Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/8/18: Idiots, Bigots, Liars and Freakouts

Good Morning!

My favorite hymn, naturally: the first selection at my father’s 2010 funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, the stirring finale of “Mrs. Miniver,” and it was composed by none other than Sir Arthur Sullivan.

1. What’s the ethical response to these kinds of stories? I’m pretty sure I don’t have it, whatever it is. From today’s New York Times: “This year, a tourist in India was mauled to death when he tried to take a selfie with a wounded bear.” Last week, an Australian tourist was nearly killed when a shark that she was hand feeding dragged her into crocodile-infested waters. How should we feel about such people? “Serves the morons right” isn’t an ethical response, but that kind of clueless idiocy gets people killed all over the world, every day. Laughter is tempting, but seems cruel. I can’t apply the Golden Rule, because there is no way I can imagine myself behaving quite that stupidly. Is “I’m genuinely sorry that you’re an idiot” mockery, or compassion?

2. What’s going on here? I sure can’t figure it out. The quickest way for you to get up to speed is to click on the link and read the twitter feed backwards. Here’s a summary: two police officers claimed that they were harassed at a Raleigh, N.C. barbecue restaurant, with staff calling out “Fuck the police!” The police association wrote about the alleged incident on Facebook, the restaurant denied the account, and an investigation indicated that the complaints were exaggerated at most, and perhaps fabricated completely.  Then the association posted this:

Huh? The issue is NOT resolved until we learn what, if anything the officers were reacting to, why they made a false claim, and what kind of discipline they face, if any. Meanwhile, the story was reported on social media by a criminal defense attorney (all criminal defense attorneys hate and distrust cops, and vice-versa) whose characterization of the episode is that the police “terrorized a local business.” Terrorized? (Pointer: valkgrrl)

3. As the self-segregation of America continues...Outspoken conservative Hollywood actor James Woods was dropped by his agent, Ken Kaplan, who wrote, “It’s the 4th of July and I’m feeling patriotic. I don’t want to represent you anymore. I mean I can go on a rant but you know what I’d say.” Woods replied,

 “Dear Ken, I don’t actually. I was thinking if you’re feeling patriotic, you would appreciate free speech and one’s right to think as an individual. Be that as it may, I want to thank you for all your hard work and devotion on my behalf. Be well.”

Commenting on this, Constitutional Law expert Jonathan Turley opined,

“My main interest is how other artists represented by Kaplan would remain silent in the face of such an action. Countless movies and books have been done on the blacklisting of communists in Hollywood but somehow the thought of a conservative being dropped by studios or agents is not considered an attack on the art community as a whole. If Kaplan imposed a political litmus test, his pride in the public scorning of Woods should be met with equally public condemnations of Kaplan from other artists.”

Turley is expecting a lot. I checked: the only artist represented by Kaplan’s agency that I had ever heard of is Kristen Stewart, the far-left millennial starlet who probably doesn’t know who James Woods is. The rest: it’s hard enough to find an agent before you are established in show business; I doubt any struggling actors are going to sacrifice their career prospects to support Woods, and it wouldn’t accomplish anything if they did. Woods is 71, and well past his A-movie starring role years. He’s also a well-established jerk, even by Hollywood standards.  There are many reasons other than politics why someone might not wish to work with James Woods any more. Hollywood primarily blacklists conservatives when they stop being profitable, just like it blacklists sexual abusers when the rest of the country learns what Hollywood knew all along. Comparing an agent dropping a particularly obnoxious conservative actor (Woods is the Right’s answer to Robert DeNiro) who should probably retire to the infamous blacklist is a huge stretch.

4. Wow. Imagine how upset they’ll be when there’s an actual nominee! Does anyone else find it telling that Democrats, progressives, “the resistance” and the news media are literally freaking out over President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Kennedy before they even know who the nominee is?

I have never seen anything like it, and I am confident that there has never been anything like it in U.S. history.

Firstly, almost anyone on the list of potential candidates (and nothing stops Trump from nominating someone not on the list) would be a good bet to be a better jurist than Kennedy, who was distinguished by vague, sloppy opinions and hard right positions broken up by outbursts of social libertarianism. Second, the Left’s freak-out gives the false impression that there are no substantive distinctions between the potential nominees. They are “conservatives,” ergo they are all the same, and baaaad. This is the essence of bigotry, something the Left is becoming skilled at since November 2016.

Third, apparently basic fairness has been abandoned by liberals, who used to stand for it as a primary value. Not only is the Mystery Justice already condemned as a menace to society before his or her identity is known, but he or she is being condemned prior to the process of hearings or interviews with Senators.

Finally and most absurd of all, the unnamed justice is being condemned as an existential threat to the Bill of Rights based on his or her theoretical vote on a case that hasn’t been filed yet, regarding which the facts and issues are unknown!

Of course, all of this behavior, which in any other setting would embarrass the activists engaging in it, is because of a perceived threat to “abortion rights,” which might be “rolled back,” whatever that means. To me, it means that the Court might change the point at which a fetus is deemed sufficiently human and alive to warrant some added protection under the Constitution, especially since medical technology has advanced considerably since 1973. The Horror. This issue, abortion, is the most important issue to a large swathe of the Left, justifying the coming scorched earth battle, complete with merciless  demonizing of conservatives, Republicans, the President, Catholics,  and anyone who genuinely believes that two lives are involved in the abortion equation, and not just one.

As I said: telling.

29 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/8/18: Idiots, Bigots, Liars and Freakouts

  1. #1. I guess these are the people that actually benefit from some of the warning labels I find idiotic (to say the least). Like:
    “Remove clothes before ironing.”
    “Remove baby from stroller before folding”

  2. #4 Even those videos make me cringe at the ignorance of the people interviewed. I know those videos are cherry picked so they only show the real imbeciles from the political left, and there are a lot, but I really wish someone would make a similar video showing the flip side to that partisan ignorance, showing the Conservatives students praising the pick before it’s been announced that will show that the same kind of ignorance from the political right exists on college campus. I’d LOVE to know the percentages of interviews that displayed their political ignorance as opposed to those that are reasonably informed.

    My point is that a huge portion of college students are only interested in their grades, who’s the next classmate they bed, and how much beer is in the fridge, actual knowledge in current political events is way down the ladder of sought after knowledge. Overall, college students appear to be getting dumber and dumber, I’ve had some random meetings with some real doozies in recent years.

    Personally I’d have no problem with raising the national legal age, the national age for military service, the national drinking age, and the national legal voting age to 21.

        • Hmmmm. Interesting, that. My proposal was more-or-less tongue-in-cheek. Your’s, however, sounds workable..35 for President and so forth. Yes, indeedy.

          • Other than that annoying Constitution where it defines the voting age, it has two drawbacks; everyone’s age must be checked to sort them into age groups and there must be separate ballots printed for each age group with absolutely no possibility of cross over. It would likely never pass.

            Of course everyone voting eligibility must be checked before they are allowed to vote. I’d love to see this one.

            Additionally: I think we should always use paper ballots for absolutely every election across the entire United States of America.

            Okay, that little deflection of mine is done now. 😉

    • That’s encouraging to see, especially from a use book dealer. I have no idea what his politics might be, but most booksellers that I’ve seen on public forums have been distinctly left of center.

      However, there is a definite strain running through most of us that we sell what our customers want to read, and not simply books that agree with our particular philosophies. One would like to believe that reading is more or less the antithesis of hate groups, whether right or left wing.

      Again, I don’t know what that newspaper’s politics might be, but I also noticed there was a fairly even handed story on Steve Bannon there, published a few weeks after the election. Also nice to see.

  3. 1) There is no real answer. To this one, as when common sense is lacking there is no way to be ethical or kind, best you can do is use it as a teaching moment, Yes children this is why you avoid animals that think of you as lunch. I am sorry have no pity for people that have no common sense. The kindest thing is pray for them and try not to be judgemental ( judging others is a sin,that sends me to the confessional more then any other.)
    2) should not have been made public by the officers till investigation was done. As it seems it was rouge employees fooling around. The officers should have not publicly made any comments till it was nessary,

    As public servants they must hold to a higher standard-Frank Shutz head of New York field office FBI back in the 50’s said that. It is still true today!

    3) I loved the Hollywood blacklist for one good reason, it gave me my high school drama teacher Jim Lawler who had been a western actor, before the blacklist. I learned a lot from that man but always felt bad for the man, I also know. From my grandfather that a lot of good people including republicans who stood up against the evil of the McCarthy era, suffered, the idea that, liberals are doing it evil knows no political party. It does seem to favor extremists. Teasing about loving it, but it did give me a great teacher.
    4) I am happy with the three front runners, on the list, and this speculation that we are doomed by the left is overreactinary crap, and left the man retire in piece. Ok as a Catholic and a humanist I am hoping. For a justice that is pro life and anti capital punishment. Sorry I hold life sacred, my viewsthere are faith based. As a patriot I wish to see the bill of rights held together, as a gay man and a humanist I want equal rights for everyone. Am I likely to get my whole shopping list filled. Probally not, but that is what. Protests are for.

    • Interesting piece of trivia, here. McCarthy called Edward R. Murrow and threatened him if he didn’t back off. Murrow, who was probably as powerful as O’Reilly thought he was, simply said he was a reporter and would report the story. The rest is history.

  4. Regarding stupid animal shenanigans, a lot of the animal books I read as a kid often went out of their way to emphasize how NOT dangerous certain scary animals are; “Lions/tigers/bears won’t hurt you unless you bother their young, or when they get so old or crippled they can’t hunt anything else”. And then we’ve had the likes of the late Steve Erwin who made handling dangerous animals look easy. I think for some people, this approach to nature education has worked TOO well. They forget (or never realized) that wild animals are still not pets, and there is a murky gray area between “kill you on sight” vs. “harmless and cuddly”, into which you stray at your own risk.

  5. I try to assuage those on the Left, but they don’t wish to hear reason.

    1) a “conservative” – that is a Constitution-reading – Court doesn’t mean Roe is undone. Not even by a long shot.

    2) honest pro-Abortionists should *want* another hearing on roe to see if a better worded ruling will come down the pipe.

    3) even if Roe is “undone”, it does not make abortion illegal like the DNC has been actively lying about for years now. The most it does is kick the abortion argument back to the states. And don’t worry pro-abortionists, there are plenty of States that still guarantee Moloch’s thirst will be slaked even if some states roll back on the ability to kill one’s offspring.

    4) even the ostensibly “red states” that would seek to make abortion restricted, will likely not be nearly as restrictive as the rabid Left is worried about.

  6. Trump can be contrary, no? I wish the Left would stop giving him names of people they don’t like: the President might embrace them even if he hadn’t had that idea in the first place, and then we will all suffer for it.

  7. Re: No. 3:

    I am having a hard time wrapping by Rush-infused brain around this part of the commentary and I am not sure why:

    “Turley is expecting a lot. I checked: the only artist represented by Kaplan’s agency that I had ever heard of is Kristen Stewart, the far-left millennial starlet who probably doesn’t know who James Woods is. The rest: it’s hard enough to find an agent before you are established in show business; I doubt any struggling actors are going to sacrifice their career prospects to support Woods, and it wouldn’t accomplish anything if they did. Woods is 71, and well past his A-movie starring role years. He’s also a well-established jerk, even by Hollywood standards.”

    Granted: Woods is a jerk.
    Granted: Woods is past his prime as an A-lister.
    Granted: Hollywood is awash in progressive ideolofy.
    Granted: New actors/performers don’t want to rock the boat where such waves would damage their careers.

    This is what is stuck in my brain: Isn’t that what Ethics is all about – taking/making the hard choice at personal sacrifice (or at least the risk of personal sacrifice)? We have all kinds of fancy writers, thinkers, philosophers, ethicists, etc., trying to give us guiding principles for making the world a better place. Is this passage simply acknowledging that Woods is a lost cause, or his career is on life support, so there is no reason to rally to his defense simply because it is pointless? Isn’t that the Great Ethics Shoulder Shrug, with a look of pity on a once glittering diamond in the rough?

    Would the analysis be different if Woods were 45 years old, commanding big-ass big screen blockbuster movie-ticket sales, and giving awe-inspiring performances?

    Should this be applied to other issues? For instance, the fellow is 94 years old and the Grim Reaper is out in the parking lot, so it is unnecessary to give him that hip replacement, even though it will relieve him of lots of pain? Or, the lady in the car wreck had a hysterectomy a few years ago so let’s forget all those damages relating to being a parent? (That last one is a stretch and my Strained Logicometer is banging really loudly.)


  8. ‘Woods is the Right’s answer to Robert DeNiro’ Nope. Woods was pre-med at MIT before he took up acting. (To meet dames, by my guess from some of his interviews.)

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