The “I’d Say ‘Thank God It’s Friday,’ But In A Home Office During A Pandemic Friday’s Just A Name” Ethics Grab Bag, 7/10/2020

1. Re: Privilege and bit more on the Harper’s letter fiasco. At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein flags this tweet by New York Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi:

A few thoughts:

  • Why do I subscribe to a paper that would employ someone like this? I forget.
  • She’s a bigot. I just wrote a bit on the “privileged smear” on another thread:

I have to say again that I do not comprehend the “privilege” line of thought at all. In the hands of most who wield it, I find the tactic the equivalent of Butch Cassidy kicking huge Harvey Logan in the balls to start their knife fight….

 

Telling people they are “privileged,” to my ear, is just a way of making good luck some kind of sin that disqualifies an individual for being treated with respect for their accomplishments. Clarence Darrow’s favorite poem was “Life is a game of whist,” which states the philosophy that one’s task in life is to take the hand one is dealt and play it as well as possible without bitching about it: the game’s the thing. I agree, and I know my father would have agreed, though he never mentioned that poem. I’ve been a barely OK player, not a great one; indeed I have mentioned here more than once that I consider myself a something of a failure—an underachiever– for not doing much more with the good cards I was dealt. I’m not to be praised for being born white, male and healthy in the US, smarter than the average bear and creative by nature, with parents in a stable and loving relationship who raised me well and sacrificed their whole lives to make the road ahead easier for me and my sister than it was for the. But I’m got going to feel guilty about it either, nor should I. No, I am not like George H.W. Bush in Ann Richards’ famous cheap (but funny!) insult, waking up on third and thinking I hit a triple. But the fact that various agencies beyond my control put me on—well, not third–second maybe? A healthy lead off first? does not mean anyone has a right to make me go back to home plate, or give me crap for my proximity to scoring.

Would I rather be black than stupid? Absolutely. Would I rather be brilliant, gorgeous and female than old, fat, bald and male? Sure. Born in a dysfunctional family than born with a physical handicap or a chronic disease? Yes.  Are Michael Jordan, Mookie Betts, Tiger Woods and Brooke Shields more “privileged” than I am? Damn right. Do I resent that or their success, or ever for a second think that they don’t deserve what they have achieved? Never. Do they have an ethical obligation to help me play MY metaphorical cards? Nope.

  • And Fassisi is an arrogant fool. Bernstein correctly writes,

[S]he apparently believes that a letter against cancel culture, or, if one prefers, in favor of free speech and open debate, constitutes “weighing in” on “racism, diversity & inclusion….[and] she thinks that white men have nothing to say worth saying about these issues, which means, in effect, that white men can never usefully express an opinion on anything related to her rather capacious definition of racism, diversity & inclusion, to include opinions on freedom of speech and open debate.

Yup. You know: “privilege.”

2. Poll updates: Today’s poll on whether Marquette or Penn State is run by bigger weasels (metaphorically speaking) is, so far, favoring Marquette, but with “a tie” being the most chosen response.

The previous poll, now closed, on whether the continuing effort to blame President Trump for the pandemic damage should be added to the EA “Big Lies” list  was a runaway, and I’ll be following through over the weekend.

3. And speaking of the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck…

  • The utterly useless and China-allied World Health Organization has updated its guidelines to state that the likelihood that the virus can go airborne, particularly in enclosed spaces like restaurants and gyms, “cannot be ruled out.” Wow, thanks for that bulletin, WHO! A few days ago a Times headline, giving me a fine example of the “False Framing” variety of fake news, stated that “In the midst of a pandemic” the Trump administration was following through with its threat to disengage from WHO. The reality is that WHO has proved itself untrustworthy and in thrall to China’s duplicitous rulers,  and whether in a pandemic or out of it, the organization has not justified U.S. financial support.
  • The New York Times used 650 new cases of the virus to  report that  “Weeks after President Trump demanded that America’s shuttered houses of worship be allowed to reopen, new outbreaks of the coronavirus are surging through churches across the country where services have resumed.” The Times still has not traced any increase in cases to the mass, social distancing-free protests/demonstrations/riots. Pundit  Matt Margolis notes,

Just 650 cases. According to the New York Times, 650 cases linked to churches is a “major source” of coronavirus cases out of the more the 3 million official cases there have been since the beginning of the pandemic. There have been over 430,000 new cases in the month of July alone, but 650 cases linked to churches is a “major source” of coronavirus cases? That represents just 0.02 percent of all cases since the start of the pandemic, and 0.15 percent of new cases just from July.

Of course they did.

  • I can’t include this without prefacing it with the obligatory “Bridge Over The River Kwai” clip…

Now that that’s done, consider this:  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will permit mass Black Lives Matter protests to continue marching through city streets even as the city is prohibiting  all other large events through September. Speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN last night (Wolf will just nod his head like one of those dog toys in the back of cars at anything a Democrat says, no matter how offensive or absurd) de Blasio said the demonstrators’ calls for social justice were just too darn important to stop. “This is a historic moment of change. We have to respect that but also say to people the kinds of gatherings we’re used to, the parades, the fairs — we just can’t have that while we’re focusing on health right now,” de Blasio said, making no sense whatsoever.  [ See here.]

4. Luckily, I had already run the “Madness” clip before having to report this, and I suppose it’s comforting to know that Canada is going nuts too. In  West Vancouver, British Columbia, police have declared this tire mark on a rainbow pride crosswalk…

a “gesture of hate.”  Yesterday, the police announced that they had identified the miscreant, so he’s probably been arrested. All I can figure out by way of explanation is that the city is too close to Seattle, and WHO has declared that the George Floyd Freakout going airborne “cannot be ruled out.”

8 thoughts on “The “I’d Say ‘Thank God It’s Friday,’ But In A Home Office During A Pandemic Friday’s Just A Name” Ethics Grab Bag, 7/10/2020

  1. 1. Fassihi

    This is a resounding “Yes” to Jennifer Williams question 1 in the previous post. What is interesting to me is that she disqualifies the letter because of the race and gender of the people crafting it, hence your observation she is a bigot.

    Fassihi and her ilk wield “privilege,” “white,” and “man” as epithets nearly identically to Klansmen using the N-word to “otherize” and de-person blacks. That she isn’t self-aware enough to realize this shows the dept of her indoctrination into the Woke Culture.

    I wonder if she realizes that some black people and “people of color” are also privileged? Tiger Woods certainly comes to mind, but there are many more in the world of sport, entertainment, and even business that would serve equally well. I’ve also noticed that you never see “privilege” used in any context other than about whites.

    • Or, how about, oh, say, Michelle and Barack Obama? Prestigious law school degrees. Hired by Sidley and Austin as associates just long enough so they could move on to community organizing and non-profit work with that on their resumes.

      It was probably five years ago or so I first heard of “privilege” in its contemporary, weaponized context. I was having a drink with the wife of my piano teacher, both of whom are the daughters of a physician and a dentist, respectively. So, both from very high achieving, successful, well remunerated parentage. Both Jewish, by the way. Both have Ph.Ds, one in child psychology, the other in piano and musicology. They’re also lesbians which is probably neither here nor there but may place them in a privileged group these days. Who knows.

      Anyway, she said something about my being “privileged.” I was absolutely and instantly about as furious as I’ve ever been. “Apoplectic” comes to mind, as does “seeing red.” I told her “privilege” is what my parents gave to me and what Mrs. OB and I have tried effortlessly since day one to bestow upon our children. That’s what families are for. I am the beneficiary of every person in my family tree, genetically and in every other respect. It’s the only really important and essential thing any of us can do during the course of our lives: raise our children to the absolutely greatest extent of our ability.

      So to any one who ever tells me to “check my privilege,” I say, “Fuck you and the horse your rode in on. You’re damned straight I’m privileged. And I’m eternally grateful to all the people involved in making that happen, and not just parents and ancestors: teachers, scout leaders, coaches, you name them. I thank them and revel in what they’ve given me. And I’ve tried my damnedest to do the same thing for my children. And it’s one of the great joys of Mrs. OB’s and my lives to see our children doing the very same damned thing for their children, my grand children. Strong letter to follow.”

      • Good points, all. I’m privileged because I have been allowed to be born, raised, and live 62 years in the most free, open, and worthy society in the world. I was permitted to lay my life on the line to defend that society while it added to my education and maturity, something I would gladly do again even now and without the benefit of additional education and in spite of the depredations of age. All of these things were an honor and a privilege, and every one of them available to me was also available to every single citizen of this country.

        Being born in poverty in this country is still a blessing, compared to being born middle-class in most other countries. Because even if you start from the lowest possible point, you can achieve a comfortable middle-class existence with only relatively ordinary determination and a decent work-ethic.

        I not only embrace my privilege, I am thankful for it. I don’t begrudge others their silver or golden spoons even if they prove themselves absolutely unworthy — living in freedom means some people have more advantages than others. It is at the same time a bug and a feature, but virtually anyone who is willing can achieve much more here than virtually anywhere else starting with far, far less.

        That some people can only find thunderheads in that silver lining says far more about them than me, or the system they despise.

  2. This is happening one county over:

    https://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/hendricks-county/2020/07/10/hendricks-county-democratic-party-chair-resigns-united-daughters-confederacy-membership/5410780002/

    Some observations of my own:
    * Is it possible to be a member of a Confederate legacy organization and not be a racist?
    * If it’s not possible and we must deem this person a racist and, since terrible racists who endorse Trump make him an illegitimate President, should Barack Obama have lost an electoral vote because this lady voted for him as an elector?
    * Does any amount of good “for the cause” – yes, that was intentional – negate membership in a Confederate organization? Integrating schools, marching with MLK, voting for Obama….c’mon, some of her best friends were black!
    * How does one belong to an organization branch named after an historical figure and not know who that person was and what he did? Shouldn’t it have been a minimal responsibility on her part to learn about Nathan Bedford Forrest?

    • Is it possible to be a member of a Confederate legacy organization and not be a racist?

      Sure.

      Should Barack Obama have lost an electoral vote because this lady voted for him as an elector?

      Nah. The character of an elector doesn’t matter.

      Does any amount of good “for the cause” – yes, that was intentional – negate membership in a Confederate organization? Integrating schools, marching with MLK, voting for Obama….c’mon, some of her best friends were black!

      A Confederate organization does no harm, and nothing needs to be “negated.” Otherwise, see “The Ruddigore Fallacy.”

      How does one belong to an organization branch named after an historical figure and not know who that person was and what he did? Shouldn’t it have been a minimal responsibility on her part to learn about Nathan Bedford Forrest?

      How does someone live in the United States and remain so pet rock ignorant of basic American history? That covers, oh, 75% of the public. Obviously, ignorance is easy. The average American can tell you nothing about George Washington, except that he was the first POTUS, a slave-holder, and maybe that he was a general. Lincoln? A bit more. Jefferson as President? MAYBE the Louisiana Purchase, probably not. I knew a lawyer at Skadden that couldn’t come withing 50 years of the date of the Civil War. How many can name more than 10 Presidents? How many can name half the Bill of Rights? What is covered in the First Amendment? How many know what the Star Spangled Banner is about?

      • Good answers and I agree with all of them. Should we hold her more accountable for her affiliations than we would an average person who is not the local chairman of a political party? Did she have a greater responsibility than the average person to know who Forrest was, especially in this political climate?

        And, of course, while I would agree wholeheartedly that her electoral vote for Obama still stands, it does reek of a double standard that Trump is judged by the affiliation of David Dukes and others of his ilk. I guess we should be glad that Dukes is not an elector.

  3. Apropos to #1: this Federalist article by Yoram Hazony entitled “Liberals’ Only Hope against Neo-Marxists Is An Alliance With The Right.” The crux of the biscuit:


    But now liberals are being persecuted and deplatformed. Now liberals thinking over the mistakes they’ve made in the past. And they still don’t get how messed up it is to collect 153 signatures in support of free speech and viewpoint diversity but to exclude conservatives from that as well.

    Here’s what is not going to work: Liberals trying to exclude conservatives from every kind of legitimate discourse (because conservatives are “the real threat”), while granting ever more influence to the very neo-Marxists who are working to bring them down. It’s not going to work because neo-Marxists aren’t like conservatives: They don’t believe in democracy. They don’t believe in compromise. And they don’t share power.

    With that last sentence, the fire-wreathed Great Eye of Sauron appeared to my waking eyes — just as it was no doubt meant to.

    As a wise man once said, read the whole thing.

  4. Re: 1, it’s worth pointing out, too, that one of those “privileged white men” is Thomas Chatterton Williams, who as “white” as Barack Obama or Colin Kaepernick.

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