Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/20/18: Out Of Bounds

Good Morning!

1. Here is the level of logic and ethical reasoning the public is subjected to by the media: Here is NBC Sports blogger Bill Baer on why it is misguided for the Milwaukee Brewers not to punish relief pitcher Josh Hader—whose career crisis I discussed here–for tweets he authored when he was in high school seven years ago:

The “he was 17” defense rings hollow. At 17 years old, one is able to join the military, get a full driver’s license (in many states), apply for student loans, and get married (in some states). Additionally, one is not far off from being able to legally buy cigarettes and guns. Given all of these other responsibilities we give to teenagers, asking them not to use racial and homophobic slurs is not unreasonable. Punishing them when they do so is also not unreasonable.

A study from several years ago found that black boys are viewed as older and less innocent than white boys. A similar study from last year found that black girls are viewed as less innocent than white girls. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Cameron Tillman, among many others, never got the benefit of the doubt that Hader and countless other white kids have gotten and continue to get in our society. When we start giving the same benefit of the doubt to members of marginalized groups, then we can break out the “but he was only 17” defense for Hader.

How many repeatedly debunked false rationalizations and equivalencies are there in that blather? It’s not even worth rebutting: if you can’t see what’s wrong with it…if your reaction is, “Hey! Good point! Why is it OK for a cop to shoot a teenager for charging him after resisting arrest, but not OK to suspend a ball player for dumb social media posts he made in high school?”…I am wasting my time. And NBC pays Baer as an expert commentator. It might as well pay Zippy the Pinhead.

2. Is this offensive, or funny? Or both? Increasingly, we are reaching the point where anything that is funny is offensive, thus nothing can be funny. The Montgomery Biscuits, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Double-A affiliates, will be hosting a “Millennial Night” this weekend, being promoted with announcements like this one: “Want free things without doing much work? Well you’re in luck! Riverwalk Stadium will be millennial friendly on Saturday, July 21, with a participation ribbon giveaway just for showing up, napping and selfie stations, along with lots of avocados.”

Apparently there has been a substantial negative reaction from millennials, and the indefinable group that is routinely offended on behalf of just about anyone.

Nonetheless, I agree with the critics. I think the promotion goes beyond good-natured to insulting. It’s like announcing a Seniors Night by guaranteeing free Depends and promising extra-loud public address announcements that will be repeated for the dementia-afflicted who forget what they just heard. [Pointer: Bad Bob]

3.  Good to know: The Anti-Trump Deranged get deranged when they are told that they are deranged. There was an unusually nasty blow-up on “The View” yesterday when Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, a former judge and GOP Senate candidate, accused Whoopi Goldberg of suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” Goldberg later apologized to the audience for the on-air insult exchange, saying, “You saw me do something I very rarely do … I very rarely lose my cool and I’m not proud of it. I don’t like it. But I also don’t like being accused of being hysterical because that is one of the things I try not to be on this show.”

I had a similar reaction from a Trump Deranged close relative, who became furious that I had, she said, accused her of being irrational and hysterical by invoking the “D-word.” It’s an interesting dilemma: how will “the resistance” ever learn that their position is emotional rather than factual and that their obsession with Donald Trump has crossed into clinical realms unless someone tells them?

4. Trump Deranged Fake News! The Hill’s headline was “George Will charges that Trump colluded with Putin.” “Oh, no!” think I. Poor George, who has crawled into that lonely, principled, cocoon of virtue reserved for arch-conservative NeverTrumpers, has finally snapped! So the clickbait works, and I encounter a Trump Deranged screed by Brent Budowsky, who tells us that George has written,

“We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave — ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States’ intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukrainedowning civilian airlinersattempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).”

So Will did not charge that Trump colluded with Putin. Will did, as is his wont, play word games, and suggest that not sufficiently admonishing Putin in public for various transgressions is a kind of collusion—just not the kind that the Mueller team might be investigating, and not the kind of collusion readers of the intentionally misleading headline assume it is referring to.

5. At least it wasn’t high school tweets…Ryan Bounds withdrew his nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the lone Republican African-American senator, told leadership that he could not vote for Bounds’s nomination, with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) assuring Scott that he would vote “no” as well.  The issue, apparently, was some of Bounds’ college writings, which were insufficiently supportive of policies aimed at “diversity.”

This is a John Birch Society, Joseph McCarthy style gotcha, and wrong. It should not matter in his or her subsequent adult careers what a high school student or a college student writes, opines, says or thinks. Ever. Education in critical thought requires experimentation and freedom from fear, either of punishment from professors and peers—which is what dissenters from official ideological cant face on campus these days—or punishment years and decades later, when some enterprising character assassin dredges up old e-mails, letters, op-eds and crudely lettered signs…or maybe surreptitious recordings of late night bull sessions.

My opinion of Hillary Clinton, or any public figure, elected official or judge, is not and can not be affected one milli-iota by anything they said, wrote or believed in college. I don’t care if they worshiped Stalin, or Satan, or Sasquatch. I don’t care if they were Rosicrucians, or Hedonists, or Anarchists. I don’t care if they advocated tax delinquency, pacifism or Swift’s Modest Proposal. It doesn’t matter and shouldn’t matter: they were students, and they were right to be letting their imaginations run wild and their belief systems evolve, which often occurs by saying or writing something stupid and getting your dumb opinion stuffed up your nose.

I have no idea if Bounds was otherwise qualified to sit on the 9th Circuit or not, but I do know that using his “college writings” to ding him chills speech, harms education, and is miserably unfair and irresponsible.


22 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/20/18: Out Of Bounds

  1. 5. The issue, apparently, was some of Bounds’ college writings, which were insufficiently supportive of policies aimed at “diversity.”

    Wait. You have to be enthusiastically supportive of enforced “diversity” to be a federal judge? You can’t even question it?

  2. 5.) Just what did he write? I actually wrote a graduate paper in the early 1970s that was a spin-off of a Master’s Thesis. The topic was “multiculturalism” since Australia had just eliminated the “White Australia” doctrine. I can just imagine how one could wish to interpret what I had written. And today’s Herald. Blacks pressuring Blacks.

  3. On #1 & #5, I think you’d really enjoy this week’s Fifth Column podcast. They discuss thoroughly the modern situation of character assassination based on years & sometimes decades-old ‘politically incorrect’ things people have said or done.

    They also discuss the Actors cannot portray Characters who are not exactly like them controversy.

    They discuss the Trump-Helsinki fiasco.

    Among many other topics, and a fun listen as usual.

    • From their description:

      “Episode description
      w/ Ben Domenech (Publisher, The Federalist)

      Acting Trans, Scaling the Building
      Russian Indictments
      The New Vietnam Syndrom
      Obama’s Mandela Speech
      Would that we could all say [that one word] – Part II

      (Recorded Wednesday, July 18th, 2018)”

  4. 2. Born too late for the Greatest Generation and too early for the Baby Boom Generation, I find myself a part of the Silent Generation, so, I should just shut up, right? (Who makes up this generation BS anyway?).
    But, I won’t shut up. I found the promotion to be funny and in keeping with a lot of the silliness that goes on in minor league baseball. Most of the team and the front office of the Biscuits (now there’s a name to get outraged at) are millennials, and apparently they don’t have a problem with the promotion.
    The Lexington Legends did a similar promotion earlier in the year, got a fair amount of negative feedback, and saw greater than average attendance at the game.
    Here’s another part of the Biscuits’ promotion, from their web site: “It’s time to celebrate the health conscious, tech savvy, socially oriented generation at the ballpark! Featuring superfood options, a millennial communication area, cord cutting stations, and more!”
    Now, I should be outraged. Are they implying that those of us in the Silent Generation are not health conscious, tech savvy or socially oriented? Well, some of us might think cord-cutting has something to do with live birth rather than cable, so there may be a point there.
    Seems to me that those who are outraged are lacking a sense of humor and are much more likely to sound off than those who find it funny or just don’t care, so a review of the social media might find “substantial negative reaction” when there really isn’t all that much. Regardless, as the team noted, they seem to be getting a lot more interest and attention.

    • 2) As a part of the “Oregon Trail” generation, I share a common heritage with pioneers and frontier stalwarts of the 1840s. While I don’t believe technology can save us like the lazy Millennials I am not so prone to despair like the pessimistic Gen X.

  5. On point one: Since when is the accepted practice for society to exact punishment from mere words; especially those that no one would know about unless repeated for the purpose of inflaming sentiment against that person. I wonder how many black athletes used the words white honkey or cracker within their social group. Should they be punished too? Hell no. What a person says is his right. One does not have to agree with the sentiment.

    These play by play commentators have no business acting as tattletales. It reminds me of what transpires in Jr. high. It is nothing more than self aggrandizement at another’s expense. No one is harmed or could be offended unless one looks for offense and broadcasts it. If we dug into anyones comments I believe we would find something said that would offend another. They need to get off their high horse.

    I don’t care if the person is 17 or 70 who do these broadcasters think they are. Dredging up past messages for the sake of creating outrage is offensive to me. Perhaps these broadcasters should be punished for offending my belief in free expression. I wonder how they would feel if suddenly things they express today become taboo and their words are dredged up for public exchoriation. We need play by play anouncers not wannabe social justice warriors. I don’t see them digging deeply into pasts of the many athletes who sire numerous children to numerous women. Isn’t bedding a half dozen women and leaving them pregnant smack of the Handmaids tale?

    I agree that very early writings of anyone should be a disqualifier. Moreover, I don’t understand Tim Scott’s position the whole diversity schtick which is based on racial, gender or sexual persuasion characteristics and is an anathema to conservatives which he appears to be. Conservatives see the positives of diversity based on meritorius experiences. Two people of different races or genders that grew up in the same community, with the same resources and similar connections is not diversity of experience of any significant consequence. Diversity is meant to build ideas not factionalize them.

    • This may be overly simplistic, but I almost wonder if this is the mechanism for why we want to destroy people for their words:

      1) The Left generally runs with the motif that if the Right is in charge, the Right will put people into concentration camps based on personal characteristics the “Right doesn’t like”.

      2) As long as people vote, the Left, as they have politicized EVERYTHING in their own personal lives, ascribe that same neuroses to everyone else and so assume that if you have a personal belief regarding something, you WILL vote to compel that belief on others.

      3) Therefore your vote will ALWAYS go in support of policies that force your ideas on society.

      4) What you say is what you believe.

      5) What you say will guide how you plan to harm others via government policy.

      6) As long as you have a right to vote…your words are merely a window into how you plan to harm others.

      Therefore you must be punished.

  6. “I want to apologize for becoming hysterical on National television. It’s just that I don’t take well to being called hysterical.”

    Whoopi actually told a funny joke! Wait, she was being serious?

  7. It just dawned on me that Bounds if he does not affirmatively promote “diversity” in his early writings would be a diverse opinion on an appeals court that lists heavily toward social justice movements. Thus, putting a divergent opinion on the court would promote diversity.

  8. 2) I think it’s kind of cute, actually. Minor league baseball is not like other things. Almost by definition they do wacky promotions and themes to try and get people out to the park, and apparently another team in their league had a similar promotion earlier this season with some success.

    If people really don’t like it, they’ll stay away. Evidently the team is under new ownership who is trying out a bunch of different promotions to see what works and what doesn’t.

    5)Interesting essay — not sure just how serious he was when writing it, though. If I saw something like that in The Onion, it wouldn’t surprise me too much. Obviously though Multiculturalistas are going to take exception.

  9. “Want free things without doing much work? Well you’re in luck! Riverwalk Stadium will be millennial friendly on Saturday, July 21, with a participation ribbon giveaway just for showing up, napping and selfie stations, along with lots of avocados.”

    The reason this is offensive is that it focuses only on the perceived negatives of millenials. If they’d managed to throw in a few positives, or also cast a couple of joking barbs at other generations, I think it could’ve been successful. For it to be funny, everyone has to share in the joke, or have the opportunity to.

    3 Whoopi Goldberg has always been confrontational. She likes it. No matter what she says, she wants and thrives off getting in people’s face, and telling them off. She is also foul-mouthed and irascible at the best of times. Her claim she doesn’t lose her cool is flat-out risible.

    Given the crowd she runs with, it’s impossible for her to be anything but deranged when it comes to Trump. She is irrational pretty much about everything but manifestly so about Trump.

    In her defense, it was unnecessary for Pirro to point that out — it’s intuitively obvious to the most casual non-#resistance observer. Let her have it, and debate on the merits rather than getting into name-calling, even if it’s factually accurate. Calling anyone deranged is going to pretty much result in a shouting match.

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