Letters To The Ethical Spectacle

Turtles represent order, stability, self-discipline, self defense, longevity, and wisdom, among other things. I have a turtle named Berryman I received as a gift on September 17, 1972.... we have been together 33 years.

If I walked into the desert for a vision quest, I believe I would certainly have a vision of a turtle. In fact, I have been dreaming of turtles this week. First, that Berryman, after all these years, finally spoke. Then, a night or two later, I dreamed that I found my house vandalized....but a beautiful spotted turtle had entered through the breach the vandals left in the wall. He was very hungry, and I resolved to take care of him.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine won an owner-pet lookalike contest with his sheepdog. I am thinking of entering with Berryman. I think we have a chance.

Jonathan Wallace jw@bway.net

Spectacle Letters Column Guidelines. If you write to me about something you read in the Spectacle, I will assume the letter is for publication. If it is not, please tell me, and I will respect that. If you want the letter published, but without your name attached, I will also respect that. I will not include your email address unless you ask me to. This is in response to many of you who have expressed concern that spammers are finding your email address here. Flames are an exception. They will be published in full, with name and email address. I have actually had people follow up on a published flame by complaining that they thought they were insulting my ancestry privately. Nope, sorry.


I am a long-time admirer of the Ethical Spectacle. I have been reading essays off and on for over 5 years now. I came across an interesting video series online in which I think you might find very interesting.

If you find the time, it would be interesting to hear your views on the ideas raised in the video:


Cheers from Toronto,

Nabil Fahel

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Terrorism is defined as the use of violence, torture, or physical intimidation by a group or organization as a means of forcing others to satisfy its demands. The war on terrorism between the United States and the terrorists is a conflict never experienced before in American history. Some would argue that the guerrilla tactic used by both sides in the Vietnam war is the same kind of tactic employed by the United States and the terrorists. The difference, however, is that the military tactic employed by the terrorists is a corrupt evolution from guerrilla to terror (from non-conventional to non-ethical). In so-doing, the terrorist willfully surrenders any protections of citizenship or statehood. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not willing to take the war on terrorism to the appropriate level. In the movie "Untouchables", Jim Malone advises Elliot Ness that "when dealing with the Mafia, if they send one of your's to the hospital, you send one of their's to the morgue" and then asks "what are you prepared to do?" Perhaps a more appropriate question should be what would Machiavelli suggest we do?

The U.S. military needs to withdraw all conventional forces immediately from Iraq. The whole premise for going to war with that country was to disarm it of its' weapons of mass destruction (which the U.S. sold them). I supported the war effort because I believed the Bush Administration was telling the truth. Unfortunately, it appears the American people were deceived into fighting a war for oil and almost 2,500 crack U.S. troops have been killed helping to promote greed rather than defend the homeland. Once the military withdraws, it can regroup and reformulate better combat tactics to be used in the war on terrorism.

Accordingly, the U.S. needs to begin training anti-terrorist cells (with Arabic code names that translate into al-gabang, al-gaboom etc) primarily made up of the elite special forces group: Delta Force. These cells will be sent into countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya for the express purpose of covert operations to find, kill and terrorize all pro-terrorist cells. As for prisoners, they should be drugged with sodium pentathol until they provide information and then be executed. At the end of the day when the terrorist comes home to find his family and house blown to smithereens, he may begin to re-consider the consequences of his actions. Unfortunately, innocent family members of these terrorists will have to face the same fate many U.S. citizens did on September 11, 2001 and many British citizens on July 7, 2005. The question that remains before the American people however is what are YOU prepared to do?


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Hello I have just found your article, simple accident. Thankyou you have a profound insight and an ability to impart that insight through your writing sublimely to others, well I do hope OTHERS as you have to me. Thankyou. Antoinette de Bourbon d'Hauteville. Australia.

Not sure which article--but thanks! J.W.

Hello Jonathan, I came upon your article Proust's Ruined Mirror while surfing the web and thought you might be interested in a hypertext of In Search of Lost Time that I recently put up. It's called the Ecclesiastical Proust Archive, an archive on the church motif searchable by text, theme, image properties, pagination info, and narrative context. It has image galleries, a discussion forum, and other supplemental material. If interested, you can find it at:


Thanks, and I hope you're enjoying the Summer.

Jeff Drouin

How dare you say there is no God, Human beings have the ability to choose what they do. God doesn't control us like a bunch of puppets.

Yes there is a God!!!

Lou Therrien

Dear Jonathan,

This may not mean much to you. When I was born (1937) I was 'classed' as being Church of England ... My realisation of God, did not really materialise until I was in my thirties and after reading Jesus' words over and over! ... I have learned and believe that God is either within a person, or not.

My belief is that God may not have been within the Rabbi who, being ushered into the train by the Germans begged "Why is God Letting this happen?" ...

God was however, I contend, within the German sergeant who refused to lead any victims into the gas chamber ... At what cost? One wonders?

God was definitely not within the Nazi's who instigated this terrible deed nor in those that carried it out!

God was surely within the German officer who helped the, then, famous Polish (?) Jewish pianist, to hide and provided him with food, thereby saving his life ... I think the German officer was eventually interned by the Russians. He died brutally (Apparently) under their regime.

I leave you to ponder if you think God had any hand within Schindler. (With regard to previous comments on Schindler)

I have a blog at;

_http://journals.aol.co.uk/phllpsp/God/_ (http://journals.aol.co.uk/phllpsp/God/)

Thank you for giving me the chance to comment,

Mr. Pat Phillips

Hi. I am not sure how long ago you posted your Auschwitz page - but I came across it today, and want to thank you for your efforts.

When I was in high school - we had to create a family tree...and my family tree had a lot of black marks and dates of death....because of the Nazis and WWII. My grandfather wouldn't talk much about how folks died...he would just say that when the invasion hit Poland...he lost track of most of his family. My grandfather ended up in America...and he never mentioned how...or what he had been through. He didn't speak much English ... so my father would have to be the interpreter...only filtering to our ears what we 'needed' to know.

I have since become a Jehovah's Witness - and learned that these people were also targeted by the Nazi regime. Instead of a yellow star - they had to wear a purple triangle and were subject to the same extermination as the Jews. Prejudice is such a terrible epidemic.

Thank you again for your efforts on the page I am perusing...


Tweed Foster

would you have an interest in publishing an essay that shows the God of the Bible to be a monster?

The problem we find with the picture of God in the Bible is this:

  1) He knows the future (see dozens of passages) and everyone and everything is
predestined and He did the predestining.  (See Exodus 4:21, Pr 21:1, Ps 105:25,
Isaiah 14:27, Isaiah 46:10,11, Romans 9, Ephesians 1:11 and Genesis 50:20.)
  2) billions of souls are tormented forever in hell.
  3) God created those billions of souls with the perfect and infallible
foreknowledge of their eternal torment in hell.
  4) No moral person, especially not one with supposedly all power and
all-sufficient wisdom, would make animate something inanimate if he had the
perfect and infallible knowledge that the end result of that particular creation
would be its eternal torment and misery in hell.
  5) the only possible justification for such reprehensible behavior (on the part of
God, no less) would be the claim that the creation and life of some who are
destined for hell is necessary for the happiness and blessedness of others.  Say,
for example, that the life of Judas was necessary--in order to bring about
redemption--although he was infallibly destined to sin greviously, to die
miserably and go to hell and to torment in flames forever and forever.  Christians
could likewise theorize various reasons that Adolf Hitler must have lived. 
However, if God creates (with perfect foreknowledge) those such as Judas and
Hitler "for the greater good," that must bring into question his power, morality
and his wisdom.  If God could not have created and got some to heaven without also
creating some destined to go to hell forever,
  1) wouldn't the moral thing for God to have done would be to have abstained from
  2) we must wonder how weak is his power and how limited is his wisdom if the
happiness of the blessed in heaven is purchased only at the collateral cost of the
creation and eternal misery of some or all of those in hell.