Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Woke up this morning in fog so thick it eliminated all but the base of the radio tower a few hundred yards from my house. Three hours later it has burned off.

For me the most important thing has always been knowing where I am. If you know, no matter how unfavorable the information, you have something to work with. That is why outcomes are cathartic in life and not just in plays: when you know how a particular story ends, then you know all there is about it.

The Spectacle is my effort to burn off some of the fog in my own life. Your mail fuels the effort. I can be reached, as always, at jw@bway.net.--Jonathan Wallace

Dear Jonathan:

The bizzarely anti-British attack from your reviewer of The Patriot reminds me of the third verse of our national anthem, a bitter, violent lyric that survives to this day.

 And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
   That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
   A home and a country should leave us no more?
   Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
   No refuge could save the hireling and slave
   From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
   And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
   O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I like the irony of a nation of slaveholders singing about how they've beaten back that other nation's slaves; another verse talks about how great it is to be "freemen" instead of British subjects.

Germany was forced to abandon its national anthem's verse "Germany, Germany Over All" which is not a tenth as warlike as this...

-- Jamie McCarthy

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I think your piece on lying is an excellent job on a very slippery topic. I'm an MBA student and I was assigned this article as a reading. I find it very clear and specific. Lying is a subjective theme, according to each culture and customs, eventhough you handle it with an universal vision that permits the reader to build up a clear criteria about this slippery topic.


Emil Epanciencia@aol.com

Hi Jonathan,

I was very much impressed with the theme of your web site and would very much like to republish the article on Democracy and Capitalism on my my web site (the Metamode Quadrant) as a discussion article on the metamode release post. My web site's URL is as follows:


I would publish the article on "Democracy and Capitalism" in the Fall issue of metamode release.

Since you are interested in pieces on governance, I would be very pleased if you would consider republishing either my latest commentary entitled "Politics is not just about ideology, but about being able to walk the via media" or an earlier commentary entitled "Governing the 21st Century". These two pieces are accessible via the Colloquium post on the same site (the Metamode Quadrant).


Al Fiorino alfiorino@sympatico.ca

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Mr. Lizard seems to place his faith in science. More power to him for finding faith in something in this world.

As I am a Christian, however, I must seek proof (by his estimation).

I have not seen, heard, felt, smelled, or (God forbid!) tasted Mr. Lizard's brain. In fact, I have no quantifiable evidence of its existance. I must therefore conclude, by the scientific method, that Mr. Lizard has no brain.

Further supporting evidence can be gleaned by reading his post.

Rob and Mary Freve rfreve@mediaone.net

Lizard responds:

What's scary (or funny, depending on your perspective) is that the writer probably believes his/her post is:




Ah well. Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel. I think.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Was scouting around for some Jefferson Airplane stuff and came across your piece Thomas Jefferson and the Crown of Creation. Insteresting, since the song, Crown of Creation, is based on a novel by John Wyndham, The Chrysalids, which deals with human mutations and how a futuristic society treats them. The mutants, shunned and scorned by society at large, begin to show transcendant traits that indicate they will be the next dominant humans. Crown of Creation is taken from a section of the book where one of the head mutants describes 'normal' humans as the Crown of Creation: they have no where to go, they're dead. The new man has been born.

Wyndham. A very underrated English writer. Thanks for the read.

Chris Petty cpetty@alumni.ubc.ca

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Re Natural Rights Don't Exist:

By what right do you declare the freedom to discuss something with people at a table, instead of having it dictated to you by one who thinks he knows better what is best for you? The very concept you used in the last two paragraphs of "Natural Rights don't exist", makes the best case for the natural right of self determination, or volition. A gift/right the bible claims God to have granted to every man and Jefferson declared the Creator to give every "free" people who would have the discussions you condoned.

Your scorching of Jefferson was completely unjustified in light of the lack of depth with which you chose to pursue the issue, instead going on some long rambling argument in semantics only a language arts professor could find interesting. The fact is Jefferson wasn't using natural rights to win an argument, he used the concept to set a new standard in republican government and to shift the paradigm of power to those who consent to be governed. It was a new concept, but not unjustified just because it had not been argued frequently up to that point in time. The debater's trick you imagine, is the concept of freedom we enjoy today, seeing as how our Bill of Rights was written to protect our natural rights from government decree and the tyranny of the majority.

The point that the natural rights argument can be used to abuse a situation is a good point. The abuse is the problem, not the concept. Man in his fallibility will take advantage of the situation by using the concept to his selfish ends. However, the gifts granted by the Creator are no less valid. Consider this when asking if it's abuse or whether natural rights is a valid interest in the discussion, "Questions of natural right are triable by their conformity with the moral sense and reason of man."--Thomas Jefferson, 1793.

All the best,

Randall Garlington rgarling@univ-wea.com

Dear Sir; I wish to offer another explanation to the reference of 23 charges in a musket on the civil war battlefield, being a conscious decision [not to kill]. Fear! I was a combat soldier in Vietnam(Special Forces) and saw troops aiming and pulling the trigger of a weapon at the enemy without a magazine in their weapon! Mr Marshall may be correct in his guess for the reason of the undischarged musket, but my supposition is equally valid.

Steve Chaffins hurly@wavecomputers.net

I just recently found the Spectacle on the internet. Your view in The Future essay was somewhat lifting to me in a strange way. I've been writing software for the past 15 years and have become disillusioned. I started soul searching about my future, and the future in general, and thats how I stumbled across the website.

An Auschwitz Alphabet

Hello to you.

I came upon An Auschwitz Alphabet while researching information about Dr. Hubertus Strughold. Though I am still looking for more info about how he could have escaped accountability for his apparent knowledge of human experimentation and thereby avoided the medical trials in Nuremburg, I was quickly drawn to read some of your information.

Please note: "In 1941-1945, a cloud passed over the face of Europe . . ." That cloud occurred in the previous decade. It is just that the United States formally entered the war in 1941. To someone who may be critical, the way you phrased this may cause one to discount some of the accuracy about your main topic.

Regarding: ". . . it is but the largest and most significant of the many genocides in this century . . ." I absolutely agree. I believe that it is occurring presently--and is probably a concurrent event with most wars in which various racial groups and religions have attempted to live side by side during peacetime, but when war comes . . . [examples are Cambodia, Laos, Kosovo, and various countries in Africa--even black against black]

If you will allow me to say this, however. It is not an honorable stance to mix a category of behavior (homosexualism--something of choice) with race or color:". . .the Jews of Germany, Austria, France, . . .were decimated, along with Gypsies, homosexuals and millions of civilian bystanders to the war."

General Colin Powell while Chairman of the Joint Chiefs made that clear. As a black man, he made it clear that the social issue of racism should in no way be grouped or compared with those of that persuasion.

Perhaps you might reconsider and thereby enhance your moral position. Just my opinion.

I would finally like to comment about this: "You poke your head outside of New York City and discover that there are people who never learned about the Holocaust, universities where it is regarded exclusively as a Jewish studies issue, . . ."

I grew up in the 50's and 60's and knew of Hitler and the war and insinuations about Holocaust activities. When I entered the AF Academy as an 18 year old young man, I was quickly awakened about the horrors inflicted. We saw the actual films of murder and carnage, of the ovens and mass graves. It is real, and we must never forget--and won't because of the Holocaust Museum (and because of people like you who attempt to inform, thank you!!)

Here is wishing you the best.

Col Jim Dixon James.Dixon@brooks.af.mil

Dear Sir,

My friend and I are planning a visit to the death camp at Auschwitz later this month to pay our respects to the victims whom must be remembered by generations to come. Any media that brings the atrocities incurred by victims weather Jewish, Polish, etc to new minds is good.

Thank you for this site and all the others whom bring this to peoples attention the world over.

Yours faithfully P Webb campag12@hotmail.com

Jonathan, I just wanted to let you know that I was profoundly impacted by your spectacle site and your essays regarding Auschwitz etc. Also your logic essays regarding the prisoner's dilemma made me think.

I agree with you that the only way to make the world a different/better place is to do it yourself, rather than wait for someone else to do something or to congratulate myself/ourselves that someone appears to be doing something. I have broader horizons than most Americans because I grew up in sub-Saharan Africa where the people go about their lives in a state of quiet desperation.

I wonder at your "lessons learned from Auschwitz" the first of which was that there is no God. Do you truly believe this? Perhaps I fall into the third group of people you describe - "shut up & stop asking questions." The questions need to be asked. I believe that God weeps when humans, whom He created in His image, behave as they did in the holocaust (and as some continue to behave today).

I'm pleased to find that I'm not the only person who believes in the fundamental depravity of human nature. That is the only explanation for how humans were able to perpetrate the holocaust on other humans. I still believe in God, and that He wants the best for humanity and is disappointed/wounded when humans exercise their free will to do things that are contrary to God's desires.

I can certainly understand the doctor's point who says he becomes clinically depressed when he reads too much about Auschwitz. Did you suffer this also?

Thanks for being brave enough to expose the double standards set forth in the modern world (particularly the ones in the Israeli state pertaining to the Palestinians), and the general ignorance of Americans when it comes to suffering that takes place in "far-off lands". In this day & age with instantaneous communications it should not be so.

Jim Ockers ockers@ockers.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Sorry, but my english is orrible, and so i'll write in english or, when i cracking, in melange ok? :))) I' m an italian man, 42 old, when i was schoolboy i study the 2 world war, and now por el my simplo placer, i read istorichal books( Carr, Shirer, Hobsbawm my Guru and others) I see the mirror site in italian and from here, i'll surfing in your site We must remember forever your sacrifice, i teach so to my childrens, because that is happened don' t have to repeat, people must to learn and to watch always. Your site is NECESSARY to learn for all us, for the new generations. Thanx for your job, for your site 'cause in this times and in this Europe people must remember! For the second time excuse me for my english, ma esto es que i' learn. Next i'll study English, i promise.

Shalom by Francesco tychoasawrick@tiscalinet.it