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Our Readers Write 3.22.2006

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Is Moral Relativism Morally Repugnant?
To The Editor:
 Once again Gary Osmundsen has written an arti-cle March 8, on the issue of morality. This time, though, he does not seem to be advocating required teaching of abstract moral principles in universities, but rather a simple reiteration of his belief in ‘absolute’ moral standards.
In this, he joins a whole host of right wing non-thinkers and religious figureheads like Pat Robertson, all of whom claim to believe in absolute moral values and despair of ‘moral relativism.’
Well, I would like to say that I am a moral relativist and furthermore, I think that Osmundsen, despite his bloviating and pontificating, is too.
He claims that ‘murder, lying, stealing,’ are absolute moral values and are ‘morally repugnant’. But I don’t think that he has thought about the relationship of ab-solute moral values as they apply to the real world for more than a few minutes.
I think murder is almost always wrong. But if I see someone’s wife tied up in a chair, and some thugs holding a razor and about to slit her throat and I a hold-ing a gun, I will happily blow that man away. I guaran-tee he will not see another sunrise and I will not have a moment of regret.
I presume Osmundsen would do the same, if the situation were reversed. At least I hope he would.
But that is murder. The courts might call it ‘justifi-able homicide’, but that is just to say that it is right to murder in certain circumstances. In short, moral rela-tivism.
And if two armed thugs come into my house asking where someone was and I know they are hiding in the closet in the next room, I will tell them that the person was on the way to catch a train to Cincinnati and if they hurry they can still catch them.
Is that lying? You bet. But lying for a good cause, wouldn’t we agree?
Moral relativism? Of course, it is. Do you really think that is ‘morally repugnant?’
And if I am in Joe Doe’s kitchen and I happen to see a letter on the table where he writes about his raping and murdering a young girl, you know something? That letter is surreptitiously going in my jacket pocket and I’m heading down to the first police station I can find. Is that stealing? It certainly is. But sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
So after all the posturing and pretending is over, I think almost all of us are moral relativists. In fact, I have never met anyone who wasn’t. Instead of making heady and incorrect pronouncements about moral abso-lutes and the like, I believe that we would be a lot bet-ter off focusing on concrete cases of morality and actu-ally taking the time to think them through.
Everyday real issues like the questionable morality of retailers putting candy by the check-out counters, knowing that it will cause conflicts between parents and small children. And the government cutting taxes for the wealthy while cutting back funding for the poor and the aged on Medicare and Medicaid.
And advertisers using sexual imagery and sugges-tion to sell their products. These things are already discussed at universities, and high school students are encouraged to write essays on the subjects.
I only wish they were discussed more often in church.
BRUCE ALLEN
Del Haven
Pleased With Podcast
To The Editor:
 What a great idea!
 My wife, Sue and I think the Podcast is the best thing that has happened to us since we started subscrib-ing to the Herald. We enjoy keeping up with the dy-namic, exciting citizens of Cape May County.
And now, with the Podcasts, it’s almost like being able to receive one of our radio stations up here in Lumberton, and so convenient.
Thanks for using the latest in modern technology to help bring us all closer together. And to all the citizens of our county, thank you for being so kind to Sue and me over the years.
SUE and KEN BROWN
Lumberton
Ponderlodge
Gates Must
Stay Open
To  The Editor:
In articles citing the Ponderlodge status controversy, the Lower Township mayor said he would pursue opening the Cape May Beach gates on Bybrook Drive to those neighborhood residents.
Hopefully, such action will take into account the huge fire several years ago threatening the whole neighborhood, an evening fire triggered by vandals, and the potential for a Higbee Beach behavior problem materializing; i.e., friends mooning in the moonlight.
Consequently any openings to this new park should be controlled and secured by police in the evening. Keys should also be made available to local fire departments, especially in light of an 89-year-old resident authorized by the state to live out her last years in Ponderlodge.
TONY DeANGELIS
Villas
Barry’s Comment on Committee Puzzles
To The Editor:
 
 There is an old saying that goes, “two heads are better than one”.
 I recently read that Stephen Barry, the heir apparent for a seat on Middle Township Committee, said “enlarging the Middle Township committee has no apparent benefits” and “creating some relatively enor-mous government body for Middle Township or any of the other mainland townships; I can’t imagine what the benefit would be.”
 Is this guy serious? He probably loves trials without jurors also.
 In my opinion, I believe it is a lot easier to sway one person to support an idea than it would to sway two or three. I would like to think that decisions affecting my taxes and environment would be hard made decisions.
 I really do not believe it makes any difference if the Middle Township Committee is made up of five De-mocrats or five Republicans. However, I do believe that five heads offer five divergent view points that would ideally represent the issues affecting all Middle Township “villages” that range from Swainton to Avalon Manor to Green Creek and everything in between.
 When I read that an endorsed candidate for 
Middle Township Committee cannot imagine the bene-fit of five heads instead of three making important decisions for Middle Township then Barry certainly lacks the imagination and the proactive attitude to effi-ciently represent the residents of Middle Township.
 If Barry is looking for smaller government maybe he should run for freeholder and try to reduce that board from five to three.
WILLIAM DEAVER
Court House
Firemen: Chief Aims for Mutual Respect
To he Editor:
This letter is in response to a “Spout Off” published on March 8. The “Spout Off” was in reference to North Wildwood Fire Chief Paul Evangelista. The writer questioned what Fire Chief Evangelista’s “problem” is with volunteer firefighters, particularly North Wild-wood volunteer firefighters.
We, as representatives of the membership of the North Wildwood Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 and that Anglesea Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, can assure you that Chief Paul Evangelista has no “prob-lem” with the volunteer firefighters, and that we have no “problem with him.
Chief Evangelista has worked tirelessly to unify a fire department consisting of career and volunteer fire-fighters into one fire department and this is no easy task.
Chief Evangelista is dedicated to the well being of all members of the fire department and has ensured that all members are equally outfitted and respected.
This latest “Spout Off” is yet another example of the cowardly, anonymous fare that epitomizes the “Spout Off” feature. We believe that allowing such mean-spirited, anonymous contributions is irresponsible journalism.
We are asking that you publish a retraction to the “Spout Off” about Chief Evangelista and refrain from any similar character assignations in the future.
Unlike most contributors to “Spout Off”, we will identify ourselves.
PAUL DiFILIPPO
President
Anglesea Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1
DAVE GREENLAND
President,
North Wildwood Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1
North Wildwood
Agnew Had Higher Rat-ing Than Cheyney
To The Editor:
  
     President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney now have the lowest approval ratings since they took office in January 2001. Is anyone really surprised?
      Bush continues to lie about the war in Iraq even as a civil war looms there and Americans struggle to pay for gasoline, electricity and heating oil here at home.
     Not only do Democrats oppose Bush and Cheney but now Republicans are turning against them also. Bush must believe the American people are stupid because Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told Tm Russet on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that the war in Iraq was gong very well. Is this guy on the same planet as us?
   Everyday, brave American soldiers are killed by roadside bombs, kidnappings occur daily and mass executions of innocent civilians take place – even within the so called safe “Green Zone” of Baghdad.
     Bush, who appears to be delusional at times, shocked all Americans including most Republican senators and congressman by endorsing the sale of our ports to the government of Dubai, a country which aided the Sept. 11 hijackers.
To The Editor:
As we travel the path of life, we unwillingly are subjected to a variety of emotions: happiness, sadness, excitement, anger, depression and so much more.
Many of us would rather take the journey experiencing only pleasant times; however, we all know that’s not how life was meant to be.
Recently, my family experienced great sadness; I almost lost my husband and my children their father due to a blood clot that has lodged in his lung. Not only is my husband recovering from his illness, but he’s also dealing with the grave depression of worrying about providing for his family.
To lighten this burden, my family, held a beef and beer on Feb 25, which went over as a great success. With all the turmoil going on in our world today, people still took the time to care about my family, bringing some hope into my life once again.
Not only am I grateful for my family and friends, but also the community in which I live. I cannot even begin to express the emotions that my family has experienced knowing that there are so many caring, compassionate people living among us right here in Cape May County.
The businesses in our county are more than willing to contribute and give a donation when a family is in need. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Benefit for Dana Erskine. It was a touching affair that will never be forgotten.
Just remember, when things seem to be the worst in life, there are so many people that care enough to help even strangers.
I’m proud to live in a community that pulls together in times of need. Each and every one of them has touched a place in my heart and should be proud to be who they are.
The Erskine Family
Needed: ‘Realistic’ Drug Treatmen
To The Editor:
Imagine that your cherished young son or daughter is stricken with cancer. After the initial denial and anger have been dealt with, you launch a crusade to save your child’s life. You cling to the belief that, with adequate treatment, your child can beat this dreaded disease.
Imagine that, after weeks of dead-end phone calls to various specialists, facilities and agencies, you come to the numbing conclusion that there isn’t going to be any help. You and your child are in this nightmare alone.
The definition of “helplessness” is what so many parents experience when they find themselves in this very situation. Except the disease isn’t cancer – it’s the equally dreaded and life-threatening disease of drug addiction.
Some parents, like Patricia Conley, (“Son’s Heroin Death Inspired Her Mission” Herald March 8) have said goodbye to a child in a physical sense when this ugly disease finally claimed their life.
Other parents still have their child’s body with them but say goodbye to who they used to be every day when they look into their lifeless eyes.
All of them have realized or soon will that they have nowhere to turn for help.
In our county, with its relatively small population, addiction is stunningly rampant. We have agencies, yes, but they are woefully understaffed and over-worked. A name on a waiting list for treatment and therapy is not what you want your loved one to be as you watch them slip further away with each passing day.
If you travel into the neighboring county, you will find some addiction specialists in private practice. You’re in luck if you’ve won the lottery recently and can afford their fees.
The typical substance abuser is in no condition to acquire or maintain a job that offers health insurance and many have exceeded the age of eligibility on a parent’s policy.
The only treatment in Cape May County that is within the financial reach of most addicts and that can accommodate the staggering numbers is the methadone program.
This can work for those who simply want to main-tain their addiction without resorting to illegal drug use. But it takes an extraordinarily strong and motivated person to detox and rehab using this type of outpatient program.
Here’s a secret I’ll share – drug addicts are neither strong nor motivated people.
The only real possibility for recovery lies in long-term inpatient treatment. These facilities exist, some within a short drive. Does your child have a rich uncle who is willing to foot the bill for thousands of dollars a week for a period of months?
I applaud both Patricia Conley for trying to spare other parents her heartbreak and Christine Cote for writing an article that sheds light on what parents like Conley are up against. I hope they will not be alone in their efforts.
As we’ve already learned with teenage pregnancy, addiction can happen in any family, in any neighbor-hood, in any school.
I urge all parents not to wait until they find a needle in their child’s jeans pocket. Speak now to your local, county and state officials about the need for an increase in effective education to prevent future addiction among our youth and the need for realistic treatment and rehabilitation for those unfortunate souls already caught in the trap.

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