More than 23,000 people read The Ethical Spectacle last month. A search in Altavista reveals thousands of links from around the world; and scores of you continue to write me every month. Your email makes it all worthwhile. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Your post about defending speech not meaning you have to distribute it was terrific and helpful to me personally in my work as First Amendment Ombudsman at The Freedom Forum. You reassure me that there are people out there who understand that you don't have to like certain kinds of speech to be able to defend it. I don't know whether you saw me debate Congressman Ed Markey on Crossfire last night, but he and John Sununu and Geraldine Ferraro, the hosts, all thought I was crazy to be "defending" sex and violence on television, when all I was doing was saying it was a dangerous road to send democracy down for government to be coercing the industry into censoring itself. Anyway, you make that point much better than I did on TV, and it renews my resolve when I read the words of folks like you. Thanks.
Paul McMasters firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a reader of McCullagh's fight censorship and I wanted to you to know that I STRONGLY AGREE with your views about refusing to mirror Zundel. I thought the people who mirrored his site last January when the Germans cut him off were wrong and they would be wrong again if they picked up his request to clone his site now.
People who mirror Zundel either :
a- don't look at the content are knee-jerk free speech zealots
b- don't understand the anti-Semitic basis of Holocaust denial (and if they read some of the stuff there, it would be necessary to question their intelligence if they missed the anti-Semitism and general xenophobia directed at non-northern-Europeans.)
c- they are anti-Semitic (even if they don't consciously admit it.)
I also DEEPLY appreciated this question:
"Would Ernst Zundel mirror your pro-diversity, pro-democracy, pro-gay, anti-hate, speech if it was threatened?"
People who mirror Zundel (as opposed to free speech) refuse to recognize this. And what person with a shred of intelligence doesn't know that Z's idol, Adolph Hitler, had a despicable record (a kind characterization) in this area (and a few others too boot.).
I want to thank you for saying so well what I can't say publically on that forum. It was a well-crafted and forceful statement of the intellectually and morally honest position. But - I think you can expect some heavy duty flaming. So batten down the hatches (probably a mixed metaphor here.)
I read An Open Letter to the SPA and was a bit puzzled by something you wrote :
If I published a manual on how to commit software piracy, in fact you could not sue me; the First Amendment protects not only the speech we approve of, but even some quite despicable speech; otherwise it wouldn't count for anything.
Is this true ? Really ?
If I publish a book giving hints on, say, how to rob a house or how to steal a car, I couldn't be liable for that ?
Can't this be seen like an excess in the application of the first amendment ? In my opinion, freedom of speech is mandatory, as long as it doesn't go beyond the bounds of legality, racism, terrorism, and a few other things.
For example, some time ago in Switzerland, a group of people was forbidden to express themselves on the radio because they said they were going to urge people not to go to vote for a forthcoming election. This looks very normal to me, just like you wouldn't hand a microphone to a terrorist.
It seems to me that American people take the First Amendment much too seriously. Just like everything in this world, there is no such thing as absolute truths. The Amendment is good, except for a few cases where it obviously shouldn't apply (isn't the Congress trying to limit its applicability, by the way ?).
Please don't take these questions personally, this is pure curiosity from someone watching the electronic fight from over the ocean...
Cedric Beust email@example.com
A stunning piece of writing... cuts through the Pop History nonsense with great effect.
At a time when I personally am struggling with the idea of whether I can live as an individual, and my society collectively, with post-theological ethics (and even with the question of whether such exists!), I found the Alphabet engaging and inspiring.
Bruce Allen firstname.lastname@example.org
I find our writings very interresting, but I need something more about Rudolf Hoss. Furthermore I need some danish sites to read about the Rudolf Hoss and related subjects. I would be very glad if you could help me.
Thank you for your essays.
Rasmus Bjerngaard, Denmark email@example.com
Hoss' diary was published in English in 1995 under the name Death Dealer.
My name is Lois Olena. I am the transcriptionist for the audio taped Holocaust Survivor interviews which have been done through the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive in Philadelphia. I have been with Gratz on this project for the last seven years, after doing an M.A. in Jewish Studies there. I am not Jewish, but became involved and interested in Jewish Studies after taking a course called "Jewish-Christian Relations" in my undergraduate Christian college. I just wanted to say thank you for making your web site available. Its importance and relevance is without question and I do appreciate your efforts. A job well done.
Lois Olena DougOlena@aol.com
I am a college student writing a paper on the happenings in Auschwitz. The pages that I read were enlighting as to what really occured. Many people do not believe in the Holocaust but after my presentation some changed their minds. Thank you for condensing many hours of reading.
Julie Hamilton Grozney@aol.com
I am an American college student at the California State University at Chico. I took last year off from school and backpacked around Europe alone for about six months. Without a doubt, the thing that sticks in my head the most is actually getting to see Auchwitz and Birkenau.
I was there in about mid-April. I was there on the Jewish Day of Remembrance for the Living, or something to that effect. There was a march of Jews that went from one camp to the other. Myself and a fellow American who I met in Krakow were the only ones there who were not either locals Poles, or Jewish. About 6000 Jews marched. Unfortunately for me, they closed both death camps to anyone who was not involved in the march. Now, since I don't get to Poland very often (never), I was going to be damned if I didn't get to see what the hell actually happened here. I had to see this with my own eyes to make sure that something like this could be real.
We had to sneak into the march and pretend we were Jewish. It was the most surreal event of my life. On a march from one death camp to another, with the mix of people ranging from the uncontrollable crying to the guys talking on cellular phones (lots and lots of American Jews made the trip) to the guys who saw us sneak in giving us very hard looks. To see Birkenau, the most horrible place I could ever imagine, with about 6000 Jews holding some type of ceremony, was almost a little too much.
I don't know what I'm going to say or even why I am writing this, but in doing research or a class, I stumbled upon your site. If you think you would have anything that I could learn from, or whatever, it would be appreciated. Thanks.
I was transcribing my mother's memoirs tonight. The difficult section she has just written deals with her experience in Auschwitz. I am 30 years old and have just begun to look into my own history. Tonight, after finishing writing up what my mom had sent to me, I decided to surf the net for information on the Holocaust. I stumbled upon your site and have read some sections. I will definitely read the rest later. However, I just read your introduction and felt compelled to send you a brief note just to say that I can relate to the perspectives that you describe very well, and also to thank you for compiling this information. I hope to add a section to my own webpage in the near future with at least some links to useful information on the Holocaust, and perhaps a few words of my own (or of my parents, if they don't mind).
I may in fact begin to do some psychological research on Holocaust survivors in collaboration with a colleague of mine at the University of British Columbia, Peter Suedfeld, who is a child survivor. He has collected many interviews with survivors. He also has collected considerable questionnaire data from survivors.
David R. Mandel mandel@Psych.Stanford.EDU
I read much of your page this evening. I am a year older than you, born and live in NYC, and both of my parents are survivors of the Holocaust. It has taken me until now, and specifically, under the pressure of thinking how to honor my mother on her 70th birthday just last week, and further, on the chance purchase of an unusual book on Europe and the Jews on the eve of the war at a flea market in Greenwich Village, that I have finally taken an active interest in what my parents endured.
Ever since I was small, my mother has occasionally discussed her path with myself and my sister. She wanted us to know about our grandparents and her sister, all of whom perished. Each time she would start talking about her past, she would begin crying, and often could not finish her stories. My reaction to this as a youth was to try and comfort her, and tell her that that was the past, and that everything was alright now. (pretty stupid, I guess). But my overriding thought was that if one lets the past disrupt one's life, and cause anguish, then that would just mean that the German's were still somehow winning, at least in my mother's sadness.
An effect that this upbringing had on me was to dislike organized religion. My parents brought me up without too much religion, they did not practice much, although I did go to Hebrew school and have my bar mitzvah, I was not obligated to practice any further, and I didn't. I blamed the Holocaust, and many other sad episodes in history, on the politicalization of religion - taking an accident of birth and giving people reasons to hate and kill each other because of it. I felt (and feel) that one does not need religion to be a good human, or even to act and live spiritually. Actually, one comment from a Hebrew school teacher summarizes my feelings - that 'the finger of God' is in all of us. I take by all to mean every living creature. Bad enough that there is enough prejudice between people because of physicial differences, why have man-made reasons as well.
I know that I am coming across as simplistic here, but these are some root feelings, I know that there are a slew of other problems that the human species has in living together - although I take great comfort in the belief that overall, we are a species that enjoys cooperation and peace, and that someday we hopefully will all live together in harmony.
In any case, I did not want to know that much about the Holocaust. I wanted to be able to grow as a human being without the baggage of my parent's history. I wanted people to deal with me as myself, and not as a Jew, or a child of the Holocaust, or whatever. I have always had the feeling that when you mention this family history, people feel sorry for you, consider you somehow different, and I didn't want that. My parents would get pretty upset when I would sometimes point out that occasionally the state of Israel would act pretty rotten towards it's neighbors. I did feel better once when an uncle who lives over their shared some of my views of the right wing Israeli's to my mom.
I also did not want to know that much graphically about what went on for fear of affecting my psyche. I have always been sensitive to cruelty, I have never seen a horror movie, and dislike dwelling upon man's darker deeds.
However, I did start reading this book, and then a book I had in my library called Treblinka, and have just finished a book written in 1960 called "Auschwitz, a doctor's eyewitness account," written by a Dr. Miklos Nyiszli. At my mothers party I read a 2 page account where I thanked my mother for giving me the knowledge that life is a sacred thing to be cherished and not wasted, among other things. My mother and guests were very touched and I did do the right thing.
Now to the point of my letter. I have found that what makes me finally able to go back and read these books, and become able to read about the horrors that my parents went through, is a philosophical thought that developed within me during these readings. And that is that what happened here, and what has happened all throughout history, both good and bad, is a chronicle of the history of human beings - all of them, not the history of Jews, or of Poles, or of Gypsies, or whatever. I feel that as humans, we all share a collective history, and as you say yourself over and over, it is this knowledge of the past that will help us grow as a civilization. I no longer think of my self as 'special' in any way because my parent's survived this - it is a fact, and it is something I should know about, especially because I have the accessibility of first hand knowledge.
I'm sorry if I sound at all ridiculous with this letter, I'm too tired to proofread it, and I'm just hopeful that some of this may be of interest to you. I applaud the work that you have gone through to create this document, and I especially enjoyed your closing essay. Let me know if you are interested in any of these books I mentioned - the first one is called "The Jews Under Hitlerism", and was written by a Greek Orthodox bishop of Hungarian descent but who emigrated to New York. He went back to eastern Europe in 1938 and traveled around and witness the degradation of the Jews that led up to their transport to the concentration camps. The book was published in 1943 as a plea for America to put an end to Jewish suffering.
Thank you for reading,
George Fiala firstname.lastname@example.org
I applaud your web site...moving yet somewhat inspirational. The only portion that upsets me is that referring to God. The holocaust was indeed a horror, but not too much more so than many events which have preceeded it. The wars waged by the Huns, the great crusades, the Spanish Inquisition....The list unfortunately goes on and on. I firmly believe that God has always been present, and of course is aware of all occuring on earth. He knows of each act of inhumanity as well as each act of compassion. But he does not intercede. The bible clearly states that man is given free will...for good or bad! I believe that God is always there to help us through all things, whether we ask him or not. And yes, I am Jewish. I don't, nor can ayone, blame God that the holocaust happened. I don't blame him for the numerous cases of rape, murder, child abuse, disabling disease, hunger...any of the tragic realities which exist in this world. Many of them are simply a product of man's free will.
What I do believe is that this present life is but a short passage in an infinite existence. I believe God guides us through this life with all his love and understanding. But we are ALL subject to man's free will, for good or bad. It is only in the next "life", our existence after our time on this world has come to an end, that we will be free of the free will of man. And only than can we expect to understand the great love and true omnipotence of God.
Nancy Mahler email@example.com
I was quite amazed reading your articles that on one hand you can talk about the tragedies of the Holocaust and on the other hand you can talk about making guns illegal to respectable (never convicted of a crime) citizens. We are all aware of the terrible tragedy of the second WW where 4+ million Jews were exterminated, but if these people fought back with guns and killed only 1 SS trooper, then 4 million SS troopers would have died causing damage internally to the German war machine. Also, Hitler would have had to divert needed front line troops to deal with these rebels. In the Warsaw ghetto, they did fight back, and although most of them were killed, at least they weren't summarily executed because they had guns to fight back. I am sure you didn't know that the first people they killed BEFORE the Germans were the right wing liberals like yourself who opposed the use of arms and turned in their own kind to the Germans. Anyone who is so uneducated to believe that it could never happen here in the US is fooling themselves. History always repeats itself and although it may seem remote that it could happen here in the US, it is not impossible. Taking away guns from everyone will only allow a true tyrant to take over, this is why our founding fathers made the second amendment, to assure the people that if a tyrant tries to take over, the people will have the ability to over-throw the tyranny. It amazes me that people like yourself can be against guns in the US. Please stop spreading lies about guns on your site, you may not support guns but making lies (about the NRA and weapons in general) to try and get rid of them is not the answer. It is our constitutional right to bear arms because the second amendment says we have a right to bear arms just like we have the right to freedom of speech, we have a right to bear arms.
David Hartman firstname.lastname@example.org
I THINK IT CRITICAL TO SAY THAT I STARTED LEARNING HOW TO ENTERTAIN SEXUAL LUST AT THE AGE OF 8 YEARS OLD, AND CONTINUED TO PRACTICE THAT SAME VENUE FOR THE NEXT 28 YEARS! PART OF THE CONTRIBUTING MATERIAL CAME OFF MY OWN FATHER'S LIBRARY SHELVES, SOME FROM PUBLIC LIBRARIES, AND MUCH FROM "FRIENDS" AND MAGAZINE RACKS. THERE HAS BEEN GREAT PAIN AND COST ASSOCIATED WITH SUCH INDULGENCE, NEEDLESS TO ENUMERATE AT THIS POINT.
I BEAR FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY DECISIONS TO ENGAGE IN PURSUIT OF LUST, BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FAR BETTER HAD SOMEONE STEPPED IN AND STEERED ME TOWARD MORE CONSTRUCTIVE OUTLETS FOR MY ENERGIES. UNTIL I WAS ABOUT 36 I LIVED A VERY SELF-CENTERED AND LUST FILLED LIFE WHICH DID NOT BRING ANY SATISFACTION BUT LEFT ME MUCH EMPTIER THAN BEFORE EACH TIME I CHOSE TO EXERCISE THE LUST ELEMENT. IT SIMPLY COULD NOT NOR EVER CAN FILL ONE'S LIFE NOR GIVE PURPOSE TO OUR EXISTENCE.
PASSION IS ANOTHER ISSUE ALTOGETHER, BUT ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO INDULGE IN THINGS WHICH DEMEAN AND DETRACT FROM HEALTHY, WHOLESOME, AND BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES WILL NOT BE OVERLOOKED BY GOD EVEN IF ALL THE REST OF THE WORLD SAYS WE CAN PRESS ON TOWARD A PARTICULAR DESIRED END, BE IT LUST FOR SEX, POWER, MONEY, ATTENTION, OR ANYTHING ELSE. GOD'S RIGHTEOUS DEMANDS MUST BE SATISFIED. IF WE DENY HIM OR HIS REQUIREMENTS, THAT DOES NOT ALTER THE FACT THAT ONE DAY WE ALL WILL ANSWER DIRECTLY TO HIM, AS HE SAYS, "FOR EVERY IDLE WORD," AS WELL AS FOR OUR DEEDS.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL PREROGATIVE OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH FOR THE PRESS, AND THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS TO SAY THE TRUTH, ARE A FAR CRY FROM THE OUTCRY TODAY FOR FREE SPEECH. THE FORMER REQUIRES TEMPERANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY AS THE FOUNDATION, WHEREAS THE LATTER WHINES AND SKULKS AND THREATENS A TANTRUM DEMANDING EQUAL TIME WITHOUT BEARING CONCOMMITANT RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT IS SAID, ITS TRUTH, ITS NECESSITY, NOR FOR ITS KINDNESS AND SOCIAL BENEFICENCE.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE BEARABLE, THAT WILL JUSTIFY BEFORE GOD OR OUR CONSTITUTION, THE ONGOING GENERATION OF FILTH WHICH SPUES OUT UPON OUR SOCIETY. THE GENERALLY PRACTICED "OSTRICH" ROUTINE ONLY SERVES AS A PERMISSIVE ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE PURVEYORS OF PORNOGRAPHY. THE LETTER OF THE LAW IS NOW TWISTED TO DEFEND THAT WHICH NEVER SHOULD BE TOLERATED. THE TRUTH OF OUR HERITAGE AND FOUNDATIONS IS UNDER SEIGE AND MUST BE DEFENDED IF WE ARE TO MATURE AS A NATION. OR DO WE TRULY DESIRE TO BECOME AN AMORPHOUS MASS OF JELLY WITHOUT CHARACTER, SIMPLY FLOWING WHICHEVER DIRECTION THE TABLE TILTS? AS DR. BOB JONES SR WAS QUOTED AS SAYING, "THE MAN WHO WILL STAND FOR NOTHING WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING."
TODAY WE SOW THE WIND AND TOMORROW WE WILL REAP THE WHIRLWIND: THE GENERATIONS WE SHOULD BE GUIDING AND STRENGTHENING ARE BEING POISONED AND WILL BE OUR CORRUPTED CARETAKERS WHEN WE CAN NO LONGER CARE FOR OURSELVES. OUR SPENT LUST, WITHERED AND SHAMED, SHALL CRY OUT TO OUR CHILDREN FOR MERCY AND HELP, BUT THEY WILL ONLY BE PURSUING THAT LUST AND DECADENCE WHICH WE HAVE SO SKILLFULLY TAUGHT THEM, WITH NO TIME NOR INTEREST TO ATTEND TO THE PASSING OF THEIR ELDERS, WHICH ALL OF US WILL ONE DAY BE.
IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE ALL THIS, CAREFULLY LOOK INTO THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. IT HAS BEEN SAID HISTORICALLY, "IF WE DO NOT LEARN FROM HISTORY, THEN WE ARE FORCED TO REPEAT ITS MISTAKES." GOD HAS GIVEN US HIS WORD SO WE CAN AVOID THE PITFALLS OF HISTORY. WILL WE HEED HIS WARNINGS?JOHN12:48
I REST MY CASE.
IN JESUS CHRIST,
Craig m. Szwed email@example.com
My Dear friend whatever has caused you to hate GOD and mankind so much. Before you start to snicker, and think that I am one of those Holy rollers, Stop and think again.
I was one of the bad, not I probably was the worst person on earth, I done things, that I dare not even print, a major drug dealer, enforcer and thats the nice things. I came to know Jesus one sunday morning, with out hearing a preacher speak a word.
If it apparent by the statements that you make in your writings that you have never truly exaimed the evidence of GOD and JESUS CHRIST.
Tell me the void that you feel in your heart and soul, what can you do to fill it, you can only , wet the appetiate of the hunger you feel for GOD , for a brief momement of time with your attacks on GOD.
Have you ever set down and read the Bible, Ok don't read the whole bible, just start with the new testament, the King James version. Cut off the TV, the Radio, and spend some time with the word.
Read it seven times a day for seven days, the whole part of the New testament.
Then if you can honestly tell GOD doesn't matter or exist or care, then I'll quietly leave you alone, I won't bother you with my proof that GOD is real and more real today than ever .
Take from a 38 year Southern red neck outlaw, or I used to be anyway, GOD is real, JESUS CHRIST is real and alive in heaven today. The things that are happening as you say, in this world, is only the fullfillment of GOD's word.
Robert Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org
Newt's appointments to the commission on gambling includes a top officer in MGM Grand, Las Vegas; no bias there. How much will Newt get for that favor?
Gordon Armstrong email@example.com
I was just searching for information on web censorship and came across your page.
I really enjoyed your article on same sex marriage and agree with what you have to say. And since you and I have the same name, I thought I'd drop a note to ya.
Jonathan S. Wallace
"Science: Out of This World!"
Wednesdays at midnight on LPB/PBS
I am a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, USA and am in the process of compiling materials for a text called "Perspectives in Business Ethics" for Irwin Publishing Co. I am interested in reprinting certain segments from your discussion of the Prisoner's Dilemma in the text. These sections would include the section on business, relationships and the Ghandi game. If it would be acceptable, please let me know by return email. Thanks so much.
I hope you enjoy the impeachment proceedings..........
RIGHT-WING-EXTREMIST GREETINGS FOR THE HOLIDAYS......
john jonas firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Lindsay Fernung, and I am a 14 year old girl. For an AP Literature project, I am writing a thesis on Louis Farrakhan and the Million Man March. I cited your site and the article about the Million Man March that was in the January, 1996 issue. Unfortunately, there is no byline on the link or in the article, so I have no author to credit in my works cited and throughout my paper. If you can, please help me.
Lindsay M. Fernung