Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for your timely article in the April issue, Where's the Dissent? In this piece you listed a number of reasons collectively responsible for Americans' broader but less vocal protest of the Iraq war. From my own experience, I've got another possible reason, which you hinted at towards the end: a sense of disillusionment and defeatism.

Two basic factors have converged to produce these feelings. One is that people are learning more about what terrorism is like. Just after 9/11, President Bush announced that "the enemy has underestimated the response of this nation", and that once we took up the battle cry and marched off to war, these "cowardly" terrorists would throw down their arms and flee. Well, things haven't turned out so neatly planned; al-Qaeda has proven its courage and continues to do so, waiting ever so patiently for us to tire of the war effort. The lesson here is that terrorists cannot be defeated by war, and Americans are gradually learning this lesson.

The second big reason for muted protest is caused by the US media's incredibly sanitized presentation of the war: Americans don't realize what a hell the ongoing war is. As a regular listener to AM radio, I found it interesting that last year, most of the stations in my region switched their news channels from ABC to Fox News. But even the coverage presented by the news sources on the "left" shares some of this deceptive positivity. Successful counter-terrorist operations, (Shiite) Iraqi willingness to pitch in, democratic elections, Hussein's trial, a few terrorist bombings here and there, and a couple thousand US troops dead is hardly a complete picture of the war. In reality, security has vanished, terrorism has killed more than 100,000 Iraqis and counting, US weapons (including forbidden cluster bombs) have injured hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, for each terrorist eliminated, twenty or so innocent Iraqi civilians are killed, and the Iraqi people overwelmingly oppose US troop presence in their nation. Those and other terrible consequences of the war are going on every day, almost totally outside the regular coverage of all the major media channels which invade American life. No one has an incentive to boldly protest a clean, successful war fought to uphold America's greatest values.

Attempting to juggle these two opposing factors in Americans' minds has produced their disillusionment and defeatism. While terrorists cannot be militarily defeated, nothing too horrible is coming of the war (not to mention that the prisoner abuse scandal has faded from memory). So many of these conflicting images have been presented that we're tired of trying to figure it all out. We have our own lives to get on with, and besides we can expect a new president in two and a half years. That will change things a bit and probably end the war, so what's the use of doing anything about it.

Keep up the good work with this online magazine.

Sincerely, Justin

Hi I was wondering what ethical theories would be in favor of stricter gun control laws?

Thanks Eileen

A little humility will go a lot farther than a lot of stern language and anything perceived as self-righteousness.

I would heartily suggest that Dom Stasi read the January 2005 article by Bruce A. Clark entitled Response to a Friend. His current passion for spewing venomous rhetoric serves only to encite the previously convinced and repulse the more moderately tempered who are seeking perspective.

Mark Starr

Subject: Humans and Their Pornography I applaud you for your article on Humans and Their Pornography. Our organization works to affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right by protecting and advancing freedom of speech and sexual expression. I'd like, with your permission, to include your complete article in our Resources section on our website. I'd also like to circulate it to our News List, properly attributed to you, of course.May I?

Ricci Levy

I just wanted to express how entertained I was reading you article Spielberg wants to be a real boy.

I was never a fan of Spielberg and I constantly am on the defensive...as can be expected.

But your thoughts have not only enhanced my opinions but opened my eyes to other subjects that I've never encountered with Spielberg.Thank you.

Dear Mr Wallace,

I recently came across your excellent Auschwitz alphabet. I was interested in the section about x-rays.

I remember reading the autobiography of the psychiatrist RD Laing ("Wisdom, Madness and Folly"). Laing claims that during his medical training in Glasgow University he watched actual x-ray films of the interior workings of the human body.

These films were apparently procurred from Nazi concentration camps. When he pointed out the person filmed would have been burned to death by the x-rays, and asking how it was ethical to use such films, he was answered that the victim would not have died in vain if someone's life would be saved by his suffering.

I hope this is of interest.

Sincerely, TREV HILL

Dear Sir,

I think that this is an absolutely brilliantly presented write up of that dreadful period of time. I found that "The Auschwitz Alphabet" gives such a real insight into those days of Atrocities. I have found your website very good indeed. I would like to see your adding to this being put in the shoes of an inmate's.

How anyone can ever even consider that this never happened is beyond my understanding.

In closing I am medically retired now, and still do a bit of bookbinding. I was wondering if you would allow me to make this into a book for my own use only. I would happily put it into a bookformat for yourself a copy AS WELL if you would like me to. FREE OF CHARGE!

I really do look forward to hearing from you. Thank you again for a good honest account of the Holocaust. Sincerely yours, Neil Cookson

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I started reading Kant (in translation) about three years ago and was immediately struck by his tacitly assuming a rule book for morality and ethics as though everyone had the same copy. It occured to me that all a Nazi accused of warcrimes against humanity had to do in their defense was say that Jews weren't human and he satisfied the catagoric imperative. I was taken by his stating in the Prolegomena and the CPR that metaphysics, if were to be a valid realm of inquiry, would have to conform to his rulebook.

At least he warned the reader about the difference in "knowledge" about that which lies inside and outside of possible experience.

Dear Mr. Wallace, I am writing a paper for my English class on Auschwitz. I found your web site very informative and useful.

Thank you for your time,

Andrew Spears

You make it sound, in Death in Munich, as though Israeli bulldozing of Palestinian "houses" is similar to them hypothetically bulldozing your house or my house. This is certainly not what is happening in that it doesn't happen in a vacuum. For every Palestinian child killed unintentionally by an Israeli missile, there are surely Israeli children deliberately targeted by Palestinian terrorists.


I've your article about lying yesterday over the internet and I found it quite informative and fascinating. Please send me some more material on this topic. I would realy appreciate it.Thank you

Edwin Motale

Hello Jonathan! I'm very interested in your views and opinions about the following topics: Adultery.......and Stealing. Adultery involves lying as you said. But could you explain a little more why adultery is wrong?Also, what about stealing?

You said that when a person lies, he is stealing your time. So what is it about stealing that is so wrong?

I'm trying to find answers. If you could help, I would appreciate that very much.


Dear Jonathan:

I loved your writing on lying

do you have a friend/brother/coworker who shares these same values? I need a new man. I just found out 4 months before my wedding that my fiancee had cheated on me 8 months into our relationship.

people are ridiculous. I loved your write up about lies. it was fantastic. I have lied before but can't do it to friends or especially people to whom I say "I love you".


In reply to the article reviewing the film, Interview with a Vampire I would like to state that; the author of this piece seems to be obsessed with the second world war and the persecution of the Jews. This may be a topic that is very sensitive and envokes emotion in the author, however it detracts from the other all article. Instead the reader finds themselves delving into an eloquent rant about the Nazi's when all they wanted to achieve was to read a review on Interview with a Vampire. Not to say that what was published didn't meet it's audience, it merely comes across as 'going off topic'. I also suggest that this article is a 'rant'. It hasn't been carefully though over, there was not in the slightest hit of, 'on the contrary'. It's an absolutely bias piece of literacy. I also believe that research should be done into the background behind the story. The original text should be read an consulted. Anne Rice did not portray women as 'belittled' or 'abused' but as powerful beings. In the world she has created there are no sexual boundaries, and the story delves in to the beaking down of class, social, sexual, and spiritual divides. The film is a piece of art, I don't suppose the author is inclinded to art. This is not an insult I just wish to mention that the beauty of art is to observe beauty in everything. This email is a critisism, but I only mean to state my point of view, in rather the same way as the author. I hope this was sent to the correst place, and hasn't caused any inconvenience.Yours Kimberley