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.