]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]        "THE" LETTER      [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 

Dear Dr Beckmann:                                       (June 1983) 
     ...I am in agreement with your assessment of the technological-
political-economic situation, and as a member of Doctors for Disaster 
Preparedness, I share your feelings of anger, contempt, disgust and 
exasperation with the ignorant, self-righteous fools who lead the 
anti-nuclear and "Peace" movements.
     However, if your goal is to sway public opinion and gather NEW 
adherents to OUR position, I think you might be more successful if you 
took pains to restrain the often vituperative TONE of your remarks. 
Such a tone makes it too easy for people to write you off as a crank 
when the CONTENT of your material starts to perturb their complacency.
                                                  Sincere best wishes,         
                                         P.E.M., M.D., Oakland, Calif.
                                 * *

Dear Dr M.:
     I am most grateful for your remarks, and by and large I agree 
with them. I get this letter so often that I call it "THE" letter.
     Although you are perfectly right, and I do try to restrain my-
self, I just don't succeed as well as I might, because my heart is 
not really in it -- in the polite restraint, that is.
     We all do (or should do) what we do best. I am not cut out to be 
a polite persuader, and I take my hat off to those who are. I see 
myself as one who passes out the ammunition to his own side, not as 
one who would be good at swaying opinions on the other.
     There are three reasons for this.
     First, the way I am made, it would be insincere if I suddenly 
trurned diplomatic. I am not a diplomat, and the insincerity would 
show through.
     Second, I put little hope in persuasion by the written word, 
certainly when written by me. Most people are persuaded not by logic, 
but when they are hit over the head -- as they were by Pearl Harbor 
or Dunkirk. Then they remember that there were those who told them 
so, and it no longer matters whether they were polite.
     Third, it is all back-breaking work -- reading, filing, writing, 
typesetting, printing, renewing -- am I to have no fun at all? As an-
other reader wrote in "THE" letter, "Is it not enough that you wrestle 
them to the ground? Must you stamp on them as well?"
     Yes, I must; on some of them, anyway. I can take ignorance and 
naivete, even malice; but not hypocrisy. The urge to stamp on them is 
often irresistible.
     Nonetheless, you are quite right and I do try quite often. In 
fact, I think you might call my tone subtle and diplomatic compared 
with the first draft.
     I will keep on trying -- to stamp on them more diplomatically.
                          *  *  * 

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