Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 3…Ethics Fireworks (and Duds)!

1. Gaslighting! Seth Abramson is an American professor, attorney, author, and political columnist whom I have been mercifully unaware of previously. In response to last night’s inspiring speech by the President (inspiring unless you’re in favor of gutting U.S. culture and rights), he tweeted,

Someone please explain to Seth that if you don’t pay better attention than that to what’s going on, you are ethically obligated to shut the hell up.

2. I have to mention this because it’s embarrasses Harvard. Claira Janover, who graduated in May from the once-respectable university with a degree in government and psychology, saw a  short clip she posted on Tik Tok where she threatened to stab anyone who had  “the nerve, the sheer entitled caucasity to say ‘all lives matter'” go viral.

“I’ma stab you,” the Connecticut native says on the clip, zooming in close on her face. “I’ma stab you, and while you’re struggling and bleeding out, I’ma show you my paper cut and say, ‘My cut matters too,’” she added.

Oh, I get it! She’s making an analogy between someone saying “All Lives Matter” as a retort to “Black Lives Matter,” saying killing non-black people isn’t an issue because black people being killed is to white people being killed  like a stabbing is to a paper cut! Or something like that. It’s not a very good analogy. No, it wasn’t a “a true threat,” either. It was just an ugly and obnoxious video that signaled that she is irresponsible and intolerant of other points of view. This impugned the judgment of her new employers, the international accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, and they canned her. Of course they did. She should have known that would happen.

I would have fired her just for saying “Ima stab you.” Corporations don’t tend to pay huge fees to people who say, “Ima” anything.

Rather than being accountable, Janover has decided to play the victim, claiming Trump supporters are at fault for her fate, and attacking her ex-employer.

“I’m sorry, Deloitte, that you can’t see, ” she said, “that you were cowardice [sic] enough to fight somebody who’s going to make an indelible change in the world and is going to have an impact.” If she keeps this up, she may successfully ensure that nobody hires her, and though she will no doubt claim otherwise, it will have nothing to do with racism.

Good job, Harvard!

3. Yes, that speech is OUT OF DATE! The number or quotes and links being circulated of and to Frederick Douglas’s July Fifth oration in 1852, “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery” (“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim…”) this past week is another example of madness. Millard Fillmore was President. The controversy over slavery was just beginning to speed up: that was the year, a few months before Douglass’s speech, that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was published and educated millions of Americans about what slavery was. In 1852, an ex-Congressman named Abe Lincoln was still talking about avoiding “both extremes” on the slavery issue. The Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t a twinkle in his eye. The 13th Amendment was unimaginable; the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the equivalent of science fiction. Nobody thought that a Civil War was on the horizon within eight short years.

In short, Frederick Douglas’s speech condemned circumstances that no longer exist, and it has no relevance today except as evidence of how far the United States has come. Those who continue to claim 2020 that nothing has really changed are lying, or unmoored to reality.

4. Here are four better speeches to reflect upon  on Independence Day:

  • On July 4, 1962 President John F. Kennedy delivered this speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • On July 4, 1986, aboard the USS John F. Kennedy, President Ronald Reagan delivered this speech in New York Harbor for Liberty Weekend. The celebration was the 100th anniversary of France giving the Statue of Liberty to the United States.
  • On July 4, 2014, President Barack Obama delivered this speech to members of the U.S. military at the White House.
  • And on July 5, 1926, President Calvin Coolidge, who was not a accomplished a speaker as any of those three men who succeeded but who had his moments of inspiration, delivered this speech, in which he said,

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers….

Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes. We do need a better understanding and comprehension of them and a better knowledge of the foundations of government in general.

5. We can hope that this we’ll be able to look back on all of this as temporary insanity, and not as a defense for murdering democracy, liberty, and free speech.

  • As an Orwellian language remedy to thought crime, Twitter Engineering last week announced that “whitelist” and “blacklist” will change to “allowlist” and “denylist,” respectively. Here is the whole list of Twitter wrongspeak:

  • The Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins are finally knuckling under and agreeing to change their names, brands and promotion, pointlessly addressing a contrived offense that about 90% of Native Americans couldn’t care less about, essentially because both teams’ management are cowardly.

Since the BLM mob is demanding it, the teams are terrified of being metaphorically guillotined as racists. As a direct result, we will now see every reference to Native Americans in marketing, entertainment, sports and popular culture vanish.

  •  Cancel Culture Insanity of the Day: Boeing’s communications chief Neil Golightly resigned last week, following an employee’s complaint over an article the former U.S. military pilot wrote 33 years ago arguing women should not serve in combat. “My article was a 29-year-old Cold War navy pilot’s misguided contribution to a debate that was live at the time,” Golightly said in his apology. “My argument was embarrassingly wrong and offensive. The dialogue that followed its publication 33 years ago quickly opened my eyes, indelibly changed my mind, and shaped the principles of fairness, inclusion, respect, and diversity that have guided my professional life since,” Golightly added. “The article is not a reflection of who I am, but nonetheless, I have decided that in the interest of the company I will step down.”

He’s a coward too. When executives and others allow malign individuals to successfully weaponize ancient opinions, jokes or statements, they undermine  freedom of thought and expression while empowering bullies and censors.

And on those depressing notes,

15 thoughts on “Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 3…Ethics Fireworks (and Duds)!

  1. #2–“This impugned the judgment of her new employers, the international accounting and consulting firm, Deloitte, and they canned her.”

    I’ve asked before, I’ll ask again; is it unethical to enjoy KARMA play out in real time?

    Hahvahd actually issues diplomas to arguably illiterate Morons Savant?

    Happy 4th of July, all!

    ‘Specially you, d_d!

  2. 1. Frankly, the man looks either uninformed or foolish. That alone is enough to take away any credibility he has.

    2. 22-year-old college graduates are supposed to be people we can trust to have kids and raise them right, lead 40 men into battle, and fly multi-million dollar aircraft. This woman has the mentality of a sixteen-year-old, maybe even a fourteen-year-old. Putting all the bluster that’s been fielded here aside, only an idiot threatens to stab anyone over words. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots records herself threatening to stab someone over words and puts that recording where literally anyone can see it. The Godfather says in the eponymous novel that “There are people in this world who go about demanding to be killed. You must have noticed them. They quarrel in gambling games. They jump out of their automobiles in a rage. They humiliate and bully people whose capabilities they do not know. These are people who wander through the world shouting, “kill me!” And there’s always someone ready to oblige them.” This woman is one of those people.

    3. Unfortunately the George Floyd freak-out has brought a lot of black folks, including a lot of black lawyers I know, back to that speech. Increasingly blacks are coming to believe they are still shut out of opportunities, in danger of being killed every time a police officer comes near, and still thought of as “nigger” when their backs are turned.

    4. Agreed, although I’ll skip Obama’s speech, thanks. That man is just a bad memory and that’s how I’d like to keep things.

    5. Probably not, the old inclusive language nonsense was around when I was in college, and it’s not going away anytime soon. I don’t think the Redskins should change the name, but, if change it must, how about Redtails, in honor of the Tuskegee airmen? They could unveil the name with the remaining Tuskegee airmen there and punctuate it with a flight of P-51s. Boeing should have filed that employee’s complaint about a 33 year old complaint…in the circular file.

  3. 3. ” … it has no relevance today except as evidence of how far the United States has come.”

    Well, I have to disagree.

    Yes, the timing is suspect, as are the motivations of some on social media, but it was a 4th of July speech, and it was one of the great speeches delivered by one of the most eloquent abolitionists of the time. Americans should be familiar with the man and his work.
    Further, a little way into the speech he makes a point today’s iconoclasts should note well, that while he especially could be expected to take a dim view of the founding fathers due to slavery, yet he could not “contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were,” he said, “statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.” If Douglass, a former slave, could honor their memory, then so too can we all.
    His optimism, his faith in the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence, and his trust in the Constitution also are noteworthy and a powerful counter to the destroy America crowd.

  4. Regarding #5, wouldn’t it be easier to just stop calling us “black” and “white” people than to replace hundreds of other words and expressions that use the colors black and white in them? Seems like a more efficient solution.

    Also, Twitter’s list includes the term “dummy value”. Now, this is a list concerning the internal practices of Twitter’s engineering team. Does that mean that Twitter employs people who proudly identify themselves as dummies and would be offended by the term? The existence of this list definitely argues toward an affirmative answer to that question.

  5. Someone please explain to Seth that if you don’t pay better attention than that to what’s going on, you are ethically obligated to shut the hell up.

    Seth Abramson peddled the Russian collusion myth the same way his counterparts in 1919 Germany peddled the Stab in the Back myth.

    You should read the Twitter thread.

    Those who continue to claim 2020 that nothing has really changed are lying, or unmoored to reality.

    I have heard and read about how these protests are a reckoning for america’s racism, as if the Civil Rights movement never happened.

    Sort of like claims about how we are facing an epidemic of gun violence.

  6. Profiles In Hypocrisy? THIS Is CNN!

    (bolds/caps/italics mine throughout)
    THEN (2008): CNN’s Ron Marciano “Barack Obama is campaigning in South Dakota. That state’s primary is Tuesday. Obama arrived there late last night and got a good look around Mt. Rushmore — it’s quite a sight if you haven’t seen it.”

    CNN’s Betty Nguyen: “Barack Obama is in South Dakota today. He arrived there last night. Take a look at this. He got a good glimpse of the MAGESTIC Mount Rushmore.

    NOW: CNN’s Leyla Santiago “President Trump will be at Mt. Rushmore where he’ll be standing in front of A MONUMENT OF TWO SLAVE HOLDERS AND ON LAND WRESTLED AWAY FROM NATIVE AMERICANS told that be focusing on the effort to, quote, tear down our country’s history.”

  7. 5. I actually find it annoying that on the one hand, human races (groups of humans who share some similarities in appearance) have historically been identified by colors associated with their skin, while on the other hand, completely independently and before meeting humans from other continents on a regular basis, Europeans started to use colors to indicate whether things are good or bad. This etymology likely came about because when things rot they often turn black, and because blackness implies darkness (the absence of light), which most humans use to evoke ignorance, fear, or bad luck because they can’t see in the dark. (I use the metaphor of darkness in a much more neutral/benevolent sense, but that’s quite rare.) Interestingly, the color white is associated with death and mourning in many Asian cultures.

    With the exception of finance (black ink marking positive numbers and red ink marking negative numbers), most historical evocations of the color black indicate evil, corruption, morbidity, or otherwise something negative. “Black heart,” “blackguard,” “black magic,” “black hat,” “black market,” “blackball,” “blacklist,” “black mark,” “black day,” “black comedy/humor”…

    It creates a bit of cognitive dissonance for most humans when the word used to describe a group of humans is, for completely separate reasons, used to symbolize bad things. For this reason I have voluntarily avoided using the words “black” or “dark” to evoke negative connotations. That, and as I said before, I use the metaphor of “darkness” for a completely different purpose: to illustrate empathy, as opposed to light, which illustrates semantics. Both are necessary for effective communication.

    If we could move away from identifying people by color, that’d be good. Humans identifying as “Black” may object, but they’ve changed their group self-identification labels several times already, so there is precedent. Identifying human appearances by continent (Europe, Africa, Asia, Americas) is also difficult because humans can move around and live elsewhere. I’d like to get a bunch of humans of the same race in a room together to decide what they themselves want to be called, and watch them tear each other apart. No matter where they’re from, humans never learned to be wise and mature in groups.

    I will continue to use “sanity check,” though. I use it in a self-deprecating fashion, when I ask for a sanity check to verify whether my conclusion is sane or not.

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