Letters to the Ethical Spectacle

The most rewarding part of producing The Ethical Spectacle is the email that arrives every day. Most of it is quite positive and supportive; much of the rest is respectfully critical, thus helpful and encouraging in its own way. Keep those cards and letters coming! Write me at jw@bway.net.

The Media

Dear Jonathan: I teach Media & Politics courses and am working with a student on a paper. Do you know of anyone (besides Doug Rushkoff (see his book Media Virus)) who tries to make a case FOR the way TV is ironizing attitudes toward traditional forms of manipulation, praising the social effects of pop-sex and violence etc.?

The problem that needs addressing is this: Progressives talk as if people are being tricked into consuming sleaze but, in some sense, they obviously "want" it.... In a secular age, with no concept of sin, that simple fact is hard to illuminate and deal with...

TdeZ Tom_de_Zengotita@mail.nltl.columbia.edu

What is Government For?

Dear Jonathan:

I enjoyed your contribution to the "What's Government for ?" debate. I hope you will appreciate my observation of your excellent writing: You write from the perspective of one who is well read, well educated, but under nourished in the arena of life experiences. An example is your analogy of the wrasse. Nature, through evolution has given every living thing a niche in the seeming cacophony of the wild. The wrasse did not "learn" to exhibit its behavior any more than the larger fish learned not to eat it. Those similar creatures in prehistory who had similar survival circumstances, but did not exhibit this behavior, did not survive. Their behavior is as natural as are the basic instincts which you (and I for that matter) feel the need to re-structure and/or repress in order to exist in a civilized society, with a "government." While we might look at the "natural world" about us, and learn from the behavior of the beasts, it becomes a silly pursuit to then conclude that these qualities are somehow lacking in our evolved human behavior. Your assumption that a more advanced being might voluntarily assess the need for "contribution" to the tax roles and send it in (to the government), is a lofty aspiration, defies every natural law of evolution. As we adapt over eons, so shall we survive--or not.

Yours in freedom of thought and expression,

Bob Wilson Homefndr@aol.com

Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for publishing my essay: "Is Government a Problem or a Solution?" Now that I have taken the time to read it again, I have to admit I am a little disappointed in it. I do not have your gift of eloquence but at least I managed to get my ideas down in somewhat coherant form. I have received no feedback (neither pro nor con) from anyone, so obviously I missed my mark. I would like to try again as soon as I can think of a suitable topic. However, the next time I will make a concerted effort in the area of style and lucidity.

I also read the other essays and liked them except for "Government Exist to Protect the Producers" by Bob Wilson. If I had to classify my own political alignment I would call myself a moderate. (Although I am sure that Mr. Wilson will classify anyone who differs from his views as a liberal.) I try to listen with an open mind the opinions and beliefs of people who are both to the left and right of me politically. However, this is difficult to do when a writer instead of a presenting positive statement of his or her beliefs attacks the opposing views with simple- minded half-truths and exagerations. I have as little patience for self- delusional neo-conservative propaganda as I do for the left-wing rantings of radical egalitarians.

Once again thank you for your excellent forum. Please keep up the good work.


Steve Ussery (ussery@apple.com)

The Unregarded Bomb

Dear Jonathan:


The Fork in the Path Called Hiroshima
By W.R. Carter

I had an experience, the other day, that a few people have had in their lives. I crossed a chasm without knowing exactly how I came to be able to do so. Looking back, I can see the broad outlines of the bridge that, I believe, will make it possible for others to cross over, if they wish to.

I found myself examining a road that Human History did not follow in the closing days of World War II. A history in which President Truman did not authorize the use of atomic's against Japan, but in which Japan did accept a 'limited' total surrender. The conditions being the same as they accepted in 'history as we experienced it'.

My very limited knowledge of Japanese history tells me that the Japanese psyche went insane early in the development of the Samurai culture. The book and movie "Shogun" gives a very accurate and vivid picture of that society.

It is not very well recognized and appreciated that people have a tendency to structure their lives in one of three forms, in each of six areas of their existence. The six areas are:

1. Survival of self.
2. Survival in relation to family members.
3. Survival in relation to group members.
4. Survival in relation to all other humans.
5. Survival in relation to all other life forms.
6. Survival in relation to all the rest of the physical world.

In each of these areas the tendency is to act as a Barbarian, a Tribesman or as a Citizen. A barbarian wants instant gratification without regard for the cost to others of his actions. A tribesman knows and obeys the edicts of the tribal leaders. He tries to follow the laws and orders of those he considers to have authority over him, without questioning the rightness or wrongness of those orders. He accepts his position in the structure of his society, usually by birth, without questioning it. A citizen knows the laws of his society and, in general, recognizes the reason and necessity for them. Because he is in agreement with the laws, he is a law abiding individual.

In the Samurai culture, as in many other warrior ruled societies, all three behavior patterns were collapsed into one group. As citizens, the Samurai structured their lives in accordance with a very strict code of conduct. In this case that of Bushido, (warrior - do - way). They were very harsh in judgment of their own behavior and equally harsh in their judgment of others. Death was the usual punishment for failure to act according to the "Warriors Way".

As tribesmen, they accepted their position in society. And the 'correctness' of the structure of their society.

As barbarians they were not reluctant to try to advance themselves, their family and adherents in rank, by any means available, overt and covert. This is, of course, is within the 'rules of the game' and is expected and guarded against with whatever skill each player possessed. The barbaric aspect of it, was the total ruthlessness of the actions taken and the retaliations against the loser and all associated with him, out to, at least, the third collateral family members. Even though they had never heard of Machiavelli, they applied his principles with a pragmatic coldness that, just might have, appalled even that advocate of the use of unscrupulous cunning.

These descriptions apply to the members of the Samurai class and various subgroups of it. The priesthood of the two major religions, the 'hidden warriors' and the 'women of the pillow', to name a few of these sub - units. I am not familiar enough with that society to name all of them.

The relationship with all other individuals and groups, that were not members of the Samurai, was totally barbaric. The 'nameless ones' were considered to be on a par with, or even below, that of animals. They, as a rule, did not have individual names, but only the name of their occupation and then a word, or phrase, ranking them in relation to that individual. As an example: Third stone cutter, (of the village or precinct). First wife of the third stone cutter. Fourth son of the third stone cutter. Etc.

The individuals of this serf class, in general, accepted their membership in the class without complaint and the structure of their society as being the correct one.

It is the fanatic extent to which all of the individual Japanese adhered to this social structure, that leads me to say that culture had gone insane.

The extent of the evil insanity was demonstrated by the Japanese military's behavior as they rampaged through Asia and the Pacific Rim prior to and then following the entry of the U.S. into the war. This brutality has been well documented. I am not sure if their use of biological agents is a part of the public record. Nor am I sure if answers given to the question: "What would Japan done if they had had the Atom Bomb?" are a part of the open record. I have been told the the answer given by, former, very high Japanese officials was: "We would have used them against as many American cities as we could. Without hesitation nor any remorse!"

So now to 'Go down that Untravled Road.'

The two power centers, The Imperial Throne with the Emperor and the Allied Occupation Headquarters with General Mac Arthur, formed a communication line that flowed the American concept of a Democratic form of government.

Because the surrender had been one of expediency rather than the 'electric shock' of atomic annihilation, the Samurai put on the Kabuki Mask of the Japanese version of a democratic government with all of the expected and accepted forms and formalities.

They proceeded to create a financial empire equivalent to the one that came into existence in history as we actually experienced it. It was a more aggressive and brutal one, with a hidden purpose of creating the frame work for a world empire. To that end, they would have either created their own nuclear capability and or purchased it from various sources, including the splinter remains of the Russian Communist Empire.

At some point, prior to the turn of the millennium, their diplomatic representatives to the various world governments, would have delivered the ultimatum that each of the governments would recognize the Japanese Emperor to be the Supreme Ruler of the World and his government to be the over - government or major cities of the world would be destroyed by nuclear weapons.

Within a few minutes of the delivery of these messages, and long before any response could be given to the blackmail threats, the major symbolic and cultural centers of the major countries would be destroyed by atomic or hydrogen bombs.

I can only give a guess as to which cities these would be. In the U.S. probably, Washington D.C. and perhaps New York. In South America, Brazila and Bueno Aries. In Europe, probably one or more of London, Paris and Berlin. In the former Soviet Union, Moscow. In India, New Delhi and perhaps Calcutta. In China, Beijing and one or two other major population, symbolic centers.

Unfortunately, for Japan, they would have, again, misjudged the response that the rest of the world would have to such an action. The American response, and that of all other nations with the capability to do so, was to immediately bomb the Japanese Islands out of existence for practical purposes. The Japanese race would cease to exist, except for a few scattered pockets, around the world.

During this brief, deadly 'shoot out' Iran or Iraq or both would destroy Israel and would launch atomics against several European cities. If they had intercontinental capabilities they would also launch against the "Great Satan", the United States. This would provoke the destruction of many of the Muslim nations in the Mid East.

If, and it is a very big IF, the human race and our civilization survived the, probable, "Nuclear Winter", the United States, through the U.N. would establish a 'Pax Americana'.

At this point, too many variables enter the picture and the 'Untraveled Road' became a blur that faded from my view.

Many who read this, will claim that it is a story line that could or would not have happened no matter what actions the U.S. and her allies took. Of course, there is no way that the matter can be ever be resolved. Proof, one way or the other, will never be possible. All I can do is report the 'view' that I had, and have, of that 'Other History', the "Path not Taken".

An Auschwitz Alphabet

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I wish to commend you on an informative and well designed home page to keep the Holocaust in the minds of todays young people. An interesting book I am now reading, although not easy to stomach, is Hitler`s Willing Executioners, (Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust), by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, a fitting textbook like description of the Nazi plague that would serve as a reference mark for your essay. Good luck, and keep up the excellent work!

Murray S. Haber murrayh@pacbell.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I appreciate the work and dedication you have undertaken in your analysis. I recommend Sam Keen's Faces of the Enemy for an understanding of the architecture of emnity and hate, the universal insults used to characterize the enemy.

My family was not affected either, leaving Russia and Poland about the same time yours did.

Perhaps you can help me in my search for information. I am concerned when I see Jews, including camp victims, driving Mercedes, BMWs etc. Is there a good book or articles on the associations between these car companies and the concentration camps? I have read bits and pieces but have not found a comprehensive text.

Thank you once again,

Ron Turk realistt@iamerica.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Having visited your home page Auschwitz Alphabet I am very interested in this subject as I am a religious Studies teacher who has since 1994 visited Auschwitz Twice and indeed will be visiting there again this year with a third party of young people to bear witness to the fact that the Holocaust was a real and terrible event. I have also visited the Ghetto in Prague, the Ghetto in Krackov and Terezim.

I have also been privileged to meet a survivor of Terezim, Auschwitz and six other extermination camps.

I am grateful to your page in giving me more information to pas on to the new generation.

Dave Johnson 101752.2267@compuserve.com

Shalom Jonathon,

I teach a course in Northwestern University's Electrical & Computer Engingeering Dept. where Prof. Arthur Butz is also a faculty member. Butz is - to say it politely - an author of Holocaust Revisionist material.

Recently, Butz started a WWW Home Page on a NWU server to publish his views such as that the only reason the Nazis used Zyklon B gas was to disinfect Jews who were contaminated by lice. I have protested this use of a NWU server; however, the response I received was that as a tenured faculty member he is entitled to 'free speech' protections. I, of course, disagreed on the ground that 'free speech' is a restriction on government - not on a private university. I have also been encouraged to drop the issue and not draw attention to Butz's publications on the ground that this will give him the attention he seeks. I disagree on the ground that sunlight is the best disinfectant - far better than Zykon B or other gases.

Butz's page was last at


In any case, I have decided to publish my rebuttal on my own home page for my course entitled ENGINEERING DESIGN & ENTREPRENEURSHIP which is located at:


My rebuttal will be assigned material for our studies on Ethics in Engineering and Business.

In searching 'Zyklon', I came across your pages - which very much impressed me and are far better and more thorough than I could prepare. Therefore I plan, with your permission, to link them on my page.

Thank you for your contribution.


Sheldon 'Schmuel' Epstein k9ape@ece.nwu.edu

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Just a note to let you know I appreciate your Auschwitz page. I think it will be a helpful resource to students studying that dreadful time of human history.

I noted your quote of Karen Armstrong's, in her History of God. I read that book about a year ago, and was moved by that particular passage. I think she is correct in asserting that Jews and non-Jews alike have the same problem in retaining any belief in a personal God after the Holocaust. (I, like Armstrong, was raised Catholic.) Actually, that particular section led me to read Wiesel's book Night. Just recently I've read Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning. Haven't read Primo Levi yet though. (I came to your page because I had entered his name in a search engine.)

Anyway, good job.

Before signing off, I recommend an earlier book by Armstrong. Through a Narrow Gate. It's about her time in a nunnery. If you ever want to know why Catholics are so screwed up, read that! The woman has really traveled an amazing intellectual journey.

Take care--- Richard Bennett

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I find your writing touching and eloquent. Have you ever read "Escape from Auschwitz", also titled "I cannot forgive" by Rudolph Vrba. If not, please do so. It is moving.

God bless

jerrym@theonramp.net (Jerry Mollis)

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am writing with a possible request that hopefully you can help me with. I saw a blurb on you in WIRED magazine and jumped in the hope that maybe you could help me. I have contacted many organizations and have had no luck, although many have expressed interest in having what I desire.

I am in search of a complete list of all the camps, transit, extermination, labor, etc that were used during the Holocaust.... and have searched for many months trying to find such a list. Do you have access to such a list or can you tell me where I could find one?

Any information you could forward to me would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for all you have already done. =)


Zoey Rucker zruck@ramlink.net

I don't. Please write Zoey--and me--if you know of one.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I was just sitting in my room, bored; Wondering why my life couldn't be as glamourous or exciting as some of the people I see on TV.

I came across your short paragraph in Wired magazine and logged on for want of something to do. I can't even begin to tell you how many conflicting emotions hit me. I read every single word.

I'm having trouble expressing my thoughts because of the turbulence my mind is in. Very simply: the site is incredible. There are a lot of things I would like to say but I have to sort my thoughts out. Thank you for your hard work.

Lou Rabon lrabon@tiac.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am a student at Mississippi State University currently enrolled in a History course titled "The Holocaust." For the class we were assigned to choose a survivor and write a short paper on a book by that person. I chose Primo Levi's Survial in Auschwitz. I enjoyed the book very much.

Another student had asked about an interview on the internet. It was her question that led me searching the internet for information on the Holocaust. Because of Levi's book I was specifically looking for Auschwitz material, and I found your page.

I like you page, especially because of the quotes used to create the information. It is nice to see a collection of people's thoughts that can be reached by those interested in the topic, but that do not have the time to do indepth research for books.

I think your page does a good job with information on large topics, and I hope that others will become more interested in the history of the holocaust and other forms of hate present today. I think everyone can learn something from the past and specifically the people still driven by race today.

I hope many people enjoy your page as I have.

Jeri Ann Basden jab3@ra.MsState.edu

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I found the Auschwitz Alphabet link in Wired. I read the Alphabet with an interest I feel strangely guilty for having. What affected me most, though, was your essays and opinions. They were eye-opening to me.

I watched Schindler's List, and in one of the final scenes where he's regretting not having saved more people, I was moved. Then the movie was over and I reflected on how lucky I was to not have been around when those events took place.

Your report on the movie was a 'kick in the butt' for me. I realized that I spend a little time feeling guilty about the bad things humanity has done - always things that happened before (ie. the American Indians, the Holocaust) - things I had nothing to do with. While all the while I am insulated from the reality that similar things are happening every day.

Thanks for prodding me to stick my head out of my comfortable paradigm and to look harder for warning signs. I'm not saying I've been stupidly gobbling up everything that governments, the press, and cinema feed me - just that it takes a real effort sometimes to resist the flow.

I'll be visiting again.

Mark W. Ribley mwripley@clandjop.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am teaching summer school--US history, 20th Century--and found the alphabet a powerful tool to convey what must be known about the Holocaust.

Each student was given a letter to read to the class. A few others read excerpts from the recollections of a child I found on another server. When we were finished, I needed to say no more.

Pamela K. Chance pkchance@pe.net

What I think:


Roland Schulz rschulz1@ix.netcom.com

A Shaggy God Story

Dear Mr. Wallace:

It is very distressing to see that you do not believe that God exists. If He is not, then what is the point in anything at all? Why be good or be good to anyone else? On November 17, 1995, my daughter Vivian, was born with trisomy 18, which is nearly always fatal. Vivian lived for 30 minutes. She is my third child, and it was devastating to lose her. Through it all, I never doubted that God exists. In spite of my ranting and raving and weeping, my anger, and the eternal "Why?", I never doubted that he loved me. I couldn't understand why this happened. I felt like I had been singled out for a punishment that I wasn't sure I deserved. I felt betrayed, but I knew He was always there and that He loved me. It still hurts. There is an emptiness in my life and heart that will never be healed, but I know the Lord is there and He comforts me. I realize that I will not know the answers to all my questions this side of heaven, but I do know that He did not cause Vivian to be deformed; it was a result of sin that entered into this world with the fall of man. Yes, He could have intervened. He could have cured her, changed her. She could have been one of those miracle babies (We had known her condition since the end of July.). But I am only the creation, not the Creator. How can I expect to understand all the ways of Holy God? I cannot. ". . . The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21b. (See also Job 38-42.)

I know that the death of my daughter cannot be compared to the death of so many of the Lord's First Chosen. But I do have some echo of the sense of loss that must be felt. God is inscrutable, but He is Love. Without Him, there is no reason for anything, and we might as well all commit suicide because Life is pain,but some day I will understand. "The Lord is my light and my salvation."

The Jewish people have a glorious and difficult future ahead of them. God still loves them. He has not forgotten or forsaken them. There have been too many miracles in their history for that to be believed. And I know that any people who raise a hand against Israel will not prosper. Our time schedules are not the same as the Lord's. We are not God. There is no wrong in questioning what He does, but He does not always provide answers to our questions.

The Jews are no more responsibile for the death of Jesus than anyone else is. Jesus had to die. Through his death we have life eternal. You are probably very familiar with what I am saying, but please, take a moment and remember that faith is not based on what we see or feel or hear. It is based on the unchanging Word of God. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and I know He was in agony over the Holocaust. But I do not pretend to have an answer as to why.

God loves you. You are not alone. We do not have to make it through this life by ourselves.

Thor Sadler

Through responding to letters like this one, I have come to realize that, although I do not believe in God, I have no desire to persuade other people not to believe in Him.

Gun Control

Dear Jonathan:

Firstly, on my site, I am adding some more pages, including a politics and law site..I would like to add your ezine, both in that and the ezine page...if not, let me know, and I will remove you from pages:)

secondly, re next issue on gun control. I do not know how much of australian gun debate has made it to us media, but here is no1 hot topic. basically, we have a minimal, tempory constitution, from ederation at turn of century, and there is no enshrined right to bear arms..(or free speech, or a fair trial, but thats another debate). this hasnt stopped the truly frightening gun lobby rising up in arms(almost literally), when after a particularly vicious massacre, our prime minister decided to ban auto and semi auto weapons. ye gods, the outrage..the extremists(right wing good decent white xtian folk,naturally) have heralded an invasion by our asian neighbours as a result, and have called for blood on the streets..it currently stands that with much humming and hahing by the most right wing states, that the gun lobby 0 sanity 1..but the fight continues... just an interesting parallel to US situation..and we have had US gun groups come over to offer moral support to moody loners with guns lobby groups...

rolling bears web page design and consultation


Dear Mr. Wallace:


Lousy politicians result from the lousy selection of primary candidates.For better politicians, new local political clubs should advertise for 500 applicants for the position of primary candidate, then use rigorous selection, including psycological evaluation, to select the best. See HTTP://WWW.CNCT.COM/HOME/ JBLOCH Link?

John A. Newell

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Someone told me about your website, and I found that you and I agree on a lot of things.

You need to include asset forfeiture in your coverage. The federal government currently confiscates and forfeits (gets to keep) close to a billion dollars worth of private property a year, under the guise of the "civil" asset forfeiture laws. There is virtually no due process, innocent owners can lose their property because of someone else's crime, and the agency that seizes the property has a personal stake in the outcome -- they get to keep the proceeds.

Please visit our "Top 5% of the Net" website, located at http://www.fear.org

Brenda Grantland
President, Forfeiture Endangers American Rights

Dear Jonathan Wallace,

I drop in on your web site now and then and admire your work a great deal (while wondering how you find time to do it). I was looking at the online text of the new book on the Brown and Williamson/British-American Tobacco papers, and realized that I wish someone (you're nominated) would analyze the ethical situation of the tobacco company managers in terms of the conflict between their duty to their stockholders and their duty to the public health. Is there a resemblance to the conflict between Nazi-era Germans' legal duty to their government and their moral duty ("I was only following orders"). Is the tobacco executive's situation merely an extreme form of a conflict that is pervasive in corporations in general, with nasty consequences for power and politics in the modern state?

The particular text that set me off on this was the following, from the web page


Early in this period B&W and BAT frankly recognized that nicotine is an addictive drug and that people smoke to maintain a target level of nicotine in their bodies. The companies also recognized that smoking causes a variety of diseases, and they actively worked to identify and remove the specific toxins in tobacco smoke that cause these diseases. This scientific work was undertaken many years before the mainstream scientific community had a similar understanding of these issues. Nevertheless, in the mid-1960s, when the US Surgeon General's Advisory Committee was preparing the first Surgeon General's report on smoking, B&W and BAT withheld this important information, even though the Surgeon General's Advisory Committee had requested that the tobacco industry voluntarily provide the relevant results of its research for the committee's deliberations. Later, when it became clear that a "safe" cigarette could not be developed, tobacco industry lawyers took increasing control of scientific research as they tried to insulate the companies against products liability lawsuits. In the process, concerns about legal matters and the public's perceptions of the dangers of smoking and the tobacco industry increasingly took precedence over public health.

If this stimulates you to write on the subject I would be very pleased.

Best regards,

Name withheld by request