Now THIS Is “Whataboutism”….

Oh, Glenn, Glenn, Glenn.

What gets into you sometimes?

I could ask that of a lot of conservatives right now.  Many of them, and there are far too many,  are looking for ways to rationalize supporting Roy Moore for the Senate in Alabama because he has an (R) next to his name. My favorite quote from “A Man For All Seasons” comes to mind: “It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales?”  Wales is a bargain, compared to giving up one’s soul—integrity, values, self-respect, common decency, credibility— for the likes of Roy Moore. Even the most fanatic partisan has to accept that there are some depths to which no honorable person should  sink for pure political gain. Partisans who don’t accept that are themselves untrustworthy.

Moore’s candidacy was indefensible long before he was revealed as a stalker of teens when he was an assistant district attorney. The allegations—there was another one yesterday—are just fecal frosting on a poisonous cake. Republicans are saying, “Oh, everyone’s making too big a deal over the frosting. It won’t kill you.” What about the cake???

Yesterday Prof. Glenn Reynolds, a conservative blogger who often gets disoriented amidst his more extreme and less erudite readers, posted,

HOW CAN DEMOCRATS SUPPORT THIS? Roy Moore’s Democratic Challenger Recently Ran an Ad Praising the Confederate Army. I’m sure all the press folks will ask all the leading Democrats that question.

This is wrong in so many ways, it’s like a tangled ball of unethical yarn.

The Slate article linked is intellectually dishonest, politically-correct History for the Simple-Minded. Normally, Reynolds would be mocking it, which would require defending Democrat Doug Jones. Can’t have that! Jones has run a campaign ad spotlighting Col. William Calvin Oates of Alabama, the Confederate officer who led his troops in battle on Little Round Top against Maine soldiers led by Col. Joshua Chamberlain. It was one of the most memorable and important episodes at Gettysburg:

“What brought those two brave men, one from Alabama and one from Maine, together was war—two sides believing so strongly in their cause that they were willing to die for it. Those times are past, long ago, and our country is better for it. But now we fight too often over other matters. It seems as if we’re coming apart. I want to go to Washington and meet the representatives from Maine and those from every other state not on a battlefield, but to find common ground, because there’s honor in compromise and civility. To pull together as a people and get things done for Alabama.”

Stupidly, Slate quotes Alabama columnist John Archibald, who wrote that praising the cause of slavery is probably not the kind of thing that will elevate black voter turnout on your behalf. Does the ad’s text in any way “praise the cause of slavery”?  It does not. So why is Reynolds suggesting that the news media would be hypocritical not to make an issue of it, when he knows there is no issue?

He’s doing it to deflect from the awfulness of Moore by saying, “Look over there! Make Democrats uncomfortable defending one of their own who admired Confederate heroes!”

There is no excuse for any efforts to discredit Jones. He’s not Moore; that’s good enough. If Jones was sculpted out of cheese, he would still be the only defensible choice in this race.  Yet Reynolds is raising a false issue, and one he knows is false, while arguing that Jones should be called to account on it.

Glenn, Glenn, Glenn.

Shape up or ship out.

 

19 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, History

19 responses to “Now THIS Is “Whataboutism”….

  1. Good analysis.

    “There is no excuse for any efforts to discredit Jones. He’s not Moore; that’s good enough.”

    I disagree with this. If 2016 taught us anything. Well, it taught us many things. But one of those things is you cannot merely make the argument that “he’s not the other guy” anymore. Because that argument led many fools to vote for “not-Trump” and many fools to vote for “not-Hillary”.

    No, after you’ve turned away from one candidate, that’s insufficient, now one must still analyze the other candidate.

    That being said, the argument made for the analysis “he praised a dirty sesesh” isn’t enough.

    • valkygrrl

      Bonus points for using the word secesh to refer to southron rebles.

      • Southron…

        This isn’t middle earth.

        I think humans stopped using the term Southron for southerners about the same time they started using the term for southerners…like 150 years ago.

    • But it wasn’t foolish to vote “not-Trump” or “not-Hillary”. As an ethicist, I couldn’t justify with any integrity intact voting for either Trump or Hillary. But if you are determined to make a choice, the fact that in a binary system Choice X is absolutely unacceptable, that leaves the other choice. I may yet end up concluding that “not-Hillary” justified voting for Trump.

      And he didn’t “praise a dirty sesesh.” He praised a brave soldier who did his duty with honor, and fought for his unified country in the next war.

      • And he didn’t “praise a dirty sesesh.” He praised a brave soldier who did his duty with honor, and fought for his unified country in the next war.”

        My language usage here was too vague. I don’t decry the motivations of a wide range of Southerners. I used the term ‘dirty sesesh’ because that’s the kind of phraseology people use when they DO decry the Confederates, which is the kind of argument that was weakly being made by the Republican in this case.

        I suppose it’s a flavor of sarcasm.

  2. valkygrrl

    Jack, you mention A Man for All Seasons often, have you seen Wolf Hall? It’s from the POV of Thomas Cromwell.

  3. John Billingsley

    “So why is Reynolds suggesting that the news media would be hypocritical not to make an issue of it, when he knows there is no issue?”

    Perhaps because he knows there was no issue when John Kelly talked about General Lee and he is pointing out the fact that it didn’t stop April Ryan of CNN trying to make his comments out to be a defense of slavery. I took Glenn’s comments on the Slate Tweet and article as more a dig at the bias of the MSM and the progressive agenda of denouncing any positive comment about the Confederacy or the men who fought for the South in the Civil War as being pro-slavery. A case of being hoisted by one’s own petard as it were.

  4. Well, then, bring on the cheese. It goes well with the Kool-Aid.

  5. Wayne

    I wonder if Doug Jones would support tearing down statues of Colonel Oats in Alabama if there is any.

  6. luckyesteeyoreman

    Jack, Jack, Jack. Don’t you see? We are already in “lost soul” territory, including in the Alabama Senate race. It is a soulless, ethics-free, win-at-all-costs contest. I understand your misgivings about Moore. He is the political thumb in the dyke. [Insert sex predator joke here.] But, fret not; I bring you glad tidings of great further soullessness: Unto us, and unto the voters of Alabama, an alternative asshole has been born. Actually, maybe more than one alternative asshole. The people of Alabama will be screwed in the Senate by either Doug “Big Cheese” Jones, or by some pick by that Democrat Slap-Bitch-in-Chief, McConnell – either way, by another Democrat.

  7. Steve-O-in-NJ

    I’ve bitten my tongue and advocated for at least two other vile (R) candidates, including the bozo who decided to rough up the reporter recently, but this is a bridge too far. Having an affair is par for the course in DC, and Mark Sanford could pretty easily sneer off any criticism by asking a critic what he’d find if he drilled into their history. Knocking a reporter around is just want they’d all like to do, but usually restrain themselves from doing. Publicly, they feign outrage, privately, they’d all like to shake the other guy’s hand for doing what they’d all like to do. Chasing and feeling up teenagers, however, is an overreach no one should be comfortable with.

    I have wrestled with the idea of older men admiring teens for a long time due to my involvement with classical crossover music. There’s something fundamentally icky about men with straggly gray hair and fat around their middles, with nary a wife or girlfriend in evidence, just applauding an underage girl not of their immediate family, leave along slobbering all over her at a meet and greet (although the family that put her out there in a Disney princess ball gown and adult-style makeup also bears some fault).

    There’s something even ickier about a grown man forming any kind of personal (not professional) attachment to a girl who’s underage and only her. It’s one thing if she’s your longtime good friend’s daughter and she might as well be family. It’s one thing if she’s your neighbor’s daughter and everybody in the neighborhood kinda looks out for everybody else. Beyond that, though? In either of those exceptions God help you if you abuse the relationship or even give the appearance of it. Don’t touch, don’t take pictures, and don’t talk more than you must. Possibly neither of those exceptions should apply if you are single. You and your good buddy go to the football game, go on the fishing outing, or whatever, and at the (early) end of the day he drops you home or you drop him home, and you keep a low profile in the neighborhood, wave hello, nod, and keep to yourself. The thought of flirting with, leave alone dating, someone underage, should be foreign to you. Remember, as an adult half your age +7 is the rule for social acceptability, with a floor of 21 and all fractions rounded up, so a man of 30 could date a 22-year-old, at 35 25 is the minimum, and so on.

    In the best of al possible worlds we’d all date and marry our high school or college sweethearts and never look back or sideways, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Those of us who are single past 22, especially single men, are going to be held to a different standard. If we go long-term unmarried, the question is going to arise as to why. If our heads turn at someone a lot younger, again people are going to ask why. Frankly it shouldn’t be anyone’s business, but people’s families’ welfare are their business, and sometimes that includes keeping an eye on other people. The burden is on us, if not to prove that we are not deviants (since proving a negative is difficult) then to prove that we are safe and are good neighbors. If we fail, maybe it’s on the fathers to teach us boundaries. Apparently no one was brave enough to take Roy Moore into the garage and beat him with a wrench, to teach him where the boundaries were.

    • “Remember, as an adult half your age +7 is the rule for social acceptability, with a floor of 21 and all fractions rounded up, so a man of 30 could date a 22-year-old, at 35 25 is the minimum, and so on.”

      Run a graph or chart of half plus seven. That’s a bonkers standard.

      I think 5/6ths is a way better rule of thumb for maturity and life stage evaluations. That is the younger partner is no younger than 5/6ths the age of the older.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        I didn’t make up the half-plus-seven rule, although it is apparently recognized (it’s in Wikipedia in the article about age disparity in sexual relationships). If it was up to me the rule would be no more than three years apart. No more rich guys hunting for trophy wives, no more young, clueless entertainers marrying their business managers, no more directors marrying the young stars of their movies, no more strippers marrying 80-year-old oil executives and carefully gathering up their money after they expire, none of that crap.

      • Wayne

        Sounds about right to me especially considering the shorter lifespans of males. The 3 year rule on the other hand sounds a bit arbitrary.

    • Andrew Wakeling

      Interesting. Sounds appallingly patronising to me – your ‘ickiness’ rule. Of course there’s plenty of tradition for the older generation seeking to define the rules ( or the ‘boundaries’ as you put it) as to who can go with whom. And plenty of precedence for the application of violence against those who won’t comply. There was plenty wrong with the 60s/70s but a strong theme was of personal freedom; of junking the prejudices and hang ups of our parents; of telling our sometimes well meaning parents where they could put their ‘rules’ and ‘boundaries’. I thought we were all growing up. But now we seem to be regressing. How depressing!

  8. Jack,

    As I have long lamented, the right has learned this game from the left all too well. Democrats have no standards, and it has worked out well for them (depending on your point of view) in elections the past 5 decades. The mainstream right just had to abandon their core principles, morals, and ethics to act this way: in other words, these are not Conservatives any longer.

    Whether these are Establishment GOP (RINO, or Democrat light) or simply right leaning liberals (in the sense of Kennedy or Reagan Democrats of the past) makes no difference. Their soul has been sold for political gain, for power and revenge on the left. They will use the same tricks the left has used my entire life (just like Trump does) to punish their adversaries, and they will be better at it than the left, who has gotten lazy with their repeated successes. The newly compromised right has to fight progressives, the media, Hollywood, and Academia to get the word out, but that only gives them dedication to the cause: they have been on the outside for decades, and are far more dedicated than lazy progressives who are simply virtue signalling because it makes them look good, with little substance or impact on their personal lives. Once it costs ‘drive by progressives’ something personal, their song changes quickly. The right (and conservatives) have to have some passion about their beliefs to sustain them against all of the attacks from the left. Progressives just have to shallowly agree with the majority, without deep thought or consistent stances from day to day. This makes the new right stronger on average than the average progressive, and individually more effective in a fight. (Of course, the loss of the rudder might not be evident until you want to turn the ship, and loss of principles is fine until you are actually in charge.)

    I do not applaud this: it is bad for our country, and for our humanity. I am simply an observer, watching the tide roll out, wondering if this time it comes back as a tsunami.

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