1. Dresden bombing ethics. February 13-15, 1945 witnessed the Allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany, with the resulting deaths of between 22,000 and 135,000 civilians. depending on whose propaganda you choose to believe. Regardless of the number, the destruction of the German cultural center and questionable military target so late in the war—after its loss in the Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s defeat was just a matter of time—was instantly controversial, and is still intensely debated today.
The attack, which dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city, destroyed more than 1,600 acres. By all accounts, the human toll was horrific. Lothar Metzger, a survivor, wrote,
We saw terrible things: cremated adults shrunk to the size of small children, pieces of arms and legs, dead people, whole families burnt to death, burning people ran to and fro, burnt coaches filled with civilian refugees, dead rescuers and soldiers, many were calling and looking for their children and families, and fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind of the firestorm threw people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from.
Was the firebombing of Dresden a war crime? If the Allies had lost the war, it would have become a war crime. As we have discussed here before, the concept of war crimes is confounding and hypocritical at best. If the attacks were deemed essential to ending the war as soon as possible, then they were ethically defensible.
Much of the debate over the years has focused on whether the bombing was terrorism. Of course it was, as were the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and General Sherman’s March to the Sea. Terror is a legitimate weapon in warfare, when the objective is to destroy the enemy’s will to fight. Attacks on civilians for revenge and to inflict gratuitous death and pain for no legitimate strategic purpose are unethical . The distinction is usually in the eye of the beholder.
2. Climate Change ethics, from the “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind’s made up” files: According to an IEA report,
“The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis – a fall of 140 Mt, or 2.9%, to 4.8 Gt. US emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period. A 15% reduction in the use of coal for power generation underpinned the decline in overall US emissions in 2019.”
Here’s a chart:
This should make you angry. When I had one of my periodic discussions with a Trump Deranged friend and asked, “Tell me exactly what you feel makes this President an existential threat to the United States?” the huminahumina-delayed answer I got back—Wouldn’t you think that people who have been screaming at the sky all this time would have a persuasive answer to that query by now? They don’t, because the echo chambers and bubbles never consider anything but general outrage at tweets and manufactured outrages, like the current Roger Stone sentencing mess—was that Trump is appointing horrible judges (a matter of opinion, and not impeachable), and that the President’s rejection of climate change hysteria will destroy the world.
She believes the latter because this is what the news sources she listens to and her social media friends tell her. Note that the chart indicates that much of the rest of the world, including noble signatories of the Paris accord, is paying no attention to climate change whatsoever. Attacks on the Trump administration using climate change fearmongering are a deceptive tactic to seize power, and to justify “state of emergency” Constitutional violations.
Do let Ethics Alarms know if you see any references to the IEA report on CNN, MSNBC, or the major networks.
3. Res Ipsa Loquitur. Snopes is beneath contempt, and I hate to keep kicking a dead factcheck horse, but some jerk tried to defend the dishonestly partisan site yesterday, and every time that happens, I’m going to remind the world of how transparently biased and untrustworthy that unethical website is.
Thus we have this, from two days ago, in which the “resistance” mouthpiece does a “factcheck” on whether a Trump tweet is quoting “Mein Kampf.”
4. Fighting a return of “The Chalkening,” and that dangerous phenomenon, free speech. “The Chalkening” was the social media moniker for pro-Trump chalk messages on sidewalks on college campuses in 2016. Prior to the Iowa caucuses, Iowa State University banned political speech from being chalked after students complained that the messages had become discriminatory and divisive.
Well, assertions of political positions are always divisive in some respect, and what the Left calls discriminatory during its recent drift toward totalitarianism seems to be a matter of strategy. Among the messages cited by those favoring university censorship were “MAGA,” “Build the Wall,” and the ever-perplexing, “It’s OK to be white.”
5. Integrity test. It all depends on whether blind hate alone is enough to win an election. Personally, I don’t think it is.
I had an amusing exchange with a stranger on Facebook who wrote that Mike Bloomberg could win the Democratic nomination and the Presidency “easily.” You know I couldn’t let that pass. Modern day incumbent Presidents never lose reelection bids if the economy is doing well, and it takes special circumstances to defeat any sitting President who was initially elected to the office. This has only happened eight times.
Four of the one-term losers are in the rarified category of “Men who would never have been elected or even considered but for the strong support of a super-popular predecessor, and then looked so wan in comparison that they were dumped”: John Adams (endorsed by George Washington), Martin Van Buren (Andrew Jackson), William Howard Taft (Teddy Roosevelt), and George Bush the First (Ronald Reagan.)
Of the remaining four, one, Herbert Hoover, was sunk by the Great Depression. John Quincy Adams had lost the popular vote and was only elected because of back-room dealing in the House of Representatives: after four years of claiming that he had been robbed of the Presidency, Andrew Jackson won the popular vote a second time, and Adams was out. President Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost the Electoral college to Benjamin Harrison, and then, Jackson-like, returned to beat Harrison and retake the Presidency. The remaining one-term loser was Jimmy Carter.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg would have to overcome an unprecedented mass of historical obstacles. No one has been elected President whose sole executive experience was being a mayor. He would be the oldest President elected and the first Jewish President. Then there are his political problems.He’s a white male, and a converted Republican. He is charisma-challenged. Bloomberg’s style is at least as “autocratic” as Trump’s, and he’s not a true progressive. His stop-and-frisk policy in New York City was widely assailed as racist, and he has almost as many past ugly quotes in his baggage as Donald Trump.
The latest revelation of these, and you know there are more to come, turned up in The Washington Post, here.
Yikes. And all the young, woke, socialist, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter progressives will hold their collective noses to vote for this guy, because they hate hate hate the President so much? I don’t think so.
The Beatles were exaggerating when they sang “All You Need Is love,” but “All You Need Is Hate” is really ridiculous.