1. No, there is nothing “ironic” about Rep. Steve Scalise being shot. I finally lost my restraint and pointed out to a gaggle of left-wing Facebook friends that their writing that Scalise’s shooting was “ironic” because he opposes gun control, or because one of his rescuers was gay (because he opposes gay marriage) was as much a of a hateful comment as saying that it was “karma” (another popular sentiment from progressive friends) or that he “reaped what he sowed” (yet another). They protested loudly and angrily that this was an unfair rebuke on my part, that they were not cheering the crime, just observing that the shooting was “ironic” which, they insisted, it was.
Disingenuous and evasive.
The seriousness, criminal, hateful and absolutely inexcusable nature of Scalise’s shooting had absolutely nothing to do with his political beliefs unless you agree with the shooter, who used those beliefs as his motive. Karma, “reaped what he sowed” and irony (which implies an amusing or humorous nature) all signal and are intended to signal the same sentiment in the Facebook echo chamber—“It’s a shame that he got shot, but in a way he asked for it.” Oh, how those who sought to signal their virtue and their dislike of Scalise just hated to be called on the ugly impulses behind their words, and how they wriggled and spun to deny it.
What made the shooting ironic? Why, Scalise opposes gay marriage, I was informed. That’s neither a logical nor a justified answer. Although gays find it satisfying and expedient to automatically attach the label of homophobia to those who haven’t yet adapted to one of the fastest cultural paradigm shifts in U.S. history, there is no evidence that Rep. Scalise believes that LGBT individuals cannot or should not be medical or law enforcement professionals. Scalise’s position on gay marriage is irrelevant to his shooting, unless that position—the same position Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton held for a very long time—makes you think his shooting and the subsequent assistance of gay citizens is somehow deserved and funny. Similarly, the fact that Scalise was shot does not undermine the justification for his support of the Second Amendment, except in the closed minds of Second Amendment opponents. Nor does that make his shooting “ironic,” except to those whose gut reaction was “He was shot? Serves him right. Let’s see how he likes it.”
So many progressives have become so instinctively hateful and bitterly partisan that they are incapable of realizing it.
2. Are there any ethics takeaways from last night’s Republican victory in Georgia’s 6th District? Pundit Charles Glasser wrote that “Ossoff raised $23.6 million to make a symbolic run against President Trump, most of it from Marin County, California and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Running the numbers, Democrats might have been better off considering that same amount would have bought 855,072 school lunches (at $2.76 each); 236,000 elementary school textbooks (at $100 each) or even 956 Priuses (at $24,685 each). Max Weber said that the purpose of a bureaucracy is to maintain or expand its own power. Who cares about children, education or the environment when there’s power to be grabbed?”
As a rule I object to the “spending money on A is unethical because you could have spent it on B” line of reasoning, since it can be applied to almost any purchase. Nonetheless, that’s a lot of money to be used by outsiders to influence a local election, particularly when the donors also decry the effect of money in politics. And as with Hillary Clinton’s defeat, this result suggest that money isn’t nearly as decisive as those who want to constrain political speech think it is.
3. Here’s a flat-out awful headline in the Washington Post: “Ossoff chose civility and it didn’t work. How do Democrats beat Trump?”
One answer: Not behaving uncivilly, violently, hatefully, and thuggishly would be a good start. Yes, I think the Alexandria shooting probably did cost Ossoff votes. Good. Maybe that will make Democrats and the news media reconsider their “resistance” tactics.
4. The personal information of almost 200 million registered U.S. voters was accidentally exposed online due to an improperly configured security setting by the Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics and two other Republican contractors that assembled the database. The exposed information included names, birth dates, addresses, voter registration details and social media posts. This level of incompetence is unethical. If you can’t protect the Big Data you gather, then it is unethical to gather it. The firms should be sued and put out of business so other firms get that message, and if the message still isn’t receieved, then criminal penalties must be put in place. When ethics fails, the law steps in.
5. I know ridiculing creationist huckster Ken Ham is like shooting fish in a barrel, but the creator of the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter has dedicated his fortune and his life to making people who lack critical thinking skills even dumber and less functional than they already are, and that’s not good, even if he fervently believes the nonsense he peddles. Of all the Bible stories to pick as a hill to die on, Noah and the Ark has to be one of the most hopeless. Science writer PZ Myers recently visited Ark Encounter and provided a fascinating critique of the silly place.
But it was Ham’s promotion of a new children’s book that caught my eye. This one:
Dinosaurs are the proven scientific fact that renders the Ark story impossible, and the various explanations creationists and fundamentalists come up with to get around this inconvenient truth have always amused me. I was once instructed (by a D.C. trade association executive with a Masters Degree) on the “fact” that dinosaurs never existed, and that God had placed all those fossils in the ground to test our faith. (I slooowly backed out the door…) Ham has an even more entertaining theory: he believes that Noah did have dinosaurs on the Ark. Now his website Answers in Genesis is promoting the newly released book Noah: Man of Resolve, the second installment in “The Remnant Trilogy.”
As you can see, the book’s cover art shows Noah facing off with a T-Rex in what appears to be a Roman Colosseum.
If you are serious about making people ignorant, gullible and stupid, you have to get them early.