Noonish Ethics Warm-Up. 3/24/2020: The Web Is Alive With The Sound Of Zugswang!*

So far, there have been only 28 Wuhan virus deaths in Austria…

1. There is nothing strictly unethical about the Democrats attempting to use the current crisis to get some of their non-pandemic agenda items, like them or not, passed. That’s politics. They would be remiss if they didn’t try that. It will be unethical if their efforts materially interfere with the efforts to assist individual and business victims of the Wuhan virus, and if that is what they do, there is ample evidence to hang them, like this:

…if, that is, the facts are reported fairly.  Speaker Pelosi’s House bill including such pork as support for the Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts is also a “smoking gun.”

2. Ethics Quote of the Week from Dr. Fauci:

“There is a discussion and a delicate balance about what’s the overall impact of shutting everything down completely for an indefinite period of time. So, there’s a compromise. If you knock down the economy completely and disrupt infrastructure, you may be causing health issues, unintended consequences, for people who need to be able to get to places and can’t. You do the best you can…It’s almost like the fog of war. After the war is over, you then look back and say, “Wow, this plan, as great as it was, didn’t quite work once they started throwing hand grenades at us.” It really is similar to that. Obviously, testing [for the new coronavirus] is one clear issue that needs to be relooked at. Why were we not able to mobilize on a broader scale? But I don’t think we can do that right now. I think it’s premature. We really need to look forward.”


3. Julie Principle update: In his first kibbitzing webcast yesterday, telling the world what he would be doing now if he were President, Joe Biden got lost in his notes ( “We need to activate the reserve corps of doctors and nurses and beef up the number of responders dealing with this crush of cases”… [shuffling papers, gesturing to someone off-camera] “And, uh, in addition to that, in addition to that, we have to make sure that, we are… Well, let me go to the second thing….” Then he called Charley Baker, Governor of Massachusetts, “Charlie Parker.”

4.  Crash the economy, endangering businesses, jobs, and yes, lives, or let millions die to protect everything else. This is the real zugswang people are beginning to talk about, including on Ethics Alarms. A discussion including the somewhat Neanderthal commenters as well as the more rational on Instapundit sparked by this idiotic meme..

Yes, the Coronavirus is a killer. No, it’s not “just a flu”.
They did not stop the economy for cancer, which is a bigger killer.
They did not stop the economy for diabetes, which is a bigger killer.
They did not stop the economy for heart disease, which is a bigger killer.
Why stop it for the coronavirus?

…is revealing of both cognitive limitations and rationality under stress. Some examples:

  • ‘But 23,000 Americans have died of flu so far this year, and flu shots aren’t even mandatory. This is a contagious disease, too, last time I looked.”
  • “No, it is not an influenza virus. It spread far faster than the flu, and it kills far more often than the flu does. About twice as fast and at minimum killing 8 fold as often. If it is allowed to spread uncontrolled–like we do the flu–it will kill about 40 times as often. That’s reality. Idiots who panic when made to face reality are what will destroy this country.”
  • “But it IS just a flu…one that’s maybe a bit more contagious. And this hysteria surrounding it is a helluva lot more likely to destroy the country than anything the Chinese flu will do to us.”
  • “But no problem with abortion, the more the merrier for the left.” “Most conservatives understand it’s a balance, in my experience. Most of the people screeching “ONE LIFE IS ONE TOO MANY!” are on the left. (And half those are dumbass media.) But honestly though. I like these threads. We still don’t have enough info to know for sure the best thing to do.”
  • “As someone on the front line watching the economic devastation, talking to people who have lost their jobs, I am so disappointed in the number of my fellow Conservatives who are pooh poohing the economic effects on every day people. I’m not talking about homeless drug addicts in SF. I’m talking about working men and women who have had the rug pulled out from under them overnight. Far more people are suffering, in very real terms, from the economic downturn than are suffering or will suffer from coronavirus. And if that doesn’t break your heart and make you angry I strongly suggest that you get down on your knees and thank the Lord that you have had it so good in your life.”

It’s so productive to get angry and say your heart is broken. More broken hearts and screaming at the sky is just what we need now.

5.  Good!  Woody Allen’s new memoir, “Apropos of Nothing “was released yesterday after a after the original publisher backed out of releasing the book.

This means that Allen will get to have his story told his way, readers interested in him, his wit and his life will be able to read it, and best of all, Ronan Farrow and the political correctness fascists who bullied the Hachette Book Group into canceling the book as part of cancelling Allen have been foiled.

And Hactette will make less money. Maybe some of the staff who staged the walk-out to force the company’s attempted censorship will lose their jobs.  That would also be good. Efforts to silence others should have dire consequences.

Meanwhile, I would rather read the Finnegan’s Wake in Pig Latin than Allen’s memoirs.


* Zugswang: The position where any action is wrong, and inaction is impossible.

35 thoughts on “Noonish Ethics Warm-Up. 3/24/2020: The Web Is Alive With The Sound Of Zugswang!*

  1. RE #3: And exactly who, where and what is this “reserve corps of doctors and nurses” and first responders that Joe is talking about? Have they been kept on ice at Area 51 since Reagan administration or something? Who knew?

  2. We need to activate the reserve corps of doctors and nurses

    Wait… we have an entire “reserve corps of doctors and nurses”, and we are just sitting on our asses with regard to activating. Trump should be ashamed – [rips open shirt and beats chest] – ASHAMED!

  3. “Speaker Pelosi’s House bill including such pork as support for the Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts is also a “smoking gun.””

    To be clearer: Speaker Pelosi’s House bill included $35,000,000 in support for the Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts. That’s thirty five M-m-m-m-m-m-illion dollars folks. The pork added to this bill was almost 1400 pages. They basically stapled the green new deal to the back of it for funsies.

    I honestly cannot recall a more cynical, would-obviously-fail-if-we-weren’t-in-an-emergency-and-this-might-fail-anyway roll of bacon in my lifetime.

  4. #3: Does this mean SloJo’s webcast is actually live? Wow, that’s a mistake on his handlers’ part. I figured the whole thing was a dodge to keep him from having to actually answer questions from workers, or appear in public and talk at the end of the day. Was guessing the plan would be to have him sit down, read a script (repeatedly, if necessary) that his handlers had written, and then edit, splice together and broadcast something that made him look coherent. Color me surprised.

    It appears he was allowed to design a campaign t-shirt on his own, though

    #5: I’d rather read Finnegans Wake in pig Latin than in English.

    • Spot on regarding the live aspect of Biden’s second guessing broadcasts. Who the hell thought that could possibly work out?

      I have had clients who wanted to buy live 90 second shots during Saturday morning news programs (car dealers, aka egomaniac idiots). What could go wrong in 90 seconds? Plenty is the correct answer.

      • Hey, a nest of “I hate James Joyce” people. I knew I liked this place.

        An article in my college alumni mag painted a glowing profile of one of our now retired profs (perhaps now dead) saying he was active in the national association of Joyceans and considered to have perhaps the best sense of humor of all of them. If that’s not damning with faint praise, I don’t know what is.

    • I *hope* Biden’s webcast was live. But what if it wasn’t, and this was the best of fourteen takes?

      It wasn’t so long ago that I thought Trump had missed a step in his usually-quite-good nicknaming game, coining “Sleepy Joe” for Biden. I thought “Creepy Joe” might have been better (this was back when we were all concerned about his inappropriate touching – such an innocent time!) But I’ll be damned if Trump didn’t nail it. Joe seems like someone who has been awake for 42 hours and has just run out of energy.

      He’s slurring his speech more now than ever, and every fourth sentence is word salad. He speaks at a cadence where it’s clear he’s just reciting words rolling by on a screen, without internalizing or comprehending them. The only way he’s pulling it off at all (and only just barely) is because he’s been doing this literally his entire adult life. It’s muscle memory at this point. He knows what a political speech is supposed to sound like, and does a sort of passable impression of that.

  5. The Democrat Party is now openly the enemy of human civilization in its political, economic, environmental, and public health stances. Their apparent Presidential candidate is loopy enough to go along with it, though at one point he knew better.

    Happy Days Are Here Again and Don’t Stop will need to be replaced by some dystopian dirge by convention time. Get the leftist LA songsters cracking on that.

    • Another brick in the wall, but without the irony or horror. A genuine longing to be identical, uneducated, unbothered, and allowed to trudge joylessly through their grey little lives, watching their friends’ lives unfold in full color through the lenses of social media.

  6. I suppose that Simple Joe hasn’t thought that the US Army Reservists who serve in medical units might be doing something with their time besides sitting on their asses. Like setting up field hospitals in combat zones along with in third world counties where healthcare is non existent.

    • My confusion with the “calling up the reserve corps” is if he is indeed talking about medical personnel in the Army reserve…in all odds they are medical personnel in the civilian world already fighting this… so I’m not sure what “calling them up” would do…

      If he isn’t talking about the military reserve, then what is he talking about?

      • It’s my guess he means people who are retired from the medical field still capable of practicing. But I’m feeling generous today.

  7. William Reese says: “Wow, that’s a mistake on his handlers’ part”

    Nah, the DNC HAVE to be setting voters up to be overjoyed when they pull a switch on Joe at the convention. Democrat voters will be so relieved they will vote for ……. whoever!

      • I’m convinced VP Biden won’t be the nominee. He will be swept aside. So someone who didn’t have to campaign or debate or do anything will be gifted the nomination. I know it’s happened in the past (Garfield comes immediately to mind), but that was different situation. In this case, I think the plan is already in place to have him ousted. Hillary Clinton has been my guess since last fall, but she’s so toxic. My dad believes it’s Michelle Obama. She would pose a threat to the President and it would be another four years of Barack Obama. I don’t know…but I would just about bet our mortgage that Biden won’t be it.

          • I know. I’m trying to recall the last “draft anyone” that worked. Not the last hundred hundred years. So far, I can’t find an example where it ever worked. Dark Horses that nobody had thought about, yes, but tyhey are stealth candidates, not drafts.

  8. No,I think Biden is beyond the Julie Principle. If he was who he was in 2008, sure, he would be the inappropriate Senator prone to verbal gaffes. That guy could credibly claim to be qualified to handle the job.

    This is is not “fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly.” This is “fish gotta fly and birds… do the other thing.” I feel sorry for him because it really looks like he is losing it and that is something you don’t need to do publicly, especially after a long career of public service. As much as I dislike Hilary, I still felt sorry for her when she appeared physically unfit for the job.

    I feel sorry for us, because he is likely to be the only viable alternative to Trump and that’s almost no choice.

    I feel only contempt for the Democratic Party. They shoe-horned Hilary into the ticket with a show race in 2016. That makes it very hard to believe that they were not pulling strings here, effectively foisting someone in decline on the American People. That is wholly irresponsible. And, why? To keep Bernie from winning? (That’s actually a pretty good reason, but still.)

    They deserve to lose, but Biden does not deserve this sort of embarrassment. He may have no clue how inept he appears. His only dignified way out is to withdraw for some ambiguous “health reasons.”


  9. iver-ray un-ray, ast-pay Eve-yay and-yah Adam’s-ay, om-fray erve-sway of-yay ore-shay o-tay end-bay of-yay ay-bay, ings-bray us-bay y-bay a-yay ommodius-cay icus-vay of-yay ecirculation-ray, ack-bay o-tay owth-Hay astle-Cay and-yay environs-ay

  10. Friends don’t let friends read Finnegan’s Wake.

    And I still have hard feelings about having to read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in Ap English.

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