{letter} : Dear Pliny,

{Thank you for your recent writing, “War of The Worlds,” in which you refer to Wells’ fictional account of an attack on Earth by superior armed aliens from Mars, who are fortunately defeated by the Earth’s natural pathogens to which the invading Martians had no immunity. You created an analogy to the opposing forces in the novel, by observing the critical bifurcation of society into opposing groups, one compassionate, believing in assistance to the needy, and the other, ascribing to a market-place morality. With the observed substantial decline in what you call “civic amity” each group, which you say, has become insular, as well as belligerent towards the other; yet you still persist in your prediction of the ultimate victory of human nature over hubris and insensitivity, for the following reasons I would label you a “Pollyanna.”

You seem to overlook the fact that today’s man is so invested in his own personal world view that when presented with facts that threaten such assumptions, he defensibly rejects or ignores them. The reality that the world is populated with so many selfish, low information people whose inclination is to ignore inconvenient or uncomfortable facts, obviously reveals your “pie-in-the-sky” outlook to be foolish.

Despite the unanimity of world scientists that man contributes to dangerous global and atmospheric damage, and, despite huge melting glaciers, the dangerous rise in sea level, erosion of historically defined coastlines, damage to the ozone layer, tornadoes, tsunamis, depletion of clean drinking water, despite earthquakes initiated by fraking and so many other preventable disasters, your favored animal, “rational man” seems hapless against the weight of man’s ignorant denials or perverse drive for profit.

Persistent misinformation, motivates many in their opposition to disease preventing vaccination, thousands of people are killed and maimed because of popular opposition to gun control, the private right of a pregnant mother for exigent reasons, to medically and safely terminate her own pregnancy, is opposed by people who purport to protect the fetus on the grounds of the “sanctity of life” (and have committed homicide to prove it) but vehemently oppose any assistance to the needy child after the birth event, the multitudes of people who adamantly oppose the granting of assistance, of any and all kind, to needy people; yet you still stubbornly persist in your baseless hope.

A great many American citizens, fortunate enough to reside in this land of freedom and plenty, perhaps merely two or three generations after the emigration of an ancestor, now vehemently oppose the admission of other hopefuls (how soon they forget), which selfish and ungrateful opposition is supported by Statute, armed military, fences and trained dogs.

There are countless numbers of dedicated religionists who faithfully attend worship services, smitten with comfortable self-serving assumptions of rectitude and personal virtue, but who harbor immoral distain, even hatred, for those who believe differently, as well as those who elect not to believe.

How many other demonstrative instances of prejudice, selfishness, merciless lack of empathy, ignorant indifference, cruelty and injustice will it take to convince you that planet Earth is well on its way to becoming a cold lifeless rock like the moon? How can you rationally retain your hope?

Very truly yours,

Mark M. Words, B.A.


Dear Mark,

We wish we were able to truthfully deny the essential truth of your observations, In point of fact, we have written copiously, on each regrettable subject. We would, however, in defense of our realistic maintenance of hope, initially, suggest the following conceit:

Let us imagine ourselves camping in a Vermont log cabin in mid-February. We look outside the cabin window at leafless trees, dead vegetation, snow and ice, frozen streams, the total absence of birds and other denizens of the forest, perhaps we hear a bitter wind stern enough to guaranty sinus pain, see icicles and lifelessness everywhere; the outlook appears to be hopeless, and depressingly bleak. How can any rational, mature person express happiness or the expectation of a joyful environment (and avoid the unhappy prospect of being labelled a Pollyanna) without the maintenance of an awareness of the predictable arrival of warm spring, as an alternative to then fixating solely on the snow and cold.

In simultaneous contrast with your observed (wintry) lack of empathy, selfishness and reductionist ignorance, there are very many positive indication available of an all- encompassing, verdant and wondrous season. One has only to consider the myriad international and domestic organizations, usually operated by caring dedicated volunteers, in efforts to combat hunger, disease and poverty; these are real life examples of the existence of empathy, self-sacrifice and charity residing in the human spirit and the valuable essence of mankind’s true character and inclination.

There are a great many programs and organizations solely dedicated to good purposes, including Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, Global Alliance, anti-Malaria and other dedicated disease fighting organizations; there is the World Jewish Alliance, UNESCO, and a multitude of not-for-profit organizations functioning domestically and internationally, solely dedicated to service to mankind, furnishing food, medical care and other subsistence. Programs exist in virtually every area of need, including the promotion of literacy, candy stripers and other volunteers in hospitals, free clinics and safe houses, all emblematic of mankind’s essential goodness, and natural desire to care for others.

Visibly, there are, to be sure, alternative faces of mankind, both positive and negative. It is certainly possible to be realistic and yet rationally foresee the dismissal of winter by spring and the ultimate prevalence of light over dark.

Sincerely Yours,


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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