Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/3/18: Museums And Victims And Brooks, Oh My!

 

Good Morning, bad night…

(and thank goodness it’s Saturday…)

1 Programming young victims to lie. In my mailbox today is a message from the Democrats.org, which, I must note, has ignored multiple requests to stop sending me their hackery. I have unsubscribed: it apparently makes no difference. This is both illegal and unethical, and only reinforces my previous conclusions about the House of Clinton, Perez, Pelosi, Wasserman Schultz, et al.

The message is allegedly authored by Sarah Imam, who announces herself as Parkland shooting survivor and writes in part,

On February 14th, I lost 17 members of my community in a mass shooting at my school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. But we, the survivors, refuse to let their names be forgotten. We refuse to let their deaths be in vain. We have decided to take action to ensure that an event like this will never happen again. We are calling for stricter gun laws. We are calling for change.

Now, is Sarah lying, or is someone lying to Sarah, or to us? There is no “change” that will ensure that no mass shooting, in a school or anywhere else, will ever happen again. This is a false promise. Does Sarah know that, or is she just a puppet, being used to promote a dishonest message? Then we must ask, is Sarah smart enough to know that the only “change” that could even theoretically “ensure that an event like this will never happen again” is to ban and confiscate all guns. Is that what she means? Is that what Democrats really want to do, but can only express it that desire in code, and through the willing, naive mouths of grieving teens?

2. David Brooks doesn’t get it. Again. New York Times Stockholm Syndrome-addled formerly- conservative op-ed writer David Brooks nicely encapsulates the central delusion of “the resistance” and others, arguing that the gun control battle will be the tipping point for a progressive victory in the culture wars because…

“Progressives could be on the verge of delegitimizing their foes, on guns but also much else, rendering them untouchable for anybody who wants to stay in polite society. That would produce social changes far vaster than limiting assault rifles. Two things have fundamentally changed the landscape. First, over the past two years conservatives have self-marginalized. In supporting Donald Trump they have tied themselves to a man whose racial prejudices, sexual behavior and personal morality put him beyond the pale of decent society. Second, progressives are getting better and more aggressive at silencing dissenting behavior. All sorts of formerly legitimate opinions have now been deemed beyond the pale on elite campuses. Speakers have been disinvited and careers destroyed. The boundaries are being redrawn across society.”

This is essentially a Cognitive Dissonance Scale argument by an elitist who can’t distinguish between the public’s scale and his own. Donald Trump is President of the United States because he was elected, despite what Brooks calls his racial prejudices, sexual behavior and personal morality. Can’t Brooks see that he’s essentially making Hillary’s deplorables argument? He is saying that nobody who voted for Trump is a member of “polite society’! Incredibly, he’s also saying that supporting the President of the United States is marginalizing. Wow: get out of that echo chamber, David—RUN! No, you idiot, refusing to support the institution of the Presidency and the integrity of elections marginalizes Democrats, the “resistance,” the New York Times, and YOU. Then Brooks writes that progressives will win because they are getting “better” at totalitarian methods, like suppressing speech. Nah, this isn’t self-marginalizing, not at all! Americans love to have their freedoms disrespected, and to be told that only pre-approved opinions and viewpoints will be allowed when Democrats are in power.

Here’s a tip to help guide you back to sanity, David: one doesn’t get “better” at suppressing speech, at least from the perspective of a supposedly respectable columnist  That implies that suppressing speech is good. It’s not good. Only progressives think it is, which is why ethical people, like me, don’t trust them any more.

3.  But…but…it’s shouldn’t BE this way! Nonresidents of New York State now have  to pay $25 under the Metropolitan Museum of Art ‘s  new admission policy, which went into effect this week. One reason was because its “pay what you can” policy was a flop, as pay-what-you-can deals always are. What did I tell you, O Board of the American Century Theater, who were always ramming these vile stunts down my throat? Most people are incurable free-loaders, and ethics never occurs to them when they are told, “You don’t HAVE to pay, but it would be nice!”

Now all sorts of art-lovers are making the argument that “art should be free.” “It’s like taking the jacket off a poor person,” the artist Ai Weiwei said of the new fee. “I will never go to the Metropolitan. Am I calling for a boycott? No. But I myself will not go.” “What are we valuing in this difficult political and economic moment?” said Amanda Williams, an artist and architect based in Chicago. “And for young people, especially little black and brown bodies, they are receiving more and more messages that they don’t belong.”

Yup, the Met charging admission to out-of-state visitors is racist, like every other policy progressives want to attack. Surely there is some way this can be blamed on President Trump.

Chief art critic for the New York Times wrote in part,

“I believe major public museums should have universal free admission. You should be able to walk in off the street and see the art just as you can enter a public library and read the books on the shelf. If this country had a government that cared about its citizens rather than one that catered to its economic ruling class, we might be able to live some version of this ideal…That economic ruling class, for its part, could, and should, contribute to an open-door cultural policy. I think of a very small example of the possibilities: Thanks to earmarked donations by a single patron (the Rubins, of the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea) the Bronx Museum of the Arts was able to begin a free admission program for several years that the museum continues today. Which leads me to wonder about the civic good will behind — and institutional wisdom in accepting — another example of donor earmarking: the $65 million patron-inscribed fountains recently installed (and critically panned) at the Met. If the museum’s figures are accurate, and the new mandatory policy for out-of-state visitors will bring in $6 million to $11 million a year in admissions revenue; the money spent on the fountains would have covered that income for a decade.”

That’s a management problem, buddy. And good strategy there insulting people with money while demanding that the pay for your livelihood. (I’m sorry, I woke up sarcastic today.) A small proportion of New Yorkers go to the Met, a smaller proportion still of  the nation at large. Why should it be “free”? Oh, that’s right: everything should be free. Public television, roads, schools, food, housing, medical care, lawyers, everything.

Here’s Roberta Smith, the other Times art critic:

“If libraries started charging entrance fees there would be a great uproar. We don’t have to pay for access to publicly owned books, and we shouldn’t have to pay to see art in museums whose nonprofit status is supported by our taxes. Reading skills are seen as essential to the common good. Visual literacy is every bit as important, and if our culture and school systems placed more emphasis on learning about art, people would grow up with more of a museum habit…Someone should be able to figure this out without putting it on the public’s shoulders. The projected annual increase in admissions revenue — from $42 million to $50 million — seems minuscule, and they say it’s only going to affect 31 percent of its overall visitors anyway. So why not find the money somewhere else and affect zero percent?”

Translation: “Do something.” The museum to libraries analogy is one that I would expect an art critic to make, but it’s intellectually dishonest. No, visual literacy is not as essential as reading skills and access to literature, and there are also many, many galleries and museums in New York City besides its biggest one.

Speaking of “taking the jacket off a poor person,” why doesn’t the State take all that money it tricks poor people into spending on lotteries and use it subsidize admission to museums—that almost none of those lottery players will ever visit? I think the reason is “priorities.”

Meanwhile, Time cultural reporter Sopan Deb wrote that he was able to avoid the non-New Yorker Met Charge by wearing a Yankee hat:

“I asked the staffer if I could have one in-state admission ticket for a dollar and held my breath. But to my great delight, the Yankees hat worked. She asked me for my ZIP code, but not any other identification. (I won’t try this at Fenway Park.) So at least for Day 1, there was no need for fake identifications or elaborate New York City-based disguises.”

Thus endorsing lies and cheating.

Nice.

15 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, Rights, U.S. Society

15 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/3/18: Museums And Victims And Brooks, Oh My!

  1. John Billingsley

    2. “Second, progressives are getting better and more aggressive at silencing dissenting behavior.”

    Why did Joe Stalin and the Great Terror leap to mind when I read this?

  2. Other Bill

    I think Brooks speaks for every New Yorker/East Coaster I know. They genuinely believe they are on the verge of one party rule. I think they thought they had it when Obama was President and assumed HRC would continue it. They absolutely despise any and all Republicans and think they simply need to be expunged from the face of the Earth.

    • …and how dare those peons in those hick fly over states think they could say otherwise? We know what is best for people who we will never see, in places we will never visit, and whose community and culture we despise.

  3. Chris Marschner

    What the hell is visual literacy? What one gets from the art is up to the beholder.

    If i need to know artists and their works to be visually literate I’ll buy flascards and memorize them like I did as a kid to know authors and presidents

  4. 1. Yes these kids are being programmed. Having been a spokesperson for a campaign I can yell you there are always handlers when it comes to politics and the media. By handlers’ I mean literally people who tell you what to say and how to say it. Money flows from donors on high and if you say things right, your cause gets more money. It’s easy to figure it out. Just check how many times the same point is made over & over by the speaker.

    2. “rendering them untouchable for anybody who wants to stay in polite society” is a threat and an example of the corrosive influence of thugs who use ignorance as a weapon. Let’s just ask the blacks, Native Americans and Jews of history how well disarmament worked out.

    3. “If this country had a government that cared about its citizens rather than one that catered to its economic ruling class, we might be able to live some version of this ideal” is authentic frontier gibberish for “we could have utopia and art as a sacred religion if only the capitalist pigs would give us more money.” Lucky for those of us in Portland, we not only have museums that charge, everyone has to by a country Arts Tax of $35 a year. I love art & worked as a curator years ago, but I voted against that crap.

    • Other Bill

      Re: No. 3. I’ve been trying to figure out what charity becomes when it’s effected and enforced via the government’s power to tax and spend. This is my problem with churches being in the social justice business rather than the faith hope and charity business. It’s okay to spur a congregation toward doing good things, but what is it when the church and its congregants attempt to prevail upon an electorate to do good things via a government’s power to tax and spend? It’s driving me as nuts as David Brooks.

      • This got us prohibition, and it did not turn out well.

        Any activity that ignores history and enduring human nature is doomed to long term failure, sans authority proceeding from the barrel of a gun.

  5. Inquiring Mind

    I think you may have misread Brooks here, and the reason is the last two paragraphs of his piece:

    The only thing I’d say to my progressive friends is, be careful how you win your victories. It is one thing to win by persuasion and another thing to win by elite cultural intimidation. Illiberalism breeds illiberalism. Using elite power, whether economic or cultural, to silence less educated foes usually produces a backlash.

    Conservatives have zero cultural power, but they have immense political power. Even today, voters trust Republicans on the gun issue more than Democrats. If you exile 40 percent of the country from respectable society they will mount a political backlash that will make Donald Trump look like Adlai Stevenson.

    Kurt Schlicter’s saying the same thing, albeit telling the right that the rules have changed and they need to act accordingly.

    If anything, Brooks has admitted in the New York Times that Schlicter is correct about the desired end state that progressives have in their minds. He doesn’t like Trump, but he also is sure that the way progressives are acting will not convince the other side to “lay down their arms” so to speak.

    In essence, that is how I see it. This Brooks piece is a reverse Schlicter, a warning that is not ethical.

  6. Jeff

    “The projected annual increase in admissions revenue — from $42 million to $50 million — seems minuscule…”

    One wonders if (such percentages being “miniscule”, after all) Roberta Smith would happily accept a 16% cut in her pay at the Times? Perhaps it could be used to buy museum tickets for underprivileged youth.

  7. 3 People who say “_______ should be free” generally seem to forget to add the “for me and mine” at the end of the sentence. TANSTAAFL

  8. New York Times columnist writes: ”Progressives could be on the verge of delegitimizing their foes, on guns but also much else, rendering them untouchable for anybody who wants to stay in polite society. That would produce social changes far vaster than limiting assault rifles. Two things have fundamentally changed the landscape. First, over the past two years conservatives have self-marginalized. In supporting Donald Trump they have tied themselves to a man whose racial prejudices, sexual behavior and personal morality put him beyond the pale of decent society. Second, progressives are getting better and more aggressive at silencing dissenting behavior. All sorts of formerly legitimate opinions have now been deemed beyond the pale on elite campuses. Speakers have been disinvited and careers destroyed. The boundaries are being redrawn across society.”

    Progressives, without doubt, bring out delegitimizing arguments. They very certainly seek to delegitimize their opponents. And the way they do it —- the best tactic they have —- is by shunning and anouncing moral anathemas.

    The NY Intellectual Establishment (to focus on one pole but a guiding one) has determined through use of a certain logic that the portion of the populace that elected Trump is untrustworthy and also dangerous. This can be summed up through reference to ‘The Authoritarian Personality’ by Theodore Adorno (and a group of others).

    Paranoid on one level, but clear-seeing on another, the NY Establishment recognizes that an historical battle is coming to the fore again and they have, it certainly seems, pulled out al the stops and removed all the restraints on the attack, overt and covert, against what it understands to be its enemy. All of this recurs back to WWll and to certain powerful and domnating definitions that were set in motion. In order to *see clearly* in this situation — our present — one must define accurately.

    Trump does indeed represent, if only as a slight reflection (but it is a reflection nonetheless), a social will that will and can turn against the governing elites who control and manage opinion. If they do this, if they succeed in this, it will be because they are working with different ideas: ideas that run counter to those pushed by the ‘cultural elite’. Trump also reflects, at least in some way (though very imperfectly and somewhat dubiously), a political will now emergent in Europe which is challenging the power-elites there. It has to do with countering ‘iberalism’ of a special and unusual form. It could be said to be ‘conservatism’ but in fact that term does not apply very well. ‘Conservatism’ has acted only as a brake, but this has to do with new ideas of a somewhat radical nature.

    The points that the NYTs eitorialist brings up, therefor, are not insignificant points. There are ideas that could move more to the mainstream that are being harshly repressed. The mechanisms of repression are obvious. Not only are ‘careers being destroyed’ and people ‘disinvited’ but organizations are being defunded by being rejected from PayPal, or thrown off of Twitter. Underneath those activities there is the American intellectual establishment which is, carefully and thoughtfully, designing counter-measures.

    In this way the media establishment is teaming up with the intelligence establishment to fight a cultural battle of consequence. The object of the power-elites will be to ride the wave and control the wave’s power, and then if possible to direct it in certain directions, to diminish its force.

    Instead of resisting seeing things in clear terms (which I attempt to describe), it is better (certainly more interesting!) to describe them in clear terms. To cut through the mire. To stop self-deception.

    The first order of business for those who would wish to eject all dissidence is, as he says, to sharply control the environment on the campuses. To tighten the clamp on what can be thought & said. But this will only lead to the content of speech — (the truth about the present, the truth about the American present, the truth about the socially engineered present now unraveling — erupting with more energetic intensity.

    Conservatism and conservatist opposition seems overall dead. That is because conservatives have, more or less, adopted the liberal mindset. Conservatives are of little use therefor.

    • You confuse your terms, my dear Alizia. You are thinking that ‘moderates’ who are really liberals (just not progressive), the Establishment GOP, and Republicans In Name Only (left of the moderates, possible part of the Establishment) are conservatives.

      In fact, most Conservatives were run out of the GOP during the Obama Administration by the Establishment. Some found a home in the Tea Party wing, which is making inroads back into power, albeit slowly. Others have gone back to ground, working in local politics to reverse the impact of progressive propaganda.

      These things are not discussed in most sources you have access to where you live, namely the Progressive Media, and these folks are not broadcasting online, so as not to give progressives a heads up with which to counter conservative action.

      We are working in local races, telling local politicians why we support them… or not. I personally spoke with my local District Attorney, who is fighting against a progressive funded and fueled smear campaign. I explained that people are tired of being spun, of being lied to, and being used by self serving politicians… and why she was getting my vote.

      Apathy is the main problem in our elections: too many have been distracted by prosperity, or by daily life, and have lost the realization that politics are important to both. The cure is for conservatives to get involved and lead by example… a long term strategy that seems to be gaining ground.

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