Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Santa In A MAGA Cap”

The issue of whether a mall should have fired a long-time Santa who posed for gag photo in a MAGA cap inevitably invited comparisons with the Naked Teacher Principle, which holds “that a secondary school teacher or administrator (or other role model for  children) who allows pictures of himself or herself to be widely publicized, as on the web, showing the teacher naked or engaging in sexually provocative poses, cannot complain when he or she is dismissed by the school as a result.” There are many variations of the NTP, including the recently visited Naked Congresswoman Principle, which cost Rep. Katie Hill her seat.

The question: Is there, or should there be a “President Trump-supporting Santa Claus Principle?

Here is Alizia’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: Santa In A MAGA Cap”

“I think this one might fall into The Naked Teacher Principle.”

I think I can understand why you would say that, but I think there are a few problems with that assessment. I will try to explain:

First, a school teacher who engages in sexual misconduct, is transgressing in a limited area. Our social norms — though this is changing of course — does not allow teachers of children to appear to be loose sexually. Long ago, and more especially for women who were teachers — and mostly women were teachers — it was part of cultural norms that a teacher have a ‘chaste appearance’.

But in a sense there is no issue of ‘speech’ involved when and if a teacher posts a naked photo. That is, there is no ‘speech content’ or political opinion expressed. If there is a ‘speech’ issue it is only of a vary limited sort.

The Santa who had his photo taken with a Trump hat should never have had to apologize to anyone. He was completely free to take such a photo of himself. There is no possible argument that could be brought out in a so-called free society that could successfully take the man’s right away.

And definitely not to a private commercial interest. He put on a Trump hat for his own reasons, took a photo of it for his own reasons, and I do not believe that any private commercial interest should a) feel that it has to mediate this or b) should be given a right to do so. They should stay out of the whole controversy. (They should sit down and shut up.)

Neither does any (vindictive) private citizen have any right — according to my sense of what is proper– to put a private commercial interest in the position of having to offer an opinion, and to force that business to fire the man (any person who expresses speech that is protected and should be protected).

That partisan citizens can do this — can apply pressure to a company to then inflict harm on a private individual — is horrifying. Citizens know that they can do this, and they cynically and deviously do put pressure on private commercial enterprises to inflict their will and to do harm.

The way to cure the problem is to establish an ethic whereby private citizens opt to *play fair* and not to try to ruin their opponent’s lives (as getting a man fired might amount to). The citizens who publicized this private sharing on FB should be condemned, not the man who took the photo. And the ‘Mall’ should also be condemned. It would be a sign of a certain decency. But, and let’s face the fact: people are becoming more and more indecent

6 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Santa In A MAGA Cap”

  1. Very nice, wearing any hat is pretty much the ultimate in free will, free speech. If wearing a Trump mask on stage for a ritualized murder is okay then Santa wearing a MAGA hat- doing nothing violent AND not in public is far less dangerous. (There might be a few situations even a free speech hat us uncalled for, like all animated caps saying fire in a crowded nightclub or telling snipers to fire at a speech, but there must be an immediate danger. Making America great makes no threat, so the anger is so totally disproportionate,

  2. Can’t get behind this one.

    Santa should stay outside of politics entirely. Anything else ruins the magic for the children-who Santa is for.

    This Santa should have been fired.

    • I agree to a certain extent. He shouldn’t have been fired, but he should have made sure the photo remained private so that Santa wearing a Trump hat wasn’t spread all over the internet. I maintain he showed incredible naivete in thinking this wouldn’t come back to haunt him.

      That being said, I also believe the Mall’s reaction would not have been the same if he’d been wearing a Biden 2020 cap. The fact of the matter is that this incident falls under the category Because It’s Trump and is why Aliza’s comment is spot on when it comes to the danger of private citizens using their economic power to destroy someone they disagree with.

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