Rainy Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/18: Bad Habits Edition

1. A bad habit, like picking your nose in public, but more harmful. At some point, when I’m back to feeling strong,  spiffy, and more or less immune to nausea, I am planning on posting an overview of the 2016 Post-Election Ethics Train Wreck, the major feature of which has been the Angry Left-sparked acceptance of denigrating our nation’s leader in personal terms on a daily basis. As I have found on social media, refusing to participate in this divisive and self-destructive national pastime gets you attacked, and calling attention to how wrong and stupid it is gets you accused of being a racist, a xenophobe, or worse, someone who takes orders from Sean Hannity.

Of late I’ve been randomly calling various social media fools on their bad habit; some are “friends,” some are “friends of friends.”  The news media literally presents a “let’s hate President Trump for this” item every day, and yesterday’s was that the President, indulging his peculiar trolling obsession, said that he was thankful for himself. ( I thought that was pretty funny, myself. If I were President and the news media refused to give me credit for what I was doing right and the policies that appeared to be working, I might make a similar assertion just to show that the barrage of endless, often unfair criticism wasn’t getting to me.) One Facebook friend posted the article, and the predictable pile-on transpired, with one creative soul writing, searching for a wave of “likes” so she would know that she had signaled her virtue sufficiently, wrote, “He is a self-centered boor!” I replied,

Why do you feel it is necessary to spew out ad hominem insults to the President of the United States on a regular basis? Are you just fishing for favor from the large majority of angry Trump-haters on Facebook? Yeah, he’s a self-centered boor, and this was evident, oh, ten years ago at least. The necessary number of your fellow citizens decided to elect him him President anyway, and the process is that those who disagree nonetheless respect the process and their fellow citizens and extend at least a minimal level of respect for the office. I’m not a Trump fan, to say the least, and I am a lifetime student of the Presidency and its occupants: in my assessment, Barack Obama was an utter failure as POTUS and a very damaging one as well. He was (and is) also an arrogant narcissist. This was also obvious early on, but I didn’t go on Facebook repeatedly to call him names.It has no positive effects to do so, and just unnecessarily makes civil discourse difficult.

2. Progressives are trying to do the same thing here through social media. From Bloomberg:

China’s plan to judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior is moving a step closer to reality, with Beijing set to adopt a lifelong points program by 2021 that assigns personalized ratings for each resident. The capital city will pool data from several departments to reward and punish some 22 million citizens based on their actions and reputations by the end of 2020, according to a plan posted on the Beijing municipal government’s website on Monday. Those with better so-called social credit will get “green channel” benefits while those who violate laws will find life more difficult. The Beijing project will improve blacklist systems so that those deemed untrustworthy will be “unable to move even a single step,” according to the government’s plan. Xinhua reported on the proposal Tuesday, while the report posted on the municipal government’s website is dated July 18.

Efforts here by employers, restaurants, bars and service providing individuals to exclude, boycott or otherwise harm law-abiding Americans whose opinions and political preferences do not align with theirs  essentially duplicate the totalitarian impulse underlying the China plan.

3. And not only  progressives...Surely you remember the Obama administration IRS scandal in which the supposedly non-partisan tax police deliberately hamstrung fundraising efforts by conservative groups in advance of the 2012 election? The one that the mainstream news media discarded as a “nothingburger”? The one that Obama’s Justice Department refused to investigate or appoint a special prosecutor to look at independently? That scandal?

Now, reports Professor Paul Caron, the agency is stifling free speech even more directly:

“The innocuously named Revenue Procedure 2018-5 contains a well-hidden provision enabling the Service to withhold tax-exempt status from organizations seeking to improve “business conditions . . . relating to an activity involving controlled substances (within the meaning of Schedule I and II of the Controlled Substances Act) which is prohibited by federal law.” That means that to obtain tax-exempt status under any provision of the Internal Revenue Code’s Section 501—whether as a charity, social-welfare advocacy group or other type of nonprofit—an organization may not advocate for altering the legal regime applicable to any Schedule I or II substance.”

Well, it’s the Trump administration, and the mainstream media is a cheerleading squad for legalizing drugs, so I’m pretty sure THIS will be reported as the serious power-abuse scandal it is.

12 thoughts on “Rainy Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/18: Bad Habits Edition

  1. Excellent and classy response by you to your “friends” and “friends of friends” who feel the incessant need to malign the president. I’ve needed a response to this type of foolishness for going on two years now. I am so glad you finally put into words what I’ve been feeling. I hope you don’t mind me stealing it or just the gist of it from time to time.

    • Do you feel it is necessary to spew out ad hominem insults to the President of the United States on a regular basis? Do you view the word ‘racist’ as old-hat and now label all conservatives you see as ‘white nationalists’ or ‘Nazis’ even if they are black or Jewish? Do you nonetheless view white children as the perpetuation of racism? Do you often speak in the name of racial minorities that you are not a member of or a different sex? Do you admit that you are a product of irredeemable privilege, yet disparage those less fortunate than yourself for not admitting THEIR privilege? Do you disparage other people because of their race…even though they are the same race as you?

      If you have three or more of these symptoms, you are probably an insufferable liberal. Please report for treatment at once. Do not take public transport, do not make other suffer in your company. Appropriate treatment centers include: your local military recruiter, an actual paying job that you got on your own merits, or any local daycare center.

  2. I just decided to look up the IRS scandal and refresh my memory. Wikipedia comes up with the page labeled ‘The IRS Controversy’ and informs us that ‘ ‘IRS scandal’ redirect here’.

  3. #2– This policy bears a remarkable similarity to a replacement for *birthright citizenship* that Marc Randazza posted over at Popehat last month.
    [sorry for the lack of skill at including links, but its easy to find.]

  4. Regarding Trump: I just point out the logical fallacies in their memes, how they could be misleading, or things they assume but don’t state. I have a fairly decent unfriending rate.

  5. The Chinese social credit program is fascinating to me. The communist goal of a “classless” society is apparently over. This program will result in a rigid, inescapable caste system in less than a generation. Ancient China had a system of 4 castes; wealth was not the determining factor of social status. So it was possible to be much wealthier than someone who was of a higher societal status. It will be interesting to see how this plays out today.

  6. People keep saying that social media is within its rights to decide what people say on their platform, but I don’t understand why. If I rent a property for a business, the owner doesn’t get to tell me what I can and can’t sell. The owner can’t tell me what I am allowed to say. They say it doesn’t infringe on freedom of speech and clearly this is nonsense. Web hosting is the equivalent to the printing press in modern times. To obliterate ideas from the internet is the same as eliminating them from the public sphere. This is especially true when we are destroying our books.

    I wonder what would have happened if we had ideas like this in the 17th and 18th centuries. What if the few companies that sold printing presses dictated what could be printed on them? What if the companies would show up and repossess the press if you printed something they disagreed with? What if paper companies did the same thing? What if the printing press companies all decided you could only express opinions on one side of the political spectrum, and the paper companies required the opposite? This is of course, nonsense. It is nonsense because we had the idea of private property and property rights back then. I can’t help but feel that this push towards censorship is backed by the collectivist’s war on private property and property rights.

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