Weekend Greetings from Ethics Alarms!
1. I’m on the way to New Brunswick, New Jersey for a President’s Day legal ethics CLE seminar for the New Jersey Bar. This is my Darrow program, and my long-time Clarence (18 years!), Paul Morella, is unavailable, so taking on the role will be Bruce Rauscher, who received a Helen Hayes nomination (that’s the D.C. Tonys) for playing the prosecutor in my production of “The Andersonville Trial.” Like so many expert prosecutors, Bruce is now moving over to the defense because the money is better.
2. KABOOM! Ann Althouse found this disturbing dead canary in the mine: over 10 thousand people online thought the cartoon below was racist:
Althouse seems to miss the significance of this: she asks if anyone “gets” humor any more. That’s not what’s going on here. A stunning number of people really believe that voting—or hiring, or admitting college applicants—on the basis of merit is racist. This belief itself is racist, as well as destructive, illogical and batty, but that’s what culture will do to you eventually, if you don’t have a strong foundation of ethical values and critical thinking skills.
How can you argue with someone who “thinks” like this? Are they beyond hope?
3. More Warren The Demagogue. I was going to let this go, because so many Democrats are embarrassing themselves of late and I don’t want to give more ammunition to those who accuse me of right wing bias. But Professor Turley flagged this blatant example of Senator Warren’s demoagoguery and his reaction was identical to mine, so I’ll let him take over:
Democrats have (for good reason) criticized President Donald Trump for his signature campaign rally chant of “Lock her up” in referring to his then opponent Hillary Clinton.. Many of us objected to the display as obnoxious and demeaning to our political system. That objection apparently does not hold when a Democratic candidate, in this case Elizabeth Warren, is referencing Donald Trump as being locked up. Warren received the predictably wild applause to her suggestion in a campaign rally that Trump will be in prison by 2020.
…It is of course utter nonsense. The Special Counsel’s report is now expected in March. No compelling case of obstruction or collusion-based crimes has been established against Trump. There is an allegation of campaign finance violations based on the Cohen filings. However, the Justice Department has a long-standing policy (with which I have long disagreed) that it will not indict a sitting president. Moreover, even with such a policy, the indictment of a sitting president would unlikely result in a trial, let alone incarceration, during his term. These trials are often delayed and, in the case of a president, there is a line of cases allowing considerable leeway given to a President and his schedule on such calendars for legal proceedings. In any case, the suggestion of incarceration is pure fantasy fueled by the same blind rage of the “lock her up” chants.
Let me add that Warren, like Turley (and unlike Trump), is a law professor and knows all of this, so she is deliberately deceiving the ignorant and trusting.
Permit me to repeat myself: God, she is terrible!
4. I hate settlements. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and current Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid have reached a settlement with the NFL concerning their collusion grievances against the league. The deals included confidentiality agreements, so all speculation about who paid how much is pure spin. This doesn’t vindicate Kaepernick in any way. The NFL made a PR decision that putting Kaepernick’s grandstanding behind it was good business, and I’m sure Kaepernick was grateful for whatever he got. I’m pretty sure that he was going to lose. If he was really the social justice warrior he poses as, he would have insisted on a trial.
5. More on the “Best People” front: Former Fox Blonde Heather Nauert was the State Department spokeswoman when Trump nominated her for to replace Nikki Haley as U.N. Ambassador. It was a lazy, incompetent choice, like so many other Trump appointments, even accepting his attitude that U.N. is a sham, which it largely is. Still, this is a post that has been held by Adlai Stevenson and Henry Cabot Lodge; even Haley dwarfs Nauert in experience, skills and stature. She was unqualified, and obviously so; she showed a lack of integrity and common sense by accepting the nomination. Now she has withdrawn her nomination.
6. More ADA madness. Here’s a mother arguing in the Washington Post that Broadway productions should have to offer special performances for autistic children and others whose disability renders them unable to watch a show without making noise, interfering with the enjoyment of the performance by others:
Whitney Ellenby writes in part:
Sensory-friendly is a civil right. Nothing in disability law requires that disabled people come quietly or conventionally. As long as accommodating someone such as Zack doesn’t require a venue or service to be fundamentally altered, access is required under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), with or without reasonable accommodation.I understand that Zack’s vocalizing and others’ behaviors affect the experience and service of those around him. But there’s a simple workaround to this problem: designated, sensory-friendly offerings. Setting aside a regular number of theater performances or flights or movie showings or restaurant hours to give my son and others like him equal access and opportunity should be regarded as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.
Discuss. I would have made this an Ethics Quiz, if I thought her argument had any merit at all. The world, and our government, and businesses, are not obligated to minimize all inconveniences and disadvantages arising from physical maladies and disabilities. This is, and has always been, another tyranny of the minority area. If the parent of a child who has to shout out during “Hamilton” wants him to see the show, she can pay for a private showing. I would suggest purchasing a video. [Pointer: Amy Alkon]
28 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/17/2019: Best People, Worst Candidates, Noisiest Spectators, Battiest Activists”
When I took my family to Disney World last year, we attended one show where the was a young man, obviously suffering some sort of neurological disorder, who would straight-up scream every 10-15 seconds. We all just did our best to quietly ignore it, but I must admit it never did occur to me that the solution would be to have one hundred or so such people at a single showing, utterly drowning out to performance with a continuous torrent of screaming.
But hasn’t Hillary Clinton been shown to have committed crimes that would land anyone else in jail? The vast evidence of her violations of security clearance laws is nothing. What about the excesses and exceptions granted the Clinton Foundation? What about Bill taking a big commission to speak for a company that needed Hillary Clinton to sign off to sell a big chunk of our Uranium to a Putin-controlled company? What about the evidence that the Clinton campaign took $84 million in illegal campaign contributions while people like Dinesh D’Souza are imprisoned for a few thousand? The average person looks at all this and knows that the laws do not apply to people like Hillary Clinton. Trump’s call to ‘lock her up’ was a very smart appeal for equality under the law and clearly pointed out that Clinton, the Democrats, and the Washington establishment did not believe in that.
Apparently smoke, fire, and charred remains (or should I say servers and financial paper trails) are no longer worthy of actual investigation.
Now hearsay, sans smoke or fire, against anyone to the right of AOC is grounds for a public crucifixion.
2. Insofar as that is a political cartoon, isn’t it’s humorousness irrelevant? The cartoon’s satirizing lefties who think the way the parents do. Anyone who doesn’t “get” the cartoon doesn’t suffer from a poor sense of humor,, they’re just dopes.
What I read into the cartoon. Latino’s and women are not seen as the most qualified candidates, thus, in-so-far as that is true, it is racist. And sexist. But, what if it is true?
The obvious reading is that race and sex shouldn’t be the criteria. The child isn’t suggesting a third candidate. He represents the common-sense position.
Right. The kid did not rule out any candidate. Perhaps the Latino or the woman IS the most qualified candidate because of their qualifications, not because of their ethnicity or sex.
“Common sense” is a tool of white supremacist patriarchy.
Just aside from the “out of the mouth’s of babes” angle, I see the cartoon being not so much about the kid, but about Dad and Mom. They are presenting a case that qualifications and experience don’t matter, but that ethnicity and sex do. When the kid protests, he is sent to bed. Much like politics in general at the moment. If you dare to disagree with political correctness, you are dismissed. Thus, my question…is it the case that qualifications do not matter, and, if so, please attempt to explain why that is, and should be, the case?
There is another reading. The parents did have a discussion before the child entered the room. The man thinks the Latino candidate is the most qualified, the woman thinks the female candidate is the most qualified. The words ‘Latino candidate’ is now a localized, temporary label for all that is discussed before, his/her qualifications, etc.. The same goes for ‘female candidate’
One could compare it with the situation that the parents are in a car showroom where they have discussed several cars and narrowed down their choice to two different options, one being a black Chevrolet Impala. the other a red Ford Escape.
In that situation it is complete legit for the man to say, “I prefer the red car.” and for the woman to say, “I prefer the black car.”
And if at that moment their child enters the conversation with “You should select the best car.” the parents saying, “Be quiet sweety, grown ups are talking.” seems a reasonable response to me
No. The point of the cartoon is, sex, race, and whatever factors that have no bearing on competence, and I tegrity and ability to do the job not matter.
The cartoon is a critique of the typical thought processes of most Democrats now.
1. Unfortunately I have a doctor’s appointment, so I can’t make it.
2. That’s what happens when one generation keeps stuffing the next generation’s heads with the idea that everything is about race and nothing, including merit, is more important.
3. The rhetoric is nothing new. If I had a dime for every time I heard or read that Trump or either of the Bushes or Reagan should be or should have been warming a prison cell for nefarious doings I’d be a very rich man indeed. I’d be considerably less rich if I had a dollar for every time I heard or read that Obama or Clinton should have been jailed for dirty deeds. The left may talk a good game about due process and second chances and peoples’ mistakes not following them for the rest of their lives, but, as we last saw in the Kavanaugh hearings, those breaks only apply to non-conservatives. For conservatives the only question is “do we imprison you or just ruin you?” The only difference is that before 2016 that sort of rhetoric only came from internet trolls, your crazy cousin who you stopped inviting to family functions, and the kook in the office who you avoid except in the line of duty. Now it’s gone mainstream and comes from Senators and presidential candidates. There’s a very good reason that Gerald Ford pardoned the last president who would have faced indictment and trial otherwise. Even though Nixon deserved to receive both, he didn’t deserve them in a vacuum. The nation had just been through one crisis, it was not in the national interest that it go through another one that would have done more and probably more lasting damage. However, this was also 45 years ago, and it’s dimmed in the national memory. That said, Elizabeth Warren was a 24-year-old law student when that happened, and she has no excuse for not remembering it and remembering what would have happened next. This is just one more step toward criminalizing the political process and adding the charge of “running while Republican” to the list of spurious charges like “driving while black.”
4.Krappernick was never about social justice. He was always about himself. He knew his QB skills were no longer at the level they needed to be to keep him in the NFL, and he didn’t want to be just another pro athlete whose time had come and gone. So he started the protest in the hopes that it would make him a commodity and either he’d be unreleasable or someone would pick him up to look “woke.” He miscalculated, and so he had to continue with the social justice bs until the NFL finally said “here, we’re paying you, now go away and stop giving us a headache.” Some will call him a sellout, but he’ll just sneer all the way to the bank, and by this September everyone will be looking to the next set of great events on the gridiron, free of this nonsense.
5. Hopefully the president does a little better with the next nomination.
6. Tough one. It’s one thing to reserve a dress rehearsal or something for those who don’t do well in crowds or do a toned-down show for those who can’t stand the full on loud noise of an actual performance. However, that said, a situation in which patrons are paying $100+ per person for the experience isn’t the place for someone who is definitely going to take away from that experience for them. Some autistic people can be essentially like infants or toddlers. Infants don’t belong at Carnegie Hall concerts where the ok seats will set you back over $100, and toddlers don’t belong at restaurants where you are paying $100 for dinner for two. If I spend that kind of money I want to watch the show undistracted by flapping and screeching and the discomfort of “what the hell is wrong with him?” the same as I want to hear my concert without a baby’s cries competing with the orchestra, and I want to have dinner with my date without a “terrible two” at the next table wailing and throwing salt shakers while her parents just smile benignly.
There is a duty to recognize limits and a duty not to inconvenience others. I get that a special needs kid, particularly an older one who should have aged out of being a problem but hasn’t and won’t because of his issues, is a drag. Usually he’s more of a drag because caregivers for that situation are hard and sometimes impossible to come by. It’s one thing to hire a local 14yo to play with an infant, give her a bottle, change her, and put her to bed. It’s another to ask anyone, skilled or not, to deal with a kid on the spectrum who might do anything from creeping them out by strange behavior they themselves don’t know why they do, to biting them like a savage. More often than not the parents are stuck, one of them has to stay home with this special needs child at all times, and they have to either take their other children to events with just one parent, or they have to ask other parents in the neighborhood to pitch in and take the normal kids with them. The sad fact is that having a special needs child is not normal. At times it sucks. What’s worse is that it’s not even anyone’s fault, it’s just an act of genetics. What’s worst of all is that it takes a LOT away from the family of this child, especially the parents. At times it can feel like they’re trapped with no way out. However, the way to cope with that is not by making their problem everyone else’s problem.
“The sad fact is that having a special needs child is not normal…”
As the parent of such a child, I appreciate the well thought out articulation of the life we live. Mine is showing signs of maturing, but is 3 to 4 years behind… and our other kids missed out on a lot because of sacrifices the family made for him.
I would not change things for the whole world. We love all our kids, and learning that family sometimes requires sacrifice is of great use to our kids in times like these.
We would never make our child a burden to others, and missed out rather than try to assert our ‘rights’ over the needs of others. this mom is an uncouth idiot who has my compassion but not my indulgence.
Life isn’t fair. There are a lot of people who think we need to make life equal for everyone no matter the cost. Sorry, but sometimes life just stinks. Sometimes, you just won’t be able to do what others do. I had a friend who was accepted to MIT. His family didn’t have a lot of money. They wouldn’t even give him student loans unless his father mortgaged all the equity from the family home (that he had been paying on for 20 years). He had to go to a state school instead on full-scholarship. Other people (and wealthier people) with lesser scores got to go to MIT and got scholarships. Sometimes life isn’t fair, sometimes, you don’t get the same opportunities others get.
Unfounded axiom. Argument not looking good.
No argument has been offered that mere “access” is being denied in any way. However, a child or adult compulsively vocalizing throughout a performance “fundamentally” alters the nature of the performance, as is openly admitted by the arguee. Therefore, by her own argument, continued access is not required.
This would of course a nice thing for a theatre company to do. However, the ADA only requires minimally disruptive accommodations.
By no stretch is offering additional performances with strict attendance criteria that potentially limits revenue “reasonable”. A more realistic accommodation might be creating a sensory booth that can accommodate persons with potential
I have thought, but never articulated in writing, that disability legislation is the most problematic of all civil rights legislation.
Race is easy. Caveat: I hired a paralegal who was born in the U.S., whose parents were born in Africa, but whose ancestors were from India (apparently, it’s a thing). She claimed to be Indo-African. I maintained she was really African-American; we did not get sued.
Sex/gender/??? Used to be easier.
Ethnicity? A little more difficult, but most simply substitute race for ethnicity (and country of origin, for that matter).
Familial status: generally, single mothers.
Sexual orientation: used to mean gay, but is increasingly more complicated.
National origin: should be easy, but substitute racism, when in doubt (or not).
Pregnancy discrimination: it either is or it’s not.
Disability: a literal cluster fuck. Every “disability” has to be analyzed on its own terms. There is a definition of disability. It is nice and vague.
Every “disability” has to be analyzed on its own terms, along with whatever accommodation is reasonable. Diabetes; blindness; paraplegia; spinal muscular atrophy. They all fall under the same law, subject to the same general analysis.
Under the legal definition, I am disabled. I have severe myopia. However, I have corrective lenses that help me so much that, I believe, the law does not consider my inability to see a disability (even though I have a restricted drivers license).
As civil rights laws go, disability laws are certainly warranted, but it is foolish to ignore the fact that disability is easily defined. Then, when it comes to what kind of accommodation is reasonable, well, you get proposals for special concerts for the autistic, events that will likely be as well attended as your average handicapped parking spot.
Some forbidden thoughts . . .
But underneath the hatred of whiteness (and this is one more manifestation of it) is simply the power-motive. Your time is coming to an end. A new demographic is rising up. You are going to be replaced. Slowly and surely. Just as is occurring now.
Therefore, to attempt to apply notions of ethics (social fair play?) here will get one nowhere. Seems like it should though! The purpose of inciting the *anger*, the outrage, the hysterical shrieking tones, the reading from the lists of horror for what white people have *done*, has only to do with the awareness that through these methods and techniques *power* can be achieved. I think that people ‘tune in’ to this at a sub-conscious level. And certain media players — more consciously than unconsciously in my view — feed this discontent, the upswell of anger and resentment.
Smollett seems to me an example of how people ‘chime in’ to a general (hysterical) uproar. They are aware of what the struggle is about, and they are aware of what tools seem to work, and so these tools are used. I thins points to the deeper nature of the struggle, a social war in fact. Not only are African Americans availing themselves of the *space* that MSM opens for them, but the *metoo* movement draws people who also sense what can be gained. The discontent is not simply fabricated though. That makes it *problematic*.
Oddly, as long as one is locked into the idea that *racism is bad* — that is, that it is immoral at a profound level — one will remain a victim of other people’s grabbing for social and political power through the use of race: the somatic, even biological fight.
The whole question that surrounds the term *racist* and *racism* is completely muddled. It is a ‘magic word’ as Jonathan Bowden said. Use it and people collapse on the ground, immobilized. The way out of it is to develop ideas that are ‘race-realist’. This includes not merely race but culture, value, social history, and in essence what a person of a group is capable of building, contributing to, and maintaining. It would enable one to make a statement like this, which is completely true, without enfolding layers of neurotic guilt:
There. I have said the unforgivable. Is it *racist*? It is yet true. And everyone knows it, even the Blacks themselves! Hundreds of websites, and dozens of intellectuals, say as much. Their arguments are hermetic in their common sense. Just imagine the day when people will be able to say, without fear, exactly what they think!
There is a wide group of things to consider if one is race-realist. And one would not ever reject the need to be selective, and even exclusive, if one is realistic about issues of race. One would simply be realistic. But, if one is forced to label any and all such considerations as ‘racist’ with all the shame-power that stands behind the usage, one places oneself in a terribly weak position.
That is largely where *white America* is right now.
This seems to be the position of white America: they have this bizarre idea that they can flood the country with millions and millions of people from dissimilar environments, cultures and ethnicities — who come to escape poverty or the evils of their own cultural creations in many cases, but who mostly do not come for reasons of idealism! — and that they will behave just like they do, or instantly adopt such values.
But as the demographics shift, and as the power-dynamic kicks in, within the established currents of Postwar America and its defined *struggles*, the nature of *power* reveals itself. It rears up. In 5 years it will be that much worse. In 10 years — in 20 years — well, the demographers explain explicitly what will happen. Joe Biden explained it! These things have been set in motion, they now show themselves, and the average white person stands paralyzed like *a deer in the headlights*. Not making this up!
Perhaps I am wrong, but what I think people object to in the cartoon is that the issue is being noticed and referred to. They cannot allow any such conversation to go on without screeching over it. Hence the clamp on free speech and open discourse. The fact that in that cartoon certain obvious facts are referred to must be suppressed.
Anyone with an Internet connection and with a desire to get more information can type a few key words and wind up at sites where the real dynamic issues are talked about. What people are talking about, when they are unconstrained in doing so, I assume everyone here is aware — because they must certainly do that! But *deer in the headlights* cannot outrightly define, label and talk about what is really going on and what it means. I mean for example on the TeeVee talk shows or on the radio. Can you imagine if such conversations could go on, did go on?
At a psychological level Whites are *victim* to the use of psychological power, something related to a very deep sense of guilt. I cannot figure it out. It must have an origin though, there must be a causal chain that brought it into being.
Here is an ethical issue to write about. (h/t Joshua Black)
Why wasn’t the Talbot kid allowed to sit and then engaged in critical thinking about his accusation of national racism? That would require an uncomfortable level of inquiry with an 11 year old in a school system which clearly has not encouraged critical thinking or a balanced version of history to be taught.
Why hasn’t anyone asked him or his guardians how he came to be in that classroom on the public dime?
And he would counter with quotes such as these. And there are hundreds and hundreds of them. Only in the Postwar has there been a top-down and socially-engineered project to redefine America as egalitarian and *inclusive*.
If there is going to be a ‘sit down’ to engage in ‘critical thinking’ about ‘national racism’ and ‘balanced version of history’ . . . I’d like to see the video of it.
Will it come on YouTube? 😉
6. So, I had to wait until I got a chance to sit down at a keyboard and respond to this.
I think I’ve mentioned before, I have a young daughter with special needs, including severe sensory issues. And I think this woman’s claim is ridiculous.
First off, it’s impossible. The thing with sensory issues is that they run in both directions — people can be either hyper– or hyposensitive, and what’s more it isn’t always the same across senses. People who are hypersensitive need things toned down: the crowd of a theater, the noise of an orchestra or the bright lights might be unbearable for them. People who are hyposensitive require constant stimulation: they might love the crowds and full sound and lights, but sitting still for three hours for them might be like being in a straightjacket would be for a normal person. As I said, many people with sensory issues are a mix of these: sound bothers them and they also need physical sensation, or they love loud noises but can’t tolerate bright lights.
I suspect that she believes the kinds of accommodations they would make would be the ones that would allow her child to see the show, but there is no way of knowing that, and if they did there’s a good chance they wouldn’t be the ones needed to let my child see the show.
Basically this is an impossible request and it deserves to be scoffed at.
That being said I do think there’s a continuum. While no one should allow a child or disabled adult to sit in the audience and vocalize to the point where it ruins the experience for the rest of the audience, I think it’s fair to expect a higher tolerance for the occasional outburst at a matinee showing of something less expensive that’s geared towards children or a family audience, or an outdoor performance where there might be noise from the surrounding area. If the parents or caretakers do their part and make sure to have aisle seats near an exit, and remove the person if they’re becoming disruptive, I think it’s fair to ask a bit of forbearance with the occasional noise followed by ushering the person outside to calm down at those sorts of shows. As an example, I took my daughter to a local music festival this fall. She loved it, she loves music, but we stayed towards the edges of the tents where performances were taking place, and if she started to fuss we got out of there quickly.
So, while I’m certainly sympathetic to this woman’s plight, I think she’s going about this in entirely the wrong way and making an ass of herself (and the rest of us in this position) in the process. I think there are reasonable accommodations she can make without needing to hijack an expensive professional performance.
Thanks Emily. I commend you.
Re: No. 2:
I see the issues with this cartoon. Race, gender/sex, sexual orientation, national origin have been weaponized. The Smollett Incident is a perfect example of it: Believe the victim because he/she is a victim. It must be true, and even if it isn’t true, the incident could have happened and it’s Trump’s fault.
Then, there is the controversy over the Non-Sequitur cartoon containing a thinly disguised attack against Trump: At the bottom right of the second panel, there is a “Go Fuck Yourself” reference to Trump. Here is a link:
Papers across the land are dumping the cartoon, but not over the message but the vulgarity of the message.
The cartoon is racist and sexist. No one says, “I am going to vote for the [Latino or female] candidate.” They say, I am going to vote Republican or Democrat — or they fill in the person’s name. Very rarely does someone say they are going to vote for the “most qualified” because that is a subjective test. Plus, speaking from personal experience serving on hiring committees, “qualified” is a term that gets used a lot ONLY when referring to minority or female candidates.
Huh? Quiz: which recent Presidential candidate had supporters arguing that women were gender traitors if they didn’t vote for her based on her sex?
But I’m not defending that conduct (by a vocal minority only) either — who garner as much respect as those who say, “I would vote for a ham sandwich over candidate X.” Most Democrats said they were voting for “Hillary Clinton.” I voted for her. If another candidate had won the nomination, I would have voted for that candidate instead — for e.g., “I am voting for Bernie Sanders,” NOT “I am voting for the old white man from Vermont.” But, I never said — nor did a single person I know say — that I am voting for the “female candidate.” So yes, this cartoon is racist and sexist.
Now, are you are asking if it is sexist or racist to point out that our politics could benefit generally from a more diverse group of men and women? The answer to that is no. But that is an observation from a 10,000 foot level. When it is between two candidates — as this cartoon sets out in the first frame — the question always is one of policy and character, not gender or race.
I never said — nor did a single person I know say — that I am voting for the “female candidate.” . . . . . the question always is one of policy and character, not gender or race
Quite so. Not so far back, I heard a number of women – and one man – say, with a distinct air of superiority: “I’m voting for the woman” (“woman” being the magic word that made it okay to dispense with her name). And obviously, they did. The result is a mayor whose policies follow the dictates of a cadre of real estate developers, and whose character points to the mental and moral compass of her background bosses. But hey! The voters got their woman – their Black (white-appearing) Woman – to follow the corrupt Asian man, voted for on similar grounds, apart from gender. Come next election, those same voters will notice this mayor stands as naked as her predecessor, and find, too late, that the best candidate for the job has no more stomach for it. And no more money after three election campaigns. He is Hispanic. To all who said, “Yes, he’s great but, you know, a woman has to come first,” I wanted to reply: “and after that, a child, right?”