Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Dear Jonathan:

I enjoyed reading the cynical response Steve had to Bush's surprise visit to Baghdad on Thanksgiving. Steve is indeed indicative of the mentality of that "fringe" element that hates Bush. I can just imagine the chagrin he experienced when Saddam was found hiding in his hole in the ground too. It's funny though. Steve didn't have anything to say about Hillary's visit to Iraq. I guess that wasn't a "shameless publicity stunt." The angry left gets it's panties all in a bunch every time W. does something that most Americans believe is super. The tax cut which did exactly what it was billed to do...stimulate a recovery from the Clinton recession really pissed off the "Steves" out there. The quick overthrow of Saddam made them all cry and throw a tantrum. Bush's arrival on an aircraft carrier to greet returning sailors made the Steve's out there all piss and moan, and when GW went to Baghdad to thank the troops on Thanksgiving, all the "Steve's" were really upset. The Steve's are all down now because Saddam was caught...I can only imagine their hope that some big act of terrorism occurs on the US mainland now before the election...because that is their only hope for something "good" to happen for their side that might convince enough people not to vote for GW in the upcoming Democrat slaughter....that will be the election.

Sorry Steve. I know that anything good for America is bad news for you. But, W's trip to Baghdad was a real morale boost to our troops there, who know that what they are doing is good for America...and bad for you radical Lefties.

Bob Wilson

Dear Jonathan:

I expected Ben Price (his real name?) to respond to my November article regarding Iraq. Ben (his real name?) has a personal problem with my opinions. Thanks Ben! (If that's your real name.) I wear your disdain as a badge of honor.

Ben (if that's his real name) claims to be a "Liberal, but not a Democrat." I accept that. Liberalism (as the label has evolved over the past century) is a rather broad term now used commonly to describe a pathology (mindset if you prefer) manifested by people who hold a number distinct peculiarities (generally) in common. Not ALL "Liberals" exhibit ALL the more advanced, radical qualities of the disease. Mr. Price (his real name?) however, based on some of the strange things he has published, does. I believe he is a "Liberal, but not a Democrat" as he claims, because most liberals who vote Democratic exclusively don't quite exhibit deteriorated level of Mr. Price's (his real name?) deliciously inane and consuming hate for things to the right of the ideas of Karl Marx. In this great country, there are even more radical outlets for these pathetic folks to use than the Democrat party. Those who are as radical as Mr. Price (his real name?) thankfully, don't ALWAYS vote a Democrat ticket. If they did, (and keep this a secret, OK?) Algore would be the president now, and who knows how bad things would be? Mr. Price (his real name?) claims to have insight into the actual status of Iraq's pre-war military strength, and as such, Ben (his real name?) implies that in general, my statements regarding our impressive military victory over Saddam's army are false. My article supports the contention that Liberals have to discredit the military accomplishment now, since it's the only avenue they have to attempt to recover their dignity after their silly assertions (prior to the war's onset) that the U.S. couldn't possibly accomplish what we did, or that the consequences would have been catastrophic in ways which of course, they aren't. I notice with a smile, the simmering hate and bitterness of Mr. Price's (his real name?) attempt to rebut my humble little article. For instance, there's this little gem as Mr. Price (his real name?) attempts to impugned my personal veracity: ..."one probably must be an ideologue with little respect for facts in order to continue to defend the indefensible corruption of the civilian oversight mechanisms that make US military action contingent not on ideology, but on real national interests."

I think what Mr. Price (his real name?) means to say with this bit of mangled sophistry, is that I am an "ideologue with no interest in truth" because I defended America's actions with respect to the ouster of Saddam. Well...frankly, and don't pop a vein Ben (his real name?), it's the "truth" that makes Mr. Price (his real name?) and myself so divergent with respect to opinions in general. I happen to believe that Ben (his real name?) doesn't much care for it (the truth), and that he gets a bit upset and confused when it (the truth) rears it's ugly head and bumps into his fanciful "Liberal" paradigm. Ben (his real name?) tends to literally come unglued, and responds with a barrage of personal attacks and vitriol. I understand Ben (his real name?). You simply can't help it. Go spike atree! BTW...If Ben (his real name?) is so concerned, or obsessed that Bob Wilson is not my "real name," and thinks that "issue" is worthy of noting...perhaps he might ask Jonathan what name HE used for the first several issues of "The Ethical Spectacle." With regards to whether Bob Wilson is, or is not my "real name," let me help Mr. Price (his real name?) I chose to use the name Bob Wilson when I first wrote an article for TES for Mr. Wallace (who knows my "real" name, and who himself published TES using a pen name also.) The reason I continue to use the name is frankly, (I have learned through experience) it seems that left-wing haters like Mr. Price (his real name?) are frequent to indulge their frustrations by some rather nasty activities. As I (and my family) have been the victim of some personal threats an malicious harassment because of this irrational hatred of the truth, and, for the sake of consistency, I prefer to keep the name Bob Wilson. Just for the record also...Bob Wilson is actually "part" of my "real name." There...Happy Ben? (If that IS indeed your "real" name...and frankly, I couldn't care less if it isn't.)

Bob Wilson

Dear Jonathan:

I very much liked your article Natural Rights Don't Exist in the April 2000 Spectacle. I found it extremely accessible, happily lacking in the usual turgid murkiness that lurks in philosophical speculation. Have you, by chance, given a read to Natural Rights & the Right to Choose by Hadley Arkes? It was given a rousting review in the Wall Street Journal. Frankly, I think the man is an ass but everything I capture on the Net is laudatory. The man needs a major setdown.

Dear Jonathan,

This evening I was looking for references to Kent State. Not the school, but the event. I found America Kills Its Children. After a few minutes of reading I could do nothing but burst into tears. Even after 33 years, at age 47 I am reminded of that day very clearly. I was just a few weeks shy of my 15th birthday.

Paul Tiger

Dear Jonathan:

I've been enjoying your website for a few months. While acknowledging your across the spectrum appeal for contributors, I am left with the feeling that you would like to receive contributions from -- if not the died-in-the wool conservative -- some individuals who do not whole heartily embrace the typical "liberal" perspective as presented in your monthly contributor index. I look forward to submitting some of my own humble observations.

Keep up the good work.

David R. Forward

Dear Jonathan:

I like what you had to say about the 1996 Everest teams in your review of Into Thin Air. One of the things that was different about Beck Weathers is that nothing like that has happened before. I think before that, the conventional wisdom has been to view someone that close to death, as dead already. Plus a helicopter was used at the highest level ever, may have made a difference.

I got a theory that the ice that formed around him, insulated him. Monks have used nothing but a damp sheet and they will spend a night like that.

Best Regards

Brad Crane

Dear Jonathan,

In response to Virginia Kent's insightful letter in last month's letters column referencing my use of the term, "shy," in describing the loan shark in my article Direct Deposit: I must plead Guilty/Not Guilty.

Ms Kent nails it. My father, Antonio(!), made it his mission in life to assure that his children were subjected without mercy to each and every reference to our Venetian heritage extant in the world. I am therefore, quite familiar with the Merchant, and the origins of the term "shy."

Idiomatic of the modern "street culture" I was endeavoring to illustrate, it seemed the most effective use of language. My description of the shy as "the money lender," an archaic term used by Shakespeare, was meant to communicate that connection to astute readers. Heaven knows, effective use of language is the only tool a writer has. Anyone interested in my humble views on Semitism (cultural and traditional), need only access an old article of mine archived on The Ethical Spectacle at: http://www.spectacle.org/0603/stasi.html As a reader, I am firmly in the court of Virginia Kent's fourth school of thought. The story (Merchant) takes (I believe) pains to cast a broad spectrum of types as its villains. Shakespeare was an equal opportunity insulter. Neither did prince nor any pawn escape the Bard's barbs. Given the mores and attitudes of the author's time, his candor reflects his brilliance and objective insight. Such genius, so prevalent in his work, is what sustains it through the ages.

In closing, allow me to compliment you on the literacy of your readership. I'm always flattered when such readers push on valiantly to the end of my articles and yet remain awake enough to comment.

Best regards,Dom Stasi

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I study the terrible times of World War II. Tonight, I came across a page titled An Auschwitz Alphabet and I felt I must make a comment. I can not start to realize the inhuman conditions that existed in places like Auschwitz, and I am sure that the absolute truth of it all would be too much for anyone to grasp at once.

My comment is not on this, however, it is on a page titled What I learned from Auschwitz, where the first line says "there is no God" - and with that, I must absolutely disagree. It seems that people believe that God either allows or disallows everything, but no one ever thinks about the fact that God can not exist within evil, no more than light can exist within darkness. Evil, you see, is the ABSENCE of God - by definition. God did not directly intervene because he wasn't there, evil was there. To an extent, yes, there was no God THERE, but he still is. No matter if the US and other Allies could openly collaborate to help the Jewish people, the end result was the same - God, through the allies, ended the torment being inflicted on the Jewish people, and actively worked after that point to provide them with a homeland, and help to protect that homeland. As hard as it is to believe, we were once "one nation under God" - although I don't know that the US would have done the same today because increasingly, He is no longer welcomed here.

I know that my comments are not likely to sway your opinion on the matter, but I am a believer, and I felt that it was important to at least make my comments. If God could control everything, Adam would have never left the garden. But God felt it important that we CHOOSE to come to him, and follow him. When the decision is made to completely eliminate him, there is only evil left - and that is the state in which the Nazi regime left themselves, and I don't think that there is anyone around who would disagree that the Nazis were the embodiment of evil. All I can say is that God usually uses what evil does to create some good in the end. He can't control evil, but he can control those who vanquish it, and in this case, the Jewish homeland came out of it and a return to the lands that were rightfully theirs.

I'm not a Bible thumping evangelical Christian trying to convert the world. I'm just an average Joe who attends church and tries to live right. I teach Sunday School to teens (who are prime for questioning their beliefs), I pay my tithes, and I usually direct the Christmas play every year. A year ago, a nerve in my leg went haywire from a spider bite I received almost ten years ago, so I am now parked in front of the computer most hours of the day becoming an amateur historian, unable to sit up for more than 2 hours at a time without pain - and the narcotics they give me for pain effectively prevent any employer from ever wanting me on their premises if I could tolerate it. I don't blame God for this. I know that there is something else he wants me to do from right here - I just don't know what it is yet. I was a successful Paramedic, a director of education for the state in my company, and a representative to the state's ambulance regulatory agency - then one day it was gone. I went through a period of asking why, but I eventually learned that God will let me know when the time is right for it - maybe this is it, maybe it's not. But for that first three months, while my wife was undergoing surgery, and me unable to perform any kind of work, there was no income because my long term insurance had not kicked in. Imagine three months with not even a nickle of income, yet I still have my car, I still live in the same house, nothing was repossessed. God told me to trust, and I did. Month after month, my brother, who's wife had only recently found another job and they were recovering from their own financial problems resulting from unemployment, told me "I don't know how the money is there, but I have just enough left over to cover your rent". People at church would shake my hand, and I would pull back a hand with a check in it, at the end of the day, counting the checks up would be just enough to make a car payment. Materialistic? I still had a roof over my head and a car to take me back and forth to the doctor - God didn't make me rich, but he provided what I needed.

I'm sorry. None of this even starts to compare with what happened in Auschwitz, but then again, God does exist here, so there is not evil. I certainly don't mean to preach, something just told me that I should tell my story and make my case. If you disagree, I'm terribly sorry to have bothered you, and feel free to just delete this mail, never to hear from me again. You may not believe in God, but he certainly believes in you.

God Bless,

Tony Laird

Dear Jonathan:

my name is fred schwartz. i am the president and founder of the auschwitz jewish center located in oswiecim, poland within three kilometers of the camps and with offices in new york. we are developing a program called "the interupted child" which will offer boys and girls who are being bar/bat mitzhahed to relate to a child whose life was terminated before they could achieve their bar mitzvah. we hope to advance their knowledge of the shoah and require them to study the life of a lost child and to relate to that child in their bar/ bat mitzvah remarks. families who participate will have all of the relevant information of their own childs event memorialized in our synagogues archive in poland. the project is in its final planning stage and we are seeking ways to compile relevant information about individual children who were lost in the shoah. can you assist us? michael berenbaum is a founding nmember of our board. please view our web site at ajcf.org

Fred Schwartz