Patricia Santy graduated from the University of California, Riverside, where she majored in Biochemistry and English Literature. She received her MD and MS in Biochemistry from the UCLA School of Medicine, and is Board Certified in Psychiatry. She has been on the faculties of UCLA, University of Wisconsin and University of Texas, and is currently on the clinical faculty of the University of Michigan. Pat was a NASA flight surgeon and the Crew Surgeon for the Challenger mission and many other Shuttle flights. She is the author of Choosing the Right Stuff: The Psychological Selection of Astronauts and Cosmonauts. She lives with her husband of 26 years, Norman Richert, and her 12 year old daughter, Alexandra. Pat blogs at Doctor Sanity.
Why do you blog? > After September 11th I became frustrated with the news. I have always been a newsaholic, and suddenly I was getting one-sided opinions from the newspapers I subscribed to, instead of facts. I discovered there was an entire dimension of news and diverse opinions in the blogosphere. After reading for a few months, I decided I had something to say and a unique perspective (my psychiatry background), so I thought 'why not?' Dr Sanity was the nickname I received when I was an intern many years ago, and I decided to use it as the name of my blog.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Meeting other bloggers online and communicating with them.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Dealing with trolls in the comment section and getting a lot of hate mail from people who disagree with me. It's representative of how much civil discourse has deteriorated that there are people who can't stand what I say even on my own blog. I don't force anyone to read what I write, but some seem to resent it anyway. That's the kind of stupidity that got me blogging to begin with.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Develop a thick skin.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > The Founding Fathers (especially Adams and Jefferson); and Ayn Rand.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Actually a series of novels: Dorothy Dunnett's 'Crawford of Lymond Series' (The Game of Kings, Queen's Play, Pawn in Frankincense; The Disorderly Knights, The Ringed Castle, and Checkmate).
What are your favourite poems? > 'The Lady of Shalott' (Tennyson), and 'The Waste Land' (T.S. Eliot).
Who is your favourite composer? > George Gershwin, whose music is so completely American!
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Abortion. When I was younger I thought the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision was essential to establish women's rights over their own bodies. I now think that women's rights would have inevitably come about anyway; and believe that this court decision has been the root cause of the horrible animosity and hatred in our country. This is a personal decision and the issues involved in it cannot be mandated by a court. Likewise, the issue of Gay marriage. These sorts of decisions should be left to the state and/or local level to determine, in order to optimize individual choice and conscience.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That each individual person is responsible for his or her own behaviour.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That anyone's life is the property of the state.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Ayn Rand's Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, which started me reading books on economics and got me interested in the underlying philosophies of economic and social systems.
Who are your political heroes? > Thomas Jefferson, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and currently George W. Bush.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I'd get rid of the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Income Tax.
What would you do with the UN? > Ask them to move to the Sudan and then use their nice building for something useful (like a shopping mall).
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islam.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I am hoping it is yet to come, when individual freedom has spread over the entire planet!
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Never ask for permission.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > I am!
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save a life.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I really really hate idiots.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > What the world will be like for my daughter.
What would you call your autobiography? > You Haven't Seen Anything Yet.
What would your ideal holiday be? > London for two weeks; Paris for two weeks; Rome for two weeks.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading.
What talent would you most like to have? > I'd like to be able to play the piano.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter, and my father (who played professional baseball briefly).
Which baseball team do you support? > I've been a New York Yankees fan my whole life.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I'd like to fly in space; maybe go to the moon or Mars.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd quit my job, get a private office and write, write, write.