Saturday Ethics Potpouri, 3/9/2019: Airlines, Trans Athletes, Mercy For Manafort, And More

Atlanta trip ethics musings…

1. Air Travel Ethics #1: Ethics Alarms has noted the ridiculous trend of air travelers imposing on their fellow passengers by exploiting the overly-permissive airlines polices of permitting emotional support animals on flights, resulting in innocent passengers having to share as aisle with  emotional support  toucans, sloths, goats and lizards. Finally, one airline has declared an end to the madness, or close to it. American Airlines updated its emotional support and service animal policies this week, and new “emotional support” companion  policies go into effect on April 1.
After that date, service animals will be limited to dogs, cats, and …all right, this is still nuts..,miniature horses. Only one emotional support animal per passenger will be allowed, and animals under the age of four months cannot fly.


2. Air Travel Ethics #2. This one is a bit more complicated ethically. Britain’s Virgin Atlantic airlines has eliminated the requirement that female flight attendants wear makeup, joining other major carriers that have loosened their dress and grooming standards  after complaints about turning female employees into sex objects.

Virgin Atlantic announced this week that female cabin crew members can skip the makeup if they choose, and also can wear pants instead of Virgin’s familiar red skirts.

“Not only do the new guidelines offer an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work,” Virgin Atlantic Executive Vice President Mark Anderson said in a statement.

This has always been a strange area. There is nothing wrong, and a lot right, with any employer in a service industry requiring employees who deal with the public to meet reasonable standards of professionalism in their appearance. Are attractive, well groomed, neatly dressed employees a legitimate service enhancement? I believe so; on the other hand, what level of discrimination against the older, heavier and not so cute is acceptable? None? Some? The fact that women in the workplace wear make-up and men do not is automatically a cultural anomaly, but nonetheless, if all of the female attendants are wearing make-up and one isn’t, and looks like she just rolled out of bed, threw on some slacks and said, “The hell with it,” I’m not sure I trust that flight attendant.

The sex appeal aspect of flight attendants has always been one way, however, as if the only business flyers were still male, and National Air Lines was still using “I’m Cheryl! Fly me!” as a slogan. There is obviously no effort whatsoever to make male attendants attractive to female flyers: I estimate that more than half of all young male attendants are openly gay.

3. Worst analogy of the month. Rachel McKinnon is the trans female male who  placed first in a women’s cycling world championship in October, setting off a new round of debates over the fairness of allowing individuals who went through puberty as males to compete in sports competition against women athletes. McKinnon, who is a philosophy professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, has been in a running feud with  feminist tennis legend Martina Navratilova, calling her “transphobic” after she penned an op-ed saying that transgender women competing against biological women is “insane and cheating“…which is a fair, if inflammatory, description. Navratilova booted from an LGBTQ advocacy group over her comments.

Next on McKinnon’s hit list was former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who won an Olympic silver medal for Great Britain in 1980.Davies opined that “those with a male sex advantage” shouldn’t be allowed to compete in women’s sports.She is also right. The trans lobby simply does not want to acknowledge biological reality and basic sportsmanship. Here’s the latest from McKinnon:

Not only shouldn’t McKinnon be allowed to compete against women, she shouldn’t be allowed to teach college students. Anyone capable of making such a flawed and obviously invalid analogy is too intellectually handicapped or dishonest to be trusted as an instructor.

4. Sentencing ethics and Manafort. What’s going on here? Nobody is sure.Judge T.S. Ellis III, in his sentencing of epic scofflaw (and one-time Trump campaign chair) Paul Manafort, noted that the defendant had refused to apologize for “very serious crimes” worth millions and showed no contrition. The judge then rejected the the 19-24 year sentence requested by the Mueller prosecution team, and instead gave Manafort 47 months in prison with nine months subtracted for time served. Now he will serve just 38 months for eight serious felonies, with three years of supervised release, and must pay a $50,000 fine and $24 million in restitution.

Complains Prof. Turley,

“Manafort was convicted by a jury in August of eight criminal charges — five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts. There were premeditated and long-standing criminal acts worth millions. Some kid in Chicago who robs a 7-11 can get 10 years easily, but Manafort can commit felonies for millions and walk after less than 4 years.”

It’s hard to disagree with his disgust.

5. Rickie Gervais and “The Hader Gotcha.” Comedian/actor Rickie Gervais issued a wise and needed quote regarding the  Hader Gotcha and its ilk, the unethical practices of tracking down old tweets and social media posts to embarrass and attack public figures. Commenting on Keven Hart, the comic who was forced to withdraw from hosting the Oscars after some old tweets surfaced that expressed negative attitudes about homosexuality, Gervais said,

“I think it’s ridiculous that people now are looking back at historic tweets. Just because they’ve seen it for the first time they want someone punished and they want them to apologize for something they did 10 years ago. Kevin Hart is one thing, but he apologized. Does he have to apologize every day, every time someone brings it up? If you keep punishing someone for something they don’t do anymore, it’s like you’re saying there’s no value in being better.”

(Pointer: Pennagain]

36 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Potpouri, 3/9/2019: Airlines, Trans Athletes, Mercy For Manafort, And More

  1. Nobody in their right mind would allow a non-tranquilized cat on an airplane. I am a cat lover, and I like to think I’m a cat person, but if I saw a cat on a leash in an airplane, I would immediately disembark and schedule a later flight. A cat in an enclosed space like that is likely to lose it, and unless de-clawed (unethical for any cat), someone will require stitches. For the record, I’m partial to non-neutered Tom cats.

    • Will a tranquilized fauna unit (an unnatural state) be able to provide the necessary reservoir of emotional support their needy human charges require?

      I say skip the middleman and tranquilize the traveler.

      And what if the “ahead-of-the-curve” Green New Deal has its way and eliminates air travel altogether; has anyone considered the externality of ALL these emotional support animals being hopelessly thrown out of work…?

      • I see your point. What concerns me are those reports of passengers buying liquor and getting their emotional support companions drunk, then allowing them to run free around the cabin.

      • And what if the “ahead-of-the-curve” Green New Deal has its way and eliminates air travel altogether; has anyone considered the externality of ALL these emotional support animals being hopelessly thrown out of work…?

        I doubt it. When 19th century British do gooders had working dogs banned because they didn’t like seeing dogs pulling tradesmen’s carts and the like, they weren’t worried that the dogs would all be put down. Out of sight, out of mind.

  2. I was gonna post this today I the free forum, but here is as good as any given its heavy promince in the daily update. Was it unethical for the airline to refuse passage for the woman and son with the skin rash?

  3. What’s with the miniature horses? Have they lost their minds?
    I will stand back and wait for someone to defend taking them on passenger planes; I have experience with those little critters.

    • Not sure if you heard the latest:

      By Tuesday evening, Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who insisted that Ms. Omar not be named and who wanted a broader resolution — had stepped in, telling her members the resolution would be amended to include anti-Muslim and anti-miniature horse biases; eventually, it was expanded to include a condemnation of all forms of bigotry as well as discrimination against all emotional support companions.

      • As I said, I have experience with those things. You can call “bias” if you will, but I insist that you not attempt to call it unreasonable. Especially on an airplane.

        They will not sit in a seat, nor will they stand quietly in the aisle or sleep at your feet. No salad in the cabin is safe. They see no reason to control their natural biological function just to please you.. I wonder if the airline had sought comment from those charged with cabin cleanliness before going forward on this.

    • Emotional support “pets” on airlines are a good example of how selfish narcissists get their way. Many people have allergies to pet dander and the only reasonable exception to excluding these pets on aircraft, is to demand a board certified psychiatrist’s statement certifying that the person suffers from a major anxiety disorder and requires the presence of the animal to alleviate it on the aircraft.

      • Really, there is a larger issues here. It is hard to state it directly because it appears *harsh* and *hard*. As our culture becomes coddled in the peculiar perverse sense of weakened by neurotic emotionalism and sentimentality, fear and timidity, and this fearful, emotionally unstable victim of life gains more standing, or demands it, more of these weak people seem to appear on the scene, and they ask for more special consideration from those around them.

        There is a great deal that could be said about this. Ultimately, it is a spiritual issue it seems to me. Having lost their edge they must depend on comfort animals, pharmaceuticals, props . . . just to be able to make it through the day. And there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them: millions.

    • It’s because miniature horses are actual service animals, and typically protected by relevant federal, state, and local laws, as opposed to the being part of the vastly more nebulous category of support animals that most people treat as being equivalent.*

      Miniature horses make superb service animals for the disabled community – they’re only slightly larger than the largest dog breeds (on your average male, a miniature horse’s shoulders will fall at about waist height), and will typically live and serve for 30+ years (there are recorded instances of miniature horses making it into their fourth decade of life), compared to the canine’s expected service period of 8 to 12 years. Combine this with an animal that is naturally non-aggressive, has a superb memory, takes to training for specialized purposes easily, possesses vastly superior vision and situational awareness, has much similar locomotion limitations to a human, and can actually be useful for carrying/pulling things, and making miniature horses into service animals makes huge amounts of sense, both from a financial and practical point of view.

      I do not expect one would travel by plane particularly well, nor be much help navigating in that tight a space. But, the reason they’re usually called out as a specifically allowed animal is because many laws regarding service animals specifically state they have to be accommodated.

      *The distinction between support and service animals is pretty well established in law – a service animal must be trained and certified to perform a task for the owner that the owner cannot perform on their own. A support animal provides therapeutic benefits by virtue of being present, but is not required to be able to perform any specific tasks, and can often get it’s designation by virtue of the owner’s diagnosis with a qualifying disability, rather than by virtue of any training or certification the animal receives.

      • Miniature horses … will typically live and serve for 30+ years (there are recorded instances of miniature horses making it into their fourth decade of life), compared to the canine’s expected service period of 8 to 12 years.

        “A fence last for three years, a dog lasts for three fences, a horse lasts for three dogs, and a man lasts for three horses”. (Also, Simplicius Simplicissimus quotes two mythical beasts that come after men.)

  4. #4: I have a hard time accepting the robbing of 7-11 as a truly equal parallel. Simply taking the money won’t get you 10 years. You get 10 years for armed robber. It’s 10 years for give me the money in the till or I will kill you.. The 10 years isn’t for the monetary amount, but the threat to another person’s life.

    • Not a parallel, but a contrast. Turley was pointing out a class/race bias, which seems pretty obvious. The element of arms or threats still doesn’t justify the disparity: the extent of the harm matters. (And how do you rob a 7/11 without a threat or a weapon? It was clear that Turley was talking about robbery, not shop-lifting.)

    • Mat Beasley, I had the same thought. Manafort’s crimes may have had lots of money involved, but everyone involved was a volunteer. I looks to us deplorables that his problems were not paying enough taxes and not filling out enough forms… and being associated with DJT.

      Meanwhile, down at the 7-11, that kid produced a weapon and demanded money and threatened bodily injury or death to the clerk for noncompliance.

      Madoff? Hr stole money from others in a fraudulent scheme. He ruined lives, maybe even contributed to some deaths in doing so. He deserves to die in prison.

  5. On the Mannifort issue. My question is would Mannifort even been investigated and tried had he not been associated with the Trump campaign for roughly 2 months during the nomination process?
    Perhaps Judge Tillis feels that the prosecution over charged in the first place.

    • That’s one theory. The problem is that the crimes were real. “And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!” So what? It’s like Hillary complaining that we never should have learned the incriminating stuff on Podesta’s computer.

      • Agreed but what is the purpose behind incarceration, retribution or rehabilitation? In Mannifort’s case I believe the sentence was designed to take him out of circulation for a while so that his contacts spoil to some exent. Keep in mind that there was a 50K fine and 24 million in restitution required. Hard to pay that off in the slammer.
        Turley is mistaken about differential equity of treatment based on class or ethnicity. You don’t see drug dealers or other crimes being assessed huge fines and restitution amounts..

      • The deplorables would be more on board if Hillary had been even investigated for her crimes: this is the stark miscarriage of justice that stand out from middle America.

        Rich people skate on their crimes: this is what empowers The Swamp in the first place. If Mannifort committed crimes, he should pay for them like I would. It is the bias in prosecution that will cause Civil War.

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