Ethics Quiz And Poll: The Siblings’ Betrayal

Whatever the answer to the quiz, I view this development as a bad sign for all of us.

Republican congressman Paul Gosar ‘s six siblings all agreed to participate in an attack video by his opponent, Democrat David Brill, in the race to represent Arizona’s 4th District in Congress. They all endorse Brill in the ad, while denigrating their brother’s positions on  health care, immigration, and the environment.  “He’s not listening to you, and he doesn’t have your interests at heart,” Tim Gosar said.


Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz Of The Day:

Is this conduct by Gosar’s family members ethical as responsible citizenship and political advocacy, or unethical as disloyal and unfair?

I think I know my answer, but it is a close call, hence the quiz. Now the poll:

56 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz And Poll: The Siblings’ Betrayal

  1. Is this conduct by Gosar’s family members ethical as responsible citizenship and political advocacy, or unethical as disloyal and unfair?

    It would seem to me, if I understand your general position correctly, to be fully in accord with one’s civic responsibility for family-members to advocate for the best civic alternative, and to place that imperative over allegiance to family.

      • What is happening in that family, is a division and a difference of opinion that is occurring in the nation generally. Just a basic Google search will show you what stands behind these ‘family’ differences: very different understands about what is going on in our present and their meaning.

        While understanding what stands behind these differences leads to interpretation issues, one must accept that those family members who oppose their brother do so because they honestly feel it is important and crucial to oppose their nazi-brother.

        And that is, of course, precisely the position of the Progressives. They are duty-bound to place their concerns for the New America Struggling to be Born above the private concerns of family.

        [ ]

        • Funny you should use the Nazi reference. I find it so ironic that regressives have been flinging that at anyone they disagree with, when their behavior mirrors that of the Nazis in every way that actually matters. This right here is a good example of that.

  2. It’s wrong.

    The only reason the ad works is because there is a presumption of loyalty within the family and a breach of that loyalty implies something terrible leading to that betrayal. Is that mentioned in the ad? No, and it looks like politics is more important than family for these guys.

    Putting politics above friendships is one of the things destroying society. Doing so for families will go great I’m sure.

  3. It’s a completely tactical exploitation of the cognitive dissonance scale. We presume family members have a special channel to their sibling’s inner hearts and can therefore speak accurately to their character as a representative.

    So either this guy truly IS an abject monster or this is another dirty disgusting Democrat move.

    Based on what I’ve seen of Democrats for the past forever, it’s hard to say this isn’t a dirty disgusting move.

    And the cognitive dissonance scale in this can work both ways depending on how you believe families should work.

    I voted that this is unethical, the appeal to authority variation.

    • I will caveat:

      Yes, there are conditions in a society where family loyalty is less important than the good of the society and siblings must betray one another.

      I am certain there are many Democrats who believe we are there and sincerely fee this duty.

      But that speaks more to just how far gone the Left is in relation to American cultural and civic values.

      Scary days we live in.

      • What is actually scary, Michael, is how you superimpose a view of things that keeps you from actually seeing accurately.

        The family members who oppose their brother do so because they desire to support America, americanism and the ideals that have been established for the Republic. They oppose their brother because he turns against the general narratives that are used universally in our present. One of those is that activism, such as Charlottesville, has or can have even the merest shred of legitimacy.

        You cannot think that, and you cannot say that. The activities of Unite the Right are for *idiots* only. Ethics arise when you accept the logic of what is self-evident, right before your eyes.

        They did not *betray* their brother, they are opposing dark ideas that must be opposed by all good citizens. If you do not oppose these twisted and horrible ideas, it is likely that you stand on that side.

        The people that are home-birthing the New Nation, Michael, are not ‘far gone’ in terms of American values, they are showing you that the Mighty River of Justice flows toward the realization of those values!

    • So either this guy truly IS an abject monster or this is another dirty disgusting Democrat move.

      Oh he’s abject alright. Fully so.

      He said that George Soros was a collaborator. And he links Soros with various progressive and liberal activism and implies (the ‘dog-whistle’) that Jews are often behind revolutionary movements. If you go that route, Michael, you might begin to see the SPLC as a Jewish enterprise, and I don’t think you care to go there, do you? You might then be seen as being an anti-semite.

      This is the interview that many people use to see Soros in a different light (though he was only 14):

      [ ]

      How can anyone allow themselves to see what should not be seen and is wrong to see?

      Any defence of the people who organized the Unite the Right event in Charlottesville is obviously unethical, immoral and anti-American, in terms of her high ideals, those ideals she is working like the devil to bring to the world in far off lands. Don’t you read the papers?!?

      I am beginning to doubt your patriotism.

      • I watch that video, and as much as I dislike Soros for other reasons, I don’t see where he said anything wrong. If you watch the whole thing, and try to frame it within the given context (and I’ll bet even more context-material was left out, which is usually a trick of the left), He said nothing at all that could legitimately be called a “gotcha!”.

        • “Capo, (Kapo), trustee, an SS appointed prisoner who was the head of a labor squad. He or she retained this privileged position by terrorizing subordinate prisoners. The Capos were an instrument of the camp regime of humiliation and cruelty, and their role was to break the spirits of the prisoners. The Capos had warm clothing, enough to eat and lived in a reserved section to the prison barracks. In many instances Capos who mistreated prisoners were put on trial after the war.”

          I’ve devoted very little energy to Soros. But I do remember reading something, rather lengthy, in which his father and he were implicated in serving as a Kapo, or in a similar capacity.

          My impression is that Soros spoke of it rather nonchalantly (in the video), and he seems to say that if he didn’t do it that (as in ‘the markets’) someone else would.

          • Now that’s another matter entirely (them serving as kapos), and one that definitely adds even more context to the video. However, I took him stating that someone else would if he didn’t as him offering his rationale at the time. He very well may have been in the present tense, but I’m usually very careful not to infer in a negative way if something isn’t explicitly stated.

            I’ve heard so many stories about the cruelty of the kapos that I can’t help but wonder if there’s some ubiquitous psychological principle at work, rather than an individual trait. The Stanford Prison Experiment has some disturbing implications about how we regress under certain environmental conditions. But as long as there are people who, in the very same circumstances, exhibit the most selfless and altruistic behavior, the villains among us can’t be easily let off the hook.

  4. As can be expected, there is a great deal more backstory here:

    From a BBC report (always to be viewed with some skepticism these days):

    Local paper the Arizona Republic calls it “brutal, but not unexpected”. Mr Gosar made headlines after the violent neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, by suggesting it was planned by “the Left” to undermine Donald Trump. He then branded Democratic Party donor George Soros a Nazi collaborator in an interview with Vice News.

    Horrified, seven of his siblings signed an open letter to the Kingman Daily Miner, stating: “It is extremely upsetting to have to call you out on this, Paul, but you’ve forced our hand with your deceit and anti-Semitic dog whistle.”

    Paul Gosar’s other controversies include boycotting a 2015 speech to Congress by Pope Francis. He criticised the pontiff’s support for climate change, calling it “questionable science” deployed “to guilt people into leftist policies”.

    He has also defended British far-right activist Tommy Robinson, and attacked “disgusting and depraved” Muslim immigrants at a speech in London in July.

    Further anti-Gosar adverts set to air on TV soon include one titled “A family defends its honor,” where David Gosar says: “We’ve got to stand up for our good name, this is not who we are.”

    As the New Nation struggles to be born, the little androgyne (I almost said ‘Little Guy’, which shows you how messed up I am) is raising quite a screaming storm as he comes out against these manifestations of Nazism as the rally in Charlottesville.

    Even if there was collusion to turn Charlottesville into a public relations disaster for the Ku Klux Klan that showed up to protest the removal of those horrifying southern monuments, all good people should see that this is the Mighty River of Justice flowing strong.

    Despite the above ironies:

    I still maintain that it was not necessarily unethical (facially) for the family to come out against their older brother.

  5. I can never see the poll windows, so I can’t vote (why is that, Jack? FYI, I run Firefox with some pretty aggressive popup blockers – I’ve tried to disable them for Ethics Alarms polls, but without success).

    Anyway, if you listen carefully to his sibs, it’s pretty clear that the Gosars grew up in a highly progressive household (note the standard tropes about the environment and access to health care). The candidate would appear to have arrived at different political conclusions. Now, his still-progressive sibs want to throw him under the bus in favor of another progressive.

    In addition to being unethical, it’s deeply sad. This is what happens, I suppose, in a Nation of Assholes. I don’t know about the candidate, but I have a hard time believing he’d take out television spots warning people that his sister is a lousy doctor, whether it’s true or not.

  6. Just another manipulative poll constructed with an embedded bias aligned with the ‘unethical’ spectrum…..only ‘ethical’ choice in the poll unnecessarily drags the “liberal agenda” into the equation. Stinky stuff….

    • Prove it. The vast, vast majority of ethical humanity would regard turning on a family members and trying to lose him his job absent any criminal activity but based purely on political disagreements as obviously wrong. The only possible counter argument is that their policy agenda is so crucial and ineffably right that it justifies the conduct.

        • Jack, this person appears to be a troll. He has offered nothing to the debate at all. He should be banned if he continues to refuse the fundamental duty to offer meaningful commentary instead of 250 character or less comments accusing you of bad faith.

          I would welcome a sincere leftist with open arms, but alas, there seem to be none other than Spartan who are willing to actually enter into the debate. Why is this so hard? Is this representative of the Left generally, or is your commentary just drawing flies?

          • This blog does not suffer fools lightly. Spartan has shown reason and an openness to discussion in the past, and that good will extends into the present, despite her rather strange conclusions recently.

            Most of the ‘fair and balanced’ liberals cannot in good faith defend what their party has been doing the past two years, and so do not comment.

            Another aspect is like the ‘moderate’ muslim: liberals, like our hypothetical moderate muslim, are in a quandary. They know 1) they benefit from the extremist’s activities; 2) they generally approve of the outcomes produced; 3) that the methods are wrong and unfair; and 4) if they stand up they will be turned on by the rabid dogs.

            Best to remain silent.

      • The only possible counter argument is that their policy agenda is so crucial and ineffably right that it justifies the conduct.

        That’s right, that’s exactly right.

        Stopping the Ultra Right from getting ground in American politics, and thwarting American Nazism and supremacism is necessary, as it was necessary to oppose the KKK in America in the 1920s.

        It would be one thing if these Far Right American Nazis are marginal figures, but they are gaining ground and their ideas are beginning to influence people.

        According to the logic of their views opposition to their brother (who has gone off the rails) is necessarily and obviously ethical.

        Beyond the merest shadow of doubt.

  7. I’d vote unethical for all four of the reasons cited. Virtue signaling, thy name is Progressives. These people are insufferable. I can’t imagine Kingman, Arizona and environs will send a Democrat to Congress.

    • The district is evidently much larger. It includes the whole northwest corner of the state and ranges all the way down to the Phoenix suburbs. But how does the Democratic challenger stand a chance. In the primary, Brill won the majority, just barely, of the thirty thousand votes cast. Running unopposed, Gosar received 80,000 votes. Independents can’t vote in primaries, but still, this ad is going to get over 50,000 independents in the district to vote for the Democrat? I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

  8. This is just a more visible face of what the cult of “progressivism” is doing to families all over this country. It’s happening in my family. We used to be very close; all of us getting together in groups small and large almost every day. Then, the obama was elected, and the insanity began. My brother and I would make the mistake of honestly, calmly stating my position on political matters if asked, not suspecting that our fitness for breathing the same oxygen as these fearless crusaders for all that is right and good was being assessed. Next thing we knew, we were, quite literally, shunned. I haven’t seen or heard from most of my family since my father died several years ago.
    Has there ever been a time in our history when politics had such an incredibly destructive effect on families?

    • I am so sorry that you have been estranged from your family for any reason, certainly not for what is essentially a difference of political opinion. It must have been terrible not to have been able to come together after your father’s death.

      And yes, there has been such a time. I can remember stories told by my grandfather, born in 1885, about a family he had known in his youth in Austria. He had kept in touch with one of them. His friend wrote letters about the bad influence the “exciting” rise of Germany’s National Socialist Party was having on his son and two of his teenage grandsons. One of his last last letters, just before the war, said that the three of them had “gone mad” left home (deserted wife and daughters) to join the “new world order” My granddad had, I think, one more letter he said he couldn’t read for the tear stains. And that was that. They had been a Jewish family. . . . .

      Thinking about that story, it struck me that there are parallels to today’s issues. To yours. There is much that is compelling about the left’s self-satisfied stance on so many things, based on another “new world order,” a nirvana where all is peace and plenty, where everyone is welcome to come and live – regardless of background or intention – where we shall have food and drink, a pleasant job, free education, health care, central heating, private parking and cable TV for life. It is a compelling prospect. All you have to do is surrender freedom of thought, speech and action and live by the few (hundred) new rules.

      And report the transgressions of the non-believers, including your family, to the kindly authorities.

      Okay, sorry, I get carried away. One doesn’t have to be “on Facebook” to be un-friended these days. It is now just a one-step click to severing ties to country, community . . . and family.

  9. I voted for “appeal to authority,” and that requires a little exposition.

    First of all, his family is flagrantly disloyal; this is not debatable. They have effectively disowned him because of his politics, or rather, because his does not align with their own. They are all obvious leftists of varying degrees.

    Second, the one brother suggesting this as an intervention is manifestly dishonest. It is the couching of an opinion as fact, and the congressman is somehow in need of mental help. This is the kind of lowbrow assault the left is happy to engage in. We see it in the Kavanaugh hearing when the Democratic tweet quoted by Edward the other day:

    We have to set an example for the rest of the nation that we will not dismiss a survivor’s claims, and we will not whitewash and sweep under the rug a victim of sexual misconduct just for the convenience of a timetable.

    — Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) September 19, 2018

    This is a mean form of virtue signalling, intended to try to make their views emotionally unassailable. That’s exactly what the elder brother is doing by characterizing this as an “intervention”

    The sister sitting on the log seems to hold her views honestly. Her comments are pure liberal trope, but in essence, they are a simple difference with her brother.

    Also, the woman saying that he doesn’t represent their values discussed at the dinner table is being dishonest, and engaging in the same emotional virtue signalling as her brother. It’s as if no one at that table was allowed to disagree with the other. How totalitarian is that? Also, it cannot possibly be accurate.

    Another brother says “[He’s] not doing anything for his district.” Verdict – unethical. It’s an abject, deliberate lie. He’s just not doing what the brother thinks he should be doing.

    Over all, I would consider this commercial unethical because, probably, of bias. I was always taught that family comes before politics, but that isn’t a rule in every family. I have a cousin who is a flagrant liberal, but if he were were running for congress in my district, I would never come out against him in the media no matter how much his views conflicted with mine. He is my cousin – we spent many drowsy summer days having fun in my youth, and I could never see him as an enemy even if he was a communist – and I joined the Navy with the explicit intent to fight communism and totalitarianism (at the time, represented by Iran).

    Likewise, I would never do anything like this to my siblings, even if one of them ran as a Nazi. Sorry – brother or sister, hello! Yes, I’d vote against any family member running for office with whom I disagreed, but never would I do what these people have done, no matter how serious the provocation.

    But there is just too much deception, dissimulation, and couching opinions as fact in this commercial to judge it ethical. I’ll allow that the people in it hold their views honestly, but instead of just saying they aren’t voting for him, they attack his positions as evil and worthy of “intervention,” implying that the only good positions are the ones they hold, and suggest he is damaging his constituents with intent.

    This is so typical of the modern left that it could be virtual archetype for our political discourse, and not in a good way.

  10. I voted for “Unethical. It’s an appeal to authority, as if they have any special expertise or credibility.” and “Unethical. This is a pure Golden Rule breach.”

    In my opinion, those two are the only ones that apply.

    This one “Unethical. Family disagreements should not be exploited for political agendas.” doesn’t apply because it’s not a family disagreement, it’s a political ideology disagreement.

    This one “Unethical. It’s a cruel thing to do to a family member, and indefensible.” doesn’t apply because politics are cruel. If the guy was literally Hitler, axe murderer, active drug addict, pathological liar, or a clinical psychopath, etc and they all knew it to be absolute fact it would be unethical and indefensible not to say something.

    This one “Ethical. They care more about liberal policy items than they do about him, and that’s OK.” is irrelevant, it’s still a golden rule breach.

    That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it. 🙂

  11. So, who would I vote for? Not the one that uses brothers and sisters of his opponent to trash their own brother. Speaks volumes as to the candidates character.

    • Spot on, Chris. Regardless of the politics of either side, I wouldn’t cast a vote in favor of a candidate who is willing to exploit familial dysfunction for his own benefit. It’s ugly and gross.

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