Afternoon Ethics Afterthoughts, 8/14/2020: The Great Stupid, And Other Problems

MAD-ness! MAD-ness!

1. This isn’t stupid, it’s just disturbing. Kevin Clinesmith, a top FBI lawyer who fabricated evidence in the federal  warrant used to spy on the  Trump campaign through Carter Page will plead guilty to federal charges brought by U.S. Attorney John Durham.  His plea will  admit to deliberately fabricating evidence in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant application. 

Clinesmith is the first individual to be charged as part of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the efforts  to spy on the Trump campaign and Trump administration. Both Durham and Attorney General William Barr have stated that they had reason to believe the entire investigation of the President, which allegedly began in late July of 2016, was illicit and unjustified.

Expect the news media, in collaboration with Democrats, to bury, spin, deny and otherwise attempt to mitigate the sinister implications of this development, and those to follow.

2. Yet another professor is subjected to punishment for non-conforming opinions. OK, what’s the problem with this tweet by Prof. Charles Negy?

After all, it’s true, during The Great Stupid. Maybe that’s the problem. Because it knew that it could not fire Negy for his opinion, being a public institution, the University of Central Florida decided to destroy him by pointedly calling on students to bring formal complaints “based on abusive or discriminatory behavior by any faculty or staff.”  Since students were already demanding his dismissal, the point was not missed. Negy’s lawyer,Samantha K. Harris, explains,

Since June 4th, a litany (we don’t know the exact number, because they won’t say) of complaints has been lodged against Negy for his classroom pedagogy, for speech that allegedly occurred over a 15-year period from 2005 to 2020. The university charged Negy with discriminatory harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, sex, gender identity/expression, and disability…while providing him with only a handful of “examples” of his alleged wrongdoing. … the university subjected Negy to an “investigative interview” that was one of the most Kafkaesque things I have seen in my 15 years advising students and faculty about campus disciplinary matters. For four straight hours, UCF’s investigator grilled Negy about accusations stemming directly from his classroom pedagogy, having made no effort to weed out the countless accusations that were obviously just critiques of his choice of teaching material….When Negy, physically and emotionally exhausted after four hours of interrogation, asked if the interview was almost over, we learned that the investigator had not even gotten halfway through her list of accusations.  another five-hour inquisition was scheduled for the following week.

This investigation was obviously undertaken in retaliation for Negy’s protected tweets… How many professors are going to be willing to speak out if the result is a nine-hour inquisition followed by an almost inevitable punishment?

She concludes,

Cases like this are canaries in the coal mine: if a public university—a government agency—can treat someone this way for deviating from the university’s orthodoxy, and face no accountability for doing so, then what (and who) is next? The answer, of course, is you and me. We are next. If decent people do not take a stand against these abuses, it’s not a matter of if the state-endorsed mob will come for us—it’s only a matter of when.

BOY am I glad I’m not teaching legal ethics at American University any more!

3. Wait, why isn’t this story sparking protests and riots? Cannon Hinnant was shot in the head at point blank range by 25-year-old  Darius Nathaniel Sessomor for riding his bike on Sessomor’s  property. The  murder was witnessed by a neighbor and Hinnant’s two young sisters. Mainstream media networks have largely  ignored the story, but isome Black Lives Matter supporters who  celebrated Hinnant’s death.

“[I don’t] give a shit he is white it’s time for revenge we tired shit over with now we shooting yall [sic] go cry to you moma,” tweeted  the articulate Terrell Kent, a Taco Bell worker from North Carolina. Another fan from San Francisco,  Dante Salvador, opined, “Blew his white privileged brains clean out of his head! #BlackLivesMatter.”

Last month, we learned about 20-year-old Isaiah Jackson, who staged a photo where he knelt on the neck of a white toddler whom he had cast in the role of George Floyd. (That’s non-traditional casting.) The toddler was two years old and was wearing only a diaper in the photo. Someone else holds the child’s hands behind its back. The sign says “Blm now mf.”


Now, it our country was made up of biased fools, we might react to these horrific incidents by making sweeping generalizations about Black Lives Matter, its followers, and African American men.

We might, in such a vile nation,then  see demonstrations and riots protesting the racist and dangerous organization and the black men who fuel it. That, of course, would be divisive, unjust, illogical, and wrong. How can just two incidents be used as a catalyst to indict so many, as if they were representative of the organization and its adherents, rather than especially inflammatory incidents being exploited for political gain?

Now explain to me why the deaths of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor justify the current riots and protests across the country. Based on what we know, those deaths were not racially motivated, nor were they caused by typical police conduct or white attitudes.

I’ll stipulate that the fact that the news media covered the deaths of Floyd and Taylor as national news and barely reported the attacks on the five-year old and the toddler had something to do with it.

6 thoughts on “Afternoon Ethics Afterthoughts, 8/14/2020: The Great Stupid, And Other Problems

  1. The Brown Shirts of BLM want their revenge for ‘systemic racism’ so what’s the life of some white 20 year old worth to them. And the mainstream media is aiding and abetting their crimes. Meanwhile the lefty mayors turn their back on this inconvenient truth. A pox on all their houses.

  2. Well now we know how very very serious they are about their disagreement with the “All Lives Matter” sentiment. It was never about equality. It definitely was never about judging someone by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.


  3. Wayne, age really isn’t relevant but Cannon Hinnant was only 5 and not 20. If I misunderstood the age reference I apologize.

    However, anyone that revels in the murder of a child is a sick bastard . If similar comments are pervasive or without substantial condemnation by the black community it speaks volumes as to how they value life. If they place low value on life they have no argument for Black lives mattering.

    • Nope. You’re right and the kid shot was 5 years old. The sociopath who shot him deserves to rot in the worst prison for the rest of his life. Maybe he’ll suicide himself.

  4. Samantha Harris says:

    Cases like this are canaries in the coal mine: if a public university—a government agency—can treat someone this way for deviating from the university’s orthodoxy, and face no accountability for doing so, then what (and who) is next? The answer, of course, is you and me. We are next. If decent people do not take a stand against these abuses, it’s not a matter of if the state-endorsed mob will come for us—it’s only a matter of when.

    Jack writes: “BOY am I glad I’m not teaching legal ethics at American University any more!”

    The larger issue is that of universal ideological coercion. In this instance one sees, one recognizes, what Harris realistically describes as the infliction of a ‘Kafkaesque’ court-like process on the white man who deviates. But many people would hear of this and would not react. It would be an aspect of normality for them. Nothing unusual, nothing outrageous: but what is *good* and *necessary*.

    However, if one takes as a starting-point the existence of and the use and application of “universal ideological coercion” in the larger context of cultural America, and considers social engineering within the contexts of media and academia and public education, one enters a territory where one will inevitably have to engage in profound and incisive self-questioning and self-analysis. One will have to submit oneself to a thorough examination of one’s own *indoctrination* and *programming* within those categories I describe as the ‘hyper-liberal’.

    I find her assertion that there is such a thing as ‘decent people’. This implies some established normality, some sort of basic base-line. That is, since she is using the term she implies that she knows what this ‘normal’ is and indeed she includes herself as one such normal and also decent person. But this is what everyone does when they apply their measures. Yet this is not adequate, this is not enough, this is not responsible.

    To merely assume “I am decent and I am normal” in this specific time-period of chaotic value-upheaval and indeed in a period in which an examination of trends within society, very powerful and determining trends I must say, is on-going, and in which people are beginning to notice — quite literally — coercive Maoist-like and Soviet-like social-manipulation techniques, it is in a time like this that the entire picture of social engineering and social coercion must be examined more thoroughly.

    But the question then arises: Who will do it? Who can do it? Can you expect one who had been indoctrinated and coerced to be capable of seeing such indoctrination and coercion? Does not that imply a kind of deprogramming process? But if one is to be deprogrammed, from what program to what program? Again, a base or a standard is implied. But I assert that this is absent.

    One definition of postmodernism is that no specific meta-narrative is understood to be regnant. That is to say that one arrives in a mental space, a perceptual space, in which one does not really believe any of them. Each of them is seen, in a sense, but each is undermined. I think we must face that we are living in a time in which there is no regnant meta-narrative to which we really & truly subscribe. In the largest picture this has to do with the crisis of faith in the former, guiding metaphysics: that upon which the Occident was built. The so-called Death of God has ramifications that extend everywhere. Quite literally everywhere.

    It seems that I just made a leap into another category of though but this is not so. One thing I asserted when I first came on to this blog is that we are in a condition of chaos and yet we cannot well see our chaos and yes our confusion. We require a Master Metaphysician who can explain both our time to us but also who will explain ourself to ourselves! We really are in a kind of dusk:

    twilight, obscurity, murk, shadows, dimness

    But you know what comes from this, right? A situation of nihilism. When Nietzsche pointed this out (the death of God and that we were his murderers) he predicted the reign of nihilism “for 200 years”. Nihilism results when that which provided value is no longer seen as real.

    So, back to the interesting metaphor of ‘a canary in a coal mine’. We are that canary, substantially. And when millions of people (millions and millions and even billions) are in such a condition we can truly say we are living through times of metaphysical crisis.

    Do you think I have gone waaaaaaaayyy too far off-track here? I ask you to reconsider if so. The University is the most important locality within our beloved Occident. It is the University that formed the people who formed the Occident. And look at it now!

    But as I say the largest issue, the most important issue, is to become capable of seeing, thinking about & talking about the largest lines of social indoctrination that we a) have been subject to and b) subject ourselves to.

    See you in that process!

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