1 Different rights, same unethical tactics. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), whose very existence as a power in the Democratic Party is an indictment of the party’s integrity and trustworthiness, proved it again by proposing a bill that would require background checks for ammunition purchases. “You do not have the right to bear bullets,” she proclaimed Monday at a news conference at the Pembroke Pines Police Department in Florida.
Progressives, honest observers, and the courts have rightly expressed disgust at various cynical efforts to circumvent other Constitutional rights by similar tactics. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, for example, decided on June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court held in a 5-3 majority that two provisions of a Texas law, one requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and another requiring abortion clinics in the state to have facilities comparable to an ambulatory surgical center, places a substantial and unconstitutional obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion, because they constituted an undue burden on abortion access.
“Life would be so much simpler if our elected officials and activists employed an adaptation of the Golden Rule, and looked objectively at issues from the other side’s point of view. This is especially true in the realm of rights. Second Amendment absolutists insist that virtually any laws regulating who can purchase guns… have the ultimate goal of eliminating that right entirely, which, in many instances is the case, especially if you listen carefully to the rhetoric of the legislators proposing such measures. There is little difference from this and what anti-abortion advocates are attempting to do with laws like House Bill 2 (H. B. 2).”
In fact there was no difference at all, and now Wasserman-Schultz is using the same unethical tactic. (Imagine: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz using an unethical tactic!) The ethical principle is the same in both matters: a right isn’t a right if legal obstacles make it difficult to exercise that right. Any regulation imposed on a constitutional right must not create “a substantial obstacle” and must be reasonably related to “a legitimate state interest.” Wasserman-Schultz’s statement—I know she’s an idiot, but she is also a member of Congress and is supposed to know something—directly contradicts settled and core Constitutional principles. There is indeed a “right to bear bullets,” because without ammunition, the right to bear arms is an illusion.
2. Nope, I’m not whitelisting you. One more website I have used to scout ethics issues informed me that I could do so no longer unless I “turned off my ad blocker.” “The only way we can continue to provide content for free is if advertising helps pay for your free browsing. Please support us by turning off your adblocker, we’re only you asking to disable it this site. We really appreciate it,” I was told.
I’ll look at ads you post on your site. Trying to read something while being bombarded by pop-up ads, however, is annoying and burdensome, and so is having to turn my ad-blocker on and off constantly. I send your site readers via links, so you can charge more for those ads. If you want me to pay a nominal fee for a paywall, fine: ask for it.
3. Now THIS is an unethical deportation: Miguel Perez-Montes, 39, came to the United States legally when he was 8 years old, but never became a citizen. But he enlisted in the Army in 2001, and served as a paratrooper and private first class in Afghanistan. He was discharged in 2004 after he began suffering from severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2010, Perez-Montes was convicted of a felony drug charge involving cocaine and sentenced to 15 years in prison. ICE began proceedings to deport him in 2012.
Last week, Perez-Montes was escorted across the border to Mexico.
Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-llinois, had appealed to the Department of Homeland Security stay his deportation and review his case, writing,“This is a deplorable way to treat a veteran who risked his life in combat for our nation.”
I agree with her. This is a perfect storm of misaligned objectives and botches on all sides. Perez-Montes came to the U.S. at the age of 8 to the United States on a petition through a family member, and has been a permanent legal resident since age 11. He apparently was never in the country illegally. Why didn’t he become a citizen? Good question: that was a big mistake, because non-citizens can get deported for criminal convictions. There is usually nothing wrong with that policy, but the fact of his military service should at least guarantee that he is treated like an American criminal.
4. Three steps to avoid making yourself and other people stupid. Journalism teacher Michael Socolow authored a helpful, if futile, op-ed about how to stem the spread of fake news and bad punditry on Facebook and other social media. His tips:
- “If news breaks on a truly important story, there should be a link to a credible news source”
The problem, of course, is that there is no such think any more as a “credible news source. Some are still more credible than others, however.
- “If breaking news on social media aligns perfectly with your carefully structured view of the world, then pause before liking it or retweeting it…unpleasant and frustrating information — no matter how accurate — is actively hidden from you to maximize your social media engagement.”
In other words, beware confirmation bias, for it will make you stupid.
- “There are numerous reasons to participate in the public sphere, and everyone can contribute something valuable. But there’s also far too much noise out there, and we need to think more seriously and realistically about the added value of our own communication.”
True, but impossible. Everyone thinks their own noise is indispensable and the soul of wit and wisdom, Moreover, the desperate urge on Facebook to endear oneself to the herd makes gratuitous virtue-signaling via indiscriminate “likes” and half-baked comments irresistible.