1. A question that shouldn’t even have to be asked. The New York Times asks if the “right thing to do” is for films and TV shows to edit out the Twin Towers in pre-2001 productions so as not to “trigger” sensitive audience members. Productions debuting in 2002, soon after the 9/11 attacks, are a special case: several films re-shot scenes to avoid references to the disaster, and that was just common sense. The suggestion that historical airbrushing is appropriate for works release before 2001 is disturbing, however, and symptomatic of the current belief that historical records cand and should be manipulated and censored for “the greater good.” Taking out the Twin Towers is a close unethical cousin of removing Robert E. Lee statues and references to slavery.
Director Michael Bay, who had a shot of one of the towers burning (from a meteor strike) in “Armageddon,” made an appropriate “slippery-slope” argument to the Times, saying,
“Movies are shot, edited and finished for the world to see. They don’t get re-edited because history changes. If we go there, that means every movie must change. Every book, every short story, every painting of New York in the past 30 years. It would never end.”
I would add that it will be difficult to remember the September 11. 2001 attacks if we try to eliminate visual records of the Twin Towers.
2. Meanwhile, here’s how the New York Times wants us to remember the attackers:
Those pesky airplanes! I never did trust those things…always knew they would eventually try to kill us. You know why the ethics alarms didn’t ring here? Because the biased leftists who run the Times believe that it is better to misrepresent the event than to “trigger” anti-Muslim sentiments. Once journalism starts making such calculations, it is no longer journalism.
The Times took down the tweet, but it’s still a smoking gun.
3. Proposition…I have come to believe that President Bush should have warned Afghanistan that it had 48 hours to turn over Bin Laden, or the U.S. would regard the Taliban as responsible for the attacks, and respond with a nuclear strike. This would have set a precedent that should be set: attack the United States on its own soil, and prepared for massive retaliation. A single bomb would have been preferable in all respects to 18 years of an expensive, destructive war with no defined purpose other than the necessary retaliation that could have been accomplished in a day. Yes, I believe the bomb would have been a more ethical option, as well as a more effective one, saving American lives and treasure, and serving as a vivid deterrent.
4. Oh, what difference does it make…we’re all doomed anyway! That well-respected climate scientist Jonathan Franzen—OK, I’m kidding: he’s just a novelist—has contributed a juicy bit of hysteria via the New Yorker. It is called “What If We Stopped Pretending? The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.” Here’s the graphic that accompanies it…
…and here, in part, is how it begins…
“If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth—massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought. If you’re under thirty, you’re all but guaranteed to witness it….Even at this late date, expressions of unrealistic hope continue to abound. Hardly a day seems to pass without my reading that it’s time to “roll up our sleeves” and “save the planet”; that the problem of climate change can be “solved” if we summon the collective will. Although this message was probably still true in 1988, when the science became fully clear, we’ve emitted as much atmospheric carbon in the past thirty years as we did in the previous two centuries of industrialization. The facts have changed, but somehow the message stays the same.”
Franzen is a smart guy and a fine writer; I’ve read some of his work. So we now know (of course we already did) that relentless climate change propaganda, especially for those ideologically inclined to accept it uncritically, can rot even the best of minds. Then we get this:
“In times of increasing chaos, people seek protection in tribalism and armed force, rather than in the rule of law, and our best defense against this kind of dystopia is to maintain functioning democracies, functioning legal systems, functioning communities. In this respect, any movement toward a more just and civil society can now be considered a meaningful climate action. Securing fair elections is a climate action. Combatting extreme wealth inequality is a climate action. Shutting down the hate machines on social media is a climate action. Instituting humane immigration policy, advocating for racial and gender equality, promoting respect for laws and their enforcement, supporting a free and independent press, ridding the country of assault weapons—these are all meaningful climate actions. To survive rising temperatures, every system, whether of the natural world or of the human world, will need to be as strong and healthy as we can make it.”
There it is…the reason why one side of the ideological spectrum is so passionate about climate change. It justifies totalitarian control to ensure that the world can be as “strong and healthy as we can make it,” and democracy and personal liberty isn’t part of that goal. Thanks. Jonathan! Thanks, New Yorker!
5. The New England Patriots and Antonio Brown, a perfect match made in Ethics Hell. The last time we discussed NFL star Antonio Brown, he was trying to sneak an illegal football helmet into Oakland Raiders practices. I skipped commenting on the part to come.On September 4, Brown was fined a combined $54,000 by Raiders general manager Mike Mayock for unexcused absences and missing two team practice sessions. The following day, Brown confronted Mayock, called the GM a “cracker” and threatened to hit him, requiring the playerto be restrained. Then Brown h punted a football and challenged Mayock to “fine me for that”.
The Raiders voided the guaranteed money in his contract and fined Brown $215,000 for the confrontation with Mayock, and on September 7, Brown demanded his release. The Raiders complied immediately. That same day, the New England Patriots, doubtlessly thinking, “Hey! Here’s an opportunity to recruit a talented, admirable young man who will be a boon to team chemistry and a role model for young fans!” agreed to a one-year contract with Brown worth up to $15 million, with a $9 million signing bonus. Two days later, the Patriots added a second-year option in Brown’s contract in which he would receive $20 million if picked up.
So all of Brown’s unethical conduct paid off.
Yesterday, Antonio Brown was accused of raping a woman who worked as his trainer, according to a federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida.
38 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/11/19: September 11, 2001, And Other Cataclysms”
Title says “September 1”
Fixed. Original typo had 2011, and somehow when I fixed that, I loused up the correct part.
I hate typing….
1. Well, “The Simpsons” show runners are already pretending Michael Jackson didn’t do a cameo voice on one of its early beloved episodes. Maybe they’ll cut out the whole sequence in their NYC episode where Homer drinks too much Eastern European soda and has to run from one Twin Tower to another trying to find an open restroom.
2. Airplanes and guns. Who knew the AI takeover was already here. We have a bigger problem than climate change if our tools are becoming self aware and acting independently.
C’mon, we all know why the NYT blamed the airplanes. It’s only slightly less offensive than “Some people did something…”
3. I can’t deny it would have spared American lives, but let’s not kid ourselves here. Leftists don’t care about American lives. They’re still wishing Truman had sent millions of racist American boys to die while island hopping in the Pacific so they could invade the Japanese mainland instead of murdering innocent women and children of color with the Bomb.
Bush would be vilified today for using the bomb on Afghanistan. He’s enjoying a bit of a respite from the relentless criticism of him during his Presidency only because he’s been a target of the Bad Orange Man, but there are still people out there who consider him a war criminal for going into Afghanistan with troops in the first place.
4. This hysterical climate change narrative is the perfect scapegoat for the Left. They always accused the Right of making up targets for warfare (see Bush I in Iraq; Bush II in Afghanistan) as an excuse to seize power. With climate change, they can argue they’re waging war against climate in order to save lives, not take them. And, if they happen to get total country of the country in order to implement programs that they believe are in everyone’s best interests, even better.
5. Apparently, I’m supposed to hate the Patriots because they are huge rivals of the Indianapolis Colts. Since I don’t care about football, I find I have many other reasons to despise the Patriots that don’t require me to watch a single game.
Sure, Bush would have been vilified.He’s not supposed to care about that. I wonder if anyone even suggested dropping the bomb. Ah, where’s Curtis LeMay when you need him?
Jack: I have often subscribed to a variant of your nuking proposition. Send in special forces to herd them up into the torah borah and other cavern systems, then launch battlefield nukes into the entrances and exits simultaneously. Dozens of simultaneous low yield nuclear explosions rendering the inhabitants dead, dying or irradiated to the point of poisoning. Followed by a promise of more generalized nuking if anyone cared to continue trying. Call it, herd ’em up, blow ’em up.
Those we failed to herd up would shite themselves and realized we are not to be effed with anymore and go back to whatever they were doing beforehand.
The world might see us in a less patsy light.
When this happened, my father suggesting bombing the most populated areas of Afghanistan to a pulp. Afterwards, we would send in some troops to secure a perimeter around the destruction long enough to erect a large monument, inscribed in the local languages, that would read:
“On September 11, 2001, terrorists sponsored by you attacked the United States and killed thousands of US citizens. This is a monument to what happened to your country because you attacked the US. Don’t make us come back.”
I feel certain that if anyone suggested dropping the bomb, it would have been Cheney or Rumsfeld. They seem like the only ones in the room with the stones to make such a suggestion. Others may have been thinking it, but those two would say it out loud.
#3. “anyone”? I haven’t heard that any national security advisor made such a suggestion, but back in 2001, the sheriff that I worked for at the time said almost exactly that, (except I think he would have given them only 24 hours) about a week after the attacks.
3) The problem with opposing our dropping the bomb on Japan is not really so much that it save tens of thousands of American soldiers. It also saved (net) hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers, women, and children who would have perished in much greater numbers had we been forced to invade Japan.
What do they think we were doing in Japan prior to dropping the bomb? We were obliterating and burning down their cities, one after the other. We bombed the hell out of France — an allied country — in order to be sure of liberating it. What qualms would we have had (and did have) about bombing Japan — the country we hated most of all our enemies — if it would make it even a little easier for our soldiers to invade?
That is true, too. Harry Truman’s response to being criticized for dropping the bomb included the fact that Japanese lives would saved, as well.
3) This is just hindsight. And the it’s same analytical burden when we try to chart a course between two undesirable options, such as the North Korea problem — where our problem there is watching a entire national prison camp deteriorate until it likely goes down in a locally devastating blood bath, or initiate the blood bath sooner and hopefully mitigate their effects now and begin repairs sooner. The same problem that faced the United States in the 3-4 decades before the Civil War.
Assuming the Taliban didn’t give up Osama, simultaneously assuming we were bluffing, and we dropped a nuke on “the Taliban”, what would that look like? Presumably this means a populated center? I mean, maybe nuking a training camp to kill 50 guys might have the same effect. But let’s say we nuke the population center.
Do you really think the effects and ripples of THAT, wouldn’t have you sitting here in that alternate universe typing something along the lines of
“Proposition…I have come to believe that President Bush should have warned Afghanistan that it had 48 hours to turn over Bin Laden, or the U.S. would regard the Taliban as responsible for the attacks, and respond with a ground invasion and the destruction of the Taliban in Afghanistan…”?
Re: No. 4: Imminent Climate Calamity.
My hero, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, helped draft the Green New Deal. It is wonderful. I can’t wait to sell my car and travel the wide open roads, highways, and byways on a pedal scooter and/or a bike. Well, having read her plan (man, she is brilliant), she gave me hope. But, then, I read this fellow Franzen’s piece and I, being over 50, simply cannot change what is inevitable. So, why bother? I am gonna buy that 1970 LS6 Chevelle I always wanted, drive like a maniac, do donuts in the Kroger parking lot, and simply toss my McDonald’s straws out the window with reckless abandon. Good heavens.
PS: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (my hero) made a student loan payment from the Houses of Congress yesterday. During a committee hearing (on who knows what – oh, yeah, that’s right; it was a hearing to consider student loan issues). And she openly declared that she only owes $19,000 now, and feels better about herself because she made such payment. Hmmmmm . . . . What is the point of telling everyone that she did was she supposed to do? She borrowed money to go to school. She promised to pay it back and she made a payment on the loan in the manner required under the contract. She must have missed that part of school that taught her that contractual obligations should be honored. She doesn’t get a reward for repaying money she borrowed, right? Right?
I hope we start to see more of this. Maybe Debbie Stabenow can pay her gas bill during a hearing, or Ed Markey can call his cable company to cancel the sports package during a committee meeting. I’d like to see Steny Hoyer filling out a birthday card for one of his grandchildren during a press conference, or Nancy Pelosi holding up a floor vote to try to arrange a return of some slacks she bought from QVC that don’t fit quite right.
Au contraire, jvb. We must celebrate this act by Ocasio-Cortez. As in, “Wow! You did what you said you would do. You promised to repay money you borrowed. And, now, you did repay some of it. A Democrat, paying off part of a debt she promised to pay. Incredible! With all the free money being promised, you still took responsibility for part of what you promised to do. A politician! A Democrat!! Taking responsibility for herself!!! We need to get this in the Congressional Record. Now.”
I think using a nuclear weapon would be catastrophically unwise. After WWII, the barndoor seems rightfully shut. We would have a very difficult time convincing Iran that developing a bomb would be against its long-term interests if one were set off next door. North Korea, similarly nextdoor to Japan, would have a strong case, too. Russia would ask why they couldn’t use nuclear coercion. It is far better that these weapons continue to collect dust in an indefinite stalemate hedging against WWIII.
That said, the threat of massive retaliation in Afghanistan might still have worked. The US could accomplish the same effect of a nuclear weapon with conventional bombs dropped by a fleet of B-2’s from thousands of feet above. Objectively, Iran and North Korea see a display of overwhelming US power, and could theoretically still argue for their own nuclear self defense. Rhetorically, using conventional weapons neuters their argument. Rather than reopen Cold War arm’s races, it simply says we see your four high-jacked planes, and raise you Hell.
Interesting. I wonder what would have happened if we nuked Afghanistan. Clearly, it would have bombed a just-post-Stone Age people back to the Stone Age. But, the deterrent effect would have made Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, and Russia take notice. Saudi Arabia, though, would have kept with business as usual.
OK. I could get on board with a massive, lethal, non-nuclear strike.
“We would have a very difficult time convincing Iran that developing a bomb would be against its long-term interests if one were set off next door. North Korea, similarly nextdoor to Japan, would have a strong case, too. Russia would ask why they couldn’t use nuclear coercion. It is far better that these weapons continue to collect dust in an indefinite stalemate hedging against WWIII.”
But Iran would know that developing the bomb would not be in its short-term interests—ditto the others. The nuclear arsenal is a deterrent, but it’s not if we send the message that nothing will make us use it. A direct attack on the Pentagon and a major US city is pretty high bar, don’t you think? The message “Attack us in a sneak attack killing thousands of our citizens, and you are toast—literally.” seems like a responsible message to send, and not a slippery slope at all.
“The nuclear arsenal is a deterrent, but it’s not if we send the message that nothing will make us use it.”
So, who’s going to use (the next) nuke first? What price will that user pay?
Those are questions that keep me sure that I can never be too sure.
Yeah, a big MOAB right in the middle of the desolate Afghan countryside. Big Bang, few deaths, no radiation. Also, very little return. So we’d need to drop it right over Kabul.
So the problem is this — Do we take a bunch of collateral lives up front in the interests of expediency and message-sending, or do we take them in dribs and drabs?
Tough question. The UN, of course, would prefer monthly payments rather than cash up front.
We pay too much attention to “collateral damage.”
We did drop one of those puppies on Afghanistan. Turned rock into, well, rock.
Too right. A few heads on pikes sends an unmistakable message. 🙂
Combatting extreme wealth inequality is a climate action? Ok let’s start by evaluating wealth disparity on a state by state basis. I would bet the Gini coefficient suggests far more equality in the “flyover states” and the so called red states than say NewYork, Illinois, and California. Once those states solve their income inequality problems without confiscatory policies we can take a look at how they achieved it and see if such practices can be used elsewhere.
3. The problem, or riddle, with nuclear retaliation in response to the “asymmetrical” airplane attacks is multi-dimensional: how many bombs? How many kilotons or megatons? Targeting where, exactly? What is “proportional” without being “disproportionate?” Not that I am totally disagreeing with the nuclear option. My thought, back then, was that the ideal time and place to use a nuke was when the Tora Bora stronghold was suspected of sheltering Bin Laden. One bomb, in the Tora Bora locale. Even if Bin Laden had not been there, the nuke would have served to signal U.S. resolve to give him and his troops no hiding place, no safe space, anywhere – not in Afghanistan, not in some borderless “border region,” not anywhere on earth.
Other than that, I do have doubts that a one-shot nuking of Afghanistan on the terms you describe, Jack, would have been effective in either (1) deterring future aggression or (2) avoiding a protracted war on the ground. The only way we’re going to win, ever, is to be even more fanatically committed to victory than the other guys. Consider me “radicalized.” But don’t worry – I am not bucking for John Bolton’s most recent job. Health first.
I’d have felt better if the NYTs had said: “18 years have passed since 2 airplanes brought down 3 buildings at the World Trade Center. . .”
. . . but I admit that would have been asking a great deal! 🙂
At the dentist this morning, my hygienist told me that a friend of hers who is a teacher told her that this is his first class without a person born before 9/11. Hard to believe it has been that long.
2. NYT tweet
Man, this is so right on the mark. Sulzberger should be forced to write the last sentence of that paragraph in his own freaking blood every 9/11.
4. So climate change is the justification for totalitarianism. Got it. Why can’t all the Leftist committed to this view just be honest about it like Franzen, especially the people standing for elected office? That way, America would know exactly what they’re voting for, and a fool and [his/her/xe/xir] [money/freedom/possessions] are soon parted. I can always move to Panama.
And if Franzen is so smart, how could he have developed such a tragically insane outlook? I suggest your depiction of his intelligence is substantially overstated.
Panama is a bad choice, Glenn. A few more years of Climate Crisis™ sea-level rise, and that place is going to be all canal.
Well, I’m a good swimmer, so … 🙂
#3 – I asked that same question at the time. As for precedent: I don’t think it’s a bad thing to say to the world that it is unacceptable to take an attack onto the soil of a nuclear power and if you do, you will regret it. Don’t invade the US, the UK, France, Russia, China or India. The outcome will be the same in any of those examples.
Of course that begs the question, what should we have done with Saudi Arabia? They’re complicit too, and have gotten off scott free. The government didn’t directly participate, but they have created the situation where 19 of their citizens signed up on suicide missions to attack America. I don’t have an anti-muslim bias, but I sure do have a anti-Saudi bias.
“I would add that it will be difficult to remember the September 11. 2001 attacks if we try to eliminate visual records of the Twin Towers.”
Everyone realizes that this was the point, right?
Re NYTimes Tweet
It is so bothersome because it continues their routine narrative that things are the problem, not people. The tweet’s phrasing is the same way they talk about firearms.
While the 9/11 attacks struck New York City the hardest, the NYTimes purports to be more than the city’s paper of record. Should it not also recognize the other attacks and victims that day at the Pentagon in Virginia and a field in Pennsylvania?
1. Airplanes did it! I think I still have a copy of MS Flight Simulator with the twin towers; wonder if it’s banned from eBay now. Since the NYT has clued us in on airplanes being the responsible entities for 9/11, will we now have to shield airports from view, and black-out all concourse windows so the public won’t be triggered by the sight of them? Problem is, there are too many airplanes; no airline should be allowed to own more than two. The government should institute a buy-back. Good thing the Green ND will be getting rid of them.
3. Proposition The National Lampoon once suggested that we unexpectedly nuke France. The thinking was that there had been little benefit but considerable liabilities and negative consequences stemming from being allied with France, and it would send the message to the rest of the world that we were so on edge that we wouldn’t hesitate to do the same to them if they ticked us off.
4. Climate will kill us all I thought we had been hearing for some time now that even the trillions of dollars of proposed programs would still, at this point, have no significant effect on the expected changes. It was puzzling as to why we weren’t already devoting resources, instead, towards determining how to deal with the effects…That path must not funnel as much money into the right pockets.
To mesh efforts for dealing with climate change effects with the ideals of the Green ND towards reducing energy use and commercial meat production, already doomed populations (Bangladesh, Martha’s Vineyard, etc….) could be preemptively slaughtered and processed into protein forms suitable for long-term storage and use by the surviving demographics. That would also save them the agony of starvation, and eliminate their interim consumption of power and resources…a win-win. The plan could be coupled with an edict requiring the survivor populations to abort most fetuses, and process them similarly. This should not be a problem for those who already consider the unborn less than human.
5. Belligerent criminal thugs Incorporate (literally) them into plan #4.
“…how to deal with the effects…That path must not funnel as much money into the right pockets.”
Easy to predict doom and continue to move the deadline (sorry for the pun).
Much harder to evacuate coastlines and compensate/confiscate property ‘soon to be underwater’ when the water never rises… and the owners are the elites making the power grab in the first place. Note the irony: Gore buying property he guarantees will be underwater… with the money he gained by say it would be.
Action on Climate Change now won’t have any effect in my lifetime.
It should stop the worst effects after 2080 though, and might ameliorate the situation from 2060.
The best thing to do at this moment is let the facts speak for themselves. Luckily, odds of a BOE (Blue Ocean Event) late this month have dropped significantly over the last 30 days. That’s very good news.
Bad news is that ocean temperature increases turn out to be more heterogenous than we thought before we started to get good data over years from ARGO buoys. Temperature has gone up over 2.5C in some important areas, so polar vortices and annual flooding of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys and drought in the Canadian wheat belt will happen most years. 8 out of the 10 hottest years on record have happened in the last decade. This statistic is likely to remain constant, with 8 of the 10 hottest years on record being in the previous 10 years being true in 2020, then 2025,then 2030 etc. We won’t have to wait decades to see the pattern, the “unprecedented, record breaking, once in a century” stuff has been happening this year and will continue next year, and the next, in very obvious ways.
Still, how many people are aware of the “unprecedented, record breaking, once in a century” stuff that has been happening all over the world *this* year?
In some ways, a lot of the social justice and culture war stuff will be as irrelevant as re arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Does it really matter if environmentalists stop a project that will render a threatened species extinct this year, if they’re going to be extinct in 5 years anyway?
Now, onto ethics and 9/11.
” House Minority Leader Darren Jackson (D) said he told his caucus members that they did not need to be in attendance and that state Rep. David Lewis (R), chairman of the Rules, Calendar and Operations Committee, gave Jackson his word that there would be no votes, according to the News & Observer.”
Again, getting to be irrelevant.
I had a similar thought when reading a recent opinion-article in the Slimes of NY:
“I Work for N.S.A. We Cannot Afford to Lose the Digital Revolution.”
After setting that stage it goes on to say:
The article goes on to talk about the issue of quantum computing and states that the nation or even the private power that first gains this technology will be in an extremely powerful position as-against others tied up with conventional computing capabilities:
And so on and so forth . . .
The New World
I guess I have no option but to quote Goethe (in a letter to Countess Auguste zu Stolberg:
Alles gebe die Götter, die unendlichen,
ihren Lieblingen ganz:
alle Freuden, die unendlichen,
all Schmerzen, die uendlichen, ganz.
The Eternal Gods give utterly everything
to their favorites,
all joys, and
all sorrows for all eternity — utterly and completely.
Consider in this circumstance Hölderlin’s words in Hyperion:
The heart’s wave would not have foamed upwards so beautifully and become spirit, if the old silent rock, destiny, had not faced it.
If you really really really really project these doom-and-gloom stories forward — this is what seems to me to be true — and if you also consider that it is only the elite and powerful factions within our societies that have the knowledge-base to understand ‘what happens next’, then we must begin to understand that *they* will devise — that they are devising — survival strategies and adaptive strategies to deal with the tumultuous mutability of this weird plane of existence.
The gods have never left us then! That is, we live within a terraqueous world that is all theirs. Telluric force, celestial force: this is our fate. It was always supposed that a sort of Apocalypsis was on the way, and how strange it is that we now see it forming like a giant wall of irreversible heat and descending in purely scientific and mathematical terms . . .
Will they allow cross-dressing among the Elect in the world-to-come? 🙂
When I am feeling even mildly hopeful I turn on this video and watch until I come back to reality: