Sunday Ethics Reflections, 6/28/2020: For The Defense….

Greetings from the Ethics Alarms bunker…

1. I’m current reflecting on a personal and professional ethics conflict. A colleague and long-time professional competitor—I would never call him a friend—has been ousted from his leadership position in the very successful organization he founded as a result of unproven allegations of sexual harassment and assault. It was a “believe all victims” situation, as well as what feels like a successful coordinated effort to “get” someone who had accumulated a lot of enemies, resentment and envy in a notoriously nasty industry once his power was waning.

On one hand, I feel like I should reach out to him and offer my guidance and support (as an ethicist and sexual harassment trainer, not a lawyer, and gratis, of course). On the other, I am pretty certain that he is guilty of at least some of what has been alleged, based on confidential accounts I have recently heard from reliable sources. Ethically, however, his ousting (it appears that he was given the option of “retiring”) lacked due process and fairness, and the organization was guided by public relations motives rather than legal or ethical ones.

Whose side should I be on?

2. Stop making me defend Facebook! As if there wasn’t enough to worry about, the aggressive pandering mode of corporations right now is being exploited by would-be censors of political speech. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced updated election policies and stricter “hate speech” rules in response to employee protests and pressure from activists, whose transparent objective is to silence or constrict any political views antithetical progressive positions and goals. In a message last week, Zuckerberg  outlined plans to police disinformation relating to voting and elections, to flag certain content that risked triggering violence (I wonder what  that standard is like today?) and concluded,

I’m committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues, because I believe we can make more progress when we hear each other. But I also stand against hate, or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that no matter where it comes from.

I doubt that flagrantly hateful content directed at the President will qualify as “hate.”

Never mind: the organizers of an advertising freeze against the company said that the new policies weren’t enough to make them end their boycott, the “Stop the Hate for Profit” movement, that has attracted support from appeasing brands like Honda, UnileverVerizon and The North Face. “Hate” is now like “racism” and “white supremacy,” words that mean whatever they need to mean to strangle debate and dissent from the current “right” positions.

“Facebook is supporting hate, not ‘free speech'” Derrick Johnson, NAACP president, said in the statement. “I am incredibly concerned with Zuckerberg’s response today. Facebook’s inactions are costing us lives.”

Add “safe” to that list of infinitely flexible attack words.

Zuckerberg had written,

“We’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others. We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”

So criticism of illegal immigrants is now banned on Facebook…and the progressive censors want more. [Pointer: Arthur in Maine]

3. Of course they are out to cancel John Wayne again. It’s hunting season for every target that the Left has fired at and missed over the past decade. Naturally they are once more seeking the big game quarry of John Wayne, seeking to have him “canceled” based on an over-the-top interview he gave to Playboy in 1971. California Democrats in Orange County are again demanding that the county’s John Wayne Airport be renamed. Last week’s  resolution read in part,

“The Democratic Party of Orange County condemns John Wayne’s racist and bigoted statements, and calls for John Waynes’ name and likeness to be removed from the Orange County airport, and calls on the OC Board of Supervisors to restore its original name: Orange County Airport.”

Perhaps more than any other performer, Wayne’s iconic on screen persona is distinct from the man, and was always intended to be. Marion Morrisey often talked about his alter-ego”John Wayne” in the third person; he once said that he went by his childhood nickname “Duke” because he still thought of “John” as the name of his character, not him. The statue of John Wayne they want to topple, like the films he starred in and that still are popular today, honors the actor’s creation, a personification of the nation, the West, and the many core national values, like courage, decency, commitment to justice, and loyalty. The man was not fairly represented by his words in the Playboy interview, but I am convinced that the attack on Wayne is part of the attempt to devalue all of American culture, including our history, the flag, the Presidency, the Founders, and “The Star Spangled Banner.” (Pointer: Neil Dorr)

4. An astute quote from Ann Althouse: Noting that when the Biden campaign announced that 58% of the staff was made up of women, a women’s rights group complained that the percentage  should be higher, the blogress wrote,

“This is one more example of the never enough phenomenon. I need to make a “never enough” tag. Once you start capitulating to demands, you’re opening the door to endless demands. You take down the Confederate General statue, and before long the demand will be to take down the Lincoln statue, and to take down all statues.”

Doesn’t everybody know this by now? Obviously not. Our appeasing university administrators, mayors and corporate executives are just as ignorant of history as the mob.

24 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Reflections, 6/28/2020: For The Defense….

  1. You don’t negotiate with terrorists, the principle applies to progressives as well.

    As for your “not friend” reach out to him.

      • Ethically, however, his ousting (it appears that he was given the option of “retiring”) lacked due process and fairness, and the organization was guided by public relations motives rather than legal or ethical ones.

        Whose side should I be on?

        You already know the answer. You just want someone to reassure you, as he’s a cad who doesn’t deserve to have due process… except everyone does, even cads and bounders. As you well know.

        So please consider yourself reassured.

        I’ve had to defend the right to procedural fairness of some who literally want to see me dead, and have no compunctions in saying that. It’s not about them, it’s about me.

        This is not about him, it’s about you. What you believe in. But you know that.

      • I am not sure there is an ethical conflict. You heard reports from others. That is hearsay. Your friend is entitled to due process. Fairness dictates that he has the right to confront accusers.

        jvb

  2. 2) I was hoping you’d comment on Facebook. But it’s not just ads. It was blatantly obvious yesterday that content was disappearing. It was also obvious that I was being prevented from commenting on certain subjects or in certain threads. I asked my friends if they were seeing the same thing and they agreed that they were.

  3. I am not sure why you would feel some obligation to reach out to a “not friend” competitor that you have an idea may be guilty. Would you lend him money if his business needed a loan due to hardship? I would not think so.

    The only justifiable reason would be to help him get due process. In that case you are taking your side and our sides in the matter. His side and her side are tangental to due process. Promoting due process is always the right thing to do.

    • Hell no. I’d be more likely to ask HIM for money.
      No, as with my recommendations for Mookie Betts, I would offer to help him do the ethical things to rehabilitate himself in the community over time.

      • To do the ethical things necessary to rehabilitate himself requires his willingness to want to.

        A significant problem I can envision is that he is absolutely innocent. Reaching out now, if he already feels he is being railroaded, with offers of help in the form of rehab assistance would probably cause all communications to end because such offers suggest that you have judged him guilty without knowing any facts. Innocent people dont need or want rehab assistance; it always sounds like compelled reeducation processes.

        The only offer that could be made is you would be willing to hear him out. After that you can offer other help..

  4. Ethically, however, his ousting (it appears that he was given the option of “retiring”) lacked due process and fairness, and the organization was guided by public relations motives rather than legal or ethical ones.

    You would need more information.

    Was he given a fair chance to provide alternate explanations for the evidence against him, or able top present evidence in his own defense?

    I doubt that flagrantly hateful content directed at the President will qualify as “hate.”

    It is as if speech codes are not enforced in an even-handed manner.

    The man was not fairly represented by his words in the Playboy interview, but I am convinced that the attack on Wayne is part of the attempt to devalue all of American culture, including our history, the flag, the Presidency, the Founders, and “The Star Spangled Banner.” (Pointer: Neil Dorr)

    I am wondering if the county offices got a call friom the state or national organizations.

    Here is what a Democratic political strategist with instincts as good as Michael Dukakis’s in 1988 would say

    What are you thinking? This has nothing to do with systemic racism or police brutality or lack of police accountability. You’re not some random individuals. You are the Democratic Party of Orange County. You are damaging our brand. You wrote a campaign ad for Trump!

    Did anyone in the committee even raise objections?

    Doesn’t everybody know this by now? Obviously not. Our appeasing university administrators, mayors and corporate executives are just as ignorant of history as the mob.

    What would Biden say if he still had his faculties?

          • Well, there’s more…

            1. There are accusations of a white wash
            2. One of the accusers’ story is very intense and credible.
            3. More accusers have surfaced since the retirement, and
            4. He built the culture, as in FoxNews.

            • I think I would refrain from inserting myself into the situation. If he were a personal friend, it would be different, but this sounds like a mess where your involvement is very unlikely to do any good. You framed the question as “which side should I be on?”, but why is it necessary for you to take a side? Can your involvement help bring the truth to light? If so, then get involved in that capacity, if you choose. If your involvement won’t further that goal, then it’s probably best to not get involved, and definitely best to not choose a side (other than the side of truth) in such a conflict.

              • Here’s why: I’m in a unique situation. I’m familiar with the organization and have worked with it from time to time, have credentials and credibility in then industry, and am uniquely qualified with that community regarding the issues at hand since I train companies.

        • Agreed. This is “Bust the Busters.” The only outcome The Mob wanted was evidence to execute your friend/competitor. He may be guilty; who knows? The Mob doesn’t care. The Mob must be beaten back at all costs.

          jvb

  5. 2. The latest abject groveling and hapless and unnecessary virtue signaling from a college president who should have much better things to do than worry about what’s on Facebook:

    Dear Hamilton Community,
    A Facebook video came to our attention this morning, showing someone who previously worked at the College as a contract employee of our food services provider making despicable racist slurs. I am appalled by what is on the video. He will not work here again and has been banned from our campus effective immediately. The behavior shown on the video is an extreme violation of our community standards and will not be tolerated. We will review our own and our contractors’ employee screening and training policies to be sure appropriate requirements are in place.
    I will also reach out to the Utica resident who was the target of this individual’s slurs. I want her to know that racism and bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated at Hamilton College.
    David

    What a dope. I guy who used to work in a cafeteria at the college is evidently a jerk. Despicable. Appalling. If he ever tries to work at the college again, he won’t be allowed to. That will show him! He violated “community standards!” Do we really need to be told that slinging racial slurs is not a good thing to do? Anywhere? We need a guy making hundreds of thousands of dollars to get alumni to give to the school to tell us that? We will now get involved in our contractors’ hiring processes to see that they’re not hiring jerks to do jobs we tried to outsource to save some dough and get out of the food service business so we could, what, educate young minds? No, so we can spend more time and money pandering to crybabies. I will also reach out to a total stranger and get involved in some situation I’m barely familiar with and bother her.

    Incredible. How big is the gun being held at this guy’s head? Does he have a spine?

    • Great article explaining this sort of behavior: https://spectator.us/rise-coercive-progressivism/

      The crux of the analysis is below: There is original sin but no forgiveness of sin, no redemption. Confounding, no?

      “The religious character of coercive progressivism is central to understanding its relentless, missionary vigor. Antonia Senior has observed how identity politics functions as ‘Christianity without redemption’, and the faith espoused by the coercive progressives is just such a creed, as its response to George Floyd’s killing demonstrates. There are rituals, hymns and almsgiving. In place of justice, there is martyrdom; baptisms are now conducted at the site of Floyd’s death. There is original sin in the form of ‘white privilege’ and heritable guilt. Iniquities are confessed and, by way of penance, apologies given for the actions of others and patronizing genuflections made to shine the shoes of black people. Heretics are shunned or browbeaten into repenting and even the insufficiently pious are damned. Graven images are smashed by the faithful and the theology is suitably confusing, with some activists demanding white people speak up and others that they shut up. But where Christianity offers salvation, sin is eternal in this religion and the hope of deliverance absent. There is only the cross, no resurrection.”

  6. 1. Unilever, maker of Fair and Lovely, a skin lightening cream aimed at darker skinned women, is taking a stand against racist hate? Alrighty then.

  7. About your ethics conundrum.

    I think you have boxed yourself into a corner by saying that you have to “take sides.” Taking sides means that you have an investment in whether it is right or wrong, whether he is guilty or innocent, or whether the organization is acting in bad faith or not.

    Certainly the better (and higher road) would be to say that you are “siding with the truth.” Since you have no concrete knowledge of his guilt — despite your misgivings — and it seems the organization has behaved in a shoddy manner, then … certainly reach out to him.

    I think we we stop “taking sides” and do what our internal barometers believe to be right and just, then much of the bad behavior we see today would evaporate.

    I appreciate your making this personal struggle public on your blog. It just underscores that good (or right) decisions are seldom easy.

    God bless.

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