of an Aesthetic Realism class:
"Ethics As Possibility," page
In the final
part of this great class, Mr. Siegel showed that what Ibsen was dealing
with as drama--the large, ethical battle between telling the truth and
lying--was being fought out dramatically in America at that time, October,
1969. He read what he called "an important article" in the Washington
Post, titled, "Casual Willingness to Lie, Important Lesson of [Green]
Berets" by Joseph Kraft. Our country was in the midst of the brutally
ugly, unjust Vietnam war, trying to impose profit economics on the Vietnamese
people, who wanted to own their land in a different way. There was
growing objection in America to what we were doing, and just five days
after this class, on October 15, 1969, many Americans would be taking part
in a huge demonstration and march in Washington and elsewhere, called "The
Vietnam Moratorium." Mr. Siegel, who was passionate in his opposition
to this war from its beginnings, calling it the most unethical war in American
history, said of the Kraft article: "Yesterday, a victory against falsity
and the lie appeared in the Washington Post--the clearest statement
about the lie on which the Vietnam War is based."
About that lie, he
"Is it possible for people honestly
to get to a kind of government that is not the same as private enterprise
as a way of life? Is it possible or does it all have to be fomented
by agitators?....It's gone on and made for more pain than people realize....Korea
had to do with this, Cuba, Guatemala, Indonesia. It has a long history
based on the lie--that no person would want industry owned in common. "
He then read portions
of the article about the effort by U.S government officials to cover up
the killing in Vietnam by a special elite force of the U-S Army, the "Green
Berets." Former Ambassador Robert Komer is quoted as saying about
the false report he wrote on the war: "I was asked to show progress.
I wasn't asked to show the dark side."
"I use the word lie."
said Mr. Siegel. "The lie is a personal thing, but occasionally it's
a national means." And with historic perspective, he described the big
lie that anything other than profit economics is against democracy....":
I was moved by what
Mr. Siegel said as he concluded this historic lecture. He said: "There
are possibilities of people wanting to be friendly to other people, thinking
really that the skies and the waters and the land have a right to be cared
for, and in a deep sense had, owned, by all the people." And he said
of Americans about to state their ethical objection: "October 15th will
be a great day because it will be said (in the Moratorium), with Hedda
Gabler somewhere present, that we have given too much credence to the lie."
Now in 2005, with Americans increasingly objecting
as we see startling and horrendous evidence of lying in various places,
the need for Aesthetic Realism and how it sees ethics is more urgent than
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