Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

More than 22,000 people read the Spectacle in October. That's 7,000 more than we've been averaging.

Spectacle readers are from all over the world; from a report I receive monthly, here is a breakdown of the number of visitors from other countries:

 1888  .ca (Canada)
 1315  .au (Australia)
  848:  .org (Non-Profit Making Organisations)
  897:  .uk (United Kingdom)
  600:  .se (Sweden)
  449:  .jp (Japan)
  411:  .no (Norway)
  313:  .de (Germany)
  281:  .fr (France)
  246:  .fi (Finland)
  198:  .nl (Netherlands)
  177:  .sg (Singapore)
  183:  .it (Italy)
  143:  .il (Israel)
  184:  .za (South Africa)
  162:  .pl (Poland)
  146:  .dk (Denmark)
  131:  .nz (New Zealand)
  135:  .be (Belgium)
  145:  .kr (South Korea)
  149:  .my (Malaysia)
   96:   .es (Spain)
  113:  .ch (Switzerland)
    85:  .br (Brazil)
    63:  .mx (Mexico)
    63:  .pt (Portugal)
    71:  .ie (Ireland)
    46:   .at (Austria)
    37:   .hu (Hungary)
    37:   .is (Iceland)
    40:   .in (India)
    25:   .ar (Argentina)
    39:   .tr (Turkey)
    25:   .cz (Czech Republic)
    17:   .ru (Russian Federation)
    19:   .do (Dominican Republic)
    18:   .id (Indonesia)
    18:   .gr (Greece)
      9:   .ee (Estonia)
    12:   .su (Former USSR)
    16:   .ro (Romania)
    21:   .co (Colombia)
    19:   .cr (Costa Rica)
    13:   .ae (United Arab Emirates)
      9:   .hk (Hong Kong)
      8:   .bh (Bahrain)
    12:   .ph (Philippines)
    15:   .si (Slovenia)
    10:   .uy (Uruguay)
      7:    .hr (Croatia)
      7:    .lb (Lebanon)
      8:    .kw (Kuwait)
    11:    .bm (Bermuda)
      8:    .lu (Luxembourg)
      2:    .tw (Taiwan)
      2:    .lt (Lithuania)
      4:    .ec (Ecuador)
      4:    .yu (Yugoslavia)
      6:    .th (Thailand)
      3:    .mt (Malta)
      7:    .eg (Egypt)
      2:    .gb (Great Britain)
      4:    .gt (Guatemala)
      4:    .ni (Nicaragua)
      2:    .cl (Chile)
      4:    .ad (Andorra)
      2:    .ag (Antigua and Barbuda)
      2:    .pk (Pakistan)
      1:    .ma (Morocco)
      1:    .sm (San Marino)
      2:    .cy (Cyprus)
      1:     .cn (China)
      2:     .sk (Slovak Republic)
      1:     .ve (Venezuela)
      1:     .pe (Peru)
      1:     .lv (Latvia)

The November issue, on violence, breaks the record for mail received while the issue is still online. Several of the correspondents were angered in the extreme by the thesis that violence is bad for children and other living things. However, most corerspondents continue to be friendly and supportive, even when they disagree with the views expressed.

Please keep those cards and letters coming! I can be reached at jw@bway.net.


Dear Mr. Wallace:

My name is Stefan Sauk. First of all Id like to thank You for some interesting reading. But besides that I have an urgent question: who is Leon Walls? What does he do and so on. I read his article "Taking responsibility" and enjoyed the reading very much. Im about to hold a seminar on friday this week on the subject "ethics and moral" and Id like to qoute him.

Yours sincerely
Stefan Sauk stefan.sauk@mailbox.swipnet.se

I wrote the article. Leon Walls, aka Snipe, did the illustration.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

A bigger hypocrite I have never met. You talk about the violent men who founded this nation, yet you enjoy the bloodied American soil they opened up for us. I am assuming that you live in the United States. If you do, have you ever paid reparations to the original owners of this land. Or are you living on stolen property paid for with the lives of the native American citizens. ( I await your response to that question) You go on to question the Constitution, yet feel free to use its gains (freedom of speech). You attack the Founding Fathers for owning slaves, when many did not and many more freed their slaves. All the while you live in your isolated white community and only continue to fuel segregation. Why don't you move into the nearest hood and then practice your non-violent theories.

You fail to realize that man is inherently violent. All during the upbringing of young human beings one common theme is constantly raised.to be good. The evil side of a human being is automatically developed.

I will use the bible to help you understand this, since that seems to be what you use for your deductive reasoning. If you read the book of Genesis it states that," God created man in his image". You then have to look at what is God's image, it is that of a Liar and Mass Murder. Keep reading the Bible, it's all right there.

You spent to much time concentrating on words and not enough thinking. When one man kills another man in order to defend his life, he is merely acting on his survival instincts. The Founding Fathers understood the importance of this and guaranteed us the ability to defend ourselves (2nd Amd.) . It is not the NRA who created the Bill of Rights. You must educate yourself better on this subject if you are going to write about it. A good start is with the Federalist Papers. In those papers you will read exactly what the authors of the Bill of Rights had in mind when writing them.

Life is not a collection of words and fairy tales, rather a series of actions and re-actions. It is a basic law of Physics and is what life is all about.


Dear Mr. Wallace,

I read your series of articles about violence and since I disagree with some of your points of view I decided to send you my personnel opinions about that subject.

In your first chapter ( "Choosing Life or Death") you say that there are two "clashing worldviews". Does that mean that there is no middle ground, that a human being can be a murderer, violent and destructive creature or a pacifist, kind and unselfish person? You seem to put things black or white with no grey areas. Now, I obviously don't agree with the Hobbesian world view. I don't think we live every man for himself or "war against all". But the other choice you give me is not satisfying either. Let's start by examine the human nature. You say that there is an "animal pity" in us all (or almost all of us). I agree, most human beings would hesitate or have moral problems in killing another human being. But I think that most persons (mainly men) can quite easily overcome that "animal pity". Now violence is not necessarily killing other persons. And we are aggressive. Society has a lot to do with it, just watching the evening news makes me horrified with the world we live in, I could state the TV, racial problems, but I think you understand my point. So, what about our genes? Well, we have o couple of things that we cannot run away from. For example sex, we have very intense sexual instincts which can make us violent (it is a proven scientific fact that persons with sexual frustrations have a more aggressive behaviour than persons with a normal sexual life). Other factor is death, it is everywhere, everyone dies and it gives us grief and sorrow which can make us violent. Other factors that can make someone violent are numerous, lack of professional success or just your favourite soccer team lost a game. As proof to what I said, I'll give you the example of serial killers. You can state that they're an extreme but an analysis to their mentality indicates that the great majority of them has ghosts related to sex and death and that this two factors usually contribute to triggering their killing and violent behaviour (however that doesn't mean that they become serial killers due restricted to the present of sex and death in their lives, there are other factors involved).

So, we have to learn how to act with violence. We can try to educate people since their born to become non-violent (like in Tibet before the Chinese invade it and start exterminating the Tibetans). It's a choice but not in this century (I can't imagine Suharto or any despotic government teaching pacifism) and almost certainly not in next either. So, not in our lifetime. We can try to act peacefully to show how to do things right so that future generations can learn with us and act more peacefully until a state like in Tibet can be achieved. I personally don't agreed that it will work, I think that it will make this world full with Saddam Husseins and Kadafis and ones like them. Sure that to solve the problems of the American ghettos violence is not be best procedure but there are some cases where you cannot escape from violence. Sometimes you have to use violence to solve personnel or other persons problems. Remember that for the Phoenix to reborn, there must first be ashes.

There is another choice, besides "war against all" and letting the "bad guys" kill us. It's called "just defend your points of view with peaceful methods or, if necessary violent ones". Or, like you call it, "just war".

You say that violence is never justified since "just war" will just increase the level of violence and it will make things worse, you also say that "violence generates violence". I agree, the more violence one is used to, the more likely is that he becomes violent. So, we have to end violence as quickly has possibly, if necessary using more violence. It's like putting out a fire in a oil well. You literally explode the fire or in other words, fight fire with fire so that the hot is so great and it burns so fast that the fire stops due to lack of O2.

And you ask "When is violence justified?" and "Who makes that decision?". My answer is that violence is justified when it's the choice that will make things better in the future and will help you attain your objectives in a quicker or more effective way. You probably don't remember but in my only letter to the Spectacle I said that I had some doubts about if Gandhi made the right choice.

My question is, if he had used a military solution would India became independent sooner but at what cost in terms of casualties? It's impossible to answer that question, I made some research and I think that if Gandhi used military force he probably would have attained independence sooner but the cost would be terrible in terms of lives lost. So Gandhi used his noncooperation strategy and succeeded. He is a person of my profound admiration for his courage and determination among other virtues.

But what if he failed? Like you said it yourself, "...history is written by the victors...". What if Dalai Lamas policy of non-violence fails and the people of Tibet is exterminated, that would make non-violence a bad policy? I think that this answers to your second question ("Who makes that decision?"). In India's case, Gandhi, in Tibet's case, the Dalai Lama, in every problem that affects me (from a despotic government like we had to an insult when driving my car), I make that decision.

Violence is necessary when it will help attain your objectives and it is the best choice (it may not be the last choice). And don't say that the objective is not important to you, that the moral issue is what matters because in "Gandhi Game" you spend several paragraphs saying about how more effective is noncooperation over terrorism, so you care about weather the objective is accomplished or not. About your comparison of noncooperation and terrorism it's very poor but that's not relevant here.

Now, how to use violence is another different question. Bombing Dresden or bombing the HQ of Saddam Hussein are completely different things and one has to see the differences between them.

One's objectives are another different subject. The Kansas city bomb has a different objective that the one that is protecting the UN forces to bring food to refugees in Zaire. So that is subject to moral too. Just like how one uses violence.

Now, let me give you a couple of examples:

It would be probably a lot better for mankind if the allies (France and Britain mainly) would have used violence against Germany when Hitler military re-occupied Renania (1936) or on several other occasions when he broke the Versailles treaty. He would never had the strength to resist for long (or at least not as long as he resisted).

For me, it is an option to send troops to protect the refugees in Zaire or other points of conflict (using military violence if necessary).

How would you act against serial killers? Let them kill everyone until they get tired?

In conclusion, we cannot escape from violence, we have to live with it. And sometimes we have to use it. How and under which circumstances we use it, is another subject. I'm not going to use violence if some hot shot in a Ferrari makes me the finger for driving too slow, neither I'm going to kill someone because he made me a hard tackle when playing football (soccer to you). I noticed you are afraid of violence and you have reasons to be but we cannot eradicate violence (at least not in the near future), we have so try to make that there is less and less violence in the world. "Violence is necessary when...it's the best choice" is very subjective but I'm not going to argue about that here since my point is that violence is necessary sometimes and I think I've shown that. Arguing when violence is necessary would that an eternity and you probably don't have an eternity of time.

Anyway I can't stop thinking that if everyone of us would think like you, this would be a better place to live in. However don't forget that you live in the US, you never experienced a fascist government, or worse, a situation like the one in Zaire so you don't know how would you react in those circumstances and neither do I. Talk is cheap (or something like). You know that Einstein was a pacifist and then changed his mind (because of the nazis).

There are a couple more subjects I don't agree with you. I sum them all up, one after the other so that I don't bother you too much (if you're not already sleeping):

You seem to hate terrorists. OK, terrorists usually are cowards that attack civilian targets and are extremely violent. But (like I said in my last and only article to you) if when our dictator was in power a terrorist bomb would kill him, it would make millions of Portuguese happy (and it will be a violent act too). So sometimes terrorism is an answer.

You say "Men who have engaged in violence are not fit to rule us". I could say I disagree because I defend violence as an option but no, I disagree with your opinion (that I've seen in a lot of other articles in the Spectacle) that the rulers of a country should be almost perfect. I agree that politicians have no morals and should have some but I see no problem in the minister of economy having a prostitute if he can make the financial situation in Portugal better (you could say that prostitution is illegal but since I think that prostitution should be legalised (as well as drugs) I cannot make such a statement). Not one is perfect (and certainly not our rulers) but as long as they do their job and don't get bribes and other things like that, what's the problem of being unfaithful to their wives (you can say that someone that has a prostitute is more likely to receive bribes but that is subjective).

Finally (this is the last one, I promise), in the article "Underage drinking" you agree with the prohibition of alcoholic drinks to teenagers under 21. In Portugal, it's great, a ten year-old boy can buy a couple a beers. Now I think that if the age set to achieve "full status" in our society is 18 (like in Portugal) so you should be able to purchase alcoholic drinks at 18. It's a case of utility versus morality and, in this case, I think that the morality should win, also because teenagers under 21 drink anyway and it makes some of them feel like they're breaking rules so it will only tempt them even more. Now whether morality or utility should win, it's a complicated subject and you probably are fed up with me already so I'll leave it for another opportunity.

I'll finish with a Portuguese saying that I think it's related to the violent world we live in (I hope it's well translated):

"You cannot go out when it's raining without getting wet"

Bye and thank you for your time...

Joo Pedro damagalhaes@mail.telepac.pt

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I have never heard of a bigger hypocrite in my life. You state that people are not violent but that it is learned and can be changed in places like africa and europe. If you truly believe this, then why aren't you over there right now on a peace keeping mission? I'll tell you why, because you are another one of these people who are living confortably in their posh homes saying isn't it a shame that people starve but then do nothing to reverse it. You also state incorrect statements about what was put into the constitution and then try to uphold that same constitution for the freedom of speech, why not move to China where there are no guns and no freedom as well. Hitler once stated that the worst thing the germans can do is to allow the people to have and own guns, that is the same for every dictator throughout history yet people like yourself welcome slavery from a dictatorship government. If we truly give up all our guns, that is exactly what we are allowing to happen, a dictatorship to take over. I am sure you would be one of these people that would say that England was wrong for colonizing Africa and making it's people work for them, yet Africa was much better off with them in rule. There was no starvation and there was work for all. Then the people like yourself told England to leave, now look at Africa, it is in ruins and millions are fighting and starving, what a waste. Wake up and stop making up untrue statements, it is ok to have an opinion but to make statements like you do saying it is matter of fact is stupid. WAKE UP!


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Hello. I'd like to use your essay on violence and the essay on underage drinking for the documents and essays section of my homepage. I would give you full credit and even link your site to my homepage. Please contact me.

I am trying to create a site full of diverse opinion that is also an information resource. Your essays would help me achieve that. Thanks.

Chris Seper cucms@uxa.ecn.bgu.edu

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I was just browsing the web when I came across your site, which it seems I've been to sometime in the past. In any case, I was prompted to stay and explore some of the essays you had here. I must say that I'm not entirely impressed with the depth of research that accompanies each essay but it seems that you make no claims to be strict or formal in your writing. But, I am impressed in general with the views you have and the reasons you proffer for holding those views.

As I write, your current issue on violence has provoked this response because of my preoccupation with it. This preoccupation stems from my involvement with the martial arts. Martial arts are often defended as a means of self-defense and end up being another tool of those who hold the Hobbesian world view. After a brief period of study, I became disatisfied with this idea. For this reason, and for purely aesthetic reasons I changed to practicing the martial art, Aikido. This art rejects retribution and revenge and teaches instead techniques for conflict resolution.

The moral view from which this springs is illustrated by a series of situations. The first, a person approaches another and kills without preliminary. The second, a person provokes another into attacking, when attacked, the person then "defends" themself by killing the "aggressor." The third, a person is attacked without provocation then swiftly and lethally defends themself. The fourth and final, a person is attacked without provocation, avoids the attack and harmlessly immobilizes or otherwise calms the attacker. The person in the first and second are both almost equally morally reprehensible. But where many would make the transition to morally good behavior in the third, the result in all of the first three is a human death. Only in the final, does the person recover morality.

The idea that when faced with unremitting and unavoidable hostility, an extremely rare occurance in my opinion, are only response is to kill or be killed, ignores the possiblity that 1's and 0's are not the only numbers in the world.

Well, I'm not sure why I've rambled on to you like this, but surely its gone on long enough. My friend and I publish our own electronic 'zine which you might like to peruse. It's located at http://www.tronco.com/zine/.

Martin Deen martin@tronco.com

The Election

Dear Jonathan:

My name is Joe Azzaro, I am an Attorney in Los Angeles, CA. I recently stumbled onto your web site and I enjoyed it. I wanted to make the observation that while I haven t read all the articles posted on your page that the ones I did read always some how related back to the internet.

In my opinion, your page has real potential especially if you hook up with your cities local ethics commission. In Los Angeles It is the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.

For one example, I read an article entitled "Who Owns Bob Dole?" I thought it was pretty good until I got to the "legalized bribery" hyper text on the bottom of the page. The solution that you pose in the hyper text about cutting off all campaign contributions is fine, Many people share the same idea but thats probably where you should have quit. When you make a statement like all campaigning should be done on the internet, it takes away from the seriousness of your work. While I think the net will become more and more a part of our everyday lives I think it's a bit unrealistic to expect the mainstream or even a majority of society to have internet access.

Just my opinion I guess, but I do think that When you tend to post articles that are only seeking to further the internet it takes away from the legitimacy of your very valuable site.

Joe Azzaro Towpogeejo@msn.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Having recently acquired a concealed carry permit, I decided to see what I could find on the Web as far as this topic was concerned. For the most part I have found many FAQs and informational sites as to the ability of the CC laws to depress violence and curb crime. I live in San Antonio, a beutiful city that, like most metropolitan areas, has it's share of problems. I am required to go into areas of the city where I feel my safety is of great concern. These new laws help control that feeling and put me at ease.

In reading your comments about these laws, I noticed a severe ignorance of the actual laws themselves and the requirements to be permitted to carry a concealed weapon. I was required to attend a total of 12 classroom hours, containing information on gun safety, legalities - if you shoot someone, who you can/cannot shoot, concealment of the weapon, conflict resolution, peace officer interaction, etc. I was also required to qualify on the range. This was all done prior to submitting an application, which was only received after a precursory check was run on me, containing fingerprints, which are sent to the Dept of Public Safety and the FBI for analysis and checking, a full background check and history must also be submitted.

You probably have heard this before, or maybe not, but I wanted you to be aware of the fact that Texas isn't issuing permits to just anyone with a cowboy hat and boots. They take this very serious, evident by the fact that the laws to receive a permit in Texas are the most stringent in the nation. You don't have to worry about the "yahoos" with the concealed carry permits, it's still the criminal element that's the problem.

Thank you for your time and I truly hope that you will read what I have written and consider it seriously. Feel free to respond if you like.

Dave O'Hara dohara@geocities.com

Underage Drinking


I am writing regarding your response to Auren Hoffman's article on underage drinking. I live in Australia, where the minimum age for drinking is eighteen, rather than twenty-one. Whilst I don't have statistics at my fingertips, I would certainly not consider drinking by people in this society aged 18-21 to be at such a level as to be problematic. Having spent the last four years at university, and spent a good many afternoons in the Uni Tavern (G'day to the folks in the Flinders Uni Tavern, by the way!) enjoying a quiet beer, I have never noticed drinking to be particularly hard amongst students. Given Auren Hoffman's concern for this issue, I assume that underage drinking has a tendancy to be at a level which is considered likely to cause health problems or social problems in your part of the world. Although I am basing this statement purely on my own observations, I think that Auren's statement that prohibition encourages drinking amongst 18-21 year olds has considerable merit.

The Australian government has worked hard to reduce road fatalities resulting from drinking and driving by using advertising campaigns, and increasing the penalties for driving under the influence. This has resulted in a great decrease of people found to be driving drunk. The only person I know who has ever been caught driving under the influence was 17 at the time, and punished as a child (small fine, short loss of licence), and so doesn't fit into the argument.

I greatly enjoy the Spectacle. It keeps me thinking.

David Liberts djl@adl.dwr.csiro.au

An Auschwitz Alphabet

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Your Auschwitz Alphabet is amazing. Funny how you can be researching to write a paper and end up reading an entire collection of information that is actually extremely interesting. All I can say is wow. Truly awesome.

U. of Missouri-Columbia student

Dear Mr. Wallace:

even though i"m not jewish my father being Hungarian has told me many stories of life during the war. He was about 15 and had many jewish friends. sometimes i can really image the life my father and jewish people had. Now that i'm older my father has told me many graphic stories of what really happened around where he lived.


Dear Mr. Wallace:

After coming across your page when looking for information for a school research assignment, I was amazed at the information in your 'Auschwitz Alphabet'. It has given me many ideas for my 1000 word essay due next week :-)

Priestley sacerdos@ihug.co.nz

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I think you did an superior job creating the Auschwitz Alphabet. I feel that it is our job as human being to tell about the past, as awful as some on it may be, to inform our fellow human being so that it is not repeated. I praise you for doing it so well. It is too bad that many people today forget the horrors of WWII and continue to do such things as "ethnic cleansing"! But no-the-less we have to continue to inform and educate that we are all here on this planet to live as one and we must learn to see past skin, religion, ect. Again, I praise your efforts to inform and educate.

God bless,
Matt Hutchins
student @ Saint John's University
College, Minnesota

Dear Jonathan:

My name is Brian Yeo(briany@pc.jaring.my). I wish to know whether I could copy your Auschwitz Alphabet and incorporate these pages into my home page. Credit will be stated accordingly without changes.

I have been keen with the hollocaust and have already visited 2 former concentration camps in Poland. Your work highlights many important issues which I think will be useful to the general public.

Your reply is appreciated.

Regards, brian

I gave permission. Check out Brian's pages for an interesting account, with photos, of his visit to Auschwitz, which he calls by its Polish name, Oswiecim.

Dear Jonathan:

Just a note to thank you for the web page you have put together on Auschwitz. I am studying it and learning much from your research.

I am a Zen Buddhist Preist, living in Hawaii. I am a teacher and the director of the Zen Center of Hawaii. But my teacher is Bernard Tetsugen Glassman Roshi in Yonkers New York. In a week, my wife and I will travel with Glassman Roshi to Auschwitz for an Interfaith Bearing Witness Retreat.

I have been reading what I can about Auschwitz to try and understand how this could have happened. I am at a loss to explain such things.

Anyway, I just wanted to touch bases with you and thank you for your page. Do you have any information on names of people who died at Auschwitz. We understand that the "Death Books" have just been published with 100,000 names of people who died at Auschwitz. We are planning to read the names of people who died their during our retreat. Obviously, we couldn't read all of them, but we will have 170 people and we will have 4 people reading names at any one time, so we will be able to cover alittle ground. If you have any sources or suggestions about how I could get some names, I would appreciate it.

Robert Joshin Althouse

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am a student at Jakarta International School and presently in tenth grade. At this moment I am doing research on the Holocaust. And by searching through the web I learned a lot of information about the Holocaust from you. So I was wondering if I could interview you and ask you some questions about the Holocaust in Auschwitz and asking how people escaped from the Holocaust.

Can you please respond to me as soon as possible so I am able to start interviewing you.

Cenie Ho cedric cedric@dnet.net.id

Dear Mr Wallace:

I wrote to you before and I've send "Auschwitz Bulletin" to you. I'm a son of Polish Auschwitz prisoner and survivor (no. 20033) with both the same names as mine.

At 14 of December I'm going to give a kind of lecture in the Jewish Cultural Center in Cracow (17 Rabi Meissels Str.) about what one can find about Holocaust in Internet. I like to give your "AA" as an example no 1. Is it all right?

Shalom and all the best for you.

Stefan Swiszczowski Swiszcz@usk.pk.edu.pl

Dear Mr. Wallace:

This is in response to your essay. For some unknown reason I have become an avid student of the Holocaust. I am 30 years old and No one in my family that I know of is Jewish. Yet I have a deep love and such compassion for your people and your sufferings. I know what you mean about the world's (especially my generation's) ignorance of your true sufferings. In my studies I have tried to place myself in the shoes of those dear people who were hated for no reason. You ask, "Where was God?" I believe He was there weeping with your people. Many of the accounts I have read spoke of divine intervention that saved lives. The world will be judged for the transgression of God's chosen. I wanted to let you know that all are not ignorant to what did happen. I have read about the rats at Auschwitz and the "selections" and the newborn babies who suffered hideous death at the first breath of life. I have never felt hated for my race as you have, but I have suffered in my heart because I have dedicated myself to not forgetting. I will never forget. My children and their children and their children will never forget. I promise you and your people that. It is so small a thing to tell you this, but it is important to me that you know someone does care enough to make your troubles her troubles. I am so sorry for the way America closed her doors and heart to your people. If it were not for the free countries wanting to not get involved, Hitler would never have succeeded. You ask, "Where was God?" I believe He divinely intervened in so many ways. When Hitler invaded Austria, most of the armored vehicles broke down. History says that the Ausrian army could have defeated him alone then. But they surrendered without so much as a fight. No, God did His best to wake people up to do the right thing but they wouldn't. Silence was consent. I refuse to be silent. Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to help your people. I will do it with all my heart because I love your people and I wish God's blessings to you. Please don't let your heart be hard. God will avenge His own. You just wait and see!

God Bless,


I responded thanking Tami for her good-intentioned letter but commenting that statements like "I love your people" make me deeply uncomfortable. Jews are an aggregate of individuals, and like any other group, include liberals and conservatives, secular humanists and fundamentalists, compassionate types and terrorists. Not to mention rich and poor, and even black and white. I do not think there are any general Jewish traits for Tami to love, and the line is very thin between loving a group based on perceived shared characteristics and hating them for the same reasons.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I just wanted to let you know that I found your site as I was gathering resources to teach a unit on the Holocaust to my middle school students. They will be reading the book Night by Elie Weisel. That will serve as a launching pad into our study. Your site is going to be a fabulous resource. Most of what I have found so far is not very "kid friendly". Your site is going to allow them to explore on their own as they learn more about a topic most of them know nothing about. Thanks for providing such a valuable resource.

Erin Walsh ekwalsh@csd.uwm.edu


I am German and 52 years old.

My parents were living in Krakau Lodz and Posen.

Please let me know why it is so important for the Jewish People to let Auschwitz etc. etc. not come to a rest. Do you really belive that a nation fighting a War on 6 diffr.Front had the time to kill 6 Mill.Jews and an other 4 Mill. People.

I spoke with German Jews here in Germany. The told me there were send to the East but not in to a Concentration Camp.

I cant and I will not belive such things.

Please excuse my bad english.

Would like to hear from you.

Regards K.B. Kurt172873@aol.com

This is the second or third letter I have received from people who say they cannot believe the Holocaust happened. I believe that people like Kurt, if confused or troubled, are essentially open-minded, or they would not seek out An Auschwitz Alphabet or write to me.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

i have just being looking through the page and i was getting more and more upsett as i like my history but i don't think i could have gone into one of those horrible camps like auchsitch (bet i have misplet it) and belson, kracow and the other camps.

on a personell note it is good that you are showing all of this as the children of 2000 need to know what happened as not only you but the television have made a lot about all world war 2 with things like war and remeberance (abc productions usa) tenko (bbc london) shindlers list(steven speilberg) and possiblely many more

the jewish people's had to survive the holocause and those who did survive are to tell people as they fought back at the nazi appresion and i very much proud to have sent you this letter.

thanks for opening my eyes a little more

simon patrick mcghee

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am also the grandchild of Russian Jews who imigrated to the United States sometime between 1912 and 1916.

I read Auschwitz Alphabet from beginning to end. I have often read such things and was horrified once again.

For some strange reason, I feel compelled to comment on your criticism of the movie, Schindler's List. Namely, I disagree with it.

I, for one, was not left feeling relieved that someone had emerged a hero...had done something. Rather, I was stuck (again) with the indescribable horror and terror of the Holocost; the sense that, but for fate, "it could have been me"; the insanity; the sheer massiveness of the evil; the helplessness, inhumanity, degredation, futility, and the loss of control I was also left pondering the contradictions, for example, what I interpreted as the despicable camp commandant's genuine, tender feelings for the Jewish woman, (his housekeeper) and the rage and violence he then directed at her because he couldn't deal with the idea of having such forbidden feelings for a Jew, especially one who couldn't return his affection.

For me, the thrust of the movie was: The Holocost was real. The millions of its victems were real. We must not forget what happened and we must not let it happen again. And, yes, among the monsters and those who went along with Nazie horrors without acting, there were some heroes.

I did not leave the movie theater uplifted. I left sickened and depressed. I was haunted by the movie for a long time.

Patricia Riebandt pattyr@redshift.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Just wanted you to know that your site ia one of the most worthwhile projects that I have come across. One is stuck by how ordinary the Nazi murderers seem to be - after all most of them had families too. It is freightening to contemplate how any of us would react if thrust into the position of victim or victimizer. It is enough to make a person feel dirty for being a member of the same species.

Best regards,

Jim Schaeffer
Warminster, PA

A Shaggy God Story

Dear Sir,

My name is Ryan Delane, and I am a college student. I have held a similar view of "God" since about the time I was about thirteen. I have since matured and revised my view of God many times, and through trial and error, and much discussion with a very truly religious friend of mine, tried to discover God to me. I keep returning to the ideas that you articulate so well.

I am presently working on a term paper for an early humanities course. The thesis of the paper is along the lines of "Man creates God to solve the unsolvable so that reality may be explainable." I wish to use a number of references dating back through the Mesopotamian cultures of Ur to the time of the medieval Celts. I am not well versed in any of this, I am an engineer, but I would like to propose a well supported idea.

I guess it would be best to shorten this greatly by stating: I need help. Do you know of any scholarly works that would help me to my goal?

I appreciate any time or effort you might have for my paper.

Thank you, and thank you for taking the time to articulate my beliefs so well.p> Ryan Delane

Humans and their Pornography

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am writing an academic paper in which I make use of your analysis of works on pornography by Mackinnon, Stossen, and McElroy, and wish to cite you as the author. Do you have any guidelines or suggestions on how to identify your work? I suppose I could use:

1. Jonathan Wallace, "The Ethical Spectacle" Vol. I, No. 11 November 1995 (http://www.spectacle.org/1195/concl.html, 11/11/96)

Has this issue come up before?

Thank you, Philip Labee plabee@cadence.com

Dear Mr. Wallace,

This is one of the best sites I have ever encountered on the net. I have been doing quite a bit of research on pornography and I must say that your essay's on pornography are some of the most well written works out there. I just want to thank you for your ideas, they've really helped me define my argument in what has become a monster of a research assignment.

thanks again,

Pete McKinney

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I believe the issue is not whether or not pornography is bad or good, but rather, does an individual have the right to protect themselves and their family from something that they percieve to be a negative influence.

I have at my disposal an infomation device that rivals living next to the public library. Yet, my children are denied free and timely access to this source. The reason? Free and unsolicited advertisment, dirty words and all of material of a purly sexual nature. I, being a Viet Nam veteran, and proud of my efforts of protecting the first amendment rights, feel that all information should be freely avaliable to adults. However, I belive that information should be indexed in a way that reduces the chances of a child being exposed to it.

The majority of all pornography thrives, not because people are seeking an means of expressing their personal views on sex, but through the efforts of capital investors, seeking a profit. No one can deny that organized, profit seeking persons and organizations are flooding the diverse medias with pronographic materials and advertisements designed to increase the access of these materials.

We need to protect a persons right to percieve the world in their own singular perspective. What ever is considered controversial should be catagorized in a manner that prevents it being viewed by those people who don't want it in thier lives or families. They have the unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. It is a shame to support the right of one perspective when there is room to support them all. I love Jesus Christ with all my heart and soul. I don't feel I have the right to force my opinion's about Jesus on everyone else. America is a nation of choices. No one has the right to force their choices on the kids of another person.

John S. Ray puah@worldnet.att.net

I referred John to the Parental Control FAQ, which can be accessed from the main Voters' Telecommunication Watch pages. In brief, the answer is not to purge the server (the Internet) but for John to control the information that reaches the client (his children's PC).


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Your page seems very interesting and useful. I came to it looking for something on ethics in education and social science research. I am currently working for Australian Association of Research in Education (AARE) compiling an annotated bibliography on ethics in education research. I would be pleased to contribute this to a web page like yours if you were interested,

Karen Halasa karenh@compost.apana.org.au

Dear Mr. Wallace:

The Politics Online Conference is for political, public affairs and public relations professionals to learn how best to deploy online communications. The Conference was first held in Washington, DC in April and transcripts from this event about lobbying online and online demographics can be found on the Conference's homepage at: http://www.flyingkite.com/main/politics-online.htm

To learn about the pioneering online efforts of the '96 campaigns, a special post-election Politics Online Conference will be held on November 21 in Washington, DC and December 12 in South San Francisco, California. Full details can be found on the Conference's homepage.

Jessica Hymowitz hymowitz@flyingkite.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I find it interesting that you interpreted 1984 as an anti-communism piece, when quite clearly, it is an anti-totalitarian and anti-fascism piece. Orwell himself was a socialist. Animal Farm may have directly been about Russian communism or communism in general, however, 1984 was not.

PS: Interesting site you have - nicely done.

Chris Katsifolis chriskat@minyos.its.rmit.edu.au

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I'm promoting environmental issues and notice that you don't have a link to the Union of Concerned Scientists web site.

The famous document WORLD SCIENTISTS' WARNING TO HUMANITY, signed by 1680 scientists, is presented on the USC site, and I'd like to see it spread around.


Most of the hundred or more sites carrying links to the many copies of this document use the capitalized title.

Also I am promoting my own environmental site which offers an extreemly radical approach to dealing with the environmental crisis once and for all. Suprisingly, 70% of readers polled are in immediate support of a project proposed by NASA in 1980 that would totally solve all environmental problems.

The Environmental Crisis and NASA's Proposal


I hope they make it on to your list.

Paul B. Dennis pbdennis@direct.ca

Dear Mr. Wallace:

In the Ethical Spectacle, May 1995, there was an article on Kent State called, "America kills its children." I am a student at Seaman High School in Topeka, KS. We are doing a National History Day research project and I am doing a dramatic presentation on what happened at Kent State on May 4, 1970. I was very pleased to find your article and I was wondering if you could possibly send me any information you would have on this topic. Anything would be of help. What I am really looking for is people that were actually present at the riots.

Thank you for your time and any help you can provide. You may E-mail me at the school if you have anything.


Amy Workman Clipper@cjnetworks.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I'd like to submit my page for your consideration for inclusion on yours. It's http://home.earthlink.net/~onemans, and it's titled "One Man's Thoughts: Soul Searching in Cyberspace." It's a mixture of philosophy, religion, humor, physics, ethics, sociology, and whatever else. In particular, I'm trying to take a "forum" approach by encouraging others to respond (which I then post). Thanx!

One Man onemans@earthlink.net