Memorial Day Ethics Warm-Up, 5/27/19: Gee, Can We Celebrate Those Who Die For Our Nation And Not Be “Nationalist”?

 

This, of course, was my father’s favorite Sousa march; he once mortified my mother by standing and doing a parade ground march routine on the Mall when they played it on the Fourth of July. You knew it has words, right?

1. Nah, there’s no mainstream media confirmation bias! Political scientist Time Magazine columnist and Donald Trump critic Ian Bremmer intentionally tweeted as fact a fake Donald Trump quote:

“Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better president than Sleepy Joe Biden.”

Immediately, the quote was picked up on social media by the Trump Deranged, mainstream media pundits, and some elected officials. Here’s ridiculous CNN contributor Ana Navarro, who exists on the network solely to attack the President as a “Republican”:

“Don’t shrug your shoulders. Don’t get used to this insanity. The President of the United States praising a cruel dictator who violates human rights, threatens nuclear attacks, oppresses his people, and kills political opponents, IS NOT FREAKING NORMAL.”

Note she also gets in one of the top anti-Trump Big Lies, that the President is “abnormal.”

Bremer’s quote was retweeted thousands of times, until he admitted that he made it up. This is using the web to spread falsehoods. He should be banned from the pages of Time and dismissed as an analyst and a pundit.

Incredibly, Ann Althouse defended the lie as satire, writing,

“Stupid of journalists and congressmen to retweet it as an actual quote, but there’s nothing wrong with “fabricating” it. Are we so humor deaf that we’re going to start denouncing comedians as liars?”

Ann needs an ethics check-up. There’s nothing funny about lying in a setting where many will believe you, whether the liar is a comedian or not. Nor was the quote humorous. Bremer was doing exactly what the unethical hoax news sites do when they deliberately publish fake news in a style and manner designed to fool people into believing it.

I guess we can’t assume that what Ann states as fact is true either. It might be “satire.”

2. Bad Ann, Good Ann. To be fair, on the same day, Althouse performed a public service by metaphorically defenestrating Naomi Wolf for her sloppy scholarship [Item #3]and both her publisher and  the New York Times for trying to cover for her. This was my favorite part of Ann’s take-down, where she calls out Oxford too after discovering how Wolf can call herself “Doctor.”

Dr? What is her doctorate? I looked it up on Wikipedia:

“From 1985 to 1987, she was a Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford, but did not complete her original doctoral thesis…. Wolf returned to Oxford to complete her PhD in 2015, supervised by Dr Stefano-Maria Evangelista. The PhD thesis that she wrote was the basis for her 2019 book Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalisation of Love.”

Oh! So this book was an Oxford PhD thesis?! Wow. Oxford needs to account for itself. There’s a brand that ought to mean something.

Read the whole thing. It’s great.

Unless Ann’s making it all up as satire, of course.

3. Of course the school won’t pulp the yearbooks for this…

The senior yearbooks at Littlestown High School in Pennsylvania blurred out “Make America Great Again” hats worn by students on some photos.

Student Jeremy Gebhart alleges his First Amendment rights were violated, saying,  “Everybody has First Amendment rights, freedom of speech and they are allowed to think what they want and say what they want but they aren’t allowed to take that away from other people.” True enough, though there is no right to make political statements in a yearbook, if policy forbids it. Selectively deleting a statement based on content, however. Jeremy has a case.

“I just think that whoever did this doesn’t like Trump,” Gebhart added.

Ya think?

Realizing that it didn’t have a Constitutional leg to stand on and trying to fend off lawsuits, the school superintendent said in a statement,

“I am aware of the yearbook situation and a mistake was made. The mistake was not noticed during the editorial preview process prior to print. We apologize on behalf of the yearbook club. It is not the policy or practice of the district to improperly censor speech. It is not the policy or practice of the district to improperly censor speech. Please understand we are working with young adults who are practicing to become citizens and what a better place to do so than in a school setting.”

Verdict? Butt-covering BS. How could digital blurring of the hats “not be noticed”? Someone had to order it done.

State of the culture: One school spends 50 grand to reprint its yearbooks because someone someplace might think that an OK sign is racist symbol, but a school that blurs the Presidents campaign motto because some people claim it’s a racist symbol allows the partisan censorship to stand for the ages, deeming “I’m sorry” to be a sufficient remedy.

4. A warning for those who want to make “nationalism” a sinister concept. Bret Stephens,  an erstwhile conservative pundit who has intermittent moments of clarity as he is being indoctrinated, David Brooks-style, into New York Times wokery, wrote this passage in his column this week, discussing conservative party upsets and victories around the world:

“The common thread here isn’t just right-wing populism. It’s contempt for the ideology of them before us: of the immigrant before the native-born; of the global or transnational interest before the national or local one; of racial or ethnic or sexual minorities before the majority; of the transgressive before the normal. It’s a revolt against the people who say: Pay an immediate and visible price for a long-term and invisible good. It’s hatred of those who think they can define that good, while expecting someone else to pay for it.”

If Stephens had only clarified the distinction between illegal immigrants and legal in the U.S. policy debates, and noted that the feigned goal of “long-term good” is typically a device to justify long-term, defiance-proof state  power, it would be just about perfect. I would also add that there are a reasons why people like their nations, their cultures and their sovereignty: history has been very clear that all are necessary for survival. The globalists and one-world advocates like Barack Obama are not only arrogant and irresponsible, they are dead, dead, wrong.

It is unfortunate that at this juncture the strongest opponents of the John Lennon school of suicidal fantasy idealism are pretty repulsive in other respects, but civilization must take its rescuers as it finds them.

26 thoughts on “Memorial Day Ethics Warm-Up, 5/27/19: Gee, Can We Celebrate Those Who Die For Our Nation And Not Be “Nationalist”?

  1. “Stupid of journalists and congressmen to retweet it as an actual quote, but there’s nothing wrong with “fabricating” it. Are we so humor deaf that we’re going to start denouncing comedians as liars?”

    Is Bremmer. a comedian now? I mean, the difference between a journalist and a comedian and pond scum is constantly blurring, but I thought he was a Political Science major who contributes to the Time Magazine.

  2. 3–”a school that blurs the Presidents campaign motto because some people claim it’s a racist symbol”

    Seeing’s Every Novel Is A Debtor To Homer, The Donald must have gotten that Make America Great Again slogan somewhere…somehow…from someone

  3. 1. I respect Ann a lot, but respectfully, she is wrong here. He is a journalist and as such he should know exactly what was going to happen here. The media went nuts last week over half a frame upload, but this? Eh… THIS IS WHY NOBODY TRUST YOU MEDIA!

  4. Also I’m willing to bet there are still a number of people who believe Sarah Palin said “ I can see Russia from my house.” Is it really that hard to ask for responsible journalism?

  5. Hopefully the image tags work, but this is the photo of the two boys in the yearbook with their MAGA caps altered to remove the slogan. I can easily see this being missed by people who didn’t see the original photo.

  6. I am somewhat embarrassed to learn that “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Your a Grand Ole’ Flag” are different marches (I thought they were different movements/verses of the same march).

  7. 1. Bremmer

    There’s nothing funny about lying in a setting where many will believe you, whether the liar is a comedian or not.

    Well, according to my brief research, Bremmer is not a comedian, he is a political scientist.

    Had a comedian made up the quote, Althouse might have (and I use “might” advisedly) a point. But she manifestly does not have a reasonable point in the instant case. I agree with you, Jack.

    2. Naomi Wolf

    When your books parrot the narrative the media wants you to hear, how can you be surprised that they treated her “gently?” How else should we expect her to be treated — with skepticism? Why?

    Because journalism? What the hell is that? We haven’t seen that from the Times or most of the Democrat-media complex in over a decade.

    Heck, I don’t even miss it anymore.

    3. Yearbook

    Verdict? Butt-covering BS. How could digital blurring of the hats “not be noticed”? Someone had to order it done.

    Uh huh. They just hope to trade on their self-validated imprimatur of good intentions to duck responsibility for an obvious editorial gaffe.

    Your comment on the state of the culture is spot on. It is res ipsa loquitur.

    4. Bret Stephens

    Stephens wrote this sentence:

    It’s hatred of those who think they can define that good, while expecting someone else to pay for it.”

    He’s almost, but not quite right; It’s hatred of those who think they can not only define that good, but demand that it be paid for in cash by the sub-group they designate as responsible, and that responsibility for that payment be enforced by law and the threat of government force.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting someone else to pay for a nebulous, invisible good. What is wrong is demanding they shut up and capitulate, or else.

    That’s where the Left is. We used to call that “Communist dictatorship,” but now we call it “Democratic socialism.”

  8. #3 – it is, in reality, very possible that the adult in charge of the yearbook publication did not actually know anything about the blurring of the hats. One of my former colleagues runs two yearbooks (we have to HS buildings on one campus), and they are largely student-run organizations. With deadlines, grading of other assignments, and other teacher duties, it’s very possible that the kids blurred the hats and the advisor didn’t notice it. Yes, it’s his or her responsibility to notice, but indeed he or she may not have.

    • TWO yearbooks. Wow, I proofed that twice, too, and that still slipped by. I swear I didn’t do it purposely.

    • “Liberal democracy also has an obvious inherent danger: It celebrates democracy and liberalism, a system of values that defines the individual as the moral core and guarantees him liberty. This is the core tension in liberal democracy. On one hand, liberal democracy demands the right of people to determine their own government. On the other, it demands that people respect liberalism. In other words, liberal democracy wants the people to rule, but it insists that if the people understood the moral universe in which they live, they would always vote a certain way.

      Contemporary tension in liberal democracy is not with the nation, but rather between democracy and liberalism. If people have a right to self-determination, then they have the right to elect leaders with values they prefer or share. The problem is that some people will object to leaders being selected who violate the principles of liberalism.

      The battle is between the right of national self-determination on one side, and a faction of people who are appalled at the path the people have chosen on the other side. Nation after nation is being torn apart by those who embrace liberal democracy being usurped by others making democratic choices.

      The American founders understood this problem and sought to resolve it by limiting democracy in a number of ways. The most important of these limitations was the Constitution, and its purpose was to define how the state works and checks itself, what inviolable rights all citizens have, and what system would make changing the Constitution enormously difficult. The issue with a constitution is always whether the people will respect it and whether tyrants will overturn it.

      Democracy and liberalism live in dangerous tension with each other. Democracy can destroy liberalism if the majority wills it. And liberalism has a tendency to want to limit democracy if it reaches decisions that are offensive to it. The key to a liberal democracy is a powerful constitution – powerful in the sense that the people, over generations, respect it with an awe approaching worship.”

      -George Friedman

      https://geopoliticalfutures.com/nationalism-liberal-democracy/

      • This line should be remembered by the current radicals on the Left:

        “The key to a liberal democracy is a powerful constitution – powerful in the sense that the people, over generations, respect it with an awe approaching worship.”

        • That is in fact utterly at odds with what the (unwritten) British constution is and with how it works – or rather, used to work, because it too has eroded though by a different path. This may be hard for people used to the other sort to get to grips with, as they may bring along their own assumptions without knowing it. Time and space are too short to explain that other way properly, but it has to do with other behaviours being engineered out, not by planning but in an evolutionary and ad hoc way.

          • You’ll need to elaborate if you want a discussion. Seems to me that the assertion is generally accurate…given what constitution means and how fragile such an institution is if people stop believing in it.

            • I’m too busy for enough detail, and am in fact only just catching up right now.

              But, for now, in British English “constitution” does not mean what it does in U.S. English, a sort of binding and controlling set of principles, generally in a codified form. It’s more like what a doctor says when describing a patient’s constitution: how his system actually behaves and hangs together. The British one evolved in a game theoretic sort of way from the actual disposable resources and forces different groups had available, mostly during the period from the early seventeenth to late eighteenth centuries. It had nothing to do with people adopting and respecting principles, just with what was there and could be worked with and lived with – after practice smoothed out the rough edges of what didn’t work and couldn’t be lived with, often violently.

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.