Has it occurred to no one that Meg Scott Phipps might well have got off, uh, Scott free had she actually been one of the, uh, "boys?" Burtman's column ("Rules of the Game," Nov. 5) lays out the breadth and depth of corruption endemic in the ways of doing political business in The Old North State. In this we differ from other states only in degree. In his new book, Gore Vidal quotes Ben Franklin on the ultimate weakness of democratic society, namely the tendency of the public to accept and embrace "corruption" (Franklin's own word, according to Vidal).
In America, at least, this tendency seems to be due in part to an immature and simplistic conception of ethics and morality on the part of much of the public. We tend to conceive of both as matters of following rules, and as identical (at least in principle) with civil law.
Even a perfunctory reading of the great moral teachers throughout history raises possibilities such as that civil law may require actions which are immoral, or that morality may require actions which are illegal, or that morality may be a matter of choosing not simply to obey or disobey rules but of choosing between courses of actions (such as choosing the lesser of two evils). But ideas such as these seem utterly incomprehensible to many Americans.
Until "we, the people," develop a more mature and more sophisticated understanding of what ethics and morality are about than merely staying within the letter of the law--whether civil or clerical--we shall continue to endure the theft of public resources by the powerful and feckless in both the public and private sectors.
Scott A. Weir
Endorsement off mark
I feel the Indy owes its readers an explanation of why it only endorsed two of the three incumbents for school board (leaving out Gloria Faley) and then endorsed two challengers (Independent endorsements, Oct. 29). It appears to me that all three incumbents shared the same ideology regarding matters of school board substance, while both successful endorsed challengers shared a different but similar view. Logic would seem to dictate you either endorse all the incumbents or all the challengers. Your staff seemed to forget that the vice-chair, Gloria Faley, was speaking as the unanimous voice for the entire school board on issues relating to siting the third high school--not herself. It is a sad day indeed when elected officials try to bring forward voices in their community for discussion and then are crucified personally for being the appropriate conduit for this voice. It appears petty political interactions with the county commissioners were more important than substantive positions on issues in the endorsement choices. Please use your endorsement power carefully and don't hold it against incumbents like Gloria Faley when they try to make sure all the voices in the community are heard.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to email@example.com; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.