Category Archives: Ethics Quotes

Ethical Quote Of The Week: Andrew Sullivan

You are dead to me, Firefox. Tell your mama.

You are dead to me, Firefox. Tell your mama.

“Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us”

—-Blogging pioneer and gay rights advocate Andrew Sullivan, writing yesterday about Mozilla’s craven capitulation to gay rights bullies who demanded the removal of new CEO Brendan Eich “who had the gall to express his First Amendment rights and favor Prop 8 in California by donating $1,000.”

Corporations, as the Duck Dynasty flap depressingly illustrated, tend to be spineless, irresolute and principle-free. This instance of that tendency, however, is more alarming and harmful than most. Capitulating to arrogant, self-righteous, power-hungry forces on the left or right only makes them more voracious: we will know who to thank first when boycotts abound demanding that anyone who questioned Al Gore’s climate change hysteria be sacked.

Thank you, Mozilla.

Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, The Internet, U.S. Society, Workplace

Unethical Quote of the Month: OkCupid

Not OK...

Not OK…

“Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience. Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid. Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.”

-—Dating website OkCupid, calling for a boycott of Mozilla, including Firefox, its webserving software, because of the past political/social/religious views of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich

Full disclosure: 1) I use Firefox. 2) I detest boycotts,and 3) I am biased against them by nature, because they are almost always coercive, extortive, and unfair.

This statement, however, has more wrong with it than just its advocacy of a boycott.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Love, Religion and Philosophy, Romance and Relationships, The Internet, U.S. Society

Ethics Observations On A Journalism Scandal

washington-post-logo

Shame.

Executive Summary: Washington Post reporters Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin wrote a story for the website’s Wonkblog headlined, “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.” The story was essentially false. It was based on easily disproved data from a progressive activist organization. Eilperin has close ties to both the environmental advocates opposing the Keystone pipeline, and desperately trying to turn public opinion against it. She also has tied to the White House. John Hinderaker, on Powerline, his respected conservative politics blog, exposed the Post story as a blatant misinformation with a likely political motive. The reporters responded with a jaw-dropping rationalization, and are currently being excoriated by the Post’s readers online.

The Facts: The Post article by Mufson and Eilperin begins: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Professions, Unethical Blog Post, Workplace

Ethics Quote of the Day: Composer Mitch Leigh, 1928-2014

DQWindmill

“I think if you see that no one is going to laugh at you for it, I think the concept of living nicely will be infectious. I believe there is room for the absence of cynicism. This is my final dream before I take the last cab.”

Mitch Leigh, Broadway composer best knows for the music of “Man of La Mancha”-–and “The Impossible Dream,” of course,  in an interview with the New York Times last year, quoted by the Washington Post in the obituary today for Leigh, who finally caught that cab.

The context of the quote was Leigh’s ad for a residential community he tried to launch on land he had bought in New Jersey. His ads seeking businesses and suburbanites requested that only nice people move in.

Leigh didn’t write the famous lyrics of “The Impossible Dream”—-Joe Darion did. He was clearly influenced by the song, however, beyond the fact that it made him rich. Maybe a society with less cynicism where people put a premium on being nice is an impossible dream; certainly the United States has been treavelling in the opposite direction. As an “unreachable star” to reach for, however, it’s not a bad one at all. In the Sixties, people were inspired by “The Impossible Dream.” Now pretty much everyone snickers at them.

You can’t convince me that’s progress.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Quotes, Etiquette and manners, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Ethical Quote Of The Week: Equality Kansas

“If the reports of Fred Phelps’ declining health are accurate, then his family and friends are certainly saying their good-byes and preparing to mourn his loss. We ask that everyone understand the solemnity of the occasion, and honor the right of his family and friends to remember and mourn his loss in private without interruption or unseemly celebration.”

-– Sandra Meade, chairwoman of Equality Kansas, quoted in the group’s press release regarding the reported imminent death of Fred Phelps, whose Westboro Baptist Church specialized in harassing the private funerals of military veterans while hurling any gay slurs.

Protest At Ground ZeroExactly. Seldom has the temptation to yield to tit-for-tat tactics been more powerful. Seldom has the ethical duty to reject that temptation been more clear. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Quotes, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex

Ethics Quote of the Day: Ken White at Popehat

File photo of U.S. Director of Exempt Organizations for the IRS Lerner being sworn in to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington

“Pardon me: if you accept the proposition that the government targets organizations for IRS scrutiny because of their political views, and you still say things like ‘why take the Fifth if you have nothing to hide’, then you’re either an idiot or a dishonest partisan hack.”

—-Attorney-blogger Ken White, discussing former IRS official Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in front of Rep. Daryl Issa’s House Government Oversight Committee

Good point.

Elaborating on the point before this statement, Ken points out why this is so:

“You take the Fifth because the government can’t be trusted. You take the Fifth because what the truth is, and what the government thinks the truth is, are two very different things. You take the Fifth because even if you didn’t do anything wrong your statements can be used as building blocks in dishonest, or malicious, or politically motivated prosecutions against you. You take the Fifth because if you answer questions truthfully the government may still decide you are lying and prosecute you for lying.”

Got it. Or, you take the Fifth because you really did engage in illegal activity in a coordinated effort to obstruct legal political action for partisan motives, on orders from someone with close ties to the White House, which still may be the case.

In the same post, Ken explains that Lerner may have waived her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, or may not. If she has, then she is in contempt of Congress. If she hasn’t, she isn’t.

My observations on this slow-motion ethics train wreck: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

Jumbo* of The Month: Hillary Clinton

Charging Elephant

“The claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into Eastern Ukraine because they had protect the Russia minorities—that is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland, in Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere throughout Europe. So I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective. I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.”

—-Hillary Clinton on the Crimea crisis, showing that she has learned deceit and dishonesty at Bill’s knee, or, perhaps, was really the teacher all along.

‘I’m not making a comparison: I’m just comparing them. I’m not saying Putin is like Hitler, I’m just saying he’s acting like Hitler. I’m not making a comparison; I just want to evoke the specter of Hitler’s expansion over Europe while everyone looked the other way without being accused of doing so.’

And adding “certainly” makes it all undeniable.

Some observations, in the throes of disgust: Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Jumbo, Leadership, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Matthew McConaughey

Matthew-McConaughey

It happens but rarely: an Oscar acceptance speech with something of substance to communicate, other than a list of thank-yous. Yet last night was one of those rare occasions, as actor Matthew McConaughey used his well-deserved award for Best Actor to express his views on how to lead an ethical life:

Here is the text of his speech—much thanks to reader Phil Kraemer, who located it:

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to the Academy for this—all 6,000 members. Thank you to the other nominees. All these performances were impeccable in my opinion. I didn’t see a false note anywhere. I want to thank Jean-Marc Vallée, our director. Want to thank Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, who I worked with daily.

There’s a few things, about three things to my account that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase. Now, first off, I want to thank God. ‘Cause that’s who I look up to. He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, who said, “When you’ve got God, you got a friend. And that friend is you.”

To my family, that who and what I look forward to. To my father who, I know he’s up there right now with a big pot of gumbo. He’s got a lemon meringue pie over there. He’s probably in his underwear. And he’s got a cold can of Miller Lite and he’s dancing right now. To you, Dad, you taught me what it means to be a man. To my mother who’s here tonight, who taught me and my two older brothers… demanded that we respect ourselves. And what we in turn learned was that we were then better able to respect others. Thank you for that, Mama. To my wife, Camila, and my kids Levi, Vida and Mr. Stone, the courage and significance you give me every day I go out the door is unparalleled. You are the four people in my life that I want to make the most proud of me. Thank you.

And to my hero. That’s who I chase. Now when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say “who’s your hero?” And I said, “I don’t know, I gotta think about that. Give me a couple of weeks.” I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says “who’s your hero?” I said, “I thought about it. You know who it is? It’s me in 10 years.” So I turned 25. Ten years later, that same person comes to me and says, “So, are you a hero?” And I was like, “not even close. No, no, no.” She said, “Why?” I said, “Because my hero’s me at 35.” So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.

So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasing, to that I say, “Amen.” To that I say, “Alright, alright, alright.” To that I say “just keep living.” Thank you.

You have to wonder about the various tweeters and pundits who objected to McConaughey’s candor about his inner compass as “bizarre” (Time) or egomaniacal (several). Yes, by nature and necessity actors are unusually self-absorbed; the latter complaint is akin to faulting a dog show winner as inarticulate. What was admirable and inspiring about  McConaughey’s speech was his exuberant explanation of how his personal hero is always who he will be in the next ten years.

I doubt that this is an original formula, but I have never heard it before, and it is the essence of ethics: we strive to keep learning, getting better, and aspiring to be the best people we can be, or life is pointless. Ironically, this was also the lesson of “Groundhog Day,” the comedy masterpiece of the late writer-director Harold Ramis, whose name and career were evoked more than one during the Academy Awards broadcast. Having other people as heroes doesn’t accomplish much, unless we aspire to and learn from their values and conduct, and eventually  capable of similar heroism ourselves.

As for all those who are criticizing the actor for his religious sentiments: back off. Religion has played a major role in minting some good and remarkable human beings, and McConaughey seems to be one of them. If he chooses to thank God in his moment of exhilaration and triumph, that should be beyond reproach.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Quotes, Family, Professions, Religion and Philosophy

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Charles Krauthammer

“I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists. “The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge.”

—Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, in a column titled “The myth of ‘settled science’”

"90% of the 95% majority of climate scientists think it's pretty likely that their models will prove to be sort of correct. See? Certainty!"

“90% of the 95% majority of climate scientists think it’s pretty likely that their models will prove to be sort of correct. See? Certainty!”

With one unfortunate exception, Charles Krauthammer’s recent op-ed about the absurd and discrediting certainty about future global warming and its cause is so logical, fair and reasonable that one has to wonder why no non-conservative has had the integrity to write a similar piece. He was moved, I assume, by the recent flurry of obnoxious assertions from the Obama administration and its allies in the media, most notably Secretary of State John Kerry, who said,

“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts. Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits. The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”

John Kerry’s powers of critical analysis have been demonstrably weak in his supposed areas of expertise, such as foreign relations (See: Syria), and I will accept bets as to whether he could make any sense out of a climate change projection model graph, or even be sure whether he was holding it upside down or not. John Kerry doesn’t understand climate change science, and hasn’t a clue whether it is “unequivocal,” proven by the fact that he would say such a nonsensical thing. The same can be said about President Obama. Krauthammer again:

“Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, ‘the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”

But this is the pattern: science ignoramuses accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with their politically motivated “scientific” opinions of being a science ignoramus. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Environment, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Science & Technology

Unethical Quote Of The Week: President Barack Obama

mars3

“The government should know that if it crosses the line, there will be consequences.”

President Obama, in Mexico, in the course of  extemporaneous remarks condemning the Ukrianian government’s harsh and violent response to protesters.

Oh, god.

I am embarrassed; our country is embarrassed; I hope you’re embarrassed—why isn’t the President embarrassed to use this rhetoric, which has been proven again and again to be absolutely meaningless when it issues from his lips? This sham is worse than “the check is in the mail” or “I’ll still love you in the morning,” as Syrian casualties rise and the United States’ credibility as a nation that really gives a damn about anything but its own entitlements has crumbled into dust. Remember the Syrian “red line”? Here are two recent columns from the right and the left on how well Obama’s empty threats of “consequences” have worked in Syria, but nobody needs persuading at this point, do they? President Obama is willing to give insincere lip service to the tradition of the United States still being the champion of democracy and the foe of oppression, but people under attack from their own governments can’t defend themselves with his lips. In Afghanistan, in Iran, in Egypt, in Syria, President Obama has made it abundantly clear that he is under the mistaken impression that Teddy Roosevelt said “Speak incessantly but never actually do what your words imply you’re going to do.”

That’s not exactly what Roosevelt said. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Leadership, War and the Military