Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/14/2020: Only One Pandemic Note Out Of Five!

Good morning!

I am disgusted with this brain-dead talking point: perhaps my most Trump Deranged Facebook friend posted a rant–at least he wrote his own this time rather than searching the web for the latest from established “resistance” pundits (Dana Milbank, Paul Krugman, Joe Scarborough, about a hundred others)—making the “point” that President Trump wasn’t “elected to do heart surgery,” so the argument that Dr. Fauci’s opinions on the Wuhan virus shouldn’t dictate policy because “he wasn’t elected” were foolish. How did people like my friend get this way? He is obviously amazingly receptive to Democrat-crafted narratives, and probably hypnosis as well, so I guess I should be glad he doesn’t think he’s a chicken.

We elect leaders to consider and weigh many opinions of advisers, experts and specialists in narrow fields to balance those among other considerations in deciding what is in the best long and short term interests of the nation. That’s why, among other reasons, the we have a civilian in charge of the armed services. This increasingly popular (and tiresome) claim from the Left that if the recommendations of scientist aren’t followed, it is proof of ignorance and recklessness is logically, historically and politically unsupportable. If it’s sincere rather than a partisan tactic, it is ignorant  as well.

Scientists aren’t accountable to the public for their opinions; if they are wrong, they just come up with new theories and conclusions.  Scientists and health care specialists also, as we have said here many times, operate within the tunnel vision and priorities of their own specialties. All Dr. Fauci focuses on is the likely (as they appear at any given point) health consequences of national policy. Economic, security, political consequences are not his concern, nor should they be. Arguing that his position on the best national policy must be accepted by the President is irresponsible as well as incompetent, and this is true without even considering the fact that Fauci and the “experts” have been repeatedly wrong about the pandemic already, as Senator Paul pointed out this week.

1.How sports teaches character. I am going to have to take two hours out of my day because the MLB channel, improvising like crazy to come up with programming without any baseball games to cover, is replaying the 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, best known for Game 6, when Carlton Fisk hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning of arguably the most exciting World Series game ever played. I was at Game Six and two more in that seven game series (thanks to the generosity of my late law school friends and classmates Mitch and Myron Dale, whose father was then president of the Reds), but it was one I didn’t see in person, Game 4, that was the Ethics Game.

Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant, with his team facing a daunting three games-to-one deficit if it lost, pitched a nerve-wracking, complete game 5-4 victory, protecting a one-run lead for most of it despite lacking his best stuff against the toughest line-up in baseball. Nearly every inning, the Reds had men on base and threatened to take the lead; over and over again Sox manager Darrell Johnson trudged out to the mound to replace Tiant, only to have his ace shake his head, insist that he would get the job done, and demand that his boss return to the dugout. TV closeups of the Cuban’s grim and sweat-covered face showed pure determination as he took the fate of the team on his own back fearlessly and without hesitation. Tiant, an old man in baseball years, threw over 180 pitches that night in the era before they counted pitches; today, starters are seldom allowed to throw more than 100. Even more than the famous Curt Schilling “bloody sock” game in 2004, that athletic performance epitomizes for me the ethical virtues of professionalism, honor, perseverance, accountability, fortitude, courage and sacrifice. I have pictured Luis Tiant’s face  many times since when I have been under pressure to succeed, or facing a challenge while not feeling at my best.

2. A creative way to be a covidiot. In China,  26-year-old Zhang Ping was rushed to the hospital this week after he became breathless and started suffering severe chest pain after jogging more than two miles. His lung was punctured and had collapsed. Why? It collapsed, putting his life in danger, because he jogged all that time while wearing a facemask, creating unusual pressure in his lungs as they struggled to get enough oxygen while his breathing was impeded during vigorous exercise. First, as a 26 year-old healthy and fit individual, he was at greater risk jogging while masked than without one; second, the efficacy of wearing a mask outside while biking or running is highly dubious. Ironically,  the incident occurred in that province of China that has nothing at all to do with the pandemic, Wuhan.

3.  Now this is disrespectful...the day after Christmas last year, someone left this ash-filled urn in a rental car that was dropped off at the London International Airport. Nearly five months later, no one has claimed it:

4. Res Ipsa Loquitur:

5. Poll update:

6 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/14/2020: Only One Pandemic Note Out Of Five!

  1. I missed the president’s tweet…. It is honest, it is true, but the answer is incomplete.

    Why, the hell, should the US capitol city also be a state? Why should a city of 700,000 people get two Senators? By what logic would Washington DC be a state but New York City wouldn’t?

    I mean, I get it, that’s not the be all end all of arguments when states like Wyoming exist. But if you’re going to open the constitution up and start carving out areas to be new states, why on earth would you start with DC? California should probably be four or five states before DC becomes one. Hell, as an almost-more-reasonable alternative, if it’s so important that the 700,000 people of DC get representation, why not merge them into Maryland or Virginia?

    The answer to this, of course, is that this is an issue because Democrats want to get some seriously not proportionally representative senate seats, so Trump was responding directly to the reason the question was being asked…. So getting back to whether that response was ethical… I think so. It wasn’t necessarily politically smart, but those things aren’t synonymous.

    • I agree. I was looking for the choice of “It was true and ethical because statehood is a political issue. Allowing DC to become a full state with two senators and a proportionate share of representatives in the House would upset the balance of power in Congress, forever titling it to the Democrats. Republicans are not going to accept that.” .

    • Trump was responding directly to the reason the question was being asked…. So getting back to whether that response was ethical… I think so. It wasn’t necessarily politically smart, but those things aren’t synonymous.

      I think treating unprincipled maneuvers as unprincipled maneuvers, without playing the silly benefit-of-long-forgone-doubt game, is the core of his appeal. I contest that not only is this politically smart, it’s the direct cause of his success so far. Next, the media will decry his decorum and try to sell the populace on the idea that the question was asked with purity of intent, and we’ll all laugh and laugh at the expense of their ruined credibility.

      Solzhenitsyn (or someone, drat, I can’t remember right now) suggested that the Soviet Union would collapse “by noon” if everyone woke up in the morning and resolved to tell the truth. The empire of lies phenomenon works by compelling everyone to lie knowingly and doesn’t depend on anyone actually believing them. It’s been argued that it’s all the more effective the more unbelievable the lies are.

      I just wish I could think he does this on purpose! No, he’s just a “holy fool”! Perhaps he does have the mind of a child, but he gleefully declares that the emperor has no clothes all the same. Who can solve this mystery?!

  2. This increasingly popular (and tiresome) claim from the Left that if the recommendations of scientist aren’t followed, it is proof of ignorance and recklessness is logically, historically and politically unsupportable.

    The Microbe is so very small
    You cannot make him out at all,
    But many sanguine people hope
    To see him through a microscope.
    His jointed tongue that lies beneath
    A hundred curious rows of teeth;
    His seven tufted tails with lots
    Of lovely pink and purple spots,
    On each of which a pattern stands,
    Composed of forty separate bands;
    His eyebrows of a tender green;
    All these have never yet been seen—
    But Scientists, who ought to know,
    Assure us that they must be so…
    Oh! let us never, never doubt
    What nobody is sure about!

    -Hilaire Belloc

    • Fauci, I think, suffers from not being in practice for the last generation of medicine.

      He knows his stuff, obviously, and he knows his stuff better than I do. But at the end of the day his PhD has the same number of letters as the other people with PhDs who disagree with him. And a trend I’m noticing, outside the obvious political biases, is that practicing doctors seem to weigh in the practicalities of life outside the petri dish more than Fauci.

      To put it bluntly, I think he’s out of touch, and that lack of recognition of reality steers him towards suggestions that are untenable. There is no universe where kids do not go to school for an entire year. Period. So we need to figure out ways to *best* guard public health while also doing things that are necessary, because pretending that we aren’t going to eventually do those things just mean that we’re going to get caught flat footed when reality strikes and rubber hits the road.

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.