Emailing: Vita Continued

Vita Continued

 


My attention was called to the book Austrian
Philosophy, the Legacy of Franz Brentano
and to the article by Jonathan
Jacobs & John Zeis, "Form and Cognition:
 How to Go Out of Your Mind
" [The Monist, vol. 80, no. 4,
October, 1997, pp. 539-557] by the editor of the Monist
and the author of the book, Barry
Smith
, Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York,
Buffalo. How this happened is noteworthy.

I met Professor Smith at a conference in 1997. We were both part of the
audience to a presentation to the effect that Descartes was a terrible philosopher, the
source of all the evils of modern thought, while earlier philosophy, like
Aristotle, was much better. I pointed out that Descartes’s difficulty with his
intuitively known "clear and distinct" ideas was really no different from the
problem with Aristotle’s "first principles of
demonstration
." Professor Smith then spoke up that Aristotle’s problem had
been "taken care of," as would be revealed in an article in a forthcoming issue
of his journal.

Later, at a reception, I asked Professor Smith how this had been "taken care
of." He said this was really very well known, that it was because of what "first
principles were," and that, basically, he couldn’t be bothered telling me
about it. (This is the sort of response that reminds me why I have often found
academic philosophers irritating, not to mention insufferably arrogant.) He
could, however, give me the e-mail address of one of the authors of his
forthcoming article, who could send me the proof of the article. This was, of
course, "Form and Cognition," and Professor Zeis did kindly send me the proof.
The problem of first principles had, as it happened, not even been
mentioned, much less "taken care of," in the article. The Cartesian
problem of knowedge was addressed, but the proposed solution, as I have considered, was very far from being
adequate. And if first principles are produced by "formal causation," then this
suffers from the same drawback as all other "causal" (or "externalist") theories
of knowledge:  A causal relation is not a cognitive relation, and it
leaves the subject in possession of intuitions or judgments whose justification
is external and hidden to cognitive inspection.

Professor Smith thus seemed to suffer from the disease of so many academic
philosophers:  They are so persuaded of their own ideas, and of the
consensus of their immediate group of scholar friends, as to regard them as
self-evident and in no need of explanation to the hoi poloi — such as an
unknown scholar at a conference. He was much more polite and responsive later in
e-mail correspondence, but the first impression was disagreeable, no mistaking
it.

I fear, but expect, that others may be similarly put off by me. I am afraid
that I unintentially insulted the astrophysicist Piet Hutt of the Institute for
Advanced Study (at Princeton) some years ago when he asked me to respond to his
enthusiastic reading of Henri Bergson (1859-1941). Since I don’t think of
Bergson as a very serious philosopher, it was hard to answer Piet without
sounding insufferably condescending, to the effect that he was working at a
pretty trivial level and needed a much better background in the history of
philosophy. Not to worry, he was later able to respond in kind to my views about
non-Euclidean geometry — a sort of response
repeated many times by others, sometimes with great indignation, to the philosophy of science and philosophy of mathematics
discussions at this site. For general inquires directed to the Proceedings of the Friesian School, I do try and give
informative answers to reasonable questions, but sometimes the questions are so
lame, or the failure of a particularly dense
writer to get the point so incorrigible, that the correspondent must certainly
feel that my attitude is as haughty as Barry Smith’s.

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I acquired a Chinese name when my Korean
officemate at the University of Hawai’i, Gun-won
Lee
, helped me pick one out. He knew Chinese (as well as Korean, Vietnamese,
English, and German) pretty well and knew what would make a suitable name. So he
opened up Mathews’ Chinese Dictionary to the K’ê‘s to see what
might work as a first syllable for "Kelley." The very first character (#3320)
looked like a good candidate. K’ê4chi3 (Pinyin
Kèji) could mean "to deny self, bring the self under control, self-less."
It was a small step from that to K’ê4li4 (Pinyin
Kèlì), "to subdue profit, bring profit under control"
(Mathews’ character #3867). Since Confucianism has very mixed fellings about profit,
that would be a very good Confucian name. Later, when I was taking a linguistics
class at the University of Texas, I happened to sit next to a girl from Hong
Kong. I had never checked out the name with anyone who was Chinese, so I showed
it to her. "Yes," she said, "that is a Chinese name."

Of course, now I understand that the Confucian attitude towards profit caused
tremendous damage to the Chinese people, damage which continued as Confucian
hostility to profit was succeeded by Marxist hostility
to profit. Nevertheless, neither I, nor my Scotch-Irish
ethnic group, are very good at making any profit (my great uncle
excepted); and I am in fact in the same professional position, as a parasite of
the Public Treasury, as the Confucian Mandarins who managed to stifle the growth of Chinese wealth and strength,
opening the country to foreign conquest and later European encroachment. Since
most of my academic colleagues are essentially trying to do the same thing to
the United States, the least I can do is try to provide a contrary voice.

A Chinese surname was a slightly different proposition. Not just anything can
be a surname in Chinese. One way of referring to the Chinese people is as "old
hundred names." A limited number of surnames, however, has became somewhat
awkward in a country of a billion people. Since
certain given names are popular, many people end up with the same names.
Foreigners, whose names are often unpronounceable in Chinese, usually pick a
Chinese name similar in sound or meaning to their own names. My surname, "Ross,"
is Scottish, though perhaps deriving through Scots English from Welsh
rhós, "upland or moorland," which was applied to Ross County,
Scotland, whence the Earls of Ross derived their name. This was not very
helpful for Chinese. However, there is also a German form of "Ross," which was
an older German word for "horse" (Roß; modern German uses Pferd).
As it happens, the Chinese word for "horse," Ma3, is a very
common surname. Since I am also part German (South German, from Baden,
not one of those Prussians), I thought I might take advantage of the
German meaning. So Ma it was. Since I am a teacher, I can use
Mazi, "Master Ma," like Kongzi, "Master K’ung":  Confucius.

Return to Resumé


Yes, I inhaled. But it was only once, on
May 10, 1968, in the basement apartment of a house at the corner of Lead Ave.
and Ash St., S.E., in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was an experience that
persuaded me that drugs were probably not for me. It almost even got me killed.
And so I think it is a significant event in light of my advocacy now for
complete drug legalization.

It was certainly the height of
the Sixties, in a place, New Mexico, that held certain attractions for
hippiedom. It was about the time that I saw Robert Kennedy, from a distance,
when he made a campaign appearance in Zimmerman Stadium (since demolished) at
the University of New Mexico. I was on my way to my Greek class, scrupulously
uninterested in politics, as I would remain for some time. Later I would fly
back to Los Angeles from Albuquerque the very morning after Kennedy was
assassinated, after sitting up all night with my friends watching for news about
it all.

Those were the same friends, Monica and
David, both from New York City, who earlier introduced me to marijuana. Not that
it was their idea. I had started out my year in New Mexico in a very moralistic,
puritanical, and ascetic mode. A Stoic philosopher. I used to get up promptly at
6:30 in the morning and go to bed at 10:00 every night. The last thing I was
interested in was any kind of stimulant or hallucinogen. That broke down, in the
end, not from peer pressure, since few of my friends were into a drug or
partying scene, but pretty much out of loneliness, unhappiness, and despair. The
women I had gotten interested in that year were pretty uninterested in me, and
that took a toll on my determination. In the end, I was no longer confident that
the moralism and asceticism were for anything, and it certainly was not
delivering the kind of companionship that I wanted. The Summer of Love (in 1967)
had already been distinguished for me by thoughts of suicide. The exhilaration
of New Mexico, the great blue sky and towering clouds over Albuquerque and the
Sandia Mountains, had thankfully gotten me well over that, but I was still a
lonely person.

I knew Monica and David from my Greek class. They really didn’t seem like the
types to be in a Greek class, but there turned out to be a simple explanation:
 Greek was not a spoken language, and so there was no language lab for it.
This meant less bother in fulfilling language requirements. The two of them, of
the people I knew, seemed to be the most seriously interested in drugs.
Sometimes this meant a Friday night experiment of buying over-the-counter drugs
and taking a slight overdose, just to see what would happen. But they were also
very nice and very friendly people. I lost track of them soon after that year,
but I do hope that they avoided the sometimes fatal pitfalls of their
recreation.

So, when I thought I might try marijuana, they were the ones to whom I
turned. It all started normally enough, but after smoking one cigarette, nothing
seemed to happen. So I ended up going through very nearly three all by
myself. Then the drug took effect very suddenly, with a very peculiar result. My
whole visual field seemed to detach, boil off, and blow away. Leaving a void.
Then suddenly it would reappear, and then boil off and blow away again. This
process continued and began to speed up. Then it began to seem that it wasn’t
just my visual field, but my entire consciousness, my entire self, that was
boiling off and blowing away. When that happened, I was seized with terror and
panic. Hardly realizing what I was doing, since my consciousnessness had blown
away, I jumped up, grabbed a glass mug full of hot tea that I had been drinking,
and threw it against the wall of the apartment. Poor Monica and David were
picking pieces of glass out of their bed for some time.

But the forceful action seemed to retrieve my self, rather like William Hurt
pounding the walls and floor to solidify his body at the end of the movie
Altered States. I found this rather exhilarating, but it led to a second
problem:  I had just spent a good part of the semester studying Immanuel
Kant. The entire world of empirical reality was no more than the phenomenal
content of consciousness. Now I had just seen and felt this truth demonstrated
in the most intimate and forceful way. Even my own self, as Kant also would have
said, had disappeared with the world and my consciousness off into that void. So
I was suddenly persuaded that the external world had no separate reality
whatsoever, and this was a realization that I felt I must immediately
communicate to the woman I had recently been interested in. So I went running
out the door of Monica and David’s apartment. Then I needed to cross Lead Ave.,
which was actually one of the busier streets in that part of Albuquerque. Since
external objects didn’t really exist, it occurred to me that I did not have to
worry about avoiding the traffic, so I ran out into the street.

This was not a good idea in the face of the traffic, and not a faithful
interpretation of Kant either, since the cars were still necessarily there as
things-in-themselves. Fortunately, faithfully Kantian or otherwise, I had
my doubts about the ideality of the cars while there was still time to get out
of the way. There was some honking of horns. Several drivers may have returned
home complaining about the doped-up hippie who ran out in front of them on Lead
Ave. that night. So I ran on, and soon enough encountered the limitations of my
own body:  I ran out of breath. This finally brought me completely back to
reality. I began to walk and circled around back to Monica and David’s.

David and some other friends were out looking for me. After all, I had jumped
up screaming, broken crockery, and run out the door like a mad man. Monica was
waiting behind. But I was past the crisis. Soon enough the others returned, and
we all drove down to a Mexican restaurant downtown where we had something to
eat. I was definitely still high. That was not unpleasant. If I concentrated on
introspection, I could begin to reproduce the boiling off effect again, but it
was mild and under control. All I had to do was focus on something outside of me
to stop it.

By the time Monica and David dropped me off at my dormitory, Oñate
Hall
(see map), I was coming down from the high pretty steadily. At that
point, the prospect of further experimentation was appealing. However, I seemed
more shaken by the experience the next day than I had been the night before.
Even David said it seemed more like an LSD experience than just like
marijuana–and he knew the difference. As days passed, I was less inclined to
risk myself again. Soon, I lost all desire to experiment.

In later years, in Los Angeles, Beirut, Hawaii, and Texas, I was often in the
company of people, sometimes even my best friends, who were occasional and
recreational drug users, which by then just meant marijuana (hashish in
Beirut)–even the ones who had dropped LSD in the Sixties had drawn back from
the risk of those experiences. It was rare to never that anyone pressured or
even invited me to join in. But I had not returned entirely to my asceticism:
 By the time I was living in Texas I had learned to drink in such a way as
to get drunk but not get sick. So I was not adverse to partying. And we had some
great parties in Texas in the late Seventies.

So my testimony is that drugs endangered my life. I fear that others my age
in the Sixties ran similar, or greater, risks but were not so lucky. But in
light of those risks, dangers, and tragedies, I think that the greater tragedy
is trying to protect society from drugs by destroying people’s lives through the
law, putting them in jail, seizing their property, and criminalizing their
imprudence. Nor does it protect society to have created countless big and little
Al Capones of the drug trade. "Drug Lord" is an evocative term. Indeed, one
might think that this lesson should already have been learned:  Demon Rum
was nothing compared to Murder Incorporated. Now the dangerous follies of youth
become the tyrannies of paternalistic government, and the Drug Warriors seem
willing to destroy the Constitution in order to "save" it.

But it goes a little deeper than that. People now seem to think that the
purpose of law and government is to make everything Absolutely Safe. If
freedom and the Bill of Rights need to be destroyed, if every citizen needs to
be turned into an infant, to make everything Absolutely Safe and to protect
everyone from themselves, then so be it, even if it is usually the case that
somebody else is going to get their lives destroyed by judicial Terror
just to make them safe. There is an irrationality here which is often
evident to the youth who are the main focus of anti-drug propaganda:  What
sense does it make to threaten people with jail, fines, a criminal record, and
the destruction of their life and wealth supposedly to persuade them that drugs
are "bad" for them? When the law is obviously worse than drugs, then drugs
actually don’t seem so bad after all! So if we can avoid the law, why not? And
if "punishments" are obviously and grotesquely disproportionate to the "crimes,"
doesn’t this then persuade that all "punishment" and all "crime" are the
arbitrary expressions of nothing more than political power?

Hence the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, who said in his "Notes on Virginia"
(1784):

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our
bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the
emetic was once forbidden as medicine, the potato as an article of
food.

"In such keeping as our souls are now" refers to the State Religion
that was still in force in Virginia when Jefferson wrote in 1784. Jefferson’s
own "Act for establishing Religious Freedom" was proposed in 1779 but not passed
until 1786. Now, however, we have seen the establishment of a virtual State
Religion of Health, through which the extra-constitutional and improper powers
given to agencies like the FDA and DEA are enforced with outrageous, draconian
penalties, not to mention summary and extra-judicial fines and seizures. A
secular age thus creates a Secular Inquisition, and it becomes a Crime against
the State to endanger the health of bodies which evidently have been surrendered
into the keeping of Government. It is an astonishing thing, all in all, to
happen in America, except perhaps in relation to the Puritanism that spilled
forth in the moronic "Noble Experiment" of Prohibition itself–an appalling
regime of repression that simply continues through various drug controls and
prohibitions.

So, I fear, I am neither a blissed out, Timothy Leary-like child of the
Sixties nor a vengeful Neo-Con out to smash counterculture permissiveness.
Indeed, if the permissiveness is bad, it will smash itself. But if the law is
busy smashing me instead, just for insisting on governing my own body, it
has become terror and tyranny, not justice or wisdom.

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On a stretch of US highway 395 in the
magnificent Owens Valley of California, with the crest of the Sierra
Nevada mountains looming to the west, there is a sign proclaiming that it is the
"Grand Army of the Republic Highway."
The "Grand Army of the Republic," as it happens, meant the victorious Union Army
of the American Civil War. It was also the name then adopted by the postwar
veterans organization of Union soldiers (created at much the same time, and by
much the same people, as the National Rifle Association), which remained a political force for many
years, seeking benefits, as veterans organizations will, for its members.
Calling a stretch of road between the small towns of Bishop and Lone Pine the
"Grand Army of the Republic Highway" is a little perplexing, considering that
the area had next to nothing to do with the Civil War, on a highway that in
general goes through places that similarly had next to nothing to do with the
Civil War. I have noticed (6/25/00) that an additional sign has appeared on
California Highway 14 just outside Palmdale, far south of the Owens Valley.

The answer to the puzzle of these signs may be found in the circumstance that
the highways in the Owens Valley and near Palmdale were not always just US 395
and California 14. Thirty years ago, the State of California, with the
completion of the Interstate Highway System
nearing, carried out a great slaughter of US
highway numbers. Many old roads, hallowed in the memory of many travelers, like
US 66 and US 99, were simply abolished, replaced by the new Interstates
themselves, as I-40 replaced US 66 or I-80 replaced US 40, turned into State
highways, as with US 99 (now California 99), or simply discarded as redundant,
like US
101 south of Los Angeles, where it would duplicate I-5. The loss of US 40 is
noteworthy because I-80 goes around the infamous Donner Pass in the Sierra
Nevada, leaving the original, historic route with no more identification than as
"Donner Pass Road."

This is the kind of thing I hate about the Interstate Highway System,
particularly in California. The multiple lanes I don’t mind. The limited access
freeways I don’t mind. The bypasses I don’t mind:  Indeed, I did not enjoy
crawling through traffic in places like Holbrook, Arizona, in blistering August
heat, just for the privilege of getting back on the road to Albuquerque. No, I
rather like the convenience of the better highways. But the Feds did not need to
introduce a whole new system of numbering in the process, only thirty years or
so after the original numbering of US highways was put together in the first
place. Perhaps it has been forgotten, but the US highway system didn’t exist
before the 1920’s. Although the Constitution gives the federal government the
authority to establish "post Roads," which legitimizes federal road building
better than most other federal activities are justified under the Constitution, little was done about that before Henry
Ford’s mass marketing of automobiles created a real demand for improved and
paved roads for long trips. Many of the new highways followed historic trails,
as US 101 did the Spanish Royal Road (El Camino Real) in
California, or created entirely new, convenient, and memorable routes, like US
66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, the "Main Street of America."

Then, in the 1950’s, somebody got the bright idea of what I have now seen
called the "Eisenhower Interstate Highway System" (or the "National Defense
Interstate Highway System," back when Congress actually paid some attention to
the Constitutional justification of federal powers). This all took long enough
to build that it may not have been evident to most people until well into the
1970’s what was going to happen. I was still driving on parts of US 66 in 1975. But then came the day when the
whole extent of Route 66 was rendered redundant by the completed Interstates.
Interstates 10, 15, 40, 44, and 55 would get you from Los Angeles to Chicago
just fine, thank you, and we didn’t need all those confusing extra US 66 signs
around. Besides, there is a little Interstate 66 outside of Washington,
DC, so the number is better used elsewhere. Every State through which US 66 had
passed then simply abolished it.

In a country where owners of homes and other buildings are often deprived of
their property rights by "historic conservation" laws (without the "just
compensation" guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment), all to prevent the loss of
significant artifacts of history, it is surprising that all the history of the
US highway system should have been thrown away in so thoughtless, callous, and
unnecessary a fashion, perhaps just to make a political point that something new
was being done about the highways. There certainly was no reason why the US
highway numbers could not have been moved over to the new freeways. This was done with most of US 101. Here in the
San Fernando Valley, US 101 was originally Ventura Boulevard, the Royal Road
from Los Angeles out to the Mission at San
Buenaventura
, and beyond. When the Ventura Freeway was built in the 1950’s,
it became US 101; and Ventura Boulevard was demoted to "Business US 101."
Eventually that was discarded. Now Ventura Boulevard is just a street, though
someone did keep one of the Camino Real bells on display — the bells that used
to line 101 itself, before they started getting stolen in the 1960’s. But US 101
does exist, all the way from Los Angeles, California, to Port Angeles,
Washington.

Few States were as ruthless as California in abolishing the old highway
numbers. While I live within a mile of US 101, my wife lives just a couple miles
from US 1 in New Jersey, which still stretches
from Florida to Maine, although everywhere threatened with replacement by
Interstate 95. But perhaps US 1 carries too much symbolic value to be scrapped,
especially when the side of the continent where the country began would then be
left with a high and undistinguished number like "95." At the same time, there
is a lot of space in the United States, and the skeletal Interstate Highway
System is thin on the ground in a lot of it. Thus, despite several major
Interstates crossing Texas (locally called "Inter-Regionals," since it may take
many, many hours to actually get to another State), most
of the area of the State is only accessible on the older highways. Texas is so
big that besides the Interstate, US, and State highways, there is also a system
of Ranch or Farm to Market (FM) Roads.

Now many people are very sorry that familiar highways like US 66 are gone. At
various places on that vanished way new "Historic Route 66" signs have begun to
appear. There seems little chance of the old numbers being restored and the
thoughtless Interstate numbers replaced, but there will at least be books,
organizations, and the agitation of devotees to forestall complete
forgetfulness. Which brings me back to the "Grand Army of the Republic Highway":
 US 395 in the Owens Valley and California 14 used to be, or also be, US
Highway 6
.

That all by itself is of interest. There can only be nine single digit US
highway numbers in the country. Most are short stretches in New England, but I
have already mentioned US 1, which still goes from Key West, Florida, to the
Canadian border in Maine. As US 1 stretches the length of the country on the
east coast, one would expect US 2 to stretch the length of the country on the
border with Canada. However, it never seems to have quite done that. The Great
Lakes represent a Canadian salient into the United States that breaks US 2 in
half. US 2 thus goes through Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, but ends at the
border with New York. It picks up again on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and
from there continues all the way to Washington State, ending at what used to be
US 99 (now I-5) north of Seattle. This route has been paralleled by, but not
replaced by, I-90 and I-94.

US 3, US 4, US 5, and US 7 crisscross New England; but, apart from US 4,
which gets as far as Albany, they seem to have always been confined to that
region. US 9 does somewhat better, going from Cape May, New Jersey, all the way
to the Canadian border in upstate New York, following the historic route of the
Dutch road in the Hudson Valley from New York City to Albany. Since the east
coast of the United States runs diagonally from southwest to northeast, the
numbering of the old north-south highways, except for US 1, gets larger as one
goes south. Thus, the coastal road in New Jersey is US 9, in Delaware, US 13,
and in the Carolinas and Georgia, US 17. US 1, the coastal road in New England,
takes over again in Florida.

US highway 8 represents an anomaly for which we must look afar. Where we
might expect to find US 8, or, for that matter, US 10, in New York,
Pennsylvania, or New Jersey, they are nowhere to be located. Instead, we look to
the west side of the Canadian salient again:  US 10 begins at Detroit,
crosses lower Michigan, jumps Lake Michigan, and then crosses Wisconsin to St.
Paul, through Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana, all the way to Seattle,
Washington. There is little space between US 2 and US 10 for US 6 or US 8. US 8,
as it happens, begins at US 2 in Michigan, and then crosses Wisconsin and
Minnesota to St. Paul, there to end. That leaves us looking for US 6, but US 6
has long gone elsewhere.

Way back in New England, US 6 began at
Provincetown on Cape Code, the place the Mayflower is originally supposed to
have made landfall. It crosses New England, as we might expect, parallel to US 2
and US 4, through Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, and Connecticut, entering New York, like US 4. But where US 4 soon ends, US
6 does not, making its way through to Pennsylvania . In Pennsylvania, the highway hits only one important town,
Scranton, but does continue all the way across the State.

Entering Ohio, US 6 meets US 20. There we
might expect it to end, since US 20 is a major transcontinental highway, going
all the way from Boston to the Pacific Ocean at Newport, Oregon (US 30, starting
at Atlantic City, goes to Portland and Astoria, Oregon). But it does not end:
 US 6 continues on to Cleveland and through Indiana to Chicago, Illinois.
From there, paralleling US 20 and US 30, 6 heads out across Iowa and
Nebraska, through Des Moines and Omaha.

Continuing on, we find that US 6 in fact defined the major route from Chicago
to Denver, Colorado. To follow the same
route today, one must follow I-80 and then turn off on I-76, which goes down to
meet I-70, coming over from Kansas City. From Denver, US 6 continues on the
major route west down into the valley of Lake Utah and the Great Salt Lake in
Utah. I-70 actually ends at I-15 near the
middle of the State. US 6 headed up north to hit US 91 (now I-15) at Spanish
Fork, just south of Provo. There we might expect it to end too, but it doesn’t.

Instead, US 6 wanders off into the emptiest parts of Utah and Nevada. Indeed, the only cities of any size at all
that US 6 goes through in Nevada are Ely and Tonopah. Barely entering
California, the highway now does end at
Bishop. Previously, however, US 6 continued down the Owens Valley, through
Mojave, Lancaster, and Palmdale, and to Los Angeles. Indeed, the highway came
into Los Angeles on San Fernando Road, crossed US 66, and then went down Figuroa
Street all the way to Pacific Coast Highway, not ending until Long Beach. If US
6 had not mostly been erased in California, we might have been able to say that
it went all the way from the Mayflower in Provincetown (though it had moved on)
to the Queen Mary in Long Beach (though the Queen Mary doesn’t have all that
much to do with American history — which is perhaps the point about Southern
California). This was the longest US highway:  in 1939 3,652 miles long,
and in 1951 3,533 miles.

So was this the real "Grand Army of the Republic Highway"? There are no other
highways with such an interesting transcontinental route, and no others, besides
US 66 itself, to describe such a large diagonal. The diagonal of US 6, as it
happens, does not cross a single former Confederate or Slave State, nor any
territory that at any time was under Confederate control, like Oklahoma or
Arizona/New Mexico (originally the Territory of New Mexico and briefly
controlled as the Confederate Territory of Arizona). While Nevada, Utah, and
Colorado, the original Territory of Utah, were open to slavery by the Compromise
of 1850, it is doubtful that much slavery was ever practiced there — the
Mormons probably had their hands full with their polygamy — and then Nevada was
admitted as a Free State right in the middle of the Civil War ("Battle Born").

So I suspected that US 6 as a whole was at some point designated to
commemorate the whole Union Army, as US 66
was called the "Will Rogers Highway." But there certainly is little interest in
this now, and I have still not seen a positive statement to this effect
anywhere. Now (April 2002), however, James Powell has sent along some
information, like the lengths of the highway above, including where the "Grand
Army" designation came from. I will quote some of what he says:

The idea of the GAR [Grand Army of the Republic] Memorial Highway
goes back to about 1934. At the (GAR) National Encampment in 1936, it was
proposed that US 6 be designated as the GAR Memorial Highway… The
designation took place in 1937…

The only specific State Act that Mr. Powell had found was for New York. If
anyone has any further information, please let me
know.

Finding US 6

Return to Top of Page


On January 1st, 1981, I was in Austin, Texas.
We had had a pretty wild New Year’s Eve party the night before, though perhaps
not as wild as it might have been ten years earlier. On New Year’s Day itself,
clear, brisk, and bright, Robert Daniel and Mike Rogers and I went for a drive.
The photo of us (right to left, respectively) is below the limestone wall of a
stream bed near Marble Falls, Texas. I don’t remember how I managed to rig the
camera so that I could get across the stream and into the picture in time before
the timer went off. Evidently I did — I even had time to shade my face and so
block it from view.

I especially like the day because I picked up one of my most cerished lapel pins.
At a Texaco station in Cedar Park, Texas, I bought the armadillo with the Yellow
Rose of Texas shown at left. Later I had people telling me that it was actually
hard to find pins like that. The armadillo, of course, was rather like the
counter-culture mascot at the University of Texas, where the official mascot is
Bevo the Longhorn. Armadillos are mostly not seen round about except as road
kill in countless Texas highways. I don’t know if they are particularly
vulnerable to being hit that way. There may just be a lot of them. At a certain
time of the year in Hawaii, it was frogs in the roads. Or they might just be
stupid — it is possible to sneak up behind them and grab them by the tail. This
is not recommended, however, since they do have wicked claws. Otherwise they
just seemed cute and inoffensive — unless the armor represented some message
I’ve never understood.

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Copyright (c) 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D., Postumus Friesianorum, All Rights Reserved

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