Assorted Ethics Thoughts In The Throes Of Insomnia, 8/17/2019: The Foot-In-Mouth Edition

Started as a Morning Warm-Up, then it was a Mid-Day Update, then a Late Night something or other.

1. From the “Steve King is an idiot” files: Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa whose avocation is sticking his foot in his mouth, told the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa that the unborn who result from rape are no less lives that other fetuses, and should not be subject to any “exception” to principled exception to abortion. “It’s not the baby’s fault,” he said.

So far, so good: King is right. Then he had to go and say this:

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that’s taken place, and whatever happened to culture after society, I know that I can’t certify that I’m not a product of that. And I’d like to think every one of the lives of us are as precious as any other life.”

So when you really think about it, rape and incest are a good things, right, Steve?

That’s certainly how Democrats and progressives took his comments, and to be fair, his infuriatingly ham-handed rhetoric made it easy.  The position that unborn children are just as deserving of life regardless of how they were conceived is a powerful and greatly misunderstood ethical argument. It is not necessary to rationalize rape to make it; in fact, King’s dumb argument just muddles the issue. It’s also bad history and anthropology.

NBC has an article up claiming that King’s words show the “misogyny” at the heart of white supremacy. No, they just show that King is a moron, and we already knew that.

2. Nice. Here’s the title of a Gail Collins op-ed in yesterday’s Times: “How to torture Trump.”

3. You know, as long as their government keep doing thing like this, I think Brits need to shut up about how “autocratic” President Trump is. We already discussed this exercise in thought control and speech suppression, when the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority  gave advertisers 6 months from December 2018 to adjust to new rules prohibiting  gender stereotypes in ads, ads that connect physical features with success in romance or society; ads that “assign stereotypical personality traits to boys and girls, such as bravery for boys and tenderness for girls;” ads that  “suggest that new mothers should prioritize their looks or home cleanliness over their emotional health”;  and  ads that show men failing at “feminine” tasks, such as vacuuming, washing clothes or parenting.  Well, the six months are up, so TV “adverts” for Volkswagen and Philadelphia Cream Cheese, after some viewers complained, were investigated by the UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and banned. I don’t care what the ads were like; you can read about them here if you do.

I spent a few happy moments reflecting on how many US commercials would be banned under the current social engineering-minded British regime; I also wondered how long it would be before our English cousins were being told that “Downton Abbey” and “H.M.S. Pinafore” were too sexist to allow to poison impressionable Britsih minds.

This is how freedom of thought and democracy slips away, but Mao is smiling somewhere in Hell.

4. Should the Times have punished an editor because of his tweets? You never know what a left-wing news organization will take offense at, I guess. Jonathan Weisman, the deputy Washington editor of The Times, was demoted last week and told would no longer oversee the paper’s congressional correspondents. One of the primary offensive tweets was…

“Saying @RashidaTlaib (D-Detroit) and @IlhanMN (D-Minneapolis) are from the Midwest is like saying @RepLloydDoggett (D-Austin) is from Texas or @repjohnlewis (D-Atlanta) is from the Deep South…“C’mon.”

I’m not certain what his point was, but the social media mob said this was “racist,” and the Times said, “OK! Out he goes!” More recently,  Weisman tweeted that the progressive political action committee Justice Democrats had backed an Ohio primary challenger “seeking to unseat an African-American Democrat, Joyce Beatty.”  But he didn’t mention that the challenger, Morgan Harper, was also black. This was also deemed unacceptable.

Yet last year, the Timed hired racist, sexist Sarah Jeong as its tech editor after she issued unquestionable racist and sexist tweets like these.

To be fair, these only denigrated whites and males, so that’s all right.

5. Maybe I’ve been criticizing the two front-running Democratic women in the race for the White House too much and neglecting the equally horrible Kristen Gillibrand, just because she has about as much of a shot at the prize as I do. Elizabeth Warren may be the top Democrat demogogue, and Kamala Harris may be the party’s most shameless race-baiter, but tweets like this one have to be acknowledged’…

Wow. Is this really the level of discourse we can expect in the upcoming campaign? Are there really more jelly-brained progressives that respond to such garbage than there are who will say, like poor Jonathan Weisman, now scrubbing toilets in the Times executive washroom, “C-mon!”

Gillibrand is literally claiming that because children are upset when daddy is arrested for breaking the law, the system that punishes lawbreaking is monstrous. Well, as conservative blogger Bookworm notes in an enjoyable rant, that’s not quite right. ” [T]his applies only if you’re in this country illegally. If you’re a born and raised American, whether white, black, or Hispanic, and you commit a crime, the fact that you have children is irrelevant. You should have thought of that before you ran afoul of the law. But not if you’re in this country illegally…”

20 thoughts on “Assorted Ethics Thoughts In The Throes Of Insomnia, 8/17/2019: The Foot-In-Mouth Edition

  1. 1) This kind of rhetoric will alienate people in the middle like myself. If the first part can persuade some women to extend the trauma of being raped into the pains of unwanted and forced-sex childbirth, that’s fine. But like so many arguments in politics of late, he did not stop when he was ahead.

    Addressing the, what, like 95%(wild ass guess), abortions that are used in place of birth control would be an achievable win. Let that win trickle down in attitudes, but that exemption is a valuable safety valve on the issues of rape and incest for the victim. Persuasion, not more lack of agency.

    3) There should be guidelines, a standard, but again the list is too long, broad, and detailed. It will not be consistently enforced, aggravating the king’s pass and other exceptions. Ads will be playing dice, hoping no snowflake is offended before enough see the ad. Ad costs are about to go up.

    I feel for the advertisers, who will be forced to make more boring and bland ads instead of the wacky ones that sometimes cross the pond. I do not feel for the public about to lose a lot of clever ads and entertainment for duller ones, they elected and continue to elect these thought police. Wide censorship is not democratic.

    Forget problematic recent Downton Abbey and Fawlty Towers, how much art, plays, and literature from centuries ago that have spread their influence beyond their borders won’t pass through the eye of this needle? Good way to make your country less relevant to the rest of humanity.

    4) No, not based on that tweet alone. Saying that someone is from a particular geographic region, or represents people in that region, SHOULD be a neutral statement. I cannot fathom why it would be racist, anymore than saying I’m North American. What, if saying Marty is from the Twin Pines neighborhood, you’re missing any coherent proof of virtue. Unless saying a Jazz legend was from Harlem is racist too?

    I suspect all these people just want people to have bland boring lives listening to muzak until it is time to open wallets for drivel. That would be a better reason to emigrate to lands with opportunity if they are yearning to be free. Brain drain is real in migration.

    Sure hope we hold on to our ideals. This is more than any one issue, as much as some progressive goals are dear to me.

    • Let that win trickle down in attitudes, but that exemption is a valuable safety valve on the issues of rape and incest for the victim. Persuasion, not more lack of agency.

      You do realize that if abortion were legal only in the case of rape, the “reported rape” rate will increase?

      This happened before “no fault” divorce, where one party would take the fall for spousal abuse or neglect. Given the new, currently unconatitutional standards proposed for proving consent, a lot of men risk getting railroaded by bogus rape allegations.

      Killing an unborn child is already a selfish and evil act. To allow it, but only under circumstances where collateral harm to others is easily anticipated is illogical.

      • I do not think there is a solution that can please everyone, unless it was perfect birth control that requires no maintenance. I do know I would probably reject is idea of carrying a rapist’s child when it was not my choice. People scam, but I don’t like restricting people who have already been hurt.

    • I have to admit that it irritated me a bit when “W” referred to himself as a Texan. He was not, even though he did get to Texas as quick as he could.

  2. Perhaps one day that crying child will arrive at the emotion of anger at her father for having put her in that position.

  3. I believe King was trying to use the one butterfly theory that holds if you go back in time and change one thing the present future is changed in negative ways.

    That theory only focuses on the good things that could be lost. It never considers that had some people -9/11 hijackers, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin etc ,never been born the world may have been a better place on net.

    Nonetheless, I think trying to destroy a person who believes strongly that abortion is wrong but is unable to construct a quality argument is as unethical as the poor argument itself. It seems to me if you believe abortion is fundamentally wrong in all cases build arguments that can be used by all advocates of your position and help those that are verbally challenged advocate better.

    If King cannot adequately represent the people of Iowa then they should find his replacement.

      • Jack,
        For the sake of argument what if he does represent the thinking of persons in his district; do we call them all morons? No we challenge their beliefs without ridiculing them as people.

        Perhaps if King had someone to coach him on these topics he would not walk into these problems.

        I caution my wife not to go off half cocked with her tweets about the resistance because they undermine legitimate arguments that effectively demonstrate the deceit and demagoguery of the resistance.

        • It’s a valid point, Chris. And one stray comment like the latest rape statement shouldn’t necessarily tar someone as rock-stupid, though a politician who doesn’t understand why that statement is ill-considered comes close. On the other hand, is it really unfair to conclude that a representative—not an actual executive, now, because that’s a different skill set—who expounds that 1) the earth is flat 2) the white race is superior to all others 3) women were made to be kept barefoot and pregnant 4) cavemen road dinosaurs or 5) rape has its good points is too dumb to be trusted with governing responsibilities, and a voter who can’t puzzle that out is similarly handicapped?

      • We have to figure out if he was elected as the only alternative to a REALLY bad choice. More like a consolation prize, say.

        Like how we got Trump.

        Pity this dude has none of the redeeming traits Trump does.

  4. 2. and 5. The fact that Donald Trump is President of the United States has unmasked the total, bratty insanity of present day New Yorkers. They all have the intellect, perspicacity, and emotional maturity of Joy Behar. It’s some kind of epidemic and it’s ravaging the populous.

  5. 3. Freedom dies not with a scream, but with a whimper.

    4. The Times has essentially admitted to all and sundry that it is no longer a news organization but a propaganda outlet. It morphed into Pravda so slowly, I barely noticed. Can a hammer and sickle on the masthead be far away?

    As for the Times editor, well, it’s not personal, it’s just business. Take the cannoli…

    5. I feel so… funky.

    Gillibrand is impossible to watch, read, or listen to. She emotes goo all over you in any medium after about five seconds.

    I think she’s the emo version of Slimer from Ghostbusters.

  6. Re: #2

    You want to torture Trump? Make him read your op-ed. I got through about half of it before I recalled my life in this planet is limited.

    Re: #3

    No big surprise here. They don’t have a First Amendment. They have censors for their channels. Our FCC is mild by comparison.


  7. 3) You know thinking about stuff like this makes me wonder all over again about the peculiar blindness of the men who wrote our constitution. They didn’t include the Bill of Rights, thinking (I believe) that it was so self-evident that it was unnecessary.

    Thank goodness their people back home insisted on adding that to the Constitution as a condition of ratifying it. We would be sunk without it.

    I don’t think the Brits, broadly speaking, really understand our system where states are autonomous (to a degree), and clearly they don’t seem to be bothered much by the lack of a right to free speech or to bear arms, etc, etc. On the other hand, how many here would understand the need for their televisions to be licensed?

    We share a common heritage, but there is also a vast gulf between us.

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