Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 4/25/2020: The Quiet Before The Storm

Something’s coming.

(I’d have the West Side Story song up, but for some reason WordPress hasn’t been letting me embed videos lately.) Do you feel it? I sure do…

1. Our incompetent leaders, Part 645, 991. The proper anti-virus conduct as modeled by Nancy Pelosi on TV last week: take off your mask, wipe your nose with your hand,

…and touch the podium. Members of both parties demonstrated similar Wuhan virus safety awareness:

2.  Meme Wars…

[Pointer: Steve Witherspoon (not Other Bill, as I erroneously stated originally. Sorry, Steve)]

…and this (from the Babylon Bee):

3. You know, I really don’t care what someone like this thinks about illegal immigration. In a review of a pro-illegal immigration book by illegal immigrant (OK, she’s a “Dreamer”)

Quick diversion: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that “Dreamers”—people brought to the U.S. illegally as children—cannot access emergency funding set aside for college students who are enduring disruptions in their education because of the pandemic, because grants may only be given to students who are eligible for federal aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act,  meaning U.S. citizens. Naturally, she is being attacked as cruel and racist.

It is the correct, responsible, legal and ethical decision.

So she is laboring under emotional difficulties, a law-breaker herself, and a liar. That’s some expert you got there. She’s also not very bright, based on this statement from her book:

“Many of us are indigenous in part or whole and do not believe borders should existI personally subscribe to Dr. King’s definition of an unjust law as being ‘out of harmony with the moral law.’ And the higher moral law here is that people have a human right to move, to change location, if they experience hunger, poverty, violence, or lack of opportunity, especially if that climate in their home countries is created by the United States, as is the case with most third world countries from which people migrate. Ain’t that ’bout a bitch.”

I would think that indigenous people more than anyone should have learned the critical need for borders and border enforcement. That idealistic open-borders concept really worked out swell for them didn’t it?

That obvious observation aside, assertion is self-evidently absurd. Her concept of “moral” immigration would render nations ungovernable and society bankrupt. As has been stated here many times, “ethical” formulas that are unfeasible and impractical because of the realities of human nature are not ethical at all. Dr. King’s definition of an unjust law was and is, as I’m sure he knew, subject to so much individual interpretation as to make the rule of a law impossible as well.

There is no universal “moral law” that everyone accepts: Dr, King was being more than a little bit disingenuous. That “moral law” argument was used by Mike Huckabee and others to argue that the Supreme Court’s validation of same sex marriage created an “unjust law.”

4. The Ethics Alarms Double Standards Hall of Fame: Minnesota’s St. Olaf College has postponed graduation until 2021, but will host three virtual graduation ceremonies for  groups of minority students according to its website.

“Self-identified domestic students of color, international students and LGBTQIA+ students” will be able to participate in their own, special virtual graduation ceremonies at the conclusion of this year. They are being called the multicultural, international, and lavender <ACK! GAG! RETCH!>…I’m sorry, that last is so precious that I nearly lost it there.

“This event acknowledges the value and uniqueness of students’ experience and serves to commemorate and highlight the accomplishments of individuals within their familial and cultural context,” the school explained.

If the students don’t have the integrity and guts to shut this insulting and discriminatory plan down, I would recommend that nobody hire any graduates from St. Olaf’s. And yes, I also see the obvious loophole here: if the multicultural, international, and lavender graduations are for students who have “self-identified” as member of those groups, why can’t all students just pick one?

5. Ethics Quote: Ricky Gervais.…”I think that’s the mistake people make: They think that every joke is a window to the comedian’s soul — because I wrote it and performed it under my own name, that that’s really me. And that’s just not true. I’ll flip a joke halfway through and change my stance to make the joke better. I’ll pretend to be right wing, left wing, whatever wing, no wing.”

Indeed, that’s the most ethical way for comedians to go about their craft; so is playing to the audience you’re in front of. Nor should a comic be regarded as a hypocrite because he or she mocks a position, party of candidate they personally support.

So maybe Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah,Jimmy Kimmel and all the rest might be rapid Donald trump supporters. They’re just doing their jobs…


38 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 4/25/2020: The Quiet Before The Storm

  1. #1 Jack wrote, “illegal immigrants are not “Americans.””

    Here is something that’s been bothering me for a while.

    The word “Americans” is technically any citizen of north and south America. Technically if they were born anywhere in north or south America then they are a documented Americans. I know that’s a fine point and the word is being literally being bastardized by pro-illegal immigrant advocates but it’s technically true.

      • A classmate in college who majored in Spanish pointed out that in South America this nation is referred to as Los Estados Unidos (E.E.U.U.) and that they are bemused that we refer to ourselves as “Americans.” Maybe, she mused, we SHOULD more think of ourselves as “Estadosunideans,” Mmhmmm, that goes right alongside the fight over using the clumsy “his or her” every time a pronoun comes up and the induced allergy to “manpower” and “man-hours.” Get over yourself.

        • Estadounidenses . . .

          Mejor: Malditos gringos!

          The way I look at this is like this: Everyone in the whole world knows what an ‘American’ is, and they do not think about Guatemala, or Chile, or Uruguay. Why? Because in truth these places have very little entity. They don’t do anything, they produce nothing, and they are irrelevant in most senses. They are in different ways drags on the human protoplasm. Come back in 500 years and they will likely be wading through the same mud. This is what they say about themselves. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard it.

          But America is not irrelevant. And America has ‘entity’. I suppose that is why what happens in America has a great deal of relevance.

          The term Americano or Americana means only American (USA).

          A Mexican is a Mexican, a Peruvian a Peruvian, a Bolivian a Bolivian, et cetera et cetera.

  2. #5 “So maybe Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah,Jimmy Kimmel and all the rest might be rapid Donald trump supporters. They’re just doing their jobs…”

    Rolling On Floor Laughing My Ass Off!!!

    Now you’re a comedian!!!

  3. 4. Multnomah County is hosting a “grounding space” for BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) that isn’t “dominated by whiteness” for their emergency operations staff. The county equity officer Ben Duncan (who is half white himself) came up with this. Apparently this space is “inclusive” because it’s not for those who actually identity as black, indigenous, and of color, but for those who have “shared experience” in those constructs. Whatever the hell that means. And I assume some of my tax dollars went toward this.

  4. 2. The meme on chewable I posted on FB got pulled. I was reading your blog before that. Was FB tracing me down since you are apparently on their verboten list?

  5. 1. How old is Nancy Pelosi? Late 70s? Shouldn’t she be sheltering in place with her ice cream freezers? Let the younger healthier people go about their business? Let some younger people run the party? Forget the goofy surgical mask thing. And Maxine Watters, shouldn’t you be hiding out? Seventy is not the new anything. Idiots.

          • And the notorious RBG is 87. Conservatives usually retire when they know it’s time to hang it up, like Orrin Hatch (although Strom Thurmond was one who held on almost to the end). Progressives die in the saddle, fearful that all that important work toward equality, solidarity and inclusiveness will come undone the minute they step away. The world will be a better place when these liberal relics finally take a dirt nap. .

              • Speaking as a lawyer, most die in the saddle because “the law is a jealous mistress” and often we have very little else in our lives. I myself have never married and have no children, so retiring “to spend time with my family” is meaningless. If I retire I will probably be dead within a year, and at times I feel like that would be preferable to constant slogging.
                Another lawyer told me in a moment of candor that his kids were about to go off to college and he did not know them. Still a third lawyer, a woman, has been practicing twenty years, her two marriages lasted about three years each, and she struggles to be there for her children, who she had somewhat late (she was 35 when her oldest was born). The sociopath I worked for for five years will never retire because at home he is powerless.
                Is it any wonder we choose sometimes to stay till the end?

    • ”Shouldn’t she be sheltering in place with her ice cream freezers?”

      Rarely more than one degree of separation from damn near any subject and America’s Dairyland; at least not while I’m on the job, am I right OB?

      It may come as no surprise that SanFranNan’s high end fridges happen to be Sub Zeros, manufactured by a WESconsin family-owned business.

      We live right across the street from the place where Westye F. Bakke started the company. I went to HS & University (ON WISCONSIN), and am still great friends with his grandson, the current President/CEO; I needn’t tell you the refrigeration unit with which we trust our perishables.

      Anywho; Bakke the elder used to own the land our dwelling occupies, the only time I didn’t complain about title insurance…

        • EVERYONE will have SubZeros.”

          That dovetails perfectly with We need to invent technology that’s never even been invented yet.

          In a perfect world, the PROLES should expect no less than the complement of Wolf ranges and Cove dishwashers…

          • Did not know Sub-Zeros are made across the street from your house, Paulie. Congratulations. We have had one for twenty-five years and it’s still chugging away. Mrs. OB loves it. Have only had to replace the icemaker and some aspect of the freezer half. Good thing since the replacement cost for the hole shebang is evidently between 8.5 K and 13K. Not fond of spending that kind of dough on anything that doesn’t come with a transmission.

            • ”Did not know Sub-Zeros are made across the street from your house”

              They might have been if some…um…anonymous neighbor hadn’t voted against the rezoning effort… They do have production facilities out your way in Goodyear

              Many are made ~ 5 miles/8.05 due south in Fitchburg, but the corporate offices are just a short hop away because Bakke the Elder wanted to walk to work.

              Our unit is reputed to use the same electricity as a 100 watt bulb, ~ 10 years ago the Obama Administration wanted them to reduce that by 30 %; sheesh, how much more can they wring out?

  6. “So maybe Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel and all the rest might be rabid Donald Trump supporters. They’re just doing their jobs…”

    How ignorant of me. Here I thought they were supposed to be ENTERTAINING. I guess I failed to get the memo from corporate. No wonder they are all failing my performance evaluations.

  7. 4. The St. Olaf thing would be funny if it weren’t so serious.
    It looks as if the ironically-named Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion (inclusion?) at St. Olaf planned the virtual graduation ceremonies for the minority groups it serves, and now, (not the best source involved here – alphanewsmn) there might be a virtual ceremony for all graduating students.
    The Taylor Center conducts special events throughout the year for minority students, so, I suppose, they figured, why not do some special events for graduation as well. They may have caught the President by surprise, or perhaps the public reaction brought about an added virtual ceremony. Who knows?
    Such centers help minority students deal with the inevitable prejudice they encounter, but they cannot claim to be truly inclusive. This situation with graduation highlights exactly how such centers are both a benefit and a detriment.

    • “Such centers help minority students deal with the inevitable prejudice they encounter…”

      How do they do this? I’ve been a part of a few similar centers and can’t really pin-point “help,” unless you define help as encouraging greivance and a victim mentality.

      • I guess I was making an assumption there; haven’t been on a college campus in a long time. But, some of what I read indicates that the demand by minority students is there. If they are just grievance centers, then, no, they do not help.

  8. The only open borders advocate that deserves any consideration is the one who can certify that he leaves his personal residence unlocked, and grants its protections, comforts, amenities, stores, and privileges to any uninvited person who happens to walk in.

  9. Something struck me about 10 minutes ago as I opened to this site and saw the Clorox Chewables meme…which, by the way, I thought was pretty darned funny.

    I wonder how many of the people screeching about the evil President, who “suggested” people inject themselves with disinfectants like Clorox, are also people pushing for legalized drug use…where people actually inject themselves with chemicals that maim their bodies, or cause them to cease functioning altogether.

  10. Something’s coming. Do you feel it? I sure do…

    This is interesting. Because when misfortune strikes it tends to evoke, even from one not inclined to think religiously (to *feel* religiously is more apt), a sense of retribution coming to pass. Once the misfortune has become manifest it is like a *taint* that is not easily or quickly lifted. It lingers. And then in this strangest of all strange times one begins to imagine that anything can happen next. Psychologically, the ground under the feet has become unstable.

    It has to be noted that all across the nation, and all across the world, people examine the striking misfortune not from an abstract plane, but from an immediate and subjective plane.

    There is a philosopher — Paul Ricoeur — who examines all the Christian notions of *defilement* *impurity* *ethical terror* *stain* *the sublimation of dread* and of course *wrath* from a French-philosophical perspective (somewhat too abstract for my taste): and it has to be stated that in our own nation many many people are looking inside their selves as they confront an impinging misfortune. It is again a question of *interpretation*.

    Something infective and *contagious* has been set loose and if death is something that ‘defiles’, or if the wounding of sickness defines, then a question arises about ‘remedial activity’.

    “Nevertheless, the defilement that comes from spilt blood is not something that can be removed by washing.”

    One only need refer to Macbeth’s defilement to understand how deeply embedded is the sense of ‘ethical terror’. But Macbeth’s crimes were immediate, tangible, and terrible.

    It is interesting to observe people — just people in general, here, on other forums — begin to encounter the *meaning* I guess you’d have to say in these events. If we are scientifically-minded, of course, we imagine that we are beyond and outside of such superstition. And yet even that *rational man* is still imbedded within a matrix of irrational people, and psychic reaction is anything but rational, and in a sense it is really only the irrational that can fully confront Existence . . . and all that which confronts it and threatens to annihilate.

    Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

    How that *ethical terror* has functioned throughout time in the Occident! It is so curious, isn’t it? the long-standing and seemingly ineradicable notion of the defilement that clings to improper employment of sexual expression. It is seen as ‘making one dirty’ and yet in so sense is it (really) a physical taint. And the notion of *fornication* is so symbol-laden isn’t it? What else could it mean but employing resources improperly? It is very curious the weight these notions have. They subsist at invisible planes & levels.

    Nietzsche pointed out, I think there is some truth in it, that mediocre spirits revel and celebrate — long for in a sense — the destruction of their enemies: all those powerful ones who did the little ones harm, who abused their power. Ha ha ha! When the day of retribution comes they actually celebrate and live out some vindication.

    What is curious is that we now see punishment and chastisement as coming to us (personally) as a result of ethical failing. There used to be all kinds of different defiling things that were not connected, as we connect it now, to ethical shortcoming.

    In other news, I do not have a good recipe for Black Bean Bisque though I have not bothered to do a Google search. I remember one recipe that required shrimp or prawn shells to make a sort of fish stock. I have only bonito flakes. 🙂

    Finally, it has to be said that the image of the tornado is a bit like in A Serious Man (Cohn Bros). Yahweh was originally a god of the storm cloud and the fury of atmospheric retribution.

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