Morning Ethics Warm-Up: July Fourth, 2017

Good Morning, everybody, and Happy Independence Day.

1. A minor item cross-filed under “Twitter makes you stupid and careless,” “Oh, sure, our public schools are terrific!” and “Is we getting dumber?”: Yesterday, whoever the History Channel allows to handle its Twitter account tweeted out the fact that July 3 was the anniversary of the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and included a picture of General…George Washington.

2. Is trolling ever ethical? When it’s pointed, clever and deserved, perhaps. Boston-based businessman and inventor V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai,  a Republican who received a Ph.D. and his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is running for the GOP nomination to oppose Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. He’s running on the slogan: “Only a real Indian can defeat the fake Indian.” V.A. sent Warren a DNA test so she could prove that she’s part Cherokee, as she asserted in the past to get the benefit of affirmative action recruiting programs at Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania. The Senator refused to take the test, prompting her tormentor to tweet,

“I’m deeply saddened @SenWarren refused my thoughtful (gift-wrapped) Birthday Gift: the 23&me DNA Test Kit,” Ayyadurai tweeted Sunday. “Most unfortunate! #FakeIndian.”

He then posted screenshots of the DNA test kit he purchased online.

Why doesn’t Warren just take the test? If it shows she has Native American DNA, then she’s killed an issue that has haunted her since 2012, and will continue to unless something changes. If it shows that she isn’t an “Indian,” then all she has to do is say that she was mistaken, she had bad information from her family, and regrets taking advantage of the affirmative action programs to the detriment of real minority academics. (Harvard listed her as a teacher “of color.”)

The answer is that Warren would rather claim that the Indian issue is a manufactured slur by the right, so she can continue to claim minority status and victim status. The answer is that she’s a cynical, cowardly fraud.

Warren, Hillary, Bernie Sanders, Tom Perez, Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters constitute the mots visible leadership of the Democratic Party.

Res Ipsa Loquitur.

3.  Back to Gettysburg: I didn’t forget to post an essay about that fascinating turning point in U.S. history, I just had nothing to write. I thought I would be able to point out the political correctness madness of a rumored protest over the weekend by virtue-signaling jerks protesting the honors to the battlefield’s many Confederate heroes—anyone who fought in that desperate battle with honor qualifies as a hero—but it didn’t materialize. You can find past essays on the battle here.

4. A former administrator at Evergreen State College registered this perceptive —and scary–analysis of what is going on there, and if you don’t think it is a microcosm if a larger, dangerous cultural trend, I hope there are pretty stalagmites in your cave.  An excerpt (Pointer: Advice Goddess Blog):

The Evergreen campus has become a place where identity politics takes precedence over every other aspect of social intercourse. It has become a place where it is acceptable for colleagues to levy personal attacks on colleagues in response to differences of opinion and even in response to calls for dialogue. It has become a place where it is acceptable to shout down those with whom you disagree. And it has become a place where the administration watches from the sidelines, apparently fearful of antagonizing anyone.

But that is not what leadership is about. Leadership means treating all members of a community with respect and demanding that others do the same. It also means publicly holding community members responsible for their behavior. Finally, it means having and upholding a set of principles, even when doing so might be uncomfortable.

Evergreen is not alone in the constellation of institutions of higher education facing these problems. It is, however, a place that has allowed extremists to dominate and discussion to die. Others will do well to learn from the mistakes made on this campus.

5. Finally, this. I read it several times a year. Everyone should read it today.

The unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton



37 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: July Fourth, 2017

  1. “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
    Given the unbridled and unchecked expansion of the federal government, I find this phrase particularly ironic.

  2. One thing the Warren situation does do is provide a sterling example of Lefty’s latest effort to manufacture offense: “cultural appropriation.”

    “regrets taking advantage of the affirmative action programs to the detriment of real minority academics.”


    ”Harvard listed her as a teacher ‘of color.’ ”

    20 years ago as we speak a Fordham Law Review article referred to Warren as Harvard’s “First Woman of Color.”

    I couldn’t find anything, but has either Fordham or Harvard ever walked that back?

    Twila Barnes is someone who’s walked that forward, her credentials as a genealogist AND a Native American speak for themselves.

    C’mon, one look at Warren’s pasty-white countenance seals it: Big Academia doesn’t give a toss about actual clear and present diversity, just the mere appearance of it.

  3. 5: He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, and murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

  4. #3 – The Veterans Motorcycle organizations rolled into Gettysburg and the Antifa cowards suddenly decided to move to locations where they would not be challenged.

      • I wonder if any group is worthy of the title “the KKK”. I mean, this isn’t The KKK, that was a nationally organized and operating group. Best I can tell most KKK ‘chapters’ are loosely organized clusters of essentially a couple family groups that for the most part are back yard barbecuers that wanna trash talk black people.

        Much like the overblown attention given to the ‘alt right’ morons led by Richard Spencer, what was it, like 1/3 to 2/3s of the 200 people at that terrifying convention of theirs were journalists anyway, I think it’s overblown to pretend like “the” KKK is even a relevant force in America.

        It isn’t.

  5. When does the push for ethics become bullying? In my family, there were stories told (even in more recent times) about heritage and ethnicity, that may or may not have been true. I have done a DNA test and it does show some surprising things. However, do I now need to publish my DNA test to run for public office? What about HIPAA and privacy?

    We are sophisticated enough to know that phenotype and geneotype are not the same thing. There were people who have passed for one race or another to avoid prejudice and persecution their other family members had to endure. By judging someone by “looks” (someone calls her “pasty white” in another response) or telling them we don’t believe their ethnicity, we are being prejudiced. Do we start asking Presidents to prove they are “all black” or “50% Asian” or whatever? What if we have a president who is differently-abled like FDR? Does he have to show his medical records to prove he had polio? Is his wheelchair good enough evidence?

    People aren’t boxes of cereal. They don’t need ingredient labels printed on their forehead to be effective leaders.

    • How is this relevant to Warren? Falsely taking tangible benefits by misrepresentation is fraud, a crime. She has built a career and a political career on what may be, and indeed appears to be, a lie. It is also, if false, massive hypocrisy for a self-styled populist and champion of the poor, weak, and oppressed. I don’t care what anyone’s DNA show, and I would no more waste my time and money on a kit than I would on a palm reading. Those TV ads are beyond idiotic; “I just learned that I’m really Scottish!” WHO THE HELL CARES????

      But when someone asserts that heritage does matter and benefits from a claim of race or national origin, I do care if they are lying, and by lying, stealing and posing. So should you.

    • I think when someone publicly accepts honors or special treatment related to those family stories and promotes a party line calling for more of the same, it becomes fair game. My husband’s family has stories related to Native American ancestry that’s probably not there, but he’s never announced himself as a “person of color” or received special treatment because of it, so it would be silly for anyone to call him out on it.

      People aren’t cereal boxes, but if you advertise yourself as containing real, genuine Native American blood — and benefit from that, and support programs that would allow others to benefit from it– without evidence you can point to, it’s not bullying for someone to accuse you of being full of something else.

    • Do I need to publish my past tax returns to run for public office? Apparently so, in spite of my “privacy”.

      Look, I get that she has a right to not take and publish the results of the test, and while she very well may have Native American ancestry, it’s also not obvious, any more that it’s obvious that I, a man, can credibly claim to be a woman. Should I be allowed to claim benefits that are for set aside for a specific group of people, simply by claiming I am a member of that group, and everyone should accept my claim at face value, even though, to the naked eye, I clearly am not a member, but can also credibly say that there are members of that group who look as out of place in that group as I do? What of people who claim to have cancer in order to receive sympathy money from the community….should they ever have to prove their illness? Even if they never show any outward signs of the illness? I mean, after all, cancer can grow undetected for up to 10 years, so who’s to say that anyone who claims to have cancer, actually doesn’t, even IF test results come back negative?

      In other words, are we getting to the point where anyone can claim anything they want, with zero evidence to back it up, and the rest of society has to get on board…just because?

      • I was sorely tempted to have my son mark ‘Hispanic’ on his financial aid applications… how are they to know? They won’t force him to take a test, after all. And there is great financial (and societal) gain to be had: scholarships would have lined up for one of his qualifications, and he could claim victim status for anything he wished.

        Alas, we are lily white and have no family stories about such ancestry. Warren gamed the system and so far has benefited at minority expense.

    • “People aren’t boxes of cereal. They don’t need ingredient labels printed on their forehead to be effective leaders.”

      Fair point. Heck, we’re all mongrels.

      Yet, recall that even the Lefty media’s ~ 8 years old picture of an orange-jump-suit clad ~ 70 pounds heavier subject wasn’t able elicit enough enmity to sustain the narrative against George Zimmerman, or sympathy for Trayvon Martin?

      They had to create a craven, novel, attention-catching, demographic with new and improved ingredients: the WHITE Hispanic.

  6. On #2. No! I vehemently disagree that Warren should submit her DNA to a pro-transhumanist global DNA storage depot. What’s next, people submitting their DNA to get scholarships at college or to be hired for certain jobs or to make claims about ones heritage?

    The man challenging her to do this I believe is promoting scientism & technocracy to get folks to seek validation via biotechnology. As a mixed race person I resent anyone suggesting someone like me should have to prove themselves because of their skin tone. My sister in-law is so white she makes Warren look ethnic but she’s half Native American & got teased on the reservation for it. Should she have to give up her genetic privacy if she ever runs for office? No.

    Warren may have been foolish but Ayyadurai is a man seeking attention for reasons that I believe are underneath it all, sinister. I doubt Jack or others who are unfamiliar with transhumanism’s tactics will see what I’m saying today, but I hope people start doing their research, following the money, and connecting the dots.

    • I can’t tell if you’re serious or not!

      This is hardly a slippery slope. If you claim benefits based on ancestry or race, back it up, or shut up. Better yet, let’s stop giving benefits, jobs, honors, positions of trust and promotions based on anything but ability and actual talent, competence and experience.

      • “Better yet, let’s stop giving benefits, jobs, honors, positions of trust and promotions based on anything but ability and actual talent, competence and experience.”

        Exactly. But, as long as the set asides are there, cynical use of them to obtain benefits fraudulently is cause for a call out.

      • I agree w/ you on that part Jack. I don’t agree someone, anyone should submit their DNA to prove anything. If you don’t see how that’s a slippery slope than there’s nothing else for me to say.

        • Do you believe that one’s assertion about heritage should be discounted, or automatically believed, then? We can agree that benefits shouldn’t be based on race or ancestry or place of origin, but that’s not reality. So what do you do with people like Warren? Let them con, or make them validate what they say?

          Saying a DNA test in this situation is per se wrong is like saying voter ID is per se wrong.

          Of course no one should be forced to take a DNA test, just like nobody should be forced to reveal their taxes, or forced to prove they can bench press 300 pounds. But when you make a claim, asking for verification is hardly menacing or unfair. In Warren’s case, she has no verification–no photos or documents or anything else, just hearsay. Under those conditions, there’s nothing wrong with calling her bluff.

    • The first 2 paragraphs alone are a philosophical tour de force.

      The last bit is just why we believed we had reason to believe the British Government had become destructive of the ends of securing the rights to the non-exclusive list of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

  7. My bet is that she has ALREADY taken some kind of DNA test, but not under her own name. After all, if any DNA test showed even the minutest trace of Native American ancestry, she’d have been pummeling her opponents with it ages ago.

  8. I think the whole DNA thing is a crock. Sure, she’s made it an issue and so it is important. But it should not be important.

    Let’s say she has even 1/8th Indian Blood in her (a substantial amount).

    Who the hell cares?

    What does it mean to her?

    She wasn’t raised in a wigwam, she doesn’t have a single bit of an Indian ‘experience’. What does that blood mean?


    She can’t speak with any greater authority on American Indian concerns than the next person who can open up the wikipedia articles on Indians.

    I’m about 1/16th or 1/32nd Choctaw…and that nearest ancestor was a city dweller desperately trying to scratch out a living in mid-19th century southern Louisiana like most of the people living in mid-19th century southern Louisiana.

    What does his ethnicity mean to me? Nothing. He was just another American doing the best he could with what he had.

  9. Fellow Americans:

    Don’t forget that names have meaning. There is weight and there is power behind the words we select when we label anything, from people, to objects, even to days. We use trendy short hand more and more frequently when referring to various holidays. Stop.

    “Happy Turkey Day” sounds fun, but it allows to avoid saying Thanksgiving. I suspect it’s because we don’t want to be confronted with what the term Thanksgiving means, that is to say there is a greater hand of Providence behind our material wealth.

    “Happy 4th of July” seems appropriate because it identifies the day. But by referring to it in it’s sterile Julian form, we strip it of its meaning. It is Independence Day. It isn’t “4th of July”, as though by some lottery it beat out “27th of August” for importance. No, remind yourself and everyone that it’s *independence* we are celebrating. Even if you don’t personally review the Declaration of Independence or reflect on the sacrificial commitment that the signers made when they put their names on a death warrant (if they’d lost), even if you don’t do anything other than a family get together, don’t let the word “Independence” lose it’s status. Keep saying “Happy Independence Day”.

  10. The guys at the History Channel probably believe that George Washington and aliens worked together to inscribe the Da Vinci Code onto the pyramids or something.

    • 1) It’s Buzzfeed. You should check yourself into a facility quickly.

      2) They’ve cherry picked a handful of certifiable morons to extrapolate a conclusion about a huge swathe of people. This is a fallacy.

      2a) I guarantee you, you will find just as many imbeciles on the opposite side of the aisle.

      3) Anyone who can’t recognize snippets from the Declaration of Independence is an abject moron.

      4) Anyone who does recognize these snippets and still gets angry at the assumption they are an attack on Trump needs to reevaluate what they hope Trump is.

      4a) Anyone reading this Buzzfeed article and making the takeaway that the snippets are justifiable attack on Trump needs to reevaluate what they think Trump is.

      5) Anyone who understands the impact of what these individual snippets communicate (even if they don’t understand they come from our Declaration of Independence) and are offended because they actually seem painfully applicable to the modern American government:

      a) Needs to reevaluate what we want our government to be.
      b) Needs to reevaluate what our government currently is.
      c) Needs to reevaluate what we’ve allowed our government to become.

      6) I think it’s incredibly illegible and stupid to publish the Declaration of Independence in a stream of tweets. Awfully done job NPR. Awful. I wouldn’t read them. Twitter is notorious for causing out of order reading and it’s associated confusion.

      7) I hope you really don’t think Buzzfeed has discovered something serious…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.