What Is Fairness, Justice And Proportion For Aaron Schlossberg?

“He’s a jerk. Let’s squash him like a bug…”

Surely by now you know of Aaron Schlossberg, the latest cultural villain.

He was the star and author of a bizarre incident at a restaurant in Manhattan. Schlossberg, who is a midtown Manhattan lawyer, freaked out beyond all reason when a customer began conversing in Spanish with employees at the restaurant. “Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he protested. “Every person I listen to — he spoke it, he spoke it, she’s speaking it. This is America! “My guess is they’re not documented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country.If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money — I pay for their welfare, I pay for their ability to be here — the least they can do is speak English…I’m calling ICE.”

Naturally, this was captured on a phone video. Naturally, it was posted to social media. Once upon a time a person could behave like a jackass and only have the immediate witnesses to his conduct know about it. No more. Now, thanks to omnipresent cell phones, everyone is under more or less constant surveillance, and a bad moment, a sudden outburst or an ill-considered word can and will be wielded by steely-eyed social justice enforcers to destroy a miscreant’s life to the maximum extent possible.

Is that the kind of society you want to live in? It would be wise to consider the fate of Aaron Schlossberg.

Somehow his name became known. The news media picked up his tantrum: the Daily News put it on its front page! The New York Post reported that he has been evicted from his office by Corporate Suites, the company that held his law office lease.  His firm’s associate quit, with a nice virtue-signaling tweet. A petition demanding that he be disbarred has more than 10,000 signatures, and there is a GoFundMe effort to a  hire a mariachi band to follow him around New York.

That’s kind of funny, I have to admit.

Now a couple of other people have come forward claiming that Schlossberg has also been rude in their presence. Meanwhile, local TV stations in New York and the internet are piling on. Here’s the always juvenile and smug legal gossip site Above the Bar: “Aaron Schlossberg Is Having A Delightfully Bad Day: Karmic justice is real. “

No, encouraging vengeful mobs to destroy individuals who have hurt nothing but feelings is real, and the Golden Rule is nowhere to be found

Stipulated: Aaron Schlossberg behaved like an asshole. Also stipulated: He behaved like such an asshole that it approached signature significance, and thus he almost certainly is an asshole. The ethics question is: Now what?

Can a commercial lease company evict someone for mere speech? I suppose it can, the question is should it? I see this as another example of commercial enterprises conditioning business on political views, and segregating customers by their beliefs and affiliations. Schlossberg’s rant was stupid and wildly unfair; it also evinced strong opposition to illegal immigrants, though why speaking Spanish is proof of that in his mind makes me question his reasoning abilities. Why was his lease cancelled? Because he’s a jerk? In New York? Because he was mean to restaurant workers? Or was it because he isn’t in favor of ignoring immigration laws? Let’s play Kant’s game: are you comfortable with any of these being applied by businesses as a universal standard to determine whether a citizen can engage in commerce or not? All of them together?

I’m not, and I don’t see how the conduct of the leasing company doesn’t become a slippery slope.

Have you ever had an outburst of bad moment that you would not want the whole world to see and to judge you based solely on that? If you have, then you should object to what has been done to Aaron. If you haven’t—well, I don’t believe you.

Or you’re not a lawyer.

Disbarment is a non-starter: every one of the 10,000 signatories doesn’t know anything about attorney disciplinary standards. Joe Patrice at Above the Law foolishly says that some bar discipline “is possible.” As usual, Patrice is dead wrong.  No disciplinary committee wants to establish a precedent that stands for the proposition that a lawyer can be disciplined for being a big jerk while not practicing law.  There is no rule , not just in New York but in any jurisdiction, prohibiting what Schlossberg said in that restaurant. He wasn’t practicing law, and his words don’t suggest anything about his trustworthiness as a lawyer. If being a jerk becomes grounds for disciplining lawyers…well, you can finish that joke yourself.

Schlossberg should apologize in person to the people he insulted. Then he should be left alone. No crime was committed, no one was hurt except him. He has already been punished far, far out of proportion to his outburst, and the efforts to expose, embarrass and harass him have already crossed into bullying and a vendetta. His life should not be ruined because of single rant, and those who seek to harm him for what is ultimately just a political position are more unethical than he is.

 

92 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Rights, Social Media, Workplace

92 responses to “What Is Fairness, Justice And Proportion For Aaron Schlossberg?

  1. crella

    Ron Jonson has a book and Ted Talk on the phenomenon of internet shaming:

    I find it horrifying. I find the way these incidents are described disturbing, showing way too much enjoyment of others’ suffering. It’s a truly ugly mindset.

  2. crella

    Jon Ronson…..don’t know why I reversed his name like that…

  3. My entire life has been preparing me for this world! Having put several feet in my mouth during my childhood by speaking and acting without thinking, I learned that immediately doing the most clever thing that comes to mind is a terrible idea. I learned not to say things (except for harmless jokes within certain parameters) without thinking twice, no matter who I’m talking to. I keep my composure and speak clearly and precisely so that I communicate nuanced and unassailably reasonable perspectives.

    I would hate for everyone else to feel like they had to do that, too.

    The main reasons I do it are that I fear the consequences of having anyone dislike me, and that my talent for pushing boundaries of thought increases the changes and impact of screwing something up. However, I wouldn’t be able to learn about other people’s perspectives if they felt like they had to be sensitive towards me. Not to say that the average human couldn’t use a great deal more self-awareness, mind.

    Also, these people have no idea how karma actually works. If a person is harmed because other people are motivated to punish them for their actions, that’s not a natural consequences of their actions. Equivalently, it cannot be called “condign justice”.

    • *consequence [singular].

      See, that’s what happens when I send out words without reviewing them first.

      • Other Bill

        Interesting take, EC. Fascinating you picked that up so young. I just had a sonically painful lunch with my third grader grandson in his school cafeteria. The kids were all acting like wild animals and screaming at the top of their lungs, or, I guess, like third graders? It was an eye opener. I don’t think I learned to keep my wiseacre tongue to myself until my twenties, if ever. But I’m finally getting better at it.

      • Also, “chances”, not “changes”. *facepalm*

  4. I think mass hysteria and bullying of scapegoats/lesser offenders due to the completely unrestrained social media is a blight on our times. The mob has more power than ANY time in history, This is worse than organized censorship by a government or a religion because there are no safe places, there is no recourse, and you cannot trust that one bad day or rant will haunt you forever.

    Big brother is not just everywhere, his is everyone, and he has NO mercy.

  5. Sue Dunim

    Apparently from other videos he’s a serial offender.
    No, this is not a single isolated incident, that defence isn’t open. He picks on anyone who doesn’t look like him. A complete asshole.

    Apart from that, I agree in the main with Jack’s post. Assholery is contagious, and should be resisted by everyone, that is, don’t be an asshole back in return.

  6. Sue Dunim

    Willie Morris said Schlossberg bumped into him on the sidewalk and called him an “ugly f***ing foreigner” (Morris is from Massachusetts). Isaac Saul described Schlossberg angrily yelling at an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man who was participating in a protest, accusing him of being a fake Jew. Both encounters were caught on video.

    “If it’s once, maybe you can pawn it off as someone having a bad day, but this is not,” Morris said. “This is like an ongoing thing for this person. To be caught on video twice? How many times has he not been caught on video?”

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/17/us/aaron-schlossberg-attorney-racist-rant/index.html

    Morris said he was walking down the street when a man coming from the opposite direction made eye contact, walked faster toward him and shoved him with his briefcase.
    “He immediately … starts yelling mostly racist and xenophobic stuff,” Morris said. “I was so shocked, I’ve lived in NYC for five years and have never had anything like this happen. I was waiting for someone to jump out and scream, ‘Gotcha!’ ”
    Morris posted video of the incident, along with his own commentary, to YouTube the next day. In the video, a man can be seen asking Morris, “What country are you from?” and then saying: “I’m going to call the police. You don’t run into me. I’m a citizen here, you’re not. You’re an ugly f***ing foreigner. F*** you.”
    In commentary afterward, Morris said he was born in Massachusetts, and he held up his US passport.
    “It was so surreal,” he told CNN. “Thankfully, I had started vlogging a few months before, so I had turned my camera on and caught it all. He was threatening to call the cops, but he eventually walked away, and we realized it wasn’t just a weird stunt.”
    The Fresh Kitchen video jolted his memory about the incident.
    “I let it go and pretty much forgot about it until I was scrolling through Twitter yesterday and randomly saw a thumbnail and thought, ‘No freaking way!'” Morris said.

    • Chris

      Color me unsurprised. We all have bad days, but I have trouble believing anyone behaves this way as an isolated incident.

  7. valkygrrl

    I thought screaming vile things at strangers was the NYC way of saying hello. Now i’m going to have to reevaluate my past visits. Must have just been bumping into Aaron Schlossberg every time.

  8. Chris

    While I agree with the overall thrust that strangers should leave this asshole alone and not respond to harassment with more harassment…how can you possibly call someone believing it’s OK to yell at strangers and threaten to call ICE on them because they are speaking a foreign language in public a “political position?” What political faction holds this position? Is this position growing in prominence?

    • JP

      I agree. While I agree with the overall tone of Jack’s article, I did not find his rant to be political.

      • Ah, but whether you view it as political is irrelevant. The rant is anti-illegal immigration. That position is political. It is characterized as “racist” to demonize it (this guy certainly sounds like a bigot, too), but I don’t see how one can deny its a political position.

        • Jack Marshall wrote, “Ah, but whether you view it as political is irrelevant. The rant is anti-illegal immigration. That position is political. It is characterized as “racist” to demonize it (this guy certainly sound like a bigot, too), but I don’t see how one can deny its a political position.”

          Nicely stated.

          I agree.

        • JP

          For comparison would you find the bigoted and racist rants of the Westboro Baptist Church religious?

          While I agree that the position anti-illegal immigration is political, I see it almost irrelevant to the rant itself. Perhaps that is why I don’t see it has political.

          • Perhaps. Of course the rants of the Phelpsians are religious. They are also bigoted and cruel, but they are religious.

            • Chris

              Even so, this was your statement:

              His life should not be ruined because of single rant, and those who seek to harm him for what is ultimately just a political position are more unethical than he is.

              This is inaccurate; the response to his behavior is *not* because of his political position, but because of his despicable bigoted behavior.

        • Chris

          That position is political. It is characterized as “racist” to demonize it (this guy certainly sound like a bigot, too),

          “Sounds like?!” He threatened to call ICE on people for speaking Spanish. He’s racist.

          • Benjamin

            I think that would be ‘lingualist’, if there even is such a thing. The deadening of the senses to the word ‘racist’ does a disservice to the cause of us who would like to reserve our due outrage for actual racists.

            • Chris

              “Lingualist” is not a word. Everyone knows what racism means. This applies.

              • “Everyone ” knows that racism applies to positions that have nothing to do with race. Got it. Keep digging Chris.

                • Chris

                  Ethnicity and nationality have nothing to do with race? You’re kidding.

                  Are you seriously saying that Mexicans in the U.S. do not experience racism?

                  Look at the reactions to this video. The majority of people, on both the left and the right, correctly identify this man’s actions as racism, because they fit the common understanding of the word. You are engaging in selective prescriptivism because you (not unfairly) believe the term “racism” is overused. While it often is, this is not one of those times.

                  • Chris wrote, “Are you seriously saying that Mexicans in the U.S. do not experience racism?”

                    Here’s Chris, aka CST (Chris the Stupid Troll) in action…

                    Get it?

                    Chris wrote, “Look at the reactions to this video. The majority of people, on both the left and the right, correctly identify this man’s actions as racism, because they fit the common understanding of the word.”

                    That just happens to be one of the finest examples of The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it” I’ve seen for a while.

                    Chris wrote, “You are engaging in selective prescriptivism because you (not unfairly) believe the term “racism” is overused. While it often is, this is not one of those times.”

                    Hogwash.

                    The guy is showing prejudice not racism.

                    Just because there are lots of stupid people like you out there spouting the same nonsense doesn’t make a wrong application of a word suddenly right, only a blithering idiot would use such an argument.

                    • Chris

                      Zoltar, “everybody does it” isn’t a rationalization when it comes to language; it’s literally how language works.

                      As for your insults, is it your position that all linguistic descriptivists are “blithering idiots?”

                    • I refer you to my earlier rant on this topic, Chris: https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/01/31/comment-of-the-day-kaboom-the-school-system-applauds-the-efforts-of-students-who-act-in-good-faith/

                      Long story short, if everyone decides that they want to misuse a technical term in a vernacular context, they may understand each other well enough most of the time. However, when they want to have a serious conversation, as in, “let’s have a conversation about race,” then if people don’t adhere to a stricter, more precise definition of a word, they won’t mean the same thing when they use it and they won’t be able to have a productive discussion. That’s why it’s important to put a rationalist taboo on non-technical terms.

                      Trump seems to never speak technically. Democrats seem to be claiming that vernacular usage of their favored buzzwords is the technical definition, and that Trump should be criticized as if he were speaking technically. This goes a long way toward explaining why progressives aren’t making any progress.

                    • I’m going to leave the remainder of this silly debate to you, EC: it’s a waste of your talents, but also of mine. I’ll just add that that the misuse of this particular term is intentional cognitive dissonance abuse with the intent of demonization. Racism is regarded as abhorrent in this culture, with good reason: it evokes slavery, Jim Crow, the Civil War, cruelty and death. Bigotry, prejudice, discrimination and bias are also unethical conduct, but they are not all or always racism: they are only racism when they involve denigraion and harming individuals because of their race….not ethnicity, not nation of origin, not religion, not age, or gender—race. It’s not hard. 19th Century discrimination against the Irish wasn’t racism, because the Irish are not a race. Bigotry against Italians in the 19th and 20th Century was bigotry based on several factors, but race was not among them. Mexicans are no more a “race” than Irish. Speaking languages other than English is conduct, not race, but never mind: Chris’s trick, or bizarre misunderstanding, is a political tactic, not a definitional disagreement. President Trump has been falsely baled a “racist” based on vigorous antipathy to illegal immigration–conduct, which is a form of law-breaking—and those who engage in it: again, conduct. Before that, the entire Democratic Party largely embraced a tactic of equating legitimate criticism of an atrocious, feckless, arrogant, deliberately divisive and incompetent President based on his conduct and policies with criticism based on his race. Incredibly, because the lie worked, and because, to its undying shame (and permanent loss of trust), the mainstream news media facilitated it, the intentional confounding of racism with many attitudes—some wrongful, but some not—has continued and escalated. Chris is arguing for a passive continuation of that. All the better to falsely tar condemnation of violent gangs as racism, opposition to illegal immigration as racism, objections to affirmative action as racism, support for assimilation as racism, opposition to allowing illegal residents to have licenses, receive benefits of citizenship, even vote, as racism, dislike of millionaire athletes holding incoherent demonstrations and protests on field as racism, believing criminals should be locked up as racism, believing that disruptive students should be ejected from class as racism, believing that “hate speech” is still First Amendment Speech is racism…oh, it’s such a versatile lie. And the only way to banish it as a destructive political weapon is to refuse to tolerate Chris’s “commonly used” shrug—what is really “everybody does it” with sinister purpose.

                      Carry on.

                    • I think we’re on the same page. The use of the word “racism” is fairly simple: “racist” equals “wrong”, so if you can squint at something from a certain angle and apply the label “racist” to it, you don’t have to make any real arguments about why it’s actually unethical or otherwise harmful to society. All that’s left is to ostracize and harass branded racists until they either die as a warning to others, or learn to conform to the narrative of “we deserve damnation, but if we self-flagellate enough we may be forgiven.” It’s a lot like the Spanish Inquisition. (A high school friend and I stopped talking to each other a few years ago because I compared the modern concept of racism to some forms of Christianity in that respect. I wonder if they’ve changed their mind.)

                    • CST wrote, “ Zoltar, “everybody does it” isn’t a rationalization when it comes to language; it’s literally how language works.”

                      “Everyone” isn’t doing it you idiot, only race baiting imbeciles are.

                      CST wrote, “is it your position that all linguistic descriptivists are ‘blithering idiots?’ ”

                      Here’s Chris, aka CST (Chris the Stupid Troll) in action…

                      Get it?

                    • Chris

                      It’s not hard. 19th Century discrimination against the Irish wasn’t racism, because the Irish are not a race. Bigotry against Italians in the 19th and 20th Century was bigotry based on several factors, but race was not among them. Mexicans are no more a “race” than Irish.

                      The Irish and Italians were treated as a separate racial block at the time, just as Mexicans are today.

                      Anyway, I regret that I’ve made it easy for you to avoid the main point of my comment, which is that when you said he “sounds like” a bigot you were making a massive understatement. Do we agree that, based on his conduct, Schlossberg is certainly a bigot?

                    • Chris

                      CST wrote, “is it your position that all linguistic descriptivists are ‘blithering idiots?’ ”

                      Here’s Chris, aka CST (Chris the Stupid Troll) in action…

                      Zoltar, my question doesn’t move the goalposts at all. I am describing racism as most people understand the term; that is a linguistic descriptivist position. You seem to be calling me a blithering idiot for holding that position. I think you should answer whether you truly think all descriptivists are blithering idiots instead of responding with further insults. While I’m at it, would you consider yourself a prescriptivist?

                    • CST wrote, “I am describing racism as most people understand the term.”

                      First it’s the “the majority of people” then it’s implying that “everybody does it” now it’s “most people”; s…u…r…e… you’re not moving the goalposts around the field. I can’t wait to see where you move them too next.

                      Yes your question was moving the goalposts in an effort to shift the focus from your ignorance and misuse of the word racism, it was a deflection. In fact this entire linguistic descriptivism argument has got to be buried somewhere in zone of rationalizations but I think this particular use of the term is more magical thinking in the realm of the an alternate reality or just plain wishful thinking.

                      CST wrote, “You seem to be calling me a blithering idiot for holding that position.”

                      Nope, I’m calling you a blithering idiot because you refuse to back down from an absolutely idiotic position where it’s been proven multiple times that you’ve misused a word and you’re still blithering (senselessly talkative, babbling) arguments that only an idiot would use try to justify your poor understanding of the English language; and you call yourself an English Teacher. We’ve had these kinds of discussions before; just because a group of ignorantly biased social justice warriors call up down does not mean that up is now down. You’re showing signs that you cannot learn from discussions, that’s the result of a sincere lack of intelligence.

              • Benjamin

                Indeed, it isn’t. While the creep in question applied a strong negative generalization to a handful of individuals not based on their common race (which would be racism, i.e. a belief that race is the primary determining factor of human traits) but rather as a result of the language they were speaking. Nobody in the history of mankind has bothered to oppose the application of generalizations based on language to otherwise unknown individuals because it’s not the sort of action that deserves much opposition or consideration. I was left with the obligation to coin a neologism rather than stretching an existing term to embrace a new meaning, dulling its precision. If, in fact, everybody knows that racism means something that racism doesn’t mean, then I am content in also fulfilling my obligation to say that everybody is wrong. Despite what fictional characters say of the matter, the destruction of language is not a beautiful thing (though I suppose this is the point the reader is meant to take away). The dilution of a term to mean anything necessary to the cause of bludgeoning this morning’s Emmanuel Goldstein is the thing I very much intended to describe as being destructive to the cause of clearly distinguishing in speech a real enemy from a fabricated one. This is a real threat to our ability to communicate the presence of real threats. You’ll find this also applies.

          • Typical deceit, Chris. Do better. Here is the sequence: he concluded that the individuals speaking Spanish proved they were illegal immigrants. He said he would call ICE because they were here illegally. He did not say he was calling ICE because they spoke Spanish in public. That would be stupid even if he wasn’t a lawyer. He knows what ICE is for.

            AND Mexicans are not a “race.” Believing that citizens here should be able to speak (and reda0 English is a defensible position that I hold. Holding that they can’t speak their native language is just batty, but it’s not racist. Unfair, extreme, weird, illogical, mean, maybe, but not racist.

            • Chris

              “Racism,” in common vernacular, also applies to bigotries against ethnicities and nationalities, not just race, as everyone knows. To say this wasn’t racism because Mexicans aren’t a race is just pedantry, as is this:

              Typical deceit, Chris. Do better. Here is the sequence: he concluded that the individuals speaking Spanish proved they were illegal immigrants. He said he would call ICE because they were here illegally. He did not say he was calling ICE because they spoke Spanish in public.

              I mean, really?

              • Of course really. Your position is nonsense and indefensible. Racism means bias and prejudice based on race. There is no accepted definition meaning otherwise. The fact that silly hate-mongers and race-baiters use the word irresponsibly doesn’t change what the word means. Insisting that words mean what they mean is not pedantry, it is called communication.

                Shape up. You use it as an all-purpose insult, which is lazy and irresponsible, blurs important distinctions and makes discussion like this impossible. And you’re an English teacher????

                • Chris

                  Racism means bigotry based on race, ethnicity and nationality, and always has.

                  And even if it didn’t, your statement that he “sounds like a bigot” would be (trigger warning for Michael) mealy-mouthed; he IS a bigot.

                  • I’m reasonably sure that’s not what “racism” has always meant. Humans have had stereotypes of different nations, communities, and even families ever since the dawn of time, and when global travel became practical enough to allow people to learn about the existence of other peoples but not convenient enough to actually understand them, these beliefs grew more elaborate.

                    Humans have been certain of racist beliefs and had whole branches of science devoted to exploring and justifying them, but they didn’t have a word for it because they didn’t have any alternative ideologies, like “maybe we’re all basically the same and just grow up in different cultures and environments”. The belief in indelible traits is convenient for keeping the peasants in their place, and that fixed mentality has never quite been eradicated, though the way people express it has changed.

                    It’s simpler just to call people bigots, rather than trying to figure out exactly what they are bigoted about. It’s a bit different depending on what bigot you talk to. People used to be bigoted about dominant hands. We don’t have a word for handedness stigma (or at least I don’t know it off the top of my head), because that’s no longer a mainstream belief. Although I’m big on precisely describing what’s wrong with people, I think “bigotry” is precise enough.

                    • Chris

                      “Always” was hyperbole, of course.

                      I feel like what you’re essentially saying, EC, is that race is a social construct. Am I wrong about that? If I’m not, do you think it would be accurate to state that Hispanics are treated as a racial block in our society? I know they don’t qualify as a “race” on census forms, but we know that there is little to no biological basis for how we categorize “race” in the first place; the notion that there are three basic races is outdated and untrue.

                      I grew up in a majority Hispanic town that bordered a majority white one; the Hispanic kids often talked about the prejudice they faced from the white ones, and described that prejudice as “racism.” Perhaps that’s why I find the current conversation so bizarre; the idea that the kind of treatment witnessed in that video (and that I witnessed and heard about) can be described as “racist” has always been non-controversial to me; it feels like the people claiming otherwise are coming from another world to me.

                      I hope Jack can agree with us, at least, that the man in that video didn’t just “seem” bigoted, he is bigoted.

                    • No, I’m not saying race is completely a social construct, though the way people treat it, the biological, cultural, and social aspects get conflated. I’m saying that the word “racism” was coined to describe a mentality that most people took for granted, and after this mentality has been discredited in the mainstream, the term has taken on a life of its own.

                      I think it’s far more useful to put a rationalist taboo on words related to “racism” to prevent their misuse and to avoid them dividing people over trivial issues. It makes little difference whether wrong behavior is about race or not, as long as we can agree it’s wrong. Whether it’s about race only factors in when we’re trying to understand why a person does something and work with them to get them to stop. Making assumptions about what they think without actually discussing the situation with them is only useful when you want to make armchair judgments.

                    • Chris

                      EC, I think if we want to define “racism” as precisely as you want us to, we’d have to have a more precise definition of “race” than we currently do. But our current definition of race is arbitrary and makes no sense.

                      According to Jack (and, in fairness, the U.S. census), Mexicans are white, as are Arabs. But recently, my (majority Hispanic, several Arab) students had to fill out a school survey, and one of the questions was about their race. The options were White, African-American, and Asian; several kids asked me what they were supposed to check, because there was no Hispanic or Arab option. When I told them Hispanic and Arab are technically classified as “white,” they looked at me like I had grown an extra head. They do not identify as white, they are not treated as white, they do not have white privilege, and those who do have white privilege do not see them as white. The same was true when I was going up. If you go up and ask random people on the street whether Hispanics and Arabs are white, I’d bet the majority would tell you they are not. In my opinion that makes them, for all intents and purposes, different racial groups. That the U.S. government doesn’t classify them that way is, in my eyes, a technicality.

                    • I’m reconsidering my understanding of how people have used the term “race.” They have certainly referred to their own ethnicities as races, and the clinical racists who tried to justify their prejudice with science would construct a hierarchy as to who best fit an ideal archetype.

                      “But our current definition of race is arbitrary and makes no sense.”

                      That’s why if you keep insisting on using the word “racism” you’re going to get a lot of disagreement that you wouldn’t get if you just talked about a person’s prejudice and disrespect. Racism is as racism does.

                    • Chris

                      *growing up, not going up.

                    • Chris

                      Fair enough, EC. I realize your project is to build more communication instead of seeing people talk past each other and that is a more worthy goal than trying to get everyone to agree with my terms.

                      Looking back, I could have avoided this tangeant by changing one word of my comment:

                      That position is political. It is characterized as “racist” to demonize it (this guy certainly sound like a bigot, too),

                      “Sounds like?!” He threatened to call ICE on people for speaking Spanish. He’s racist.

                      I should have changed “racist” to “bigoted” and probably would have gotten more agreement than opposition.

  9. ”Now, thanks to omnipresent cell phones, everyone is under more or less constant surveillance,”

    On THAT subject, the cynic in me believes that somewhere there exists at least one recording of the alleged “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” Ferguson/Darren Wilson/Michael Brown sequence.

    Then I realize that if there was, it would have surfaced by now, regardless of what it confirmed or denied…right?

    • Progressives: We Need Body Cams in police to prove how evil they are towards blacks!

      *body cams reveal police are actually hesistant to use force on blacks compared to the general population and generally reveal that force is almost always justified when the police said it was*

      Progressives: body cameras violate the civil rights of blacks!

      http://www.newsweek.com/police-body-camera-incident-report-memory-civil-rights-minority-711584?amp=1&__twitter_impression=true

      • Chris

        You won’t read this, but others should know that’s a gross misrepresentation of that article; it does not indicate that progressives have a problem with body cameras, but with the review process, as anyone who reads the article can see.

        Nor can it be inferred from that article or from simple logic that body cameras prove police are hesitant to use force on blacks; if anything, it could show that the presence of body cameras makes police more hesitant to use more force than necessary.

        • Didn’t read this.

          As long as you’re in a mood to walk back from hot headed red lines about leaving the blog, then you can also walk back from your comment about me being mealy-mouthed.

          Until then, don’t expect interaction from me.

          • Chris

            All you’re proving here is that I know when I’m being petty and need to walk back from an unfair demand and you do not.

            • Didn’t read this.

              As long as you’re in a mood to walk back from hot headed red lines about leaving the blog, then you can also walk back from your comment about me being mealy-mouthed.

              Until then, don’t expect interaction from me.

              • Chris

                This is interaction. You could just not reply. And yet, you interact, every time.

                I’m embarassed for you.

                • Didn’t read this.

                  As long as you’re in a mood to walk back from hot headed red lines about leaving the blog, then you can also walk back from your comment about me being mealy-mouthed.

                  Until then, don’t expect interaction from me.

          • Phlinn

            Michael, please stop being a petty asshole and move on. I may not agree with Chris much, but he deserves better than this. Your constant posting of the same childish complaint over and over adds nothing of value to the blog comment section. It is way out of proportion to the original offense, and far more annoying to me than almost anything Chris writes.

            • I think my posting history here is a litany of substantive commentary, and I’m in the right on this. I’m going to continually remind Chris he owes a retraction for his comments to me.

              Sorry it rubs you the wrong way.

              If Chris can walk back from the most hot headed of red lines he supposedly made on principle but apparently didn’t. Then he can also walk back the other commentary.

              It’s painfully easy.

            • Steve-O-in-NJ

              Chris does not deserve better than anything. His ratio of substantive vs. mouthy pain-in-the-ass posts is about 1:4

            • Luke G

              I’m with you, Phlinn. Polluting the comments with juvenile posturing is annoying, and as Jack has illustrated with the cognitive dissonance scale I’m finding Chris more sympathetic and pleasant than I ever have just because he doesn’t spam me with copy paste tantrums.

              • Have you ever in an emotional hissy fit made bold declarations and called Chris “mealy mouthed” then back off of everything but those comments?

                No?

                Fine then. I’ve already indicated in preveious explanations of this that I deal with pretty much any flak but I will not be characterized as a cowardly word smith trying to conceal conclusions on a topic.

                There’s an easy solution to this. And no I’m not going to stop reminding Chris he needs to retract his comments.

                Sorry it rubs you wrong.

                • Chris

                  Your weak condemnation of Steve’s expression of gladness that my fiancé can’t have children was, indeed, mealy-mouthed. I won’t retract it because it’s true.

                  • Didn’t read this.

                    As long as you’re in a mood to walk back from hot headed red lines about leaving the blog, then you can also walk back from your comment about me being mealy-mouthed.

                    Until then, don’t expect interaction from me.

      • Well, it’s certainly not mealy-mouthed. That’s blatant misrepresentation of the contents of the article. Nowhere in the article does it say anything about people being hesitant to use force against minorities. Did you just read the headline and then assume you knew why people were complaining about how body cameras were implemented?

        I think the article is reasonable; debriefing about a situation should take place without interference from other sources of information, so that a person’s thought processes at the time can be accurately captured. Otherwise an officer could tailor their account consciously or subconsciously to fit knowledge that they gained about an incident after the fact. We shouldn’t let people justify their decision-making process with information that they didn’t have at the time. That rewards them for moral luck and distorts the process of identifying effective policies for protecting people.

        • To bring you up to date, since you’re pretending like my comment isn’t in the context of a 4-5 year old debate pertaining to body cams-

          The left had been clamoring for body cams because they were absolutely positive cops were racist scum bags who specifically took things harder on African Americans than other ethnicities.

          But you knew that. And that covers the first 2 lines of my intentionally memetic first post.

          Thanks though.

          Either body cam footage does or does not represent the truth. How on earth would it be harmful to a police officer’s report to have factual support rather than memory flooded with adrenaline?

          • “Either body cam footage does or does not represent the truth. How on earth would it be harmful to a police officer’s report to have factual support rather than memory flooded with adrenaline?”

            It’s because the debriefing isn’t supposed to be about “what happened.” The debriefing is supposed to be about “what were you thinking?” The debriefing needs to be as accurate as possible to what the person is actually thinking, so it needs to take place as soon as possible and without the person learning more about the situation. If they do learn more, they develop the “curse of knowledge” where they forget what it was like to operate before they had the full picture, and their memory of how they experienced the situation will be inaccurate. This may cause them to appear more or less competent than they actually are, which is a problem for figuring out how well prepared officers are to actually do their job.

            When they combine the debriefings with the body camera footage, the end result is supposed to tell them “what happened”, and that’s the final report.

            The article didn’t say that anyone should stop using body cameras. They’re trying to make sure they’re used properly. Perhaps I misunderstood, and the memetic (i.e. simplistic) lines you posted weren’t supposed to have anything to do with the article you linked immediately afterward. I think I was reasonable to assume that the link was relevant to your words.

            • I’m not certain how “What were you thinking” can be divorced from “what happened” (which inevitably pushes and is pushed by “what were you thinking”). To me, it seems like a lot of decisions are made often on training and instinct that once made and things become decisive, adrenaline and time clouds recollection. Having been in high stress environments and forced to make snap decisions, having seen feedback on my conduct in those situations, I don’t recall every detail of every decision I made, but the feedback vindicated all those actions, and had I been compelled to recite precisely what I did from adrenaline addled memory, I was likely to get something wrong.

              I get your protests, I’m not certain they are as solid as you state them.

              • That’s a good point. I think what I’d do is debrief them to get the raw thoughts, then have them watch the video and piece together what they were thinking with the objective information, then assemble the final report from all of those accounts and the videos themselves.

  10. Mrs. Q

    “Now, thanks to omnipresent cell phones, everyone is under more or less constant surveillance…”

    “Both encounters were caught on video.”

    Interesting that in a post about surveillance & non-conforming uncouth behavior the surveillance aspect remains embraced as a form of discerning others behavior. We “catch” (and snitch on) others voluntarily without thought of what happens when the tables are turned. The camera/microphone makes it ok to invade peoples moments of weakness while adding the hypocritical stance that “they deserve it” or “they’re an asshole anyway.”

    “Is that the kind of society you want to live in?”

    Apparently this *is* the society people want to live in. And if our techno-socialist gods have their way, what we’re witnessing today is just the beginning.

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/17/17344250/google-x-selfish-ledger-video-data-privacy

    • JP

      I have personally been a fan of the Matthew 18 approach:

      15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

      But you know, that requires you have a backbone.

  11. What we are witnessing is the modern version of destroying someone’s life in the minds of the public with the use of The Scarlet Letter, in which the modern version of the scarlet letter is offensive video posted via social media or YouTube and meant to permanently smear an individual.

    It’s simple, take a single moment in time of one person’s life where their legal action is deemed offensive by others and that offensive moment in time is used to destroy that person’s life. I believe it is irrelevant if that moment in time is signature significance or not, the single moment in time is intentionally being used to destroy someone’s life and that is abuse of power.

    Think about it; in today’s world of social justice warriors if you want to permanently destroy someone why use the legal system where the results are only temporary, just bait your target into doing something that people would consider offensive and then use the video of that to permanently smear them with their own words and actions. You could cause a CEO to have to resort to flipping burgers in a greasy rundown choke-and-puke restaurant, spark their spouse to divorce them, and cause their family to disown them, heck if you’re really lucky maybe suicide would be in their future – job well done social justice warriors.

    These social justice warriors have absolutely no concept of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Do you think these SJW’s would welcome the same destructive treatment to their lives; I’d bet not.

    This kind of thing a rough equivalent to vigilante justice and the abuse of power is becoming widespread and more powerful than the justice system.

    • Good analogy to the Scarlet Letter.

    • Luke G

      I assume most of them would say they would deserve the same treatment, as they are firmly convinced they are righteous and therefore would never do anything that could trigger the furies.

    • Benjamin

      I’ve been growing more and more amused at this behavior. The politically progressive tribe hates the very idea of using public shame to combat classically immoral behaviors like extramarital sex. Some of their rhetoric even sounds like they’re still reacting to Victorian social mores. It’s weird on the level of the initial glance that they, more than the less-politically progressive tribe, typify that behavior in everything but chosen targets.

      Moving down the rabbit hole another level though, one may observe that the hated Victorian social mores were the stuff of English Protestantism, a thing that might seem to have eroded to almost nothing in the last century. A difficult-to-establish perspective on this is that Episcopalianism shifted in its views from shepherding people on earth to a heavenly kingdom to trying to establish a heavenly kingdom on earth, the goal looking progressively less heavenly and more social-justicey as the trend continued moving from the early to the late 20th Century. The latter view doesn’t require a God to function, so the few who do remain in their congregations are treated to left-leaning political advertisements. The humor reaches a second, higher crescendo upon recognition that the American Democrats, as an apparent rule, react in feverish contempt at the thought of the behavior of previous generations of Democrats. The intellectual descendants of the purveyors of Victorian social mores use the same Victorian dudgeon to shame the application of Victorian social mores. The Democrats of today writhe in furious angst against racism as though they’re living under the rule of Jim-Crow Democrat FDR. It’s a matter of mathematical fact that a future generation of Democrats will hate the false implication of racism to such a degree that it will use social pressures to disemploy people for even the appearance of an accusation of racial impropriety. Maybe they’ll destroy people in Twitter wars for the appearance of trying to instigate Twitter wars.

  12. I’m not too sure what’s wrong with some people around these parts but when Chris, aka CST (Chris the Stupid Troll), gives his definition of a word that definition is the final word on the topic. CST is a teacher “and as such is beyond contestation”. Any definition that contradicts CST’s is obviously a lie, any dictionary that contradicts CST’s should be burned, and any history that contradicts CST’s words is fake history and should be wiped from the memories of the public; in other words anyone that contradicts CST’s is a liar and an idiot for presenting it.

    I almost threw up in my mouth while typing that.

    Here’s some facts for anyone that needs a little help back to reality:

    Prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. This is exactly Aaron Schlossberg was exhibiting along with being an absolute asshole.

    Bigot: a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions. Yes I think that Aaron Schlossberg’s obvious prejudice is likely rooted in bigotry towards illegal immigrants and those that want to ignore or support illegal immigration. Heck I even exhibit some bigotry towards illegal immigrants and those that want to ignore or support illegal immigration I just don’t allow that to twist my character to be prejudice.

    Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Even though Aaron Schlossberg is a confirmed prejudice asshole, what he did was not racism, there is no evidence that he thinks his race is superior to the people he was identifying as illegal immigrants based on his bigotry induced prejudice.

    Here is something that race baiters will not acknowledge: not all prejudice is evidence of racism where all racism includes prejudice as a root part, just because someone exhibits prejudice does not mean that person is a racist. A race baiter like CST is too stupid to understand that.

    …and finally…

    Mealy-Mouthed: afraid to speak frankly or straightforwardly.

    It is a direct insult to improperly label someone who actually speaks frankly and straightforwardly as being mealy-mouthed just because you disagree with what they’ve said, how they said something, or what they said; <b<that my fellow Ethics Alarms participants is exactly what Chris, aka CST (Chris the Stupid Troll), has been doing with Michael West. Michael West has proven repeatedly that he is not mealy-mouthed and he wasn’t being mealy-mouthed in the conversation where CST intentionally insulted him as being mealy-mouthed. It’s obvious that CST doesn’t have the integrity, which is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness, to openly admit his error that’s based on his blind hate and obvious ignorance. Michael West actually gave CST a side door out of the mess CST created and CST chose to dig deeper and doubled-down on his insult; CST is a damn fool.

    CST is intentionally trying to piss off people and, like most Progressive trolls, he’s damned good at it. It’s too bad some people apply the Julie Principle when dealing with him but as a good buddy of mine routinely says, “I choose otherwise”.

    Here’s a graphic representation of CST’s routine action around Ethics Alarms and his direct actions regarding his improper use of mealy-mouthed as an insult…

    This CST dumbass will keep digging until he reaches magma then he’ll just define magma as something other than it truly is so he can say that he hasn’t dug too deep.

    Real definitions actually mean something.

    • Thanks for defining those terms, ZS. I wish more people appreciated the importance of precision rather than just tossing out a generic condemnation.

      If people are going to update the “I will eviscerate you in fiction” threat for the age of social media, they should at the very least be accurate about what wrongs they’re trying to avenge.

      • Thanks Extradimensional Cephalopod.

        I’ve reached my tolerance level for the bull shit trolling and I’m not allowing any of it to pass unchallenged if I see it. The gloves are off and if I’m perceived as more of an asshole than I was the day before, then sobeit, I’m at peace with it.

        The Crusades have begun.

    • Luke G

      If you want to enforce strict definitions, then physician heal thyself. A troll by definition is one who posts deliberately inflammatory comments without regard to what they actually believe, just to start a fight. Chris, while not shy of an argument, pretty obviously is arguing what he honestly believes. You’re just using “troll” to mean “someone who repeatedly says things I disagree with,” as a generic condemnation.

      Real definitions actually mean something.

      • Troll: Those that post inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

      • Luke if you’re going to play this game with me you might want to bring your “A” game and not try to paraphrase existing definitions.

        • Luke G

          He’s on topic, and relevant, you just don’t like him.

          • Point of order: I don’t think you can call hijacking a discussion of zealotry against illegal immigration, objections to use of non-English and bias against Spanish-speakers to invoke racism as “on topic.” The fact that it isn’t on topic and is intentionally NOT on topic is the source of the dispute. No?

            • And on your other point: one can hardly call insistence that accusations of “racism” actually involve bigotry based on race being “strict.” In a way, this is also about speaking English, and not making words mean what they don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t.

            • Chris

              Point of order: I don’t think you can call hijacking a discussion of zealotry against illegal immigration, objections to use of non-English and bias against Spanish-speakers to invoke racism as “on topic.” The fact that it isn’t on topic and is intentionally NOT on topic is the source of the dispute. No?

              My comment was a direct response to your statement that Schlossberg “sounds like a bigot.” I thought this was a massive understatement, as my comment made clear. Do you agree his actions were bigoted?

              I think discussion of exactly what type of bigotry Schlossberg was engaging in is relevant enough to the topic to not be considered trolling; certainly I was not intentionally going off topic. The idea that Sclossberg’s comments were racist—and that Mexicans experience racism—is non-controversial in other forums, on both the right and left.

              But you (and many here) define racism differently than most of the general public, and we will not agree on the definition, so I won’t push you further on this. I do still hope you’ll address the main point of the comment which spawned all this. Do you think that your statement that Schlossberg “sounds like a bigot” was an understatement?

              • Do you agree his actions were bigoted?

                He appeared to be unjustly targeting people for abuse who were doing nothing wrong based solely on their appearance and language. That’s bigotry.

                I couldn’t care less whether or where a false issue is non-controversial. The prejudice by Americans against Irish immigrants was not racism, and the prejudice against Mexicans by some bigots is not racism. Under the law, by logic and by the language of English, the topic is discrimination by ethnicity and country of origin.

          • Luke G wrote, “He’s on topic, and relevant, you just don’t like him.”

            No Luke, Chris aka CST posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages on Ethics Alarms with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

            Catch up Luke, you’re just plain wrong on this one.

            P.S. Whether I “like” CST, the person, or not is not relevant it’s what he writes that’s the problem.

      • Chris

        Thank you, Luke.

    • “has been doing with Michael West. Michael West has proven repeatedly that he is not mealy-mouthed and he wasn’t being mealy-mouthed in the conversation where CST intentionally insulted him as being mealy-mouthed.”

      Thanks.

      I’ve explained this enough.

      But in fairness, I think it’s just piling on.

      • Michael West wrote, “I think it’s just piling on.”

        I respectfully disagree.

        I’m sure someone else could have been more PC about it but whoever that “someone else” is is not stepping up to the plate.

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