Sunday Ethics Apparitions, 8/16/2020: Triceratops? What Triceratops? What IS A Triceratops?

1. From the Ethics Alarms cultural literacy files. I remember this re- tweet by acclaimed novelist Joyce Carol Oates from 2015; I can’t believe I didn’t post on it then. (Pointer to Ann Althouse for reminding me of it today):

Now,  I would like to believe that Oates was joking (I’m not sure about Tilley), but she is not known for madcap humor. Apparently “Jurassic Park,” Steven Spielberg  and popular culture are beneath her, and she was so focused on literature in school that dinosaurs completely missed her attention. I regard this as being estranged from one’s culture, and I regard that as irresponsible.

2. Question: If Twitter is taking down tweets involving hate speech, why is unequivocal hate like this permitted? Robert Trump, the President’s younger brother, died yesterday. The President wrote,

“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.”

Yet the hateful, vicious “resistance” couldn’t rise to a moment of bipartisan decency. The hashtag #wrongtrump, is the second highest trending on Twitter, with more than 80,000  tweets last I checked. Among the the ghouls were journalist David Leavitt., ” who tweeted, “What did he promise the devil for the Grim Reaper to take the #wrongtrump ???” (5.7 thousand people “loved” the sentiment), and Bishop Talbert Swan, president of the Springfield, Massachusetts, branch of the NAACP (and a pastor, which will perhaps help illuminate my attitudes toward organized religion), who wrote “Dear Grim Reaper, You took the #wrongtrump.” That one got 10,000 hearts.

These are mean, bad people with dead ethics alarms.

3. Oh fine…this happens in Minneapolis, now. Remember this post from 2018, when I wrote about two police officers who decorated the office Christmas Tree with items associated with African-American stereotypes? I wrote in part,

It is hard to understand how any police officer, in any American city, could do something like this and not know that it is inflammatory, destructive, and wrong. Any police officer who could do it, however, is working in a culture that is itself warped and corrupted….Everyone should forget about the tree and look at the Department itself. In a statement, the police chief said he was “ashamed and appalled by the behavior of those who would feel comfortable to act in such a manner that goes against our core department values of Trust, Accountability and Professional Service.” It should be obvious, however, that these are not the core values of the department. They are words in a manual somewhere, that’s all. If they were a genuine, established, reinforced part of the department’s values, this incident wouldn’t have occurred, because the ethics alarms would have rung long before the first Funyuns bag was hung,

Well, nobody pays attention to me, as the past few years have amply demonstrated. To make things worse, an arbitator has ruled that one of the police officers who was fired for the tree decorations must get his job back, with back pay minus what he loses from a 320-hour suspension.

This will help police-community relations a bunch, as they say in “Fargo.”

4.  Polls are junk, and here’s why. Rassmussen asked likely U.S. voters three questions:

1. How concerned are you about the growing level of violent protest in some major cities?

2. Which is closer to your point of view – that police should crack down on the protests to bring them an end, or that the protests should be allowed to continue until the protesters decide to end them?

3. How important is the growing level of violent protest to your vote in November?

Rasmussen and the  media reported that  50% of those polled responded that the police should crack down on the protests to bring them to an end, and 38%  believed the protests should be allowed to continue until the protesters decide to end them. Eleven percent are undecided. 75% of Republicans and  47% of unaffiliated voters think the police should crack down on the protests, but just 31% of Democrats agree.

But that question, placed between two questions specifying violent protests, is ambiguous. Is the question whether police should stop violent protests, that is, riots and vandalism? In the alternative, is it whether police should stop peaceful protests because they have gone on “too long”? Yes, violent, unlawful protests should be stopped, and the participants arrested and charged appropriately. Peaceful, lawful protests should end when protesters decide to end them.

I usually regard  “undecideds” as human slugs, too lazy and uninformed to have an opinion. In this case, however, I’m undecided myself. How can I decide when I don’t know what the question is?

That’s an incompetent poll, rigged to trigger confirmation bias and make progressives look bad. (“38% of Americans are idiots” is the headline on the Citizen Free Press.

5 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Apparitions, 8/16/2020: Triceratops? What Triceratops? What IS A Triceratops?

  1. 4. Well, heck, Jack, some of us pay attention to you. I breezed through those poll questions kinda wondering what the fuss was, but, when I saw the words “incompetent poll, rigged”, I had to go back for a closer look. Absolutely, leaving out the word “violence” in the second question invalidates the whole thing. In addition, the phrase “growing level of violence” injects a viewpoint into what should be a neutral question; violence may be growing in some areas and declining in others. Usually there would be some other things to look at to evaluate a poll, such as number of respondents, how they were selected, randomization of the order of the questions, just to name a few; in this case that is unnecessary because the phrasing of those 3 questions, as noted, invalidates the poll.

  2. Well, nobody pays attention to me, as the past few years have amply demonstrated. To make things worse, an arbitator has ruled that one of the police officers who was fired for the tree decorations must get his job back, with back pay minus what he loses from a 320-hour suspension.

    This will help police-community relations a bunch, as they say in “Fargo.”

    So why has the leadership of the Minneapolis municipal government allowed this to continue?

  3. 2: Losing a loved one is always tragic and my thoughts are with the president in this difficult time.

    I’m told he went golfing–while I usually have feelings about a man who spent eight years saying a president shouldn’t golf going out and doing it–this time I give a pass, we don’t judge grief. Now how and not how much because we don’t know. When I get bad news I like to go for a run or a wander. Away from anyone a know, able to be in my own head, able to be sure any emotion has no witnesses or the only witnesses being strangers. Where I won’t be judged if I need to kick a tree really hard or pull a Sally Bowels under the train tracks. So if the man who lives in a friggin fishbowl wants to be out on a gold course… *shrug* so be it.

  4. The bishop thing gets even worse. A Black woman responded, “You’re going to hell. The Bible warned us about fake pastors.”

    To which the bishop replied, “Do you want me to tell your mother or any of your other family members you said hi when I get there?”

    As someone who is friends with dozens of other ministers, this kind of behavior, nay, this kind of THINKING, period, is all completely foreign to me. But I don’t swim in the postmodern, post-Bible waters of Mainline Protestantism. Perhaps this is how they all talk. It’s certainly how Jeremiah Wright talked.

  5. “Democracy only works well when it is the rule of a people, not several peoples.”
    __________________________________

    Jack wrote:

    . . . and Bishop Talbert Swan, president of the Springfield, Massachusetts, branch of the NAACP (and a pastor, which will perhaps help illuminate my attitudes toward organized religion), who wrote “Dear Grim Reaper, You took the #wrongtrump.” That one got 10,000 hearts.

    Isaac wrote:

    As someone who is friends with dozens of other ministers, this kind of behavior, nay, this kind of THINKING, period, is all completely foreign to me. But I don’t swim in the postmodern, post-Bible waters of Mainline Protestantism. Perhaps this is how they all talk. It’s certainly how Jeremiah Wright talked.

    I did some research into Bishop Talbert Swan. If one wanted to locate him within a branch of American Christianity it would be within the Black Liberation Theology Movement:

    Black theology, or black liberation theology, refers to a theological perspective which originated among African-American seminarians and scholars, and in some black churches in the United States and later in other parts of the world. It contextualizes Christianity in an attempt to help those of African descent overcome oppression. It especially focuses on the injustices committed against African Americans and black South Africans during American segregation and apartheid, respectively.

    Black theology seeks to liberate non-white people from multiple forms of political, social, economic, and religious subjugation and views Christian theology as a theology of liberation – “a rational study of the being of God in the world in light of the existential situation of an oppressed community, relating the forces of liberation to the essence of the Gospel, which is Jesus Christ”, writes James H. Cone, one of the original advocates of the perspective. Black theology mixes Christianity with questions of civil rights, particularly raised by the Black Power movement and the Black Consciousness Movement. Further, black theology has led the way and contributed to the discussion, and conclusion, that all theology is contextual – even what is known as systematic theology.

    Black Liberation Theology is, of course, related to Liberation Theology generally:

    Liberation theology (Spanish: Teología de la liberación, Portuguese: Teologia da libertação) is a synthesis of Christian theology and socio-economic analyses, based on far-left politics, particularly Marxism, that emphasizes “social concern for the poor and political liberation for oppressed peoples.” Beginning in the 1960s after the Second Vatican Council, liberation theology became the political praxis of Latin American theologians such as Gustavo Gutiérrez, Leonardo Boff, and Jesuits Juan Luis Segundo, and Jon Sobrino, who popularized the phrase “preferential option for the poor.” This expression was used first by Jesuit Fr. General Pedro Arrupe in 1968 and soon after this the World Synod of Catholic Bishops in 1971 chose as its theme “Justice in the World”.

    The Latin American context produced evangelical advocates of liberation theology, such as Rubem Alves, José Míguez Bonino, and C. René Padilla, who in the 1970s called for integral mission, emphasizing evangelism and social responsibility.

    Martin Luther King was a clear exponent of Black Liberation Theology. And he had, of course, substantial ties with Liberation Theology intellectuals and also more or less open Marxists. And yet you-pural refer to MLK! You emulate him! You quote him! He is a Great American for you.

    If one wishes to understand — quite literally — one’s world better, one has to study to some degree where these people are coming from, and where their ideas lead. I suggest that you-plural do not, and this is why you have a very hard time distinguishing, accurately, what is going on in your world. One one hand you-plural support this liberation movement. You support its declared ends: the racial blending and mixing of America. You do not care about such things as one’s cultural composition and also one’s ethnic make-up. The very idea is anathema to you. In this way you yourselves have embraced many of the core tenets of Black Liberation Theology and also Liberation Theology: precisely to the degree that you are moved by the words and rhetorics of Martin Luther King, and the degree to which you respond to the *messaging* that comes through Sixties songs. Jack, Steve Witherspoon, Steve in NJ and many others here (nearly all): this is your message!

    This is why I say, and it is true, that you are American Progressives. You substantially believe in these doctrines. You have integrated them into your worldview and also your view of what America is. Your (bizarre) idea is that everyone, anyone, in the whole world can come to America and be programmed in Americanism just like you can erase a hard-drive and re-write over it some totally new program. Your notion of American Citizen is a programmed cog, just a bit of machinery that is assimilated into the whole. You have therefore no sense of a people as a ‘nation’: a people with a specific trajectory that they carry with them.

    So, to understand Black Liberation Theology and Liberation Theology one must study it (to some degree). To understand Our Present one must understand all the influences and the causes that have made it. And to understand YOU one must step back and examine the structures of ideas that you have received and absorbed into yourselves. You are not outside of this, you are exponents of it in your own ways.

    I wrote: If one wishes to understand — quite literally — one’s world better, one has to study to some degree where these people are coming from, and where their ideas lead.

    So here we go once again, Wilmot Robertson (1973):

    Is it not incredible that the largest American population group, the group with the deepest roots, the most orderly and most technically proficient group, the nuclear population group of American culture and of the American gene pool, should have lost its preeminence to weaker, less established, less numerous, culturally heterogeneous, and often mutually hostile minorities?

    With all due allowance for minority dynamism … this miraculous shift of power could never have taken place without a Majority “split in the ranks” – without the active assistance and participation of Majority members themselves. It has already been pointed out that race consciousness is one of mankind’s greatest binding forces. From this it follows that when the racial gravitational pull slackens people tend to spin off from the group nucleus. Some drift aimlessly through life as human isolates. Others look for a substitute nucleus in an intensified religious or political life, or in an expanded class consciousness. Still others, out of idealism, romanticism, inertia, or perversity, attach themselves to another race in an attempt to find the solidarity they miss in their own.

    But none of this can get through, can it? There are very resilient blocs and blocking-mechanisms that make it impossible for the realization to get through and get in.

    It is quite possible, maybe even probable, that Donald Trump will win a second term. But this will make matters worse and not better. That is to say that The Resistance will only become that much more insistent, that much more resisting. As the demographic/democratic movement grows, as the alien population asserts its will, you will be displaced! You are now being displaced. Yet you cannot face it.

    This is — quite literally — amazing to me.

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