Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/23/2019: Fame And Infamy

Good morning from Ft. Lauderdale!

This warm-up was supposed to be up yesterday, but our flight to Ft. Lauderdale was delayed for four hours, then after we were on the runway, a passenger had some kind of medical emergency, sending us back to the gate and causing more delay. We got to our hotel after midnight, and I wasn’t capable of putting up the post.  Not that I’m in that much better shape this morning…

1. Covington Catholic Students Ethics Train Wreck update.

  • I just listened to HLN’s shameless effort to change the subject and cover for the news media in the false narrative  pounded for more than a day regarding the students. Whether the chaperones were negligent of not is irrelevant to whether journalists and pundits were unprofessional and irresponsible in attacking the students., for example. Also infuriating is the “well, people have different reactions to the video” shrug. Yeah, bigots and race-baiters who have no concern for facts or fairness think it’s politically helpful to punish kids for wearing hats supporting a President they hate.
  • Then there is Sarah Beattie, a Saturday Night Live writer, who posted this:

Nice. Of course, an ethical network would discipline an employee who tried to incite an attack on a teen, and no, she may not have been serious, but this isn’t a joke.

These are bad people. Res Ipsa Loquitur.

  • On ” The View” yesterday, this exchange occurred:

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, HOST: Many people admitted they made snap judgments before these other facts came in. But is it that we just instantly say that’s what it is based on what we see in that moment and then have to walk stuff back when it turns out we’re wrong? Why is that? Why do we keep making the same mistake?

JOY BEHAR: Because we’re desperate to get Trump out of office. That’s why.

Bias and idiocy has its benefits: Behar is absolutely correct. She just doesn’t have the ethical literacy, decency or intelligence to realize what an indictment that is of the “resistance” and the news media, and herself, of course.

2. On a happier note...The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voting results were announced, and Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez (yecchh), Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield—in short, the steroid cheats–were all rejected again. Bonds and Clemens crept a little closer, though, because the younger baseball writers who are slowly replacing their elders, are more likely to accept one or more of the invalid rationalizations to excuse these creeps.

3. One reason the younger sportswriters have the ethics of drug cartels is…that they, like most Americans, lack historical perspective because our culture keeps forgetting the lessons of history, and history itself. While stuck in Reagan National Airport with me, my wife bought “The Great Halifax Explosion,” a 2017 best seller about a virtually forgotten disaster that killed nearly 2000 people and wiped out half the port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. A ship filled with explosives for the battle fields of W.W. I in 1917 caught fire and blew up in what was the largest man-made explosion before Hiroshima. I had missed this important historical event entirely, and have less excuse than most: the doomed ship Mont-Blanc set sail for Halifax on December 1, my birthday, as well as the day my father died.

4. David Brooks issued one of his better columns since moving over to The Dark Side (The New York Times), called “How We Destroy Lives Today,” about how social media mobs exact punishment for perceived breaches of ethics, large, small and imagined. The essay would be more respectable if Brooks didn’t make excuses for  his own colleagues for their very recent conduct regarding the Covington students. He writes,

Before you judge the reporters too harshly, it’s important to remember that these days the social media tail wags the mainstream media dog. If you want your story to be well placed and if you want to be professionally rewarded, you have to generate page views — you have to incite social media. The way to do that is to reinforce the prejudices of your readers.

Wait, isn’t that exactly why the reporters should be judged harshly? I take it back: the column is cowardly.

 

44 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/23/2019: Fame And Infamy

  1. The Halifax explosion is the reason Boston gets a Christmas tree every year from Nova Scotia. Boston sent massive teams of medical staff to Halifax to assist in the recovery and treatment of the victims.

    It came to light again when Mayor Menino was going to rename it to a holiday tree and Nova Scotia threatened to stop sending them anymore.

  2. Nice. Of course, an ethical network would discipline an employee who tried to incite an attack on a teen, and no, she may not have been serious, but this isn’t a joke.
    What if the teen punched himself in the face.

    Will Sarah Beattie give him a blow job?

    Or will she offer to share her vagina as well as her mouth?

  3. 1. Ah yes, the PR maxim. “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.” So tempting to just drop the Mad Men .gif on a few Facebook threads yesterday.

    I saw precisely *one* person in my network adjust her opinion to the new evidence. Emotions are high, and people are frustrated and afraid, but the lack of self-awareness and reflection the past couple days has been breathtaking.

  4. #3 I’ve never heard of that even either. You can also check out the Black Tom Explosion of 1916 in Jersey City, NJ, where a pier depot stock loaded with ammunition for allies was set on fire by saboteurs. The explosion was so intense, the Statue of Liberty was damaged and people in surrounding states thought they felt a small earthquake.

  5. 1) Strange. Now the introduction of a pornographic element. But I think it does figure in here:

    Just as intellect has been corrupted by emotion and sensation, so is responsibility corrupted by the seductions of unrestraint. The rash judgment, unmediated by intelligent analysis, corresponds to the pornographic invitation (in the sense that the culture is drawn into pornography and huge swaths of people are seduced by it).

    Since sexual purity is hardly conceived as having any value, of any sort, at all, there is no reason not to rush into it and toward it.

    But the corresponding fact is that sensation and emotion, and mental and perceptual processes that are contaminated by them, are similarly ‘seductive’. They hardly require effort.

    These media-mediated spectacles therefore correspond to orgies. [Early 16th century: originally plural, from French orgies, via Latin from Greek orgia ‘secret rites or revels: “secret rites used in the worship of Bacchus, Dionysus, and other Greek and Roman deities, celebrated with dancing, drunkenness, and singing.”]

    E Michael Jones wrote (in Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation & Political Control):

    “Thus, a good man, though a slave, is free; but a wicked man, though a king, is a slave. For he serves, not one man alone, but, what is worse, as many masters as he has vices.” — St. Augustine, City of God.

    Writing at the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire, St. Augustine both revolutionized and brought to a close antiquity’s idea of freedom. A man was not a slave by nature or by law, as Aristotle claimed. His freedom was a function of his moral state. A man had as many masters as he had vices. This insight would provide the basis for the most sophisticated form of social control known to man.Fourteen hundred years later, a decadent French aristocrat turned that tradition on its head when he wrote that “the freest of people are they who are most friendly to murder.” Like St. Augustine, the Marquis de Sade would agree that freedom was a function of morals. Unlike St. Augustine, Sade proposed a revolution in sexual morals to accompany the political revolution then taking place in France. Libido Dominandi – the term is taken from Book I of Augustine’s City of God – is the definitive history of that sexual revolution, from 1773 to the present.

    Unlike the standard version of the sexual revolution, Libido Dominandi shows how sexual liberation was from its inception a form of control. Those who wished to liberate man from the moral order needed to impose social controls as soon as they succeeded because liberated libido led inevitably to anarchy. Aldous Huxley wrote in his preface to the 1946 edition of Brave New World that “as political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase.” This book is about the converse of that statement. It explains how the rhetoric of sexual freedom was used to engineer a system of covert political and social control. Over the course of the two-hundred-year span covered by this book, the development of technologies of communication, reproduction, and psychic control – including psychotherapy, behaviorism, advertising, sensitivity training, pornography, and plain old blackmail – allowed the Enlightenment and its heirs to turn Augustine’s insight on its head and create masters out of men’s vices. Libido Dominandi is the story of how that happened.

    The Present has to be analyzed with more precision. But the proper tools of analysis need to be recovered. [And if it is not completely plain E Michael Jones is, in essence, applying a Thomist analysis].

    • The vice engine! I knew I was on to something!

      The most disheartening thing about this mechanism is the unlikelihood of turning it around. If the primary force driving our current collapse is mass-scale dopamine addiction, remediation would require puncturing the purple haze to the rational mind purportedly hidden far beneath the husk of the apparently-unthinking thrall and somehow convincing him to act toward ends contrary to those toward which his own endocrine system is forcing him. I think that fits the description of a moral miracle. It happens, but the sun also dances in the sky for thousands of witnesses on occasion.

      I considered dopamine blockers in the water supply, but I think that would just cause mass suicide. If only there were a way to spike a water supply with a twelve step program. I can’t think of a method other than the old medieval build-a-walled-city-and-wait-a-few-generations-until-the-barbarians-convert-or-lose-interest. That even leaves the issue of finding enough like-mindeds to build and man a walled city.

      • Benjamin wrote: “The most disheartening thing about this mechanism is the unlikelihood of turning it around. If the primary force driving our current collapse is mass-scale dopamine addiction, remediation would require puncturing the purple haze to the rational mind purportedly hidden far beneath the husk of the apparently-unthinking thrall and somehow convincing him to act toward ends contrary to those toward which his own endocrine system is forcing him. I think that fits the description of a moral miracle. It happens, but the sun also dances in the sky for thousands of witnesses on occasion.”

        As one always inclined toward speculation, both wild and sober, the present that we are living in offers many different possibilities!

        Inclined to attempt to locate ’causes’, it seems fair, good, proper and necessary to consider the topic of ‘seduction’ in the widest sense. I think it is fair to consider the public relations industry, when seen as an industry run by managers and social scientists skilled in ‘the psychology of desire’, as a central culprit. It has to do with the manipulation of the imagination

        The etymologies of the words imaginarius, imaginatio and imaginativa have a rich history. These are words that have significantly evolved and its difficult to pinpoint the meaning during Aquinas’ period because the interpretations of them are so diverse. No single author explains these words within their context and how they work together. There is no corresponding English word that captures the nuance from the Latin.

        What perplexes me is that in order to understand the psychological corruption of Our Present, one has to have the conceptual tools to examine it and to *see* it. But the very terms which were used and understood previously — that is to say the foundations of a metaphysically grounded Greco-Christianity, philosophical in orientation — cannot be understood today because no one can understand the premises and no one accepts them! Therefore, we have no adequate conceptual tools with which to develop an accurate assessment of our situation.

        It is such a bizarre conundrum! The destruction of intellectus as a guiding faculty in a person, and the pressure of seduction through the constancy and intensity of forces which corrupts the relationship with intellectus, results in a brutification of man, and the brute simply cannot understand what is happening to him and to her. And in that state he is primed to respond to emotional and sensual stimulation and, as you say, becomes an addict to it.

        Once the individual has been reduced to brutishness, he will have no choice but to become a slave of his own passion. But he then can only become a slave of a larger political-social system. In this precise context, then, one has to develop a critical foundation for talking about The Americanopolis.

        One of the reasons why these issues become terribly complex is because to correct them — let us say starting with just one individual — requires that that one person surrender him or herself to a spiritual, philosophical, and moral authority. And the required process is, essentially, spiritual discipline.

        In one or two generations all the moral capital can be squandered. Everything that was gained through amazing discipline and hard work is traded away ‘for a mess of pottage’.

        As you see this is about as far as I have gotten: to dimly see *the problem* but to be able to say nothing about how it could be remediated in the larger context.

  6. Is the…um…oral agreement (offer) to provide a blow job provided specifically outlined conditions are fulfilled (acceptance) a legally enforceable contract, whatever the consideration?

    Any lawyers out there…?

  7. 1. This is not surprising. It just is… and it is why we have President Trump in the first place.

    2. Increasingly, I find myself shrugging. Gaylord Perry is in the Hall of Fame despite illegally using the spitball, and then flaunting it.

    3. Historical ignorance is very profound these days… and the education system, is making it worse.

  8. I’m going to judge reporters harshly. They are partially responsible for people excitedly taking out their phones to try to embarrass public persons with viral videos, no matter how undeserving.

    https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/passenger-confronts-gop-congressman-over-225037260.html

    Just as reporters rush stories into print without regard for fact-checking so long as it suits their narrative, so people are happily recording and posting online based on mere assumptions.

  9. 1 Joy Behar

    Self-awareness is apparently not a virtue for today’s left.

    Consider Goldberg’s statement, who at first blush seems to be at least marginally aware that something isn’t quite right:

    Many people admitted they made snap judgments before these other facts came in. But is it that we just instantly say that’s what it is based on what we see in that moment and then have to walk stuff back when it turns out we’re wrong? Why is that? Why do we keep making the same mistake? [My emphasis]

    The answer to her questions is twofold:

    – The urgent desire to be “out front,” and one of the first to respond to a viral situation. This is the desire of every person in news and entertainment to be the first to anything. This is not a “mistake,” it is a deliberate, calculated risk. They figure that they can always apologize if it’s wrong, or double down if it will get them more attention.

    – The indifference to the truth. Truth, to them, is so subjective that it is secondary, and homage to the truth is for flyover people who don’t matter to them.

    In reality, it isn’t just incompetence, as she seems to suggest — it is deliberate and with malice aforethought. Behar just validates that with her comment, which is a supplication to the god of every leftist, “The ends justify the means.”

    2 Baseball HOF

    Can Pete Rose be far behind?

    4 David Brooks

    Before you judge the reporters too harshly, it’s important to remember that these days the social media tail wags the mainstream media dog. If you want your story to be well placed and if you want to be professionally rewarded, you have to generate page views — you have to incite social media. The way to do that is to reinforce the prejudices of your readers.

    He doesn’t realize that he’s just pronounced the very judgment he wants us to reject. In what universe is “reinforce [ing] the prejudices of your readers” a valuable, morally defensible thing? It is, in fact, an abrogation of ethical journalism by its very definition. It is utterly vile.

    So Brooks has pronounced the harshest possible judgment just by exposing their motivation. Self-awareness? Not even close.

  10. Re No.1/Sarah Beattie.

    I see she took it down. While her tweet was obnoxious, more concerning are the 75 retweets and 1,370 likes on that tweet. It appears that many people think offering oral sex to someone who punches a teenager in the face is acceptable and appropriate. Wow.

    jvb

  11. As I understand it, the Catholic kids were waiting for their bus, the bus was delayed, and there were some adults with them. Which is why they responded to the nasty taunts from the cultists with school chants. Apart from physically jumping in front of Nathan Phillips and herding all of the kids a few steps back, I’m not sure what the adults should have done (and until Phillips’ actions emboldened the cultists to get close to the kids, there wasn’t any obvious danger from him alone.)

  12. The funny thing is, if that one youngster hadn’t stood there looking (defiant? confused? amused?) there would be no story at all here for CNN, Rolling Stone, Buzzfeed, etc. Cult members harassing Trump-supporting teenagers with gay slurs and anti-Jewish threats is just another good day in Washington.

  13. Because we’re desperate to get Trump out of office. That’s why.

    One might get the impression that her desperation, and the desepration of the resistance, is borne entirely from them losing faith with traditional political, religious, and moral institutions, much like the rank-and-file Nazis and ISIS.

    But who corrupted their ethics?

    See here.

    https://ethicsalarms.com/2017/01/18/ethics-dunces-update-59-and-counting-democratic-members-of-congress-boycotting-the-45th-presidents-inauguration/#comment-423096

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.