1 Idiot’s Delight. It seems unkind to say, but today we will learn just how many idiots there are in Alabama. That’s useful information for any state, don’t you think? There is literally no non-idiotic justification for voting for a man like Moore, with his record, to any elective office, much less the U.S. Senate. Yet I strongly suspect he will win, and the disproportionately Democratic and liberal tilt of the those exposed in the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck will have been the tipping point.
Here is a jaw-dropping example of the level of intellectual rigor expected of Moore voters.
At an election eve Moore event, one of the speakers was Bill Staehle, who served with Moore in Vietnam. As an endorsement of Moore, Staehle told the tale of a fellow soldier comrade of both men who invited them to accompany him to a private club in Saigon to celebrate the man’s final night there. The third man drove them to the club in his Jeep, but when they arrived, Staehle told the crowd, it became clear that they were at a brothel, and that their colleague had tricked them.
“There were certainly pretty girls. And they were girls. They were young. Some were very young,” Staehle said. Here is the point of the story: Moore was shocked by what he saw, Staehle claims. “We shouldn’t be here, I’m leaving,” Staehle, quoted the future disgraced judge and absurd Senate candidate as saying. They both left, leaving their friend stranded with underage prostitutes all night.
The moral of the story: “He’s the same guy… He’s honorable. He’s disciplined. Morally straight. Highly principled.”
Hey, I’m convinced!
The story, of course, proves nothing relevant to Moore’s character at all, and if Staehle thinks it does, he’s an idiot.
Staehle hadn’t seen Moore in 45 years, and this was a single incident. How does he know “He’s the same guy”? Besides, the anecdote tells us nothing about Moore’s character. Who knows why Moore left? Maybe he didn’t want to pay for sex with young girls, knowing that he could get plenty free once he got back to Sweet Home Alabama. Maybe he wasn’t attracted to Asian girls. Maybe he was afraid of getting a disease.
Only an idiot would find Staehle’s logic persuasive….but that is the target group, I guess.
2. Filed in the “Wait…WHAT?” binder. Spinal muscular atrophy is a rare genetic disease that interferes with the body’s ability to make the survival motor neuron protein. Victims of the disease lose muscle control and strength, and eventually the ability to move, swallow or breathe. The most common type of the disease is diagnosed in babies between birth and 6 months old.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy a year ago. It’s called Nusinersen, and is injected into the spine, temporarily enabling spinal muscular atrophy patients to make more of the survival motor neuron protein. An article in Science Daily says that the drug has raised “ethical concerns.” Why, you ask?
A single dose of the drug costs $125,000, and six injections are required in the first year, for a cost of $750,000. Three more are required in subsequent years, at a cost of $375,000 a year. Nusinersen isn’t even a cure at that price. Most babies diagnosed with the disorder die before their second birthday, even with the drug.
A non-cure drug that costs that much for a single doomed patient is not ethical by definition. The Science Daily article goes into related ethical issues like this one:
[C]linicians have encountered cases in which insurance companies cover the medication only for the younger of two siblings because the older child has more disabilities and so doesn’t meet their criteria for covering the progressive disorder. “I don’t know what it’s like to be that parent and to have the joy at the opportunity to potentially modify one child’s life, and not have the opportunity for your slightly older child. It’s a very cruel time, I think,” [a bioethecist] said.
Wait…What? It’s unethical to spend that amount of money on treatment for a single patient that won’t even save his life. It’s unethical for others to have to pay higher insurance premiums to cover the costs of such a drug. When does a drug become so expensive that it might as well not exist at all? Whatever that point is, Nusinersen passed it.
3. Speaking of research ethics…An Ohio State researcher named Jay Zagorsky published a classic example of why social science research is inherently suspect. His goal, he writes, is to determine the connection between ethical behavior and financial success. “Is there is a relationship between the two?”, he asks.
Ugh. In his article about his research, Zagorsky makes it clear that he doesn’t understand ethics, life, or research. Hear are some of his statements:
“Television is filled with shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “House of Cards” and “Boardwalk Empire” in which the main characters have reached financial success using underhanded means. While these shows are entertaining, they are fiction and cannot reveal if actually engaging in unethical behavior systematically improves a person’s financial situation.”
“If financial success leads to less ethical behavior, then society needs more rules and punishment for richer people than for poorer people.”
“If the argument is that the poor are more likely to break ethical standards, then perhaps more rules and punishment are needed for those who are unsuccessful financially.”
“If causation runs the other way and more ethical behavior leads to financial success, then people have a reason to do good, without needing to assume there is a heavenly reward after death or be deterred by threats of punishment on Earth. However, if less ethical behavior leads to financial success, then punishment should not only fit the crime but also the financial status of the guilty.”
No useful research can come from a study designed by someone this clueless about what he’s researching.
You see, Jay, ethics is largely defined by whether conduct benefits society as a whole, by establishing and strengthening standards that lead to more people leading happy, free, productive lives. Conduct that one engages in to benefit one’s own circumstances are motivated by non-ethical considerations. Whether an ethical act has financially beneficial consequences is determined by moral luck.
Jay’s conclusions after his “study”:
Surprisingly, I found little correlation between either set of behaviors and wealth when respondents were younger. Small ethical breaches such as stealing less than $50 and appearing honest to the interviewer seem to have no impact on wealth accumulation. This suggests small ethical breaches do not have large financial impacts for most people. There also was no relationship between financial wealth and being honest with a cashier or helping the homeless. While this suggests small acts of kindness won’t lead to great material wealth, at the least there appears to be no financial penalty….However, larger ethical breaches and wealth do have a clear negative relationship. Breaking rules, stealing and being arrested were associated with less wealth. Moreover, the older the respondents got, the clearer the association between these unethical behaviors and having less money.
Unfortunately, the direction of causation is unknown, so it is uncertain if breaking rules causes less wealth or being poor causes people to break rules.
I think Jay Zagorski would be a good bet to vote for Roy Moore, if you know what I mean….