Just To Wash The Nasty Residue Of Those Absurd Pilgrim-Syrian Refugee Analogies Out Of Your Brain, Here are Some Useful And Informative Silly Refugee Discourses

Go ahead, tell us how you'd keep THESE refugees out, Donald...

Go ahead, tell us how you’d keep THESE refugees out, Donald…

By the time Thanksgiving arrived, the social media memes pronouncing that for anyone who believes accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S. is less than wise policy it was rank hypocrisy to celebrate the holiday had become too much to bear. Granted, this stupid analogy was marginally less stupid than the “Jesus was a refugee so what kind of Christian are you?” stuff put out by OccupyDemocrats, but it was still pure debate pollution. Did the Native Americans know that the Europeans were refugees? Uh, no. Did they have a refugee policy? Nooooo. Was the territory that became the United States being targeting by terrorists? No. Had there been any previous terrorist attacks on Native Americans in North America? No. If the Indians had known about what the Spanish had already been doing to indigenous people, would they have been so welcoming? I think not. If Native Americans today could go back in time and decide all over again whether to allow the “refugees” to settle here, what would they decide?

You betcha.

Are the beneficiaries of a terrible decision ethically obligated to risk their own destruction by making the same mistake?I guess that’s the theory. Pardon me if I’m not persuaded, but you wouldn’t believe the “likes” this argument got on Facebook in its various forms.

Well, President Obama used this same illicit analogy before Thanksgiving, and the progressives and pundits nodded their heads furiously, like turkeys. Oh, snap, Mr. President! You really stuck it to those xenophobes!

President Obama obviously doesn’t care about his rhetoric any more, or think about it, either. He’s not as flagrant as Donald Trump in spewing irresponsible nonsense, but no ethical President should even spark the comparison.

Well, over at Law and the Multiverse, which is another neat website in the Ethics Alarms links, there is a very informative discussion of the refugee status of Superman, an environmental refugee (a planet exploding qualifies its residents) and Supergirl, another Krypton refugee whose status is a bit more complex. Law and the Multiverse features serious legal discussions of the legal issues that would be raised by the conduct and existence of superheroes in the real world. Here’s a sample, from author Kean Zimmerman’s discussion of Supergirl’s status: Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Citizenship, Government & Politics, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Popular Culture

Your Ethics Alarms Cognitive Dissonance Guide To The Planned Parenthood Shooter Spin Game


Robert Dear

Cognitive DissonanceTo the left is a simplified version of Leon Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance Scale. Most of the people and institutions who use the scale to mislead and manipulate public opinion neither know this diagram nor have heard of Dr. Festinger, but it is what they are employing in the daily wars to win ideological political converts by distorting the significance of current events.

Robert Dear’s as yet unexplained shooting rampage within a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility has immediately created an opportunity for cognitive dissonance manipulation. Festinger’s research showed that our minds will always try to resolve dissonance when something with a high, or positive score—say, “Free Speech,” appears to be closely associated with something else that is low on the scale, such as “hateful speech.” How the dissonance is resolved will depend on the scores of the two dissonant objects or beliefs.

If you want the public to decide that something it approves of is less worthy of approval, attaching it to something the public believes is reprehensible will do the job by creating cognitive dissonance and pulling the well-regarded object down the scale. If you want the public to move its opinion of a person, organization or concept from negative territory into positive, identifying someone or something the public regards far more negatively who opposes the person, organization or concept will tend to move the object of the negative entity’s opposition upward on the scale. In these situations, the mind seeks distance from the reviled entity. I hate broccoli; I learn that Donald Trump hates broccoli; I don’t want to have anything in common with Donald Trump. Pass the broccoli, please.

The latter is the process repeatedly applied by the protesters of police shootings when African Americans are the victims. The public correctly opposes abuse of power and wrongful violence by law enforcement officials; it is far below the mid-point on the scale. It also a opposes criminal activity and resisting legitimate law enforcement. With rare exceptions, every black victim of a questionable police shooting was engaging in or had engaged in criminal activity, and had resisted arrest. These have been criminals, but because the alleged misconduct of the police is far lower on the scale than the criminal activity involved, the criminal victims are propelled by cognitive dissonance into the scale’s positive territory. (The media assists the process by publicizing the most benign images of the victims they can find. The most frequently used photo of Laquan McDonald, who was executed by a Chicago cop, shows him in his high school graduation gown, for example. The cop didn’t shoot a criminal who refused to stop when ordered to, he shot a smiling young man with a bright future. The police officer is thus a monster; the victim a martyr and a hero.)

Now let’s look at the current use of cognitive dissonance in the wake of the shooting by Robert Dear. Continue reading


Filed under Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

Ethics Film of the Year: “Spotlight”

No spoiler alerts necessary; I’m not going to say much about the film’s plot. Just go see it.

Sure, I was predisposed to like “Spotlight.” It’s about Boston, my home town; Fenway Park even appears in it, Red Sox and all.  I had also followed the unfolding Catholic Church sexual molestation scandal there that the Boston Globe broke in 2002. This was the Globe’s momentous investigative journalism series which showed the extent to which high-ranking Church officials allowed child predator priests to continue harming trusting kids, as the Church paid for confidential settlements to victims and transferred the criminal priests to other parishes, where they could, and did, strike again. “Spotlight” tells the story of how a group of Globe editors and reporters finally exposed a local conspiracy of corruption that spread across institutions and professions, and that pointed to a world-wide scandal that still haunts the Catholic Church today.

It’s a better ethics movie than “All The President’s Men,” to which it will inevitably be compared. Whether it’s a better movie or not is a matter of taste. (I liked it better.) Where the movie really shines, however, is how it raises so many of the ethics issues we routinely cover here, such as…

  • Legal ethics: the duty of lawyers to represent clients, confidentiality, and when, if ever, human ethics require the breaching of professional ethics.
  • Ethics corruptors, and what happens when admired, trusted and powerful people and institutions require their followers to show their loyalty by ignoring, rationalizing or covering up wrongful acts.
  • Journalism ethics: the business of journalism’s conflict with the duty of journalists to find and publicize the truth; how ambition, personal biases and non-professional concerns can warp perspective and performance
  • Ethics and religion, hypocrisy, and the institutional utilitarian choice to protect the whole when it means sacrificing individuals
  • Rationalizations, including the Saint’s Excuse and the King’s Pass, in which prominence and “good deeds” seem to justify double standards.
  • Hindsight bias, Moral luck, and more.

Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Campus Protest Ethics Yin, Yang and Yecchh: Unethical Website Of The Month ‘The Demands,’Ethics Hero Dr. Everett Piper, And Ethics Dunces, The Occidental Faculty”

I’m running out to see “Spotlight,” so I will avoid my usual rambling introduction to this Comment of the Day, authored with skill and humor by reader Chase Davidson. A “Blazing Saddles” term I have used recently to describe the ideological jargon and convoluted double-talk we have been hearing of late from progressive protesters, ideologically committed bloggers and Presidential candidates, “authentic frontier gibberish,” seems to have taken root, and Chase has done a magnificent job translating large, stinky chunks of it revealed in my post today about the various college student demands.



Here is Chase Davidson’s Comment of the Day on the post Campus Protest Ethics Yin, Yang and Yecchh: Unethical Website Of The Month “The Demands,”Ethics Hero Dr. Everett Piper, And Ethics Dunces, The Occidental Faculty:

“incorporate into each department at least one queer studies class.”

What? That doesn’t even make sense, and I say this as a bisexual Hispanic man (and a bastard at that, so they can’t tell me to “check my privilege”). What does ‘queer studies’, a very specialized offshoot of sociology, have to do with any departments other than Sociology and the Humanities? Calculus don’t give two figs what your gender identity or sexual orientation is. Java and FORTRAN don’t change because you kissed a girl and you liked it. What does ‘queer studies’ have to offer Architectural Engineering except snickering at how phallic many buildings are?

“[Every Dartmouth student] must be taught and made aware that the land they reside on is Abenaki homeland” Continue reading


Filed under Comment of the Day, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics

Campus Protest Ethics Yin, Yang and Yecchh: Unethical Website Of The Month “The Demands,”Ethics Hero Dr. Everett Piper, And Ethics Dunces, The Occidental Faculty


It’s an interesting question: is a website that approvingly lists nothing but unethical and outrageous demands from student protesters in this current round of progressive campus thuggery itself unethical, or is calling it so a case of killing the messenger? The Demands is certainly a useful website, as it displays the full kaleidoscopic display of where indoctrination on campus and the elevation of victim-mongering as a successful political strategy (Go Redskins!) off campus has brought us. Since the site’s stated objective is to support these pro-apartheid, anti-speech, anti-education totalitarian tots, however, I think unethical is a fair description. Some may disagree.

The loony is powerful here. For example…

...Guilford College students demand that the college must prioritize recruitment and retention of undocumented students. Guilford also takes the prize for the most the most deranged “suggestion” among the lists, which is that  “every week a faculty member come forward and publicly admit their participation in racism inside the classroom via a letter to the editor in the Guilfordian.” 

…Every Dartmouth student “must be taught and made aware that the land they reside on is Abenaki homeland” especially at all major ceremonies, and  the school must “incorporate into each department at least one queer studies class.”

SMU students demand that all students considering initiation into a fraternity or sorority must be subjected to mandatory cultural intelligence and sensitivity training, a.k.a. brainwashing.

University of North Carolina student activists go full Orwell, demanding “mandatory programming [on] ways in which racial capitalism, settler colonialism, & cisheteropatriarchy structure our world.”  They also demand that“White professors must be discouraged from leading and teaching departments” studying colonized/enslaved people/societies,” and this gem: “We DEMAND that campus police participate in the University-wide political education….Policing as an institution must be abolished.”

Vanderbilt students want the university to eliminate its policy against “obstruction or disruption of teaching, administration, & University procedures & activities.”

There is so much more, if you have the stomach for it. Please, please make sure some debate moderator makes a list of the most outrageous demands and asks Bernie and Hillary what they think about them, as well as the campus culture and political cant that gestated this virus. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Leadership, Race, Rights, Unethical Websites

Ethics Quiz: Ann Rice O’Hanlon’s Fresco


In 1934, under the auspices of the New Deal’s Public Works of Art program, artist Ann Rice O’Hanlon painted a fresco (the largest ever painted by a woman up to that time) in the University of Kentucky’s Memorial Hall. It has become famous and is much admired by art historians, and thousands of Kentucky students have walked past it through the decades. The large, six section artwork depicts many events, industries, traditions and activities that were significant to the state, invented in Kentucky or by Kentuckians, as well as historical events. Among the scenes shown are black slaves picking tobacco and black musicians serenading whites.

Ann Rice O’Hanlon’s masterpiece became the target of choice at Kentucky as the University ‘s black students were seeking to emulate the power plays by their equivalents at the University of Missouri, Yale, Amherst, Harvard Law, Dartmouth and other institutions. The Kentucky students held a meeting with president Eli Capilouto and argued that the fresco was offensive, as it relegated black people to roles as slaves or servants, and did not portray the cruelty of slavery and the later Jim Crow culture that existed in the state.  Capilouto capitulated, agreeing to move the work to “a more appropriate location.” In the meantime, Kentucky will cover up the 45-by-8-foot fresco while adding a sign explaining why the mural is obscured.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:

Should a university remove works of art on campus because particular groups of students or individual members of such groups find the artwork upsetting, offensive, or a negative influence on their experience?

Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, History, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society

No, Washington Post, The Republican Party Has No Obligation To Condemn Donald Trump, But Nice Try Anyway.

"Hey Republicans! Step HERE! It's your DUTY!"

“Hey Republicans! Step HERE! It’s your DUTY!”

I’m sure the paper’s editors will get a holiday gift basket from the Democratic National Committee for their nakedly partisan trap.

Erupting with indignation over Trump’s recent “let’s make fun of the disabled reporter” performer and his subsequent lie that he wasn’t doing what video shows he did, the Washington Post editors concluded with a demand that Republicans condemn Trump, or else:

[I]t is time for Republican Party leaders to make clear that they do not approve of Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration. If they do not, their party will be seen as complicit in his hatefulness, and deservedly so.

There are two reasons this is partisan and hypocritical.

  • First, an official or coordinated Republican Party attack on Trump would violate the terms of Trump’s deal with the party that if he was treated fairly, Trump wouldn’t run as a third party candidate should he fail to get the GOP nomination. Since I have never heard of either party ever specifically reprimanding one of its own candidates for the nomination—I don’t think it’s happened—doing so would surely be regarded as “unfair” by Trump, and I’d agree with him. Of course, an independent Trump candidacy would guarantee the election of a Democrat. Fiendishly clever, Post!

The party could have and, I wrote here, should have scratched Trump from the nomination hunt and the debates early on, before it had given him a platform and he had become, for the nonce, a front-runner in the polls. His third party threat would have been more bluster than reality then, and without a national TV audience, Trump would have probably been content to file a lawsuit and throw a few tantrums. But it’s not called “the stupid party” for nothing. The GOP missed its window of escape. Turning on Trump now would undermine the party’s primary mission, not that the Post cares, and that is electing a Republican President. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media