1 Attack of the Dog Bigots. The 2015 Ethics Alarms post designating an anti-pit bull breed website “Unethical Website of the Month” was once again targeted by dog breed bigots and has been getting the same, mindless comments from hysterics that it has been recieving since the post went up. I don’t allow comment threads to be polluted by propaganda, so I have posted an update requiring any comments to be substantive and to make a genuine effort to address the inconvenient facts I have laid out here over time, facts that the dog bigots routinely deny or ignore, and facts that virtually all experts in the dog field have confirmed.
I recommend scanning the comment thread, however, for a reason unrelated to dogs. The commenters in the mold of the one who recently wrote this—“But tomorrow, and every day after, when ANOTHER pit bull mauls ANOTHER person, the nutters will take a break from their busy schedule of rampant drug use and domestic violence to jump onto the comments section of the news article to defend these useless pieces of canine garbage.”—are perfect examples of 1) the reasoning of racists and 2) individuals who no longer process information that challenges their belief system, so they simply ignore it all, deny it all, and just keep mouthing their ignorant manifestos.
They are indistinguishable in this regard from the indignant women who have now for three months running come up to me during a break in a legal ethics seminar, recited their feminist cant talking points objecting to my accurate explanation of legal ethics priorities when the clash with political correctness, and then turned their back on me and walked away when I attempted to address their points.
2. A Japanese Ethics Train Wreck. The Japanese army forced captured Korean women, many thousands of them, to be their sex slaves, or “comfort women.” This is documented fact, and it also launched an ethics train wreck of unusually long duration. The long-held official position of the post war Japanese government that South Korea’s complaints about these war crimes were either exaggerated or imaginary—the equivalent would be if the German government denied the Holocaust, which it has not—has undermined relations between those countries to this day. There is no end in sight, as this report explains.
What a mess. Japan’s current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was once a Comfort Women Denier. In 2015, the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, signed an agreement with Abe as a “final and irreversible” settlement of the controversy, including an official Japanese government apology and an $8.8 million fund to help provide care for the now elderly ex-“comfort women.” The damages were judged inadequate by critics, and Park was later impeached. Now the current South Korean president wants the deal to be renegotiated. Abe, however, rejected the “additional measures” sought by Seoul, saying that, in essence, a deal’s a deal. He’s on strong ethical ground there, except that the 8 million was ridiculously low, and Japan’s acceptance of its responsibility for the sex slave outrage has always been grudging at best.
3. The New York City monuments. Historical airbrushing is all the rage on the Left—after all, those who control the past control the future–and New York City’s social justice warrior mayor, Bill de Blasio, is a fan. Following the Charlottesville violence, he declared that New York City would conduct a review of all “symbols of hate” in its parks and on its streets. That was a pre-biasing and obnoxious characterization, since the inventory for review included statues of Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt, among others.
To be fair to de Blasio, he said that tweeted statement wasn’t really from him, though it went out under the mayor’s name. To also be fair, when public officials delegate their tweets, they are 100% accountable for what gets tweeted.
His special commission, after months of closed door meetings, public hearings and an online survey, came back this week with recommendations that the city relocate just one statue, that of Marion Sims, a 19th century doctor who developed important advances in gynecological surgery by conducting operations on black slave women without anesthesia. His statue stands in Harlem. but will be moved to a cemetery. Surviving the statuary purge for now are monuments to Teddy Roosevelt, a former NYC mayor and, of course, a great President, Christopher Columbus, and others. It looks as if the city will try to use plaques to place the statues in historical and cultural context.
That is certainly preferable to tearing them down, but is also an invitation to political and ideological mischief, as we saw with the anti-nuke, anti-Truman plaque initially posted near the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian annex where it is on exhibit. The headline on the Times art critic’s coverage of the commission’s recommendations reads, “Half-Measures Won’t Erase the Painful Past of Our Monuments.”The unstated assumption behind that phrasing is that the pain of history should be erased.
Wrong. Monuments and statues honoring figures from a different time and context should be constantly considered, debated, pondered, and re-evaluated for what they mean, the values they represented then and now, and what they can teach us. Erasing history is not just a bad solution to the pain, it’s a dangerous and unethical one.
4. The President’s health and “The Roosevelts” White House doctor Ronny Jackson pronounced President Donald Trump “in excellent health” following his physical this week. In a brief statement, Jackson said, “The President’s physical exam today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went exceptionally well. The President is in excellent health and I look forward to briefing some of the details on Tuesday.”
I was re-watching Ken Burns’ documentary “The Roosevelts,” specifically the last few episodes about FDR as President. Yes, it was part of my research as I prepare a post about the narrative from the “resistance” (Academic Division) that President Trump is an existential danger to the democracy because he has, unlike respectable Presidents, breached “norms.” It’s fun to keep this nonsense in your mind as you watch Franklin in action, because you keep giggling. History is fun!
But I digress. What I was reminded of in the penultimate episode was that months before D-Day, with almost a year to go before he ran for a fourth term in office (norms!), President Roosevelt, just 62 but looking a decade or more older, was secretly examined by Navy doctors and found to be dying. The White House then issued a statement that he was in fine health for a man of his age. By sheer coincidence, all four Presidents who conspired to keep serious health conditions from the public were Democrats: Cleveland, Wilson, FDR, and Kennedy. If Trump’s doctor is hiding something, and he is already being accused of this—by Democrats—it will still be unethical, but it will hardly violate “the norm.”