Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

January 1, 2000--More than a year ago, someone asked me if I would dedicate an issue to the Y2K problem. I said I was planning to, but every time I turned to it I realized I had nothing to say until the scope of the problem became known.

I was alarmed by the 1998 Wired article which said Cobol remediation specialists were building bunkers in Montana. Then I spoke to the president of a Y2K consulting firm who said nothing very serious would happen. For a whole year I haven't known how worried to be.

I decided to prepare for a few days of disruption. Over the last few weeks, I stockpiled some cash, canned goods, and bottled water. I bought a small electrical generator and filled a five gallon can with gasoline. Last night, I spent the evening at a local music club on the East End of Long Island, already reassured that New Zealand, Australia and other places had rolled over uneventfully.

When midnight came and absolutely nothing happened, I reflected on media hype and on human resourcefulness. In the end the moral of the Y2k story is that humans are good both at getting into and out of messes. A peculiar kind of human arrogance was involved in using a two digit date for Cobol programs. But so far--its 6:50 a.m. on January 1 and I have electricity, running water, a working computer and Internet access--the massive remediation efforts of the past years seem to have been completely successful.

And receiving that first email dated January 1, 2000 was a rush.

A Happy New Year to the readers of The Ethical Spectacle. You can reach me, as always, at jw@bway.net.

Dear Jonathan:

A quick comment on Morality and Truth. The phrase 'You stole that money' is NOT morally neutral; the word 'stole' implies a moral dimension, that the money was aquired by immoral or illegal means. You *cannot* use the word stole without an implicit moral judgement. Ditto 'murder'. *Killing* is morally neutral;'murder' is not. Murder is an unjustifiable homicide (as the society defines it).

The fact that we have words in our language which carry with them moral connotations is interesting; it implies ethics are extremely deeply rooted as a concept, even though individual interpretations vary. You might want to use this as a hook for a future issue of ES.

Lizard lizard@dnai.com


After reading about you, the last few lines....blew me away. I'll be looking to meet you, in the morning!

"abstract" abstract@cari.net


Thank you for the great website on ethics.

In January, I hope to take advantage of your site by requiring students in my Ethics and Politics class to read some of your articles and discuss them in class. There are currently certain articles on the site which I hope will still be there in January. Barring unforseen Y2K disasters, can I count on your site being up and running during that time?

Thank you

Kerry Hunter khunter@acofi.edu
Politics Department
Albertson College of Idaho

We'll be here "if the accident will".

The Bob Wilson Department

You asked me to read your article on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty and invited my comments. I did, and then you honored your readers with an interpretation of what I said, explaining that my use of sarcasm made my thoughts difficult to follow. True enough, sarcasm is one of my most favorite things, so I am sorry if you had a problem understanding "what I (was) really saying." You appeared to be irritated by my reference of your naïve and juvenile consumption of old Japanese movies based on radiation scares…Godzilla, etc. Sorry.

You challenged me to answer just two questions, then you proceeded to assume my answers and then editorialize on your presumption. It’s your web site, and I know that I am at a disadvantage when jousting with you due to the fact that you have the editorial control…but I would be happy to answer your questions.

1.Do you agree that nuclear testing tends to put radiation in the environment in greater levels than would normally be found there?

2.Do you agree that radiation in the environment in levels equivalent to those caused by nuclear testing is potentially bad for human health?

In my original letter to you concerning the treaty I explained a couple of the flawed aspects contained in it. I noticed that you did not see fit to publish that portion of my reply. Instead, you focused on the deleterious aspect of nuclear fallout, and challenged me to defend it. You had mentioned (to me) that you would combine the two aspects of my response, however it seems you stopped short, in order to pose your baiting, simplistic questions. These are questions I would imagine a lawyer would pose to a witness with the demand that the witness answer "Yes" or No". The "no" answer would of course, be irrational. A "yes" (only) answer would allow that lawyer to show that the witness must not care that humans are irradiated, and therefore must be a monster.

Unfortunately however Jonathan, the answer (yes to both) is not the end of my answer. (Ah, that things were so simple as your world of black and white must seem.) For, you see, just about everything we do as humans has a potentially negative aspect as in an equation. As a myopic liberal, obsessed with negativism, you tend to focus ONLY on that aspect.

By now, you are licking your chops, and thinking… "OK Bob, let’s hear you elaborate on the positive aspects of nuclear fallout…" Right? Again, as an activist lawyer (by the way, I hope you didn’t get injured in Seattle battling "the machine" about the W.T.O. and other Capitalist dog causes…eating meat and so on…) you only see a small portion of the big picture.

The same type of questions as yours of course, could be posed about a dental x-ray. They definitely leave more radiation in the human body than would exist naturally. Potentially, they would also be bad for your health too… At what level do you draw a line? Maybe you use a slightly larger quadrant of "the big picture" to make such a decision. Right Jonathan?

What is this "big picture" I keep referring to? Well Jonathan, I believe that you likely missed that developmental stage in your life wherein the ability to grasp such a concept is nurtured and grows, but I could be wrong…(a possibility I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you reflect about in your own writings.) There is the possibility that this ability to grasp the larger picture has a genetic component also, but that’s a subject liberals really go off on if you bring up, so I will avoid it…

The big picture as it applies to the whole question of a nuclear test ban treaty obviously involves more aspects than could be adequately discussed in a brief essay. Perhaps Ben Price would like to take a swipe at that, since he seems predisposed to NOT limiting his subject matter… It involves trade-offs and risks. The quick answer however, is definitely along the same lines as my example of the dental x-ray. Now, before you accuse me of comparing the radiation from a 10-megaton warhead to a dental x-ray, I must remind you Jonathan, that there is a metaphoric aspect to what I say, and you do have a problem with metaphors sometimes. How about I try to answer your questions with questions?

Here are a couple of questions for you.

1.If it were possible Jonathan, to have used a nuclear device (even though developing it was risky, and involved pollution of the environment) to stop Germany from gassing millions of people and killing other millions on the battlefield…would it have been worth the price?

2.Do you believe it is worth risking the possibility that another Hitler might emerge for the sake of having a nuclear free world?

I will continue with my analysis of the risk/benefit of possessing and maintaining nukes if you answer those questions.

Oh, bye-the-way, I am glad you don't "run things" too.

Bob Wilson

I answer your two questions no, and yes. As I wrote in Towards a Morality of Tool Use, rather than assuming that every technology is inevitable, (as you would), under my rulebook we would examine the moral impact of a technology before adopting it. The use of a technology is a moral choice which should be evaluated like any other. To illustrate my point, let me rephrase your first question:

If it were possible Jonathan, to have held 1000 German children hostage, threatening to torture and murder each one, and carrying out the threat if necessary, in order to to stop Germany from gassing millions of people and killing other millions on the battlefield…would it have been worth the price?

Under my rulebook, there are certain choices which are forbidden, even to save lives. The torture and murder of children is one of them and the use of nuclear weapons is another (which by the way brings about the torture and killing of children.)

As I have written elsewhere, I think we should have refrained from using nuclear weapons in World War II.

By the way, some of the other moral choices we made in WWII were just as bad as using the atom bomb, for example, the fire-bombing of civilians in tourist cities of no military importance.

If you don't agree that there are forbidden choices under your rulebook (forget about mine for a moment) then ask yourself this: Is it acceptable if starving to death in a lifeboat to kill and eat your companion?

I accidentally omitted a second piece by Bob last month, which I had promised to merge with his essay responding to me. Bob wrote gently reminding me about this error, and commented:

I think you couldn't care less what is in the CNBT, but want the U.S. to be a part of it, just because "radiation is bad..!" It is the same line of flawed logic you use in your gun-phobia rhetoric. That's a rather short sighted and yet typical liberal approach to world affairs. I think that there are ways to minimize the effects of testing (as we have) and still test and stay on the cutting edge of technology. If we don't, regardless of what "flawed treaties" are in effect, SOMEONE will. I would rather it be the U.S. than another, less friendly country. In a world where evil people don't rise to global leadership (Hitler...etc.) I will be the first to join you in helping to rid the planet of nukes... We executed a couple in the '50s for turning over the secrets of the H-bomb to the Soviets. Do you think that was right? Bill Clinton may have effectively committed the same type of crime for the sake of campaign fund donations. Why don't you think this guy should suffer a similar fate if he did?

This is the material left out of last month's issue:


Here is the way I would phrase my reservations about the "Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban" Treaty sticking with facts, instead of emotion about what a great thing it would be if we could just all get along. These arguments refer to the Treaty, and not to events and politics which are not affected by, nor related to the Treaty. (In other words, your argument condemning the senate for not ratifying the treaty.)

OK...I am not (and don't pretend to be) an "expert" on international treaties, but in skimming the CNTB Treaty, I found several articles that I believe makes this one wrong for the United States. All together, it (the treaty) looks like a pipe dream...definitely in the interest of two kinds of nation states. Those who do not, nor will they ever possess nuclear weapons, and those who will develop them regardless of what obstacles the world attempts to place in their way. There are plenty of countries in both categories.... Those nations, which have nuclear arsenals currently, are at a disadvantage as signatories. Any nation that aspires to develop a nuclear anti- missile defense system is at a big disadvantage. You have to test the warhead!

The clause specifying that any nation can withdraw from the Treaty if that nation's "supreme interests" are jeopardized makes the whole thing worthless. Treaties are broken routinely, and this one, when broken, could be the precipitator of a nuclear war, just because a nation believes it has supreme interests which dictate withdrawal.

This also forces the US to pay its UN dues (something we have declined to do) and gives leverage to third world nations to promote their agendas. If I can pick out these kinds of things in a 30-minute skim of the treaty, I am certain that those who are much more attuned to the mechanics of these things would find much more to object to. Giving 50 other countries an equal seat on the Council with the United States seems like a deal for those countries... To someone not too keen on sovereignty...I guess this looks good. Below are just two clauses, which I believe make the treaty bogus.

2. Each State Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests.

11. A member of the Organization which is in arrears in the payment of its assessed contribution to the Organization shall have no vote in the Organization if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contribution due from it for the preceding two full years. The Conference of the States Parties may, nevertheless, permit such a member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member.

Bob Wilson

Dear Jonathan,

It's obvious that Bob Wilson is agitated by my presence here at The Ethical Spectacle: in the letters column he's been making all the characteristic primate grunts and hoots that indicate territorial defensiveness and xenophobic hostility. His misappropriation of statements and facts (putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head that fit better his villainization of my character), his implication of guilt by association (Carl Sagan was a liberal who smoked pot daily; Ben Price is a liberal, therefore Ben Price takes drugs that account for the disagreeable things he writes), his seemingly intentional distortion of my thesis (suggesting I have a problem with "authority," a term of honor earned by one whose judgement in certain matters can be trusted, as opposed to "authoritarianism," a term applied to judgement backed not by wisdom or knowledge but by coercion, deception and force), his name calling ("mindless moron," "mindless mush-head"), and his powerful though wrong assertion that I "abhor" the "evil state" (in fact what I abhor is the hijacking of democracy by those who believe truly and deeply that they "know best." In a democratic government, the people are the "state")....all these distortions may dimly outline the so-called "reality" with which Bob asserts his expertise and in which he tells everyone I have no experience. If so, I count myself fortunate indeed. As for what experience in the world I have had, (aside from the "movies" and the "pop media/socialist/academia liberalism" Bob is willing to grant me), I can only suggest that while it has certainly been different from Bob's, it has also been quite real and engaging.

If Bob is going to persist in objecting to my ideas in such a content-less and retrograde way, it seems only fair that I should warn him that what he offers are real-life illustrations of what I mean by consciousness being simulated through the reiteration of aphorisms and cliches originally attributed to revered icons. If Bob wants to sit this one out and attribute to what I've said his interpretation of what he has yet to grasp, that's okay. Others may be interested in the peculiarities of his kind of mental tunnel vision.

Let's take an example. Bob has exhibited a degree of reverence for Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, defending some elevated mental image of them against criticism by me. Why does he do this? Does he make some logical point or illustrate some rational argument? Or is something else going on here?

Ancient Roman families had frescoes and alters erected to honor household gods; Egyptian tombs are lined with hieroglyphs that tell about the deceaseds' "Ka" or indwelling spiritual companion; Agamemnon had Athena, and some Christians swear they've got guardian angels hovering nearby at all times. Many children report having invisible friends. And Bob? Bob apparently has Newt and Rush, the chubby cherubs of starboard chirality to steer his ship of fools.

Do I exaggerate? I won't unequivocally claim to know the immediate source of Bob's parroted rhetoric (he may get it second-hand!), but clearly he repeats and reiterates the phrases and cliches that were and are intentionally promoted by Newt and Rush. The terms Bob uses are reiterations of the language devised in right-wing think-tanks and focus-groups hatched in the early nineties and trotted out throughout the decade-long campaign to marginalize liberalism. Even the repeated personal insults are borrowed by Bob from Limbaugh's popular three hour daily radio diatribes (what was that about Fidel Castro, Bob?)

Exhibit One : the admitted campaign to redefine "the left" and liberalism in the public mind, as outlined in the guidebook "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control," compiled by Mr. Gingrich and GOPAC (discussed in Part III of "Authoritarian Grammar") in which "active language" intended to shape and change public thoughts about "good" conservative agendas and "bad" liberal ones are unabashedly offered as tools to control and mold thought and perception. (Bob's mocking tone of condescension from the heady heights of his Olympian "real" world, wherefrom he spills libations of dry mirth at my suggestion that Newt and Rush are somehow "evil conservatives" is not really bold intellectual jousting, but a tepid glance back over his shoulder for back-up from similarly programmed zealots. Bob dismisses my objection to planned manipulation of the electorate by right wing zealots via the narrowing of the intellectual spectrum through the clear-cutting of available terms in which to think, and he discounts as harmless the cynical premises of Newt-Speak (that the electorate are sheep to be controlled, not citizens to be persuaded) without even acknowledging that the objection has been made. Instead, he substitutes his equally vapid interpretation of my argument and knocks down the straw man with limp witticisms.)

Exhibit Two: Bob's use of the very phrases and "active" words promoted as viscerally stimulating "talking points" by Gingrich's language-mill to the exclusion of whatever native mode of expression he might have developed on his own were he to experiment occasionally with ideas unsanctioned by his adopted idols and icons.

Bob objects to my use of "big words," and my use of too many words (Bob actually uses the big words "obtuse" and "verbose!"). He makes many subjective complaints. I grant him his taste in prose without bowing to it. There is, however, one testable assertion that stands out from the rest when he claims that I use superfluous verbiage to express what he understands to be my overly simple message: that language is capable of changing people's ideas and beliefs. "Duh!" he adds, helpfully.

If this is all Bob understood after reading "Authoritarian Grammar," Parts I through III, then either I have failed in the expression or Bob has failed in the comprehension. I will await comments by less agenda-driven readers before drawing any conclusions. As to the number of words I employed to express the somewhat more complex idea that I think actually can be comprehended by an open-minded reader, I will explain here as briefly as possible.

I would assert that new ideas sometimes require more lengthy discussion because the words we have on hand to express them are charged and biased by old ideas. It is sometimes necessary to expose a new idea from various points of view to make it more three dimensional and graspable by the mind. (Just the opposite tactic is used by those employing authoritarian language: word meanings are stripped of depth and rendered as caricatures, such as catch-phrases and cliches, slogans and aphorisms). I stand by my decision to "go to great lengths" to share a few new ideas. I make no claim that my verbosity "proves" my argument. To the contrary, I hope I have rendered it challengeable by those who care to consider it and propose improvements and/or considered objections. Bob clearly isn't interested.

As for old ideas, they are conserved in the very language we use. Words and the way they evolve, their philological history, makes of them audible icons that whisper our ancestors' thoughts to us over the ages. To become truly conscious, individuated, and intellectually liberated, our best strategy is to find tools that free us from mental cliche'. The "self-evident truths" of consensual indoctrination are the frontiers of the limited reality wherein Bob lets his mind rove. His experience of the "real world" includes not questioning the "self evident truths." I am inclined to agree with the more colloquial description so wryly and unwittingly applied to core doctrines by true believers. They call them "no brainers," and it's a telling image.

As for me, do I think I'm free of prescribed and programmed thoughts and attitudes? Not at all. If I thought that, I'd have little motivation to search for ways to expose them and their modes and effects. Does this admission give Bob another opportunity to wax his grind rail? Why don'tcha tell ‘em, Bob?

Ben G. Price BenGPrice@AOL.com


Ben Price doesn’t believe in magic. In his latest epistle Ben relates how secular moralism is superior to religiously based moralism. Many of his points regarding the social effects of religious based moralism, though stated in Ben’s arcane past tense writing style, quite hit the mark. He uses the dilemma of abortion to attempt to illustrate how difficult it is to resolve which style of "morality" has more merit. In the classic "chicken/egg" dilemma, Ben acknowledges that secular morality may have a bit of a flaw when it justifies abortion as the right of an individual…yet, it is decidedly against the "right" of what Ben refers to as a "developing" individual (fetus.)

Abortion aside, Ben makes a good case against "God’s morality" when he discusses the history of religious based morality standards as being a social phenomenon based on pressure to conform imposed by people who claim they are divinely inspired. He gets confused however, when he ascribes the term "dogmatic morality" only to the religious kind. Ben doesn’t seem to think that the secular kind he likes better is similarly "dogmatic." It is.

Take the case of the infamous sports figure that is a target of secular moralists now because he was quoted in a magazine as not liking certain aspects of New York "culture." The secular moralists have descended upon this guy with of the passion of a bunch of KKK members at a cross-burning ho-down. John Rocker is a sort of "red neck" tobacco spitting, crotch scratching baseball pitcher with athletic talent, but he has no business being quoted on his ideas of what should constitute a perfect society. That is not to say he isn’t entitled to HAVE ideas, he just doesn’t know that his ideas run counter to current secular moralist dogma. If he is to be judged as acceptable to a secular moralist, he (being a rich, white, male) needs to learn to pray to the gods of liberalism, or at the very least, keep his mouth shut. The only reason the secular moralists have decided to lynch Rocker is because he dared to give his opinion of people in certain "sacred" classes, which secular moralists have pronounced "off-limits" to opinions that don’t conform to the secular code of morality. To be sure, some of Rocker’s opinions may even offend the sensibilities of religious moralist’s too, but they aren’t the ones who want Rocker burned at the stake.

It is a hoot watching "secular moralists" go after Rocker with every bit of the hate and venom that Price only attributes to religious moralists. I tend to believe that "moralism" (of any prefix) is a human phenomenon. Regardless of what "ghosts" one invents to justify one’s stack of beliefs, there are going to be "human sacrifices" when any group’s moral codes are applied at the expense of another’s. It seems that moralism is as basic to developed human culture as building nests is to wasps. Societies rise and fall based in large part on their "moral" culture. While evolution seems to be intertwined in the process, to suggest that secular moralism is advancement over religious based moralism may be a stretch however.

Bob Wilson

Hello -

I've been a reader of the Spectacle for some time now, 6 months or so. I never really considered your zine special until I noticed Bob Wilson, whose articles are often absurdly conservative (e.g. Woodstock). I just want to congratulate you on having the sense to actually publish views other than your own. It's one thing to write about freedom of speech and such, it's another to actually give it.

A lot of people seem to support freedom of speech until someone says something they disagree with. You are not one of them.

Good job, and keep up the good work. Found "Morality and Truth" quite interesting.

mort rbarchas@sprynet.com

Anonymity on the Internet
Dear Mr. Wallace:

I just wanted to say thank you for your recent paper published by CATO entitled "Nameless in Cyberspace: Anonymity on the Internet".

This is actually an article that I had been thinking about writing for over a month. I just haven't had time to do the research. You, of course, have done a much better job than I ever could have. The resources and specific examples you have given are excellent. I especially like the Supreme Court Decisions.

In my position as editor of the Hacker News Network I am often asked for quotes from more mainstream media outlets. Often when the editor reads the journalists' copy he balks at the lack of a real name. If they press the issue I usually just give them another pseudonym. Now I will also point them to your article.

It is refreshing to see people who are well respected stand up and account for what is the 'right thing'. Usually people who are on the side of 'good' tend to appear as slightly overzealous which ruins the argument.

Before I read your paper I was growing extremely worried about the state of anonymous communications on the Internet and could definitely envisions a very draconian future for the net in a few years time. It is comforting to know that there is case law to support anonymous communications.

Thank You

Space Rogue spacerog@l0pht.com
Editor in Chief
The Hacker News Network


Thanks! I've downloaded your article, and have just begun reading it. Congratulations on this publication. It's a worthy topic of discussion, and one that has touched our lives in practical terms. I agree with your stance regarding the internet and anonymity (even though as editor of a private newsletter I disallowed the practice). There are indeed justifications for maintaining privacy of authorship, and any public medium should remain unrestrained in this regard.

Ben Price BenGPrice@aol.com

An Auschwitz Alphabet
Dear Jonathan:

I am also a lucky one for my immediate family and I were fortunate enough to leave Poland in 1938 thus escaping the holocaust to which my fathers family succumbed.

I have also asked the question of where was G-D ?

The only answer that I could accept and put into human words, is that G-D was, is and always will be, in Heaven, on Earth, in Hell, in any and all dimensions that the human mind is capable of imagining.

Our forefathers had asked the same old questions, and the answer that were arrived at were compiled into the Torah. Especially the Book of Genesis which tells of how things began and were created. Using human, metaphorical, mythical, allegorical words and phrases that humans could understand.

G-D created the universe and all that is in it. In G-D'S own time. But than we ask what is time for the One that is Eternal?

Adam and Eve were made out of Adama. The Earth or to say it in modern terms the Atoms.

They were created to be free! To be responsible for their thoughts and actions. For otherwise how could they have disobeyed GOD'S commandments?

Thus what happened may had been indirectly G-D'S responsibility but it was carried out by fallible human beings such as you and me.

As the book of Genesis implies, ever since the beginning humans wanted to know, to be conscious and to live forever or to become like the G-d's of old.

Ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit of knowledge, humans were aware of both the good and the bad. Perhaps it takes the bad for us to learn the good as well as to experience what to know of love?

These are the questions that humankind had asked since their creation. The best one was the question that Job had asked, why me? and was answered with the question of "where were you when it all began?


Benjamin Kraut Benjami701@aol.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Hello. I'm a 16 year old girl from Tampa, Florida. Last week, I was asked by my English teacher to do a research project on little known phases in history. While looking, I came across articles on Auschwitz, and read about the victims of experiments. I felt that many people would like to know another side of Auschwitz, so I continued searching and found your website. This has to be the most informative and helpful yet. I never knew of some of the things that took place in the background. The interviews and eyewitness accounts were very moving, and the information was informative and not sugarcoated, not like many of the accounts I have seen before. I wasn't shielded from reality; and I appreciate it.


DeAnn J.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I think your site is great. It has helped me very much with my project on Auschwitz. Thank you very much for doing this. If you have time, could you reply and tell me the date you finished this because I need it for my bibliography and I can't seem to find it on the page. Thanks again.

Cate Powell

Dear Jonathan:

as happens in byways of cyberspace, I had not wandered back to the home page for ES for a while and was so pleased to find Islands still showing up but more by the content you consistently gather. we are very much comrades in arms and I am glad to be connected. your book is excellent too, BTW. of course I am the choir to which you are preaching.

I don't think I am on the email list so will add myself to it and hope I can handle the bandwidth. I also spent a good while at the Auschwitz Alphabet and was moved very much by it. Your heart is in the right place but its wonderful when a head is attached too that can nuance the promptings of the heart.


Richard Thieme rthieme@thiemeworks.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I looked at your Auschwitz alphabet site and I became very concerned. How can you justify saying something like "there is no G-D"? I am a 17-year old college student(Junior at Brandeis University-i know im young). I am also a very religious jew whose whole family(father's side) was murdered at Auschwitz. The only members of that family not killed were my father's parents, of Blessed Memory. They each had families destroyed at Auschwitz, and they met there and married after the war. It was the Holy One, Blessed be He, who kept them alive through all the pain of the Holocaust.I understand the idea that some people have about how could G-D let something like this take place. We do not know the reason why, but we do know that HaShem has a plan and a reason for everything. We also know that all those 6 million+ Jews murdered by the Nazis went to a better place. G-D has kept the Jewish people alive throughout our several thousand year existence. We have been attacked and exiled from nearly every nation in the world, yet we continue to survive. That alone is enough to prove how much He does for the Jewish people. To say, after one tragedy, that G-D does not exist negates the only think that survivors have left, disrespects the lives, and cheapens the deaths of all those who perished at the hands of the Nazis and by oppressors throughout history. We are coming to the tenth of the Jewish month of Teves, a fast day to commemorate the seige of Jerusalem and the destruction of the first Holy Temple. This day is also used by many as a yahrtzeit(memorial) to those who perished in the Holocaust and whose actual yahrtzeit is unknown. I thought you might like this input from a younger generation. Please feel free to add this response to your website.


Ian B. Pinkus pinkus420@yahoo.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I found your article "Purchase of Blocking Software By Public Libraries is Unconstitutional" published November 9, 1997 very informative and useful. Your argument regarding delegation to third parties was very clear and creative. I am member of the Friends of The Mission Viejo Library in Mission Viejo California and we are facing a challenge to "filter" our internet.

Two year ago we implemented policies that have proved to be exceedingly successful in managing children's access to sites that typically cause community concern. We require parental involvement and the patrons have applauded this by following our guidelines on internet usage. With nearly 80,000 hours of computer access we have had only 3 instances requiring Librarian policing.

However this success has not stopped the loud minority from seeking to sensationalize the "possibility" of children being tricked into viewing an "adult" site. They are portraying the Library as an advocate of pornography because we seek to maintain freedom to access information.

Would you be able to refer me to any other papers you may have more recently published? Would you know of any more recent cases on point that you could refer us to that can sustain our Filter Free, Family Friendly library?

Very truly yours,

John Maginnis, Esq. John.Maginnis@CWUSA.COM

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I read your library brief for the Boston case (or was it just used by them?). I'm attempting an oral presentation on that case tomorrow in philosophy class. My group is reinacting the city council meeting on cyberpatrol in the libraries.

I'm actually facing internet censorship of my own, over my web site at Pellissippi college in Tennessee. My web design teacher--a very nice church-going soccer mom--is freaked out about my discussion and analysis of alcohol law ("The Prohibition Times: America's Secret History of Alcohol Prohibition"). We got into an argument in class last week. She did not even notice it was just a link from my school server to an out-of-state Netscape server, where my real web site is located. She was really seeing red. I don't know if I will need to talk to the dean or not, but whatever it takes I'll do. From your library brief, "alcohol" appears to be a big no-no. I also have an article about WWII aviation history and the Holocoust, so I guess I'm censored (cool). Checkout my site sometime:


John Lee johndlee@earthlink.net