Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Most of my essays inspire some immediate response: at least two or three emails in the weeks after they are first posted. As you can see from my letters column, the responses keep coming in for years; An Auschwitz Alphabet and my Prisoner's Dilemma issue were both published in 1995. It is rare that I write something which inspires no response whatever, so essays that have that effect tend to be particularly memorable. The last prose of mine which met with total silence was the James Joyce issue in March 1998.

Well, here's another one, on Proust. Most of my readers are most interested when I am writing about impeachment, or gun control, or something else topical; they don't come to these pages for literary criticism. But one of the enjoyable things about writing The Ethical Spectacle is that, though I care for my readers, I don't write for them primarily. I write for myself first. I don't have editors or publishers to worry about; circulation (steady for some time between 20,000 and 30,000 unique domains a month) is gratifying but not a life or death proposition; I don't have to concern myself with ad rates, and only I can fire me from the Spectacle. Rather than pander to anyone, I have the privilege of throwing stuff out there and seeing who reacts to it.

This is the fiftieth issue of the Spectacle, which has appeared every month since January 1995. For a long time I wondered if I would be able to keep doing it; now it is hard to imagine ever giving it up.

Every once in a while I get email from someone volunteering to help with the Spectacle site in one way or another. One task I'd love to see a volunteer take on would be to maintain the links page, which is full of dead links and needs to be updated with numerous new sites people have brought to my attention. If you're interested, let me know.

Jonathan Wallace jw@bway.net

Planets of Desire
Dear Jonathan:

Well said, as always, old chap!

There's a child-care center right by where I work called "Bread and Roses"; I didn't know its name came from a song. Do you remember what the song is called?

I remember the sf story about being transformed to walk on Jupiter, too (along with his dog and his compatriots). I can't remember the title, either. SF is that way, the ideas live forever but the details, the execution, can't possibly be as memorable. Frederick Pohl's "Man Plus" is a not-bad novel that treats the same idea -- transformation of the body to live in a remote environment -- somewhat differently.

Have you ever read Howard Rodman's short story "The Man Who Went to the Moon -- Twice"? It's in Harlan Ellison's _Dangerous Visions_ collection, well worth reading.

I'm afraid it's a pipe dream that we'll be able to send paying civilians into space in the near future -- sorry. Costs are still in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 per pound to put something into orbit...that's wholesale, and I don't think you can find it at retail...

On the other hand, there was a TV show the other night showing people who were experimenting with ground-based propulsion. The spacecraft carries no fuel, no rockets; its bottom surface is a shiny parabola, and it spins rapidly to gyroscopically stay vertical. A laser sits directly underneath and zaps the craft with a strong pulse dozens of times a second. The parabola focuses the light and superheats the air directly under the craft, the resultant expansion pushing it upward. Their experiment is only with a model a foot or two across, but it shows the principle. If we can make spacefaring craft that don't need to carry their own launching fuel, that's a phenomenal breakthrough in cost (and probably safety).

Or, as Heinlein put it:

The two Presidents were seated alone at the front of the crowded
   grandstand.  Two kilometers in front of them a spaceship, small
   compared with the Shuttle assemblage, but close to the size of the
   Shuttle alone, stood upright in the bright Mexican mountain
   sunshine.  A voice from everywhere was counting: "-- sixty-one
   seconds ... one minute ... fifty-nine ... fifty-eight --"


   "Mr. President, I _still_ don't understand how a beam of light can
   put a spaceship into orbit."

   "Neither do I, Madam President, neither do I.  But I believe your

   "So do I but it frightens me."

   "-- fifteen ... The Binational Solar Power Zone is now on standby
   power ... nine ... eight --"

   "_Oh!_  Will you hold my hand?  _Please!_"

   "--four! ... three! ... two! ... one! ... LIGHT!"

   A single inhalation by thousands, then came the everywhere voice
   in soft, reverent tones:  "Look at that bastard _go!_"

(_Expanded Universe_, p. 579.)
-- Jamie McCarthy

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I'd like to congratulate you on your fine website _The Ethical Spectacle_. It's refreshing to come across a site like yours which isn't partisan, but which takes a calm, humane approach. Your writing style is also excellent.

Your essay _Planets of Desire_ reminds me of my fascination with space exploration. Like you, there were times when I didn't follow things as intently as at others, but I'm still fascinated by space.

Though I'm a bit younger than you, I too remember parts of the space programme: I still remember the Apollo-Soyuz mission and the end of the Apollo programme. I was excited at the prospect of the space shuttle and was shattered by the Challenger disaster. (I can remember where I was when I heard it - I suppose it's my equivalent of what the Kennedy Assasination is for other people). I still have difficulty in understanding how people joked about it.

I cheered inwardly when I read the line "Preserve us from Accountants": for a long time I'd felt guilty about supporting space exploration because I felt it was difficult to justify. Thank you for reminding us all that it's possible to have dreams of adventure and still be ethical people.

Derek Bell dbell@maths.tcd.ie

Impeachy Keen
Dear Jonathan:

You said: "I still do not believe the Congress has acted constitutionally in voting for impeachment. The Constitution provides that the House may vote impeachment charges and the Senate will then conduct a trial upon evidence of "high crimes and misdemeanors". Judicial interpretation, of any law and of the Constitution in particular, assumes that there are no misplaced or meaningless words. If the Framers saw fit to add the word "high" as a modifier, this clearly means that there are crimes and misdemeanors which do not qualify as "high" and therefore do not provide grounds for impeachment."

Ok, let's parse words: What's a "high misdemeanor" then? Don't you think distinguishing a "high crime" from a misdemeanor, but dictating that both are cause for impeachment might be the same as specifying "felonies" and misdemeanors in 20th century English? Parsing words and dancing on the head of a pin in order to defend your guy...tsk, tsk, Jonathan, you are no different than the rest of the two faced liberals who support Clinton as a matter of dogmatic adhesion to partisan survival..

I am surprised at you. You say you think Clinton is just a "fuck up" but not a criminal for lying to a grand jury while under oath. (Which happens to be a felony ergo a "high crime.") I guess the 140 or so people convicted and sentenced to prison each year in this country for doing the same thing should all be set free and compensated for having been unjustly imprisoned. Hell, if nothing else, they are presidential material...if they are liberal anyway. After all...anybody would lie about sex. And certainly any president would, especially if telling the truth meant losing a civil lawsuit to someone claiming that he behaved the same way towards her as she clerked for the State of Arkansas, when he was the Governor. The fact that admitting that he routinely had White House interns drop in and give him blow jobs while "doing the nation's business" might just be a bit embarrassing It might just cause a jury to believe the woman whom his staff accused of being lying, big haired trailer trash.

As for the Congress acting "constitutionally" Jonathan, the fact that they impeached him on two articles and sent him to the Senate for trial is precisely constitutional...The majority of representatives believe that he committed felonious acts while in office. He did not even put up a defense against the accusations, but only relied upon his supporters to infer that a lie while under oath in a Federal Court, does not rise to "impeachment level." Pretty much your argument. The "everybody does it" defense. I hope it goes to trial, though I have my doubts when it comes to the resolve of the Senate. A bigger bunch of weasels hardly exists anywhere.

You say: "But if I were Bill Clinton, I would hang in defiantly right now, because the Republican warping of the Constitution to carry out a partisan vendetta isn't right either."

Don't worry Jonathan, he will indeed "hang in defiantly" because if he resigns now, without Presidential immunity from prosecution, he'll be prosecuted for his felonies. If he admits his crimes, he knows that prosecution awaits upon conviction in the Senate and removal also...so he has no choice but to stay put. Besides, even if prosecution were not hanging over the guy, he does not have the character to resign in shame. He does not recognize the term...

You say: "The Republicans have as much as admitted that in going against public opinion and impeaching the President they are assuming that the electorate are jackasses."

Gee Jonathan...where in The Constitution does it specify that our representatives must use opinion polls to govern their vote? How come public opinion should prevail now, but not in, say in the 1960s with the Civil Rights acts? Should it prevail regarding Affirmative Action? How about partial birth abortion? See, Jonathan, like most liberals, you have it exactly backwards...The Constitution gives us a "rule of law" which must take precedence OVER public opinion when some popular politician "fucks up" and needs to be removed....PER THE CONSTITUTION!

As for the electorate being jackasses...did you know that "according to the polls", over 30 percent of "the electorate" believes in astrology. I'd bet virtually none of them are conservatives.... So you stick in there with such constitutional luminaries as Rosanne Barr, Alec(kill Henry Hyde and his famly)Baldwin, Sheila Jackson Lee, (She's the congresswoman that asked NASA if the Mars Rover could go over and photograph the flag our astronauts left) Maxine (welfare fraud) Waters and Barney (out of the closet, and now an expert on morality) Frank and dance on that pin head....

On a final note, I see you parroted the liberal mantra about the infamous $40 million "waste" of taxpayer money by the Starr investigation. How much was spent on Iran Contra? How long did that go on? How many convictions? (One, regarding a gift of a security gate to Col. North...the target of liberal death threats. It was overturned on appeal, )

How much does an ALCM (air launched cruise missile) cost? How many were fired at the direction of Clinton each time a critical point in this saga was reached? How many innocent lives were taken by this guy in an effort to divert attention from this little "fuck-up?" How much (previously classified) technology must the Chinese get in return for their financial support of the Democratic Party? What is the true cost of this transfer of military technology, taken from the responsibility of the Defense Department (By Clinton) and turned over to the Commerce Department? If this is done for political purposes, does that constitute a "High Crime?"

Happy New Year!

Bob Wilson

Dear Jonathan,

As always your reasoning is impeccable. I think you are right on with this essay.

Something I wish someone with your credentials would take up (as a tangent to your fascinating suggestion for everyone to line up, take an oath and then respond to personal and private questions) is whether members of Congress haven't already lied under oath. Here's how my thinking goes: You assert, and I believe, that there are few if any members who have not lied about matters of consequence during their terms. Take a look at the two articles of impeachment. Each has a preamble about the oath of office President Clinton took. I think a case can be made that if you are an elected official who also has taken an oath of office, then if you lie while holding that office, you have lied under oath. Certainly, those who have been unfaithful to their spouses have lied under the religious oath they took with the marriage vows. Just a thought.

I think I would take issue with you on one point, Jonathan. You say that Clinton has lied. I think you may be right. But asserting it does not make it so. I am not a lawyer, but I would be willing to bet that in a court of law, where rules of evidence are honored, Ken Starr or any other prosecutor would have a tough time of proving perjury and an impossible one of proving obstruction of justice. I could be wrong.

A couple of things you might want to fix in your terrific essay:

1) I believe Jefferson's alleged paramour's last name was spelled Hemings.

2) It was Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine (not Penthouse) that was hot on the trail of Mr. Livingston and who has promised to reveal more sometime soon.

I really enjoy The Ethical Spectacle. Keep up the good work.

Paul K. McMasters
First Amendment Ombudsman
The Freedom Forum

Dear Jonathan:

I agree wholeheartedly with this:

But if I were Bill Clinton, I would hang in defiantly right now, because the Republican warping of the Constitution to carry out a partisan vendetta isn't right either. If the governing party can interpret "high crimes and misdemeanors" to mean anything it damn pleases, then the legislature has free reign to fire the executive---something the Framers never intended.

I think you were right; it would have been better if he'd resigned ten months ago. And I also think you're right: it will be better if he sticks this one out for as long as it takes. The Republican Congress has used the most revered and sober clause in our Constitution as a political stick to beat their enemies. To give in now only shows them, and us, and the Democratic Party next time they gain control of the Congress, that this atrocious behavior _works_.

Whereas, if he sticks it out, he may go down anyway, but by putting up a fight he'll make it clear that the mere threat of such a game won't be enough: Congress will have to be prepared to follow through, with whatever political consequences it may mean for them. That may not be much deterrence the next time Congress gets a president they dislike, but it'll be better than none.

When I was in college, a friend of mine taped an Op-Ed column to his dorm room door about the rejection of Judge Bork. Its point was that the most important victim in the Bork hearing was not the Judge himself but the process: that what had hitherto been a fairly-applied, objective standard of confirmation had been taken up by the Democrats as a weapon of partisanship. And that, since it worked, this partisanification of our system would keep happening and get worse and it was just too damned bad. Ten years later: deja vu!

-- Jamie McCarthy

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I was fascinated in reading to day that Cong.Henry Hyde had been found guilty in one of the infamous Savings and Loan Scandals in which he was a director and fined $57,000.00 which he has refused to pay! This on top of his admitted infidelities. And HE sits in Judgement????????

-- PEACE, Sydney Parlow sparlow@neaccess.net

Dear Jonathan:

While I'm a libertarian "without a dog" in the partisan aspect of the impeachment fight, I'm a bit disappointed with parts of your essay, "Congress of Scorpions," as well as with some of my liberal friends in general, concerning this issue. Rather than belabor the legal and constitutional arguments on impeachment, I will offer the following observations on how I've come to take guilty pleasure in witnessing the delicious ironies in the entire spectacle.

The first of these is that of seeing so many prominent liberals suddenly becoming fundamentalists on the subject of the letter and spirit of the Constitution. I would suggest that for over six decades, whenever they pleased, a significant number of liberals have treated it as if it were written in easily erasable pencil on conveniently stretchable latex and have paid little if any heed either to its literal meaning or to its spirit, as expressed in the writings of the founders, except when it was covenient to do so. Indeed, usually, they've admitted as much by justifying their collective trashings by pontificating along the lines of, "The Constitution is a living document, so . . . ," or "We musn't be bound by the dead hand of the past . . . ," or "The founders couldn't possibly have forseen the need for (fill in with your favorite redistributionist social program or with your favorite excuse for abrogating some natural right) . . . " I find it peculiar that for so long so many liberals have NOT seen that there are, as you put it, "no misplaced or meaningless words" in such phrases and clauses as, "Congress shall make no law . . . ,'" or " . . . shall not be infringed," or "The powers not delegated . . . ," etc. Of course, perhaps their thinking was merely a preamble to that of President Clinton, who wouldn't find it peculiar at all, since obviously it would depend on how one DEFINED "no" or "not."

Whatever the shortcomings of many of the pro-impeachment morally-priggish conservatives, I feel that most of them cannot be accused of hypocrisy vis a vis their views toward the Constitution. While some may be adulterers, I'm not aware of many who have denied being such UNDER OATH, which is one of the ACTUAL accusations of the Prevaricator-in-Chief. Whether or not any of the House Republican "marital cheats," or Jefferson and Kennedy for that matter, WOULD commit perjury is entirely irrelevant, and I do find it disconcerting that you would buy into one of the White House's favorite fallacies of illogical argumentation, tu quoque, to use the fancy Latin. Attacking an accuser's motives or character is NOT a logical answer to an accusation.

Related to the above and even more ironic is the fact that of all the legal, historical, and political authorities who spoke about or were cited on impeachment, precisely one was 100% right. Gerald Ford, in his long-ago role in the House as "Supreme Court Baiter-in-Chief," declared in effect that impeachment was whatever 50% plus one or more House members said was impeachment. Indisputably, he has turned out to have been correct. Adding to the irony is that Ford's very complaint against the Warren and Burger Courts in general, and against William O. Douglas in particular, was that they had ignored the Constitution's letter and intent, precisely the argument against impeachment recently "discovered" by "born-again" Tribe, Schlesinger, et al!

Perhaps the greatest irony of all in this mess has been that of a Democrat such as Clinton being hoisted on the liberal petards of constitutionally dubious laws, such as those establishing Independent Counsels or declaring certain speech to be illegal "sexual harassment." What better example could exist of the principle of unintended consequences, particularly concerning circumvention of the Consitution's checks and balances and of the natural rights that it is supposed to protect? Of course, a cynical person might speculate that some of the liberal proponents of these laws really believed that all future dishonest Presidents, other "high" government officials, and sexual predators would be Republicans and/or conservatives. That aside, I would suggest that the "scorpions" that have stung Clinton have not ALL been conservative Republicans.

I believe that the partisan aspect of this entire situation is due to more than only business-as-usual politics. For the past half century, too many otherwise intelligent, ethical, and well-meaning liberals have suffered from a peculiar form of moral myopia, which I would call "The Ultimate Evil Syndrome." For example, far too many of them simply refused to accept the horrors of the Soviet and Red Chinese states long after the evidence was crystal clear, because Hitler and the Nazis had already been installed atop the pantheon of moral depravity. While intellectually they could admit that Stalin and Mao were great mass murderers, emotionally they could not bring themselves to accept that ANY state could be as bad as was Nazi Germany, since by definition, there can be only ONE "Ultimate Evil." I'm not certain why this phenomenon exists, but I suspect that it's due to a basic human need to recognize both good and evil. Probably a significantly higher percentage of liberals (and libertarians for that matter) are religiously more casual (or agnostic or atheist) than are conservatives, more of whom have the convenience of accepting on faith, at least publically, a rigid and established moral order that requires no constant re-examination, and that has as a pre-defined "Ultimate Good," God, as well as an "Ultimate Evil," Satan.

I think that you can see where I'm headed with this. For the past quarter century (or longer, in the case of some), Richard Nixon has rightly occupied the Number One position on the scale of "Political Corruption," and it is simply inconceivable to many liberals that ANYONE, much less a "pseudo- liberal" Democrat, COULD be as bad. Hence, ANYTHING suggesting even a slight possibility that Clinton's actions could be even slightly similar to those of the "ultimately evil" politician cannot be tolerated. I could be mistaken, but I am convinced that were ironclad evidence to arise that Clinton had accepted bribes or committed treason, rape, or murder, then a majority of the House Judiciary Democrats would grasp at any justification, and still would not see any impeachable offenses. In short, there can be only one "smoking gun," Nixon's, and it is unthinkable that anyone else should be branded with the same scarlet letter, "I."

Finally, I'll touch upon what I would have expected from you, based on many of your previous writings, that of the questions of whether or not from an ethical viewpoint Clinton OUGHT to have been impeached and should be tried, since the legal and constitutional arguments seem to have been rendered moot by events. Here, I am of mixed minds.

On principle, I feel that it is wrong to use the law (or the "quasi-legal" impeachment procedure) for ANY purpose other than administering equitable justice. NO person, EVER, should be used "as an example" or "to send a message," as at least some of the Republicans seem bent on doing in this situation. On the other hand, their argument that a "message" is needed does have a superficial appeal, when one considers that there does seem to be evidence that when a person accused of perjury or obstruction of justice is in a "sworn" position, such as a policeman, judge, soldier, etc., then usually he is treated more harshly than is an ordinary citizen. Given the history in this nation of abuse of the rule of law, beginning with the court system being used to bypass normal constitutional procedures of laws and amendments, and continuing to the ongoing insane "war on drugs" sentencing guidelines, RICO abuses, "legal" property seizures, and the "lawsuit-as-lottery" tort merry-go- round, then I suspect that the Clinton impeachment and trial is not that significant.

From my viewpoint, several good things have come out of the impeachment. First, the time that is "wasted" on it is time lost by both parties in their usual occupations of finding ever more creative ways to plunder the wallets and to trash the rights of the citizenry. Second, the political ill will created between the two parties promises to hamper agreements on such plundering and trashing in the future, long after the impeachment circus ends. Third, Clinton has been branded forever for what he is, an amoral and wholly unscrupulous slimeball, who recognizes no depth to which he will not descend in furthering his ONLY aim as President, protecting himself. Fourth, and possibly most important, hopefully ever-increasing numbers of citizens will realize that what goes on in Washington, DC is not that essential to their own well-being.


Joe Oliver Jaydeeo@aol.com

An Auschwitz Alphabet

I have read a few Web sites tonight, on this subject. Yours at http://www.spectacle.org/695/intro.html is the only one that I read entirely. I do not know why just now, but it seemed worthy of my complete attention. Maybe a combination of the format and content. It feels balanced and unconsumed with a narrow agenda. Possibly helping me understand.

Anyway, thank you and take care,
-- Ranny@RespMech.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

thank you for sharing your work with us. I have really ,over several years, enjoyed studying it. We should never forget what happened in the Nazi concentration camps! I frequently revisit your text to keep myself to bring me back to such realitities and hope that nothing like this ever happens again.Thanks.

bill cain bcbillcain@earthlink.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I found the A-z thing very interesting and true but why are so hard on "Schindlers List"? I thought it was s great movie!I like to hear about good out comes of the holocaust. Are you saying that "Schindlers List" was not a true story? I know that almost every thing that happend in the Holocaust during WW II was FUCKING HORIBLE!! And I'm glad I was born well after the event.What I am trying to say is that we should learn everything(both good and bad)about the Holocaust. Nothing should be left out. I was stationed in Colorado for a while when I was in the Army and lived off base with a couple and the woman was a German National. And I asked her what some of her family was doing during WWII? She said that "Her grandmother would cary bread in a bag by a jewish camp and drop bread as she went for the jews". You know that if that woman was ever caught she would be killed.So people did go out of there way to help,some died along with there familys, some didn't.I mean look at what happened to Ann Frank and her family and the people who went into hiding with her. The only person to make it out of the camps was her father and the people hid the family were lucky to be alive too. So again I guess what I am trying to say is that we need to know it all both good and bad because the good and the bad IS THE WHOLE STORY.And I think we need the whole story to learn from it!

Bruce Dancer bdancer@internetcds.com

no more
no more
no more

for all us
for all kind of human
all kind

violet violetta@marvel.it

Dearr Sir

It is with sadness that I have seen you site about this terrible human tragedy. The tragedy has not stopped. My friend Kalman who had been an imate in one of those camps when he was a teenager killed himself because I guess he could not carry the heavy burden of been a survivor. We dicussed many time how he felt. His brother who had escaped Europe with his army unit to go to England and was part of the allied landing also ended his life tragically.

How can I help as a non Jew?


Bernard Lenouvel
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Jonathan Wallace:

My father who lives in Florida now is also a survivor of many concentration camps. I myself as a young child was in a concentration camp. I didn't know why until just recently. I found out after 55 years that my mother and her parents were Jewish. My father never talks about the Jewish part. I was raised catholic and feel deprived of my Jewish ancestry now after all these years. I guess this is not much of anything, it just makes me feel better to tell someone, even if it is just a letter in front of me. Thank you for this informative article. I wil make sure that I read it from cover to cover, perhaps locating a name that might indicate my Mother who was shot and killed when I was one year of age.

Sincerely, Petar Armbruster FoxyYesttt@aol.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

There is a great deal more to say, sadly I am not eloquent enough to express all the thoughts and feelings I am experiencing. The Ethical Spectacle is clever, provoking and well written. I plan to submit it as a "SITE to SEE" in our University rag and look forward reading future issues as well as catching up on the archives.

Thank you,
Jennifer Jacobs

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I think it would be a great idea to add the links that put you in the shoes of the inmates, because too few people actually understand what happened and just reading about it can still be a distant experience. As for those who would regard it as a "game," such people are already too INSENSITIVE to be reached, so it hardly matters what they would think. I believe that such links would have a strong effect in teaching about the Holocaust to those who want to understand it.


Laurie Shentalevenn net_lioness@yahoo.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you so much for spending the time on this website. It was very informative and extensive. The one view I wish you would change is the fact that there is no God. God is merciful and sovereign. Yes, he knows what will happen before it does and has the power to change it. But he also has the wisdom and power to allow history and time to take its course. If he always went about each situation, "fixing" it to work out for the best, we would all be robots living in a mechanical "utopian" world. But He is a gracious and loving God. Those who participated in these horrible events will be judged by God. Most are probably in that process right now. If they had not accepted God's gift of salvation and eternal life, then they are right now spending eternity in a lake of fire that is more horrific than even this event in our history.

I hope that you are able to do some research into God's character and begin to see his love and mercy and grace. It is nothing you will every fully comprehend no matter your degrees or education, because it is not anything humans can every have. But it is God.

Sandra Benton sybenton@bellsouth.net

Dear Jonathan,

I am an Austrian historian who works much with Auschwitz-survivors. Going through the Internet homepage "Auschwitz - Final Station Extermination" which was done by the Institute for Social History in Linz and which I had the honour to translate to English, I saw a link to your website.

I was so curious to see what this page would provide because a couple of years ago I wrote a similar thing called the "Auchwitz-Alphabet". A collegue and I read the text at the University and it caused a very touching silence afterwards. The professor even wanted to publish our text (which was never done). So, I was encouraged to write you this email even before I go reading through your texts. I think you should knwo that there are many people who are well aware of what happened in Auschwitz and who want to keep this in their memory. I am 31 years old and a member of the Austrian Camp community Auschwitz and the International Auschwitz committee. If you want to visit the Auschwitz homepage which I translated: here is the address:


Best regards,
Susanne Kowarc volksstimme@magnet.at

Dear Mr. Wallace:

As a child of survivors I heard it all, read about it all my life, been inundated and immersed, influenced but not cleansed. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, Shlita, quotes in one of his lectures: " The greater the truth, the greater the effort to suppress it" Are you surprised?

Peace, L. Sternberg lesliea@ix.netcom.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I just spent a couple of hours at your site and did a lot of crying. I have quite a few books on the holocaust and Auschwitz and always have a hard time reading them. You have done a great job with your "Alphabet" and are to be commended. Thanks for helping to educate others about this horrible tragedy. Gaylene Galyah@webtv.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you for your considerable efforts. I have not read all of your pages, nor even all that was on those that I opened. However--excepting one part of those that I did open--those that I have read have been powerful in their directness and simplicity, and sometimes matter-of-fact bleakness. My goal is to read and view all that you have presented. It has not been easy, however, to read or see what I have.

Thank you for your labor and stamina and commitment to present information that rebuts the deceived, misinformed, or outright revisionists who would say: These things never happened.

I have read Levi and Wiesel. I was saddened when I learned of Levi's apparent suicide.

I have spent time at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, of which I am a member. I am unable to recount that experience other than to say I was trembling, shaken, and tearful through it--and overwhelmed. I remember the gallery where the shoes and glasses were, the places where the hairbrushes and razors and combs were gathered. Over the years, I had read much about the war and the Holocaust before I got there, but nothing prepared for what I saw. I could barely fathom standing in that railcar that transported people to their deaths.

In your page "What I learned from Auschwitz," you say that the most important lesson one can learn from Auschwitz is that God does not exist and that theologians have had to go through major contortions to hold onto an image of God. Certainly that appears to be your conclusion and observation, but it is just that--yours--as presented here. Do others agree? I'm sure. I even heard Wiesel say that the Holocaust was the death of God.

Respectfully to you and him, I disagree in the strongest way. That horrific things like this have happened, prior to and after the WWII Holocaust, does not speak to the absence of God, but to the condition of humanity and its deterioration.

As for the theologians having to hang on to the image of God, if that is indeed what they have had to do, then it is unlikely that they ever knew Him. Being theologic speaks nothing to having a relationship with the Lord God.

Too, attempting to explain God through Occam's Razor or any other logical and/or philosophical device, while perhaps intellectually challenging, will fail because it is and will always be impossible for us bounded and limited human beings to attempt to understand or explain the transcendent God of Israel who declares through the prophets: there is no other.

Can I explain the Holocaust? No. How really can anyone fully or even partially? Clearly human beings hardened their hearts to those who were different, needing somehow to lessen the status of others to elevate their own, and allowed the most base, evil, hateful aspects of humanity to rise. That the world responded as apathetically and ineffectively and nonchalantly it did is so very disturbing, extraordinarily sad, repugnant, and despicable, and more-- but that behavior continues today.

No, Mr. Wallace, God did not die--and will not die. What died in the Holocaust for many was a belief in God, and that dying process has grown rapidly since. We simply moved farther away from Him. Humanity's behavior, however it can be described, does not--cannot--change Him or His truth. Did the Holocaust grieve the heart of God? I would say so, just as human behavior continues to do so.

You state that: " by far the simplest explanation for Auschwitz is that there is no God to intervene in human affairs. No deity exists to care what we do to each other. All compassion and all hatred in the human universe is ours. We are on our own." How extraordinarily sad and bleak.

Simple conclusion, yes. A God that does not care, no. Us on our own, no. In fact those latter two conclusions are exactly why we on this planet have visited and continue to visit upon each other (or groups of each others) the physical and emotional atrocities that contemporary history records. After all, if there is no God, then indeed there is no anchor, and spiritual poverty and bleakness will beset most all human interactions.

I am saddened that you have concluded what you have, truly. I pray blessings of God to you and your family--and that all hearts would open to one another. I also pray that, first, your belief in God is restored or established and, two, that you would open your heart to Yeshua the Messiah. Shalom.


Kenna Amos ckamosjr@earthlink.net

Hello ,

Nice site , very important to let the young people know what world war II means for many people

May I try to translate it in Dutch ???

I'm "only" 37 Years old , But i have the idea that we must try to explain it to our kids .

Kind regards , Guido@clauw.com

Dear Sir,

I just read an article by you harshly critizing the movie "Interview with the Vampire". I am very disappointed in it. First off, don't you DARE critize Anne Rice like you did without reading the book. I STRONGLY suggest you read the book, because the book IS different from the film. Anne Rice unfortunately had very little say in the making of the movie. If you want to critize someone, then critize the director, or writer of the script, but not Anne. Interview with the Vampire is certainly not porn. If you want to critize about movie about a violence against women and sexual desires, then why don't you go pick some other movie. What about Dracula, or Pulp Fiction, or Show Girls, or Natural Born Killers or Blade..... The list could go on and on. But instead you decide to critize a movie that is 4 years, which you don't understand. Yes, the killing of women was more dramatic then men. But in an article I read about Anne Rice she AGREE'S with you. The violence against women was too much...... And if you read further in the Anne Rice's series The Vampire Chronicles, you'll find that it's not just women that are killed. It's men and female vampires killing men. Interview with the Vampire is so much more deeper than just killing people, and it's very little about killing people. Unfortunately, people like yourself, don't understand that, because the movie doesn't reflect what the story is really about. You know that scene with the woman on stage who is stripped and killed? It's not in the book. Read it, and I hope you understand. Anne Rice is a VERY talented writer. Her vampires are so much more deeper and complex than creatures who kill humans by night. They are vampires trying to stuggle with their own humanity themselves. It's clearly states that in the books, but you wouldn't know that because you haven't read ONE. Sir, I am frustrated that you would critize a wonderful writer without reading her work. That is ignorant.

"Meliska" melis@evansville.net

Dear Jonathan:

I just relocated your site. My computer crashed and wiped things. About your article on losing Your Wheel.

God hasn't been paying any attention to us and this universe for many, many cycles of our 'Big Bang-Big Crunch' system. He-She-It realized a loooong time ago that he had made a mistake in the way he structured it and hasn't, yet, discovered a way to correct/stop it.

An aside: I tried to find a third person pronoun for God. The results left something to be desired in English. And in German it doesn't fit. "S"he--Ladies first. "H"he--Humans before things. "IT"--To honor all of the rest of Creation. So I had to fall back on the masculine form. Sorry ladies.

Back to the subject. He realized, I hope, that he had created a totally unethical system. The most basic statement of ethics, and applicable to his level, is: "I will never, knowingly and unjustifiably, cause a Center of Awareness (Spirit, Soul) to consider it's beingness to be reduced or harmed."

By it's design and laws, this universe does not permit us to create New Matter, Energy, Space or Time, when we wish to, where we wish to. (No sorcerers allowed). We are permitted to manipulate existing things but no new basic creations.

This reduces our access to our native attributes, they are equivilant to the Prime Creators, to only those of Humans. (Re-read Genesis 1-26).

About inspections and all other human activities. It comes down to a matter of ethics. That is the reason that I introduced the subject above.

Among the many things that we humans have never developed, is a Rational Statement of Ethics. One or more statements that can be proven to apply to all humans, at all times and in all situations.

There have been and still are many Morality Codes. Lists of statements about "Thou Shall and Thou Shall Not." I don't need to go into how and why these codes come into existence. But I will point out that they suffer from several problems. First they can't possibly cover all of the situations in which some one has to decide what to do in a particular situation. They tend to become frozen over time and are difficult to alter to fit changing conditions. And third, they tend to rely on an unprovable Supreme Being for the Issuing Authority. In contrast to the third item, using the philosophy of "No Absolutes" a morality surfaced in this country in the Sixties and Seventies. It is, of course, as old as Humanity, but had been more or less underground here untill then. IF IT FEELS GOOD, DO IT! LET IT ALL HANG OUT! President Clinton is both the epitome and nadir of those two credos.

A rational statement must be based on provable facts. Such as:

1. We humans exist.
2. You have to be alive before you can do anything else.
3. Many things effect your survival.
4. Some things tend to aid your survival.
5. Some things tend to harm your survival.
6. Some things are unknown as to how they effect your survival.

These six fact are absolute truths. Sorry people, there are some absolutes in this universe.

From these six items you can construct a diagram, actually a Venn logic's diagram of 'All Inclusive Universes of Discussion' showing the relationship of your survival to all of the rest of the universe and their survival in relation to you.

Your first level is your personal survival. You have to be alive before you can do anything else in present time.

Write the word ME in the middle of a sheet of paper. Put a plus sign to the left of it for the things that aid your staying alive. Write "1st Level" above it, put a minus sign to the right of it, for everything that harms your survival and a question mark below it for all of the unknowns. Now draw a circle around all of it. Everything that does effect you automatically goes into that circle. They all fit because you consider that they will. The will automatically sort themselves out. The good to the plus side, the bad to the minus side and the 'who knows?' to the bottom.

Your second level is your relationship with all of your family members and theirs in regards to you. It is a two way street. Just above the first circle place another question mark. Above that "Family Members". To the left the plus sign. Above "2nd Level" and to the right the minus sign. Now draw another circle around all of that and the first circle. Starts of a 'bulls eye'. Here also, every thing that effects your survival concerning each of your family members, and theirs about you, goes into that second circle and divides out as it did in the first circle.

Your third level takes the same form about members of groups that you belong to. Formal groups; work, social, political etc., and the temporary, informal ones. The people on the street or in the store with you.

The fourth level is "All other Humans". Again the same form. Circles inside of circles, inside of circles.

The fifth level is "All other Life Forms". Here is where your pet pup or snake really belong but we tend to promote them to our second level. Even if it is as a reduced level family member.

The sixth level is "Every thing Else".

You can, if you wish, add a seventh level. "The Supreme Being". Or what ever name/term you wish to use. This level we can not place on the table, take it apart and see how it all fits together.

We can do that with the first six levels. We may not know all of the factors at a given place and time, but, as you become accustomed to the chart, you will begin to see how things fall into their proper level or levels and which of the three areas they belong to.

There are several things that you may notice about this diagram. The first is that it is a truly logical and true picture of relationships. It very simply shows the basic structure of the very complex universe and everything in it.

Every one who has ever lived, is now alive - yes, you also, and every one who ever will live, has this chart associated with themselves. Their copy of it comes into existence at their conception and the effects of it linger on, sometimes "Yea, even unto the seventh generation".

The next thing of note, is that it is all about survival. I'm sure that you would be pleased if no one or no thing would deliberately, unjustifiably try to harm your survival. If fact morality codes and laws are basicly created to try to prevent such harm.

To the degree that you insist on a 'no harm, no foul' society, you are obligated to extend it to all of the other levels of your existance.

And so we come to the Rational Statements of Ethics.

1. I will knowingly try to do no, or minimiun, unjustifiable harm to any person, place or thing on any of the levels of my survival.
2. If I come to consider that I have unjustifiably harmed or am harming any level, I will stop such action and try to make an agreed upon restitution.
3. If I come to consider that unjustifiable harm has been, is being, or threatens to be done to any any of my levels, I have the absolute right, if I wish to, to try to stop or prevent such harm. Using what ever level of force I may consider necessary.

At this point I can also define two badly misunderstood and abused words. GOOD: That which tends to aid survival on any or all of the levels. BAD or EVIL: That which tends to harm or prevent survivl on any or all of the levels.

So I submit that these three statements and the rationale that they are built on, are a code of behavior that every human, of reasoning age, can be held to. That simplified versions of them can be taught to children starting at a fairly young age. They encompass the main points of all of the major morality codes without the problems inherent to such codes.


The seriousness of it lies in the degree of harm done or threatened and the possibility, if any, of repairing that harm.

Sincerely and for what it is worth to you,

Bill Carter gabby@snowline.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I thank you for including on your site a page devoted to informing your audience about the wrongful conviction, death sentence and impending execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal. However, the last of your summary points, describing why Abu-Jamal's case is such a travesty, is written in an overgeneral fashion. Therein, you note that "A police officer who had signed a report stating that Abu-Jamal did not make any such statement went on vacation during the trial and never testified."

That is true, so far as it goes. However, an additional sentence or two is required for readers to understand why the false allegation by prosecutors that police witnesses heard Abu-Jamal make an incriminating statement while receiving treatment at a hospital shortly after he and Faulkner were shot is so outrageous.

First, two police officers allegedly heard the "statement." One of them testified at trial. The officer who testified, Wakshul, wrote and signed a report the day of the incident that Abu-Jamal made no statements at the hospital.

Nonetheless Wakshul recanted his report at trial, claiming under oath that his best recollection actually dates from two months after the incident -- at which point he abruptly recalled a bombshell statement by Abu-Jamal that somehow slipped his mind as he memorialized his best recollection the very day it occurred.

Subsequent to this apparent subornation of perjury, prosecutors affirmed to the trial court that the second officer was on vacation at a location unknown to them, and therefore was not available to be summoned by the defense. Thus he never testified.

In fact prosecutors were aware when they made those assertions that the second officer was in Philadelphia throughout the trial, just a phone call away.

As you can see, this is a critical difference from mere "witness unavailability." The false representations under oath by prosecutors go beyond ethical breaches worthy of harsh sanction, bad as that is -- They also amount to felony obstruction of justice.

The additional detail provides important context for The Ethical Spectacle's readers to understand the lengths the Commonwealth of PA will go to to kill an innocent person. It reveals PA will break any and all of its own legal doctrine to accomplish Abu-Jamal's illicit execution.

The violations I've described, though grave, merely typify innumerable substantive and procedural wrongs committed against Abu-Jamal at trial, and thus far ratified in their entirety on appeal.

With Abu-Jamal's federal habeas appeal at a critical stage, even the smallest, most unintentional inaccuracy in summarizing his case is magnified. Therefore I ask that you clarify this matter on your Abu-Jamal page.

Again, thank you for publicizing the continued persecution of Abu-Jamal.

Cordially, Ralph Palermo

Dear Mr. Wallace,

I wanted to give you my opinion of your piece "Biology and Vanity" written in your Ethical Spectacle. First off, it is quite a spectacular website you have. The topics are interesting, timely, and with a few minor exceptions, the articles are exceptionally well written.

On your 'Biology' piece, I wanted to thank you for voicing some of my concerns I just couldn't seem to put my finger on. My friend and I have a pretty philosophical dialogue going via e-mail, and he is constantly sending me articles that deal with the opposite of the opinions you and I seem to share. However, after reading your article, I now have a little more 'ammo' if you will, to fight back his views.

It is good that despite all the junk and porn on the internet these days, your site is a small oasis of intelligence. Keep up the good work, and I'll keep up the reading!

Thanks again, Richard Jackson richard.jackson@ifma.org

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Just read your article on Rudy the Rottweiler on the ethical spectacle web site...so glad to see it...unfortunately, his politics get in the way of my work everyday...If he weren't so dangerous, he would almost be comical

One of my biggest annoyances with him are the ridiculous barricades that surround every street corner, official building school etc...who cares about people who use wheelchairs and have their curb cut blocked or seniors who have to walk an excruciating extra icy block because a terrorist might want to blow up city hall with a car bomb...I could go on...

Keep shouting...maybe we'll keep him out of the US Senate.

Julie Hyman julhyman@idt.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I have a website that your readers might find interesting. It is called the Aquinas Cafe and is concerned with philosophical/theological/historical issues, particularly from a medievalist (Catholic) point of view. The topic of ethics is a favoured emphasis. Please come by for a visit, and thank you for maintaining such an interesting site: www.slip.net/~stnick .

John boethius@jps.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

My name's Luca Garavelli and I'm working for an examination about Game Theory at the Political Economy University of Parma. Now I'm preparing a monographic part and I want dedicate it to information on the Net about prisoner's dilemma ... and also to your links: I have seen your Web Page and I find it very interesting! I'd like to know something more about your biography and your jobs: I would be very grateful, if you send some information to the below e-mail. I take this opportunity to make you a question: I'd like to know why have you interested in a strange topic as prisoners' dilemma.

Awaiting your kind reply, I apologize for my bad English and I send you my Sincerely Regards,
Luca Garavelli lucagara@economia.econ.unipr.it

Your supposedly brilliant attempt to gut the Second Amendment to the US Constitution overlooks the TINY little fact that: THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Dontcha hate that? Why aren't you trying to get rid of any other amendments, like say, the First Amendment? Oops, right - it's the one special to YOU. It, unlike the the Second Amendment, MEANS WHAT IT SAYS, right? And the founding fathers just went insane for a moment on the Second Amendment? Riiiiight. For crying out loud, stop defecating on this nations' heritage and your own freedom. Oh, and you quote erroneous findings. One of your segemnts claims that "The Second Amendment CREATES the right..." NO, it does NOT. No amendment creates ANY right - they merely ACKNOWLEDGE that these are rights that are specifically protected from government-tampering. Have you even read our Constitution? If so, wherein does it grant the Federal government any power whatsoever to regulate MY firearms? Don't answer, just stop trying to poison America.

Russ cofeecat@bellsouth.net

To the author of "Interview with the Vampire is the Real Pornography,"

I was cruising through The Ethical Spectacle (Vol. I, No. 5 May 1995) and came across an article entitled "Interview with the Vampire is the Real Pornography." Instead of insulting the author of the article (whom didn't even care to list his or her name), I wish to comment on the topic. It's simply an insult to myself and many vampiric fantasy fans that someone could compare such an insightful and intriguing movie to Schindler's List. Schindler's List is, first of all, NOT a fictional movie... secondly, it was based on the torment and horror of thousands of people (many of them not Jews) during the era of Hitler. How can one compare a work of fiction to something that really happened? Interview with the Vampire was a book that carried a very strong theme... that any vampiric soul filled with humanity can triomphe over evil. The movie did have sexual overtones, however, but what movie involving opposite genders doesn't? Is it a crime to look at the passion of humans in depth? The book, in my humble opinion, was extremely different than the movie... so please don't judge an author until you've read her work. And if you can't go any deeper than the skin of something, then perhaps you wouldn't understand what the movie was about anyway.

Please pass this along to the anonomous writer of that article. Feedback is very much appreciated. Unlike some, I'm not afraid to label my feelings with a name...

Tarah XDrumMajor@aol.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you for the issue on the Prisoner's Dilemna - one of the best web pages I've ever read. Marvellous. Thank you

Mike Lavocah tanguero@compuserve.com


I discovered The Ethical Spectacle while surfing around on "sustainable economies." Thanks for posting the "About Jonathan Wallace." It rang true for me. At 38, I'm trying to wake up and figure out the real point I'm trying to make. Stewardship keeps coming up as the key word.

I've subscribed to your mailing list and look forward to future issues.

Thanks much, Dan Smith Daniel.Smith@hq.gte.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Greetings. I'm a subscriber and enjoy your website and its orientation.

If you have the spare time I'd appreciate you taking a look at my new site http://www.churchstate.net which covers corruption within Mass. State Government (they're funding a Catholic Church among many other things).

It's a work in progress-will be doing a major update on Saturday. In any event thanks for all your work.

Stephen Boursy boursy@earthlink.net