Tag Archives: Catch-22

Unethical Meme Of The Week: Democratic Underground

Meme

I know I could batter internet memes all day, but this one, by the Democratic Underground, particularly annoys me, as has the “chicken hawk” canard that knee-jerk anti-war activists have been wielding for decades.

To begin with, it’s an ad hominem argument, and thus unethical on its face. The question is whether a military option is the best and most responsible solution to an international problem, not who is asserting that it is. It is also an incompetent argument, as in stupid. There  is nothing about typical military experience that conveys expertise in foreign affairs or international politics. Military service, as in training, marching, being deployed and shooting a gun, and military action, as a strategic tool of diplomacy and international politics, are two different things. Lincoln was a superb Commander in Chief, but he didn’t gain that ability from his brief combat experience fighting Black Hawk Indians.

In fact, what is  the statement above supposed to imply? No Commander in Chief has had to risk personal combat if he chose war. Because there has been no draft since the the Nineties, the only way a political leader would ever have military experience would be if he chose a military career, which would mean that the meme suggests that a military career is a prerequisite for national leadership. But Democrats don’t believe that; nobody believes that. In fact, Democrats are wary and suspicious of the military, which they believe, with some justification,  is biased toward military involvement. They don’t even especially respect military service: look at how James Webb was treated in his brief presidential run. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Facebook, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, War and the Military

Ethics Heroes: Five Democratic Economists

Senator Warren, who is always right.

Senator Warren, who is always right.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass)  was annoyed that Robert Litan, a nonresident and unpaid economics fellow at the reliably liberal Washington think tank, the Brookings Institute, dared to author a study critical of financial advisor regulations being pushed by Warren and the White House. Thus she sent a letter to Brookings last week, challenging the independence of the study and the integrity of Litan, since the study was, as Litan states up front, “supported by the Capital Group, one of the largest mutual fund asset managers in the United States.”

Warren called the report “highly compensated and editorially compromised work on behalf of an industry player seeking a specific conclusion.”

You know, unlike the various donors to Warren’s political war chest, who are not trying to buy specific policies and votes from her.

Literally hours after receiving the letter, Brookings, knowing which side of the bread its butter was on, dutifully forced Litan to resign.

The issue isn’t whether the policy Warren wants is a good one or not; personally, I tend to agree with Warren on the need for the regulation, which would make 401(k) and 403(b) advisors as well as other compensation-related retirement plan advisors be subject to fiduciary duties. the issue is Warren’s embrace of the increasingly popular tactic from the Left of dealing with adversaries by silencing them. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, Research and Scholarship

Robert Griffin III, Wally Pipp, and the Catch-22 of Lies

Dan Wetzel would have loved Wally Pipp

Dan Wetzel would have loved Wally Pipp

If you want to see the stark difference between the culture of baseball and the culture of football. look no further than Washington, D.C., where the city’s sports fans are in mourning for the second time in barely three months’ time. The surging Redskins just met play-off elimination, because their young star quarterback was injured but allowed to stay in the game. Back in October, the city’s new sports darlings, baseball’s Nationals, were eliminated in their first play-off round, in part, fans believe, because the team wouldn’t let its completely healthy young star pitcher play for fear that he would get injured.

This week everyone from my local sandwich shop proprietor to the driver of the cab I just got out of is furious  at Redskins coach Mike Shanahan for allowing the obviously hobbled Robert Griffin III to stay in the doomed game against the Seattle Seahawks when there was a competent back-up on the bench. And some, like Yahoo! sportswriter Dan Wetzel, are blaming Griffin, for “lying”:

“Robert Griffin III couldn’t do much of anything Sunday except lie, which is what he’s been trained to do in situations like this.
Lie to himself that he can still deliver like no backup could. Lie to his coach that this was nothing big. Lie to the doctors who tried to assess him in the swirl of a playoff sideline. So Robert Griffin III lied, which is to be excused because this is a sport that rewards toughness in the face of common sense, a culture that celebrates the warrior who is willing to leave everything on the field, a business that believes such lies are part of the road to greatness.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, History, Leadership, Sports

The Media’s Despicable Catch-22 Against Herman Cain

Mr. Cain...meet Capt. Yossarian. He'll expain everything.

I have to rub my eyes, slap my forehead, and keep reminding myself that astounding as it seems, many of the same journalists I hear calling the detail-free and meaningless sexual harassment rumors about Herman Cain “devastating” never considered the sexual harassment issue worth discussing during President Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky crisis, and ignored Juanita Broderick’s credible claims that Clinton sexually assaulted her when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Times have changed, have they? How convenient.

CNN’s Gloria Borger, whose sneering daily coverage of all Republican presidential candidates on has to be seen to be believed, asked the Perry campaign operative Cain has accused of leaking the story to Politico what it would mean for Cain’s candidacy “if the sexual harassment charges are true.” That question is incompetent, dishonest and reckless journalism, because there are no “sexual harassment charges,” and there is no possible way that they can be proven “true.” Borger’s phrasing of her question implies that there is a standing accusation of wrongdoing, and there is not; it also suggests that there is a fair process available to determine truth, when there is not. Thus she exploits the public’s ignorance about sexual harassment (which she quite possibly shares) to impugn Cain without a molecule, atom, or photon of evidence. Nothing. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Literature, U.S. Society, Workplace

The Ethics of Stopping the Condemned From Accepting Death

In Oregon, a judge has granted death row inmate Gary Haugen’s motion to dismiss his lawyers after they persisted in taking measures to block his execution. They had declared he was not mentally competent to waive his appeals and allow his own state-decreed death to proceed.

Leave it to lawyers to be convinced that they know what’s best, even when it involves someone else’s wishes about his own life and death.

Is the condemend prisoner who approves of his own excecution insane, or courageous?

In an attorney-client relationship, the lawyer is ethically bound to do what the client wants as long as it is legal and within the bounds of the ethical constraints on the lawyer. A lawyer can render advice and should; a lawyer can explain the legal consequences of a course of action. But substituting the attorney’s judgment for that of the client is taboo…except, all too often, in cases like this one, in which a death row inmate decides that letting justice take its course and accepting the state’s death decree is preferable to rotting in prison.  Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Why We No Longer Trust Our Government, Reason #759: North Carolina’s Unethical Tax Stall

Every time Gallup  does a poll to find out who the public thinks is ethical and unethical, one result always comes out the same. Over 95% of those polled will say that most ethical person they know is…themselves. I used to make fun of this result in my seminars as a classic example of self-delusion. The used-car dealer really thinks he is the most ethical person he knows? Tom Delay and Charlie Rangel really think that they are the most ethical people they know? I don’t believe it.

But I recently had an epiphany. People don’t really think they are the most ethical. What we do think is that each of us is the one person  that we most trust. Not our spouses, not our parents, not our employers, not our elected officials…no matter how virtuous they may be, the person whom we know, with absolute certainty, won’t betray us  is our self. That is an especially American attitude, embodying self-reliance, autonomy, and independence, and I was wrong not to misread it. Those who deride us for not trusting the government to solve our problems are wrong not to recognize it too, particularly when the attitude is being reinforced by stories like this one, from North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue is reviewing  230,000 unresolved tax returns going back to 1994, including cases in which taxpayers overpaid and are owed money by the state. The state, however, has rigged the rules to make it less likely that the refunds are ever made. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement