Monday Ethics Musings, 11/26/18: Surprise! I’m Not Going To Discuss The Border Mess Here.

Good Morning!

Well, the combination of the holidays and my extended illness, plus some lost days due to travel and speaking engagements, just resulted in the worst 9 days of traffic in recent Ethics Alarms history. As Robert E. Lee said after Pickett’s Charge, “It’s all my fault,” and I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to the readers and loyalists here who continued to visit, read and comment despite my failure to keep up on content.

1. I WAS going to cover the “caravan’s” travails...but when I started it was clear that the topic would be too long for the Warm-Up. Reflecting my disgust as the dishonest and hysterical punditry on the matter, low-lighted by the “They’re gassing women and children!” narrative, I was also going to title the post, “Morning Ethics Throw-Up.”

2. Yesterday’s post about Bill “Bojangles” Robinson has garnered an unusual response so far: far more links to social media than comments. This essay is a good example of why I miss the self-exiled progressives here. I really would love to read an argument of why Fred Astaire’s homage to his friend and teacher is nonetheless racist, because it’s “blackface.” I don’t expect good or persuasive arguments, mind you, because I doubt there are any. But we all benefit from the process of debate when both sides are intelligent and arguing in good faith. Even the most doctrinaire ideologue’s per-programmed talking points can be valuable, if only to help us understand how the hive-mind is buzzing.

An aside: I wonder how many Americans under 50 know what The Kingston Trio was, or have any idea how influential they were on music and the culture in the Fifties and Sixties?

3. Yeah, I guess this is bias. Still...A Nassau County (New York) judge, Thomas Rademaker, had ordered the jailing of a dead-beat dad, Michael Berg, in November 2016 and said he could win his release by paying nearly $518,000 to satisfy his obligations. Rademaker also told Berg that he “symbolizes everything that’s wrong with the world today.” He called Berg “selfish,” “self-interested,” “lazy,” “arrogant,” and said Berg was the last guy he would “want to be in a foxhole with” because he would “fold like a cheap suit.”

The appeals court decided that the judge’s comments had crossed the line and constituted sufficient evidence of bias to mandate a new judge to be appointed to consider whether Berg had willfully failed to pay child support. Berg had not moved for a recusal, which meant the bias issue was not preserved for appellate review. The court said it was nonetheless considering the issue of bias “in the interest of justice.”

I’d love to see how Berg argues that he unintentionally neglected to pay a half-million in child support.

4. Most Intellectually Incompetent Anti-gun Argument of the Year. The Winner Left-Wing Crazy Site ThinkProgress, which actually posted an essay titled,Romaine lettuce is too dangerous to be in stores, but guns are still available 24 hours per day.” I love articles like this regarding gun rights. It’s signature significance in so many ways. Authoring such garbage is impossible if you have functioning critical thinking skill, any understanding of law and analogies, and if you are capable of a serious, logical argument. That tells us all we need to know about author Ryan Koronowsky. Publishing such a dumb piece can only be done by a website so blinded by its agenda that it has no scruples or respect for its readers whatsoever. Well, that’s it for ThinkProgress, which now joins the Daily Kos and MSNBC in my “too corrupted and biased to waste time disagreeing with” bin.

The sinple-mindedness of the ThinkProgress piece is clear from its opening sally: “The number of Americans who die from foodborne illness every year — 3,000 according to the CDC — is dwarfed by the 30,000-plus annual fatalities caused by guns in America.” In this it echoes, but dumber, the argument made by Michael Moore in 2001 for why the United States should ignore terrorism as a domestic threat after 9/11: more people die from auto accidents, so what’s the big deal?

Since I really don’t want to spend much time on debating idiotic premises, here’s the guts of Caleb Howe’s perfectly competent take-down of the article and its attendant tweets, like “Banning romaine lettuce won’t work. People who want romaine lettuce will still find ways to get it. The only way to be safe is to make sure everyone has romaine lettuce and let the chips fall where they may.” Unfortunately, he unavoidably suffers from the equivalent of Jean Kerr’s observation that it is impossible to argue with a six-year-old without sounding like one, which is why I’m glad he did my work for me.

First, there is no one arguing “make sure everyone has guns and let the chips fall where they may.” Arguing that law-abiding citizens should have the right to defend their person, family, or property with equal or greater force than those who would harm or take those things isn’t an argument to “let the chips fall where they may.”…Likewise, nobody said, “hey we need to make sure everyone has a gun without restriction for the coming chips-falling free-for-all.” It’s not only equally stupid, but plainly false on its face, as there is broad support among Republicans and NRA members — and by broad, I mean nearly universal — for controls over who does own guns and how they come to own them. In point of fact, those are things America already does RIGHT NOW.

There is not, in fact, any constitutional right to bear romaine lettuce, the possession of lettuce isn’t a defense against lettuce. If someone comes at you with tainted food, you having the same tainted food is not a defense or deterrent. You’re just a pair of jerks holding infected salad.

Guns actually defend against guns. Guns defend against crime. They could even, conceivably, defend against lettuce. And that right, the right to defend yourself, is not only sacred, and has not only been held as going without saying for most of the existence of humanity. It not only underlies legal arguments like killing in self-defense or in defense of others, but is guaranteed by the Constitution, an inconvenient truth that only occasionally gets mentioned by progressive idiots, and then only in the context of their incorrectly claiming it doesn’t exist, or immorally pushing to end its existence. What’s worse is that no matter how much the left protests and objects that they don’t really mean they want to take all guns or ban all guns, every philosophical argument like this romaine analogy is designed as an underpinning of exactly that. They aren’t arguing, after all, that some disease-infested lettuce is fine. They’re saying it was banned — and not saying, but definitely intending you to conclude, “ban guns, too.” So in other words, besides being dumb, it’s dishonest.

5. Epilogue to the Dole Thanksgiving story I related here. Neither the cost of the wine nor our hefty tip for the family Thanksgiving dinner has shown up on our credit card. It is clear that after we left the restaurant, the Doles had the restaurant remove them and add it to their own bill.


20 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Musings, 11/26/18: Surprise! I’m Not Going To Discuss The Border Mess Here.

  1. Re: The Doles. Perhaps, they did. However, I’ve noticed that the final total at a restaurant (the total that includes the tip) often takes several days to show up on my card. With the holiday weekend, perhaps your credit card provider is taking longer to update it.

  2. Re: Kingston Trio

    I just discovered them two weekends ago (really, and only because they’ll be performing at the same venue where we went to see a trained dog show). I have loved them so far and plan to go catch their show when it comes to town in April.

  3. I am just over 50, and I learned to play the guitar as a child with The Kingston Trio, along with Peter, Paul, and Mary, and John Denver. Those were all my mother’s favorite songs….she played the records frequently!

    • Wait…there’s more… I’m sure you are aware that the Kingston Trio of today is not the Kingston Trio in the posted photo. Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds are both dead and Shane is in his mid-80s. Hopefully you discovered it by some of the original LPs or via remastered CDs. Those were the days…

      For the record: I am well over 50.

      • Yes, the original trio sold the name. I hate that. It’s as if Peter, Paul and Mary were still singing, but it was really Joey, Marvin and Constance. The Platters ended up the same way. Imagine Bing Crosby selling his name so people could still see “Bing.”

  4. Jack! How dare you open with reference to R E Lee and Pickett without a proper trigger warning. If some poor SJW snowflake stumbles across this post — I know, like they have any interest in ethics — they would likely not survive.

    The foregoing assumes, without evidence, that the SJWs would have any idea as to who Lee and.or Pickett were and why Lee would feel he should accept blame….

  5. What is it with the leftist leadership and spokesholes bending over for the anti-gun cult?

    The anti-gun cult wants to do away with much more the the right to keep asnd bear arms, all to suppress lawful gun oqwnership.

    Obtaining this permit is a potentially weeks-long process, which requires paperwork, an interview, a background check, and, even if you pass all of that, the police chief has some discretion to deny the license anyway — if he or she, for example, knows something about your past that may not necessarily show up in your criminal record.

    I do not recall any leftist spokesholes defending Kim Davis using her discretion in the exact same manner that police chiefs do.

  6. 5. Perhaps I can only see this through my own cultural lens, but were this to have happened to me I would only be able to take it negatively. That is to say, they refused your gift and chose to pay for it their self rather than accept your gift.

    [True, the charges may yet show up . . .]

    In fact, if they did undermine your gift, I would wonder if that act was sort of unethical. But a refusal to accept something freely given is not per se *unethical* so just merely sort of rude? or haughty? or to avoid some sense of impropriety?

    As I say in my culture this would lead to a good deal of puzzled questioning. On the surface it would not be taken as positive. It would be a way of negating the reciprocity that a gift requires, by a direct refusal. But since your gift was entirely free of strings of any sort (you have nothing to do with them and no social or professional connection), I do not see why they needed to refuse it? Wouldn’t it have been more gracious simply to have accepted it?

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