Depressed and discouraged today, about many things…time for Jimmy…
1. Another angle on the the topics here...arrives courtesy of Michael West, who pointed me to this article. about the psychology of unethical behavior. Mostly, it frames in slightly different packages familiar themes on Ethics Alarms, beginning with who people often don’t speak up and actively oppose unethical conduct that they witness or are a part of. Ethics Alarms has examined this phenomenon (and will continue to) many ways. One example was a two part post in 2015 on the duty to confront. (Part II is here) Other posts can be found by clicking on the tags below, such as the duty to lead, the duty to oppose evil, the duty to warn, and the duty to fix the problem.
The wonderfully named author Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg identifies several concepts in her essay, including omnipotence, cultural numbness, justified neglect, and looking out for signs of moral capture.
Ethics Alarms uses different approaches: omnipotence is essentially “The King’s Pass” and “The Saint’s Excuse” in the rationalizations list. Cultural numbness describes how “the Big Yellow Circle’s” gravitational pull influences the Green Circle, encompassing personal values and conscience. Justified neglect isn’t really justified: she is talking about how non-ethical consideration freeze ethics alarms. “Looking out for signs of moral capture” is the topic of Philip Zimbardo’s “rules” to avoid being corrupted by peer groups and organizations. I would assume that the author has studied these, since “Dr. Z” is one of the leading writers and researchers in the area.
Inevitably, the article delves into leadership, concluding,
“The reality is that, for many leaders, there is no true straight-and-narrow path to follow. You beat the path as you go. Therefore, ethical leadership relies a lot on your personal judgment. Because of this, the moral or ethical dilemmas you experience may feel solitary or taboo — struggles you don’t want to let your peers know about. It can sometimes feel shameful to admit that you feel torn or unsure about how to proceed. But you have to recognize that this is part of work life and should be addressed in a direct and open way.”
I disagree with that description of leadership technique, and I’m tempted to say that its the claim as someone who has not done much leading. It does seem typical of so-called “female leadership models,” which emphasize consensus and transparency. Traditional leadership theories hold that a leader’s followers don’t want to know how conflicted a leaders, and learning that a leader is “unsure” is the last thing they want to know. Effective leaders learn to keep their doubts and insecurities to themselves—one more reason leadership isn’t for everyone.
2. Conspiracies do happen. If I posted this article on Facebook, all the people who have been convinced without evidence that President Trump and Russia successfully conspired to steal the Presidency from Hillary Clinton would comment that has bought into a Fox News conspiracy theory. OK—we had that conspiracy theory investigated. This one, which has far, far more evidence to support it, needs to be investigated too. The evidence points to a deliberate effort by Hillary Clinton to undermine public faith in the 2016 election results, and to employ Clinton-friendly news media (aka. “the news media”) to help:
That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.
In Brooklyn, her team coalesced around the idea that Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign, overshadowed by the contents of stolen e-mails and Hillary’s own private- server imbroglio.
3. Preventing sexual harassment is one thing, mind control is another. The Times headline calls this “A #MeToo Misstep.” Misstep? The City Ballet fired two male dancers because female dancers complained about images and texts the men sent in messages that were “personal, off-hours and off-site.” Somehow, the Ballet thought that they were within legal boundaries in terminating the dancers based on what content they shared with friends and associates. Apparently one dancer accused the men of sharing nude and sexually provocative images of women connected to the company and its school, though the images had been photographed with the subjects’ consent. After women in the company learned the details of what the men were accused of, they told management that they would be uncomfortable continuing to dance with them. Management capitulated, and fired the two men—for what they, discussed and looked at, privately, on their own time.
But what they did cannot possibly be workplace sexual harassment.
This is no different from a female employee learning that a male employee watches porn films, and declares that she doesn’t feel safe as a result.
The City Ballet claims that the men violated “the norms of conduct” that the company expects. The Company expects that it has veto power over what its dancers look at, say, and share with friends in their off hours?
After the dancers’ union challenged the firing, an arbitrator ruled that one of the dancers had to be reinstated (the other had found new employment.) As part of the decision, the arbitrator also ordered that the dancer undergo counseling “on the standards for his conduct.”
I think the women who complained and the City Ballet managment should have been ordered to take classes on the Declaration of Independence and the ethical limits of employers to dictate private behavior to their employees.