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Dialo g u e Apologies to Cowtown Re: “Where else but Cowtown?” \(Obs., Fort Worth city councilwoman Shirley’s last name is Johnson, not Jackson. I know because Shirley represents my own district; her husband, John, is my personal physician; and the whole Johnson family have been good friends for almost ten years. I also know because I wrote the piece, and I may have misnamed Congressman Wright, but Shirley? Never. Please make this correction as soon as possible, so I won’t have to keep avoiding the JacksonsI mean Johnsonsmuch longer. Sheila Taylor Fort Worth Okay, Sheila. This is one you can blame on us. Our apologies to you and Ms. Johnson. It could have been worse, though. The same Observer gremlin who changed Shirley Johnson’s name to Jackson also changed Jim Lane’s to Lande, but we were astute enough to save you from that goof. Not even Rod Carew hats 1.000, you know. Eds. Technology and ethics Ronnie Dugger’s review of the book on Clarence Ayres \(Obs., of the most fascinating things 1 have read lately. I too have wrestled with the question how we can tell what ethics we “ought” to adopt. Part of the answer came to me when I was reading a famous book by John Rawls, A Theory of Justice. Of course, Ayres is right; technological processes are ethical. Essentially, you demonstrate this by assuming that human activities have a purpose. It does not matter what purpose you assume, even the purpose that games havehaving funis sufficient. If human activity is purposive, then some kinds of technology will advance these purposes to a greater extent than others. Those superior technologies are thus of greater ethical worth”better.” For example, if we assume that bearing loads is one of the purposes of architecture, then we may say that the “arch’ . is a “better” technology than the “beam” because it is superior in bearing loads. A particular society may have cultural institutions which resist the introduction of the arch \(on the ground that is “ugly” or “decadent” or will put the beam-makers 24 DECEMBER 29, 1978 doubtless that is what Ayres meant by “ceremony,” the tradition-based opposition to anything new and better. It does not take a genius to understand that morality demands we adopt that which is better in preference to that which is worse. What people quibble over is the theoretical \(but practically unable to agree on the purposes of society. I would answer that by saying the burden is on the proposer to discover a value on which he and the defender of the status quo agree. So long as both the proposer of improvement and the defender of the status quo are human, this does not present much challenge; both will agree that food, clothing and shelter are to be valued, likewise beauty and happiness, etc. The difficulties which arise are only those which might prevent one from explaining morality to a computer or to some alien from a UFO with neither heart nor soul, and likewise no body. Agreed, to such a one, technology is not moral, but who cares? Colin K. Kaufman San Antonio Hallelujah! I recommend that you survey Texas history, governor by governor. I think you’ll find that Texas has had only three liberal governors: Hogg, Ferguson, Allred. A few of the rest have been moderates. All of the others have been conservatives or reactionaries. Now that. the Republican Party has captured the statehouse, it won’t be long before the conservative Democrats \(so. Before long, a Texas Democrat will be a liberal or a moderate with liberal leanings. They’ll be the minority party but they’ll be the meaningful party. When the issues are principled enough, the purified Democrats will win. Hallelujah! Rus Purifoy Odessa THANKS TO ALL who volunteered to participate in the Texas Observer survey. The questionnaires will be mailed the first week in January. If you haven’t yet requested a copy of the questionnaire, there’s still time. Sec or just send us your name and address and refer to this notice. ANDERSON\( & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SWAIM AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512 453 1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip HALF rogic.E MECORDS AAGAZINE IN DALLAS: 4528 McKINNEY AVE. 209 S. AK ARD, downtown RICHARDSON: 508 LOCKWOOD FARMERS BRANCH SHOPPING CTR. SW CORNER, VALLEY VIEW IN WACO: 25TH & COLUMBUS IN AUSTIN: 1514 LAVACA 6103 BURNET RD. IN FORT WORTH: 6301 CAMP BOWIE BLVD. classified BINGO A FELONY? Send S.A.S.E. Tasar, Box 50667. Dallas 75250. BOOK-HUNTING? No obligation search for rare or out-of-print books. 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