Ethics Warm-Up, 11/13/18: ” Not Dead, Just Wishing I Was” Edition

I’m here.

The weekend was a near total wipe-out for me, as the incipient flu-cold or whatever it is that has been stalking me for at least a couple of weeks finally ended all ambiguity by leveling me  just as the long weekend was getting started. I was in bed virtually all day yesterday, most of the day before, and if I’m getting better, damned if I can see it. I’ve always got to be wary when I cough like this, as I am susceptible to bronchitis, but ProEthics, and ethics itself, wait for no Weenie.

1. What do you do with these idiots? The guys in Baraboo High School’s class of 2019 posed with Nazi salutes at their junior prom this year.

It isn’t Mel Brooks High School: “the  Heil sign” is only amusing or satirical in the most carefully constructed context. In any other time of place, it trivializes a historical nightmare, genocide and the engineered murder of millions of people by a madman,  his henchmen, and a poisoned culture. The Wisconsin school district that included Baraboo claims to acting on the photo,  but since it went viral on social media, current and former students have said that the school itself has a culture of racism and bigotry openly that is allowed to thrive by indifferent teachers and administrators.  There’s a lot I don’t understand about the photo.  Where are the girls? Are these only the Nazis in the class, or is it all of the boys? The kids that aren’t saluting: are they protesting against the display? Did they just miss the shot? Why are they in the photo at all? Who in their right mind would participate in such a stunt?

2. Fact: acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has no conflicts of interest with the Mueller investigation. So why are Democrats insisting that he recuse himself, now that his is overseeing the investigation as Jeff Sessions could not? As far as I can see, the only reason is that they want Rod Rosenstein, who had been the acting AG for only the Mueller matter to continue to supervise it because he is perceived as being hostile to the President. Rosenstein does have a conflict, and properly should have recused himself long ago. He was very much involved in the Comey firing, which is part of the  Mueller investigation’s inquiry into alleged obstruction of justice by the President. He conceivably possesses information about the President’s  motives in firing Comey, and quite possibly has  a personal interest in how the episode is interpreted. Rosenstein thus would very likely be a necessary fact witness in any obstruction inquiry in connection with the Comey firing. That’s a conflict.

Whitaker, however, has no conflict. His statements about how Mueller has run the investigation don’t create a conflict of interest under the applicable ethics rules, not does it raise the appearance of impropriety. Democrats are signaling here, as they have repeatedly for two years, that their objective is to “get Trump” by any means necessary, and they will torture and distort, law, ethics and common sense to achieve that goal.

3. “Unthinkable.” Since I was capable of doing little more yesterday than sitting around in my fluffy Red Sox robe watching TV with a trickle of drool oozing from my mouth, I caught up on some movies. One was 2010’s “Unthinkable,” an excellent Ethics Incompleteness Principle film starring Samuel L. Jackson. The plot explores the point where the Ethics Alarms absolute rejection of the United States engaging in torture breaks down: three nuclear devices are scheduled to explode in three major cities, time is short, and the man who planted them is in custody. The ethical conflict was nicely articulated during one climax, where an FBI agent (Carrie Ann Moss) declares that what interrogators are proposing is too monstrous, and that they should just let the bombs go off—killing millions. Hmmmmthat can’t be right…

84 thoughts on “Ethics Warm-Up, 11/13/18: ” Not Dead, Just Wishing I Was” Edition

  1. I read on Althouse that one of the students explained they were told to do the fist raise at the that is used at the end of the Breakfast Club. Then when no one understood what it was, his (the photographer) attempted to gesture and the students by explaining and the students followed what they thought was the gesture.

    Idk if this is true or not. I’m gonna bet that most of those kids have never seen the Breakfast Club. It still doesn’t exclude the actions of the photographer. He, at the very least, should have known better

    • The end of Breakfast Club shows Judd Nelson’s character walking away across the football field and throwing his fist into the air. What is so hard to explain about a fist being thrown into the air? A fist is definitely not a palm down open hand raised in the air.
      If these teens haven’t seen The Breakfast Club they should watch it. Actually maybe the whole of society today should watch it and take away the overall message conveyed by the movie that once we break down the stereotypes and social barriers we are not all that different. To quote the two final lines of the letter at the end “You see us as you want to see us—in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.”
      This movie was deeper on those levels than anything that came out of the 80’s and I think John Hughes put the message across well. I still love the movies and my children (all in their 20’s) love it too.

      • Well from the explanation it looks like he was gesturing to part of the group. As far as watching the movie, I think they should. Based on other posts, I’m guessing Jack would also agree.

  2. Well, now, Zoltar, I just don’t know who to believe, you and my lying eyes, or The Washington Post which uses creative ‘lighting’ so democracy won’t die.
    The Post, yesterday, posted an article by Monica Hesse (relationship status unknown), a style editor, with this headline: “‘That’s not who we are’? Sixty Nazi-saluting boys in Baraboo suggest otherwise.”
    In the lead of her article, Hesse says many in the group gave the Nazi salute. Toward the middle of her article, she says to the Baraboo superintendent, “… there’s a photo of 60 of your students Sieg Heil-ing.”
    So, it’s not just the headline writer, nor just the editor, nor just the reporter, it is all of them perpetrating a falsehood.
    In fact, I trust your count and my sometimes deceptive eyes.
    Darkness may threaten democracy, but dishonest reporting will surely hasten the demise.

  3. #1. A little more information, not that it will change anyone’s perception. But keeping in mind that the original posting of this photo was innocent, that still shots can be easily misinterpreted, that the parent seems an unlikely National Socialist, and that the chance of a sinister pro-Nazi group coming out like this is low, I vote for the non-fascist/white supremacist/male privilege/”patriarchy, f*** yeah” explanation.

  4. This is like the famous duck/rabbit photo. Sometimes I see Nazis and other times I see stupid high school kids. Either way, the optics are horrible. It reminds me of my all white high school. There was a party group there called The Klan (yep, with a “k”). Some of the kids in that group were racists who liked beer, others just liked beer. They had their own page in the yearbook. Even at the time, I thought the group was awful AND I thought that the school should not have given them a page in the yearbook.

  5. Yup, now we know for sure that Hillary Clinton is a Nazi racist, and evil white supremacist. Here’s my proof…

    How far will the social justice warrior cult go?

    Will it be against their “law” for students to raise their hand in the classroom or how about journalist raising their hand in press briefings?

    Hey social justice warriors and those that support them, I’ve had enough of your crap, bite me!

  6. OT, but anyone remember a September/October 1998 Sports Illustrated issue celebrating the breaking of Roger Maris’ HR record with a picture of Roger Maris’ children, all leaning on bats?

    They all had thinly disguised yet obviously displayed middle fingers, I tried to locate it but I couldn’t.

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