I wonder how many strategy sessions it took for the supporters and enablers of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) to come up with their latest defense of her ongoing lie that she is part Cherokee? We know it’s a lie now—a deliberate misrepresentation designed to deceive—because the Bay State crypto-socialist has refused the obvious resolution of taking a DNA ancestry test….again. You know she’s taken at least one, and maybe more. Being able to wave scientific proof that she had Native American ancestors after all the “Fauxahontas” jibes would be a political bonanza for Warren, and solve her most daunting public relations problem outside of my home state, the Land of Michael Curley, where corruption, lies and letting young women drown don’t put a dent in your popularity or vote totals, for some reason. Sure, Warren took the test. She probably took another one just in case it was wrong….and she still doesn’t have the integrity or courage to admit her lie.
And that, now and forever, is why her Cherokee fantasy matters. It shows that Warren lies, and lacks integrity. It shows that she was willing to use a falsehood to gain traction in university employment competitions where gender, race and minority status often made all the difference….even if it meant that a real minority candidate failed because of her subterfuge.
Yet those strategy sessions yielded this defense on Warren’s behalf: according to an investigation by the Boston Globe, Warren’s fake Cherokee claim wasn’t a factor in her hiring by Harvard Law School:
The Globe examined hundreds of documents, many of them never before available, and reached out to all 52 of the law professors who are still living and were eligible to be in that Pound Hall room at Harvard Law School. Some are Warren’s allies. Others are not. Thirty-one agreed to talk to the Globe — including the law professor who was, at the time, in charge of recruiting minority faculty. Most said they were unaware of her claims to Native American heritage and all but one of the 31 said those claims were not discussed as part of her hire. One professor told the Globe he is unsure whether her heritage came up, but is certain that, if it did, it had no bearing on his vote on Warren’s appointment.
Perhaps the editors and journalists at the Globe never heard of moral luck, but I bet at least some of those law professors comprehend the concept. Whether or not Warren’s deliberate lie and misrepresentation of her ancestry actually was a factor in her hiring at Harvard was pure chance, and occurred after Warren had embraced a false identity. Once she did that, the consequences were out of her control. Her lie doesn’t become less unethical because it didn’t have any effect after the fact of it. A lot of people have trouble grasping this basic ethical concept, but it isn’t that hard. A person who drops a bowling ball from a bridge onto an express way is just as irresponsible and reckless if the ball misses every thing as he would be if the ball caused a ten car pile-up and the death of ten. He’s just as bad either way, and the rest is all luck. The same is true of Warren’s affirmative action-courting lie.
This rationalization being floated on Warren’s behalf is identical to one of the most popular excuses employed to argue for steroid cheat Barry Bonds’ admission to the Hall of Fame. “Bonds was a great player before he started using Performance Enhancing Drugs,” the spin goes. “There’s no way of knowing whether the steroids or his natural ability were responsible for all those hits and home runs. Maybe he would have passed Hank Aaron anyway!” Bonds and Warren supporters are not only ignoring moral luck but embracing consequentialism, which follows from using rationalization…
This has long been the refrain in the Barry Bonds argument for baseball’s uber cheater to be admitted to the MLB Hall of Fame. Bonds, you see, was a great player before his alleged use of steroids began, so even if he did use steroids (he did), what difference did it make? How do we know that the steroids helped him? Some excuse Bonds on the grounds that whatever advantage he thought he was gaining by using PEDs, they were imaginary. He may have tried to cheat, but since he really didn’t benefit, there is no cheating to punish. Similarly, Tom Brady is a great quarterback, so what proof is there that deflating the balls was the reason he had a great second half in the play-off game in question?
The argument doesn’t make sense, logically or ethically. It is like arguing that a young Einstein couldn’t cheat on a physics exam even if he stole the answers and memorized them, because he would surely have figured them out anyway. Cheating demonstrates dishonesty, trustworthiness and a lack of integrity, whether it materially assists the cheater or not. What is wrong with cheating is the act itself, not the magnitude of the results, or even whether there are any.
In short, “It’s the cheating, stupid!”