Letters to the Ethical Spectacle

Write me at jw@bway.net with your thoughts about The Ethical Spectacle, rants and raves and links suggestions.

The Unregarded Bomb

Dear Mr. Wallace:

It's very easy to look back in retrospect on the decision to use the a-bomb, but one never knows what would have happended without it. The strategy of bombing civilian targets to lower morale had been used for a long time (the Germans started the practice). In fact, the fire-bombing of Tokyo, not the bombing of Hiroshima, was the deadliest bombing of the war. I'm not saying that this tactic was a good or moral one, but the dropping of the a-bomb fit perfectly with this plan.

It is also easy to speculate that a massive invasion would not have been necessary, but from looking at the numerous island battles, it is evident that the Japanese would fight to the death, even if their situation was futile (just look at the kamikaze mentality, or the way that the Marines needed flame-throwers to take over the islands--the soldiers would not give up).

Let's say that there would have been an invasion with just 5,000 American casualties. I'm pretty sure that if one of those grunts who would hit the beaches was offered a weapon that would instantly end the war without his or 4,999 of his comrades' deaths, he would use that weapon in a second. Are you really saying that 5,000 Americans should have died (and at least twice as many Japanese) rather than the civilians of Hiroshima? Japan attacked us first, and I dare say that if it or Germany had had the bomb, they would not have hesitated to use it. World War II a total war--every citizen was part of the war effort and were therefore your enemy.

Quite simply, the atomic bomb fulfilled its purpose: it instantly ended the war without jeopardizing any American soldiers.

Justin Shubow shubow@columbia.edu

Hi Jonathan -

Just a note to thank you for including my article "Hiroshima: Was It Absolutely Necessary?" in your June edition of the Ethical Spectacle. I enjoyed your "Personal History of the Bomb"; quite a different (and thought provoking) approach to the subject from what I'm used to reading. It brought to mind my own "personal history of the bomb", which began with a Playhouse 90 type television show in the early 1960s. The program was about a nuclear attack on the U.S. It made quite an impression on me of the severe, indiscriminate horror that such an attack would bring. This impression rang so true that it has never left me.

Judging from the responses I've gotten to my "Hiroshima: Was It Necessary?" web site, currently the main defense for the a-bombings of Japan is the desire for revenge or for a venting of hostility upon someone. The available evidence indicating that the atomic bombings were probably not necessary to win the war without an invasion of the Japanese mainland is not disputed so much as conveniently ignored. It seems that, once again, before we can overcome popular self-serving beliefs we must first overcome emotional factors.

Thanks for your fine work. I'll be reading it each month.

Best Regards,

Doug Long bookz@ix.netcom.com

The Communications Decency Act

Hi Mark and Jonathan,

You may be interested to look at my web page on censorship in the U.S., with special attention to the CDA. I also have a link (at the end of the article by Jonathan to the web page for your book.

The URL for the home page is http://serendipity.magnet.ch.

The URL for the censorship page is http://serendipity.magnet.ch/cda.html.

Best wishes,
Peter Meyer serendipity@magnet.ch

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Although the religious right bears a heavy load of responsibility for the CDA travesty, it seems to me that you are overlooking the complicity of many establishment liberals.

1. Time magazine probably did more to get the CDA passed than any other organization, and no one could call them a tool of the religious right. Their "Cyberporn" propaganda piece whipped up hysteria about 'Net porn and created the necessary public outcry to get the CDA passed. Nor can the people at Time claim to have been misled. First, it is highly unlikely that a young undergraduate student could so thoroughly pull the wool over the eyes of such a staff of seasoned journalists, unless he was saying what they already wanted to write anyway. Second, from Mike Godwin's accounts of his dealings with the people at Time, it is clear that they didn't give a damn about the truth, and that the story was a deliberate smear.

2. If the liberals in Congress had had a dime's worth of principles and had wanted to block the CDA, they could have. Instead, they voted for it in droves.

3. The CDA was signed into law by none other than that pawn of the religious right (:-) Bill Clinton. And it is his Justice Department that is arguing in favor of the law's Constitutionality.

Yeah, I know what you're going to say on (2) and (3) -- "They had to vote for the telecomm bill because of all the other important stuff in it." I disagree. Clinton in particular could have easily pulled out his veto pen and sent it back to Congress with the declaration that as soon as they removed the CDA from the bill, he would sign it.

Conservatives bent over backward to exonerate Bush for raising taxes and promoting bans on semi-automatic weapons, crying that it was all the fault of the liberals. They did the same with the most recent semi-auto ban, railing against liberal Democrats while ignoring Bob Dole's role in facilitating the passage of the ban. Now I see liberals turning a blind eye to the role their own political leaders and opinion makers have played in the CDA travesty. It seems that conservatives and liberals both go into deep denial when they get shafted by people who were supposed to be among their own.

What most liberals and conservatives don't seem to realize is that almost all of the politicians in Washington -- and much of the national press corp -- are neither conservative nor liberal, in spite of the labels they may wear. Mostly, they're hard-core authoritarians.

Kevin Van Horn vanhorn@excite.com


I'm in agreement with your stand on all issues that I have been presented in your fine newsletter (E.S), however I believe a significant point must not be overlooked:

While it is true that Congress should pass no laws prohibiting the freedom of speech; is it reasonable to assume that the framers of the U.S. Consitution, (the most innovative and brilliant minds of the modern age) really intended to protect child pornographers and the like?

I embrace the freedom this country offers on a daily basis (such as expressing my views on email without fear of reprisal), but believe we must make sacrifices to protect the victims of the aforementioned parasites.

Oh well, just one person's thoughts before gettting ready for work. Congratulations on another excellent issue.



A LOVELY analysis! Thank you for posting it!

In particular, it would seem that (me, talking like an anthropologist again :{) ), the conflict in technology and the changes (apparently!) mediated by it lies very very deeply at the heart of all of this. I could go on (of course), but the image I get when viewing the US religious right wing is a group neo-Luddite at the core (consider also the precidents: extreme anabaptists such as the Amish and also the fact that most of the TV evanglists and their wives sport fashions about 30 years out of date).

This, I would assume, answers, in part, the apparent contradiction you point to regarding the efficacy of the State in such matters, and might even serve to explain it if one were to expand the argument a bit see their beliefs regarding the "proper" actions of the State in areas such as commerce as not "non-involvement", but rather as a KIND of involvement. Like all fundamentalists they believe the State is supposed to do the "work of god" -- it just that their god is a free-enterprise capitalist.

Dave Rindos rindos@opera.iinet.net.au

Dear Mr. Wallace:

For your censorship/free speech categories:

Tim Gleason, professor at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism, has compiled a MEGA-SITE of legal resources online. Gleason specializes in First Amendment law, and is a recognized expert on media law. His site is one of the most comprehensive online, and is at: http://ballmer.uoregon.edu/tgleason/Law_j202.html

One of Gleason's students wrote a paper on online censorship for his Communication Law class. Before he had a chance to grade it, the paper was published in ADA, a Swedish e-zine linked from Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's no. 1 morning paper. DN's national edition is about 300,000, and DNet (http://www.dn.se) is their online paper.

Ada (http://www.algonet.se/~agora/ada/contents.htm) is an "electronic magazine for women -- and men with humor." The censorship paper is under Internet Debate.

Kelly Andersson boone@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU

Freedom of Speech

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Speech, that´s what I think makes us human.

From the first time some living being we could say about to be a human, to the present, we've been forming the "Whole Human Being", it's another living being, with its own consciousness, desires, needings,...

Up to now its major interest has been on surviving, it's been doing non-disjunctive unities, but when aging, its capabilities have lead to realize about the needing of something more: happy and voluntarious cells (that´s, us), We may say taht nowadays, that Global Human Being is about a teenager, daring whos me? What's this world? Where do I go? and so on.

This cyber-space is a way to interlace our consciousness (those who make the Global...) in a fashion that it will do internations second order Global ..., because if there's one Global ... there're more, nations, countries, ..., families, friends, enemies, ...

I think we're at the beginning of what it's going to be the basis of the Human Being, a living being who talks and talks.

If you like this way of thoughts, pealse e-mail me to let me know and we may share more.

Sincerely yours, Pepe Moreno pepe@tserv.tfo.upm.es

An Auschwitz Alphabet

Hi Jonathon,

I have enjoyed what I have read so far, and the reading has put me in a very sombre mood, so I hope I am not out of place asking the following question. My ancestors are Jewish, but they left Germany almost 100 years before the Holocaust and went to Australia and were therefore spared from those events. I am an Australian but I am working in The Netherlands at the moment, but at the conclusion of my work my wife and I intend to have a short holiday here in Europe. One place I want to go to is Auschwitz. I was wanting to know what days and what hours the camp is open for visitors and was wondering whether you could tell me this or point me in the right direction to find this information. As I mentioned earlier I am in The Netherlands and no doubt there is an organisation here that could help me if you don't have that sort of information at hand.

Many thanks for your time.

Ralph Ward etmwarp@etm.ericsson.se

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I really appreciate it when you and many others put this information onto the net. This is what needs to be done if we want thousands of people to remember and prevent the holocaust from ever happening again.

I just thought of an idea for either you and I or just you to work on. I need some fast info, so maybe you could post this to other people that you know:

Is it possible to get birth certificates in Europe between 1910 -1949 in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Ukraine, etc. with no corresponding death certificates?

Please let me know ASAP. I have a project on the run and I would appreciate some sort of reply with a couple of days.

Daniel Goldberg dgoldber@cln.etc.bc.ca

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I recently found your "Auschwitz Alphabet" on the Internet. I found it extremely interesting, especially because you say that you discovered, during your research, that there is no G-d, yet you still identify yourself as Jewish. I think it must be a very interesting position to hold. I know of many Jews today who have no belief in G-d and do not practice religion, yet their identity as a Jew remains, particularly because it is an identity, and particularly because this identity is related to a tragedy known as the Holocaust.

I have been working for the past two years on a book that is about Jewish identity today. This book is simply a collection of answers to one principle and a couple of following questions. They are: Does it make a difference that you are Jewish? What are those differences? Do you believe there are any values that remain particularly Jewish? Do you think that today´s rapid change in technology (especially in communications, since it was through the Internet that you chose to "publish" your Alphabet)) will have an effect on world Judaism?

Any or all of these questions can be answered, it is really a free forum for discussion of one´s own Jewish identity. The reason I am approaching you now is because I think you can bring a very unique contribution, if I have understood your position correctly, to this book. The fact that you do identify yourself as Jewish, and have put together this alphabet which must have entailed dedication and hard work, must have resulted in an impact on your identity.

So, if you are interested in what I have asked of you here, I would love to receive an answer from you. In addition to this, having also read the letter from your Uncle Seymour Schechtman that was included, I thought he might have an equally interesting reply to what I have written to you here. Perhaps he can also be persuaded to contribute to this book.

I hope that this letter is well received by you, as I mean no offense at all. Please do consider it.

Thank you,
Elvira Nadin
Project Jewish Identity

Hello, Mr. Wallace!

My name is Simon and I am from Slovenia. I am a 2nd year medical student. The other day I visited your Auschwitz Alphabet www site and I think you have done a wonderful job. There is no better way for a young people to learn about horrors that went on in Nazi Germany than Internet. I`m very interested in history of Israel (I did a research project in highschool about history of Jewish people and Israel).

Few months ago during our medical etics classes we were discusing the crimes against the humanity commited by German doctors during world war 2. All students were very shocked when hearing about horrors people went through for "scientific" purposes.

I also saw few months ago a documentary on CNN produced by Steven Spielberg about the Holocaust and interviews with living witnesses from the lagers. My girlfriend`s grandfather was in one of them and he always can tell a sad story about the life there.

Mr. Wallace, keep up the good work and good luck!

Simon SIMON.BRMEZ@mf.uni-lj.si

Dear Mr. Wallace:

To say I enjoyed your page may sound somewhat barberic, I was however truly amazed by what I read. I did feel however that your commentary pages took away from an otherwise excellent page.

Terry Sauve Terry.Sauve@mail.flarc.edu.on.ca

Mr. Wallace--

This morning I was browsing around the Web, and I happened to come across spectacle.org. I must say, it is one of the most intelligent, enlightening, and fascinating web sites I have ever come across. As of this writing, I am still in the middle of The Prisoner's Dilemma, and I am about to start An Auschwitz Alphabet. In high school (and hebrew school, years ago) I learned much about the Holocaust, but I still do not fully comprehend it. I have spoken with survivors, and with relatives of those who did not survive. I am probably related to several such victims, if old family records are correct. For a long time, I have been trying to come to terms intellectually or spiritually or both with the Holocaust. From what I've read so far, I believe that your essays will be a helpful and useful step towards achieving some sort of closure on the subject. Actually, allow me to take that back---I do not think that closure is either what I need, or what I am searching for. But perhaps I can continue to grow in the way that I personally deal with the Holocaust. It will doubtless be a never-ending process. Thank you for your help.

--Jordan Hirsch tfish@wam.umd.edu

Interview With the Vampire

I just finished reading the article discussing the pornography and violence in the film Interview With The Vampire.

Let me point out that I am a woman and that i am against snuff porn, rape, murder, etc. However, I willingly watched Interview, and enjoyed it so much that I watched it 4 times after that and even bought a copy of it from my local video store.

I find it awfully presumptuous of you to announce that all women should be disgusted and horrified by the film and that if we aren't, there is something wrong with us.

I loved the film, and I thought it was beautifully done, and I have never felt that I should be shocked at what I saw. The 2 main characters were not psycho humans, they were fictitious creatures. If you do much reading, you would realize that this is how vampires have always been portrayed. They are killers, that is how they were created way back when the stories first arose. And you should also realize that in the literature of vampires, women are always hypnotically attracted to the male vampires...and males to female vampires!

I think you are awfully out of line to criticize and analyse Anne Rice when you have not even read her works. She is very comfortable with her sexuality and I think that empowers her, not the opposite. If you are uncomfortable with sexuality, then perhaps that is YOUR problem, not hers, mine, or society's!

I also find it a little out of perspective to compare to Holocaust situations every 2nd paragraph, there is really no comparison to the twisted reality of a man like Hitler and a made-up, fictional character like Lestat.

Basically, you are entitled to your own opinions, and if you disliked the film, then that's fine. You want a solution? Don't watch it. If it offended you so much then you should have turned it off and gone to rent Bambi or something. Oops, no wait, in that movie, they kill off the mother. There we go with violence against women again!

Keep your mouth shut, you wouldn't know a good movie if it came up and bit you in the ass.

Sherry Osborne sherry@odyssee.net

Though many readers disagree strongly with my views on a variety of matters, devotees of Vampire are without exception the rudest correspondents. When I write back pointing this out and asking why, I never get an answer.

Dear Madam/Sir,

I am one of the many Anne Rice fans who does not agree with your opinion of the film. It would seem that you viewed a different movie than I. I saw no pornography in this film, and though I thoroughly read your argument for it's existence, I still see none.

As I read through your essay, I couldn't help but think that you just don't get it. To me, this movie is about the paradox of making sacrifices to have it all, only to find out that it means nothing without the things you've sacrificed. Of what value is immortality if it's price is humanity? What good is living forever if you have no one to share it with? This paradox applies to us, to the living.

I realize that you and I do not, and will not ever agree on this subject. However, I enjoyed reading your opinion, and for the most part, I enjoy reading the pages of The Ethical Spectacle.


kiera tayler

Kiera is an exception to the above rule.



The band "fourworlds" has just finished recording "Let em' Starve", the theme song of the 1996 Republican campaign. I'd like to send a copy for your review. If you like it (and what liberal wouldn't), I'd like you to consider offering it as a sound file on your web page, or allowing us to market the cassette single on your page on a per inquiry basis. Also, any help getting this on the air would be greatly appreciated.

E-mail me with the address to send it.

David Elfanbaum fourworlds@home.stlnet.com

Hello fellow libertarians!

I'd like to announce a new web site which you may find of interest. It has major sections on (i) liberty, democracy and tyranny (with special reference to the U.S.A. of course) and (ii) censorship in the U.S.A. (w/srt the CDA). There's also a lot of material on other subjects, some also connected to libertarian themes.

The site is called *** Serendipity *** The URL is http://serendipity.magnet.ch The doorways to the Liberty section and the Censorship section are visible on the home page.

I have found the ISIL publications to be of great value, and I have the greatest admiration for the folks at ISIL who are putting out this information. One of the things on my web site that I like best - but unfortunately did not write! - is the New Declaration of Independence by Vincent Miller and Jarret Wollstein (May 1992). This is, I believe, a document as important as the original Declaration - and let's hope that subsequent history agrees with this judgement.

You'll see that the attitude toward "America" expressed in no uncertain terms on my web site has two parts: I greatly object to the current political regime in the U.S. but greatly support the republican (not the party!) intentions of the U.S. founding fathers, a position, I suppose, that I share with many ISIL members (and BTW (most of) you cc-recipients - I got your email addresses from the ISIL newsletters).

Some of the views I express on Serendipity may not be shared by you all. In fact I probably manage to say something or other in one place or another to offend just about everyone in some way. (I don't lose any sleep over this.)

Naturally I'm interested in getting this web site more widely known (and read!) so if you deem it worthy of a wider readership I'd be grateful if you would spread the word and (if you have a web page) put a link in it to Serendipity.

Best wishes,

Peter Meyer serendipity@magnet.ch


Could you please consider reviewing and adding a link to the following page? It pertains to libertarianism in its most subtle aspects. Please review before determining in full whether it should be linked.




Dear Mr. Wallace:

We have added a link to your site in our "Jump Out" section on our site -- Rainbow Alley (rainbowalley.com), a premiere multimedia, interactive wegsite for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgenered community. If you have a links section, we sure would appreciate a link back to us. If not, just stop by and visit and tell your friends.


Dorothy rainbowalley@edenbbs.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Pete du Pont, former Governor of Delaware, launches IntellectualCapital.com an original content public policy e-zine of ideas and opinions.

With a few clicks on his computer keyboard at the National Press Club this morning Pete du Pont, former Governor of Delaware, today launched IntellectualCapital.com (http://www.intellectualcapital.com), a weekly public policy on-line journal available free on the World Wide Web.

"IntellectualCapital.com (IC) is an e-zine of public policy ideas and opinions featuring original bipartisan analysis from two dozen respected policy experts and extensive audience participation," said Pete du Pont, editor of IC. "The Internet is an intellectually challenging atmosphere and its immediate accountability makes it a compelling channel for public policy experts to present and test their views."

IC commentators represent opposing views on issues and include ideological counterparts such as Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council and Nadine Strossen of the American Civil Liberties Union. Additional contributing editors include Senator Paul Simon (D-IL), James Glassman of The Washington Post, Professor Richard Pipes of Harvard, Hugh Price of the National Urban League, and John Fund of The Wall Street Journal.

Available exclusively online, IC "hits the net" every Thursday and portions of the e-zine will be updated daily. IC is sponsorship supported and is expressly made-for-the-medium, incorporating audience participation on many levels. The columns are concise, no more than 500 words. For those interested in delving deeper into the subject matter, IC provides links to related reading materials throughout the World Wide Web. IC also features interactive events, including a weekly online live discussion with the editor and contributing writers on The Microsoft Network (MSN) every Thursday at 9:00 p.m. est.

IC is geared to audiences interested in quality analysis from reliable sources. People interested in public policy will find IC a valuable resource of analysis and will use IC as a reference point on important public policy issues.

IC is published by A2S2 Digital projects, Inc. a multimedia production and distribution company. A2S2 also produces Policy.com, the world's leading Internet site devoted to public policy from think tanks, advocacy groups, governments, businesses and industry associations, and Policy Street on MSN.

IC is available on the Internet at http://www.intellectualcapital.com.

Carolyn Davenport carolyn_a2s2@msn.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

3rd Party Central is an organization dedicated to the promotion of all political parties that represent alternatives to the two that currently dominate the system. Please check us out, and consider adding us to your list of political links.

Regards ... T Barber tpb@connectnet.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Oh,Oh! I always feel bad mentioning my own Web site when I haven't done justice to the page I'm visiting. But your page contains too much to take in on one visit.

http:members.aol.com/evolvalues An evolutionary approach to values.

Essays and stories written for the general reader, on evolution as a lived system of values. Has essays on many specific topics, eg race, death, war, education etc. Might act as a model for how to meet creatonists in the arena of ethics, rather than on origins which they couldn't really care less about.

Chees, Shaun Johnston ShaunJn@aol.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

You asked for an email if someone has a link to your page, and I do.

I consistently find the Spectacle one of the most intelligent and stimulating web pages I have ever encountered.

My address is http://www.wam.umd.edu/~tfish/welcome.html

--Jordan Hirsch