Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/6/2018: I See Unethical People…

Good morning, everyone!

1. Good, but better if it had happened six months ago. Ethically-challenged EPA chief Scott Pruitt finally “resigned” yesterday.  He was actually fired, and President Trump should have fired him as soon as it became clear that his pal couldn’t break himself of the bad habits he developed as a lawyer and a politician, including taking advantage of his position for personal gain. There were 14 separate investigations of Pruitt’s conduct, and his continued presence with Trump’s leave undermined the President’s pledge to “drain the swamp.” As several wags said with utter accuracy, Pruitt personified the swamp, but Trump does not place ethics or avoiding the appearance of impropriety high on his list of priorities, and never has. Pruitt’s conduct was also as stupid as it was wrong. He was a villain of the environmental Left, and had bullseyes and laser targets metaphorically covering his body. In such a situation, a prudent individual knows that he or she must be otherwise beyond reproach. Not Pruitt!

The National Review neatly summed up his demise:

“EPA administrator Scott Pruitt had enemies who were out to get him because he is a Republican, a conservative, a high-ranking member of the Trump administration, and an environmental deregulator. But it wasn’t liberals, the media, or deep staters who made him get large raises for his top aides, deny that he knew about it, and then admit that he did. It wasn’t they who made him have an aide find him a discount mattress, or run sirens so he could get to a French restaurant on time. The aides who told journalists, or congressional investigators, or both about Pruitt’s misbehavior weren’t all or even mostly liberals or deep staters. Several of them were conservative Trump supporters who were disturbed by Pruitt’s behavior and thought he was serving both the president and taxpayers poorly. Some of them had come with Pruitt from Oklahoma because they believed in him. The more they saw him in action in D.C., the less they did. Today it caught up with him.”

Good riddance.

2. Wait, haven’t we seen this movie before? Many commenters here expressed skepticism at the accusation that GOP Congressman Jim Jordan had turned a blind eye to sexual abuse  of student wrestlers when he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State almost 40 years ago. Indeed the timing of the story looked like a political hit job, and it may be one whether the allegations are true or not. But now, as I noted in the first post about the controversy, the issue is Jordan’s denials. They rang false to my trained ear, and now there are four former wrestlers who say Jordan knew a team doctor was abusing the students.

It’s still their word against his, but it doesn’t matter. My position, as in the Harvey Weinstein mess, as in cases where fathers are molesting daughters, and in the Penn State scandal and so, so many others, is that those close to the situation either knew or should have known, and often deliberately avoid “knowing.”  Even if Jordan didn’t know, he should have and could have, and if he immediately accepted responsibility when the issue arose, he might have preserved some level of trustworthiness. He didn’t. They never do.

And we know how this movie ends.

3. “Anyone who disagrees with us should be shamed, harassed, and driven into the wilderness…” Is this really the ethical position (Pssst! It’s unethical!) that Democrats, progressives and “the resistance” are going to stick with? Good luck with that. That they should just hand out “We’re despicable, intolerant bigots, and proud of it!” T-shirts and save time:

  • Exhibit A.  200 black female “leaders and allies” signed an open letter criticizing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for their “failure” to protect Rep. Maxine Waters from “unwarranted attacks from the Trump administration and others in the GOP.” This episode helps explain why a corrupt, serial dolt like Waters continues to have influence in the black community: all those leaders are as incompetent as she is. Pelosi and Schumer properly, if gingerly (they don’t want to be called racists) chided Waters without even mentioning her name for her undemocratic and totalitarian call for citizens to accost Trump officials when they are going about their lives and show them that they are not “welcome anywhere.” I’m sure Nancy and Chuck would love this to happen, but they aren’t total fools: they are sloooowly figuring out that the vicious post-2016 election tactics of “the resistance’ are losing Democrats the “people with a shred of decency” vote, and ought to.

Those 200 signees haven’t reached that point of enlightenment, won’t,and really think Americans want to live in a society where they can be thrown out of a restaurant or confronted by a mob because their political opinions or job descriptions don’t score well on the Progressive Bullies Checklist.

  • Exhibit B. Stipulated: The MAGA hat was GOP Trump campaign apparel with a campaign slogan on it that was no more or less sinister nor coded than “Hope and Change.” The Left hates it because it symbolizes their embarrassing failure and the defaet of Hillary Clinton. If Republicans and Obama critics treated citizens with old Obama stickers on their cars the way wearers of MAGA hats are currently being abused, there would be an outcry against GOP “fascists.” Harass and abuse someone wearing the campaign hat of the winning Presidential candidate, however, and you’re “woke.”

Some Canadians apparently grasp the unethical nature of this. When the manager of a Vancouver, Canada restaurant  a customer to remove his “Make America Great Again” hat or be refused service, the manager was promptly fired. The defunct manager, a smugly self-righteous bigot named Darin Hodge, was defiant, pronouncing himself a person with “a strong moral backbone.” I don’t think “moral” means what you think it does, Darin. There is no moral justification for punishing someone for a political statement, or withholding service in a public accommodation. That’s bigotry, and bigotry is not “moral.” Demanding that a customer conform to the manager’s political views or suffer for it isn’t “moral.”

In San Antonio, Teaxs, a teenager wearing a MAGA hat was assaulted by a stranger in a Whataburger, who threw a coke in the kids face and took his hat. The attack was videoed and posted on social media….and many anti-Trump deranged, including some prominent ones, actually cheered the attacker. For example, Marc Lamont Hill, a CNN commentator and professor at Temple University, responded to the story with this tweet…

At the risk of repeating myself, the Post 2016 Election freakout on the Left has prompted people to cheer when an adult attacks a teen in a public place, and steals his property for the “crime” of displaying his support for the lawfully elected President of the United States. Those who would cheer this have become, or always were but once hid it better, horrible human beings. It is signature significance: no fair, decent, ethical human being would do this. Ever.

  • Exhibit C Lawyer and law professor Alan Dershowitz has been complaining for more than a month that his liberal friends have shunned him for making principled arguments against some of the crack-brained impeachment theories and the legally and ethically dubious conduct of the Mueller investigation. He is particularly wounded, he says, because he is no longer invited to toney dinner parties on that liberal enclave and summer retreat, Martha’s Vineyard. Well, yes, his lament sounds elitist and whiny, and welcome to my Facebook page. That doesn’t mean he isn’t correct that such conduct is wrong and unAmerican. In a recent op-ed in The Hill last week about his dinner party woes, he wrote, “I never thought I would see McCarthyism come to Martha’s Vineyard, but I have.”

In a sneering response, Esquire writer Jack Holmes says that The Dersh is just getting what he deserves. Holmes thus again illustrates the sick, anti-American and unethical mindset of the Left these days. Integrity and objective support for basic principles of law and ethics are not to be encouraged or tolerated when they undermine the Left’s political biases and agendas. Dershowitz is being shamed by his leftist friends, say Holmes, who is not a lawyer, and clearly does not comprehend the principles Dershowitz had been defending. Yes, he’s being shamed for doing the right thing, by a group so addled by anger that they no longer know what the right thing is.

4. Segue! This article yesterday by Victor David Hanson nicely dovetails with my essay here a week ago. But I beat Hanson by a week…


42 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/6/2018: I See Unethical People…

  1. Meanwhile my mother is upset that the liberals have taken out that nice man Pruitt. Of course my mother makes Fox News look like they have a liberal bias.

  2. 3. This shunning, harassing, and total lack of self-assessment is why more liberals and especially minorities are leaving progressivism. The advent of the #WalkAway campaign is a perfect example. The minute it went viral, leftists accused the founder of being a Russian bot out to divide the country (there have been some fake accts. found but unfortunately every movement from #metoo to #resistance has this problem).

    Yet there are real people (including myself) who are sick of people like Waters and her 200 minions speaking for them and deciding how everyone should think/act, and worse, egging folks on to be violent…for the greater good no less.

    The backlash is growing. I just pray those who rebel against elite neo-Marxist tyrannical thinking embrace some of the ethics principles I have been taught here.

    • This is also why white male participation on the left is also sinking like a stone, even among the younger white men. Frankly I think a lot of them were just following the pussy (single women’s liberal numbers are off the charts) , but after you hear for the twentieth time how you and guys like you are the source of all the world’s problems and you should be disenfranchised, stripped of any meaningful role of society, denied the right to travel, and castrated, you finally say enough is enough.

  3. Re: the Vineyard’s treatment of Derschowitz. I guess bias makes you vicious. Particularly in Cambridge, Mass.

    • They do call it the People’s Republic of Cambridge, so it comes with the territory. One does not simply create a utopia without purging the regressive counter-revolutionary forces!

      • Yes, people in the country who don’t score high enough on their SATs need to be ruled by their enlightened superiors for the good of the world.

    • I’d love to have Alan Dershowitz at a dinner party as my guest. We may not agree on all issues but at least I could trust him to be giving me real information and not twisted facts and logic.

  4. Perhaps my untrained ear does not pickup on the hollowness of Jordans denials but my experience in life gives me reason to doubt the accusers.

    First: OSU hires a local law firm to investigate after 24 years who in turn subcontract the investigation to Perkins Coie of DC. The same firm that funnelled DNC monies to Fusion GPS who used those funds to develop the Steele dossier. The same Perkins Coie that prevented the FBI forensics team to evaluate the alleged hack on the DNC server instead allowing a firm owned by an anti Putinite determine the source of the hack which has been challenged by other noted computer forensics experts. The same Perkins Coie that represents HRC.

    Second: DiSabato has been embroiled in litigation over image use of athletes with OSU and NCAA. Another accuser did 18 months for fraud. What some low level coach who was not yet thirty years old himself should have known is pure conjecture.

    Third: If Head Coach Helickson knew, and he stated that he took the matter up with College administrators, then why is he saying that a low level assistant coach knew and should have intervened? Had I been that coach I would never discuss a personnel issue with a subordinate.

    There was locker room banter in my Junior High school that said the towel guy was queer and he liked to look at young boys. Imagine the harm we could have done to him today. No evidence except what we recollect after 45 years. He was just an old man with a crappy job cleaning up after a bunch of teenagers.

    To my untrained ear what I hear is a guy that has been unfairly attacked by two guys with a dubious past and a law firm that is know to be a DNC fixer not to mention the OSU administration trying to shift blame on a higher level target. And, nah there is no political bias in higher education.

    • One final point. If all these guys were so embarrassed and kept quiet about how can there be locker room banter about Strauss’s actions? You cannot claim you were silent while claiming there were discussions about it. That just makes no sense to me.

    • I agree, Chris. This is pure political hackery, perpetrated by the same folk who gave us the Mueller Investigation… which has discovered exactly how much Russian collusion? I mean, within the Trump campaign. There was plenty found on the Democrat side.

      Even if Jordans knew, so what? His job all but precluded him doing anything about it.

      • SW
        The concept that a third party has a duty to act on behalf of an adult second party when made aware of something done to the second party by the first party is fraught with pitfalls.

        If the second party complains of an act by the first party to the third party but the second party is unwilling to report the issue themselves because of embarrassment or other reason, the third party is put in to a precarious position by the aggrieved second party. That itself is unethical because the third party must either out the victim causing him harm or do nothing to stop the acts themselves.

        If the third party takes action and reports the act, the second party, to avoid embarrassment can claim he does not know what the third party is talking about. What then for the ethical man?

        There is a big difference between reporting alleged child molesters because the third party can be seen as a protector of a child but when the second party is technically an adult, then the second party (the aggrieved) bears the oneous of responsibility to report the behavior for they are the witness for the prosecution and not the third party.

        • We live this in our family. Wifey is a teacher in High School, and has been hung on the horns of this dilemma many times. She has lost the trust of many students who confided in her when they hit the wrong set of word combinations. The problem lies in that she can be fired and possibly jailed for not reporting something that later goes south under Texas law.

          Makes my skin crawl.

          • I feel your pain. I retired early from a community college for similar reasons. The third party that reports gets hung out to dry by both sides.

            • Being a HS teacher today requires immense fortitude.

              What is the role of school counselors today? Teachers have enough to do without being social workers. My hats off to your wife.

              • I snorted when you asked that. I wonder what school counselors do as well.

                Oh, they help plan class schedules and provide a little used (unless forced) ear for students, who may be ratted out by the counselors just like the teachers would.

                This is why I am skeptical of proposals for more school counselors and no armed teachers… the former would not be any more effective than the ones they have today, and the latter might be effective, which takes the issue away from progressives.

                I am tired today, and I get cynical when that happens. Sorry for being blunt.

                • I understand.. The comment about school counselors was to illustrate that teachers are expected to be social workers. The high school counselors I know are focused only on getting some kids into college and the rest be damned.

          • Is it workable that a teacher at the beginning of ( and also during) the school year LOUD and CLEARLY pronouns to all students that whatever they tell her can and will be reported if it hits the wrong set of word combinations.

            Maybe even explain what she is lawfully expected to report and that means there can’t be any promise, not even the smallest suggestion of confidentially coming from her.

            Something like that?

            It reminds me about the post Jack did about how, as a lawyer, you suddenly can have a client-relation because the lawyer was unattentive regarding his interaction with this person.

            Similar with teacher? Can a teacher say, I am your teacher, not your counselor. If you talk counselor-stuff I will refer you to the counselor and if required by law, I will report our conversation to …

            • Do that, and you have killed the emotional connection needed to get the kids to care about learning. Might as well learn to drive a truck!

              My wife helps a great many angst ridden teens into young adulthood. This is why she teaches. The risks are worth the rewards, or she will quit. So far they are worth it.

              Think about it this way: did you have a favorite teacher? Would they have been your favorite if they made such an announcement? Wasn’t there an emotional relationship that made them effective with you?

      • But, you know, he said that he would have done something about it. Come on. Did Meryl’s job preclude her from doing something about Harvey? Did Hillary’s? You know kids in your place of employment are being sexually abused, and you ignore it because “it’s not your job”?

        Re-think this.

    • I can’t really comment on what Jim Jordan knew and when he knew it. I do, however, have a perspective. I wrestled in high school and college – what everyone knows, but doesn’t really appreciate, is what an individual sport this is. When you compete, you are alone on a mat with the stadium around you – the entire audience is watching you out there all by yourself. You don’t have a team mate to pass the ball off to or to help you block someone etc. Just you and another guy in total exertion against one another.

      Wrestlers, even at my level, had tons of self confidence and would not be easily intimidated by anyone, including coaches and other staff. Wrestlers at the level of Jim Jordan and his team even less so. The thought of a team doctor at my college team sexually abusing a non-compliant team mate is something that would be difficult for me to comprehend.

      Again, I have no idea what Rep. Jordan knew. I don’t know how complacant his team was, but I don’t believe that any of the guys I wrestled with would have put up with any nonsense from any adult on the team with respect to sexual abuse (even when in high school).

        • Why would these wrestlers be less likely to put up with genuine sexual abuse than the gymnasts? Because:

          1. The wrestlers were grown men, not underage girls.
          2. Not only were the wrestlers grown men, they were unusually strong and muscular men and therefore could physically prevent any sexual abuse by a middle-aged doctor.
          3. A wrestler’s success in his sport depends on objective factors — if you can pin your opponent, you get a place on the team and you will advance in the champions. A gymnast’s career is utterly dependent upon the opinions of judges. Offending a doctor who is popular in the gymnastics community could have a serious impact on her career.

          On the other hand, what would be their reasons for putting up with the doctor’s behavior? Because:

          1. They were accustomed to being naked in front of other men and therefore were not particularly bothered by what the doctor was doing — essentially ogling them in the shower and in the examination room.
          2. They didn’t consider the doctor’s conduct to be abuse. At worst, it was annoying. More likely, they thought it was essentially silly, not intrusive, intimidating or dangerous.
          3. They didn’t want to seem homophobic.

          Note that unlike the girls, who were intimidated into silence and told nobody what the doctor had done, the wrestlers talked about it freely among themselves and their coaches. They probably also talked about it among friends and family, to the extent that they though it would interest or amuse them. In all of this open chatter, none of the wrestlers voiced any need or desire for help, and to the extent that the coaches heard their chatter, they probably felt no particular need to interfere in a situation that wasn’t really bothering anybody.

  5. 1. Finally! We get rid of a Swamp dweller! I have been saying that the Elites are in both parties, and in it for their own power and money…

    2. Chris M covered this quite well above

    3a. Reverse the parties and see how you feel about this: it tells you all you need to know. If a conservative said this…

    3b. Darin Hodge is everything Academia wishes everyone to be: a self righteous prick who cannot think their way our of a paper bag. Orwell was right.

    Kino Jimenez sits in jail today. Bring your progressive bullshit to Texas, learn to live with Bubba whispering sweet nothings in your ear. Given where the guy was caught, I am betting someone recognized him and ratted him out. Too many Carry Holders in Texas and the kid was certainly threatened, assaulted and battered. This trend is dangerous, and will get out of hand if the progressives don’t cool it.

    3c. I certainly hope Alan has learned his lesson. Not the one he was supposed to learn, which is ‘don’t ever oppose the progressive narrative,’ but the real lesson: those inviting him to parties were not his friends. These people care more for virtue signalling than Alan’s companionship or well being. The corollary lesson is that one has to accept shame to be shamed. Hold your head high, Alan! They treated Lincoln worse!

    4. Congrats, Jack: I am seeing many more articles like this recently, but you were an early adopter of this truth. I believe the ‘smarter than thou’ progressives cannot admit they may have been wrong, and so are backed into a corner. I hope they buckle under the pressure before things really get out of hand.

  6. I’m a little uncomfortable with the concept that someone “should have known” about someone else’s wrongdoing. In some cases, that principle has merit, as with a parent and child: it’s the parent’s responsibility to know what’s going on with their kid. But in a case of college wrestlers – all adults – being abused by the team doctor, I’m not sure “should have known” applies to a 22-year-old assistant coach. I presume it’s not standard practice to have the assistant coach in the room when a doctor is examining a member of the team, and if those abused didn’t confide in him, how is he to know? Yes, willful ignorance and “turning a blind eye” is a real thing, but so is plain ol’ ignorance and obliviousness – especially among young people in their early 20’s…

    The other part of “should have known” that gives me pause is, what if the accusations of abuse are actually untrue? If we’re setting “should have known” as the bar, and there was no abuse, maybe he *would* have known if there really had been abuse, but since it didn’t exist, he couldn’t know about it. How does one defend oneself from that kind of Kafkaesque trap?

  7. Re: 1. To cement the despicable nature of Pruitt’s behavior the National Review had to say that he ordered sirens to get him to a French/ restaurant on time.

    Are some facts more important than others or is does every media outlet have a set of whistle words to send signals to its core audience.

  8. Re: No. 1: (well, sort of):

    Here is a Facebook exchange about the woman with toddler in toe confronting Pruitt at a restaurant. I don’t know if the link will work, but I am going to post it anyway because I am just that kind of guy. Here is the link:

    As you can see from the responses, the mother has the moral authority to ridicule Pruitt for his environmental policies. The comments to the video wholly support her “deeply held convictions”.


      • Agreed. What I really wanted to post were the comments on the Facebook feed in a friend’s posting because they were enlightening. Somehow, the link did not contain the comments. GrrrrrrR!


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