Merry Christmas Ethics Present, 12/25/2019: On Critics, Climate Change, And…

MERRY CHRISTMAS

EVERYONE!

1. Critic Ethics. A new book about iconic “New Yorker” film critic Pauline Kael reinforces the question that kept coming to mind when she was savaging movies monthly: why would anyone care what she thought about anything? The woman hated “The Sound of Music.” She panned every John Wayne movie because his personal political views were too conservative for her. If someone’s tastes and values are that different from yours, her judgment about just about anything doesn’t provide guidance or perspective.  Pauline Kael thought that the Charles Grodin-Jessica Lange version of “King Kong”—you know, the one where Kong was played by a man in a gorilla suit?—was better than the original.  What good was she? Why would anyone want to read a book about her? Why would anyone write one?  In fact, why am I even wasting a section of a “warm-up” on her?

2. Follow-up on the Democratic debate climate change segment. What is now obvious is that none of the candidates plan on ever telling voters specific facts indicating why they should want to gut the economy and surrender personal freedoms to government mandates. That climate change is a certainty is “settled science,” it’s an “existential crisis,” and anyone who questions the accuracy of apocalyptic models and projections is a science denier. Events like the California wildfires are irrefutable proof that all the projections are correct.  Of course, few of the climate change hysterics could read and translate a climate model, or understand the science involved sufficiently to either critique it or agree with it. (But I agree that it would be lots of fun to hear Joe Biden try.) Meanwhile, they are all telling the public that fossile fuels need to be banned, and with them the industries and jobs they support. All of this depends on the public being ignorant, gullible, and so stupid that they shouldn’t be allowed to leave the house without a chaperone.  For example, is the public aware of this—is the news media reporting it, and are any of the candidates capable of it should be ignored in favor of crushing the economy for speculative benefits? From Axios:

America’s energy sources, like booming oil and crumbling coal, have defied projections and historical precedents over the last decade.

Why it matters: It shows how change can happen rapidly and unexpectedly, even in an industry known to move gradually and predictably. With a new decade upon us, let’s look back at the last one’s biggest, most surprising energy changes…. The stark differences are driven by myriad factors not included in the decade-old projections, including policy changes and ever-more efficient technology extracting oil and gas.

  • In 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected that in 2019, the U.S. would be producing about six million barrels of oil a day. The reality? We’re now producing 12 million barrels of oil a day.

  • Meanwhile, EIA projected oil prices would be more than $100 a barrel. They’re currently hovering around $60 a barrel…

  • EIA had projected in 2010 that the U.S. would be importing a net eight million barrels of petroleum by now, which includes crude oil and petroleum products like gasoline. In September, the U.S. actually exported a net 89,000 barrels of petroleum.

  • In 2010, EIA projected that the U.S. would be producing about 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas by now. In 2018, the last full year of annual data, we produced more than 30 trillion.

  • EIA had projected in 2010 that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions would continue rising, albeit at a slower pace. In fact, they dropped. 

Good projections, guys! And this is an area far, far easier to project than climate change.

Has there ever been a public policy debate so dominated by dishonesty and dependence on public ignorance?

3. Oh all right…if you insist on impeachment ethics…On Dec. 14, “Christianity Today” published an editorial calling for the immediate removal of President Trump, thus setting up a battle among Christians and Evangelicals. I don’t care about that. What is of ethical concern is that the editor demonstrated that he has no clue regarding what justifies impeachment—like about 90% of Americans. It;s unethical to use your platform and position to make unconstitutional assertions that make your readers more ignorant than they already are, just because you have some influence over them.

The editorial said that President Trump is “a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.” Irrelevant.  It claimed that none of the President’s positive qualities outweigh the “moral and political danger” America now faces under his leadership. Irrelevant. Then this:  “We call for the many evangelicals who support the president to remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness …” ABSOLUTELY irrelevant!

Presidents can and should be impeached for proven commission of serious crimes on the scale of bribery or treason, not because of their perceived character flaws, or moral failings, or based on what anyone thinks they might do or are likely to do. The editorial’s complaints would be a justifiable  for Trump to be defeated in an election.

This is the distortion that the “resistance’s” unethical campaign has fostered among too many in positions of influence: that if a party or grous disapproves of election results, it is acceptable to continue to work to undo those results. No, it isn’t.

Christianity Today editor in chief, Mark Galli, is promoting a concept that undermines the Funders’ concept of a stable democracy. You don’t know enough about your own government to advise anybody, and it’s irresponsible to pretend otherwise. Mr. Galli.

Shut up.

B. I don’t know, maybe this is worse...Former Hawaiian Governor Neil Abercrombie  called on Hawaii Congresswoman and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard to immediately resign from Congress because she voted “present” on the two impeachment articles against President Donald Trump. I’m on record as believing that Gabbard’s non-vote defines the term “weenie, ” but what is  Abercrombie’s theory? That Democrats are obligated to vote in lockstep, even when their conduct is indefensible, reckless, and dangerous? That the role of a House Representative is to eschew personal conscience and judgment in favor of following orders?

28 thoughts on “Merry Christmas Ethics Present, 12/25/2019: On Critics, Climate Change, And…

  1. 2. Of course, climate (insert whatever) is settled science since it has been happening for billions of years. Then comes the sky is falling opinions that seem to be tattooed into the mental mainframe of the left. But just when is this disaster to take place? It does not appear that part of the puzzle is settled?

    Recently I had the opportunity to ask – or is it confront? one of Mayor Marty Walsh’s (Boston) climate flacks. The simple question I presented is if this is such a critical issue then why is the city handing out sugar candy (permits) for the ever-increasing and rapidly expanding Seaport District. Hopefully, an answer will arrive before the next ice age.

      • You nailed it! Marty is a union thug in Mayor’s clothing. There have been a few bagged in his administration so far. Marty is quite reticent about mentioning Trump’s administration having any less than desirables. Wonder why?

  2. 1–”In fact, why am I even wasting a section of a ‘warm-up’ on her?”

    Anyone’s guess. But on the subject of Jessica Lange and King Kong, that 1st beach scene with a top-of-her-game Lange frolicking/emerging from the beach in wet, clinging attire was…um…noteworthy!

  3. The editorial said that President Trump is “a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.” Irrelevant. It claimed that none of the President’s positive qualities outweigh the “moral and political danger” America now faces under his leadership. Irrelevant. Then this: “We call for the many evangelicals who support the president to remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness …” ABSOLUTELY irrelevant!

    But such a bold question implies that there is — potentially — a leader in this modern world that a Christian could and should serve. They are saying that Donald Trump is not that leader and the implication is that Jesus Himself would be appalled at the immorality of Trump. What a strange notion: to imagine Jesus Christ thinking about such things or tuning in to our TeeVee programs.

    I sort of do think He would appreciate Tucker Carlson when TC is not chuckling like an idiot. I am unsure that Jesus would think of Hannity renouncing his Catholicism and appearing on stage with the Evangelicals. But disregard everyrthing I say here: it is absurd to imagine God peering into the events of history and having opinions. Or perhaps it isn’t. It sure is weird though.

    But then what leader is such an in-tune Christian supposed to serve? HRC? Obama? George Bush? Who? (Bob Dylan in his biography admitted he liked Barry Goldwater. I had to look up Barry Goldwater to find out what he was about. So, Bob Dylan likes Barry Goldwater. And Bob Dylan is a Christian. So maybe God would have preferred Barry Goldwater?)

    You’d have to go out and search for some person who is not morally lost and confused. You would also have to define morals for the State which may prove impossible. A State cannot be ‘moral’.

    I can sort of conceive that there could be a leader who has an ordered existence of the sort that religious people emulate. But at the moment when they become the servant of the State, and perform the will of the State, they are not the State itself. The State cannot be Christian!

    That is one of the very strange things about Christianity: it sets itself up as so radically opposed to ‘the world’ that an individual can only turn back into herself or himself and away from the world. There, you can manage things to a degree, in the personal realm.

    But a State? A Nation? It is — by definition — absolutely out of control. What a quandary though. Surely there must be a State that is a better bet for allowing ‘God’s will’ to be carried out.

    Many Evangelicals (and many Catholics too) placed their bet on Donald Trump. But what were they and what are they hoping for? To turn back the tide of corruption . . .

    Oh dear, I’d better stop here, this is getting too confusing. 🙂

    • Perhaps Robinson Jeffers can help here:

      The Answer

      Then what is the answer?—Not to be deluded by dreams.
      To know that great civilizations have broken down into
      violence, and their tyrants come, many times before.
      When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or
      choose the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.
      To keep one’s own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted
      and not wish for evil; and not be duped
      By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams
      will not be fulfilled.
      To know this, and to know that however ugly the parts
      appear the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand
      Is an ugly thing, and man dissevered from the earth and
      stars and his history…for contemplation or in fact…
      Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,
      the greatest beauty is
      Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the
      divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man
      Apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful
      confusions, or drown in despair when his days darken.

      • Even if it’s the other way around, Jesus reminds us to “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” That admonition applies to this situation. Christianity Today is trying to shoehorn religious faith into the secular Constitution’s text in the form of suggesting Galli’s interpretation of Biblical moral turpitude should be the equivalent of a high crime.

        But the First Amendment implicitly rejects such a construction, just as the American people rejected former President Clinton’s moral turpitude as a justification for his impeachment and removal. Jesus’ reminder is that Christians are to comply with the government’s laws, and those laws reject what Christianity Today is advocating, i.e. an extra-Constitutional removal based on bad morals.

        An American Christian, should know better. Hence, Galli’s editorial is at the same time unethical and an explicit rejection of Jesus’ teachings in favor of moral preening. He’s no better than the other virtue-signalers — worse, in fact, since he falsely couches it as justified by the religion he purports to adhere to.

        Hypocrite. Cast out the log in thine own eye…

        • “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”

          It was a very tricky statement since, in truth, there is nothing — by definition — that is not God’s. A ‘devilish’ Jesusonian irony . . .

          At some point or another we (mankind) will have to unify the deepest spiritual convictions with all facets of life. The sense of that necessity has been shattered, I admit, but in truth we cannot really live dividedly. The meaning of this age and of postmodernism is that we live in fractured systems, but that is abnormal if one thinks about it.

          No civilization has before.

          • Heh. Not really irony, since Jesus wasn’t actually talking about possessions or ownership. He was merely using them to illustrate a point.

      • Jack wrote:

        Citizen first, faith second.

        Seems like the right way of conduct but on closer examination it isn’t. Given that the present state — the nation of the United States — has developed into a totalitarian state in the sense that all modern states are totalitarian

        embracing the spheres of economics and culture as well as politics in the strict sense of the word) the state is not concerned merely with the maintenance of public order and the defense of the people against foreign enemies, but take on the responsibility for all the different forms of communal activity which were formerly left to the individual or to the independent social organizations such as the churches, and they watch over the welfare of their citizens from the cradle to the grave. [Cristopher Dawson]

        Because you are entirely secular in outlook, you support the entire secularization of the culture. I can respect that orientation and I believe that I understand your reasoning. But when a state, when our state, becomes entirely secular as it has, and when it becomes ‘totalitarian’ as our state and nation has become, it must at a certain point carry forward this secularization and begin to take a positive stance against the religious and spiritual imperative. And this is where we are now. The first signs of this are seen in a general antipathy toward religious view and religious notions. First they are merely pushed to the side and perhaps seen as quaint and antiquated. But since it is — in our cultures — only Christian humanism that can actually protect the individual from vast, incursive power, it has come about that this ‘individual’ is left without protection. Because that individual qua individual cannot be seen nor understood nor respected. The evidence of this is in surveillance capitalism: advanced surveillance machinery that surveils the individual and — essentially — prays on his and her existence.

        The modern state — in a perverse sense — takes over the role of the church (of a church) and becomes Cathedral-like. And when business interests subvert a genuine Constitutionalism and assert themselves and insert themselves: there you can easily see the evolution and flowering of extreme secularization.

        There is a host of reasons why our present has taken the shape it has. And the only way (that I can see) to understand this is through processes of historical review. To see what went wrong, when, and what the effects are. Only then could there be a larger, holistic remediation.

        If it comes down to a law against jaywalking, yes, citizen must obey the state first. But when it comes to the important questions: absolutely not. The spiritual individual, guided by higher sense of ethics and responsibility, must demand that the state respond to the individual and to the imperatives defined by higher intellect. And it is the individual’s responsibility not to fall under the influence of the State if it tells him and her: “Citizen first, faith second”.

        Why you and why the nation has allowed this secularization to occur: now that is the next phase of questioning!

    • I think Christians or more specifically evangelicals often get lumped together as a group as if all voted In lock step from some imaginary marching orders from some “leaders”, which shows the vast lack of knowledge of the a Christian landscape.
      However, as an evangelical Christian who voted for Trump, I’ll explain my reasoning. A vote for the individual for president, is not just about them, but the whole administration they will put in place, what judges they will appoint how they will direct the executive branch to act. It is also, in small part, about the party they represent. What parts of the Democratic or Clinton platforms align with Christian values? The only thing I’ve heard is “helping the poor”; show me the biblical references where it tells us that the government should handle that task. And no, Mary and Joseph were not migrants or refugees (they moved from one part of the Roman Empire to another to avoid an overzealous leader like moving from California to Texas). On the other hand are things like abortion, bullying and attempts to punish wrongthink, and a general animus toward organized religion.
      William Lane Craig summarizes it here well:

  4. Maybe Tulsi Gabbard could be persuaded to switch to the Republican Party. Unlikely but considering her shabby treatment by her Democratic colleagues possible.

  5. Regarding Tulsi:

    This episode is actually very informative. Had she voted “with” the Republicans, the Governor could have said she was not a Democrat. Her “abstention” basically shows better the doctrinal uniformity demanded by the Democrats.

    -Jut

  6. This throwaway paragraph from the CT column is what caught my attention. And (unsurprisingly) has been consistently ignored by all of the “CT is so woke!” cheerleaders in the media:

    “Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.”

    For CT arrive at its blatantly judgemental conclusion in willful ignorance of such a damning context is the height of hypocrisy and a textbook example of how to abandon Christian precepts for the sake of scoring a few cheap political points. Shame on CT and its editor.

  7. Belated Merry Christmas wishes to you Jack, your family, readers, their families, and everyone else who sees this. It’s been a fun day with the little ones who have kept me mostly offline, and I’m thankful for that. But now that I’m back, best wishes to all of you my cyberspace friends.

  8. What is now obvious is that none of the candidates plan on ever telling voters specific facts indicating why they should want to gut the economy and surrender personal freedoms to government mandates.

    My longtime Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, a native of Chicago, Illinois, a United States Army veteran, and current resident of Rocky River, Ohio, put it best when he compared climate change to Lysenkoism.

    That climate change is a certainty is “settled science,” it’s an “existential crisis,” and anyone who questions the accuracy of apocalyptic models and projections is a science denier.

    If it is such an existential crisis, green energy would be insufficient.

    We would need to blot out the sun, like the Animatrix short “the Second Renaissance”.

    Events like the California wildfires are irrefutable proof that all The projections are correct.

    they are inconsistent in their logic.

    They do not argue that the Grapevine being closed in November due to snow is refutation of global warming.

    Good projections, guys! And this is an area far, far easier to project than climate change.

    Has there ever been a public policy debate so dominated by dishonesty and dependence on public ignorance?

    The 50 million climate refugees have less than a week to show up.

    https://ethicsalarms.com/2011/04/17/global-warming-advocates-flunk-ethics-and-credibility-again/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.