Friday Ethics Round-Up, 8/21/2020: Democratic National Convention Hangover Edition

No, John Wayne doesn’t speak Spanish in “Red River,” but this was the only clip I could find of its iconic “Yahoo!” sequence. This may be the best Western ever; I don’t know, I go back and forth on it. Amazingly, Howard Hawks never won an Oscar…but then neither did Orson Wells, Alfred Hitchcock, or Cecil B. De Mille.

1. Now this is uncivil and unethical political speech (Pointer: Tim Levier):

No, it’s not justified by “tit for tat,” but the ugly, ad hominem abuse heaped on President Trump by the Democrats this week was hardly better.

2. Oh, it’s Friday; why not check in with Paige Spiranac? You remember Paige, right? I posted about her here. She’s not much of a professional golfer, but she is now a “social influencer.” She has power and influence because, let’s be frank, she looks like this, and makes sure everyone knows it:

Now she has a viral ethics tweet about slow golfers:

That’s slowLY, Paige. Mustn’t enable those “dumb blonde” jokes.

This has actually sparked a controversy in social media, though there shouldn’t be any question that excessively pokey golfers are being rude and inconsiderate. The rationalizations being offered by defenders of slow play are, sadly, illustrative of the ethics skills of too much of the public. For example:

That’s a dumb comment. Golf is a leisure sport. You are meant to enjoy the sport with friends and family and take time while doing it. Especially if you’re not playing for millions.”

3.  More fun from the Hypocrisy and Hate Convention! You know, if “Trump lies” is really going to be a campaign theme for a party, i t really is dumb to do things like this….

During the DNC celebration of Kamala Harris’s nomination as Biden’s running mate, the multi-screen live stream featured several duplicated faces.

I’m sure the Democrats assumed nobody would notice, since there is so much voters aren’t supposed to notice. It does not bode well for the presence of such essential ethical traits as trustworthiness, honesty, competence, and diligence, however.

4. Oh-oh. I may be in trouble.The South Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that a  motorist with an open fly may justify traffic police conducting a vehicle search. I have had trouble remembering to zip up all my life. At least once a year, I complete a three hour seminar only to discover that my fly was down the whole time.

In 2013, Cheryl Jones drove to the bus station in North Charleston to pick up her common law husband, Michael N. Frasier Jr. As the car containing the couple was  pulling away, an officer ordered them to stop, claiming the car’s brake light was out. In reality, the policeman had observed that Frasier “looked left, cleared right… at the whole parking lot, left and right” before getting into the car, and that seemed suspicious to his trained eye. During the stop, the officer noticed the zipper on Jones’s jeans was down. The officer told the trial court that in his experience, people sometimes try to hide narcotics in “their pants or crotch area.” Jones explained she was in a hurry and had jumped out of the shower before driving to the bus station and dressed quickly.  Becoming more suspicious still, the officer asked to search the vehicle. Eventually, cocaine was found in Frasier’s possession.

The question  before the three-judge appellate panel was whether the officer had any legitimate reason to extend the traffic stop and search the vehicle.

“Because we must evaluate the trial court’s findings for clear error, we reluctantly conclude evidence supported the trial court’s finding the officer had reasonable suspicion to extend the stop,” Judge James E. Lockemy wrote for the court. “Although we acknowledge that several of these factors would likely be insufficient standing alone to support a finding of reasonable suspicion, they must be viewed under the totality of the circumstances.”

Among those factors was Jones’ unzipped pants.

This is called “confirmation bias.”

5.  Again we must ask, “Just how stupid and apathetic is the American public?” Twitter mogul Jack Dorsey has donated $10 million through his charitable foundation to Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, founded  by Ibram Kendi last month. The gift has “no strings attached,” says BU, and shows Dorsey’s “unqualified support of Kendi’s vision of putting academic researchers at the forefront of the movement to dismantle policies that underlie racial inequity and injustice.” Kendi, director of the center and a professor of history, now has  “endless discretion about how the income from the gift will be used over time to advance the center,” President Robert Brown said.

BU hired Kendi away from D.C.’s American University, where he created the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center and wrote his best-selling book, “How to Be an Antiracist.” Kendi now holds the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities endowed chair,  previously occupied by  Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel.

Ah, anti-racism!

Here is what Kendri has said is his idea of “anti-racism“:

The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.

16 thoughts on “Friday Ethics Round-Up, 8/21/2020: Democratic National Convention Hangover Edition

  1. 5. War is peace, Freedom is slavery. It isn’t what it is.

    4. I must admit that I’m confused about the concept of confirmation bias in this incident.

    The police officer was going off her experience that people with open flys sometimes use them to hide drugs. Drugs were found during the search, albeit it doesn’t seem they were found inside the pants containing the open fly.

    If a police officer performs a search based upon his or her training or experience, where does confirmation bias fit in? I keep seeing articles about airline crew being trained to spot human trafficking. If a stewardess uses that training to correctly identify a child in the company of an adult exploiting the child, would that be confirmation bias?

    Is my understanding of confirmation bias limited or flawed?

    • Simply this: The cop had suspicion based on, essentially, nothing. The guy was looking around? Then, seeking further confirmation, he noticed a detail that could have, and usually does have, innocent implications, but because he wanted more proof to justify a search, he interpreted it as suspicious. Thus he approached the evidence without objectivity….the opposite, in fact.

      • Ah, so the confirmation bias was that the officer was sure there was something wrong and found a reason that would ordinarily mean nothing to justify the search. I think my understanding of the concept was, indeed, incomplete. Thanks.

  2. 3. It wasn’t a mistake. They get to vote at least twice, so why can’t they have their pictures up at least that often?

  3. 1. Unethical sign

    What struck me was you don’t expect to see “Salisbury, MA” on a sign like that. I think they get a pass from me, though — the generational liberal oppression has probably driven a lot of people in Massachusetts mad.

    2. As a 50-year golfer, I can state with conviction that slow play is evil. Anyone who defends it has never turned into stone waiting for the foursome in front of them to finish while refusing to let you play through, or played behind the geriatric foursome known as “The Snails” in the club of my youth.

    Paige may or may not be a dumb blonde, but she’s right about that sentiment.

    4. Well, I was going to move there eventually, but I think I’m ruling that out now…

    5. Again we must ask, “Just how stupid and apathetic is the American public?”

    Limited only by your imagination. I can imagine quite a bit, and they never fail to exceed it.

    Kendri wrote:

    The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.

    Translation: The only remedy for racist discrimination past, present and future is revenge discrimination.

  4. I guess being 40 makes me really, really old, because I remember when liberals used to say things like, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” I mean they had bumper stickers and everything. It was stupid a a refutation of the “eye for an eye” passage in the Bible (which was a perfectly useful and fair prescription for capital punishment) but as a general sentiment it was correct.

    Now they’d probably say, “The only remedy for present eye-gouging is future eye-gouging.”
    “The only remedy for past atrocities is present atrocities.”
    “The only remedy for you having a Bitsy Big-Boy Boomeroo, is for me to get one, and use it, too.”

      • I think if we omit the “they,” his point is still valid. What Kendri is demanding is revenge, pure and simple, couched in intersectional authentic frontier gibberish.

        It is normal for humans to want revenge — the left and right are both equally susceptible to this ethical pitfall, and even the holy texts many of us look to for moral and ethical guidance often sanction revenge as a remedy. But we have learned in the wisdom of the ages passed since then, those who look to revenge should start by digging two graves. This is especially true for an ethical standpoint, and revenge is equally destructive to the laudable goals of peace and cooperation, promoting only an in-kind response.

        Your point is not invalid — there was revenge-seeking where you referenced. But that’s the problem, not the solution.

    • I suspect the reverse. An outfit like that would show the rest of her charms with a strong breath of wind, and so the old saying, “throw caution to the winds” would seem to be doubly apropos. And I suspect that’s the idea.

  5. 3. Jack wrote, “It does not bode well for the presence of such essential ethical traits as trustworthiness, honesty, competence, and diligence, however.”

    Very appropriate words, and it brings to mind a story I read in “The American Spectator” years ago during President Clinton’s time in office – well before Monica Lewinsky, as I recall. Believe it or not, I think the story was written by David Brock and it involved the President’s golf game. The premise of the piece was that someone had played a round of golf with the President, who, on-and-off throughout the day, gave himself little taps to safety, free drops, mulligans, and three-inch pushes of the ball with his club for a slightly better lie on the course.

    The writer concluded that if the President would be so unethical as to cheat in a round of golf – a game in which adherence to rules has special weight among its players – when essentially no one was watching, what would the President do or say in the spotlight of the camera when things got tough?

    The obvious application relates to the “wall of supporters” from the nomination speech of Senator Harris. If Democrats will pad the wall with duplicates, essentially giving their ball that three-inch tap with the club in a low-pressure, no-one-cares moment, what will they do – or what will they endorse or what will they turn a blind eye to – when “padding the wall” with duplicates really matters…say, when tallying election ballots in November?

    Of course, this isn’t just a Democrat problem. We’ve seen the President – the current one – tell lies of varying degree when the truth would have been just as effective. Why does he see that as beneficial or even necessary? I understand the need for the President to mislead, deflect, or even lie when issues of national security, the lives of soldiers, or the safety of sources are at stake. But in the vast majority of cases, President Trump could have simply told the truth and been beaten up to the same degree by the Left as he was for telling the lie. It’s just stupid.

    And it isn’t just a problem with politics. I have to constantly examine myself, and I consistently find times where I will tell little lies – embellishing an incident with a bit of additional narrative, offering an excuse that leaves out some bit of salient information to improve my case, or telling a “white” lie because “it won’t possibly hurt anything.” If I will do that when the chips aren’t down, what will I do when they are? It’s a tragic admission of my own guilt.

    Maybe that’s the reason this site has become a favorite of mine since I found it again. Ethics aren’t the only thing in life, but they drive a really big percentage of it.

    Sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have been so introspective on a Saturday morning…

    • I have always told employees and clients never to lie. There is no defense if the truth comes out. More importantly, do not deceive people. I have always maintained deception is worse than lying. Lying involves the deliberate issuing of a false statement to mislead people or avoid negative consequences. Deceiving also involves the issuing of a false statement, but it incorporates trickery and guile in the delivery. Essentially, making a fool of the recipient of the deception and proclaiming you think the target of your falsehood is also an idiot.
      The one exception to the no lying rule sometimes comes into play in the response to the question, does this ______ make me look fat?

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