Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/22/2020: Krugman, Whitmer And Lemon

Good morning, all!

1. Bad guys 1. Paul Krugman’s column yesterday had the despicable headline, “The Right Sends In The Quacks.” “The quacks” according to Krugman are the Americans who are protesting in public to send a vivid message to increasingly dictatorial mayors, governors and police departments that opening society and allowing people to live their lives like free citizens rather than inmates needs to be a priority, a concept many in office as well as much of the news media appear to have discarded.

Why are the protesters “quacks?” Well, for one thing, they don’t regard protesting government policy as a non-essential activity, as we were told last week by one of our courageous, first-responder police departments. Second, many of them wore MAGA hats, meaning they are per se racists and idiots. Worst of all, some of them carried guns, legally, but still. Guns bad.

Although if I were a protest consultant, I would advise against the guns, legal weapons symbolize the Second Amendments assertion that individual rights much not be squashed by government over-reach, and that citizens have a right to arm themselves as a matter of self-defense, against their own government if necessary. It may be a message that progressives and anti-Second Amendment fanatics are incapable of processing, but it is a crucial message nonetheless, particularly when Americans are witnessing things like this, or this.

2. Or this: Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, currently the face of Wuhan virus crypto-totalitraianism, told  Rachel Maddow last week that she was considering extending social distancing guidelines in response to Michigan  protests against her stay-at-home restrictions. “We might have to actually think about extending stay-at-home orders, which is supposedly what they were protesting,” Whitmer said.

“Supposedly.” Nice.

To some—I’m not quite sure myself—Whitmer’s statement sounded like the familiar totalitarian device of escalating the condition being protested to punish any dissent, like the Nazi prison camp commandant in “The Great Escape,” who keeps doubling Steve McQueen’s solitary confinement in “the cooler” every time he makes a derogatory comment.

I do not think Whitmer is an aberration.  I think she is close to the center of the current instincts of the Democratic Party. It was sensing this tilt toward anti-democractic values that caused me to conclude at the last second in 2016 that placing this party in control of the White House was just as dangerous as allowing someone like Donald Trump become President, and quite possibly more.

After the events of the past three year, I now believe “more.”

3 .Bad guys 3. Here is the ever articulate and unbiased CNN news anchor Don Lemon:

“You’re out there with guns, with weapons strapped to your chest, saying, oh, you want to get — you’re fighting against the people who are telling you to stay at home, trying to save your lives, you’re upset with those people? In the meantime, there are people keeping your cities going, keeping your loved ones alive and you want to get a haircut? Who the hell do you think you are? What is wrong with people? I don’t understand. I don’t want to hear from those people who are out there protesting with guns, right, and that is threatening — a threatening look for people. You’re protesting with guns. Don’t — don’t criticize people who are taking a knee at a ball game, entertainment, saying, ‘I don’t want people protesting at a ball game,’ when people are who are peacefully protesting — don’t give me that when you’re out there protesting with guns and saying, ‘I want to get back to work, I want my liberty. Don’t be a hypocrite,”

Imagine: a major news organization is paying someone with the reasoning deficits that statement demonstrates to clarify the news for its audience. Lemon’s rant is so brain-flaying stupid that it speaks for itself—res ipsa loquitur—but for those who haven’t finished their coffee, I’ll detail why in the next item..

4. Bias makes you stupid, and in Don Lemon’s sad case, being stupid makes you stupid. Here’s how incompetent Lemon is (the ethical breach here is vast incompetence and irresponsible abuse of position)

  • The protesters are confronting, not “fighting” those in authority who they perceive as taking away their jobs, financial security and personal autonomy. They have every right to do so.
  • “Telling” Americans to “stay home” is a clear breach of personal liberty, which may be temporarily justifiable in a national emergency. However, it is the government’s ongoing obligation to justify such extreme measures, and a citizen’s obligations to insist that the government’s justification is something more persuasive than “Because we say so” or “Because we know best.”
  • Removing personal and societal liberties to “save lives” is the rational of all totalitarian regimes, yet Lemon accepts it as benign, apparently without any qualms.
  • How, exactly, are these measures “keeping cities going”? Could cities be less “going”? I am reminded of a famous family incident when my aged and ailing grandmother, a life force who was depressed at her increasing health problems that made it difficult for her to get out of bed,  slowly shambled into our living room using her walker. “See, Mama?” my dad said, trying to be encouraging. “You’re walking!” “You call this walking???” she spat back.
  • “There are people keeping….keeping your loved ones alive and you want to get a haircut?” Lemon reduces wanting to work, have income, send children to school, buy “non-essential” items, get needed dental work and medical procedures, visit elderly relatives and more as “getting a haircut,” a classic advocacy cheat. He also ratchets up the risks being averted, which is pure deception. These measures are protecting people against a non-negligible threat of serious illness that might result in death. That is far from “keeping loved ones alive.”
  • Who do the protesters think they are? They think they are Americans, Don, you asshole. They think they have a voice in the trade-offs necessary in this crisis. And they do.
  • Don Lemon is collecting millions of dollars to do his job, which is not threatened (and which he does at a level that would get most Americans fired, whether they be lawyers or movie ushers) and he’s berating struggling citizens who want to be able to pay their bills.
  • “I don’t understand.” THAT, I believe.
  • Don “doesn’t want to hear” from protesters. He doesn’t respect views that counter his, and apparently would suppress them. he certainly won’t report on such views objectively thoroughly or fairly, because that’s not his view of journalism.
  • Yes, Don, we know you don’t comprehend the Second Amendment. We read the transcript of your various special editions regarding gun policy, like this one.

The last part, where Lemon asserts a legally and logically flawed, indeed embarrassing analogy between the pointless NFL kneeling stunt (that the participants couldn’t even agree on what it signified) and the public protests against  excessive government restrictions during the pandemic, would be shocking if Lemon hadn’t already proven himself to be a drooling dolt so many times in the past. First,there is no analogy: the NFL kneelers were not engaging in protected speech, but illicit workplace conduct. Second, legally carrying guns at a demonstration is only threatening to those who are phobic about guns. Third, both protests qualify as peaceful and the peacefulness of the NFL foolishness is irrelevant. If a grocery clerk stages a protest in the store where he works, the fact that it’s “peaceful” doesn’t make it any more appropriate, or mean that he shouldn’t be fired. Fourth, yes, an eight-figure a year talking head is mocking Americans who want to work and who want their liberty. Fifth, there is no hypocrisy in evidence at all. Don Lemon literally doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

 

8 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/22/2020: Krugman, Whitmer And Lemon

  1. 1. As I have commented before, Paul Krugman may be among the finest at making social science data do his bidding in economics (see his Nobel Prize), but he is a straight up fool when without a calculator. His biases have completely obstructed his synapses.

    2. Recently a Michigan State trooper personally reported his ranks will not be enforcing Governor Whitmer’s dictates. They know people are on edge and will not provoke citizens based on the Governor’s idiotic authoritarian whims.

    3. When protestors have legally shown up with arms to emphasize their frustration and they clearly understand a primary purpose of the Second Amendment is a bulwark against oppressive government, how many people have been shot or killed? None.

    4. Don Lemon doesn’t want to hear or read or see a lot of things, or perhaps anything, actually reflecting American liberty. He wants his collectivist, leftist, subjugating of the people ideology to reign supreme and end all this non-sensical individual civil rights stuff. He, however, will never let you forget he knows Trump and his followers are the burgeoning dictators and dangers to this republic. Lemon is just another enemy of civilization.

  2. 1. This is just more of the same we’ve come to expect from both the left and Krugman, just packaged another way:

    “Well, for one thing, they don’t regard protesting government policy as a non-essential activity, as we were told last week by one of our courageous, first-responder police departments.”

    The real underlying belief: Protesting is a tool whose use is crucial to the left against the right, but not allowed by the right against the left. The police are heroes when they back the left’s decisions, thugs who hunt young black men for fun otherwise. We’ll use them here, though.

    Second, many of them wore MAGA hats, meaning they are per se racists and idiots.

    The real underlying belief: It’s easier to direct hate against the other side when they adopt a recognizable symbol. The various undesirable groups in Nazi Germany had to be issued and made to wear theirs, but in this case the right has done us the favor of adopting their own, so all we have to do is keep banging the drum that red hat = racist, xenophobe, idiot. If someone accuses us of being Nazi-like, we can say we didn’t make them wear those hats.

    Worst of all, some of them carried guns, legally, but still. Guns bad.

    The real underlying belief: Guns don’t belong in the hands of anyone other than the police and the military, and in the former case only when on duty, in the latter case only when performing certain duties. People are much easier to control when they are as defenseless as they can possibly be, and that’s how we like them.

    2. She sounds more like a parent penalizing a kid two more weekends of grounding for being unhappy about one, or a teacher writing out a month’s worth of detentions for a student who stepped out of line a second time. Essentially it’s “stop crying before I really give you something to cry about.” Then again, that’s how the left see themselves – they are the nation’s parents and teachers who know best, so a spanking is well within their rights to administer to the kids/students who do not obey.

    3,4. Another emotion-driven rant from Don Lemon – color me unsurprised. The man’s an inarticulate, emotion-driven idiot who can’t stay sober or control himself on the air, and anyone who places any value in anything he says is an idiot. Anyone who would pay him to spout this nonsense is the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots.

    The bottom line is this: The left had what they thought was ultimate power for about two years, from the inauguration of Obama after the 2008 election to the loss of the House in 2010. Even that ultimate power had Constitutional constraints on it, a set time that it had to come up for review, and a mechanism by which it could be taken away if those under it were unhappy with the way it was being exercised. They were VERY unhappy that they lost that ultimate power, which they believed to be theirs by right as of the election of Obama, to continue the march toward equal justice, social justice, etc. If the voters were not going to go along with that under the current system, then the system was going to have to be changed to lessen the voters’ role.

    That belief started to peek through in the last half of the second Obama administration as one scholar wrote an article in the New York TImes advocating for the elimination of a written Constitution and the adoption of statutes that would cover the same rights but be more easily changeable, and two more wrote an article that was published the day before the Democrats got clobbered in the 2014 elections advocating for the elimination of mid-term elections, so that a president would not lose the ability to pass his agenda halfway through a term.

    That belief exploded into view after the 2016 elections, with states trying to make an agreement to bypass the electoral college, calls to “pause this presidency,” and articles that seriously suggested carving 107 new states out of the District of Columbia to guarantee permanent and ironclad Democratic rule. Even that had limits, though, as there’s a good chance the Supreme Court would step in to stop such naked power grabs (of course there were calls to change that too, by stuffing it with liberal new justices). Now, though, with this illness, they have infinitely more power than with any of those things, and there’s no end to it in sight. They can cast anyone who disagrees with their decrees as wanting to push granny off the cliff, same as the other side said about their Obamacare. What’s more, they can CRUSH people’s incomes and businesses, and make them dependent on the government. This is the left’s chance to become elected kings and queens, and they are taking it. The media are just their enablers.

  3. “Telling” Americans to “stay home” is a clear breach of personal liberty, which may be temporarily justifiable in a national emergency. However, it is the government’s ongoing obligation to justify such extreme measures, and a citizen’s obligations to insist that the government’s justification is something more persuasive than “Because we say so” or “Because we know best.”

    I am old enough to remember when the shutdown would end in two weeks.

    I am old enough to remember when the shutdown was extended to April 19th.

    Here is a comment from another blog.

    http://reason.com/2020/04/22/covid-19-was-killing-americans-earlier-than-we-previously-thought/#comment-8222205

    The irony of all this was that this completely illegal and irrational lockdown *supposed* to avoid ‘overwhelming the system’ yet as this goes on and on, the COVID itself isn’t doing that but we’re over working health workers by keeping the lockdown in place – to say nothing of put the lives of people who need other medical attention.

    Also, it was to ‘flatten the curve’. The second the jargon came up you knew this was going to be ‘two weeks’ in perpetuity.

    The longer the politicians listen to medical bureaucrats and don’t do their damn jobs and lead, the more dangerous, ironically, this becomes.

    People. This isn’t rocket science. Maybe to piece of shits like Patton Oswalt it is, but not to people of sound mind.

  4. It’s really a win-win situation for the “ruling class” Left (politicians+media+oligarchs):

    -They can wait this out for as long as they want. They still have all their jobs and money.
    -The longer they hold everyone’s heads underwater (especially small business owners,) the more jobs and employers are permanently deleted from the economy. This hurts Trump and can be blamed on him.
    -The more economic pain this inflicts, the worse the “Trump era” will look in future years when they inevitably and stupidly refer to it as such. This ensures their future in power.
    -Small business owners are more likely to be conservative anyway, so good. Make them hurt. It won’t affect the Left’s support base.
    -The more of a “crisis” there is the more emergency power-grabbing they can justify.
    -As more and more people feel helpless and try to protest, they can shame the “crazy” protestors (and magnify the ugliest examples) in order to make dissent uncool.
    -A longer quarantine decimates small businesses, but the biggest corporations and chains, which are partnered with the political Left, are actually benefiting from this. When the dust clears, they’ll have much less competition and a larger customer base.
    -Do you think they could get away with having Facebook delete attempts to organize peaceful protests without a pandemic? They must feel like a kid on Christmas.
    -You can always position yourself to be the ones who are “pro-science” and “trying to prevent death” just by wanting to reopen things a little bit later than the Right does. A Republican governor or mayor might actually care about finding the right balance between “saving lives” and “not destroying everyone’s livelihood,” but the Left does NOT care. You can just do whatever benefits you. Whatever a Republican does, just say it’s not safe enough and then proceed to call them heartless monsters if even one person dies at any point after that. Not acting in good faith pays off!

  5. I’m tired of people clutching their pearls that protesting under arms is threatening. Every time the government tells you you’re not allowed to do something it does so with the implied threat of force. Every. Single. Time. When the government says a store must close, it means “or else we send armed men to force you, and likely exact additional punishment.

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