Well, if you bother to look back at the thread, I think you will see that I simply responded to posts directed directly to me and, indeed, posts that rather bizarrely insulted me! I did not insult others, and, in fact, I continued to say nice things about them. No one has apologized to me, and I have been too polite to request an apology or to feign being a victim.

Indeed, I refrained from responding to some of incogneato's later posts since her hostility was so bizarre as to border on... well, let us just say it was not easily explained.

I realize that there is an ethos in our society that says that if you happen to disagree with what someone else has said, you can simply say that they have �hurt your feelings,� and then they are supposed to apologize rather than continue to espouse their position. I consider this a slimy, unethical, despicable, and abhorrent form of behavior, and I refuse to be an "enabler" for that form of behavior.

Frankly, it is I, not Kriston, and most certainly not incogneato (!), who has been gratuitously and shamefully insulted here. I do not think that the fact that Kriston chose to whine about her feelings, and that I have not chosen to whine about my feelings, means that I should be the one to offer an apology.

I think you and I have a fundamental and profound ethical disagreement here. I do not, to take an example from current events, think that Jeremiah Wright should apologize publicly for telling the truth about some things that do indeed "offend" many Americans. I have no doubt that many of our fellow citizens truly are hurt �emotionally� by Rev. Wright�s words. However, what Wright was talking about was the fact that many of our fellow citizens have condoned large-scale mass murder. That they expect Wright (!) (and Wright�s friend Sem. Obama) to apologize rather than recognizing the evil in which they themselves are participating and apologizing themselves for their participation is absolutely, morally bizarre.

Obviously, Wright is addressing issues of somewhat greater import than the issues Kriston and I were discussing � although, what I was in fact pointing out was the manner in which Americans raise our children that does result in their succumbing to the sort of profound evil as adults that Wright was addressing. The two issues are indeed closely linked.

Since you and I are speaking frankly, morally, I think the position you adhere to is abominably evil. The slaveholders in the Old South espoused precisely the same position: those d*!~ Yankees just should not be so insensitive as to insult the South by criticizing slavery! The �slavocracy� suffered from even greater �defensivesness,� to use Kriston�s term, than Kriston herself.

It saddens me that you hold this evil view, but it does not surprise me -- as I said, it is very widespread in our society. I am married into an East Asian immigrant family and I have good friends from across Asia. Again since we are speaking frankly, this attitude, which you espouse, on the part of Americans is a major part of what causes the rest of the world to have contempt for Americans. That Americans can engage in boorish and insensitive (and, on a geopolitical scale, outright mass-murderous!) behavior such as you, Kriston, and incogneato have demonstrated here is viewed by much of the rest of the world with utter astonishment. For six-and-a-half years now, Americans have wallowed in self-pity over the deaths from 9/11, while being stunningly insensitive to the far greater suffering and death they have wreaked on Iraq, the Palestinians, etc.

To call this �infantile� behavior would be insulting to infants.

I would not have written this so frankly except that you yourself chose, as you said, to be quite blunt.

I do not anticipate for a moment that you, Kriston, or incogneato will ever apologize for your rude, insensitive, and boorish behavior, and indeed I do not request such an apology. I consider my interaction with the three of you simply an enlightening (if rather unpleasant) experience that helps me to understand the larger point that Jeremiah Wright, and so many people abroad, are making about Americans such as yourself.

I do think that my one mistake here was that I was too passive, restrained, and polite in dealing with Kriston, incogneato, and yourself. I will not make that mistake again.

Incidentally, I think you need to seriously consider the possiblity that your son�s �Asperger�s� is simply a sign that he is morally superior to yourself and unwilling to engage in the systematic lies that contemporary Americans consider a part of �psychologically normal� behavior. There is an amusing, but ultimately very serious, website ( http://isnt.autistics.org/ ) that makes this point more clearly than I could. Again, since we are, as you chose to say, speaking bluntly and since you brought the matter up, I pity him having you as a mother.

Thanks for your frank comments and I hope you appreciate my reciprocal frankness and openness.

Incidentally, I still like you, Kriston, and incogneato, and wish you all well. But I do concur with you that sometimes blunt discussion serves useful purposes. In particular, I hope that you can achieve a more tolerant perspective for the sake of your son: your comparing me to your son in a negative way was not only insulting to me, it was stunningly, unbelievably degrading treatment of your own son. Shame! I truly feel for him.

All the best,