(This was definitely the oddest LP in my Dad’s Jimmy Durante collection….And good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are…)
1. Ethics Hero, I guess. A sad one…The Henry Street Settlement , a community charity, was shocked to receive $6.24 million donation, the largest single gift from an individual in its 125-year history, from the estate of the late Sylvia Bloom, a legal secretary from Brooklyn worked for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at age 96 and died in 2016. When one of the wealthy lawyers she worked for bought a stock as she made the transaction for him (or her; I don’t know), she bought the same stock for herself, in a smaller amount. The woman amassed all this money, which she could have used while she was still breathing to assert some beneficial influence over society, help others, or just to expand her own experiences and life opportunities, but instead delegated the responsibility to a non-profit organization to handle after her death. She spent a lifetime in thrall to a law firm, and never could take the initiative to be free.
I view this story as a strong argument for feminism.
2. Progress: For the first time in The Citadel’s 175-year history, the Corps of Cadets command was awarded to a female cadet, Class of 2019 Regimental Commander Sarah Zorn. This was no affirmative action or gratuitous diversity moment, but an honor well-earned. In addition to her academic record and demonstrated leadership abilities, Zorn can do 70 pushups in two minutes (I’ve done 7 push-ups in two decades) and has three martial arts black belts. This triumph finally eradicates the humiliating beginnings of the South Carolina military academy’s gender integration, when Shannon Faulkner won a lawsuit against the school’s strict male-only admissions policy, became the first female cadet admitted, then showed up out of shape and irresolute, washing out after five days, four of which were spent in the infirmary. I have always regarded Faulkner as the anti-Jackie Robinson, the perfect example of how a trailblazer without sufficient character can make the trail worse than it was before.
3. An ethics inspiration from Europe. 15,000 European 18-year-olds will be able to travel free of charge in Europe this summer, using special free travel passes valid for 30 days. The European Parliament initiative was passed “to enhance a sense of European identity and European values.” . The cost will be about $14.2 million dollars in American currency.
Great idea, and better, in fact, for the United States to try than Europe, since the United States actually has a national culture and one that a majority of young people are neither learning about nor understand. The U.S. version should include tickets to a baseball game, of course.
4. Duh. Imagine my surprise when, after opening the Sunday New York Times Sunday Review section, I found leading off the insert that has been dominated by anti-Trump hate and hysteria since last November an essay that dovetails nicely with this Ethics Alarms post from yesterday. “Liberals, You’re Not as Smart as You Think” by Gerard Alexander, professor of political science at the University of Virginia, was given the front page of the section to make a point, a full year and a half into President Trump’s administration, that has been a theme on Ethics Alarms for all of that time, and should have been screamingly obvious to anyone whose own ethics alarms still had functioning clappers. Alexander writes in part,
People often vote against things instead of voting for them: against ideas, candidates and parties. Democrats, like Republicans, appreciate this whenever they portray their opponents as negatively as possible. But members of political tribes seem to have trouble recognizing that they, too, can push people away and energize them to vote for the other side. Nowhere is this more on display today than in liberal control of the commanding heights of American culture….Liberals often don’t realize how provocative or inflammatory they can be. In exercising their power, they regularly not only persuade and attract but also annoy and repel. In fact, liberals may be more effective at causing resentment than in getting people to come their way.
The professor continues,
Consider some ways liberals have used their cultural prominence in recent years…Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully. Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans — specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump….Within just a few years, many liberals went from starting to talk about microaggressions to suggesting that it is racist even to question whether microaggressions are that important. “Gender identity disorder” was considered a form of mental illness until recently, but today anyone hesitant about transgender women using the ladies’ room is labeled a bigot. Liberals denounce “cultural appropriation” without, in many cases, doing the work of persuading people that there is anything wrong with, say, a teenager not of Chinese descent wearing a Chinese-style dress to prom or eating at a burrito cart run by two non-Latino women.
As you can see from this weird observation, Alexander is, as one would expect from a major university professor, a dyed-in-the-wool, knee-jerk progressive himself. He just wants his ilk to be smarter as they steamroll the culture. No amount of “homework” will persuade the indoctrinated and brainwashed that wearing a China-inspired prom dress is “wrong.” Back to the prof:
…This judgmental tendency became stronger during the administration of President Barack Obama, though not necessarily because of anything Mr. Obama did.
(It was, of course, substantially because of what Obama did, said, and allowed his party, appointees and supporters to do and say. But the Left refuses to hold Obama accountable…)
Feeling increasingly emboldened, liberals were more convinced than ever that conservatives were their intellectual and even moral inferiors. Discourses and theories once confined to academia were transmitted into workaday liberal political thinking, and college campuses — which many take to be what a world run by liberals would look like — seemed increasingly intolerant of free inquiry.
Not seemed. A Times columnist can’t even play it straight while criticizing Times Columnists. They ARE increasingly intolerant of free inquiry. ARE. Glad I could fix that for you, Professor!
It was during these years that the University of California included the phrase “America is the land of opportunity” on a list of discouraged microaggressions. Liberal politicians portrayed conservative positions on immigration reform as presumptively racist…When Mr. Obama remarked, behind closed doors, during the presidential campaign in 2008, that Rust Belt voters “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them,” it mattered not so much because he said it but because so many listeners figured that he was only saying what liberals were really thinking.,,These are the sorts of events conservatives think of when they sometimes say, “Obama caused Trump…”
Well, that and the fact that he was a stunningly hyper-partisan, arrogant, incompetent, unsuccessful and divisive leader. But I digress…
This is a limited view of the situation. Even if liberals think their opponents are backward, they don’t have to gratuitously drive people away, including voters who cast ballots once or even twice for Mr. Obama before supporting Mr. Trump in 2016. Champions of inclusion can watch what they say and explain what they’re doing without presuming to regulate what words come out of other people’s mouths. Campus activists can allow invited visitors to speak and then, after that event, hold a teach-in discussing what they disagree with. After the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that states had to allow same-sex marriage, the fight, in some quarters, turned to pizza places unwilling to cater such weddings. Maybe don’t pick that fight?
Going out on a limb, professor, are you?
…Liberals are trapped in a self-reinforcing cycle. When they use their positions in American culture to lecture, judge and disdain, they push more people into an opposing coalition that liberals are increasingly prone to think of as deplorable. That only validates their own worst prejudices about the other America.Those prejudices will be validated even more if Mr. Trump wins re-election in 2020, especially if he wins a popular majority…Liberals are inadvertently making that outcome more likely. It’s not too late to stop.
I don’t know about that: Democrats, the progressives and the resistance have conclusively convinced me, for example, that they do not respect our institutions and cannot be trusted with power through their indefensible efforts to force the President out of office. It is also clear to me that “liberals” (many of today’s conservatives are the real liberals, and modern progressives aren’t liberal any more) couldn’t stop if the wanted to. They are driven by hate, anger, denial and rigid cant. They don’t know what civil political discourse is any more.
41 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/13/2018: A Strange Philanthropist, A Redeeming Cadet, A Good Idea, And An Obvious Observation”
They are driven by hate, anger, denial and rigid cant.
Wanna really curl your remaining hair, Jack? Read the comments on that NYT piece. The libs are taking him apart for his apostasy.
Of course they are, Arthur. He’s telling them their ‘rigid cant’ won’t work. Since they know better than anybody, he is obviously wrong, and needs to be told so, so he will stop spreading “misinformation”.
Yes, I have to say that I’d be a lot more sympathetic to the idea that liberals are driving moderates to Trump by being extreme and intolerant…if Trump himself were not so extreme and intolerant.
I’m all for holding my own side to higher standards than the opposition, but not when it means pretending that the opposition has no agency and bears no responsibility for their choices.
What are the extreme positions by Trump?
If you have to ask, you won’t accept the answers.
Just off the top of my head:
—Teachers should be armed
—Banning all travel from seven countries in direct violation of the INA
—Increased militarization of ICE
—Hillary Clinton should be arrested
—Journalists are enemies of the people
—Loosen up the libel laws so that we can arrest journalists
—Still says Mexico will pay for the wall
Thus proving Arthur and Michael’s point. Nice job!
—Teachers should be armed A completely legitimate and debatable policy opinion thatmay well mean, teachers who are already gun-qualified should be allowed to be armed.
—Banning all travel from seven countries in direct violation of the INA That position is your opinion, and is very likely to be rejected by SCOTUS in the end, meaning, as a matter of law, that it’s untrue.
—Increased militarization of ICE DESPERATION ALARM! Who cares???
—Hillary Clinton should be arrested. Rabble rousing, trolling and hyperbole, but also, based on what we have learned, not unreasonable.
—Journalists are enemies of the people We have discussed this, and “all journalists’ was never implied. Also Trump’s reasons are a bit different from mine, but the diagnosis is apt.
—Loosen up the libel laws so that we can arrest journalists. Never said to arrest journalists. Libel isn’t a crime., so even in that trolling sentence, it can’t be taken seriously. It is also te equivalent of saying, “I want to flap my arms and fly to the moon.”
—Still says Mexico will pay for the wall I get it now: Like Obama, progressives literally don’t comprehend negotiation and posturing for concessions! Nor is that position “extreme.” It may be unrealistic, but it’s not extreme. From an equity standpoint, making Mexico pay for the trouble their citizens cause the US is hardly “extreme.”
Mighty thin, Chris. Many of those are not even positions, some are not serious, and the rest are only “extreme” to you because they fly in the face of Leftist cant. You think like mainstream media factchecker: if you disagree with it, it’s literally and absolutely “wrong.”
Y’know, Chris’s list came in late enough that I decided to table it until the morning. I’ve never been too proud to not be grateful when someone else does what I would have done, and better to boot. Thanks for sparing me the effort!
It’s a shame you have embraced so many of Trump’s extremist opinions.
In other words, you can’t debate the merits of each of your claims, or of Jack’s response, so you settle for what’s arguably the most perfect example of argumentum ad hominem to show up here in quite some time.
The merits of each have been debated here ad nauseum. This was a pointless excercise, as I knew, which is why I didn’t answer Michael originally. There is no position Trump has adopted that is too extreme for the conservatives here to defend. I knew no matter what I listed, someone would argue it wasn’t really extreme. This shows nothing except how far Trump has moved the Overton Window.
No position too extreme? Let’s take a couple of examples.
—Teachers should be armed
Really? Let’s start with the fact that though attacks on schools date back at least to the 19th century, including one of the most deadly, mass shootings at schools are a comparatively recent (if statistically extremely rare) phenomenon. The current FBI recommendations for members of the public when confronted with an active shooter situation is RUN-HIDE-FIGHT. This means run if you can, hide if you can’t, and if you have no choice, you fight in an attempt to save your life and that of others. One needn’t be a genius to figure out that said fight will be one hell of a lot easier if you’re trained to use a weapon and have access to one.
—Banning all travel from seven countries in direct violation of the INA
FDR interned American citizens of Japanese descent and placed draconian limits on the number of European Jews admitted, concerned that spies might be among them. Jimmy Carter banned Iranians. Angel Island in San Francisco Bay is sometimes considered the “Ellis Island of the West Coast,” but its real purpose was to deny entry to Chinese immigrants. We can certainly debate whether any of these actions were effective, let alone morally defensible, but let’s not pretend that any of this is unprecedented.
Each item on your list can be similarly exploded. Why not just admit that you’re so repulsed by Trump that you can’t look at him objectively? I don’t like him either, but at least I’m not blinded by hatred – or fear.
Why not use soldiers instead of teachers?
When you’re arguing that an action isn’t extreme because it resembles Japanese internment, it’s time to reconsider your own objectivity.
Chris, you’re grasping at straws here. I’m not defending the internment of the Japanese – and besides, there are some fundamental differences. The majority of those individuals (an estimated 62%) were actually American citizens. The so-called “travel ban” did NOT impact American citizens, nor does it impact persons already resident in the United States. It was never intended to be permanent, merely to suspend activity until sufficient vetting mechanisms could be put in place.
My point is that you’re presenting Trump as some sort of xenophobe unique in American presidential history. He isn’t. Again, why not just admit you detest the man so much you can’t be objective? For a bet, that point is probably obvious to nearly everyone else here.
He’s a xenophobe. This isn’t debatable. That FDR’s xenophobia was worse doesn’t change that, nor does it make Trump less extreme by modern standards. And he isn’t a xenophobe because I detest him; I detest him because he’s a xenophobe (among many other reasons).
There is zero evidence that he’s a Xenophobe. The fact that his wife is an immigrant is more evidence to the contrary than any evidence indicating that. He is anti-illegal immigration. Bravo. He is anti-terrorist, and may be anti-Muslim, which, given that Islam is a destructive, violent, totalitarian religion/cult that resists assimilation, abuses women and is prone to terrorism, is not an entirely indefensible position.
Correction: in your opinion, he’s a xenophobe. You are welcome to hold that opinion. From my perspective, the evidence upon which you base your opinion is questionable, but the opinion is yours. That it’s shared by other people doesn’t make it fact any more than my opinion that the basis for your position is wildly overblown makes MY opinion on the matter fact.
I do find your debating tactics interesting. Ignore the larger points made and focus in on smaller areas in which you think you can score points. At minimum, it’s reductionism.
You noticed that, did you?
“ Ignore the larger points made and focus in on smaller areas in which you think you can score points…”
A proper Alinsky tactic, that.
And a reason I mostly do not engage with Chris, who can strain at a gnat while swallowing a camel.
It is the Dems that have extremist positions.
As I pointed out in 2015:
On the Dem side, we have people advocating that colleges expel people for suspicion of rape if there is only a 20% chance of guilt.
On the Dem side, we have the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights pretending to be the Supreme Court, coming up with completely ludicrous interpretations of Title IX such that it requires a preponderance of evidence standard when adjudicating sexual harassment claims, and that it prohibits cross-examination of witnesses.
On the Dem side, we have people arguing that rape is as common in college campuses as it is in the war-torn Congo region of Africa.
On the Dem side, we have the Justice Department threatening to punish schools for racial discrimination if they choose to punish misconduct.
On the Dem side, we have the EEOC suing businesses for running criminal background checks on the basis that it is racist.
On the Dem side, we have the same people claiming that requiring a photo ID to vote is racist because it places a disparate burden on minorities, while simultaneously supporting universal background checks on firearm purchases, ignoring any concerns about a disparate impact on minorities
On the Dem side, we have accusations that the police are racist, while simultaneously claiming that these police officers be trusted with discretion to decide who may carry a concealed weapon.
On the Dem side, we have people claiming that an employer is imposing religion and denying access to women’s health if they refuse to offer health insurance that includes contraception without co-pay, even though it would be ludicrous to claim that employers are imposing their religion and denying access to women’s wine if they refuse to offer coupons for BevMo.
I add this:
On the Dem side, we have people enacting laws that criminalize voluntary cooperation with federal law enforcement.
Who are the extremists, again?
“Campus activists can allow invited visitors to speak and then, after that event, hold a teach-in discussing what they disagree with.”
Never gonna happen. The clear issue is that they cannot listen to a moderate, conservative, or classical liberal speak for even 30 seconds without tearing their garments and gnashing their teeth.
In most settings, information like, say, the factors behind the gender wage gap, are engaging and enlightening. But to a “campus activist” facts burn like alien spit. They’d run and trip the nearest fire alarm. It’s an involuntary reaction. I’m not sure how you fix that, outside of getting them more attentive parents.
“Zorn can do 70 pushups in two years (I’ve done 7 push-ups in two decades) and has three martial arts black belts.”
I’m pretty sure I could achieve more than 70 in two years. 🙂
Years, minutes…whatever. I fixed this before I read the wave of alerts.
Sorry, I mean in it jest. I knew what you were trying to say. 70 is quite impressive (I think 65 was the best I ever did and biology was in my favor).
I appreciate all the work you do many times a day and I imagine grammar errors are the least of your concerns.
It seems to me the Professor’s biggest mistake is calling progressives liberals. You would think a professor would know the difference. Maybe most of the liberals now identify as Republicans or moderates just to get away from all the crap that comes from the progressive camp.
He knows the difference. He was being mealy-mouthed.
Errol, I for one, don’t see any difference these days between progressives and liberals. I remember when progressive came back into usages right around 2008. I wondered where the heck that came from and why. It hadn’t been in use since the early 20th Century. All of sudden, liberals weren’t liberals, they were progressives. I’ve always assumed it was hatched by Racel Maddow and MSNBC. In any event, in my opinion, liberal and progressive have now merged into the same thing, a fairy virulent lefty.
”The U.S. version should include tickets to a baseball game, of course.”
Allow me to submit Miller Park in Milwaukee.
They could stop by the National Mustard Museum (Middleton, WI) beforehand to pick up a rare, devilishly delicious condiment (I prefer the gritty, stone-ground variety) to slather on their Franks Kraut (Franksville, WI) covered Johnsonville (Johnsonville, WI) Brat, and washed down with…welp…take a wild guess.
On their way back west through the Driftless Area/Baraboo Range foothills, a tour of World Champion Cheese-maker Sid Cook’s Carr Valley Cheese Factory (with curds [free samples] so fresh, they squeak!) just north of Lime Ridge, WI.
This so when they’re asked whence the above mentioned products came, they won’t have to answer “from the store.”
Every American should visit Milwaukee.
Does changing planes there count?
”Does changing planes there count?”
I reckon it should, but begs the larger question: what itinerary from Hell routed you that way?
”I’ve made it no further into Wisconsin than the Mars Cheese Castle (I think near Kenosha)…”
”Surely that counts?”
Couldn’t say, we ceded Kenosha County to the FIBs loooooong ago….
<b<F**kin’ Illinois Bastid.
F**kin’ Illinois Bastid
That’s what my gut told me…
I’ve made it no further into Wisconsin than the Mars Cheese Castle (I think near Kenosha)…
Surely that counts?
Jimmy Durante: little known trivia. First white bandleader to hire a black musician, Achille Baquet, in 1918 for his Original New Orleans Jazz Band. Besides sax and clarinet credits, Baquet also composed with Jimmy one of the band’s most popular tunes, “Why Cry Blues”, which I will not post due to both the terrible recording techniques of the time and how can I say it? it’s hyper-vivacity (though in perspective, this was the closing year of WWI — supposedly the one that would have ended them all).