issue as emblematic of what was once also an American principle; that one of the best ways to defend our freedom in this nation is to defend the freedom of our peers.  So, yes, in that political sense-- defense of individual liberty in a free nation, I see it as part of my political religion. Been a 'practicing' heterosexual my whole life.   Practice makes perfect, they say.   Been married to the same woman for decades.   Never been molested.  
I came to know and observe the relationships of adult homosexual couples as a young man, growing up on an island in a river in an industrial town of about 140,000.   Families lived on this island, it was a smaller community within a larger community.   Because of the nature of this island community, it was a place in this town where people could live without being hounded by the crusaders who were imbued with their special righteous concern over the skins and lives of others; you know, freedom eating busybodies.  The adults on this island would hire the kids in the summer to do odd jobs -- like, pour a cement deck or sidewalk or dock,   Work all day, get paid lunch and maybe $2 each.   Standing in the muck in the river, wrangling railroad ties and metal rods to back the cement forms, all kinds of fun.   Not every day; most days we were kids screwing around, and when we did so inappropriately, we'd get yelled at by the adults.   All the adults.  Equally.   Could not tell them apart in any significant fashion at all.   But I remember distinctly -- it was a life lesson -- an incident with one of the 'bachelor' couples.   One of them got sick, kidney problems, hospitalized for a while.   Was critical.  And the anguish and concern in his partner was palpable.  And when his partner recovered and was back home, the relief was palpable as well.    It was clear that these two human beings cared for each other, deeply, like any other pair of human beings I've ever seen on earth.   And in all that time on that island community, I never even heard of a single untowards incident or moment of abuse or molestation.   Maybe the local DIocese was covering up plenty in town at the time, later well documented in the papers,  but not anything I ever personally witnessed or heard of in that island community. 
So, we all have our theories about the choices of others.   Such as, where the deep seated need to crusade against the nobodies business but their own choices of others that has over-run the insane GOP comes from. regards,Fredright wing public secularist advocate of individual liberty and freedom
The Rebirth of Reason discussion board allows approval voting. (Disapproval voting is not an option.)  Fred had garnered 9558 Atlas Points, an impressive sign of appreciation from the community of readers. His writing was often rhapsodic. I asked him about that. He replied that as an engineer, he has to be matter-of-fact in his writing. Writing for Objectivist discussion groups was his chance to kick back and write freely.
It's 1961. I'm 6 years old, and in the kitchen of my buddy, Howie. Howie has a brother, a stay at home mother who is active in the local PTA, and a father who graduated from HS and is a janitor at Beth Steel. Howie's father is standing in the kitchen with one arm around his wife, who is crying and laughing. They are staring at his first weekly take home check that cleared the miracle amount of $100. They live in a clean neighborhood on a tree lined street, they send their kids to a good local school. They think they have just won the lottery.
The day this is happening, JFK's federal budget is $100B, over half of which is for defense at the peak of the cold war. JFK will soon give his speech at Rice, and America the nation, as well as American economies, are about to go on a tear. A nation of inspired youth is about to head off in a hundred million different quests to change the world. As well as the odd adventure in Vietnam. Flash ahead to 2012. The federal government spends over $3600B/yr of the nation's income, not $100B/yr. But where are the stories of joyous janitors and their happy wives crying with joy over bringing home a weekly check in which Dad the HS grad has cleared over $3600/wk?http://rebirthofreason.com/Forum/Books/0274_1.shtml#20
Fred graduated from Princeton University in 1977, then earned a master's from MIT in 1978. He worked around the world, usually for himself, occasionally hiring others.  

You can read the obituary at the funeral home here.  The notice and replies on Objectivist Living were posted hereThe notice and comments on Rebirth of Reason were posted here. Fred wrote a novel, Running Through the Dark. He placed it on RoR in 2012 (read herebefore selling it through Amazon. 
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