Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/26/19: Preoccupied Edition

Good morning.

I’m somber these days. Our beloved Jack Russell, Rugby, now approaching 16, suddenly went from remarkably immune to aging to feeling his age, seemingly overnight. He doesn’t seem sick, and it’s true that he has bounced back before, but Rugby’s unalloyed joy at the prospect of a walk has always been a source of great entertainment in our home, and last night, literally for the first time, he was unenthusiastic, slow and grudging, so much so that I cut our excursion short.  14-15 is pretty much the expiration date for this hardy breed; based on Rugby’s predecessor, they go full-speed until they suddenly stop. I’m trying to find my way to rationally and compassionately prepare myself and my family for the inevitable, which we were able to ignore just a week ago. So far, I’m not finding it.

1. Gee, I wonder who’s censoring me now? The last couple days have witnessed another inexplicable drop in Ethics Alarms traffic, and I find myself wondering, especially in light of Project Veritas’s recording of the Google exec, wondering if another social media platform is out to bury Ethics Alarms.

The Google tape is alarming, and should alarm progressives and conservatives alike.

The target,  Google’s head of innovation, is spinning and rationalizaing—and, it seems, lying,  at Medium. she complaining that she was duped by Project Veritas (Yes, we all know that) deflecting the real issue by playing victim, claiming that  “an enormous collection of threatening calls, voicemails, text messages and emails, from people I’d never met” have been coming her way. That’s regrettable, but subsequent unethical conduct in response to one’s revelations of unethical conduct do not excuse the latter.

The victims of Project Veritas stings literally say the same thing every time. Here is Jen Gennai’s version:

[T]hese people lied about their true identities, filmed me without my consent, selectively edited and spliced the video to distort my words and the actions of my employer, and published it widely online.

Watch the video. (YouTube, which is owned by Google, took it down almost immediately, even though Democracy Dies In Darkness, or perhaps because it does). The statements that suggest something sinister are not “spliced,” and Gennai can’t explain what the words mean if they don’t mean what they sound like they mean, statements like…

  • “We all got screwed over in 2016, again it wasn’t just us, it was, the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like, everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like, what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again.”
  • “Elizabeth Warren is saying we should break up Google. And like, I love her but she’s very misguided, like that will not make it better it will make it worse, because all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation, it’s like a small company cannot do that.”
  • “We’re also training our algorithms, like, if 2016 happened again, would we have, would the outcome be different?”
  • “The reason we launched our AI principles is because people were not putting that line in the sand, that they were not saying what’s fair and what’s equitable so we’re like, well we are a big company, we’re going to say it.”
  • “We have gotten accusations of around fairness is that we’re unfair to conservatives because we’re choosing what we find as credible news sources and those sources don’t necessarily overlap with conservative sources …”

The available evidence suggests that Big Tech is politically biased and committed to advancing a progressive policy agenda and the Democratic Party by manipulating public discourse, the news, social media, the dissemination of information, and public opinion. The particular ideological slant shouldn’t matter: every American, elected official and journalist ought to be opposed to this.

2. Here’s an example of the kind of rhetoric Facebook has no problem with, unlike my ethics posts. From a formerly smart Facebook friend who has broken out in Trump Derangement hives:

Trump’s quest for a United States dictatorship with him the fuhrer becomes more evident every day. He’s even talked about a prohibited THIRD term in office, even before running for a second. He treats Congress as a mere annoyance, trashing legitimate requests for documents, blocking (so far) testimony by present and past White House aidea, side stepping its refusal to fund the Trump Wall, fir example. Cabinet positions, ambassadorships, and other top government positions are left vacant to give him unobstructed control over “acting” officials and helping him trash tried and true policies. The “rule of law” is becoming the “rule of the lawless.” Agreements negotiated, difficultly, are scuttled. Carefully constructed State Department diplomay is undermined. Military and National Security leadership is betrayed or ignored with an “only I know what’s best” attitude. Congressional Republicans are both enablers and appeasers, allowing him to work his will and by blocking any remedies, such as legislation to fight foreign interference in our elections. He spends like a drunken sailor, pushing our budget deficit to one trillion dollars as he cuts taxes. The major institution standing up to and speaking truth to power is the press, beat journalists and commentators and editorial writers who on a daily basis are chronicling what is happening to our democracy. Although his election was bolstered by his skillful manipulation of the “news media,” such as calling in daily to the Today Show and others during the campaign, and capturing news cycles by becoming the big bird of Tweets. To achieve his goals, he must destroy, damage or instill distrust in the press. It is “the enemy of the American people.” He, the Olympic champion of lies, accuses reporters of being untruthful, of being haters, of being low lifes. And now the man who keeps calling for the jailing of his 2016 Democratic presidential opponent, is threatening to put members of the press in jail. What are we doing about all this? What can we do?

How does one argue with someone who would write that in a public forum?

32 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/26/19: Preoccupied Edition

  1. While it is true we live in a divided nation, what is not understood is that the left is driving that division. Major media like the New York Times, NBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, Facebook, Google, and most other print and electronic outlets, no longer even bother to hide their bias. While we have always suffered and survived our fools, we cannot survive treason from within as we have witnessed from the Obama administration.
    For nearly four years now, this treason-driven cancer has eaten away at our body politic. Hate-obsessed Democrats in Congress can no longer perform any of their duties as representatives of their constituents. These Democrats have been rendered senseless, unable to recall what they once knew of the Constitution. They refuse to show respect for the office of the president once honored by both parties.

    • Frank: Thanks for putting treason and Obama in the same post. In my mind, they seem to go together often. You can add Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Ohr, Page, Strzok, Clinton, McCabe to the list for trial in my book.

          • I… just don’t know.

            However, a little observation will show that the blue areas/states cannot feed themselves. This suggests that they will have to conquer areas that can produce food. Most of those are red on electoral maps, as those who have to deal with nature are less likely to swallow progressive kool-aid.

            It will be bloody if that happens.

    • Frank Stephens writes: “While it is true we live in a divided nation, what is not understood is that the left is driving that division. Major media like the New York Times, NBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, Facebook, Google, and most other print and electronic outlets, no longer even bother to hide their bias. While we have always suffered and survived our fools, we cannot survive treason from within as we have witnessed from the Obama administration.

      “For nearly four years now, this treason-driven cancer has eaten away at our body politic. Hate-obsessed Democrats in Congress can no longer perform any of their duties as representatives of their constituents. These Democrats have been rendered senseless, unable to recall what they once knew of the Constitution. They refuse to show respect for the office of the president once honored by both parties.”

      The first sentence implies that were the Left not driving the division, there would be no division or problem. But this is questionable. It makes more sense to propose that the reason there are divisions in the country of the sort that we notice now strongly has come about because of the shifts in the demographics of the country, that is, the undermining of numerical superiority of the majority population. This began 50-60 years back. And now the effects are simply becoming visible. In a cohesive, largely homogenous society, there is no race conflict. There may be other kinds of conflict but not race and culture-group conflict. It is therefore more accurate to say that we have become a divided country because of the demographic shifts and that the Left is working to exploit the present conflicts, as well as working to be sure that there is more demographic influx and the majority population is further weakened and, as will happen, marginalized.

      New demographic groups, or emboldened demographic groups, are now asserting their democratic power. As an example in last night’s Democrat debate: they are now speaking directly in Spanish to their Mesoamerican constituency. With that, the reveal the power-dynamic that is now manifesting.

      The “New York Times, NBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, Facebook, Google, and most other print and electronic outlets” certainly do not hide their bias, but there seems to be difficulty in arriving at a clear statement about what they are up to or what their desired outcome is. And because these are very large companies, and because they are connected as ‘clusters of corporations’ to ‘constellations of corporations’, and because these are vast economic power and forces, one must consider the relevancy of ‘social engineering’ in the context of the ‘Left’. At that point, the word ‘Left’ loses meaning. It is not strictly the Left but systemic elements within a global system that has been designed. And this has been, and is, America’s project. Therefore, what is happening and what is manifesting is an octave of America’s Postwar construct: the economic and social world designed and implemented in the planning years following the Second WW.

      While it is certainly true that left leaning and progressive politics and ideals — even socialistic and communistic policies and designs — have influenced what has happened in the 20th century in American and Europe, I suggest there is no real alternative to progressive idealism. And progressive idealism is, as the saying goes, as American as apple pie.

      If one does not accept the ‘bias’ of the “New York Times, NBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, Facebook, Google”, what would one possibly propose as an alternative? The biases of these just mentioned are intimately bound up in the ideas of Americanism, the idealism of Americanism, but the Americanism that developed after WW2 which is a virulent progressivism that has been unstoppable. In fact (as I often say) there is not one person who writes on this blog who can articulate a counter-proposition to this progressive idealism.

      In order to develop a counter-proposition one must examine and consider anti-liberal ideas. One must have some base platform in a critical position of American liberalism and also of democracy in the terms it is spoken of in America and idealized. What is happening now, today, is an outcome of American idealism and democratic progressivism. Frank Stephens seems (according to my reading) to ‘lament’ what is happening and seeks to blame ‘the Left’. But this is superficial view.

      The strange truth, the truth that is very very hard for some people to accept and even to consider as possible (because of thoughtcrime), is that to oppose the present requires a shift into radical counter-measures. But first, of course, to first be able to consider the necessary ideas of counter-propositions. Since this seems impossible, one can only drift along as the current pulls one. One has nothing to oppose it with.

      Obama as an agent of treason? No, Obama as an agent of continued American progressive idealism. He manifested what had been set in motion long ago with aggressive minority politicking. He is a representative of the New Demographic. He served his base and, I assume, continues to do so. These are ‘wars’ and they are being conducted as such.

      What many (most I must say) on this blog lament is related to the loss of social and political power as the newer demographics swell in number and in influence and, naturally, seek to push you to the side. This is the ‘war on whiteness’. It is turning and will continue to turn against every aspect of the founding culture, not only racially but intellectually, against Occidental traditions and canons.

      • Addendum:

        From The Dispossessed Majority by Wilmot Robertson. This was written in 1976!

        Before he was allowed a nationwide platform the modern conservative had to demonstrate that he was a member of the loyal opposition, that on the “sensitive” issues he was of one mind with the liberal himself. No public manifestation of classical conservatism – i.e., no forthright attack against democracy and minority racism – would be tolerated. If the fires of minority illiberalism and minority racism could not be quenched by modest, low-decibel appeals for decorum, they were to be left raging. The only notes of dissension permitted the modern conservative were the safe ones. He could be more reverent towards big business, property, patriotism, religion, government decentralization, and law and order. He could be more critical of socialism, Marxism, Castro, overregulation, labor unions, and budget deficits. But the permissible differences were differences in degree, not in kind. On the larger issues, the issues behind the issues, modern liberalism and modern conservatism were often becoming synonymous.
        [Chapter 24, “Conservatism Redifined”, p. 346]

  2. Re: Rugby. I know exactly what you’re feeling. I’m very sorry Rugby is slowing down. It happens far too quickly. I know you and your family will do your best to give him the best rest of his life possible.

    1. And some people out there support Google doing this. Because some big companies having too much power are okay as long as they are weighted in favor of the right side.

    2. You can’t argue with people like that. They plug their fingers in their ears and refuse to listen. I will not waste time by engaging with people who have already made up their minds. It will take something huge to convince them otherwise.

  3. Jack, my condolences that Rugby isn’t doing well. My wife’s step-father recently lost the yellow lab that had been his constant companion for the past eleven years. He was absolutely devastated. I hope Rugby improves and will provide more years of faithful companionship.

    On #1, I take away that Jen Gennai suffers from then “I’m the good guy because I’m me” syndrome. On #2, regarding your friend (who sounds like a number of my friends on Facebook), I’m inclined to quote Emperor Cuzco in “The Emperor’s New Groove”, “Oh yeah, anything sounds bad when you say it with that attitude.” There are some items in his list that I could agree with, true, but overall his diatribe is less about Trump breaking laws and becoming a dictator and more about “I don’t like what he’s doing.” Both these items seem to boil down to, “what is good is what I like, and what I dislike is bad.” Objective standards of good behavior are, I feel, lost on Jen Gennai and your Facebook friend, and sadly, a great many people out there.

    I know I’m right about this, because I’m me.

  4. Sorry to hear about Rugby, Jack. Our 14 year old foundling mutt is now deaf, but still pretty spry. I don’t look forward to the prospect of losing her.

    With regard to Veritas and Google, Google is clearly keen to at least discuss controlling search results and through it emphasizing one point of view over another. It is really dark and ominous. They need to be broken up now. I read recently they also accused (Jewish radio host and author) Dennis Prager of being a Nazi. Hilarious.

    To Facebook, as you know, I live next to people just like this. They have, despite no political talk or indication from us whatsoever, taken to falsely accusing us of committing vandalism against them, haranguing us when outdoors to the point we called the police, and calling my wife of 33 years horrible and unforgivable names on our neighborhood social media. Everything they say Trump and his supporters are or have done they are and are doing. It is pure, evil projection.

    Google and Facebook, along with the vast majority of the mainstream media and press, have become propaganda tools. Started watching Criminal Minds on Netflix last night and my propaganda meter went off again. The (actors) FBI was accusing a white guy of being a dangerous hater because he and his group owned 400 guns among 200 people and they didn’t like their native American neighbors whose hate (in the script) was ignored, excused and even respected. My propaganda meter siren was really whooping loudly as I hit the stop button.

    Both hate and guns are legal. When you cross the line into acting on your hate by diminishing or eliminating the rights of others by any means, that is a crime.

  5. The available evidence suggests that Big Tech is politically biased and committed to advancing a progressive policy agenda and the Democratic Party by manipulating public discourse, the news, social media, the dissemination of information, and public opinion.

    And they complain when the Russians do it…

    • Actually, they only complain if the Russians do it in Trump’s favor. You could probably bet, dollars to donuts, that if the Russians had targeted their campaign to elect Hillary, and Hillary won, any Republicans trying to make a Russia connection would be denounced as Neo-McCarthyists. Remember, you’re good if you help me, you’re bad if you help someone I don’t like. If you’re on the right side of history, you can do no wrong…

  6. Hope Rugby recovers!

    Got some decades, I have decided that whatever the left accuses their opponents of, is a sure indicator of what they would or already have done.

  7. Yesterday, I told a friend of mine that I was unfollowing his posts on Facebook. This friend is a progressive Democrat, and while he’s suffered from some degree of Trump Derangement Syndrome since 2016 (“Trump is a racist who winks at white supremacy, a probable traitor working clandestinely with Putin, and an Erdogan-like authoritarian plotting a coup d’état!”), he’s always been committed to freedom of speech as a liberal principle. He wrote a post criticizing the knitting website that banned Trump supporters, and several people chimed in to say why they thought the knitting website’s decision was good. These same people frequently push back against my friend whenever he defends the general principle of freedom of speech, but the comments were about how it was “immoral and fascistic” to support Trump, that Trump’s supporters constitute an intolerant “hate group,” that support for Trump is “hate speech, proto-fascism, misogyny,” that Trump is “overthrowing the constitutional system,” “running concentration camps,” “destroying democratic institutions,” “engaging in systematic and large-scale human rights violations,” “undermining democracy,” and “instituting ethnic cleansing.” One cannot have a reasonable discussion with these people, and I told my friend so. He was upset that I was “throwing in the towel,” because he genuinely appreciates my perspective, though we disagree strongly on many things. But, I said, the people who comment on his Facebook posts simply aren’t worth the effort to me. I see and read enough without having to see and read their disgusting comments, too.

    I wonder whether my decision to disengage in this way was right, but I just feel worn down by it. The constant stream of absurd hyperbole and outrageous lies requires every mental and emotional effort to counteract, and even if I don’t ultimately write any reply, I spend a good deal of time thinking about the comments I’ve read and pondering what the best reply would be. It eats into my productivity at work, and poisons every little enjoyment I try to eke out of daily life. Is it worthwhile to engage with complete strangers whom I’ll never meet, and who regard me at best as an ignoramus, and at worst as a Nazi? Even when I think I’ve argued well, what is that worth on Facebook? It’s a Pyrrhic victory, and only earns me more enemies. No web forum in which I’ve participated has ever seemed as bad as Facebook for political conversation, and I’ve been involved in many over the years; I suspect Twitter is even worse, so I simply don’t use it.

    Thank you, Jack, for providing this forum, and thanks to your crowd of thoughtful commenters. I wish I had more time to engage here, but I do read every post and nearly every comment.

    I’m terribly sorry to hear about Rugby’s sudden decline. I know it’s perhaps too much to hope he makes a full recovery, but it’s hard not to hope everything for a faithful dog.

    • Thanks for all of this. we just did the math, and figured out that Rugby is one month from his 16th birthday. It’s unfair to expect him to act like a puppy (as he essentially has for 15+ years) to make us feel better and more able to pretend he will go ion forever,

    • Even when I think I’ve argued well, what is that worth on Facebook? It’s a Pyrrhic victory, and only earns me more enemies. No web forum in which I’ve participated has ever seemed as bad as Facebook for political conversation, and I’ve been involved in many over the years; I suspect Twitter is even worse, so I simply don’t use it.

      Facebook is even worse than Usenet.

      • Oh, my God, far, far, far worse. You’d be mocked relentlessly on USENET for even half of what was written above, if only for the factual errors.

        With Facebook, you don’t have to put up with any of that — you can just associate with like-minded people and filter out the rest. That wasn’t really possible on USENET.

        Plus, a good number of USENET denizens had at least a modicum of self-respect and self-awareness. Facebook… not so much.

  8. I’m sorry to hear about Rugby. Pepe, our family dog, is experiencing the same thing (except he’s got almost 3 years on Rugby, as he’s 18+). I’m having exactly the same struggles you are, and I feel your pain. Having been through it with two dogs previously, I know what’s coming. I just hate it, and it’s going to be a long grieving process as Pepe has been coming to work with me every day for the last decade.

    1. Google

    Google, Facebook and Twitter are the vehicle by which this country is going to crash and burn. We are unable to handle such powerful tools, our society is neither advanced enough nor familiar enough with the impact of this much power in the hands of one side of the ideological spectrum.

    I don’t think there is anything we can do to stop it, either.

    What will the social media bosses say if their efforts precipitate a civil war? What ever happened to “Don’t be evil?” What does “ideological diversity” mean to a group of companies that probably can’t find 50 conservatives (and probably less than 10 who will admit to being one) among their entire combined workforce, never mind their leadership?

    2. Former “smart” friend

    If his/her conclusions are any indication, “smart” is not a word I would associate with that diatribe. Leaving aside the rampant spelling errors, random capitalizations, and stream-of-consciousness nonsense, this person looks to be incoherently angry and frustrated.

    I learned a long time ago that such rants made me look bad. I wonder if this person has enough self-awareness to figure that out, or if the avalanche of “likes” he/she is sure to get from the the other terminal TDS sufferers on Facebook will remove whatever self-critical thoughts that may have occurred to him/her?

    Social media, as the Blogfather has written, is a social disease. Combined with TDS, it is destructive of our republic and our body politic. How can such afflicted people possibly live happy lives?

  9. Jack, Sadly, trying to prepare for the inevitable will be a fruitless endeavor. When Rugby goes where good dogs go…he will take a large chunk of your heart with him and you will walk with a pronounced limp for awhile.

    We lost Harley, our 15 year old Havanese champion of affection, several weeks ago. Damned cancerous tumor!

    Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. m. Twain

    Norm Silvers Anaheim, Ca

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  10. I won’t offer condolences because I have faith that Rugby is just taking a day or two of rest. Sixteen is not old for a pet who has a loving home. Average ages are just that averages. For all anyone knows the standard deviation is 3 or 4 years.

    Keep the faith Jack. Rugby will sense your somberness and will act similarly because he does not know why you are feeling low.

  11. Censorship

    The YouTube channels I subscribed to that have been *disappeared*:

    Way of the World
    4 Truth
    Alt-Right TV
    Absit
    Nacionalista Blanca
    Counter-Currents TV
    Grandville Thorndyke
    Hidden Truths
    Identity Evrope
    London Forum
    Reality Unveiled
    Sweden Democrats

    They seem to start with the somewhat ‘minor’ ones (Red Ice, American Renaissance, The Red Elephants, E. Michael Jones they yet have not scrubbed) because they have limited means of defense. They *disappeared* Black Pigeon Speaks for about 12 hours and everyone thought he had been banned, but when a ruckus was raised they reconnected him.

    The thing is that these content creators can spend a great deal of time creating these videos and then, all in a moment, *poof*, it all disappears. They establish a channel, gather a base, and make their living from contributions, and then it is taken away.

    The other aspect is ‘demonetizing’ and doing away with ‘superchats’ where people contribute money in small amounts while a live show is on-going (and YouTube gets a cut). But many many commentators and content providers have had their credit card payment receiving capabilities taken away. The object being to hurt them financially.

    There is a *war* on and it is only beginning.

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