I am so, so far behind, both here on Ethics Alarms, and elsewhere, like prepping for some upcoming seminars, writing new programs, and trying to get the business and home budgets to work. Last week involved the car dying, getting a new one, enduring a six hour, 17 inning loss by the Red Sox, some lingering new computer glitches, and a major video shoot for which I had to write and refine the script, acquire the props and costumes, and rehearse the actors, then assist the team of seven who handled the shoot itself, all while being sick, and progressively exhausted. (This project would not have all happened without the brilliant and tireless work of my business partner and love of my life, Grace.)
Ethics Alarms was lower on the priority list this week than I would have liked it to have been. I’m sorry.
1. “The Rifleman” Ethics: As I have mentioned here before, “The Rifleman,” the 30 minute TV Western drama, starring Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain that ran from 1959-1962, was all about ethics, with almost every episode teaching an ethics lesson to the Rifleman’s son Mark, played by the charming juvenile actor Johnny Crawford. I just watched an episode from the show’s final season that I hadn’t seen before. Guest-starring Mark Goddard (best known as the hot-headed young co-pilot in the original “Lost in Space” on ABC), the story involved a charismatic young huckster whom Mark admires but his father distrusts. This causes rare friction between father and son. Eventually, Lucas is proven right: the young man is a liar and a crook who was taking advantage of Mark’s guilelessness.
Mark shamefully but manfully tells his father, “I apologize for being wrong.”
NO! One shouldn’t apologize for being wrong. One has an obligation to apologize for doing wrong, which includes making a bad decision because of laziness, carelessness, poor reasoning, inadequate analysis, or through some other failing. There is no shame or blame in being wrong in the kind of situation laid out in the episode, however.
Until the final moments, the audience couldn’t tell whether this would be one of the episodes where Chuck screws up, with the lesson to Mark being, “Jumping to conclusions and judging strangers harshly before you know anything about them is unfair, Mark. You were right. I’m proud of you.”
In fact, after Mark apologized, I expected his father to come back with exactly what I just wrote. This was moral luck: Mark had nothing to apologize for.
Boy, I’m never going to catch up if I let issues jump in line like that…
2. A day late, but still worth commemorating...Yesterday, on June 21, 1788, the U.S. Constitution was ratified. I guess a lot of your progressive and Democratic friends have conflicted feelings, since they want to gut or overhaul so much of the document–the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Electoral College, the Supreme Court, the Separation of Powers, the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without the government telling you what you “need” or should have, which are activated by the document.
As time goes on, it should be apparent to all that this day in U.S. history is at least as worthy of celebration as July 4th, and maybe more so.
3. Integrity rule: People and organizations should have to live according to the standards they purport to require of others. One of the tricks used to advance today’s featured Big Lie (It’s almost done) on the “resistance” directory is guilt by association. If repulsive people, like prominent racists and white supremacists, announce their support for a Trump policy, like enforcing immigration laws, that will be cited as proof that Trump consorts with, approves, and is simpatico with them and their beliefs. Thus I am interested in seeing how Democrats handle their expected salute from the Communist Party of the USA, which will celebrate its 100th birthday this weekend at a convention in Chicago.
Members will vote for resolutions on expanding voting rights, legalizing illegal immigrants and opposing Republicans in the 2020 elections along with some other measures that most of the 2020 Democratic candidates for President support. Says a Communist history professor at Emory College, Harvey Klehr, “There’s some thinking that ‘communism’ has always been a sort of bogeyman, and yet we want some of the same things.”
There’s some thinking that Communism is a bogeyman? In her book, “Introduction: The Crimes of Communism”, Stéphane Courtois estimates that Communist regimes have murdered…
- 65 million in the People’s Republic of China
- 20 million in the Soviet Union
- 2 million in Cambodia
- 2 million in North Korea
- 1.7 million in Ethiopia
- 1.5 million in Afghanistan
- 1 million in the Eastern Bloc
- 1 million in Vietnam
- 150,000 in Latin America
4. On the completely unrelated topic or statue-toppling…(all right, not really);
The University of Oregon is debating removal of its famous statue, “The Pioneer.” Students and faculty are attacking the statue as part of a general denigration of American pioneers generally—you know, those courageous, driven, indispensable men and women without which there would be no United States of America at all, a result that these and other protesters on campuses believe would have been a wonderful thing for humanity. A typical woke student activist told the college paper that a statue celebrating European settlers is like a Confederate monument that honors “violence and white supremacy, and I don’t think those are values that we want to have as a community.”
Will the University of Oregon have the courage, resolve, common sense and integrity to stand up to this nonsense and teach why it is wrong? Well, what do you think of this statement from a University spokesperson last month?
The Pioneer statue was unveiled 100 years ago to represent Oregon’s first European settlers. A century later, a more inclusive view of history recognizes that The Pioneer symbolizes just one part of the story. The UO fully appreciates that to many Oregonians, including those of Native American ancestry, it stands for something very different, the framing of history from only one culture’s perspective. We take those views very seriously. Last winter, the UO established a presidential working group – led by Dean of Libraries Adriene Lim and Professor Dean Livelybrooks – to audit and review campus monuments, plaques and public art installations and recommend whether any changes need to be made to those features to recognize the diverse histories of our community. The Pioneer statue is part of that review, and the working group hopes to deliver a report, including recommendations, next fall. We are happy to share any research and information from outside organizations with that working group.
My take? Bye-bye, Pioneer!
5. Too stupid (and clumsy) to be an Ethics Dunce. At the Bronx District Attorney’s office, paralegal Jennifer Monge, 27, accidentally dropped a bag she was carrying, the contents of which spilled onto the floor in full view of other staff members, including lawyers. What fell out were four large bags of crack, twenty small baggies of crack, and 16 glass vials of heroin.
Monge was arrested was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. She was also fired.
Nice vetting of paralegals there, Bronx DA! (Her name is Darcel Denise Clark.) Monge had a previous drug arrest in 2012. New York’s Rule 5.3 directs all lawyers to ensure that their “non-lawyer assistants” understand that they are agents, and required to meet their employing lawyer’s ethical standards. Because this conduct did not affect a client (other than making Clark’s official clients, the people of the Bronx, have reason to wonder what kind of a clown show is going on in her office), Monge’s idiocy won’t be blamed on her boss.