1. It isn’t just the President’s boorish role modelling and the misbehavior and incivility of his opposition that makes me fear for the ethics alarms of our rising generation. The long-term results of people being able to isolate themselves from social contact—and the social skills and sensitivities that direct, face to face contact nurture—by constant attention to electronic devices is a matter for concern. Yesterday, I became aware of another danger.
I heard, on the new Sirius-XM Beatles channel, a recording of Paul McCartney singing my favorite song from “Guys and Dolls,” a sweet ballad sung in the musical by an elderly father to his grown daughter during her romantic crisis.
McCartney has a foot in two cultures and always has. As much as a rock and pop innovator as he was, Paul was also steeped in the traditional love songs of his parent’s generation, including Broadway. Today both of McCartney’s feet are planted where nobody under the age of 30 is likely to tread, and that is natural. Yet it seems that popular music is increasingly devoid of tenderness, empathy and compassion. Hip-Hop, particularly, seems immune from being able to express a sentiment like that in Frank Loesser’s nearly 70-year-old song that Paul McCartney obviously understands. I wonder, and worry. how many of today’s young Americans understand it, or will grow up with the capacity to do so.
Here’s Bing crooning the same song…
You know I love ya, Bing, but the Moptop wins this round.
2. There was some discussion on a thread here yesterday about the ethics of interests outside the state putting so much money into Georgia’s 6th congressional district’s special election. The House was designed to give communities a say in the national government, so to the extent that a local election is warped by interests outside the community—the Democrat, Jon Ossoff, is a carpetbagger who doesn’t live in the district—it’s a violation of the spirit of the Constitution and the ideal of American democracy. Some have even made an analogy to foreign governments interfering in U.S. elections. On the other hand, all this outside “interference” consists of are words, ads, and marketing. The district’s residents still are the ones who vote. If they are so easily swayed by slick ads and robocalls, that’s their responsibility. (There may even be a backlash.)
3. The conventional mainstream media wisdom, at least until Ossoff loses, is that the election is a referendum on President Trump. How can an election involving two human beings of varying skills, presentations and policy positions be a true referendum on anything except that candidates themselves? This is a false narrative. Why, for example, isn’t it a referendum on women in Congress, since former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel is trying to be one? That would have been Hillary Clinton’s argument, and the media’s, Handel was a Democrat.
I heard a CNN reporter say this morning that “the stakes couldn’t be higher” in the election, because if Ostroff wins, “it will give the Democrats crucial momentum in their opposition to President Trump.”
A. Are Democrats so stupid that they really believe this?
B. Is the news media that stupid? What this fatuous statement really means is “If Ossoff wins, we will spin it to mean that the public has turned on President Trump.” It’s an advance fake news warning.
C. Does the news media think that the public is so stupid that it will accept the argument that the results of a special election in Georgia 6 mean anything other than the voters in that district chose to vote a certain way? I think the news media does think that…because bias makes you stupid.
4. In addition to yesterday’s ruling striking down the government’s power to tell businesses what’s “offensive,“ SCOTUS also issued another unanimous opinion protecting the First Amendment, in a case Ethics Alarms discussed here.
North Carolina had a law that prohibited sex offenders from using social media. How could any qualified legislator think that suppressing free speech like that would ever be upheld by the Supreme Court? When this Supreme Court rules unanimously, it signals that some lawmakers are very, indeed outrageously, out of touch. Incompetent, even.
5. Now that young Otto Warmbier has died, the finger-pointing has begun in earnest. Also on the docket are retroactive condemnations of published attacks on Warmbier before he arrived in the U.S. in a coma, like this obnoxious knee-jerk social justice warrior bigot, who wrote on the Huffington Post last year…
“As shocked as I am by the sentence handed down to Warmbier, I am even more shocked that a grown man, an American citizen, would not only voluntarily enter North Korea but also commit what’s been described a “college-style prank.” That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country. Every economic, academic, legal and social system in this country has for more than three centuries functioned with the implicit purpose of ensuring that white men are the primary benefactors of all privilege. The kind of arrogance bred by that kind of conditioning is pathogenic, causing its host to develop a subconscious yet no less obnoxious perception that the rules do not apply to him, or at least that their application is negotiable.”
Ethics Rule: If the criticism was valid when the guy was alive and imprisoned in a hell-hole, it must still be valid after that hell hold kills him. But using this one reckless youth as a symbol of “white male privilege” was never valid, and a cheap shot from the start.
Criticism is also intensifying against Young Pioneer Tours, the company that convinced poor Otto that North Korea was a perfect place to go for a vacation. Ethics Scout Fred found this piece, which suggests that the tour company misrepresented the perils of the destination and may have some liability in Warmbier’s fate.
And yet…when a promotion contains a statement as absurd as “Despite what you may hear, North Korea is probably one of the safest places on earth to visit,” when does “Let the buyer beware” become a reasonable standard?