Tattletales for an Open Society | The Nation


Tattletales for an Open Society

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I would like to seize this opportunity to force myself onto the ACTA list. Yes, I do NOT fully support the government's war on terrorism. I am aghast at the alacrity which our "leaders" throw out Constitutional protections when they become inconvenient for the "prosecution" of the "war" on terrorism. (Interesting that the war isn't one when it comes to the prisoners.)

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Unfortunately, I believe I screwed up my chance to tattle on myself by sending e-mails to both Atty General Ashcroft and Senator Orrin Hatch, chastising them for their retreat to that pitiful Vietnam war era tripe about criticism giving support to the enemy, and further suggesting that dissent was a hallmark of the American way. I assume that these anti-American sentiments gained me a spot on some list, perhaps not ACTA's.

Anyway, on the off-chance that my remarks failed to reach the ears of ACTAns pressed against some wall or other:
"I do not support the wholesale abrogation of rights of entire ethnic classes.
I do not support the idea of military tribunals on offshore islands.
I do not support the re-election of Joseph Lieberman to the Senate."

Professor, Ecology XXXSLTSUXXXamp; Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut


I am part of the massive part-time/adjunct labor pool. I teach introductory philosophy, and I cannot begin to enumerate all of the dangerous and politically threatening questions and comments I offer in the course of a class in which I am expected to raise important and difficult questions for my students. Nevertheless, I want to make the degree of my guilt in this matter clear to ACTA, so I will try to enumerate some of my more telling "evil deeds" (or is that "evil thoughts"?). When discussing the definition of "human," I suggested that the definition is often political, and used the war in Afghanistan to illustrate some of the ways in which certain "humans" are more valuable than others. When discussing philosophy of language, we examined the way in which vague definition can serve political ends, and used the notoriously vague term "terrorist" as an example. In discussing the concept of collective responsibility, I compared the war in Afghanistan to similar US actions in Latin America and Asia, and dared to ask whether we, as citizens, share responsibility for the misdeeds of our government (which of course begs the question: "Are we harboring terrorists?"). As you can see, my dedication to open inquiry, paired with my espousal of critical examination of and active participation in government, make me a threat to the way of life represented by ACTA. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Department of Philosophy
University of Nevada Las Vegas


Prior to 9/11, I was certain only a short time would pass before the Bush Administration did what its supporters had hoped to do to the Clinton Administration: shame itself into one impotent term of office or, better still, quickly find its leader impeached and ousted from office. Sadly, the fraud that is now paraded before us as President has found another motherlode of golden luck such that the remaining 10-15 percent who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of his leadership are now labeled "traitor." I have felt lonely in my uncompromising love of our country's principles before, and I am certain I will feel this isolation again. To the remaining 85 percent of my countrymen whose patriotism I refuse to question but who offend me by questioning mine, I say: Keep offending me, keep pushing me back, keep cornering me; you'll only keep strengthening my conviction.

Miami, Florida


Like those who have confessed before me, I too would be honored to be included among those who wish to honor the American tradition of speaking out. That America has a long and sad tradition of attempting to restrict freedom of speech and freedom of thought is no secret--here is a favorite verse of mine, written about fifty years ago.

Executive Editor, The University of Chicago Press

Song of a Modern Vigilante

(written, anonymously, during the McCarthy era)

I sometimes fancy as I spy
That I excel the FBI.
Right now I'm making little lists
Of folks I think are communists.
I have no proof on anyone,
And yet, the lists are loads of fun!
All friends of foreign aid, I think,
Must be set down as rather pink.
A little pinker, not far off,
I list perforce the college prof,
And pinker yet, the college crowd
That lauds the Bill of Rights--out loud.
UN supporters, as I've said,
Are also ipso facto red,
And redder still on my red lists
Are all the integrationists.
Just for good measure in my labors
I add a few of my god neighbors.
Thus I rejoice that loyalty
Resides alone in you and me,
Although, before my work is through,
You may, good friend, be listed, too.


I'm a psychology major at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Most of the time I've spent speaking out against the war has been with friends. So it is unlikely that I would get caught. So here I am, turning myself in. Thank you for your time.



Very soon after the horrible tragedy of September 11, I attended a grassroots festival, the Common Ground Fair, in Unity, Maine, where the vast majority of people in attendance were against any rash military action--my first sin. At the fair, I picked up a flyer depicting two possible responses to the tragedy: killing more people in the name of those already killed, or working towards peace and greater compassion. The flyer seemed to indicate that the latter option was more reasonable. I confess that I agreed with the sentiments of said flyer, and posted it on the door to my office at Bentley College, where I teach literature, composition and creative writing to business students (I am not tenure-track, and therefore my job security is a bit tenuous--and yet I take these risks!). Not only that, but I am often engaged in the treasonous work of encouraging critical thinking, dissent and original ideas from my students. And thus, I proudly hang myself.



Jeanne Gardner and I co-edit Swarthmore College's humor magazine, Spike, which is published once a semester. This past fall, we decided to take the magazine in a new direction by including an article on a topic more serious than had ever appeared in its pages before--that topic being, of course, the WTC bombing and consequent "war" on terrorism. It was published with a series of sidebars and images of national newsmagazine covers that featured George Bush and the American flag, Osama bin Laden's face, and so forth. We would absolutely love to be added to the ACTA list. We think that our remarks have been sufficiently subversive--that is, sensible--to justify our names being named.



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