March 2008

Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Spectacle Letters Column Guidelines. If you write to me about something you read in the Spectacle, I will assume the letter is for publication. If it is not, please tell me, and I will respect that. If you want the letter published, but without your name attached, I will do so. I will not include your email address unless you ask me to. This is in response to many of you who have expressed concern that spammers are finding your email address here. Flames are an exception. They will be published in full, with name and email address. I have actually had people follow up on a published flame by complaining that they thought they were insulting my ancestry privately. Nope, sorry.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

In Fun With Elections, you write " Other countries, including Britain, India and Israel, are decades ahead of the U.S. in electing female leaders".

Britain has never elected a female leader; the Westminster System isn't set up that way. What actually happened was, people voted for their own representatives with one eye on local issues and the other on the parties in a national sense - but not for the leader. One might as well say that in 1945 Britain voted for Attlee rather than Churchill (oh, and I suspect Kim Rush is ascribing one of Chesterton's remarks about beer and God to Churchill; certainly Housman wrote the same idea in "Malt does more than Milton can / To justify God's ways to Man").

While I am writing, I would like to remind Seymour Schechtman that Nietsche stands his view of hope on its head; he regarded the last thing to leave Pandora's Box not as something that offset all the evils that had preceded it, but as something that reinforced them by persuading people to bear their burden - a last and greatest evil.

Yours sincerely,


Dear Mr. Wallace:

I'm sure you get a lot of emails saying how much they love your website and although I do, I'll skip to the chase. The only reason I'm picking you up on this is I've heard the criticism so often and I believe it is unfounded:

"Its impossible to forgive George Bush for reading a children's book for twenty minutes after being informed of the September 11 attacks." First things first, I'm Australian and I don't like either the Democrats or the Republicans AND I'm no Bush fan.

I just want to remind you that when the first plane hit the WTC, we had no idea that it was a terrorist attack. We all (or nearly all of us) thought it was an accident, and furthermore, we had no idea at all that the towers would fall. It was something that in normal cases that doesn't require a President to suddenly drop what he is doing - even if that's reading a children's book. If it WAS an accident and the towers didn't collapse - which was the state of play in the seconds that Bush was told - no-one would have made any criticism and none would have been justified. The Secret Service's actions in this instance are telling - you inform the President immediately to cover your ass. If at the time you think the country is under attack you immediately rush him from the room and escort him to safety. They didn't do this.

It's a pretty random thing to email me about, but after-the-fact criticism that forgets what the actual circumstances of the event were and would have been like bugs me.

I hope you can see now how some of us may have found it possible to forgive him... for this action, anyway. :)

I don't know who wrote that article on Libertarianism but I really, really enjoyed it. Although I think its conclusions were too harsh on Libertarianism.

Keep up the good work


Dear Mr. Wallace:

This letter is in response to Senator Edward Kennedy's endorsement of Senator Barack Obama.

Until today, I was a strong admirer of the Kennedy family. However, this latest act by Edward Kennedy has completely changed my mind. It really amazes me that these two limousine liberals can put ego above party at the expense of bringing back the "rising tide to float all boats". Harry Truman once questioned John Kennedy's youth and inexperience but yet it was far more than what Obama brings to the table today. The late senator Lloyd Bensten is probably turning in his grave with the comparisons between Obama and JFK. Talk about hypocrisy; you never see any African Americans in those Kennedy home movies on Hyannis Port. Perhaps its because the closest they were allowed to come was to pick up the trash at the end of the driveway.

Joe Bialek

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I know I won't be agreeing with you much on politics but I know I will enjoying your approach to Principle and principles. I use the former deifically, btw.

Your writing style is terrifically conversational and devoid of ego. I want to study that as much as the substance, as I work my way through back issues.

Gordon Imrie

recently saw the pics of Allen Lee Davis...... Really enjoyed them.... Hope more remorseless killers find the same fate.

Dobie White

Mr. Wallace-

Thank you for writing your essay on lying and having it available on the internet. I did down load it.

Today, I have caught a couple of my employees lying on their timecards. My sadness about this is tremendous for they are people I care for deeply. I have, I guess naively believed that if I showed an honest example it would be followed.

I have not finished your essay, but want to thank you again for writing it. If I owe you some money for the down load ( it will be for my use, and I may show it to my boss) please let me know.