Ethics Quiz: Is This Question Easy?

No, not THAT one.


News Item:

“Illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border has continued to fall under President Trump, dropping 67 percent through the end of March, the former border commissioner told Congress on Tuesday. That’s even bigger than the drop reported for February, when the number of illegal immigrants caught — a yardstick for the overall flow — dropped by 40 percent.

“It’s actually up to 67 percent drop compared to last year,” David V. Aguilar, a former chief of the Border Patrol and former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.”

Your  Ethics Alarms This-Should-Be-EasyBut-I’m-Dying-To-Hear-The-Reasoning-Of-Those-Who-Don’t-Think-So Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is there any ethical response to this other than “GOOD!”?

55 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Is This Question Easy?

  1. Kind of reminds me of the stories a few weeks ago (that were all the rage) showing well dressed, prosperous looking people who had likely over-stayed their visitors’ visas sneaking into Canada so they could claim asylum there. I thought, “This is supposed to be a bad thing? I’m supposed to feel bad about this and, what, make sure these people continue to remain illegally in the U.S. rather than leave the country?

  2. I would say the only time you would say it wasn’t good is if it meant that enforcement had actually dropped hence the drop in apprehensions which they say is the yardstick they use.

  3. The question posed was, “Is there any ethical response to this other than “GOOD!”?”

    The answer is no.

    I just mentioned this to small group and we had a brief conversation about it. I was told “If you are using the number of illegal immigrants caught as a yardstick for the overall flow across the border; then, if you completely stop trying to catch the people illegally crossing the border there would there will be zero caught, so using that yardstick, it would mean there is a 100% drop in persons trying to cross the border, imagine a 100% reduction, wouldn’t that be great?”

    Then there was a brief moment of pause and then lots and lots of laughter, and someone blurted out “Now your thinking all twisted like a Progressive”; the laughter subsided kinda quickly after that statement because that’s actually kind of a true and sad comparison.

  4. If you would like to report illegal aliens, please call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (347-2423). They will need to know names, locations (either work place or residence) and any other specific information you can provide. Visit for more information.

      • How about you bother to respond as though he answered yes and then in another paragraph as those he answered no.

        That way readers can see where you are trying to go. Don’t just pose a question unlikely to be answered and assume the destination you will never get to has a substantive point.

        • That’s a good idea, tex.

          For the reality in which Paul answers “No,” my answer would be something like this:

          Good. Neither would I. Do you see illegal immigration as a more serious offense than use of illegal drugs, and more worthy of reporting to the authorities? If so, why?

          For the reality in which Paul answers “Yes,” my answer would be something like this:

          Well, you are at least an ideologically consistent busy-body.

      • Do you want somebody high and driving in the same street where your kid might be chasing a ball into the street or riding a bike? Alcohol there’s nothing you can do about unless you see the guy get behind the wheel plastered, but if somebody is regularly toking up on his back porch and making no effort to hide it, then yes, maybe it is time for me to call up the police chief who I went to school with and tell him it’s time for a pot bust.

        • I see no reason to assume that someone who smokes weed would drive high, any more than I would assume someone who has a beer or two a night drives drunk. Do you ever drink, Steve? Do you think we should bring back prohibition?

          • Except recreational use of marijuana is illegal in my state, so you can’t do it in any case. The guy who’s getting high in his backyard, unless he’s got a prescription for medical marijuana, is breaking the law. I also live in a residential area in a small, safe town with a decent quality of life, where the police don’t have a whole lot to deal with that’s dangerous. Once in a while they get a domestic violence call, once in a while someone passing through gets busted with drugs on Route 17, and occasionally the detectives – both of them- will join forces with the county and other small bureaus to close down an auto chop shop on Route 17. That’s how we prefer it. We don’t need any additional problems, including someone getting high illegally. Are you saying I should just look the other way on someone flouting the law in front of me?

            By the way, Chris, I am a lifelong single person, a lawyer, and a public employee. I need to be able to drive and I need to keep a clean record. So yes, I take a drink once in a very great while, but never more than one and never to the point of impairment. I question anyone who feels the need to have “a beer or two a night,” which could add up to 14 a week, which is pretty heavy. We tried prohibition once, it didn’t work. I see no value in adding a third drug to the two we already can’t do anything about.

            • Thanks for your honest response, Steve.

              Personally, at this point I don’t know if I can make an ethics-based argument for why you should not report pot-smokers or illegal immigrants other than the “ick” factor of it. I’ll have to do more thinking on this subject.

              • Neither can I, unless your statement is backwards. The fact is breaking the law is breaking the law. Illegal immigrants shouldn’t be here, period. No one should use illegal drugs, period. The rule of law is supposed to be one of the primary principles in this nation – i.e. we are a nation of laws and not of men. That started to come loose in the last administration when Obama and Holder (and others) started choosing which laws they would and wouldn’t enforce and which laws they would and wouldn’t support in court. The executive branch of government is supposed to follow the principle that, even if we don’t like the laws, we follow them until we can change them by proper procedure. Breaking them or ignoring them is just chipping away at that principle, and moving us a step closer to Hugo Chavez territory, where the charismatic can rule by decree, and if there are those that don’t agree, they just need to button their lip.

                • How about this hypothetical:

                  You find out your buddy owns magazines that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammo, in violation of California law.

                  Do you report this?

                  • Ahahaha, I don’t live in California. Putting that aside, let me first say I dislike deliberate flouting of the law by left or right. Let me also add that in the previous hypotheticals we were just talking about neighbors, not personal friends. I submit that, like it or not, it plays a little differently with an individual who knows and likes the person. Yes, if you report a neighbor you will be stirring the pot in the neighborhood, but if you report a “buddy” you will be bringing that friendship to a rapid end. The introduction of the “buddy” factor moves the goalposts a bit, because then we introduce the question of how far friendship goes, which is a different discussion.

                    Now, am I likely to report a neighbor who owns an illegal weapon? Maybe, particularly if he’s brandishing it in the neighborhood, and particularly if I know him to be a bit unstable. Like I said, ours is a safe neighborhood, and that’s how we like it. It’s not a shooting gallery.

                    I think Jack said that a TV host who showed up with such a magazine on TV in violation of the laws of the state he was in at the time should have been dinged, and he was right.

                    By the way, Chris, just how am I supposed to find out that a neighbor owns such a magazine? If he’s brandishing a weapon on his porch or target shooting in his backyard, then that’s on him. If he is dumb enough to boast, then that’s on him. If he’s carelessly leaving firearms stuff strewn about his house when his neighbor stops by for whatever reason, then that’s on him. But if he’s firearms-savvy enough, he’s not going to do any of that, and he’s going to keep his gear in a place where casual visitors have no business going and probably secured to some degree or another. Are you going to break away from the BBQ to use the men’s room, go into a room that’s not being used for the party, take his magazine out of a drawer and measure it?

                    Further up the thread you talked about being a busybody. Jack, as we found out on a thread about photography, does not appear to be too fond of the words busybody, snitch, tattletale, tale-bearer, and the like. He specifically rapped my knuckles on a thread about a dad who took multiple pictures of his adoptive Asian daughters and was questioned about it by a bystander who claimed to be from Homeland Security when I said the guy was being a busybody and should have minded his own business. The principle Jack was basing that rapping on is that society’s welfare is, to some degree, everybody’s business, all of us in society have some duty to look out for one another, and that if you see something that doesn’t look right, you should speak up or act. If that means you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to a man photographing two Asian teenagers, then I submit it also means you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to illegal weapons possession, illegal drug use, or individuals being here who have no legal right to be.

                    Again, I think your ideology colors your conclusions. To you, smoking marijuana or being here illegally appear to be no big deal, and anyone who calls the cops on a dope-smoking neighbor or calls ICE on a neighbor who isn’t here illegally is being a busybody making trouble for someone he shouldn’t. I guess you assume that I must think that the possession of illegal weapons is no big deal, and anyone who calls ATF on someone possessing a weapon that’s not legal is also busybodydom.

                    Now, let’s talk the limits of friendship. Let’s say that in the past six months there have been three drunk driving fatalities in your county. All LEOs have been ordered to be on the lookout for drunk drivers and to strictly enforce the law. You’re patrolling one night and you see a car weaving, so you light it up. The driver is a buddy of yours. You know his wife hasn’t been well, she’s been in and out of the hospital, unable to work, and he’s financially precarious. If you take him in, he could lose his job, with it his health insurance, and then his family would really be in a financial pickle. Do you cut him a break and tell him to call his brother to come pick him up, he can pick up the car in the morning, in violation of orders, or do you read him his rights, knowing the consequences likely to fall on him?

                    • Thanks for the reply, Steve. You’ve given me much to think about. I’m not sure how to answer your last question at the present moment.

      • Chris, It depends on what state you live in.

        And whether you like to stand in your yard, up close to the fence, and inhale, strongly.

  5. Other than “Good!” ….

    Concern? Are border patrol intentionally not doing the job and not making arrests? Did anything change? Is this really an apples to apples comparison?

    If the measurement is consistent and there are no changes to the work being done, then I suppose “Good!” Is the only response.

    • “who sees your party’s chances for a permanent majority going up in smoke.”

      But, but, but, but, but, but, but, how must that bode for James Carville’s seminal treatise: “40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation”?

      Available at an exorbitantly overpriced $2.98 (hardcover)

        • ”Is that a running list of how many people have read this book?”

          Then: can you even imagine the smug sanctimony Lefties arrogantly enjoyed back in the halcyon days of yore when it was released?

          Now: can you even imagine the dull thud created by the precipitous fall of some of their already fragile psyches as they wistfully ponder what might have been?

          And “cue-ball?” Howse about ”Gollum” twin separated at birth?

          • Probably a sound like in old Peanuts strip where Snoopy tries to kiss Lucy but she ignores him and he falls flat on his nose. KLUNK!

  6. A drop in illegal immigrants caught in the border is good if it’s a result of Mexican citizens no longer feeling such a pressing need to abandon everything to sneak into another country to build a better life. If increased opportunities in Mexico are causing potential illegal immigrants to reconsider, than of course that’s a good thing.

    If the drop in illegal immigrants caught at the border is a result of Trump’s over-the-top rhetoric on illegal immigration and his outlandish promises such as a giant border wall that Mexico will pay for, then it isn’t good, because it’s based on lies and baseless fearmongering.

    This is more complicated than ILLEGAL = BAD.

    • How about if it’s just based on law enforcement enforcing the laws of the United States?

      What you have done here is raised a strawman. If the threat of law enforcement is causing people not to illegally cross the border, that is an unalloyed good regardless of their economic circumstances abroad.

      Finally, it is not more complicated than ILLEGAL=BAD. At all. It never has been. Illegal behavior by definition is bad behavior. It may sometimes represent an ethical dilemma where the illegal behavior is actually the lesser of two evils, but even in such a case, both are still evils.

      If America wants to accept unrestricted immigration, we may do so at any time by merely passing a law. We have chosen to do the opposite: Elect a leader who intends to enforce the existing law vigorously.

      • Our leader is of course doing a lot more than “enforcing the existing laws vigorously;” he passed a sweeping new immigration law in his first month in office, though it was effectively neutered immediately.

        And of course, tough enforcement of laws has not always been an “unalloyed good” in the United States, and has often led to abuse. Look at prohibition laws, or the drug war. Look at mandatory minimums. Look at our prison system. Enforcement of laws is typically a good, but calling it an “unalloyed” good ignores a whole lot of American history.

        If the threat of law enforcement is causing people not to illegally cross the border, that is an unalloyed good regardless of their economic circumstances abroad.

        I don’t find it as easy as you to ignore the negative effects of certain laws.

        Most economists recognize that immigration strengthens our economy. What are the economic effects of taking in fewer immigrants? Again, using the phrase “unalloyed good” implies to me that there are no negative side effects of stricter immigration enforcement. I don’t find that plausible.

        Finally, it is not more complicated than ILLEGAL=BAD. At all. It never has been. Illegal behavior by definition is bad behavior. It may sometimes represent an ethical dilemma where the illegal behavior is actually the lesser of two evils, but even in such a case, both are still evils.

        Sure. But sometimes the law itself is evil.

        Of course, immigration laws are a necessary evil. We have to have them. But we need to get more serious about whether the ones we have now are ethical, sensible, and productive.

        • From Chris above:

          “But sometimes the law itself is evil.

          Agreed, and a good observation. Laws are made by men, many times men with hidden agendas who stand to profit from those laws. What I think Glenn is getting at is that ‘illegal’ is seen as equal to ‘immoral,’ which many equate with ‘bad.’ Is it immoral to disobey a law? In the strict sense, by the definitions involved, I think so. In practice, I am not so certain. What if the ‘law’ is written by an un-elected bureaucrat who has no effective over site from lawful entities? When petty rules have the enforcement power of law, democracy falls into tyranny.

          Of course, immigration laws are a necessary evil. We have to have them. But we need to get more serious about whether the ones we have now are ethical, sensible, and productive.

          Many of the laws we have now benefit those in power, or those who paid them to make the law a certain way. This is generally bad for everybody else, taken as a whole. Immigration laws do not punish those who create the situation for corporate (and private) greed, and even when they do provide punishment for such as these they are not enforced. The first thing that must change is that this class starts suffering for their crimes by lawful enforcement and new laws to address that situation.

          I will agree that MOST immigration laws (including ‘how one becomes a legal resident’) are unethical, nonsensible, and unproductive. To those, I will add unfair to all involved but those that crafted them.

          Unfair to the legitimate immigrants who try to follow the byzantine process;

          Unfair to the illegal immigrants, who are encouraged to come here for jobs that greedy businesses dangle before them simply to take advantage of them;

          Unfair to the American worker, whose wages are depressed and whose rights are infringed by the situation;

          Unfair to the middle class, who live with the economic problems produced by the current situation (taxes, personal danger, and higher prices, to name a few of those problems)

          Unfair to States who must support the illegals with unfunded mandates;

          Unfair to the hospital system who cannot turn anyone away for non pay, but must swallow those costs or pass them along in reduced care and higher prices for American citizens;

          Unfair to the education system that must accommodate the children with no resources provided by their parents, children who often do not speak a common language with their classmates and some of whom carry diseases we have not seen before in the USA (or had eradicated such that we no longer have immunity and/or recognition of the symptoms: research how tuberculosis is making a come back in the heartland and where it came from)

          Unfair to the children being sent here (illegally) for a ‘better life,’ only to be dropped into the cesspools of life in the shadows, or the sex worker trade, or into a life of crime to survive.

          We cannot take everyone in the world who has a hard or threatened life elsewhere. This is simple economics. However, we can do better than we have at what we can and should be doing.

          We just have to agree on what those things are.

          • This is the second time today I am recommending a conservative poster whom I tend to disagree with for Comment of the Day. I really must be feeling better today.

            • Anything that restricts freedom of movement is evil. Borders are evil. The nation state is evil. Force and government compulsion are evil. All of them are *necessary.*

              • That’s a fanatical concept—kind of like “all property should be free.” Doors, walls, fences, vaults, security booths…You’re serious, aren’t you? That requires a very strange definition of “evil.”

                • Well, I think Chris is reversing his assertions. I think he means to say that “Freedom of Movement” is a right. Just like “Life” is a right.

                  But like all our Rights, we curtail them where necessary to maintain a community. Which is why Right to Life isn’t absolute…we curtail it in cases of self-defense…the attacker having forfeit his right…or in capital punishment, the convicted having forfeit his.

                  We also curtail Freedom of Movement as necessary. Fortunately we live in a civilization that seeks to minimize the curtailment of rights as much as possible. But that doesn’t mean to take the fanatical view and have zero curtailments.

                  Our culture *inside the boundaries within which our culture’s laws have force* generally DO NOT restrict freedom of movement as long as it doesn’t impede on private property and a few other instances. But, in order to protect our culture, we do not extend that liberty outside the boundaries.

                  Chris is merely saying “It is evil to restrict movement”, when he ought to be saying “Freedom of Movement is a right”, he fails to recognize that the restriction of rights isn’t *necessarily* evil, even though it can become evil.

              • Chris wrote, “Anything that restricts freedom of movement is evil.”


                After recent discussions regarding blanket generalizations and you turn around and say “anything that restricts freedom of movement”? Have you really learned nothing from those discussions?

                When are people going to take what they’ve learned in one instance and apply those same basic concepts across the board?

                Additionally I have to say that your definition of “evil” needs some serious psychological work. The way you are using evil is nothing more than ginned up hyperbole. That is one of those words that should be used sparingly for those few instances where it really applies, instances like Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Pol Pot, or the Devil not this kind of bull shit. You diminish the “value” of the evilness of the word by applying it to such things.

                • I disagree. How many times in the last election did we hear people say they were voting for “the lesser of two evils?” If that word should only be applied to history’s greatest monsters, than that phrase becomes meaningless.

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