Morning Ethics Warm-up: 8/16/17

GOOD MORNING!

1. I’m heading to Boston and Fenway Park in a few hours to meet with two of my high school classmates and together pay our respects to the 1967 Boston Red Sox, the spiritual beginning of Red Sox Nation, and a group of men, then barely more than boys, who had as profound an effect on my life and view of it as anything I have ever experienced.

It’s the 50th Anniversary of that amazing team and the heart-stopping pennant race it won against all odds, in a four team race that came down to the final game of the regular season. I mean heart-stopping literally: the team wasn’t called “The Cardiac Kids” for nothing. TWO of my father’s colleagues at the Boston Five Savings Bank died of heart attacks while attending Red Sox games, during one of the 9th inning desperation rallies for which the team was famous. The only reason I didn’t perish in like fashion is because I was just 16 years old.

Why was this team, and that summer 50 years ago, so important to me? I don’t have time or space to answer that question well, and you’d probably wonder what I was babbling on about anyway. A 2017 film by Major League Baseball called “The Impossible Dream” does a fair job of explaining it, but it’s too short to do the job right.

I had listened to, watched or attended every Boston Red Sox game for five years, as the team lost and lost. From those bad teams, followed weakly by the city in those days, in a crumbling old park that seemed destined to be abandoned and torn down, I learned that winning wasn’t everything, that loyalty wasn’t easy, that Hemingway was right, and that baseball was about courage, humility, perseverance, doing your job every day, sacrifice, and hope, as well as usually losing at the end. That summer of 1967 taught me that hope is worth the effort even though hope is usually dashed by the ice water of reality, that you should never give up, that miracles do happen, and that nothing is as wonderful as when a community is united in a single, inspirational goal, no matter what that goal might be…and that you should never be afraid to give everything you have in pursuit of a mission, even when it is likely that you will fail.

I learned difficult, discouraging lessons, too. When an errant pitch hit Red Sox right-fielder Tony Conigliaro in the face on August 18, 1967, it was the beginning of a lesson that revealed its tragic last chapter 23 years later. That one taught me that life is horribly, frightening unpredictable, and that we envy others at our peril. It taught me that we need to do what we can to accomplish as much good as we can as quickly as we can, because we may lose our chance forever at any moment.

Tony C, as he was and is known as, was a beautiful, charismatic, local kid, the idol of Boston’s huge Italian-American community,  in his fourth season with his home town team at the age of 22. He dated movie stars; he recorded pop songs; he had a natural flair of the dramatic, and was destined for the Hall of Fame. One pitch took it all away. Although he had two comebacks and played two full seasons facing major league fastballs with a hole in his retina and his field of vision, Tony was never the same. After his final attempt to keep playing failed at the age of 30, he became a broadcaster, and at 37 was seemingly on the way to stardom again in 1982 when he suffered a massive, inexplicable heart attack—Tony  did not smoke, and had no family history of heart problems– that left him brain damaged until his death in 1990.

As Henry Wiggin, the star pitcher protagonist of the novel, play and movie “Bang the Drum Slowly” observes as he  reflects on the death of his catcher and roommate, everyone is dying, and we have to remember to be good to each other. But it’s so hard. Ethics is hard. The ethics alarms ring faintly when we are about the task of living, or not at all…

At the end of the story, the narrator, the best friend of the catcher (but not really that close a friend) recalls how quickly everyone on the baseball team went back to their selfish ways after their teammate went home to die Even the narrator, who was the leader of the effort to make the catcher feel loved and appreciated in his last days, ruefully recalls his own failing. The catcher had asked him a favor, just to send him a World Series program (the team won the pennant after he had become too ill to play), and he had forgotten to mail it until it was too late. How hard would it have been, the narrator rebukes himself, to just put it in an envelope and mail it? Why are we like that, he wonders?

1967 was the beginning of my exploration of that mystery too.

So I am going to Boston for the 30 minute ceremony. I can’t even stay for the game; I have a seminar to teach tomorrow morning, and the last flight out of Logan is at 9 PM. There will probably be just a small contingent from the Cardiac Kids: most of them are dead now, or too infirm even to walk onto the field. But Yaz will be there, and Gentleman Jim Lonborg; Rico Petrocelli, Mike Andrews, and maybe even Hawk Harrelson  and Reggie Smith. I will be there to say thank-you, that’s all.

And to show that I remember.

2. Today’s New York Times leads with the “J’ccuse!” that President Trump again said that both sides were at fault for the violence in Charlottesville.

Gee, apparently I’m Donald Trump, because I also say that both sides were at fault for the violence in Charlottesville, because that is undeniably so. It is disturbing if not surprising to see the Times wholeheartedly adopt the latest unethical false narrative of the Left, which is that the antifa thugs who engaged the white nationalists engaged in good violence, so it is somehow endorsing white supremacy to point out the fact that if they had just allowed the legal demonstration to take place, there may have been no violence at all.

The President also said that tearing down statues was unwise, and I agree with that, too.

I’m just an ethics blogger though, speaking to mostly intelligent people who are capable, most of them, of seeing the nuance and ethical conflicts that arise in such controversies. The President is not articulate or careful enough to be sufficiently clear on such matters, and he also knows that he has a large, biased, hostile news media exemplified by the Times that is going to represent whatever he says as inadequate or worse. Thus he shouldn’t have said anything after his obligatory denunciation of racism. It was foolish. He obviously can’t stop himself.

3. The irresponsible political posturing and virtue-signaling by Hollywood celebrities these days isn’t even worthy of an Ethics Dunce post, but a special place in Ethics Hell should be reserved for Jennifer Lawrence, who called on her millions of fans—I was once such a fan, as the actress is spectacularly versatile, lovely, charismatic and talented, but after this I will no longer watch her work, no matter how excellent it is—to identify marchers on the bad violent side in Charlottesville and get them shamed, shunned and fired.

A Twitter account called @YesYoureRacist has been working to follow Lawrence’s bidding  by doxxing the citizens exercising their free speech rights.

“If you recognize any of the Nazis marching in #Charlottesville, send me their names/profiles and I’ll make them famous #GoodNightAltRight,” the account tweeted Saturday.

Among the account’s victims was a 20-year-old college student who was fired from his job at Top Dog, a restaurant in Berkeley, California. Yes, multi-millionaire Jennifer Lawrence is using her influence to get 20-year-olds fired from minimum wage jobs. She’s an arrogant,  vicious and irresponsible bully, and she’s the one who should be shamed.

The President also said yesterday, “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.” That is also probably correct. However, the apparent rule is that if you march with white nationalists, you must be a white nationalist, but if you march with hooded antifa thugs, you are just exercising your Constitutional rights.

Got it.

No, actually, I don’t.

72 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Arts & Entertainment, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Race, Rights, Social Media, Sports, Unethical Tweet

72 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-up: 8/16/17

  1. Phil Alperson

    Suggestion:  I almost never read these morning warm-ups because I don’t have time to look at everything in my in-box.  It would be helpful if you started the warm-ups with bullet points to show the topics that are covered within.  That way, I can decide if I want to take the time to open these,

  2. “Bang the Drum Slowly” closes with a resolution that nearly everyone could benefit from: “From here on in, I rag nobody.” To rag on someone implies that you’re above him or her. Well, you’re not, and for that matter you’re not above anybody.

  3. Inquiring Mind

    Meanwhile, in Baltimore, four Confederate monuments are taken down in the dark of night.

    Today, statues… tomorrow, what else might vanish overnight?

    • Neil Dorr

      Jack,

      More on the point above:

      • wyogranny

        If it should be done it should be done in the light of day. This is beyond disturbing.

      • Still Spartan

        Why does Baltimore have Confederate monuments? And why were they put up during Jim Crow?

        • If you recall from your readings, Baltimore to a great extent was a pro-Confederate city. The story that’s often mentioned is that Lincoln’s advisers hadf him travel through the city at night (on his journey to Washington) so as to avoid the possibility of violence.

          Certainly there were federal regiments attacked in Baltimore as they made their way south, and this was one of the places where had to suspend habeas corpus and shut down some newspapers during the early part of his administration. He decided that it was absolutely vital that Maryland remain in the Union by whatever means necessary.

          I don’t recall offhand the position of the governor or the balance of power in the legislature in 1861.

          ================

          That said, it does seem that doing things under cover of night may be a time honored Baltimore tradition. 😉

          • Still Spartan

            I guess I don’t see your point. So what? The fact that there were racists in 19th C. Baltimore justifies keeping up symbols of racial hatred in 20th C. Baltimore?

            • Still Spartan

              And 21st C, etc.

            • You asked why Baltimore should have Confederate monuments. About a third of the Marylanders who fought in the war fought for the Confederacy.

              Thanks, though, for letting me check out some of the monuments in Maryland. I find it fascinating that among the four that were removed were the Confederate Solders and Sailors Monument (from 1903) and the Confederate Women’s Monument (from 1917). One wonders if the former was anywhere near the Union Soldiers and Sailors Monument, dedicated in 1909.

              • Still Spartan

                Statues glorify. We can educate without glorifying. Do you want a war monument from this era? Fine by me. But none of them should be of Confederate officers, soldiers, or people that supported slavery.

                • But none of them should be of Confederate officers, soldiers, or people that supported slavery.

                  You just lost 90% of history, Spartan. Slavery exists today, even in the USA. We broke up a local slave ring in my town in the last year: Asian illegals brought over to work in a massage parlor. The girls were slaves in every sense of the word, including beatings.

                  And who made progressives the judges of acceptable history? You have never answered about where the line is drawn.

                  Notice you just advocated tearing down the Washington Monument.

    • I would think Baltimore of all places would be sensitive to overnight disappearances after the Irsays famously took the Colts away in the middle of the night.

  4. Tom R

    I seriously only agree with your posts, Sam Harris, and Pope Hat. I don’t even know who to turn to anymore for unbiased news/commentary. I’ve been finding myself sticking up for the rights of Nazis and hate doing it.

    I saw a post on social media comparing Nazi statues in Germany to that of Confedrate army statues. What is your opinion on the comparison? I think you may have touched on it earlier.

    • wyogranny

      Tom, I feel the same way. I have to keep telling myself it’s not about agreeing with Nazis or racists or the KKK. I have to keep telling myself that because emotional extremists keep framing the narrative to make me feel like I’m one of the racist KKK Nazis. The effort is exhausting, and I’m sure it’s intended to be. It’s a tactic a 2 year old can employ very effectively, so it’s not likely to be abandoned in favor of reasoning.

    • The comparison is bad because it relies on fake history. Hitler was not a particularly egocentric person, as a socialist, he was much more concerned with party, country, and race than he was with individuals. There were very few Nazi statues and, as far as I know, not a single statue of Hitler.

      • Chris

        That surprises me, but I think it only changes the relevant question from “Should Hitler statues have been torn down after WWII?” to “Had there been statues of Hitler during WWII, should they have been torn down?”

        • So long as we’re dealing with hypotheticals…

          If, as opposed to being a relatively humble leader, Hitler has a statue of himself erected on every other street corner in cities, and at least once in every hamlet in the countryside… Then there’s an argument that there’s a difference between remembering history, even recent history, and deifying a despot. I also think there’s a material difference between statues one commissions of themselves, and ones commissioned posthumously.

          And then… If as opposed to on every other street corner, there were only 100 in all of Germany, and people had immediately following their defeat at the hands of the allies, decided that the statues were a painful reminder of a bad time, or a symbol of their oppression, and decided the statues had to go, I’d feel that would be more legitimate, if not entirely positive, than say… The Allies toppling the statues themselves. Having outsiders destroy parts of your history has some really awful connotations. In a lot of ways, it reveals things about the people attempting to do so. You’ll recall ISIS’s treatment of monuments in newly conquered territory?

          And then… It seems like once a certain amount of time has passed, we don’t even consider removing symbols, regardless of how vile the people depicted or the acts committed. Mentioning ISIS and thinking about that side of the world in this context is a neat exercise. The Egyptian Pyramids were built entirely by slaves. Jewish slaves. Who were treated horribly and often died during construction. Should Egypt tear down the pyramids? Smash the hieroglyphs and pottery? Detonate TNT around the Sphinx?

          • Pyramids weren’t built by slaves, but your point can be demonstrated through countless monuments throughout the world that, time has forgotten the evils associated with thim.

            • Hah… Apparently I watch too much Hollywood… A quick Google search confirms. Egypt DID have slaves, and I’m sure they built SOME monuments… But the pyramids were built with paid labor. Mea Culpa.

          • wyogranny

            The mob element has to be factored in. Mob action especially violent mob action can’t be tolerated.

          • Chris

            That’s a pretty fair reply, Humble.

            If, as opposed to being a relatively humble leader,

            This is sarcasm, right? I was surprised to find he didn’t have many statues of himself up, but…humble? No way.

            …Hitler has a statue of himself erected on every other street corner in cities, and at least once in every hamlet in the countryside… Then there’s an argument that there’s a difference between remembering history, even recent history, and deifying a despot. I also think there’s a material difference between statues one commissions of themselves, and ones commissioned posthumously.

            I agree.

            And then… If as opposed to on every other street corner, there were only 100 in all of Germany, and people had immediately following their defeat at the hands of the allies, decided that the statues were a painful reminder of a bad time, or a symbol of their oppression, and decided the statues had to go, I’d feel that would be more legitimate, if not entirely positive, than say… The Allies toppling the statues themselves. Having outsiders destroy parts of your history has some really awful connotations. In a lot of ways, it reveals things about the people attempting to do so. You’ll recall ISIS’s treatment of monuments in newly conquered territory?

            And then… It seems like once a certain amount of time has passed, we don’t even consider removing symbols, regardless of how vile the people depicted or the acts committed. Mentioning ISIS and thinking about that side of the world in this context is a neat exercise. The Egyptian Pyramids were built entirely by slaves. Jewish slaves. Who were treated horribly and often died during construction. Should Egypt tear down the pyramids? Smash the hieroglyphs and pottery? Detonate TNT around the Sphinx?

            I don’t think “built by slaves” is enough to make those monuments evil; we have a lot of monuments built by slaves in the US that we nonetheless see as icons of freedom. It’s part of the inherent American contradiction. Glorifying people whose primary role in history was to fight to preserve slavery strikes me as far worse.

            I do see your point about time…but even there I see a difference between the pyramids, which were built thousands of years ago, and monuments to Confederate leaders, which fought to preserve slavery less than 200 years ago. That may still seem like a very long time…but the legacy is far-reaching, and arguably still affects our culture today. Jim Crow, which was a response to abolition and blacks beginning to strive for social equality, ended when my parents were children. Many Southerners still believe the South was justified. There are people alive who remember going to segregated schools. I agree that once enough time has passed, monuments should be left up, but I’m not sure that enough has in this case–especially as the monuments in question were put up partially for the purpose of sending a message to blacks.

            As for “outsiders” tearing down monuments, we’re all Americans, and much of the opposition to the Confederate monuments comes from Southern blacks.

            • “As for “outsiders” tearing down monuments, we’re all Americans, and much of the opposition to the Confederate monuments comes from Southern blacks.”

              I don’t disagree, I was just considering situations that might have been better or worse. To use a real world example… The Japanese government, which has been asking America to remove statues commemorating “comfort women” should be told firmly to pound sand.

              “I do see your point about time…but even there I see a difference between the pyramids, which were built thousands of years ago, and monuments to Confederate leaders, which fought to preserve slavery less than 200 years ago.”

              Imagine…. 2000 years from now. We will still have ancient Egyptian artifacts, but only commemorative replicas of American history. Things don’t get old if you destroy them now.

  5. I watched Anderson Cooper’s opening remarks last night on his news show. I must have missed something in the President’s remarks yesterday. Cooper interpreted Trump’s remarks not only as approval but an outright endorsement of white supremacy, the KKK, the Nazis, Hitler, and a complete rejection of anything resembling diversity and tolerance. Cooper began by saying that he usually opens his show with a greeting of sorts (“good evening”, etc) but that there was nothing to feel good about as a result of Trump’s comments. I thought he was going to cry as he presented a whole host of aggrieved people hurt by Trump’s backtracking and/or doubling down on his prior comments discussing how hurtful, heinous, and outright racist they were.

    I could not take any more of it so I switched over to The Five on Fox News, to see their take on the news. Kimberly Guilfoyle and Dana Perino were confused – they could not understand why Trump backtracked and made the situation worse after he had smoothed the rough edges on Monday. I guess they could not wrap their minds around why the president punched back yesterday after the media obliterated him for being insincere, too little too late, and down right mean. Juan Williams explained why it was so awful, and Jesse Watters did his best sound completely ignorant, which he did in spectacular fashion. (Ed. aside: how did Jesse Watters get that gig? He can’t string two coherent thoughts together. He is a frat-boy wannabe with the intellectual acumen of a small soap dish. It is apparent Juan Williams thinks he is a moron.) Greg Guttfeld thought there were more important things to worry about, such as North Korea backing down, but his voice got lost in the shuffle. Tucker Carlson did interview someone who decided that the US will not overcome its racist past until it pays reparations. That was fun to watch.

    That leads me to a facebook string I participated in yesterday. A friend posted Trump’s remarks and declared him to be The Racist in Chief. I asked where in the remarks were the advocacy and/approval of the Klan, Hitler, white supremacy. I also mentioned that the idiots marching had a permit, and that allowing them to march and exercise their Constitutional rights to express themselves was not an adoption of racism, and that yes, there was reprehensible behavior on both sides. The Horror. A thorough social media lashing was unleashed upon your lowly scribe. I was declared to be a racist sympathizer (I am not), a moron (which I am not), stupid (not), a disgrace to the Texas Bar (which may be true but for other reasons. . . .), and a blight on Atticus Finch (not sure why) because I play a lawyer during the day and torture puppies at night (which I don’t and would never do – I like puppies). The outright endorsement of totalitarianism and fascism by these people is frightening, much more so than a bunch of hooded/robed bozos running around complaining about the purity of their precious bodily fluids. We just may be doomed.

    jvb

    • But we already know if Trump is merely being alive, the Left will characterize his actions as pure evil.

      This is a formula we get to experience for 3.5 more years. Maybe 7.5….

      • Tippy Scales

        The media has become completely unhinged, and people who buy into that crap are following them down the poop hole. A TV reporter in my market echoed a common recent theme in a Facebook post: Anyone who battles Nazis is good, period. I asked him: Even Stalin? He hated Nazis. Stalin killed way more people than Hitler. I got no reply.

        I wonder: Will people start getting pissed off at Dez Dickerson and Frank Ocean? Will they ban “The Karate Kid”? After all, all three wore/wear headbands bearing the symbol of the Rising Sun, the flag of our enemy that bombed us at Pearl Harbor, committed the Rape of Nanking and other unspeakable atrocities. Or are we selective about which enemies of the U.S. we’re denouncing?

        Sorry, I forgot. We are selective, and Che Guevara is so hep. Okay, I’ll get with the program. Boo Nazis! Look at me, ma! I’m not a Nazi!

  6. 3. The irresponsible political posturing and virtue-signaling by Hollywood celebrities these days isn’t even worthy of an Ethics Dunce post, but a special place in Ethics Hell should be reserved for Jennifer Lawrence, who called on her millions of fans—I was once such a fan, as the actress is spectacularly versatile, lovely, charismatic and talented, but after this I will no longer watch her work, no matter how excellent it is—to identify marchers on the bad violent side in Charlottesville and get them shamed, shunned and fired.

    A Twitter account called @YesYoureRacist has been working to follow Lawrence’s bidding by doxxing the citizens exercising their free speech rights.

    “If you recognize any of the Nazis marching in #Charlottesville, send me their names/profiles and I’ll make them famous #GoodNightAltRight,” the account tweeted Saturday.

    Among the account’s victims was a 20-year-old college student who was fired from his job at Top Dog, a restaurant in Berkeley, California. Yes, multi-millionaire Jennifer Lawrence is using her influence to get 20-year-olds fired from minimum wage jobs. She’s an arrogant, vicious and irresponsible bully, and she’s the one who should be shamed.

    this does beg a very important question.

    Could these firings violate laws against religious discrimination?

    After all, I fail to see how white supremacism is any less of a religion than militant Islamism.

    and I have, in fact, stated that anti-discriminartion protections apply to militant Islamists.

    https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/04/09/considering-the-retrograde-mississippi-freedom-of-comment-of-the-day-2-conscience-from-government-discrimination-act-this-shouldnt-be-surprising-at-all/#comment-387812

    The guarantee of religious freedom allows people who hold abhorrent beliefs, even militant Islamism.

    Likewise, state and local laws that prohibit religious discrimination protect the militant Islamist just as surely as they protect the rest of us. If people refuse to sell airline tickets, or chickpeas, or filet minon tacoes to someone because that someone is a militant Islamist, these laws prohibit that.

    These same principles easily apply to white supremacists as they do to militant Islamists.

    • Chris

      White supremacy is not a religion, though many are affiliated with Christian identity movements (I think in Europe some also identify with Norse or pagan religions, but I could be wrong.) Regardless, an employer could fire an employee for belonging to ISIS as well, and that would not be considered religious discrimination.

      • It could be argued that ISIS is a foreign organization that is an enemy of the United States, and as such could be distinguished from a domestic organization that merely preaches and advocates militant Islamism.

        Under religious discrimination laws, almost all employers would not be allowed to discriminate against persons merely for being a member of the Catholic Church. But how is it decided which organizations are religious and which ones are not in the context of religious discrimination laws? Should we trust legislators to decide which organizations are merely advocacy organizations and which ones are terrorist organizations?

        • Sue Dunim

          It could be argued that ISIS is a foreign organization that is an enemy of the United States…

          Like the CSA?

          Or were they merely traitors?

          What about US citizens who are members of ISIS?

          My own appreciation is that as long as they speak but don’t act, they too are covered by the First and more controversially the Second amendments. You know, the right to take up arms against a government who they see as tyrants.

          • A US citizen actually a member of ISIS could be prosecuted for treason.

            Omar Mateen, had he survived, would likely be facing treason charges.

            But merely advocating for ISIS can not be a crime.

        • Chris

          White supremacists don’t even *claim* to be a religion, Michael. The question of whether to allow legislators to define religion wouldn’t even come up when dealing with the question of whether employees can fire people for being white supremacists.

          The definition of religion is a complicated question, but I think it’s fair to say that a movement that doesn’t consider itself a religion and isn’t considered a religion by most outsiders would need to do some heavy lifting to argue they are covered by religious discrimination law.

          And as far as I know, employers absolutely can fire people for being part of domestic hate groups. The list of things they cannot fire you for is pretty limited, and this doesn’t make the list.

          • What would stop an employer from considering a mosque to be a hate group?

            Or the Catholic Church to be a pro-pedophilia group?

            Remember that the militant Islamist movement and the white supremacist movement share the same high regard for the Judenvolk.

            Also, remember that there are religious accommodation laws in some states, which require employers to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs. Employers have had to make reasonable accommodations for employees who did not want to haul trucks transporting beer, or filling out prescriptions for morning-after pills.

            • Chris

              What would stop an employer from considering a mosque to be a hate group?

              Nothing, as we cannot prosecute people for thought crimes.

              I think the question you meant to ask is, “What would stop an employer from firing a Muslim for going to a mosque?”

              And the answer is the first amendment.

              Now, there could be (and probably have been–lawyers, help me out) borderline cases where an employer fired an employee for belonging to some type of group or taking an action that the employee believed was mandated by their religion. I’d want to know more about such cases, but I feel confident stating that courts can draw rational distinctions between ” fired for belonging to ISIS” and “fired for being Muslim.”

              • I agree with you, Chris.

                I believe the line has gone both ways, too. I seem to remember some Muslims at a chicken processing plant (Tyson?) who wanted others to work their jobs while they took prayer breaks. They got fired and courts backed the employer up. I also think there was a case where a court ruled that a prayer room was a necessary accommodation for Muslims at work.

              • I think the question you meant to ask is, “What would stop an employer from firing a Muslim for going to a mosque?”

                And the answer is the first amendment.

                The first amendment does not restrain private employers.

                I’d want to know more about such cases, but I feel confident stating that courts can draw rational distinctions between ” fired for belonging to ISIS” and “fired for being Muslim.”

                ISIS being a foreign enemy is definitely a distinction.

                But what about someone who is a militant Islamist? Militant islamism is as loathesome as white supremacy. Can militant Islamism be considered a religion in this context?

                • Chris

                  The first amendment does not restrain private employers.

                  Freedom of religion has been extended in the US to include freedom from being fired for one’s religion. Though if I recall I was recently informed on this blog that this stems from the Civil Rights Act, not the first amendment. So…the Civil Rights Act, then.

                  But what about someone who is a militant Islamist? Militant islamism is as loathesome as white supremacy. Can militant Islamism be considered a religion in this context?

                  You’ll have to ask a lawyer whether this can legally be done, but I think employers should have the right to fire people for, say, belonging to the Westboro Baptist Church, but not for being Christians. I think the same distinction can be made between a militant Islamist and a Muslim.

  7. Chris

    I posted a comment with a link to a David French piece and a little context about what he has gone through with the alt-right, but it didn’t post. Any particular reason? Does it violate a rule here?

    • 2 links present? A link in addition to the video?

      • Chris

        Nope, just the one.

        • Chris

          Since I haven’t heard any reason for why my post wasn’t published, I’ll try again:

          http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/450506/donald-trump-just-gave-press-conference-alt-rights-dreams

          For context, David French and his family have been viciously harassed and threatened by the alt-right in response to French’s criticism of Trump and the fact that he has a multi-racial family. He knows how dangerous these people are, and as he shows, they are now celebrating Trump’s comments about them.

          • Tippy Scales

            I’m certain there were indeed some very fine people who don’t like their southern heritage being erased, and decided to go to that protest. That article was yet another attempt to lump anyone who doesn’t buy into a certain narrative with Nazis.

            Unless you’re going to say the same thing about the antifa folks, then you’re full of crap. And don’t cop out with that “whataboutism” horse crap.

            There are fine people who show up to those antifa marches, too — and yet nobody is saying “fine people don’t march with others who burn buildings and beat up innocent people for wearing MAGA hats.”

            That article was garbage.

            • Tippy Scales

              …and while I think Trump is a moron, he did pose a question nobody has even bothered trying to answer: What, exactly, is the “alt right”? Is Steve Crowder alt.right? Rogan? Larry Elder? Anyone who posts a Pepe the Frog meme?

              It seems to be if everyone in the entire free world is going to gather as one and denounce something, there ought to at least be a clear definition of this scourge upon our planet.

              So how right does one have to be to be considered alt right? Is there an official demarcation line? Can one be alt right lite?

              To hell with it. Let’s just say all right it alt right, and if you’re white you ain’t all right.

              • Tippy Scales

                The complete unhinging of the left on this stupid non-issue shows me they’re really getting desperate. They were ready to exploit the first racial controversy that happened on Trump’s watch anyway, but they’re really reaching by equating what the president said with embracing Nazis. People have eyes and ears; the press conference is on YouTube for all to see. There’s not one thing he said that supported Nazis; in fact, HE SAID THE EXACT OPPOSITE, point blank. Of course he was ham-handed about it, but that’s how he talks. He’s a damned idiot, but I just don’t see this raving racist everyone’s making him out to be. I defy you to show me in that press conference where he said or implied that Nazis are cool. It’s an out-and-out lie.

                It doesn’t matter. The Russia narrative has petered out. Comey was caught lying about whether documents existed re: the infamous tarmac meeting. And Trump scored a major victory by staring down North Korea.

                The left is desperate, and they’re going at this particular non-controversy with both barrels. Come next election, I’m thinking they’ll have shot their wad into the same Kleenex they’re now using to dab their poor eyes whenever they see a Dukes of Hazzard rerun.

  8. JRH

    1. Grew up in 1950’s Oklahoma when the only baseball player was Mickey Mantle & the only baseball you got to “see” was the TV game of the week. So congratulations on your Red Sox celebration. Also followed the Tony C. saga from afar. Best baseball game I ever attended, for the atmosphere, was an ESPN Sunday night game when Wade Boggs had just come over to the Yanks. Been ticking off baseball parks for the last 20 years, but nothing compares to Fenway or old Yankee Stadium.
    2. The “protester” College Student who was arrested for assisting in pulling down the statue in Durham has proclaimed herself a member of the World Workers Party, a blatant Communist Party dedicated to the overthrow of the Constitution. I’ve no proof but suspect Antifa is also allied with the WWP. At the least they are imitating ISIS, who have destroyed many ancient sites because they “offend”.

  9. Linda

    Sometimes I wonder will common sense, decency, love of country, and real tolerance ever exist in this country again? I am sicken by what the hate filled opposition to Trump has turned this country into.

  10. Joe Gagliardi

    Honest question to those here: do you feel that minorities (color, sexual preference or orientation, gender) have gotten a fair shake in this country (however you define it)?

    As an outside observer and white male, I wonder if it is too easy for us to say “look, these are rationalizations for unethical behavior!” I have never felt oppression in a real manner. There have been no systems in place to ensure that my culture/gender/orientation receives less of an opportunity to succeed in society than another. Many of the counter-protestors were not so lucky – and they have rightful concerns that the “alt-right” is looking to doom much of the progress that had been made in leveling the playing field.

    I think that violence in any form is abhorrent. I think that arguing for one identity to be superior to any other with no basis other than the difference in skin color, etc is disgusting.

    I know that I am going to take punishment from the free speech crowd here, but much of what kept that repugnant behavior (racial violence and speech) in check was societal norms. Those norms have been weakened significantly by our now president and his behavior both in office and on the campaign trail.

    What once qualified as hate speech is actually espoused as a credo and we no longer bat an eye. If societal norms will no longer do the job, do we just have to accept this hatred because it falls under free speech? I know the answer I am going to get is “yes, this is America.” Is it?

    I want to believe that freedom is the answer, and our fellow man will check this evil. I want to believe that the government should stay out of things, just as I want to believe that we would simply take care of our communities in times of crisis without any need for government. I think that we have proven that those beliefs are naïveté.

    Sorry for the long post. I am having such a difficult time with this presidency as it has fried my brain and moral compass (I will admit that I struggle with the Trump freakouts). I come here to learn and discuss, so please educate me.

    • Joe: In answer to your first question, I don’t think there’s as many as 10% of the people in any culture who have gotten a “fair shake.” I’m “white,” but my ancestors come from a country that was under attack for 700 years. The language and religion were repressed, land was confiscated and redistributed to absentees. Emigration was a necessity, but bigotry was also found over here along with exclusion from a lot of fields of employment. I’m in the first generation to be educated, and well into middle-age it’s still very common for connected middle-aged children of people who were connected when I was just making my way in the world to remind me of how little I know of the latest of anything that all of the interesting people are fascinated by today. Nearly all of those people have also been “white.”

      So, I don’t think that most “minorities” have been given a fair shake. I also don’t think that most “whites” have been given a fair shake. The remaining 10% or fewer – that is where privilege resides in America. Our wealthy dilettantes today, exactly like the robber barons of 100 years ago, have decided that life is not worth living unless you also have a reputation for goodness. They’ve unfortunately decided to achieve this reputation by creating a Big Lie that a large number of people here have prospered by conspiring to gouge surplus value out of others, with the victims chosen purely by demographics, and then setting themselves up as protectors of those never-questioned victims. I reject the lie, and I reject both the moral authority and the sincerity of the people who assert it.

      With respect to your conclusion, I’ll just suggest that the rule of law, not freedom, is the first step in restoring civil society, and that a strict equality before the law is an indispensable part of that.

      • Joe Gagliardi

        Excellent reply. This gives me much to think about RE: the true causation of the differentiation between “haves” and “have nots.” It may be more of an Occam’s Razor than I am manufacturing in my head. Money being the driving force and people doing whatever it takes to keep that money (and equivalent power) is a strong line of reasoning.

        • The thing is, it is our very nature. Money can be considered a form of territory and we fight to defend it.

          this begs the question of whether or not there are species of animals that will fight to defend their territory.

      • I was thinking of this, and the speech that Joe Biden stole from Neil Kinnock states the common human very well:

        “Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is my wife, Glenys, the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were ‘thick’? Did they lack talent – those people who could sing, and play, and recite and write poetry; those people who could make wonderful, beautiful things with their hands; those people who could dream dreams, see visions; those people who had such a sense of perception as to know in times so brutal, so oppressive, that they could win their way out of that by coming together?

        “Were those people not university material? Couldn’t they have knocked off all their A-levels in an afternoon? But why didn’t they get it? Was it because they were weak? Those people who could work eight hours underground and then come up and play football? Weak? Those women who could survive eleven child bearings, were they weak? Those people who could stand with their backs and their legs straight and face the people who had control over their lives, the ones who owned their workplaces and tried to own them, and tell them, ‘No. I won’t take your orders.’ Were they weak?

        “Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what we had because they didn’t have the talent, or the strength, or the endurance, or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand; no arrangement for their neighbours to subscribe to their welfare; no method by which the communities could translate their desires for those individuals into provision for those individuals.”

        For “a thousand generations” people all over Europe (as all over the world) barely scraped by, mostly on tiny farms. They lacked the “platform” necessary to the improvement of their lot in life, and that lack of a platform also denied them the opportunity (had they actually been rabid dogs) to be of harm to others.

  11. wyogranny

    Honest answer, yes and no. Slavery is a terrible stain on our history and Jim Crow as well. Slaves and descendants of slaves most certainly did not have a fair shake under those systems.

    • wyogranny

      Sorry. The above should be a reply to Joe. I hope I can do justice to other parts of your inquiry. I’ll need time before I can do that. The slave issue I can address quickly and simply. The others will take more time than I have right now.

  12. Who wants to place bets for how long the Left hyperventilated over confederate statues / alt right, since it seems to have given up on the Trump-Russia narrative?

  13. Andrew V

    A Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia wants the Confederate carvings on Stone Mountain removed. I wonder how these people felt when the Taliban blew up the Bamian Buddhas.

    • Sue Dunim

      A better solution would be to have other tryptichs nearby to provide context. Say, Ludendorff, Kaiser Wilhelm and Hindenburg as the first. Benedict Arnold, Cornwallis and George III as the second.

      Bin Ladin and the perpetrators of 9/11 of course.

      • Sue Dunim

        As for the statues – have a commemorative park for them. One containing the hundreds of each mass produced design, in rows, with a plaque on each saying where it was originally erected, by whom, when, and why.

        I believe there is at least one such Park in Russia that contains similar cheap and tawdry statues of Lenin, though the historical context of each isn’t documented. I’m sure the US can do better, both aesthetically and historically.

        Meanwhile, here’s a picture of two 1/144 models of Sopwith F1 Ships Camels, as accurate as research on the photos and written descriptions of the time can make them. One donated by the RN to Latvia, the other to Estonia, in 1919.

        http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=213124&d=1481783518

        Context is everything.

      • This sort of stuff is unproductive.

  14. An update.

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/20427/false-equivalency-white-supremacist-nazis-fascists-antifa-Charlottesville

    Antifascists who were interviewed and responded to surveys as part of my dissertation research conducted in 2007 and 2008 consistently expressed support for nonviolent tactics, in addition to an escalation of tactics as necessary to stop supremacist events, organizing, and recruitment efforts.

    The position that antifascist use of violent confrontational tactics is equivalent to the violence of the far-right reflects a lack of understanding of both fascist violence and the threat faced by antifa, and by diverse communities in general. Whereas supremacist movements treat violence as their ultimate goal, antifa approach it as a necessary tactic in self-defense. This position of self-defense is the product of the very real threat the white supremacists pose to antifascists and numerous other groups. Antifa come to understand that threat because their personal identities, as well as their political activism, are targeted by fascist violence. And they are more likely to actually face that violence than the average individual. By understanding the sense of threat observed by antifa, we can gain a greater context for their actions.

  15. “…consistently expressed support for nonviolent tactics, in addition to an escalation of tactics as necessary to stop supremacist events, organizing, and recruitment efforts.”

    That means they support violent tactics.

    One of the problems we face right now is that there is no common “book” guiding correct behavior. Religion used to be one of the providers of that, but that no longer supplies common underlying values for the culture. As a result, questions such when someone should break the law in the interest of some higher cause are being resolved on a purely personal basis, completely subjective and changeable from moment-to-moment. The only way to stop this from plunging us toward chaos is for people of goodwill to insist that the law be adhered to, no exceptions.

    • wyogranny

      Jack has opined many times on the breaking-the-law-for-a-good-reason justification. If there is no law there is no justice, the book, stunted by the loss of belief in a higher power, does exist in codified law. I agree that it was a far better system when God and the laws of God were bound up with the laws of the land. Belief in a higher power keeps people humble. Fidelity to the original is difficult to maintain, but the effort is worth it if the benefits of the original are powerful enough.

      • The “Marketplace of Ideas” really means “If you have more money, you can buy more Free Speech”. All that remains for disenfranchised groups to exercise their Free Speech is through illegal means like vandalism.

        I presume that the author draws the line at murder.

        I wonder if she would have defended the white supremacists in Charlottesville if they merely restricted themselves to vandalism.

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