Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/26/2019: Bad Business And Bad Businesses

Whoa! A morning surprise!

As I commented on yesterday’s warm-up, traffic on Ethics Alarms was discouraging slow all weekend, which, as some of you know, makes me re-evaluate my priorities and ponder throwing myself into the shredder. Then, I discover, at some point last night the Mitch McConnell post was linked someplace that has a much bigger audience than I have, and just like that, the blog got more visitors in a couple of hours as the weekend weekended than it had in the previous two days. As is usually the case, it is impossible to find out where the referrals are coming from (except I know they aren’t from Facebook!), virtually none of the new visitors are commenting, and the temporary avalanche spawns few new followers, if any. I never know when this is going to happen, and it almost never occurs with the essays I am most proud of or consider especially important.

1. Of course they booed. They’re NFL football fans. This means they have the ethics of army ants. Andrew Luck, the star quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, stunned the sport with his unexpected decision to retire from the NFL, even though he is only 29 and completed a stellar campaign in 2018. The reason: he doesn’t want to end up crippled or a vegetable from the abuse his body and brain have absorbed and will continue to the longer he stays on the field. not having them anymore after the way fans in Indianapolis treated him after the  on Saturday.

As Luck began to make his way off the field following the 27-17 loss in the Colts’ preseason game against the Bears, fans at Lucas Oil Stadium started to boo their former quarterback because the news of Luck’s retirement broke during the fourth quarter of the game. Of course they booed. Anyone who watches the NFL and supports an NFL team by purchasing tickets, merchandise, or inflating league ratings by watching the games on TV has signaled that they are perfectly happy to encourage young men to ruin their bodies and minds for their selfish entertainment, safe in their seats or on their living room sofas.

2. More on the Left’s undemocratic effort to stifle free speech and opposition to its agenda…Tucker Carlson—I am not a fan, you will recall—returned to his Fox News show after a vacation that seemed more like a retreat from fire to find that the Media Matters-led sponsor boycott  of his show had taken more chunks out of his sponsor base. 

The boycott effort picked up momentum again this month, after  Carlson said that white supremacy was “actually not a real problem in America” and likened it to a “hoax” and a “conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”  (I agree with him, since he obviously didn’t mean that white supremacy was good, just that it was a fringe phenomenon, and it is. ) The first sponsor exits occurred in December 2018, as  dozens of companies, including IHOP, Ancestry.com and TD Ameritrade, said they would stop advertising on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” after the host opined that the arrival of certain immigrants “makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.”  In March,  Media Matters for America, the liberal advocacy hit group, published years-old clips from the “Bubba the Love Sponge” shock-jock radio show during which Carlson made offensive comments about women. (What an idiot. Why any public figure, politician or journalist, goes on any of these radio shows to get sucked into frat-boy ugliness is beyond me, and the fact that Carlson did reinforces my view of him as an aging  rich kid dilettante  who is exploiting the rest of us for his own amusement while he waits for his inheritance.)

That latter boycott is more “cancellation culture”  toxin from progressives, who want to establish the cultural norm that any politically incorrect comment or conduct, no matter how old or uncharacteristic, warrants permanent shunning—of conservatives and Republicans. The rule doesn’t apply to Democrats and progressives, at least not since Al Franken was sent into the wilderness.

The other two statements fueling the boycott are “gotchas” of the sort that brought down Don Imus and have occasionally threatened Rush Limbaugh. If one makes one’s living riffing and bloviating in unscripted speech, saying something offensive, cruel, extreme, ill-considered or stupid  is inevitable. I conclude this from sad personal experience. Holding any such speaker to a no-tolerance standard is unfair and unreasonable, but that is the hook Media Matters and other sinister censors use to metaphorically catch and kill pundits they find troublesome and who get in the way of their own narratives.

Yeah, there were better, more effective, less abrasive ways to make the valid point that the U.S. benefits from immigrants who share our basic values and are capable  of assimilation, which is what I think Tucker was trying to say, but the fact that he botches an opinion now and then is not just causeto silence him, and indeed that is not why his foes want him silenced. They want him silenced because free speech is a threat to them.

3. Speaking of censorship: The toy-maker Hasbro released a satirical version of “Monopoly” called “Monopoly: Socialism” that appeared to chide various aspects of  the leftist ideology of Bernie, Ocasio-Cortez and others. It was hardly big news—as the creator and marketer of a board game myself,  I know how rarefied that market is in the cyber era—but last week  Nick Kapur, an historian of Japan and East Asia who teaches at Rutgers University, complained about the game on Twitter, arguing that it didn’t represent his favorite system accurately—you know, because the original Monopoly is such a realistic portrayal of capitalism.  The re-tweets from Bernie’s army were apparently sufficient to frighten Target into removing  “Monopoly: Socialism” from its website.

Lesson: Our corporations will not support or defend our values, rights or way of life, They are almost all run by cowards and venal, submissive, ethics-challenged collaborators.

4. And while we’re on that topic: The Business Roundtable, the Big Business counterpart of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ( which includes small businesses) signaled its virtue to the masses with a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation last week. Signed by 180 American CEOs (including those of Walmart, JP Morgan, and AT&T), it extols free markets for allowing “each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity” and lauds the “market system as the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.” It also claims to “re-define[] the role of a corporation,” which is no longer to “principally serve its shareholders” but to ” to create value for all our stakeholders, whose long-term interests are inseparable.”

Thus  American companies shall:

  • “Deliver value to our customers”
  • “Invest in our employees”
  • “Deal fairly and ethically with our suppliers”
  • “Support the communities in which we work”
  • “Generate long-term value for shareholders”

The document is just craven boiler-plate, and an effort to pander to the acolytes of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez,  campus leftists and most of the mainstream media, who have all been working hard to create hostility to  the concept of business, profits, wealth, financial success, and the existence of corporations.

Writes David L. Bahnson, neatly identifying what’s wrong with such an exercise (other than the fact that the signatories don’t mean it), writes:

The fact of the matter is that there is nothing wrong with reiterating one’s commitment to one’s customers, employees, suppliers, and communities. The Roundtable’s statement itself, dripping in self-satisfaction as it may have been, is reasonably benign. But the implication that these assertions are new to the philosophy of free markets is dangerous. Creation of shareholder value is not something to apologize for, even by soft inference. Markets are not intrinsically oppressive. History is clear enough on this score. Rather, markets provide the optimal framework for the proper treatment of all stakeholders. Sustainable shareholder value creation follows a company ethos that cultivates service to all. If today’s corporate-responsibility police truly want a free and virtuous society, they are better off focusing their efforts on eliminating the crony-capitalist abuses that seek to squash competition. For it is competition that creates accountability, and accountability that drives results — yes, results for all stakeholders.

 

17 thoughts on “Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/26/2019: Bad Business And Bad Businesses

  1. 1. Pathetic. That’s all I have to say about the fans.

    Well done to Luck. At least one person in professional sports is smart enough to retire while a) they are ahead and b) they still have some semblance of health to enjoy the benefits of a).

    2. The sponsors fleeing his show are all cowardly virtue-signalers who don’t deserve my custom. They move to the bottom of my choices for their respective services.

    3. More cowardice. Fortunately, I don’t play games like that, nor have children who do, so moving them to the bottom of the game maker pile will have no effect.

    4. Shareholders of these companies would be well advised to invest elsewhere. They are stakeholders, and when they are bumped below several other interests, it’s time to evaluate exactly what value one gets for an investment in the respective signatories’ companies.

    Funny, their statement doesn’t address crony capitalism, perhaps the major negative social impact of business. That’s because they have no interest in eschewing it at all.

  2. It is I admit a wee bit amazing to me that people fall into the trap of using the term ‘white supremacism’. The term was entirely framed by the Left-Progressives and it is clearly Orwellian.

    All the people that I have investigated and read in depth — I am speaking of those who are described also by the Left-Progressives as ‘fringe’ or ‘extreme’ — no one of them, ever, has defined an ideology of white supremacism. That is not what their conversation and discourse is about.

    However, by referring to their concerns — quite genuine and common-sense — as being supremacist is a semantic trick. They apply the label and the label stick.

    In fact though that label is a false label. And by referring to it and using it one contributes to misunderstanding. As with many difficult topics and problems, when one side inserts its twisted rhetoric in an attempt to frame their opponent negatively (this is a tactic used by all sides, everywhere, and constantly) one rapidly loses a sense of what in fact is being debated. It all gets obscured. And this is the point of negative rhetorical framing.

    The boycott effort picked up momentum again this month, after Carlson said that white supremacy was “actually not a real problem in America” and likened it to a “hoax” and a “conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.” (I agree with him, since he obviously didn’t mean that white supremacy was good, just that it was a fringe phenomenon, and it is.)

    The purpose of framing Tucker Carlson in negative light is because he is one of the only national newscasters (opinion-caster is more accurate since his program is not really news) who shows even a bit of ‘spine’ and is clearly aware of ‘white well-being’ as a topic of concern. On our side of things (I am an advocate for specific conscious-development among whites as part of a generational process to return America to its white cultural roots, that is to its European roots, intellectually and somatically) we see Carlson as a helper. He has ‘Red Pilled’ a great many people.

    Because this is so, those who observe cultural trends understand with perfect clarity that Tucker Carlson is a danger and he must be stopped (if they can stop him).

    An absolutely open conversation must eventually come to the fore and be 100% allowed and accepted. That conversation may include asking the question: What color do we want America to be? And if we do not want a Brown America, how can the present immigration trends be stopped . . . and then put in reverse. I.e. to increase the population of Whites as-against that of POC.

    You see? I said it and I did not melt! It is a proper, decent, ethical and moral question to ask. We have a right to ask it, and we have every right to advocate for our own well-being.

    • #3 I thought this controversy led to Monopoly: Socialism selling out? It is selling for several times MSRP all over the internet and there are no stores carrying it. I heard one report that Hasbro sent Nick Kapur an “Employee of the Month” sticker.

      I am waiting for Hasbro to market “Monopoly: Socialism 2.0. This time it’s real”. Get Woke, go broke. Winning is for capitalists.

  3. Note: I try to clarify what is developing in America (and in the world) to make it easier to understand what is going on and why.

    I do this as an exercise and for my own intellectual purposes. Lies lies and more lies and distortions are put out there every day, certainly ‘out there’ but also ‘in here’. These lies have to be confronted and corrected.

    Then the world can actually be seen. And when it is seen it can be acted in with integrity and also ethically. If it is obscured it can never be seen.

    Therefore, processes of clarification are essential.

  4. 3) I haven’t looked at them closely, but the stores around here offer themed versions of Monopoly for each of the major universities in the Triangle: You know, those bastions of capitalism — University of North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State. Haven’t heard any complaints about them.

    4) Seldom have you addressed an issue more succinctly.

    5) Those 5 things that corporations are supposed to do? Gee, those sound like common sense, fundamental goals for just about any business. I know I won’t stay in business if I am in business to screw my customers, and who — in this day and age — will stay long with a business that mistreats and oppresses them?

  5. It was a shame to fans boo a local legend who gave his body for their entertainment. Maybe, the owner should have asked the crowd with a simple thumbs up or down to determine whether or not he gets to leave the coliseum a free man.

  6. 3. Speaking of censorship: The toy-maker Hasbro and “Monopoly”

    Actually, Monopoly was copied from a socialist’s “Landlord” game that was copied by hand to teach the hard way why monopolies were bad for everyone. Winning was not supposed to be admired. The board was round and a few other grace notes changed, but it was recognizably the same game. They eventually bought off the lawsuit when she had health problems.

    There have been variant game skins by Hasbro, I think I have one for either LOTR or Star Wars tucked away. Hasbro goes after any imitators that might copy them, the way they copied Landlord.

    4. Thus American companies shall:
    Rigggghhhht. This is laughable. Even with the abbreviated list of corporations here, I believe the shareholders will suddenly be last on the list, the same day I get a real working lightsaber.

    If they really wanted to make a difference, just do it. You don’t need to bloviate. Walk the walk. Talk is cheap.

  7. 3: Some of the questions and answers on Amazon about the game are fairly amusing satire in their own right: https://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-Monopoly-Socialism-Board-Parody/dp/B07VPRNZJB#customerReviews

    And those who haven’t seen it, should read Jeff’s comment on EA’s “brian stelter” post: https://ethicsalarms.com/2019/08/26/a-show-of-hands-now-who-thinks-brian-stelter-is-telling-the-truth-this-time/#comment-641856

    This is perfect fodder for the Babylon Bee to do a parody on Snopes creating a new category devoted to debunking the accuracy of children’s games. That could put the brakes on the National Geographic Society’s plans to organize an expedition to discover the site of lost Candyland.

  8. I have been following your blog religiously since I chanced upon it in April. I enjoy reading every post of yours and even though I don’t necessarily agree 100% with everything, as is inevitably going to be the case, the essays are guaranteed to give something to reflect on. I tend to keep in the background because I often don’t have anything I feel I can contribute, but know your work is appreciated more than what mere numbers might suggest.

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