People ask whether we should go to war to defend those suffering from genocide or violations of their state rights by other nations or peoples. I want to go into the Erratic Retaliator strategy and why it works, and how it is not conflict that is “bad,” but the totalitarian wars we fight with the intention to bend others to our will, where there has to be a winner and a loser.

The sure retort to this is, “Do you think that we should just sit back and watch the Hutus and the Tutsis massacre each other?” I feel that this is not an example of the Erratic Retaliator strategy, but more like the situation between Israel and Palestine, i.e., we would wipe you out if we could.

What do you think about countries going into war to aid other peoples, such as fighting the Germans in part (though this was not the incentive to become involved in WW II) to stop the Holocaust? I know you say that you do not pretend to know what people should do, but for the purpose of this argument, how can I articulate the information in Ishmael and your other books?

This is a letter from a lost boy in search of his life calling. I read your book Ishmael and I thought I had found the one thing that could give me a rewarding life. I wrote a letter in response to the Author’s note and it was returned to me saying that the current address was no longer in use.

I was extremely disappointed. I then found the sequel My Ishmael and once again had hope. I feel like Jeffrey from the latter. Through my whole life I have searched for those illusive questions that everyone looks for but can find no answer. One of those questions is “How do we live?” I think that my life is meant to be in pursuit of a better American society.

Now my question is how? If your movement could have use for a dreamer like me I would like to hear from you. I am willing to move to wherever I could be needed. I hope to hear from you in the near future.

In Section 12.11, Ishmael tells the narrator of the novel that “. . . it should be noted that what is crucial to your survival as a race is not the redistribution of power and wealth with the prison but rather the destruction of the prison itself.” I would like a little help with that statement.

What was DQ’s interpretation of this statement? What was the point that he was trying or is getting at?

It has been said that politics will be the last to change because politicians will not move ahead with ideas before the electorate changes. In Beyond Civilization there was a look at how homelessness could be managed through changing how people think, and My Ishmael talked about education and wealth in general.

Could you see a situation in which people change their minds about one specific area, say homelessness, enough so that politics will change the policy in that area or do you instead feel that the change will happen all at once?

Further, although you think politics will be the last to change, do you feel that there is any hope for people interested in politics to enact changes in the short term?

I find it difficult to teach the “unteachable,” or better yet, to “unteach” them. Please, don’t get me wrong here—I am not suggesting that they are intellectually inept but rather that they are unwilling to listen to anything that goes against their conditioning.

Do you think that this fact(?) will seal our fate?

I only ask because I find that the types of individuals who are drawn to books such as yours are the ones looking for an alternative in the first place. I find that most people I talk to either don’t want to be challenged or truly believe in this “lifestyle” because they don’t know any better.

I am sorry if this question sounds redundant as I have read your views on this but what is your approach for the most “closed-minded” individuals, or isn’t there one?

I recently received a copy of Time magazine in the mail, with a special report on how we can save the world. I looked at it with dread, and when I began to read, it was as I anticipated: more programs.

Even more frustrating, they spoke of methods of producing more food for people, and we all know where that gets us. I thought to myself that Time should do an article on Daniel Quinn.

Anyway, I suppose my question is, what is your reaction to this “special report”?

I was surprised to see your answer to Question 502, that you consider a vote for Nader to be throwing a vote away. It seems like that would be inconsistent with your arguments that a short term focus in government is a bad thing and that changed minds have to spread slowly one person at a time.

I consider your works to be the authoritative guides on finding a better way to live, so please know I don’t mean this adversarially. But I was just curious if you would be inclined to reconsider this stance?