Saturday Afternoon Ethics, 6/23/18: Pondering Pandering And Zugswang By The Sea

Good afternoon.

It’s a good thing that I don’t pay myself anything for this, because I’d have to fire myself. Thanks to a full fledged computer crash at 6 am., all of my plans this morning to get a post up, get my notebook organized for tomorrow’s ethics training, and complete the outline for my Smithsonian Associates program on the influence of Gilbert and Sullivan on 21st Century America week from today before I had to fly to Tampa were as dust in the wind. This is especially bad for Ethics Alarms, as the blog gets virtually no traffic after noon on Saturday, no matter what I write about.

So here I am at the Wyndham Grand on Clearwater Beach—the sun is shining, the ocean is gleaming, and the pool, music, bar and beautiful women are right below my balcony—and what’s the first thing I do? This.

1 Ethics Zugswang and the illegal immigrant kids. The news media is now telling us that the President’s executive order creates an inherent conflict if he is serious about “no-tolerance” immigration violation enforcement. Yes, we knew that, or at least the people who didn’t blind themselves, Oedipus-like, rending their garments over “Think of the Children!” mania knew it. See, it goes like this:

A. Entering the country illegally is a crime.

B. People who commit crimes are supposed to be arrested, or more such people will commit those crimes.

C. Illegal immigration is a federal crime.

D. Children who accompany their parents while committing federal crimes cannot, by law, be  imprisoned with their parents.

E. They also cannot be held at all for more than a proscribed time, which is too short a period to process their law-breaking parents.

F. If the children have to be returned to their parents,, then the parents cannot be punished for breaking immigration laws.

G. If the children are separated from their parents, the government officials doing so are evildoers who must be shamed, excoriated and condemned.

F. Thus government officials are supposed to ignore the law, by the principle that Children Invalidate Laws, which they didn’t teach me in my college government classes or in law school but apparently that’s a rule.

G. But government officials are sworn to uphold and enforce the law.

Ethics Zugswang.

This Gordian Knot requires some distortion and deceit to stay tied, however…

One: “No-tolerance” is being used by the media to make “enforcing the law when people break it” sound like the equivalent of a school suspending a student for making his fingers look like a gun. Law enforcement is not supposed to “tolerate” crime and law-breaking. Illegal immigration is a serious breach of law, and what the news media is calling “no-tolerance” is really just enforcement.

Two: The Obama Administration opted for “catch and release,” which can be fairly described as “pretending to enforce the law, but not really doing it.” It was a dishonest, cynical, incompetent and unethical policy.

Three: There is no justification for treating the children of illegal immigrants differently from the children of citizens who are arrested and who have no one to care for their kids.

Four: The principle being advocated by the hysterical critics of the “separation of families” at the border (the accurate description is “the arrest of illegal border-crossers) is, now correct me if I’m wrong, “If a child or children accompanies a parent when the parent is apprehended while trying to violate a law carrying a substantial penalty, that parent will be treated with more leniency than if a child did not accompany him or her.” My puzzlement arises from this conundrum: Why do only law-breaking non-citizens get this benefit? Why don’t we “catch and release” good old American single parent bank robbers and burglars who bring their toddlers along as a “Get out of Jail ” card?

Five: What’s the difference? Here’s the difference: the progressive ghetto of our culture has adopted the convenient fiction that illegal immigration isn’t a crime at all, and illegal immigrants are heroes, or martyrs, or potential Elizabeth Warren voters, or something, but certainly they aren’t doing anything wrong. It’s an act of love (said Jeb Bush, proving that he had  squishy soft nougat center). Then why do we have a law against it, Jeb, et al.? Oh, because you can’t have open borders, that would be ridiculous and irresponsible. History shows us that. A nation most protect its borders!

Ethics Zugswang.

It is not ethics zugswang, though. It may be political zugswang because of the greed, dishonesty, emotionalism, and rationalizations driving this issue (in addition to its usefulness as another excuse to undermine this particular President), but the ethics are clear:

—The government’s primary duty is to enforce the laws.

—The integrity of national borders must be ensured using laws.

—The illegal border-crossers are breaking the law.

—They should be punished exactly the same regardless of whether they have brought children along or not.

—The responsibility for placing the children in this position belongs to the parents, and only the parents.

—Making the fate of the children the primary focus of any portion of the illegal immigration debate is intellectually dishonest, manipulative, and unethical, or, at best, innocently ignorant and emotional.

2. The virtue signaling fad is officially dangerous. American, United and other airlines decided to take sides in the border-wars, announcing that they would no longer sell tickets to the government when children taken from (see above) irresponsible, law-breaking parents had to be relocated. Of course, in the normal course of business none of the airlines care what truly nefarious activities they are being involved in when they enable travelers, but since sanctuary cities are applauded for defying law enforcement, and more and more private establishments are basing their service on the political view of potential customers, these big corporations are pandering. This will spread, and we will have a completely dysfunctional society if and when it does. It is the natural progression of the divisive strategies and rhetoric employed by “the resistance” and the news media, and is undiluted cultural poison.

3. There’s pandering, and there’s dishonest,, transparent  pandering. I’m looking at a full page ad in the Times placed by Gracious Homes, kind of a high-end Bed, Baths and Beyond. Saying that it understands that “creating a place to cherish begins with the family” and  blathering about the “American dream,” it says that “regardless of politics” they believe in “keeping families together.” So it’s donating 5% of its sales to Americans for Immigrant Justice, which is one of those organizations that lie in their names. It is an open borders advocacy organization. Meanwhile, the “American Dream” is not advanced by indulging law-breakers, and “keeping families together” in this matter means a family staying in its own country until or unless it has followed the required procedures for coming here.


19 thoughts on “Saturday Afternoon Ethics, 6/23/18: Pondering Pandering And Zugswang By The Sea

  1. #2. Today I had the misfortune of attempting to navigate a traffic lane in a local gas station in which a young mother decided she would enscounce herself on the curb while her baby was in a stroller a few feet away in the traffic lane. I waited a few minutes for her to put the child on the curb and away from the path of my automobile. Instead, she simply looked up an gave me an FU look. It was obvious she was saying go ahead make my structured settlement. I did finally drive well around the stroller and pumped my gas a mere few feet from her stroller. She never looked up and kept texting. I went into the station to say something to the attendant but instead told the female police officer that the mother left the child in the traffic lane and created a dangerous situation for the child. The officer told me there was nothing she could do about it but would talk to her. The officer then suggested I was getting too stressed about it and parents parent their children differently. Her smug arrogance caused my ire to rise exponentially. My ire was not stress but anger at her (police officers) indifference. Hagerstown’s police department pushes see something say something and gives great lipservice to community policing. So much for “protect and serve”. The officer seemed like getting her cruiser washed was more important. Throughout the encounter I was made to feel like I am nothing more be than an angry white male ( the mother was a white teen mom btw). Finally, because of her indifference I stated I am angered by the idea that is promoted that people like me are Nazis and hate children yet this officer felt no impulse to mitigate the hazard. She told me to stay off social media. I told her that the comments were from our state’s congressional representatives. I felt so sorry for the little black lady behind the counter who empathized with me telling me that these kids have no clue and how she wound up caring for her children’s children. When they say it takes a village I think they mean it takes a village to raise village idiots.

  2. #2 I wonder how these airlines would behave if they found themselves getting the slow roll by federal air traffic controllers who are told to give departure clearance preference to airlines that don’t withhold services. If state governments can bar travel to states they dont like can’t the federal government bar ticket purchases from airlines that will not serve all their needs.

  3. Jack have some stone crab for me. I miss that area and I miss those claws. Wait, what are the ethics in regards to stone crab fishing, maybe I don’t want to think about it.

  4. Yes, its tough trying to work out ‘right and wrong’ and I appreciate you provoking readers to work out where they stand. I think you have produced or acted in Les Miserables? You seem ideally suited for Javert. Did you see it as wrong for Valjean to say ‘think of the child’ (when seeking time to rescue Fantine) and wrong for the Bishop to lie when asked about the church silverware that Valjean stole? Or were they both just being ‘emotional’?

    I admit that I rejoice when Javert throws himself in the Seine and my immediate reaction to much of your commentary on President Trump is to wish you would do likewise. But when my blood cools kicks I can acknowledge that Javert was ‘honourable’ even if horribly flawed, and deserves some respect for that.

  5. I would imagine the spend by the US government on airline tickets has to make a sizable portion of the mainline carrier business. The administration should be saying “take all of our lawful business, or get none.” AA and UA, and any other airline trying this should lose 100% of all federal spending that presently comes their way.

  6. United doesn’t want the illegal immigrant kids on board, since they might see United assault a paying customer to remove him from a flight. And didn’t United receive a bailout from the government once…?

  7. #1,2 and 3: Completely disheartening. There is far too much feel / look good in the world and way too little do good in it.

    My favorite is the ubiquitous yard sign, “No Human is Illegal”. True enough, but what they do as humans can be, and when it is, should be punishable by prevailing law. (That’s not so hard, is it? Apparently, it is.)

  8. Don’t know if the number is accurate, but it has been reported that there are 765,000 kids separated from their active-duty military parents. If accurate, I’d guess this includes families where only one parent is gone. Nor will it be reported by the MSM, accurate or not.

  9. Every client I ever had who was charged with a felony or serious misdemeanor was not only charge for the primary offense but also charged with child abuse/neglect/endangerment. Happens all the time when some is charged with Drunk Driving with a kid in the car. Those kids get taken, albeit often only temporarily, by Child Services. So if it’s no big deal for citizen-lawbreakers, why should it be a big deal for non-citizen lawbreakers/

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