Isn’t it a lovely morning?
1. This isn’t the first post of the day: I woke up around 4 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep (“As My Guitar Gently Weeps” was playing over and over in my head, don’t ask me why, and images from the Red Sox 16 inning loss to the Yankees was giving me the night terrors), so I went to the office and wrote this post. Charlie Green, critic and friend, properly pointed out that my comment in passing that incorrectly alluded to rumors about Joseph P. Kennedy being a bootlegger was exactly what my post was criticizing David Brooks for doing in his attack on the entire Trump family, going back generations, a truly ugly op-ed.
What I was sorely tempted to say was that I’m just an ethics blogger, trying to focus attention on ethics standards in a daily blog from which I receive no income and intangible professional benefits if any. I mange to get 2000-4000 words published every 24 hours, working in short bursts while I try to earn a living, run a business, do research and be as good a father and husband as I can be. I have no editors, no researchers (except generous volunteers) and my blog is not a “paper of record” for journalists, seen by millions and paid for by subscribers. Is it really fair to hold Ethics Alarms to the same standards as David Brooks and the New York Times?
Make no mistake: my own standards are that no typo, no misstated fact, no misleading argument, are acceptable on an ethics blog, or any blog, or anything published on the web. Charles was right: using an unproven accusation of long-standing (Until Charles flagged it, I thought the bootlegging charge was a matter of public record) undermines my case against Brooks. Nonetheless, Brooks has absolutely no excuse. This is all he does, he has all week to produce a column or two, and he has a staff.
I’ve also corrected my error within hours of making it. What are the chances that Brooks and the Times will ever admit that they intentionally impugned the character of Fred Trump using rumors and innuendo as part of their ongoing effort to demonize the President of the United States?
My guess: Zero.
2. The big story this morning appears to be O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing. Will he be paroled and released after serving just nine years of the three-decade sentence he received for his participation in a burglary? Assuming that it is true that O.J., now 70 and unlikely to stab any more ex-wives and innocent bystanders to death, has been a model prisoner, yes, that would be the ethical result. O.J. got away with a double murder—he will not be asked at the hearing, “Once you’re out, can we assume that you’ll renew your relentless hunt for the real killer?”—but he wasn’t put in prison for that crime. Officially, he’s innocent. His fellow burglars were all put on probation, while the judge threw the book at the former football star, presumably to exact a measure of societal revenge for Nicole and Ron. The sentence was unethical. I don’t feel sorry for O.J. at all; I’m glad he had to serve hard time, just as I would have been happy if he had been squashed by a meteor. Justice, however, demands that he go free.
3. Another Times note-–again, I regard the current collapse and death spiral of ethical journalism the #1 ethics story of the decade, and perhaps the century so far—today’s primary front page story is “Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over.’”
Guess whose name is never mentioned once in relation to that disastrous “handing over”? I’ll give you three tries, and the first two don’t count.
Nobody at the Times even possess a “Gee, this makes us look partisan and biased” alarm…or they just don’t care any more.
4. I hate fake history, as readers here know. The new, much-praised Spider-Man movie, which sounds so politically correct and gratuitously diverse (but not diverse enough!) that I got nauseous just reading about it, includes the statement that slaves built the Washington Monument. No, they didn’t. This is standard Left Wing, race-baiting, America-slurring cant. There are absolutely no records that indicate this. (Slaves were used in the construction of the White House and the Capitol, but stick to the facts, America-haters. George had released his slaves and denounced slavery by the time his monument was commissioned in 1848. ) Popular culture can be as political as it chooses, but it is unethical to make the public ignorant.
One website I saw, grudgingly admitting that George’s monument was not directly built by slaves, argued that it was sort of built by slaves because some of the marble used in construction probably was taken from quarries that used slaves.
5. Harvard is still trying to extort its students out of their right to free association. I wrote about this unethical effort by Harvard’s leftist, feminist, destructive President Drew Faust here, discussing the “rules and penalties” mentioned in the latest missive from Harvard SJW Central. From Heat Street:
A Harvard University task force has advised banning all students from joining any “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations” in a bid to phase out the social groups entirely by 2022.
“All currently enrolled students including those who will matriculate this fall will be exempt from the new policy for the entirety of their time at Harvard,” the report reads. “This will lead to a transition period, whereby USGSOs would be phased out by May 2022.”The university has already announced a new policy prohibiting members of single-sex organizations from leadership roles and disqualifying them from academic fellowship recommendations…
The university has also been asked to adopt the following language in its rules for students banning every Harvard student from participating in social clubs, regardless of whether they are co-ed or single-gender:
Harvard students may neither join nor participate in final clubs, fraternities or sororities, or other similar private, exclusionary social organizations that are exclusively or predominantly made up of Harvard students, whether they have any local or national affiliation, during their time in the College. The College will take disciplinary action against students who are found to be participating in such organizations. Violations will be adjudicated by the Administrative Board.
CNN, carelessly and falsely as usual, reported this as Harvard College banning college fraternities and sororities. Harvard has no fraternities and sororities, and hasn’t had any since before World War II. Nice research there, CNN! The clubs in question are all off campus and the few officially affiliated with Harvard, like the famous Hasty Pudding Club, aren’t fraternities and sororities.
These clubs, I must emphasize, are all elitist, preppie hang-outs that many students, like me and my room mates, thought were pompous and silly decades ago. The evil fraternity in “Animal House” was in part a satire of these clubs and the kinds of student who join them. Nonetheless, they are not Harvard organizations, and all of their student members are legally adults. As I wrote in the initial post:
“Let us be clear what Harvard is trying to do here. It is seeking to punish students for their associations and activities unrelated to the school itself, and using its power within the limits of the campus to indoctrinate ideological values and require conduct that is unrelated to education. This is a rejection of the principle of freedom of association, one of those enumerated rights protected by the Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and a cornerstone of American principles. If the college can, in effect, create a blacklist withholding institutional honors from those who choose to belong to an all male or all female club completely distinct from the university, what clearly delineated line prevents the same institution from declaring that membership in the Republican Party, Occupy Wall Street, Americans For Trump or the NAACP are similarly undermining its values?”
Now I feel badly about never giving any money to my alma mater, because now I can’t register a protest by not giving money.
I think some of those old money members of the clubs in question will sue the College, and they will win.