Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/2017: The Infuriating Clinton Enabler Flip-Flops, And Ominous Messages From The Times

Good Morning After…

1 Damn First Amendment! I’m hoping that everyone was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and missed it, but yesterady’s New York Time front page had very strange headline above the fold: “Using Freedom To Lead Attack On Gay Rights.” The online version was more descriptive of te tone of the article: “Fighting Gay Rights and Abortion With the First Amendment.” The article seeks to paint the Alliance Defending Freedom, which opposes policies that its members believe infringe on their right to live according to their religious beliefs, as sinister. By emphasizing the fact fact that the guarantees of the First Amendment aid and abet the dastardly objcetives of these horrible people, the Times appears—to me, anyway–to be questioning the First Amendment itself. Don’t all advocacy groups “use freedom” to argue for their positions? Doesn’t the New York Times fight the Republican Party and Donald Trump “with the First Amendment”? Yes, we have free speech in this country, at least until progressives acquire sufficient power to limit it, as their rhetoric increasingly portends. Where is the Times headline, “Progressive Use Freedom to Lead Attack on Liberty”?

From the article:

“We think that in a free society people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman shouldn’t be coerced by the government to promote a different view of marriage,” said Jeremy Tedesco, a senior counsel and vice president of United States advocacy for the group, which is based in Scottsdale, Ariz. “We have to figure out how to live in a society with pluralistic and diverse views.”

But civil liberties groups and gay rights advocates say that Alliance Defending Freedom’s arguments about religious liberty and free expression mask another motivation: a deep-seated belief that gay people are immoral and that no one should be forced to recognize them as ordinary members of society.

Oh, no doubt, the civil liberty groups are correct about that, but so what? Motives have never been the criteria whereby legitimate use of the First Amendment is measured and limited.  Whether religious groups believe that LGBT individuals should not have the same rights as other citizens because they have been condemned by God, or whether they just think they are inherently icky, or whether they are inherently icky because they have been condemned by God, or whether they have been condemned by God because God thinks thet thinks they are inherently icky, part of the First Amendment states that they have a right to their beliefs, and another part says that they have a right to argue for those beliefs without government interference. Yup: they are dead wrong about gays (though not necessarily about abortion), just as the Times is wrong about many, many things. But implicating the First Amendment while attacking Alliance Defending Freedom’s positions is a dangerous game, and one more bit of evidence that a large swathe of the ideological Left regards the nation’s core principles of freedom or speech and religion as problems rather than blessings.

2. It isn’t that I’m conservative, it’s just that the rhetoric and logic of liberals increasingly scare the hell out of me…I flagged another Times article for discussion two weeks ago, then lost my notes. Found them! Claudia Goldin, a Harvard professor of economics, wrote that rarity, and honest and factual article about the so-called “gender pay gap.” She explained what dishonest demagogues on the Left—like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton–always gloss over when they cite their old, deceitful “77 cents” trope:

The data shows that women disproportionately seek jobs — including full-time jobs — that are more likely to mesh with family responsibilities, which, for the most part, are still greater for women than for men. So, the research shows, women tend to prefer jobs that offer flexibility: the ability to shift hours of work and rearrange shifts to accommodate emergencies at home.

Such jobs tend to be more predictable, with fewer on-call hours and less exposure to weekend and evening obligations. These advantages have a negative consequence: lower earnings per hour, even when the number of hours worked is the same.

She cites other factors as well. While gender discrimination in the workplace can and does exist, a large portion of the “gender gap” arises out of conscious choices—and I thought the right to choose was a good thing.

So far so good…and then the professor concludes with this:

In sum, the gap is mainly the upshot of two separate but related forces: workplaces that pay more per hour to those who work longer and more uncertain hours, and households in which women have assumed disproportionately large responsibilities.

Equality on this court requires a level playing field at home and in the market. There are many battles ahead. Unfortunately, they need to be fought at several levels.

In other words, society and human nature must be upended, forcibly if necessary, because absolute gender equality in pay and the elimination of all disparities in gender-based behavior must be achieved at all costs…and the costs include making people miserable. This is the mandatory social engineering that made Communism such a hell on earth, and yet the Left is still peddling it. It is wrong that most women, physically, psychologically and emotionally, prefer to care for children and are better at it than most men, so we must change that! If we don’t, we won’t be able to eliminate the gender pay gap!

If there is a statistical gender pay gap that result from individual choices rather than discrimination, there is nothing unethical about accepting it as a natural consequence of freedom. I find it extremely ominous that so many liberals are unable or unwilling to understand this.

In my experience, however, most women do.

3. I want a written apology, I think…no, even that’s not enough. I am not yet inclined forgive all those people who accused me of being a Republican shill and motivated by partisan bias 19 years ago when I tried to explain to them why a President who lies under oath to protect his tawdry workplace sex-romps and uses the power of his office and his subordinates to cover his tracks is a national disgrace and should resign forthwith. “Everybody does it”…”It’s just sex!”…”Everybody lies about sex!”…”It was a perjury trap!”…”It’s just personal behavior!” …”They were consenting adults!”…”She entrapped him!”…”What about Gingrich’s cheating?”…”It wasn’t really sex!”…”Hillary doesn’t care!”…”It’s a vast right wing conspiracy!” Not only did Clinton’s unprincipled and hypocritical defenders from Lanny Davis and Gloria Steinem to friends and relatives (You know who you are…) hurl these rationalizations and lies at me and others, but they were snotty about it, as if I were the ignorant, cynical, hypocritical one ignoring fact, ethics and law.

Fact: A President having sex with an intern is per se sexual harassment.

Fact: Such conduct, then and now, would get any CEO fired, no matter how earnestly the low level employee swore it was consensual.

Fact: Perjury is a serious crime, and a President of the United States lying under oath undermines the Rule of Law and public respect for the system.

Fact: no lawyer who behaved as Clinton did would be allowed to continue practicing law, and Presidents must be held to higher standards than lawyers.

Fact: the alleged or actual misconduct of other Presidents and other high office holders is entirely irrelevant to the importance of holding Clinton to the proper standards of conduct for his office.

Fact: my position would have been unchanged regardless of who the President was, and what party he was from.

Fact: I don’t care who or what a President has sex with as long as he doesn’t violate the law in the process, lie about it under oath, and use his power to cover it up.

Fact: I was right.

For these reasons, all of the feminists, progressives and Democrats coming out now to change their ugly tune is infuriating. In most cases, their flip-flops are just as cynical as their original denials and mockery. As John Sexton wrote this week,

“They fought us tooth and nail on this issue for 19 years. They mocked the right’s concerns and made flaming hypocrites of themselves abandoning their own concerns (sexual harassment, respect for women). Having done all of that, the left is now casually switching sides on the field, like a football team after half-time. As someone who lived through all of this, their sudden, convenient about-face is just astounding to behold. Two decades of their smug, snooty garbage and now it’s just “Okay, you were right all along.”

26 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/2017: The Infuriating Clinton Enabler Flip-Flops, And Ominous Messages From The Times

  1. “Okay, you were right all along.”

    Big problem for HRC if she is the presumptive nominee in 2020. And probably for the Dem party. The party seems to be lining up into a circular firing squad. Strange. The party has no viable leader.

      • The national Democratic Party might do a lot of crazy things, like rig the nomination process, but one thing it doesn’t do is renominate candidates who have run in the general election and lost. It’s one thing to allow those who ran in the primaries but didn’t get the nomination to try again, it’s another to renominate a proven failure. Hillary lost in the primaries in 2008 and the general this time out. Who says she’ll even make it to 2020? She’s 70 now and in prime territory for all kinds of health issues, assuming she hasn’t already got some they are just keeping quiet.

        The Democratic party isn’t without viable leaders, although the non-viable ones like Elizabeth Warren (too old and not enough of a record) Bernie Sanders (too old and not actually a Democrat), and Tim Kaine (too close to the failed Hillary bid) get all the press. Cory Booker is a possibility, although enough time needs to pass that he won’t be perceived as Obama 2.0. One of the two just-elected Democratic governors might go somewhere, although NJ’s Murphy is more likely to last only one term and fade out, just like the last four Democratic governors of the Garden State, whose problems are simply insurmountable. Then there’s of course NYC’s hard-left mayor.

        Dunno if it will happen, but anything can sneak up on you if you let it. Thinking the Democratic Party is in a shambles is a bad idea.

        • Steve, I don’t think if Hillary wants to run again there’s any kind of viable force in the party to prevent her from doing so. Obama has no machine in place. The national party is still essentially the Clinton Machine. Plus she’s still got the media industrial complex backing her. She’ll keep running until she’s critically dead. She’ll be Strom Thurmond or Robert Byrd. You just can’t kill a Clinton. They’re like cockroaches. If she isn’t running for something, the money spigot gets turned off. I think they’re running the party into the ground and don’t care a bit.

    • I can usually understand other peoples’ points of view on most things, but this is one notion I simply can’t get my head around. I can’t see how anyone could think that Hillary could make a non-disastrous bid for the Democratic nomination in 2020. In addition to all the baggage that killed her 2008 bid, she now has the additional weight of people knowing she rigged the 2016 primary race, plus she lost the presidency to one of the most ridiculous people to ever run for office in this country. Then there’s her “blame everyone else” conduct since November (most people really don’t like sore losers), and a new focus on Bill’s horrible conduct with women. The “Russian meddling” probe is bringing unwelcome attention to her own shady dealings wih Russia, as well. She may be narcissistic enough to want to run, but who’s going to give her money to do it? There seems to be a clear effort to push her and Bill out of the spotlight now, and word seems to have gone out that they’re fair game, as longtime allies have begun to turn on them. The Clinton political machine is winding down. Two decades late, but a welcome development nonetheless.

        • Heck, even the Clinton machine understood that she was a very poor candidate in 2016, which is why they co-opted and subverted the DNC to ensure her nomination. Without that corrupt deal, she might have still been the nominee, but it would have been a much harder slog. Thanks to Donna Brazile’s way-too-late tattling, it would be almost impossible to pull that sort of chicanery off a second time.

          And before anyone suggests that Chelsea is being groomed to continue a Clinton dynasty, I’ll point out that she seems to have inherited a lot of her mother’s personality flaws and none of her father’s charm. With the Clinton name being picked apart like a roadkill possum, I don’t think there’s much of a chance of tin-eared, low-excitement Chelsea to gain a foothold in politics. I suspect she has little stomach for the real trench warfare of politics, preferring to take Twitter pot shots from the sidelines while enjoying a Clinton Foundation sinecure.

          • ”he seems to have inherited a lot of her mother’s personality flaws and none of her father’s charm.”

            Ain’t THAT a revoltin’ development?

            I vividly recall a number of local Lefty bloggers slobbering effusively-n-uncontrollably about 8 years of HRC to be followed by 8 years of Chelsea.

            For some inexplicable reason, which remains a mystery to this day, that came to a screeching halt on November 9th of last year.

            In possibly related news, our 12/01/2017 issue of the Lefty-leaning periodical “The Week” arrived today.


      • I’m sure there are a great many people who look at HRC and think of only one thought: FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT.

        So no matter how much baggage she has, no matter what happens between now and then, so long as she still has a vagina, that’s all that will matter.

        …and I should clarify: that one thought is actually really the desire to later say I VOTED FOR THE FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT.


  2. I’ve concluded that the fly over states should just found their own nation since there is some acknowledgement that the First Amendment is something that we want to preserve for everybody. The coasties in general believe that it should be reserved for those who embrace politically correct positions. Like the old Soviet Union Politburo members, they clap enthusiastically for those who disapprove of conservative, archaic folks who foolishly believe in the right to life, etc.

  3. 1. Back in the early 90s I believe, I read Nat Hentoff’s “Free Speech for Me but Not for Thee.” Doesn’t seem much has really changed. It is troubling that only a minority of citizens seem to know what the Bill of Rights is and that even among the ones who do, many seem ready to chuck it under the bus if it conflicts with their beliefs.

    2. “Equality on this court requires a level playing field at home and in the market.”

    Kurt Vonnegut wrote a science fiction short story, “Harrison Bergeron”, carrying that idea to its logical conclusion. The office of United States Handicapper General headed by the ruthless Diana Moon Glampers makes certain everyone is equal by handicapping those who exceed the norm in any manner be it beauty, strength, intelligence, or any other attribute. Oddly enough, it appears that the handicappers aren’t handicapped.

  4. A year and a half ago, referencing a Comment of the Day from 2013, I wrote in what you also declared a Comment of the Day regarding Mississippi’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

    I will note now, that with the Windsor and Obergefell rulings, the advocates of gay marriage have gained the additional power I worried about based on the pattern of bullying, thuggery, and coercion that’s been directed at CEOs like Brendan Eich to small business owners like Aaron and Melissa Klein.

    Today, the Religious Right isn’t fighting to repeal gay marriage – they are now asking not to be forced to participate in something they believe is wrong. To maintain their First Amendment rights – something that the increasingly totalitarian left is all too willing to squash.

    In 2013, it was about using the power of the state of New Mexico to punish a photographer who didn’t want to take a photograph. At the Supreme Court today, it’s about whether the power of the state of Colorado can be used to punish a baker who doesn’t want to make a cake for a same-sex wedding through fines and “re-education.” As an aside, the state of Colorado doesn’t punish a baker from the LGBT community for refusing to make a cake quoting Bible verses.

    So, as it stands in Colorado right now, a member of the Religious Right is subject to being compelled to express views they don’t wish to express, by the LGBT community is not. Two sets of standards for two groups, one favored by those running the state government of Colorado, one disfavored. Back when that existed in the South, it was called Jim Crow. In South Africa, they called it apartheid.

    In those cases, it was about using the power of the government to suppress the disfavored group. And among the rights they have to take away to really make the suppression stick are those protected by the First Amendment.

    For a long time, the proponents of gay marriage and LGBT rights have left me with the impression that they were willing to trample on the First Amendment to secure those objectives. A college administrator gets demoted for merely signing a petition to put a gay marriage law to a referendum. Donors to Prop 8 are targeted and their employers are hounded until they are fired.

    What do you think this New York Times article will do should an attorney decide to move from ADF to a corporate law office? The lawyers working for this group will now be effectively discriminated against. Some for the thoughtcrime of defending the First Amendment rights of others.

    I think, Jack, you owe the owners of Elane Photography, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, and Masterpiece Cakeshop, among others, an apology. They were the canaries in the coal mine that the Left was targeting the First Amendment. Between the Masterpiece Cakeshop and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates cases, we will have a better sense of just how bad the jeopardy to the First Amendment is.

    • Nope. The proprietors you cite, regardless of what the law may or may not permit, were being unkind, bigoted, insulting, cruel and breached the Golden Rule. No religious conviction justifies refusing to sell someone a cake, sell them pizza or take their pictures.

      Yes, they should not have been targeted to force their hand, but two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • Jack, did you think the precedent for undermining the First Amendment would be the IRS scandal?

        No, it’s being able to have the government tell Elane Photography that not taking wedding photos of a same-sex wedding warrants a fine. It’s the government telling Masterpiece Cakeshop to “re-educate” its employees when they refuse to DESIGN and CREATE (read the briefs in that case) a cake for a same-sex wedding.

        That’s how you kill free speech. It’s always someone you can paint as a bad person over something insignificant… like a cake.

        • It is a legal question about whether cake shops and photographers are expressive arts (First Amendment) or public accommodations. Ethically, it doesn’t matter. The proprietors are being jackasses. The only question is whether or not they can be jackasses legally.

  5. “as if I were the ignorant, cynical, hypocritical one ignoring fact, ethics and law.”

    I think that’s the key phrase, Jack. To them, you ARE the ignorant, cynical, hypocritical one, actually they don’t care if you are ignorant, cynical, hypocritical, or whatever, to them you’re just plain wrong, and that’s all there is to it. It’s simply a hometown/pro-wrestling mentality writ large. To those on the left, the Democratic Party is the home time, and it’s top figures are the designated heroes. There’s also a Hollywood mentality here, a protagonist-centered code of ethics, if you will, where the designated plot is supposed to unfold and the designated heroes are allowed to bend, break, and even flout the rules.

    Everyone else is expected to just cheer and not look too closely or ask too many questions. It’s not supposed to matter if the cop hero throws criminal procedure out the window, the bad guy has to get caught or killed, no matter what, because he’s the bad guy. It’s not supposed to matter if the hotty leaves her family for the designated hero, because true love, defined as the hot guy and the hot girl being together, trumps all. It’s not supposed to matter if the designated heroes turn an internal crisis into an external one and hand the enemy a diplomatic coup, because they’re just so darn noble that nothing else matters.

    I challenge anyone here to find a flattering depiction of a conservative politician or administration in mainstream entertainment outside of Tom Clancy (and even that usually gets watered down for the big screen), and Fred Dalton Thompson’s portrayal of conservative Manhattan DA Arthur Branch on Law and Order. There is no conservative “The West Wing (Bill Clinton with scruples and monogamy, even with a fantasy “this is how 9/11 should have played” episode).” There is no conservative “Madam Secretary (a love letter to Hillary).” There is definitely no conservative “Commander in Chief (an attempt to lay the groundwork for Hillary with a female president who was once a Republican but acts like a Democrat).” There’s absolutely no conservative equivalent to “The Contender (in which a Democratic Vice President dies suddenly and the President nominates a liberal atheist woman to take his place).”

    What is more, none of these examples treats the conservative characters who appear in them as anything other than cartoonish idiots or simplistic villains. Martin Sheen’s Jed Bartlett chews out Christian conservatives by reciting the old trope about the Bible enabling him to sell his daughter into slavery and stone his neighbor for wearing polyester. Geena Davis’ Mackenzie Allen extemporizes the perfect speech when Donald Sutherland’s villainous Nathan Templeton sabotages her teleprompter.

    Keep consuming a diet like that, on top of already being inclined to always give your side the benefit of the doubt and the other side no benefit of any doubt, and it should come as no surprise that the left has grown snotty and snooty and uninterested in giving the right, or anyone who dares dispute them, anything other than a form smackdown or a round of pigeon chess.

    Best bet is to just ignore them, or tell them they are welcome back when they change their attitude. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

  6. “…deep-seated belief that gay people are immoral and that no one should be forced to recognize them as ordinary members of society.”

    Accurate on the first part, mostly lying about the second (to demonize the ADF, of course.)

  7. One of the worst arguments I ever had with my father (a Christianity-based communist who denied that the Soviet Union was not heaven on earth) was about the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal.

    For years I had heard stories about his hero — the Right Honorable Methodist Bishop Oxnam — who was called before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and virtually destroyed them — and who, when he learned about a pastor having affairs with female parishoners as part of his ‘ministry’ — literally took the guy by his belt and threw him out of his office. That pastor was fired same day. (Oxnam really was a hero, in many ways.)

    But with Clinton — where somehow ideology trumped ethics and honesty, even for a minister — his comment that “she tempted him!” sent me over the edge. I told him then that this was total intellectual dishonesty and that my respect for him as an ethical thinker was destroyed, (he was a PhD philosopher who had for some reason decided to add seminary to his resume), that excusing Clinton because he agreed with his politics was not an excuse for tossing our every ethical/Christian tenet he had stood for over the years.

    Our relationship was never the same: I’m sorry for that, but I couldn’t let it pass, even if he was my father and who had dedicated his life to service. Bias makes you stupid, and I had to say so. I regret it, but still think he needed to be called out on his hypocrisy,

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