There are some positions in some controversies that I really cannot manage to respect, because no matter how much I try to understand the points of view, they seem so obviously wrong and ethically indefensible. On “The View” yesterday, for example, alleged comedian Joy Behar, in discussing the character of Bill and Hillary Clinton, stated without joking that she would vote for a proven rapist for President, as long as he or she was a Democrat. This is the kind of position I’m talking about.
Yesterday, the Hall of Fame voting results were announced. Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. were elected to the Hall by the baseball writers, and equally welcome to this ethicist-baseball fan was the fact that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both unrepentant steroid cheats, were not elected, and their still paltry vote totals suggest that they may never be. Yet several baseball pundits, reporting on the voting results, preceded this aspect of the news with “Unfortunately.”
I don’t understand that attitude toward cheating at all. I have written about as much about Barry Bonds as any ethics topic on Ethics, and the case against him is air-tight, with the only defenses ever put forth being invalid rationalizations, easily rebutted. Nevertheless, otherwise intelligent people keep repeating them, hoping to outlast reason and reality by perseverance and repetition. (Sadly, this often works, as “77 cents on the dollar,” “Bush lied” and “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” tragically prove.) In the last 24 hours, I have heard Clemens and Bonds called “great players” so many times that my teeth have been ground down perceptibly. Cheaters are never great, as I explained in one of my favorite posts of 2015.
I was preparing to once again swat down the cultural poison being peddled by the Bonds and Clemens defenders when another of the issues that I believe has no respectable “other side” again raised its uglier than ugly head, so I changed course. That issue is illegal immigration, as in “immigration that occurs in direct violation of U.S. law, making it illegal.” Those who engage in illegal immigration are immigrants, and because their manner of immigration is illegal, they are illegal immigrants. Those who insist on calling them merely immigrants are lying; those who favor euphemisms like “undocumented workers” are engaging in intentional deceit. No, I have no respect for their rhetorical dishonesty–their smug and falsely sanctimonious rhetorical dishonesty—and it should not be tolerated by any U.S. citizen who wants transparent debate on a crucial national policy issue.
The ethics violator in the immediate case is serial offender Jorge Ramos, who uses his position as a broadcast journalist—unethically, since his duty is to report the news accurately, not to spout propaganda—to advocate unrestricted immigration by Hispanics and Latinos into the United States. It is a logically, historically, demographically, economically, politically and legally irresponsible, outrageous position, but he managed to exceed previously established depths in promoting it by writing, in a column for Fusion, that GOP candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are engaging in betrayal by “turning their backs on immigrants,” who, he says, just got here a little later than they did.
I could, with great pleasure, debunk Ramos’s despicable article line by line, but I have better uses for my time: the column is res ipsa loquitur, so ethically and rhetorically dishonest that anyone who can’t perceive its corrupt nature immediately is probably beyond rescue. The short version:
1. Ramos’s entire argument is predicated on confounding illegal immigration with legal immigration, which is a lie.
2. His other unethical premise is that Hispanic-Americans, especially elected Hispanic-American officials, do not owe their first duties of loyalty to their nation, its citizens and its constituents, but to lawbreakers from their country of heritage and their ethnic group. The American officials Ramos lists as role-models are in fact the traitors to their oaths of office, American interests, sovereignty and the rule of law; the Senators he accuses of betrayal are, on this issue at least, beyond ethical reproach.*
Ramos’s position is that the interests of citizens of other nations that he feels a closer bond to than to his own country should take precedence over the security, integrity, sovereignty and laws of the United States. We should not respect that position, and we should not respect anyone, especially any elected officials or candidates for elected office, who agree with him, pander to him, or accept his support.
* The position, intermittently adopted by Rubio and Cruz, that that the U.S. should not find some way to legitimize the illegal immigrants already here and imbedded in their communities is not clearly unethical, it is just spectacularly impractical, just like Donald Trump’s proposed deportation of 11 million souls. My position is that impossible policies are not ethical, but I acknowledge the reasoning of the opposing view.
15 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce And Unethical Column Of The Month: Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos”
I knew about “Yellow Dog Democrats,” presumably the result of Reconstruction, but this is the first I’ve heard of “Convicted Rapist Democrats.” Something bad must have happened on the Upper West Side of NYC. Nice work Joy. You go girl!
That is ethics corruption personified, and the attitude that fueled the bog city corruption from the 1880s to the fall of Mayor Daley. How can a network give a platform to someone like Behar?
The only answer I can posit is that the people at the network are equally corrupted.
And you’re the only person who will call her out on it and she’ll retain her feminist bona fides. Maybe Camille Paglia will call her on it. There’s that slim hope.
This Jorge Ramos guy should be in an Ethics Alarm Hall of Shame.
“His other unethical premise is that Hispanic-Americans, especially elected Hispanic-American officials, do not owe their first duties of loyalty to their nation, its citizens and its constituents, but to lawbreakers from their country of heritage and their ethnic group.” I wish that fit on a bumper sticker or inside the back window of a car. Jack Marshall sentence of the week nominee.
The responses to Ramos’ op-ed are interesting. The responders roundly reject Ramos’ belief that you are Latino first, US citizen second. That surprised me, considering that his letter was posted to Fusion’s website. Fusion Media Network, LLC promotes programs popular in the Latino/Hispanic markets and communities. The shows on Fusion a very pro-amnesty and tend toward the Leftist/Progressive agendas, from a mid-20s to mid-30s demographic. The news personalities are young, hip, and media savvy. Ramos has a show called, “America with Jorge Ramos”.
Ramos can be a very effective interviewer. He is calm, engaging, and personable. He is smart He can also be very hard-hitting. For instance, during an interview in Mexico, he asked former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gotari what part he played in the assassination of PRI presidential candidate Luís Donaldo Colosio at a campaign rally in Tijuana in 1994. confirming Mexican speculations that Salinas was deeply involved in the assassination. That was a bold move. I met Ramos shortly after that interview (at a book signing in Houston) and asked him about it. He was blunt about his beliefs but he was personable, and very friendly.
Ramos, though, is wrong on the amnesty issue. A country has a legal and moral obligation to enforce its laws, and it has an obligation to know who is within its borders. Ramos is under the belief that illegal aliens or undocumented workers or immigrants without status live in the shadows, cowering in fear of immediate violence. Apparently, he has not been to Lowes, Home Depot, or any other store selling construction equipment or materials. He certainly has not seen any construction workers or road crews. They do pretty stinkin’ well here and, for the most part, they are treated very well, which is why they are here. They can’t find work in their home countries, or their home countries are so thoroughly corrupt that they have no opportunities. Trump is wrong to suggest that 11 million people will be deported. They should be, but the costs associated with it and the optics of it would be absolutely horrifying. There should be a price to disobeying or breaking US immigration laws. For instance, if it is impracticable to deport 11 – 20 million people, then some status can be carved out for them with strict conditions: They must file and pay taxes for every year they are without getting the benefit deductions; they must not be convicted violent felons; their status is valid for 10 years, at which point they can apply for permanent resident status; they may not obtain citizenship through marriage to a US citizen and they can only become US citizens after they have been permanent residents for 10 years, and they must pay a fine for entering illegally.
Thanks John. Nice work. Particularly the info on Senor Ramos. Shadows, hah. I guess he’s never been to southwest Phoenix. I’m guessing the don’t teach the Gadsden Purchase in Mexican schools.
Hi, I’m new to this site, so please bear with me if my comment addresses a question that has been discussed thoroughly already. But I fail to understand how ‘illegal’ means the same as ‘unethical’ or ‘immoral’. I can imagine many morally valid reasons to break the law of a country, especially if you perceive that law as unjust or even unethical. If the only way to feed my children would be to illegally emigrate to whatever country, I’d do so and I see no moral problem with it. Same with so-called ‘illegal’ drugs (I happen to live in a country where drug use is not considered such a big deal, albeit the laws still say it’s forbidden).
Breaking the law has many (other) ethical aspects, I might endangers others, etcetera, but I have always been taught that legality and morality are essentially different categories. What is illegal may be morally right, and what is legal may be morally abject (I know you agree with the last part of this sentence).
Of course, the ultimate ‘proof’ of the first half of this thesis is in historical extremes: there were laws against homosexuality in most countries, there have been laws against Jews and other groups, laws against abortion have endangered women’s lives, etc. Rumour has it that in Iran, it’s even forbidden to smile outside. If that is true, is it immoral to smile in the streets?
A citizen is ethically obligated to follow a nation’s laws as part of the social contract with that country. If he violates a law on principle, he is ethically obligated to voluntarily accept the consequences. Just violating laws when it’s convenient or beneficial fails the Kantian test: if that were a universal standards, civilization would collapse. Yes, there is an ethical obligation to obey laws. Period.
Illegal aliens are violating the obligation to obey the laws of other countries, and worse, won’t accept the consequences. There is no ethical argument that supports this, just emotional ones.
Not to niggle, but saying breaking laws isn’t immoral is absurd, because morality is established by rules and laws. Breaking laws is by definition immoral.
Yes, in Iran, it’s immoral to smile in the street.
Sounds like the compliance dodge to me.
Sounds like it, but it isn’t. Compliance dodge covers unethical conduct that isn’t illegal. Not ethically neutral conduct that is illegal.
Hispanics like Ramos just can’t get over the fact that the U.S. won the Mexican-American War, a treaty was signed and ratified, and Mexico no longer has sovereignty over the sparsely populated states that were formally Spanish and then became part of Mexico. Deal with it Sr. Ramos! Mexicans that come to the U.S. are subject to U.S. law like it or not.
Yes, that’s one of my least favorite rationalizations to justify illegal immigrants—the Mexican War was theft of land by arm, so Mexico still should own it.
One can argue validity of a treaty signed with a gun to your head, of course, that pretty must calls into question the resolution to most wars and how far back would you like to go? The Asturias were frankish and the Navarrese were nominally so in the reconquista, the Moors they pushed out were Iberian either, the people they pushed out had been pushed in there by the Romans who displaced Carthage who displaced Celts… Messy. Untangling Canaan would be easier, east of the Jordan River belongs to Ammonites, east of the Dead Sea as far north as Gilead belongs to the Moabites, Gaza belongs to the Philistines, Israel and Judah belong to the Samaritans, popular history of my people aside they’re probably right about when and why the schism occurred.
The much easier solution is to note that with both Mexico and the US being signatories of the UN Charter which recognized territorial integrity that all claims not made at that time were forfeited.
Which I guess is a confusing way of saying that no one can claim right of conquest now but in joining the UN you give up your claims regarding past conquests except through the Special Committee on Decolonization. No parts of the American southwest are on the list of non self-governing territories. Territories gained int he Spanish-American war are a different story.
Funny how they do not take it to its logical conclusion of giving Mexico back to the indios.