Albright is still all wrong on Arafat
In regard to Wednesday’s “Embassy Row” column: The interview with former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright brings back the picture of a flawed foreign policy, for part of which she was the architect, during the Clinton administration. Still unwilling to admit that not only President Clinton but the State Department spent eight years wooing the terrorist Yasser Arafat, she continues to attribute statesman status to this murderer of U.S. citizens.
The support of the Arab populace for Mr. Arafat and his policy of instant terrorism only convinces the American public that there can be no progress in the “road map” to peace while Yasser Arafat and his policies remain intact. The Palestinian Arabs have been offered acceptable formulas for peace countless times, only to utterly reject them and resort to violence. Until there is a sea change, not only in the Palestinian Authority leadership but also in Arab society, peace will remain an illusion. This will not occur overnight, but will require decades, if not generations. Mr. Arafat, in the last 10 years, has ruined any chance for regional peace. Mr. Clinton and Mrs. Albright, through their approbation of this terrorist, have postponed the peace process indefinitely, a curse visited on the current administration.
The power of postmodern myths
During the annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy on Sept. 10 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, speaker Robert Redford mentioned that the late Joseph Campbell felt that a society without mythology is doomed, and related this statement to his own views on the importance of the arts (“Championing arts,” Culture, Tuesday). Many celebrities and scholars cite the work of Mr. Campbell today as if he were an intelligent commentator on myth and anthropology. Few read his work carefully enough to see its many inherent flaws; and even fewer think for themselves about his often absurd observations and conclusions.
Take, for example, Mr. Redford’s reference, above. Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the Soviet Union had their mythologies; so did the Aztecs, who cut out the hearts of living captives on an altar to their chief god. Isn’t it more true to experience to say that societies that oppress their citizens and ignore the Creator are more apt to be doomed?
Bill Moyers made Mr. Campbell famous by promoting his work on a PBS series titled “Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth” in 1988. In it, Mr. Moyers presented Mr. Campbell’s disguised atheism and idolatrous fervor to the public as academic brilliance. An estimated 30 million people viewed the original presentation, and it has been re-aired often as part of PBS’ fund-raising efforts.
Mr. Campbell often ridiculed the Judeo-Christian tradition, referring to the worship of the God of Israel as “an abomination” and calling Christ’s resurrection from the dead “a clown act, really.” Yet, incomprehensibly, in the “Power of Myth,” Mr. Moyers, supposedly a Christian, said to Mr. Campbell, “Far from undermining my faith, your work in mythology has liberated my faith from the cultural prisons to which it had been sentenced.” How naive the sophisticates have become.
Mr. Campbell’s ideas and writing were sophomoric. He embraced the postmodern relativism that denigrates moral absolutes. To him, all myths are metaphors, and therefore can mean whatever you want them to mean. What, then, can we learn about our past from the great Greek myths? Nothing. His famous maxim, “Follow your bliss,” is about as profound as “Be cool.”
Celebrity and scholar alike should think twice before citing or emulating a man such as he.
ROBERT BOWIE JOHNSON JR.
Isabel will profit few
Donna De Marco’s article “Economic toll” (Business, Wednesday) about the economic impact of Hurricane Isabel makes the startling claim that “economists agree that the aftermath of a devastating storm can have a positive effect on the economy.”
How can that be? The problem with this argument is that it ignores what the money used to rebuild the economy could have been spent on otherwise. Suppose a window in a factory is broken from the hurricane and that the factory uses some of its resources to replace the window. Those same resources could have been used toward hiring more workers or making a new investment. The only difference is that without the hurricane, the factory has a window and new investment; with the hurricane, the factory has a new window. If this really were a viable economic stimulus, why doesn’t George Bush recommend that New York, Washington and Los Angeles destroy sections of their cities so that they can rebuild them?
Assistant professor of economics
Foul stewards of the Seaquarium
As a longtime Miami resident, I am writing about Miami Seaquarium’s negligence and irresponsible behavior (“Seaquarium told to repair or shut down,” Culture, Sunday).
I cannot believe that it took a secretly taped video from an animal-rights group to show the unsafe conditions that exist in the Miami Seaquarium. Why hasn’t the park been maintained? Sure it costs money to do this, but that is the price of doing business. I would be willing to bet that the chief executive officer of Miami Seaquarium has a home in a posh neighborhood that is maintained pristinely.
If you are open to the public, there is a responsibility to maintain safe conditions. Miami Seaquarium has proved that it cannot be trusted with that responsibility; it has abused our trust. We have building codes for a reason — public safety. If they let the buildings and structures deteriorate to this level, I wonder how the marine animals are being treated when we are not watching. I urge the good people of Miami not to go to Miami Seaquarium. I, for one, will not be giving them one more penny of my money.
Coral Gables, Fla.
I want to thank The Washington Times for addressing the situation at Miami Seaquarium, with its numerous safety code violations.
In addition to these safety code violations, it should be pointed out that Seaquarium has been keeping Lolita, the last surviving orca from a group captured 33 years ago in Puget Sound, in substandard facilities. In 1970, Lolita and five other young orcas were ripped away from their families for the purpose of putting them on display for the amusement of people. Five other orcas were killed during the capture. It should be noted that the incredible violence and appalling cruelty involved in separating baby whales from their parents resulted in a Washington state law that now forbids the capture of all whales from its waters.
It is time for Miami Seaquarium to close for good and to do right by Lolita by retiring her and allowing her to be returned to her family off the coast of Washington.
Silver Spring, Md.