Tag Archives: First Amendment

On Immigration, Speech Suppression, War, Terrorism, Police and More, It’s Cultural Death By Compassion Poisoning

Think of the children!Compassion is a wonderful thing. A nation cannot govern or even survive, however, using compassion as its guiding ethical principle. The United States currently seems hell bent on disproving this fact, and is well on the way to confirming it. It is too bad that this is true, and we should all agree that it’s  a damn shame that you can’t run a successful democracy without periodically inflicting pain, creating suffering and harming some human beings in order that many more can live in peace and pursue their lawful ambitions and desires. Nonetheless, that is an immutable fact of existence. Government policy that attempts to deny it is not merely incompetent and naive, but ultimately suicidal. A culture that elevates compassion above all other values like responsibility, accountability, prudence, process and proportion is betting everything on the inherent goodness and rationality of humanity. History tells us it’s a losing bet.

When I woke up to the horrible news of the Paris attacks, and after I had finished simultaneous laughing and crying about the fact that President Obama picked yesterday to proclaim that the threat of ISIS had been “contained,” it suddenly occurred to me that the majority of the crises this nation struggles with today are  linked by the same cultural and leadership malady. The United States increasingly is unwilling to accept the reality that governance is utilitarian, and that punishment, deterrence, sacrifice, pain, retaliation and accountability are indispensable tools that must be used and used unapologetically. The alternative is chaos, and chaos is what we are facing.

An impressive number of these crises have been in the news this week: Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, Rights, War and the Military

The Mizzou Meltdown: Unethical Quote, Perfect Answer

Anyone who believes this doesn't understand the concept of "free speech." Fortunately, one of the purposes of a liberal arts education is to teach students what...oh. Right.

Anyone who believes this doesn’t understand the concept of “free speech.” Fortunately, one of the purposes of a liberal arts education is to teach students what…oh. Right.

There is no way, I have suggested, that the actions and rhetoric from the protesters at the University at Missouri clamoring for “safety” and an end to incidents of upsetting speech have any place to go except campus censorship by force. To the extent that the African- American students’ conduct has wider aspirations that extend beyond the campus to U.S. society, they threaten free speech, communication and thought in our society as well. Of course, it must have these aspirations: college is supposed to prepare one for the real world, not to render you more vulnerable to its challenges.

Since the defining character of progressive rhetoric in 2015 is double-talk and ambiguity (for example, “immigration reform,” which really means “no illegal immigration enforcement,” or “mass incarceration,” which means “blaming criminal activity on laws and law enforcement rather than too many people choosing to break laws”), it has been hard to get an explicit statement out of sympathizers that confirm my conclusion. Their intent has been clear, as in the episodes where journalists have been muscled away from “safe” places. Others have interpreted the students’ complaints and demands to require censorship by threat of sanctions, as shown by the Mizzou police e-mail telling students to report “hateful or hurtful speech or actions” and their perpetrators, laying the foundation for an elite, racially-based group of campus inquisitors who have the power to define the hate and haters and send them to a metaphorical stake. The students’ words, however, have remained oblique.

Fortunately, here comes Mizzou student body VP Brenda Smith-Lezama to clarify. She was talking to MSNBC about the declared “safe spaces”—which means, for those who need another translation, this means “places on campus where the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply”—and spat out this:

“I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here. I think that it’s important for us to create that distinction and create a space where we can all learn from one another and start to create a place of healing rather than a place where we are experiencing a lot of hate like we have in the past.”

Fortunately, Brookings Institute (That’s the liberal one, remember) Senior Fellow Jonathan Rauch, and the author of “Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought”,  had just offered the rebuttal to Smith-Lezama confused view of education in an op-ed the day before. He wrote in part… Continue reading


Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Leadership, Marketing and Advertising, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

Bulletin To African-American Activists, Progressives And The University of Missouri : Racial Biases, Slurs, Insults and “Microaggressions” Are Immutable Facts Of Life, And Nobody Can Make You “Safe” From Them In A Free Country

It is clear now, as I initially expected, that what the black student tantrum that brought down the leadership at the University of Missouri wanted is encapsulated by the first gesture by the school’s new puppet regime. This:

Police email

Ah, what a wonderful wonderful world it would be, the race-grievance mob believes, if we could arrest and punish anyone who doesn’t like us, looks at us with a stink-eye, sneers at us or calls us ugly names!  That would make them love their neighbors! The entire Missouri fiasco was nothing but a Kafka-esque satire on this dream. It is one that is constantly fertilized by social justice warriors who increasingly favor totalitarian methods, and who maintain that “hate speech” is immune from the the First Amendment.

The new tactic, apparently, as I read the head-exploding memo above, is to leap right past “hate speech” to banning “mean speech” and “not very nice speech.” Rather than teaching their delicate and misguided students to learn what fat kids, ugly kids, flat-chested girls, 90 pound weakling guys, people with stutters or birth defects,  people who are weak, or not very smart or obnoxious or poor,  people who look different or wear strange clothes or have accents or smell different or who have handicaps or Asperger’s, or infamous parents, or old (my mother complained constantly about the “microagressions” she got from young people)… or, from the other side, those who too smart or too sexy or too articulate or too rich… have to learn in order to become self-sufficient, confident and not to be at the mercy of bullies, assholes and fools all their lives, the University of Missouri (and Yale, and many institutions to come if we can’t successfully humiliate those schools into rationality) are joining with the growing authoritarian wing of the progressive movement to advocate the suppression of free thought and expression. They think this will end racism. They think it is possible to make human beings “safe” from cruel and unjust social interactions.

Not in a free country, it’s not. Continue reading


Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethics Hero: 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals


It’s a small victory to be sure, but those of us who want to protect free speech must take our hope from whatever sources we can.

In the case of Dana’s Railroad Supply v. Florida, the shrap-eyed Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  struck down a Florida law barring merchants from imposing a surcharge on customers for credit card use.

The law allowed merchants to give discounts for cash, but would not permit surcharges for using credit cards. “Ah HA!” realized the court, This violates the First Amendment, because it penalizes businesses that want to call price differences based on credit card use a surcharge rather than a cash discount, and they are the exact same thing. “You can penalize credit card users,” the dumb law said, “but you have to call it what we tell you to call it.”

“Tautologically speaking,” the opinion said, “surcharges and discounts are nothing more than two sides of the same coin; a surcharge is simply a ‘negative’ discount, and a discount is a ‘negative’ surcharge. As a result, a merchant who offers the same product at two prices—a lower price for customers paying cash and a higher price for those using credit cards—is allowed to offer a discount for cash while a simple slip of the tongue calling the same price difference a surcharge runs the risk of being fined and imprisoned.”

“The First Amendment prevents staking citizens’ liberty on such distinctions in search of a difference.”

Love it.


Pointer and Facts: ABA Journal.


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

Ethics Quiz: The Anti-Washington Redskins Activist’s Bob Marley Costume

The Native American in the middle is dressed as a famous Jamaican. Would it have been offensive if he dressed as Sitting Bull?

The Native American in the middle is dressed as a famous Jamaican. Would it have been offensive if he dressed as Sitting Bull?

Terry Rambler, chief of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona, has  been at the forefront of the effort to force The Washington Redskins, a privately owned NFL sports franchise, to change its name and logo of long-standing because both are allegedly racist. [ As I have made clear many times, the team’s name is not racist, as neither its origins nor current use suggest or imply racist intent, purpose or impact, and the team’s owner has a First Amendment right to call his team whatever he wants. The decades long political correctness stunt has gained more traction under the Obama administration, because the Obama Administration and Senate Democrats do not respect the Constitution or follow it when it gets in the way of its agenda. (See: drones, Obamacare, immigration, NSA domestic spying, harassment of reporters, IRS partisan activities, recess appointments, Libya bombing, selective prosecution,  putting government pressure on the Redskins to change its name, etc )

But I digress.

This year, Rambler’s Halloween costume was Jamaican musician Bob Marley, complete with dreadlocks, wig, and rasta beanie. He also wore appropriate make-up to look like Marley.

Here is what the chief looks like most days:


Here he is on Halloween as the Reggae icon…

Halloween Marley

The costume is making  Rambler the target of criticism from both sides of the controversy: Redskins defenders who view his make-up as “blackface” and thus hypocritical, and his own Team Political Correctness, which sees Rambler as engaging in the same kind of insensitive conduct they claim the Washington Redskins embody.

To make things worse for Rambler, there was another recent Bob Marley controversy in  Gaston County, (North Carolina), where a sheriff’s captain  apologized  for wearing dark make-up as part of her own Marley Halloween costume after her in-costume photo appeared online.

And thus your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Was the Native American activist’s Bob Marley make-up unethical or hypocritical?

Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Race, Rights

From The Ethics Alarms Double Standard Files: So Apparently A Black Professor Can Be As Racist As She Wants Without Consequences, Correct?

Don't racist professors teach students racism? Just curious...

Don’t racist professors teach students racism? Just curious…

Unqualified GOP Presidential hopeful Ben Carson made one of his most reasonable statements when he defended the right of NASCAR fans to fly Confederate flags during races. Well of course he did, since this is the United States and we have a First Amendment. Except to the most ignorant members of the censorious left, this is literally a no-brainer: even brainless Americans should know better than to argue that flying any flag on private property should be prevented by law.

Ah, but special dispensation is due to racist African American progressive bullies. Thus is is that University of Pennsylvania religious studies professor Anthea Butler, wrote “If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award …” when responding to a Daily Beast editor’s  tweet containing a link to a Sports Illustrated article on the issue.

Nice. This is per se denigrating Carson based on race, an ad hominem attack and beyond ugly and irresponsible. Sure, Butler has the same right to say what she wants as anyone, except when it reflects on her employer and suggests, as this tweet does, that she cannot be trusted to teach. Is any African American student who dares to question her political correctness orthodoxy risking being called a “coon” by this woman? I’d say so. She is validating racist rhetoric and modelling intimidation for her students and more importantly, the University of Pennsylvania’s students. Is it competent and responsible to employ such a woman? No. Is this within the acceptable range of “academic freedom”? Denigration on the basis of color? I want to hear a university spokesperson admit that, and then to stand up for the first white student who calls the professor a “coon.” Continue reading


Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Professions, Race, Rights, Social Media, Unethical Tweet

Further Notes On “Stuff Happens,” “DO SOMETHING!!!” And The Dishonest, Hysterical And/Or Delusional Anti-Gun “Position”

1) In the clip above, the National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke asks MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin and “Morning Joe” house progressive Mika Brzezinski to explain what kind of measures would satisfy the hysterical calls of a Morning Joe panel to “DO SOMETHING!!!” about gun violence. Cooke referenced the President’s angry (irresponsible, partisan, useless) attack on Congress’s failure almost immediately after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, and accused ant-gun forces of acting as if they had solutions to gun violence (that don’t involve trashing the Bill of Rights) when they don’t. [I pointed out in yesterday’s post that they don’t because there aren’t any.] He said to Halperin:

“Joe Biden doesn’t know how to fix this problem. I don’t know how to fix this problem. I think it’s fair to say you don’t know how to fix this problem. It’s a very complex question in a country with 300 to 350 million guns on the street. The way they talk is as if they have the answer and there are these recalcitrant forces in the country that say ‘no, no, no,’ even though deep down they know their legislation will work. That’s simply not the case. It’s far more complicated than that.”

As you will see, Halperin had no actual proposals, ducking the issue by saying that he’s “not an expert in the field.” But he said that he wanted leaders to “have a thirst and hunger and passion to try to come up with solutions.”

I will accept this as a legitimate argument as soon as I hear any plausible solution that does not involve banning guns, making it excessively difficult for law abiding citizens from arming themselves, or engaging in pre-crime measures against citizens who have had episodes of mental illness or who are suspected of having such episodes. The proposals I have heard are incremental and will not accomplish the goal, ergo more obtrusive measures will be proposed and pushed by identical arguments and hysteria, until…we end up banning guns, making it excessively difficult for law abiding citizens from arming themselves, or engaging in pre-crime measures against citizens who have had episodes of mental illness or who are suspected of having such episodes.

Either anti-gun “DO SOMETHING!” advocates like the President, Mika and Halperin know this, intend it and are not being honest about it, or they are naive.

2) Jeb Bush responsibly addressed the impulse to stampede support for ill-considered solutions in the wake of tragedy…

The text:

“Yeah it’s a — we’re in a difficult time in our country, and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s just, it’s very sad to see. But I resist the notion, I had this challenge as governor, because, look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

You will note that Bush did not shrug off the Oregon shooting by saying “stuff happens.” Nonetheless, the completely principle-free Debbie Wasserman Schultz mischaracterized what Bush said with a fatuous tweet:

“A message for Jeb Bush: 380 Americans have been killed in 294 mass shootings in 2015 alone. “Stuff” doesn’t just “happen.” Inaction happens.”

Inaction regarding what, you shameless hack? What action are you proposing that would actually prevent a shooting like this week’s? Or the Norfolk shooting of the TV reporter? Bush is absolutely correct: bad stuff happens, and that does not mean that the government can or should rush to “DO SOMETHING!” Continue reading


Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership