Wednesday Ethics Jolts, 6/17/2020: I Think We Have Our Answer To Question 13….

Look out!

It’s Wednesday, Wednesday got me thinking about the Wednesday Addams, which got me thinking about Charles Addams, which reminded me of that Addams cartoon…

Yes, this is how my mind works, as if you didn’t know…

1. “You know: literate morons.” The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), of all people, decided to give us an example of where the George Floyd Freakout can lead. The president of the NBCC drafted the obligatory institutional pander affirming Black Lives Matter and circulated it to the board for its approval. One contrarian and sane board member, a board president named Carlin Romano, said he disagreed with much of the letter, didn’t want to “distract the great majority of the Board from its mission,” but couldn’t resist explicating his objections, including describing the systemic racism premise as “absolute nonsense.” He did not, he wrote, believe that the publishing business operated with “the full benefits of white supremacy and institutional racism” and that “white gatekeeping had been working to stifle black voices at every level of our industry.” Such claims, he wrote, amounted to “calumnies on multiple generations of white publishers and editors” who had fought to publish authors of color. “I resent the idea that whites in the book publishing and literary world are an oppositional force that needs to be assigned to reeducation camps.”

In her reply,the current president told Romano that she’d always appreciate his perspective. It “shines unlike anyone else’s,” she wrote, adding, “your objections are all valid, of course.”

As a result of her respectful acceptance of a reasoned dissent, more than half of the 24-member board of NBCC  resigned, including, of course, all of its non-white members. The president resigned too. Romano has not. In response to another member’s accusation that his criticism had displayed ” racism and anti-blackness,” he countered, “It did nothing of the sort. I’m not racist and I’m not anti-black. Quite the contrary. I just don’t check my mind at the door when people used to operating in echo chambers make false claims.”

Ethics Hero.

2.  Pandering BLM Groveler of the Year? I’m pretty sure nobody will be able to top NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. After dismissing Colin Kaepernick and his fellow NFL kneelers as a distraction to the game and an annoyance to fans, he is now not only encouraging the players to demonstrate on the field for “racial justice,”—if he thinks such workplace stunts will stop with mere kneeling, he really is a dolt—he is now encouraging NFL teams to sign Kaepernick, who hasn’t played  for three years. He hasn’t been signed because the distractions his political grandstanding carried with him couldn’t begin to be justified by his declining quarterbacking skills, and that’s the case now more than ever. Does Goodell really think capitulating to the mob will keep him and his league safe? Is someone holding his family at gunpoint somewhere, or is he really this ignorant?

3. Wait, why haven’t I read all of this before? On Medium, Gavrillo David argues that there may be enough evidence to insulate Derek Chauvin from a murder conviction. he cites six facts in support of his theory:

  1. George Floyd was experiencing cardiopulmonary and psychological distress minutes before he was placed on the ground, let alone had a knee to his neck.

  2. The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) allows the use of neck restraint on suspects who actively resist arrest, and George Floyd actively resisted arrest on two occasions, including immediately prior to neck restraint being used.

  3. The officers were recorded on their body cams assessing George Floyd as suffering from “excited delirium syndrome” (ExDS), a condition which the MPD considers an extreme threat to both the officers and the suspect. A white paper used by the MPD acknowledges that ExDS suspects may die irrespective of force involved. The officers’ response to this situation was in line with MPD guidelines for ExDS.

  4. Restraining the suspect on his or her abdomen (prone restraint) is a common tactic in ExDS situations, and the white paper used by the MPD instructs the officers to control the suspect until paramedics arrive.

  5. Floyd’s autopsy revealed a potentially lethal concoction of drugs — not just a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, but also methamphetamine. Together with his history of drug abuse and two serious heart conditions, Floyd’s condition was exceptionally and unusually fragile.

  6. Chauvin’s neck restraint is unlikely to have exerted a dangerous amount of force to Floyd’s neck. Floyd is shown on video able to lift his head and neck, and a robust study on double-knee restraints showed a median force exertion of approximately approximately 105lbs.

He concludes that “a close inspection of all current information does not point to a murder charge being appropriate.” and makes an excellent case for that being the situation in his extensive post.

Great. Ethics Zugswang. If he is right, then either Chauvin will be sacrificed to the mob, with a fearful justice system and jury convicting him unjustly, or the failure of the system to convict him will trigger more riots and add another false narrative to the list. [Pointer: 77Zoomie]

4. Those who control the language control thought. In a disturbing development [Pointer: Arthur in Maine], Merriam-Webster decided to broaden its dictionary’s definitions of “racism” because a 22-year-old woman told the publication that their definition “is not representative of what is actually happening in the world…The way that racism occurs in real life is not just prejudice it’s the systemic racism that is happening for a lot of black Americans.”

The purpose of the revision is to allow anyone who opposes the George Floyd mob to be accused of racism.

I’m sure the dictionary was debating some way to show how woke it was and to pander to the ascendant revolutionaries, and the young woman’s email landed in the brass’s in-boxes at a propitious time. Now, according to Peter Sokolowski, an editor at large at Merriam-Webster, told CNN that their new entry will define racism as “a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles” and “a political or social system founded on racism,” which would cover systematic racism and oppression, and, obviously, justify calling the entire culture and government of the United States racist as long as one accepted the “1619 Project” narrative.

5. At last! The answer….The University of California Board of Regents voted Monday in favor of restoring affirmative action to the admissions process, though granting preferential treatment to applicants based on their race or gender in public education or employment has been outlawed in California since 1996. The vote, which was unanimous, doesn’t revive affirmative action policies, but rather is an endorsement by the 10-campus university system of a potential repeal of Proposition 209, the law that banned consideration of race and gender in admissions.

This is part of what appears to be the proposed answer to my Question 13, “What is the “systemic reform regarding race in America” that the George Floyd protests purport to be seeking?” That answer: special accommodations and benefits for African Americans in all things. Affirmative action in employment, promotions, salaries and school admissions; preference in grading, contracting and hiring; elimination of any standards that African Americans continue to lag in meeting. Reparations, of course; race-based leniency in law-enforcement and sentencing; plus  culture wide discrimination in favor of blacks and against whites in all things, all instituted by the intimidation, punishment and “cancelling” of anyone who dissents.

18 thoughts on “Wednesday Ethics Jolts, 6/17/2020: I Think We Have Our Answer To Question 13….

  1. You have spent some time on the first issue. Like with all the Covid-19 type pandering. I mostly just roll my eyes when I see it and move forward. After all, I don’t really put much stock in it. I am a firm believer that I be defined by my actions, not by my words. Words are cheap and can change at the drop of a hat. So when all these things started happening, I thought it was a good time to address it to my congregation. I’ll spare you the details, but it seemed to go over quite well. Then we get to Monday.

    On Monday I get an email from a local group of ministers (from different denominations) in my town.Once a month we get together to talk about how we as a group can help the community. On their last meeting they wanted to put out some kind of public statement. This is what they decided:

    “Micah 6:8 What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” God’s love embraces all and our Christian faith requires of us that same love for others. We confess our sin of racism that continues to plague our nation. May we be people of God’s justice and God’s peace!”

    I think my nine year old could have easily picked this apart. But I wanted to help, so I wrote the following reply:

    I have three problems with the statement as it is.

    First: I have no clue why you’re writing this other than to…grandstand? Virtue signal? It is what is going on in the world? If you have a purpose what is it?

    Second. You make racism sound like original sin. This actually creates the third problem.

    Third: Not everyone is guilty of it. But even if we are or you are assuming you are, you take on no responsibility or accountability to change.

    If I were to write one it would sound more like this:

    As Christians (MA) we daily see a broken and unjust world. It is tempting to look for a man-made solution to ongoing problems, but we know there is only one solution to worldly injustice: being in the mindset of Christ (Phil. 2:5-11). There is no imperfection, brokenness, racism and/or injustice in the mind of Christ and it is our only chance to truly overcome the pain and suffering in the world. However, we recognize that there are those who will claim to love God, but hate their brother (1 John 4:20). While these people wear Christianity like a white coat, they are liars and it is our duty as those in the mindset of Christ not to tolerate their behavior. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ against these so-called Christians and have a responsibility to call them out on their unchristian like behavior. We are not white Christians (though some white Christians have it easier because they are white) and we are not black Christians (though some black Christians have it harder because they are black). We are Christians united in the body (Gal. 3:28) and stand united against ideas contrary to the nature and body of Christ.

    Now, While I know many of you would disagree with the answer, it is very much in line with Christian thinking and the association.

    Here is one of the replies I received: “WOW! JP (Minster of CHURCH), I would like to say I appreciate the Ministerial Alliance for taking the initiative to write a letter addressing racism. Racism is a problem in the world and also in our city. I believe Christ wanted us to confess our sins. Many people who call themselves Christians grandstand by not acknowledging their sins. I think it’s appalling to have members of the black community as members of your church and feel it is not necessary to address racism. It seems like you don’t care about the issue and just want to whitewash the matter. I hope we all take on the responsibility to change ourselves and our ways so that we please GOD. I also hope you are advocating for change in the world and in the community. You can call me anytime because I would love to sit and talk with you about the effects of racism and how it has impacted my life; “if you care to hear”.

    I should point out this is a white women. My reply was… not as kind as I should have been. My wife said I should have waited to write back. But I’m more struck by the fact that I did nothing wrong, it was a group of peers who respect each other, NO ONE stood up for me, and I was being thrown to the wolves.

    My whole point to all of this: I live in a town of 15,000 people. Don’t think you’re going to escape this. Don’t think people who you trust are going to give you the benefit of the doubt, however DO the right thing. It might be easy to just ignore it and pretend it is all going to go away and maybe it might for you, but people are losing their minds over this stuff and we have to hold them accountable as well.

  2. Re: No. 4; Racism Redefined.

    Here is the new, revised Mirriam-Webster definition of racism

    1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
    2a : a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
    b : a political or social system founded on racism
    3 : racial prejudice or discrimination

    I read it. I reread it. And I read it again. I am left with a question: how does this revision help define what is racism? The first definition is in line with my understanding of racism, i.,e that it is a belief system that considers one’s worth along racial lines and delineations of superiority. The rest of revision seems tautological and does not really help define racism: “Racism is a system based on racism”. In my mind, racism and “systemic racism” or “institutional racism” are different terms and require their own definitions. MW’s revisions do not help clarify anything. Why would MW conflate them? Did it really capitulate? I’m not sure but it sure didn’t help us understand anything.

    jvb

  3. Regarding the Floyd-Chauvin matter, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that the police officers were trying to save Floyd’s life. If the defense makes such an argument, and does so well enough to create reasonable doubt, Chauvin may be acquitted. Of course, if that happens, it’s doubtful we’ll witness apologies or see anyone thanking the officers for their attempt to save a black man’s life. Instead, the acquittal will be used as proof of systemic racism, and riots will ensue.

  4. 2. Goodell has lost all credibility. Colin Kaepernick doesn’t play in the NFL because he’s a terrible distraction, but there’s a bigger reason. He’s a terrible player. He had one very good year, another partially good year, and then was paid millions to completely stink. White, black, or tutti-frutti – I don’t care what color he is, Kaepernick will have much more success complaining about not playing in the NFL than actually doing it. Goodell is flat-out pandering and many fans of the game – again, I don’t care what color – know it and are angered by it. The first time a game is interrupted by a bunch of protesters, there will be a mass exodus of fanship and viewership.

    • You hit the nail on the head. The kneeling and preening were intended to keep the 49ers from cutting him. The 49ers called his bluff by nit renewing his contract. Aside from below average field performances he was/is prone to injury. Who wants to pay him a ton of money to ride the bench. Three years is a long time to be out of a professional sport. The NFL will force someone to pick him up, maybe with a side deal on draft choices, let him play a few games and let him wash out.

      jvb

      • If he washes out, the league will immediately pick him up as “social justice advisor” or some other title for someone who basically just speaks platitudes.

        In the days of the British Empire, if a nation wasn’t directly under the control of the Empire by a viceroy or similar official, but was of interest, the British would insist on the presence of a British Resident in the court or whatever other ruling body. The Resident’s role was to make certain that the nation of interest did not take a path that was at odds with British interests, such as the rulers of Afghanistan leaning towards Russia.

        In present-day Iran, the system is somewhat democratic, in the sense that there are elections with candidates. however, any and all candidates must first get the approval of the supreme religious leader, who is really the power behind any public office, and not subject to election.

        I’m not telling these stories because I like to tell stories about the British Empire at its height or of a nation of seventh-centuty morals in a 21st century world. I’m telling them because I believe they represent where this nation is headed if we don’t get a handle on this latest freak out and get it soon. I do not want the black lives matter movement to become the power behind all public offices in the United States, where every mayor and governor has to have a racial justice advisor or something like that, vetted by the movement and making certain that official stays with the program, on pain of destruction by mobs should he deviate. I do not want this nation to be in a situation where everyone who wants to run for public office must first pledge fealty to that movement, on pain of being ruined and forced out of public life. However, if we don’t pull up soon oh, that is where we will be headed.

  5. 3. Wait, why haven’t I read all of this before?

    How curious. By closely examining all the material — police report, videos, especially the NYTs reconstruction video — I concluded almost all of that. All that information was there. It just had to be interpreted.

    The strangest part of the whole thing is that, in reality, in truth, George Floyd did to himself what happened to him. It was the end-point in a long chain of bad decisions. Who is willing to face these truths I wonder?

    And here is another horrible fact: He was worth more to those who survived him dead than alive. Despite all the false-pathos. I don’t want to sound cruel or unfairly cynical but I wonder what thoughts have gone through the heads of those who survived him?

    Millions of dollars were received through the GoFundMe (at least 4 million, and likely more). There will be a lawsuit that wins many millions more. If the family (however many there are) use the money carefully they could advance directly to the American upper middle-class.

    And so George Floyds life-trajectory ended with his death on the street after attempting a petty robbery. What a miserable tale. Yet the reading of the event when seen through that telling video leads to no other conclusion except that of a cruel murder. And yet it is possible, quite possible — he fell before they got to the car they were then to try to put him in and there he began to complain that he couldn’t breathe — that the neckhold was not the cause of his death.

    But still — George Floyd’s choices ultimately caused immense damage. More than he could ever have imagined. What a saint! How lucky we are to have such people among us.

    My support goes to the police officer. I could not find a GoFundMe for him but I will call the police there and ask if there is one. And then send him something.

    • Interesting observations. Last time I checked his GoFundMe account exceeded $10 million. The visual is damning for the state though. It is interesting that a pathologist hired by the family reached the conclusion the family wanted. Dr. Baden has risked his credibility on this autopsy. Who really thinks those officers can get a fair trial? In Minneapolis?

      As for Floyd, I am getting tired of celebrating this guy and hus legacy. I thought you had to prove three miracles attributed to the deceased to confer sainthood. Who knew those miracles could be premortal and involve armed robbery of a pregnant woman in her home and the abandonment of who knows how many children?

      jvb

      • Well, here is the latest NYTs:

        Protest Updates: Officer Charged With Murder in Rayshard Brooks Killing

        The former Atlanta officer, Garrett Rolfe, faces 11 charges, including murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was fired on Saturday less than 24 hours after the fatal shooting.

        There is this analysis:

        And then this. I verified that Brooks was on parole and had a conviction for child abuse:

        Rayshard Brooks had been serving a sentence for beating his own kids. He was released early on parole due to the mayor’s COVID-19 response. He served only months of a 5 year sentence. The man got a second chance. What did he do? He passed out drunk in his car in a drive thru. He knew if he was arrested that this would be a parole violation and he would go back to prison. He made his choice to drink and drive, which could’ve killed innocent people itself. He chose to resist arrest. He chose to attack the officers. He chose to run from the scene. He chose to use a weapon against the arresting officers. Seems to me that this man made a lot of choices that resulted in this outcome. You can thank the mayor of Atlanta for allowing this man back in to society.

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