In Defense Of Hillary, A Perfect #22

Not running....

Not running….

Rationalization #22, Comparative Virtue or “It’s not the worst thing,” is my personal candidate for the worst rationalization of them all. It is so objectively so devoid of common sense, and so desperate in its relativism, that I am amazed at how often allegedly intelligent people employ it. Ethics Alarms is always on the lookout for a perfect #22, and this summer has brought a bumper crop. Donald Trump, master of rationalizations, had one in June, just four days after Madeleine Albright scored one, saying about Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal,

“…nobody is going to die as a result of anything that happened on emails”

Albright also could well have been wrong about that, as we now know, and only moral luck prevented one of Hillary’s carelessly handled e-mails from falling into hands that might have engineered harm for a U.S. agent abroad. Clearly, however, partisans trying to minimize Clinton’s absolute incompetence, recklessness and dishonesty regarding her private server and its illicit use are drawn to Rationalization #22, because today’s example is also an unethical attempt to excuse Hillary’s conduct by putting it in “perspective”—and what a perspective!

First let’s again review the rationalization…

22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”

If “Everybody does it” is the Golden Rationalization, this is the bottom of the barrel. Yet amazingly, this excuse is popular in high places: witness the “Abu Ghraib was bad, but our soldiers would never cut off Nick Berg’s head” argument that was common during the height of the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal. It is true that for most ethical misconduct, there are indeed “worse things.” Lying to your boss in order to goof off at the golf course isn’t as bad as stealing a ham, and stealing a ham is nothing compared selling military secrets to North Korea. So what? We judge human conduct against ideals of good behavior that we aspire to, not by the bad behavior of others. One’s objective is to be the best human being that we can be, not to just avoid being the worst rotter anyone has ever met.

Behavior has to be assessed on its own terms, not according to some imaginary comparative scale. The fact that someone’s act is more or less ethical than yours has no effect on the ethical nature of your conduct. “There are worse things” is not an argument; it’s the desperate cry of someone who has run out of rationalizations.

(It is also the mark of someone corrupted by the Clintons. #22 got a workout, you may recall, when Bill Clinton’s lies, cover-up and obstruction of justice  regarding the intern he transformed into a Presidential sex toy got him impeached.)

Now here is the perfect #22, a headline on an editorial at MassLive, a Massachusetts news and politics website, Can it get better than this?

Clinton’s email shenanigans weren’t crime of the century

Lest you think that was a headline writers’ excess, virtually the same statement appears in the body of the editorial.

Hmmm...I know most of the candidates are for the crimes of the last century, though it’s a long list. Here was Time’s final cut:


Time missed the Leopold-Loeb case. I think I’d pick the Manson killings, but its a tough competition. You know, I don’t think Hillary’s e-mail misconduct would qualify as the Crime of the LAST Century, either. So I guess that means she’s really qualified to be President.

It’s only been 16 years in, so the list for the 21st Century is limited. If we stick to the United States and omit terrorism ( an act of war) I’d say that the Sandy Hook massacre is leading the bloody pack. Is Hillary a worse criminal than Adam Lanza? You’re right, MassLive. She’s not even close. I’d vote for her over Adam Lanza any day.

I like how the editorial uses the deliberately ambiguous word shenanigans, which has two meanings, one of which the Clinton Corrupted favor, and the other, which is accurate.  One meaning is “mischief.” The  other is “secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering.”

No, you got me there, MassLive: Hillary hasn’t committed the Crime of the Century.

Imagine: the United States has reached the point where that is an argument used by a media supporter of the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.



Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

16 responses to “In Defense Of Hillary, A Perfect #22

  1. “Clinton’s email shenanigans weren’t crime of the century”

    That is propaganda in its very “finest” form…

    …and the ignorant sheep will fall in line and be assimilated; after all, resistance to the Clinton political machine and the coming new wave is futile.

  2. joed68

    “There are worse things” is not an argument. In fact, she probably sees it as a challenge.

  3. Wayne

    Madeleine Albright is being deceptive at best. At least three undercover CIA operatives were referenced on Hillary’s private email server and one died in a suicide attack in Afghanistan. If Hillary was in the Navy, she’d be charged with dereliction of duty and subject to a court marshall.

    • joed68

      Shed be charged witl lots more than that under the UCMJ. Her and her flying monkeys would get stiff sentences and fines at Fort Leavenworth.

  4. Other Bill

    Do we know for a fact that no intelligence assets haven’t met an untimely end because of Imelda’s stupidity and cupidity? I just don’t think that’s a safe assumption.

  5. From the article:

    If she’d had a reasonable, rational opponent during the party primaries, we might well have supported him or her.

    They never heard of Martin O’Malley? Or Jim Webb?

  6. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Have you thought about taking a vacation until after the election? Believe me, I agree with everything you post about Clinton and Trump, but the decision’s already been made. You yourself declared for HRC, if only because she is marginally less bad than Trump, and you’re going to get your wish. I have to say I think it’s kind of unfair to declare for a candidate then criticize her, and it’s kind of hypocritical to vote for a candidate and then start right in slamming her the moment she’s in office.

    • joed68

      What difference, at this point, does it make? America is gone.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        It makes absolutely no difference. America is going to keep on going, but I do think increasingly it’s going to become a second banana to Russia and China. Single-payer healthcare is probably about four to six years down the road, I think, as Obamacare flops and politicians push for a more robust “public option” that will eventually become mandatory for all citizens. That in turn is going to unbalance the nation’s finances as more and more people utilize more and more healthcare at public expense. Eventually the other governmental sectors will start feeling the pinch, as voters decide that they’d rather that the military become unable to do its job or that the cities fall to crap than they have to start paying for their pills again. Eventually the major cities will become like those in Europe – a historical theme park – come see the great American Republic, open every day except Christmas, while those that have nothing to attract tourists and the small towns and rural areas become essentially one big slum, with young people coming out of school and going on the dole. There’ll be a bar on every block. A bar, a fast food joint, a payday loan place, and maybe one or two other seedy places that pay cash for gold or provide adult entertainment items. Meantime the tiptop politicos will be living it up sipping their overpriced wine and nibbling caviar while trading jokes about what an idiot Sarah Palin was and how Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. This is the future.

    • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

      Just because Hillary is a foregone conclusion to be POTUS doesn’t mean you can’t rail against it. Against the electorate’s lack of choice. Against the venality and (all right) evil and narcissism and corruptness of both candidates. I would prefer not to vote, but that always is a vote. And I know who I’ll vote for. I will not, however, keep quiet about it. I will rant and rave and point out the absurdity of the political machines (or lack thereof) that pushed these two candidates upon us. About the various problems I have with them. And about the dark future I see for this nation. It’s the only release. And the only thing to do. The more both Republications and Democrats know of the public’s dissatisfaction with them the less they can spin on about how wonderful their candidate is.

  7. “I’d vote for her over Adam Lanza any day.”

    I donno. One plus in the Adam Lanza camp is that he can’t sign into law any awful legislation.

  8. Al Veerhoff

    Gosh fellas, what a gloomy outlook. We’ve had dismal election choices in the past but the ship of state has righted itself and moved on. The checks and balances are still there in the Constitution; the possibility of a government truly in crisis is very small. Let’s all raise a glass to the Framers!

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