Congratulations on your report on Bill Gothard ("Little Soldiers in the Culture War," Bob Norman, February 18). Excellent research! You can expect flak from Gothard and his followers. They will be livid. Keep up the good work!
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Gothard's Dangerous Quick Fix
Thank you for the article "Little Soldiers in the Culture War." I am a social worker with over 20 years experience and consider myself an expert in the field of psychology and human relations.
Our society is in crisis with the root problems stemming from the loss of a sense of healthy community and family values. However, it is the American-Western societal way to seek a quick fix for our ills and pains. Bill Gothard's program is a very dangerous, sick approach with false promises. It is appealing because there is an intense need for structure and order in our school systems and homes. But order and harmony should never be confused with authoritarianism, which basically enforces behavior control while stripping people of their own unique creative capacities.
The great sociologist Erich Fromm wrote about the intense need of modern man to overcome separation anxiety by blindly following fads and rules, giving up the self in a pathological surrender to authority. This vulnerability is so apparent today that adults and children alike find it secure to embrace some system that allows one to forget about the difficulties of facing the human condition as an individual. Nazi Germany was founded on taking advantage of this vulnerability.
The quick-fix mentality, which entails oversimplified, unanalyzed solutions, only masks problems while creating more. Unification and discipline are beautiful. But blind obedience to authority without creative, flexible speculation is dangerous.
The Florida Legislature does not have an intimate, face-to-face knowledge about what is going on nor the clinical sociological-psychological insight to make decisions. As a social worker working for an agency years ago, we faced ruthless financial cuts with no consideration regarding the effects. I find it sad that our government is trying to use the fast-food, quick-fix mentality to approach very complex problems.
I hope I don't get punished for voicing my opinion!
Ted Berzon, M.S.W.
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We Know Kissell, He's Not Nietzsche
The guy is a genius. I refer to the author of your recent cover story on Marilyn Manson ("Marilyn Manson, Unmasked," Ted B. Kissell, January 28). I am an avid reader and have read many books, newspapers, and magazines. This article was one of, if not the best piece of pure journalism I have ever read. Among many other reasons, I feel this way because Nietzsche's philosophy, which is peerless, is easily misused. The Nazis did it with disastrous consequences. Kudos to the journalist who exposed Manson as a pseudo-Nietzschean. More of his writing, please.
Norman: Organized and Ready to Roll
Bob Norman's article, "The FBI's Most Wanted... Agent" (January 14) hit close to home for me -- on legitimate levels, that is. I am an Italian-Irish native of Florida. My profession is psychology, and my uncle served the North Miami Beach Police Department for over 25 years.
Norman gave a thorough account of a complex chain of events. His ability to unbiasedly represent the legal, psychological, and personal views left me thinking this unfortunate incident was the best thing to happen for all parties involved. With this kind of organization and clarity, Norman should consider covering more community stories like this.
Melody K. Moyse