A Brief Note To Commenters…

I am so proud of you all, and Ethics Alarms,  today. The quality of discussion on multiple posts and threads is outstanding, as varied, eloquent and and thoughtful as I have ever seen it. I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to all participants.

And since I’m here, I might as well note that July 16 is Ethics Ambivalence Day, or perhaps Watch Out For Moral Luck Day. Which of these events that occured on July 16th can be confidently and uncontroversially  designated in retrospect as “good”?

  • In 1790, Congress declared Washington, D.C. the new capital.

The new Congress chose a swampy, humid, muddy and mosquito-infested site on the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia to be the nation’s permanent capital. Brilliant!

  • In 1918, the Romanov family was executed.

This ended a 300-year imperial dynasty,  and sent Russia down the road of Communism.  But they got rid of those damn Czars!

  • In 1935,  the world’s first parking meter was installed.

The world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, was installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, eventually helping municipalities to balance their budgets nation wide.

  • In 1951, “Catcher in the Rye” was published.

J.D. Salinger’s only full-length novel, about a confused and nihilistic teenager would be taught in high schools for half a century. Why, I will never know.

  • In 1995, Amazon opened for business.

No comment.

  • In 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project resulted in the first atom bomb successfully exploding in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

10 thoughts on “A Brief Note To Commenters…

  1. My vote: The Manhattan Project.*

    Why? Because not only setting the stage for the end of World War II, splitting the atom has been a global good, providing needed energy to many, many countries; its applications in the sciences (and not that stupid Dr. Fauci, who couldn’t split an atom if his life depended on it; Dr. Birx, on the other hand, seems intelligent enough to do just that!) and medicine have advanced our understanding of the world beyond anything that anyone could have imagined 70 years ago.

    Are there problems with splitting the atom? Yes. Clearly. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are obvious examples. But, on balance, it is a positive.

    jvb

    *Ed. Note: And no, I didn’t select The Manhattan Project” just because I could reference a song by my beloved Canadian Triumvirate, but now that you mention it . .. .:

    Rush Manhattan Project Live in Dallas 2012 Clockwork Angels Tour:

    • The video is pretty nicely done. You to see my beloved Rush in all their glory, Lifeson playing a Fender Telecaster, Lee doing what he does so masterfully, and Neil Peart’s glorious drum kit. You also get to see the Clockwork Angels Ensemble, which is a rare treat.

      I miss Neil Peart. May he rest in peace on the Great Drum Kit in the Sky.

      jvb

  2. I think the A-Bomb was probably as close to a good thing as any of them, although I am sometimes thankful for Amazon when I’m not griping about how they are affecting competition.

    Some have argued that in costing 226,000 Japanese lives, mostly civilian, hundreds of thousands and possibly several millions of combined American, Japanese, and occupied Asian lives were saved. Others claim this is garbage, and that only 45 or 50 thousand US troops would’ve been lost in an invasion. Those people don’t bother to count Japanese casualties, for some reason, as worthy of inclusion.

    We will never know. The price was horrific enough. But on the bright side, the US developed the weapons before our most dangerous enemies, providing an opportunity to forestall their further use. Nobody will ever know for sure, but most historians reckon if Hitler’s nuclear experiments had paid off, he would’ve used the weapons to conquer the world. Some say Germany wasn’t even close. Others claim they detonated not just one but two small bombs before the Americans developed theirs, but never managed to overcome the engineering problems to allow deployment.

    I think, ultimately, that the A-bomb development may have saved America from the Soviets, who tested theirs a mere four years after Alamogordo.

    On balance, I think that development was a net good, despite the horror and fear it has produced since this date in 1945.

  3. As someone who lives far away from “modern cities” Amazon has been transformative. They changed commerce in incredible ways. I’m currently deciding if I will “divorce” them, thanks to their naming of the Seattle stadium, virtue signaling and the “Your brand is out of stock, try ours!” Statement.
    Perhaps not as transformative as the A bomb, but incredible, nonetheless.

      • Agreed, although I would say Barnes and Noble drove out the small bookstores prior to amazon. Digital books finished them off. I am certain that would’ve happened without Amazon’s influence, although it helped speed up the process without a doubt.

    • Same. I live on an island chain pretty far removed from major centers of consumer commerce. The views of the marsh, river, and ocean are awesome buuuut it’s a 30min drive minimum to any kind of shopping center. I often look at amazons prices and wonder, is it worth X dollars so that I dont have to drive out to the store, deal with the crazy parking, often long poorly organized lines, and drive back? The answer is almost always yes. I had some 3/8 inch lag bolts shipped to the house for $8. Worked out to a dollar each. Worth it. And I dont think they’re bad for competition either. Walmart is ramping up like crazy to compete. They’re about to release a next day delivery service where they basically use all their stores as mini distribution centers. It’s brilliant. Sucks for the little guy, but his prices and service-product just arent as good. Amazon hasn’t weakened competition it’s forced them to innovate and killed the non-competitive.

      • I’ve found many times it’s a win-win, being a time and money saver. Amazon is as transformative as the grocery store and mail order catalog was back in its time. I would say it also led to the demise of Radio Shack, Alco, Shopko, ToysRUs and others, or perhaps they simply missed the tech boat and didn’t change with the preferences of the masses. Amazon certainly didn’t help them though. There is very little I haven’t bought off an online retailer and Amazon has been my go-to for a long time because it’s been the best at what it does. Other businesses have finally caught up, so we’ll see if Amazon keeps it’s top spot moving forward.

  4. The A bomb and Amazon have had both positive and negative consequences their inventors probably did not see until well after. But I think that parking meter has fewer negative effects than the others on the list. Meter fines a tax on people who cannot get their act together when taking prime spots or not moving vehicles on street washing pr snowplowing aftermaths. I do agree there should be tweaking of the system, that being tied up in a medical appointment should allow an occasional delay but cities should be able to regulate how vehicles can clog the streetscape.

    The bad things for parking tickets do not approach the lives and destruction of the others.

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