Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/11/17


1. From sources within Google management, we learn that the firing of the diversity memo writer, James Demore, was hotly debated, but in the end...

“…Damore’s focus on biology really made it clear that he had crossed the line.” What turned the tide, said sources, was when it was noted that if Damore’s dubious contentions about women’s skills were replaced by those about race or religion, there would be no debate.’

Ethics diagnosis: Bias made them stupid…that is, Google’s political correctness bias. If someone says that blacks, for example, are biologically handicapped for certain jobs, that’s bigotry and ignorance, the equivalent of poor Al Campanis’s  infamous statement to Ted Koppel that blacks “lacked the necessities ” to manage a baseball team. If someone says that holding religious beliefs suggests one may have biological disadvantages, then that individual is, of course, an idiot.

Women, however, are biologically different from men. If this was the reasoning behind Demore’s dismissal, then it is an example of regarding fealty to cant and politically correct mythology as more important than dealing with complex realities.

2. Professional Trump apologist Jeffrey Lord reacted with a tweeted Sieg Heil! to  Left Wing attack group Media Matters organizing a boycott of the Fox News star’s sponsors to force Sean Hannity off the air.  CNN responded by firing Lord, saying, “Nazi salutes are indefensible.”

Except that Lord was not performing a Nazi salute, but alluding to it to make the very accurate point that the Media Matters wing of progressive America is anti-free speech, and, Nazi-like, determined to shut down inconvenient dissent. Sieg Heil!, in the context of Lord’s tweet, did not mean “Yay Hitler, and let’s kill some Jews!” but rather “Media Matters embodies fascism of the left.”

Which it does.

This story is just full of detestable people and organizations. Jeffrey Lord is a dishonest hack whom CNN keeps parading before its viewers to pretend that the network is “balanced” in its relentless critical commentary on the President. Typically Lord is the sole defender of the Administration on a panel of multiple virulent critics, presided over by one of CNN’s myriad anti-Trump hosts. Sean Hannity is a knee-jerk conservative without scruples, perception or shame. Media Matters is a left-wing propaganda machine that makes a mockery of the term “media watchdog” by its very existence, and it is not unfair to rate its creator and leader, David Brock, as unstable. And I don’t like Nazi salutes either, though to call them “indefensible” is just plain wrong. They are defensible on the History Channel, to show how Nazis behaved. They are defensible in films like “Valkyrie,” since Tom Cruise’s doomed hero’s reluctant salute was a central theme.

It is defensible in Mel Brooks movies, which feature the salute frequently, to mock the Nazis. It is defensible in “Dr. Strangelove,” to make the running joke that mysterious ex-Nazi genius has a Nazi arm with mind of its own.

And it is defensible to use the Nazi salute derisively to say,”David Brock and Media Matters are fascist in the their methods and attitudes towards free speech.”

CNN’s firing of Lord falsely implied that he was referencing the salute positively. By doing this, the increasingly unprofessional and untrustworthy network was also able to impugn President Trump; after all, if his most visible defender in a Nazi, that makes the President Hitler, right?

In this particular basket of deplorables, CNN may be the most unethical of all.

3. Remember the smug, virtue-signaling theater that held a women-only screening of “Wonder Woman”?

This was, Ethics Alarms held, obviously unethical discrimination and a double standard, as well as illegal under public accommodations laws. I challenged our resident social justice warriors to condemn this stunt (or have the guts to defend it), but in general they ducked the question, except for the prominent commenter here who wrote, “Based on what I know of Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, I think he’d be more than fine with an all-woman showing of the film.”

This was as pure an example of Rationalization 32A. Imaginary Consent,  “He/She Would Have Wanted It This Way” as well as #42. The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?” as you are likely to see.

Now the chain has apologized for the screenings in a letter to the city. Drafthouse Cinema, which was sued for gender discrimination, admitted their  film screening for women was in violation of the anti-discrimination laws in Austin, Texas. The apology left something to be desired:

“Respondent did not realize that advertising a ‘women’s-only’ screening was a violation of discrimination laws,” the theater wrote to the city. “Respondent has a very strict non-discrimination policy in place, but this policy did NOT include a specific prohibition against advertising.”

That something is called “honesty.”  The discrimination involved wasn’t the advertising, but the conduct: the theater withheld its services based on gender. Moreover, “we didn’t know it was illegal” is never a legitimate defense.

Also revolting is the tone in which Salon reported the story, alluding to men “whining” about the exclusion. Got it: when women fight for equal treatment, it’s heroic; when men protest a double standard, they are “whining.”

4. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been unavailable to the news media, refusing to explain why she continued to employ Imran Awan, an IT staffer who was under a federal investigation for an alleged equipment and data scam in the U.S. House of Representative. She finally fired the Pakistan scamster on July 25, six months after learning that he was not to be trusted, and one day after authorities arrested him at the airport trying to feel Pakistan after wiring $283,000 there.

She finally issued a written statement on the controversy, and it is about what I would have expected from her: shameless, brazen, and dishonest.

“As a mother, a Jew, and a Member of Congress, if there is one thing I know for sure, it’s this: my commitment to doing what’s right and just — even if it isn’t what’s easy and simple — is unyielding.Undoubtedly, the easier path would have been to terminate Mr. Awan, despite the fact that I had not received any evidence of his alleged wrongdoing. Over time, the investigation raised troubling concerns for me about fair treatment, due process, and potential ethnic and religious profiling.”


  • How many victim and sympathy cards can a single politician play at once? There must be a rule somewhere. What does being a mother and a Jew have to do with allowing a shady character to have access to her party members e-mail accounts and communications?
  • What evidence is there that this epically corrupt political hack has ever cared about doing what was “right and just”?
  • Is she really saying that she believes it was more important to make a foolish grandstanding gesture against imagined anti-Muslim bias than to prevent a suspected criminal to have access to her party’s elected officials’ communications? It sure sounds like it. First, that excuse is unbelievable. Second, if you believe it, then you must also acknowledge that she is too stupid to function in society, much less to be the head of the Democratic National Committee.
  • For those who are still, somehow, wailing to the skies, “How, oh how, could Hillary Clinton have lost to Donald Trump??”, they really need to focus on the fact that Hillary appointed this ridiculous,shady, inept and dishonest woman to a campaign position immediately after she was forced to resign in the wake of evidence that she presided over a DNC staff that was rigging the nomination against Clinton’s opponent, Senator Sanders.

32 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/11/17

  1. I’m still waiting for somebody to suggest that this guy, not Russian hackers, broke into the DNC’s servers and sole the info to WikiLeaks. Note that I am NOT holding my breath.

    • I thought it was interesting that she put being a mother first on her list of identifiers. That is not what I think of as her primary focus. But, if she’s sincere, it’s the first thing she’s ever revealed about herself that I find admirable. Not that she is a mother so much as that she lists it first.

  2. Also, as others must likely have commented, “neurotic” has a specific meaning that Damore, being a biology masters, is likely familiar with. It is not a pejorative in that sense.

  3. #4 The more people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz open their mouths to speak, or type things for public consumption, the more I start believing that “Liberals” must have some kind of mental disorder yet to be discovered.

    Liberal Magical Thinking is thinking that when a Liberal thinks a thought, any thought, then that thought is automatically considered logical and should be presented as truth – this is what Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others like her clearly believe. This is the same kind of non-critical pompous intellectual “thinking” that drove the Salem Witch Trials. You’d think that this kind of ignorance would be fixable in today’s world; however, when that ignorance is coupled with “industrial-strength weapons-grade thickened ideological blinders” (@Cornelius_Gotchberg) the perception is that they are just stupid and it’s not fixable. Remember genius has limitations, stupidity does not.

    • Liberals mostly base their opinions on feelings and not logic and factual information. Maybe they might use logic in buying tires although a sure sign of a liberal is somebody driving a Prius with a “Coexisist” bumper sticker.

  4. “If someone says that blacks, for example, are not biologically handicapped for certain jobs, that’s bigotry and ignorance, the equivalent of poor Al Campanis’s infamous statement to Ted Koppel that blacks “lacked the necessities ” to manage a baseball team.”

    I think the “not” was a typo.

  5. #1- U.W.-Madison (Go Badgers!) Professor Donald Downs outlines in his book “Restoring Free Speech and Liberty On Campus” of the travails of Art Professor Richard Long, who was accused in 1990 of anti-semitism by two non-Jewish grad students.

    Why? He responded to their continual…um…Badgering of him for weeks because of his Conservative views with a verbal “Sieg Heil, comrades”

    They reported him and he was investigated (“without notifying him formally, naming a plaintiff, or detailing any charges”) by the university’s AA Office because of alleged violations of a Faculty speech code.

    Long: ”I was devastated. Your name is tarnished forever. For 20 years I tried to do everything they asked me to do. I loved being a professor. My father was a tenant farmer, so I saw this as a kind of opportunity. I venerated this university. I was a fool, obviously.”

    Mercifully this was long before being “woke,” mandatory “safe spaces,” and ”micro-aggressions” became de rigueur, otherwise he’d likely still be in the labyrinthine tentacles of the Diversity Gulag.

    #4- Why is no one looking into the hows, whys, & wherefores of these IT people’s immigration/employment/sponsorship records?

  6. Google must be a depressing place to work. My experiences with guitar mass era Catholicism in high school was enough to teach me that when you’re in a situation where everyone is compelled to think everything is sweetness and light, you disagree with that particular prognosis at your peril.

  7. On f… Debbie Wasserman Schultz is such a… colossal pile of shit. I know the expeletive might undermine my arguement, but I cannot express in words how loathesome she is as a human being. Take this for example:

    Relevant portion starts around 2:40, although the diversity heckling at the beginning was educational.

    Debbie hasn’t “lost” her “equipment” her laptop had been stolen by Mr. Awan. And while “The Member” (Debbie) might not have been under investigation herself, Mr. Awan was the subject of a criminal espionage investigation, and at 5:30, Debbie threatened the Chief of the capitol police with “consequences” because he would not turn over evidence on the case to her.

    Debbie was the head of the DNC, at least until she resigned in disgrace for fixing the nomination process in favor of Hillary over Bernie. But that’s OK, not only was she immediately scooped up by the Clinton Campaign, but they replaced her with Donna Brazile, who was shitcanned from CNN for feeding the Clinton Campaign debate questions.

    Please… My left leaning friends… Tell me which party you believe to be more corrupt.

      • Not only that, but they didn’t even bother to try to hide it. Part of that might have been overconfidence because it looked like Hillary was on a glide path to the White House at the time.

    • HT: I deleted TWICE a paragraph like your last, and the gist of it was: Please tell me how you can justify being an ally of a party and ideology prominently represented by these totalitarian, dishonest, cynical, ruthless and non-very-bright people and organizations: Google, DWS, CNN, Salon, Media Matters, Clinton. How? Doesn’t this force you to the center? Aren’t you enabling the sum of the earth by not strongly rejecting the values of this crew and its allies?

  8. Salon is just following the theme of the liberal media, which is that, no matter what happens, the man, particularly the straight, white, believing man must lose. What’s more he must embrace losing. Maybe he can stay on as the buffoonish husband or the strawman for the SJW of color, but there’s no way he can come out on top.

    The sieg heil issue reminds me of a recent online discussion, which I initiated by mentioning the Le Paradis Massacre (summary execution of 89 UK soldiers during the retreat from France by the SS) in the context of the recent movie Dunkirk. A few of us enthusiasts were back and forth about the incident, the units involved, how the SS commander made a fatal mistake by not making sure he left no witnesses alive, and how no European nation has ever been all that peaceably inclined during history (although some have been neutral, which isn’t the same). Eventually another friend broke in and said if this were a live discussion she would have broken it up by offering cookies a long time ago, because “these kinds of things shouldn’t be talked about.” and we were showing “an unhealthy preoccupation with Nazis.”

    Never mind the fact that none of us said we were ok with what the Nazis did there or with them generally and we all agreed that the SS commander got what he deserved. Just mere mention of those icky times in history is enough to get you tarred as a bad guy yourself. Next time we guys will retire to the study and hold this conversation with whiskey, while shooting pool, in an estrogen-free environment, while the girls can go sip tea and talk child care, sewing, and Trump-hatred in the sewing room.

    • Someone saying, “these kinds of things shouldn’t be talked about,” would immediately wake up Barren [sic] Blauschwartz, and I’m not sure how hard I would fight to prevent the ensuing evisceration.

      “Why shouldn’t some things be talked about? What’s going to happen if we keep talking about Nazis? Are you afraid we’re going to turn into Nazis ourselves? Do you really think we in particular are that stupid and weak-minded, or are you just that stupid and weak-minded yourself and you assume everyone else is, too?”

      It’s people like that that make me sorely tempted to push for a poll test to make sure a voter can entertain an idea without endorsing it. If they can’t, they’re just hapless NPCs in a giant, negative sum, real-time strategy game played by politicians, rather than responsible people making deliberate choices for the benefit of society. (I don’t think such a test would be implemented responsibly, though, and aside from that the more constructive option is to change the education system so that it actually educates people.)

      • It is the more constructive option. But, from what we’ve seen from the left is a concerted targeted and largely successful effort to anahilate constructive options before they’ born. The twisted success of this public mind numbing and fear of confrontation allows them to then cite statistics showing that more people believe the agitprop and thus it must be true.

  9. 1. Damore’s firing is going to cost Google dearly, and not just in the payouts from his wrongful termination suit (which he will likely win), but also in the goodwill it needed from average conservatives.

    James D. Miller put it best in an op-ed for the UK Edition of Business Insider:

    A Cuckservative is a conservative who backs policies that will in the long run destroy conservatism such as, supposedly, supporting immigration of people whom will eventually become citizens who vote Democratic.

    Lots of Republicans (me included) would have supported Google against government regulations and antitrust action and we were in no way bothered by Google’s massive cultural power because this was the judgement of the free market.

    We considered Google a great American success story. But this firing probably shows that many Googlers find us beneath contempt. Damore’s ouster has kind of turned us into Cuckservatives.

    If you want to know why the columns of Kurt Schlichter don’t raise an outcry on the right – Miller explains it. Every time those on the right try to engage in rational discussion, something akin to the demonizing and firing of Damore happens.

    How many times must we touch the hot stove?

    2. The fact that CNN is already at rock bottom in terms of how its perceived on the right means it won’t be hurt much over Jeffrey Lord’s firing.

    But the firing itself is instructive. As an institution, CNN does not have a problem with the increasingly totalitarian and fascist tactics of the Left. The same can be said about MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and a fair chunk of the media.

    When people were assaulted for wanting to attend a Trump rally in San Jose in June 2016, how many opined that Trump brought the violence on his own supporters? When Milo Yiannopoulis and Ann Coulter were prevented from speaking at UC Berkeley due to riots or the threat of riots… how many spoke up? Certainly not the CNN/MSNBC “tame Republicans” like Nicolle Wallace, Joe Scarborough, or Ana Navarro.

    Again, this just seems to speak more to the notion that Schlichter and those who see things his way have the proper view of the situation, when they say things like, “The Left hates you. Act accordingly.”

    It comes back to a question I asked earlier. I think it bears repeating:
    “At what point does the refusal to fight back become unethical?”

  10. On Nazi salutes: “They are defensible on the History Channel, to show how Nazis behaved. They are defensible in films like “Valkyrie,” since Tom Cruise’s doomed hero’s reluctant salute was a central theme.”

    And they were defensible among comedians in Nazi Germany, one of whom would begin his performance with a silent Nazi salute which he followed by quipping, “This is how high my dog can jump.”

    • Have you ever seen the sport of petanque? After releasing the ball the arm is usually raised in a position that looks like a Nazi salute. You would not want a photo of that to get into progressive hands.

  11. Regarding number 1, I think I’ve been most interested in the tone of the complaints regarding the piece and it’s author. Ideally, if a person disagreed with his opinions, he would rebut his points. The anti science left can’t do that, however. Of course they vilify the author – they wouldn’t have rested until he was fired, and I believe if they had their way, he would never work in anything above fast food again. But their furry seems to be largely less that he HAD these ideas, and more that he dared express them publically. The tenor of most the complaints I have read is that he should feel ashamed of himself for daring to say what he said, not that he should be ashamed of himself for what he said. That’s the chilling piece in the story for me, that the preferred solution is that conservatives should feel guilty for having a voice.

  12. I heard (can’t confirm the source right now) that the cinema offered a Wonder Woman DVD to the complainers. That is so gauche that I would keep the complaint going just to spite them.

  13. Jack, you’re omitting crucial context of my statement about Marston, which was not a rationalization. It was a direct response to this comment by Zanshin:

    Given that Wonder Woman was conceived by a man (to satisfy the male gaze and male fantasies) I would expect a boycott of this movie by women as it is a form of cultural appropriation.

    My response “Based on what I know of Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, I think he’d be more than fine with an all-woman showing of the film” was not a defense of the theater’s behavior, thus it was not a rationalization. I should have also pointed out that while Marston was intending to appeal to male fantasies, it is misleading to highlight this goal while ignoring that he was a feminist and his primary goal was to create a powerful female role model for women and men. Looking back, perhaps I was wrong; Marston did intend for young boys to admire Wonder Woman for her strength as much as her beauty, and might not have favored an all-female screening on that basis. But whether he would approve or not has nothing to do with whether it’s ethical, and I did not mean to imply otherwise.

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