Sodomy and Gonorrhea

August 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s seems hard to imagine Austin without the University of Texas, but back in 1881, Austin’s future of becoming “the Athens of the South,” was anything but assured, as dozens of Texas cities and towns jockeyed for the prize, to be awarded by the voters of Texas in a special election. During the state university campaign, opponents of Austin frequently urged that the vices of gambling and prostitution prevailed to an alarming extent in Austin, rendering it an unfit place for the location.

Student fun at UT has changed a tad since 1881: computer gaming has replaced gambling. The sexual revolution put the screw to prostitution. “Eating Out” isn’t just for dinner anymore. Herpes, HPV and HIV have “cum” ahead of syphilis and the clap. An evening with Venus no longer brings a lifetime with Mercury. Hillbilly heroin, not hillbilly hooch, fries the minds of our best and brightest.

When the following editorial appeared 132 years ago, a number of citizens hoped that Austin would become “as noted for good morals and good order as it is now for pure air and healthful climate, so that the refined and cultured will seek homes in our midst.”

Has their dream come true? You be the judge. One person’s Sodom is another’s Eden.

August 24, 1884
Will Gambling Dens Be Suppressed In Austin?
The county attorney says the gamblers must go, but at the same time confesses that in order to reach the desired result he must have the active co-operation and moral support of all good citizens. The attorney has answered the belligerent attitude and threats of the gamblers by a declaration of war, and the important question now is: shall he be backed by those citizens of Austin who have the best interests of the Capital City at heart, who desire to see Austin become as noted for good morals and good order as it is now for pure air and healthful climate, so that the refined and cultured will seek homes in our midst?

Always attractive as an educational point on account of its favorable location, since the establishment of the state university here, it is fondly hoped that in due time Austin will become the great literary and educational center of Texas and the entire southwest. During the canvas for the location of the state university it was frequently urged by the opponents of Austin that the vices of gambling and prostitution prevailed to an alarming extent, rendering it an unfit place for the location. This was sometimes met by a bold general denial, and sometimes by the assertion that Austin was no worse in this respect than the other cities of this state, and that the citizens and authorities of the place selected for the location of the university would be aroused by pride and self-interest to the suppression of these vices. During the building of one wing of the university and the one year that it has been open to students, what has been done for the suppression and removal of these vices? Comparatively nothing.

Gambling houses and houses of prostitution continue as heretofore to ply their damnable vocations on the principal streets and in the heart of the city, and the support of the proprietors and patrons of these dens of infamy is eagerly and openly solicited by candidates for office. Does anyone suppose these facts are not well known throughout the length and breadth of the state? And if they are, what must be their effect on the welfare of Austin, its schools and the State University?

Does anyone doubt that the existing state of things, if allowed to continue, will be fatal to the growth and prosperity of the university and to the highest interests of Austin? Does anyone doubt that a remedy for these terrible evils exists in a faithful and vigorous execution of the laws? Or, if any law should be found insufficient for the suppression of the vices alluded to, does anyone doubt that united action on the part of the good citizens of this community would procure the enactment of laws that would be sufficient?

Then, let the good people of this city bestir themselves in this matter of vital importance, and see that men of virtue and good morals are elected to office and that every officer receives in enforcement of the laws against the evils referred to the necessary assistance and moral support. This done, and ere long the said vices, if not suppressed, will be removed from our principal streets into such obscurity that they will no longer flaunt themselves before the public gaze as they now do to the detriment and disgrace of our city.

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