December 2010

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Letters to the Ethical Spectacle

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 do so. 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.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Saw your post against natural rights. Thought you might want to see mine in favor of them.

Tyler Jordan


My name is Chris, and I felt compelled to say something about your on-line article on Auschwitz, especially that the horrors there is proof that there is no God.

When I last checked, it was the Nazis who rounded up so many millions of people to be killed. God didn't do this. Hitler and his Nazis did.

In terms of saints, you probably have not heard at all about Maximilian Kolbe -- otherwise you would not say what you did about "saints" either being killed the very day of arrival or otherwise surviving by being brutal towards others. Those who knew Kolbe in the camp, who witnessed him first hand because they were there and saw him, saw a man of extraordinary calm and charity. When others thought only of themselves, he met with and comforted other prisoners. When others fought like savages over a simple crust of bread, he readily shared his own rations with those who were in need. When others would do anything to stay alive, he willingly stepped forward and voluntarily asked to die i n place of a man who was scheduled to be starved to death.

Yes, there is a God. It God who makes people like St. Maximilian Kolbe possible.

Chris Townsend

Dear Mr. Wallace,

Regarding Saving Private Ryan.

You have voiced my opinion about the film spot on. After the opening where can story go on the screen? I blame the storyboarding stage of production. These soldiers finally make it ashore and then sent off to play nurse maid. I wanted the players to be in the main attraction of the ground war. Instead the audience gets to see the same old tired players. It is a wonder that Richard Jaeckel wasn't in it.

There was no sound of distant shelling which would have gone on day and night during that period of the war and Tom Hanks was too old for the part. I keep thinking of the The Big Red One. That was a war movie.

Good writing on your part.

Thank you for a good piece of writing about a film everybody is supposed to love because of the blood and guts. After that it is basically a B movie.

Sincerely yours,

Phil Schroeder

Dear Mr. Wallace:

On lying is life changing.


Dear Mr. Wallace:

The banks should not have been bailed out but rather placed under a civilian martial law and then eventually closed until brand new banks were created and all assets transferred. The healthcare plan should have been presented in a town-hall format all across the country before it was presented as policy to the American people. Also, it should have included financial incentives to maintain one's health and financial disincentives for those injured in a entertainment setting. Still in all neither one of these should have occurred prior to the most important objective of putting people back to work and priming the economic pump.

Secondly, I'm disappointed the deficit committee is not composed of people such as Lester Thurow, Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, David Brooks, George Will, David Malpass etc. We need more than public officials and business leaders in order to come to a appropriate consensus.

Now, to the most important issue at hand. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The Works Progress Administration (renamed during 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest New Deal agency, employing millions to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. It fed children and redistributed food, clothing, and housing. Almost every community in the United States had a park, bridge or school constructed by the agency, which especially benefited rural and Western populations. Expenditures from 1936 to 1939 totaled nearly $7 billion. By 1943, the total amount spent was over $11 billion.

Created by order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the WPA was funded by Congress with passage of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 on April 8, 1935. The legislation had passed in the House of Representatives by a margin of 329 to 78, but was delayed by the Senate.

The WPA continued and extended relief programs similar to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which was established by Congress in 1932 during the administration of Roosevelt's predecessor Herbert Hoover. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs.

Until ended by Congress and war employment during 1943, the WPA was the largest employer in the country. Most people who needed a job were eligible for at least some of its jobs.[4] Hourly wages were the prevailing wages in each area; the rules said workers could not work more than 30 hours a week, but many projects included months in the field, with workers eating and sleeping on worksites. Before 1940, there was some training involved to teach new skills and the project's original legislation had a strong emphasis on training."

What we need in the United States right now is a Public/Private Works Progress Administration to get this country's economy moving again. The desperately needed labor in both the private and public sector could be used to fill the gap of the shortage while at the same time putting money into people's pockets. This money will be spent to purchase necessary products and services and by doing so create enough demand so companies will begin hiring again. Public/Private salaries/wages would be taxed just as those already employed. This would address all the issues facing the committee. Stay tuned for more details.

Joe Bialek