WTC: letter from world academics to Pres Bush
- Dear friends and colleagues --
Please let me forward this, which I fished from LanTra, the translators'
mailing list. To whom it may concern:
>Below is the text of a letter to be sent to the US president by academics-- W. Richter Translations E>D
>from around the world.
>Among the signatories are Daniel C. Dennett (Tufts University) Steven
>Pinker (MIT), Hilary Putnam (Harvard), Nicholas Humphrey (London School of
>Economics), Joan McCord (Temple
>University), Romin Tafarodi (University of Toronto), Shitij Kapur (Univ.
>If you are an academic and wish to be added to the signatories, send
>Jordan B. Peterson, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto
>peterson@... a copy of the letter signed by yourself, with
>details of your position.
> >> To President G.W. Bush and the Members of the U.S. Congress:
> >> The events of the past few days have made everyone understand how
> >> a free and open society is to mass destruction and terror. But this
> >> vulnerability is part of the strength of such a society, not a hallmark of
> >> its weakness. It takes courage to allow the free movement of people and
> >> ideas. That courage is predicated on voluntary acceptance of great
> risk, and
> >> not upon ignorance of its likelihood.
> >> The immediate response to such a catastrophe is anger and hatred. But the
> >> system of laws that supports the US and its allies has been designed by
> >> generations of great people to ensure that anger and hatred are never
> >> the final word. Justice, truth, and respect for individual differences are
> >> principles whose power far outweighs the thoughtless desire for revenge.
> >> More importantly, revenge breeds revenge. It seems terribly dangerous to
> >> provide individuals motivated precisely by the desire to increase pain and
> >> suffering the luxury of the war they so much desire. Such a war turns them
> >> from rigid, totalitarian cowards to soldiers; from failures who are
> >> to prey upon the innocent to heroic exemplars of the fight against
> >> overwhelming external oppression.
> >> The craven acts of terrorism perpetrated in New York and Washington are
> >> dignified intolerably by their classification as acts of war. The
> >> individuals who perpetrated these appalling events must be regarded and
> >> treated as criminals, as international pariahs, who have committed crimes
> >> against humanity, and who must be brought publicly and rationally to
> >> justice.
> >> Our great technological power makes us increasingly vulnerable to the
> >> madness of the ideologically committed and resentful. To turn against such
> >> madness with indiscriminate revenge seeking is merely to react in the same
> >> primitive and deadly manner. To risk the slaughter of innocent people
> in the
> >> hunt for such revenge is to absolutely ensure that constant episodes of
> >> international terror will come to be the hallmark of 21st century
> >> The entire world stands behind the US, in the hope that the commission of
> >> crimes against civilization can be exterminated. Such solidarity was
> >> absolutely unthinkable even fifteen years ago. The US therefore has an
> >> unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate its unshakeable commitment to its
> >> own principles, particularly under such conditions of extreme duress,
> and to
> >> provide the world with the hope that democracy and freedom can truly rise
> >> above the parochial ideological madness of the past. Such a demonstration
> >> would truly lift the American state above all past national institutions,
> >> and would continue the tradition of great spirit that allowed for the
> >> rehabilitation of Germany and Japan after the Second World War.
> >> Perhaps the events of September 11 might therefore be regarded as the last
> >> war of the second Christian millennium, instead of the first war of the
> >> third. In consequence, we implore you to react with discrimination, to
> >> target only those truly responsible, and to avoid the cruel and
> >> errors characterizing humanity's blind and ethnocentric past.
> >> Please punish only the guilty, and not the innocent. Otherwise the
> cycle of
> >> terror that seems an ineradicable part of human existence will never
> come to
> >> an end.
> >> Sincerely,
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