Ethics Dunces: The District of Columbia Facilities, and Commemorative Expressions Working Group

You can’t fix stupid, as they say.

Or ignorant. Or ungrateful. Or obsessed.

In the document below, the product of The District of Columbia Facilities, and Commemorative Expressions Working Group, appointed I really don’t care when by Mayor Muriel Bowser, an arrogant and juvenile  committee recommends the “cancelling” of, among others, in our nation’s Capital, by removing all mention of their names, as well as their statues and memorials,

  • Christopher Columbus
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Francis Scott Key
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • George Mason
  • President Andrew Jackson
  • President Thomas Jefferson
  • President James Monroe
  • President Woodrow Wilson
  • President William Henry Harrison
  • George Mason
  • President John Tyler
  • President Zachary Taylor, and, of course,

George Washington, after whom the city itself is named, and without whom the nation would not exist.

I’m not going to bore myself and regular readers here by repeating what I have already written about as frequently as any other ethics topic on this 20-year-old blog. The tags here, here, here, here and here will lead you to almost all of those articles and the discussions of them. If there are any readers or regular visitors who are in favor of refusing to honor Founders and others whose contributions to the nation, its success and its culture, they have been remarkably silent, perhaps because the argument for historical airbrushing and statue-toppling is embarrassingly weak, or because there are no valid arguments for any nation or organization refusing to recognize in perpetuity the individuals responsible for their existence.

I like to think the absence of dissent on this topic here is that stupid and ignorant people don’t read Ethics Alarms. Good. Still, I would love to have a bold and articulate defender of eliminating honors to Franklin, Jefferson and Washington weigh in here.

I should not have  to explain what is so unethical about the conclusions of Mayor Bowser’s group, which, like the Mayor herself, appears to think they live in the Capitol of the Black Live Matter States of America. They don’t. The District has an obligation to represent the nation itself, and there is, and has always been, much more to the United States than slavery. I have no respect for the people who would recommend that men—notably Ben Franklin, Jefferson and Washington, as well as George Mason, Christoper Columbus, and Alexander Graham Bell—who every citizen of this  nation, yes, the descendants of slaves too, owes a debt of gratitude to that can never be repaid sufficiently, be dishonored. They are fools, and life is too short to spend it arguing with  fools, or explaining why fools  should be recognized as such.

The report below is res ipsa loquitur. It demonstrates without further elaboration the failure of our schools and national leadership to nurture indispensable  public understanding of American’s history and culture, the incursion of Marxist tactics into our politics, and the engineered estrangement of large segments of the black community with their own country.

Now watch, read, listen and heed which Americans declare this movement by the District government to be what it is: an insult, a disgrace, and a symptom of intellectual, political and ethical rot.

[Oh…There is one important point to make before I leave you to the ugly and infuriating task of reading the report. Mayor Bowser’s group invalidates its legitimacy by proving incapable of displaying integrity even in its own wrongheadedness. If the idea, as stated in the fatuous mission statement with a quote from Mayor Bowser, is that all should be able to “live, work and play” in the District without fear of “violence and discrimination” and that those words are to be interpreted metaphorically, since it is highly unlikely that Thomas Jefferson’s statue is going to discriminate against anyone, then how does the group explain leaving intact the memorials to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who imprisoned citizens for the crime of being Japanese, or those to sexual predators Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King? Well, they don’t have to explain, do they? The group placed partisanship and bias over their assignment. Of course they did. It is an excersize in hypocrisy as well as stupidity.]


48 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: The District of Columbia Facilities, and Commemorative Expressions Working Group

  1. I don’t understand what crimes Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Graham Bell committed. Neither owned slaves.

    What’s wrong with her? Doesn’t she understand that going this far in an election year is going to end very very badly for her party?

  2. The time is now to explain that slavery is the best thing that could have happened to their ancestors. Without slavery they would simply not exist and most definitely would not be in America. So count yer blessings and get over it.

    And what the hell did Alexander Graham Bell do wrong?

    • “The time is now to explain that slavery is the best thing that could have happened to their ancestors.”
      (TRIGGER WARNING! Politically incorrect concepts !)
      Over the years, I have had several African-American acquaintances tell me that exact thing, insofar as the destiny of the slaves’ descendants is concerned. A black former coworker used to say, “Slavery was terrible, but it worked out well for me. If my ancestors hadn’t been sold into slavery, they probably would have been killed by the tribe that captured them, so I wouldn’t be here at all.” He would read in the newspaper about the near constant chaos in many African countries and exclaim, “Thank God I’m here!” Contrary to Joe Biden’s assertion, there is much diversity of thought among African Americans.

      Benjamin Franklin only became an abolitionist after the Revolution. He freed his two slaves in 1785. The rest of his remarkable life is apparently of no consequence.
      Like all the others on the list, Alexander Graham Bell committed the sin of being born white.

      • Alexander Graham Bell was apparently also an advocate of forced sterilization and served as leader of several eugenics organizations. He tentatively said that congenitally deaf couples should not marry, to avoid more deaf children. His own wife was profoundly deaf, but due to childhood scarlet fever, not genetics.

      • I feel the same way about the Potato Famine. Yes, millions died unnecessarily, but I would not likely be here had that not happened.


        • I think the Irish diaspora would have occurred regardless, Jut. A small, overpopulated island with a fairly intelligent, restless to ornery population. (I’m half Irish.)

      • “Consequentialism.”

        That would be true, IF I were arguing that slavery was a good or moral institution. I was merely pointing out that people can and do look out across the scope of national and even world history and see that net good for some in the present day resulted from even the most horrible, or unforeseen, or even purely random actions, events and circumstances in the past. Such is the nature of life and of history in general. You will hear no defense of slavery from me.

  3. All silliness aside, the fact is the implementation of these recommendations would de facto erase most of this nation’s history up to about 1960 from public view. I’ve heard again and again wrt Confederate memorials that that’s really no big deal, the history books will still be there and you can learn what you need there. Maybe so, but who’s to say rewriting the books won’t be next? The criteria both for dishonor and for honor are embarrassingly race-oriented. I said several times that the left wanted a monopoly on honor, and this is it, spelled out in black and white.

    The tearing down of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial sound absurd on their faces, but, then again, so did the idea of completely depopulating Richmond’s Monument Avenue. So did the idea of yanking the statue of Teddy Roosevelt from the AMNH. So did the idea of a Christopher Columbus “purge” like he was a member of the Party who had suddenly fallen out of favor. Yet, here we are. For the moment the momentum toward further destruction appears to have stalled, but the movement for more is just in a holding pattern for the moment, waiting for another incident to provide more justification. A lot of the folks behind this are true believers, and they won’t stop until everything they don’t agree with is erased from public view. They are ideological cousins to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who roam the country seeking to tear down crosses, and whose position also got slapped down pretty hard last year in the Bladensburg Cross case (that organization was not directly involved in that case). The differences are that the militant atheists usually just bring lawsuits, they don’t tear down public are with their own hands, and neither political party is particularly friendly with atheists and likely to give them what they want, since they are a small and unpopular voting bloc. For a time this year, BLM was more popular than either political party, although that’s waning now.

    This is a classic case of the fool running the court or the inmates running the asylum.

    • Who’s to say the books won’t be next?

      With publishers becoming willing to yank books with unpopular ideas and authors combined with the demise of bookstores, such as Borders, access to actual books is slowly whittling down to a few large chains.

      It wouldn’t take much for the chains and even public libraries to start kowtowing to pressure to stop selling certain types of books and authors. As libraries also purge old or rarely checked out books from time to time, there could come a time in which the only books about U.S. history permitted in public or school libraries are woke tomes that fixate on slavery and atrocities against Native Americans.

      They’re already excising so-called problematic authors like Dr. Suess and Laura Ingalls Wilder from school libraries.

      Before we know it, the only history books available will be in used bookstores, assuming small businesses survive the pandemic and aren’t burned to the ground, or private collections. Then they will designate any non-woke history books White Supremacist literature (you know…that vague characterization that describes anything found inside a white shooter’s house).

      Once that happens, American History becomes hate speech. Quoting the Constitution or the Founding Fathers will be forbidden.

      Statue toppling isn’t erasing history. It’s the first step to erasing history.

      • Well, I was just recently reading a post from a bookseller who said Amazon was ready to sanction her for listing copies of Mein Kampf (the fact that they were inactive listings didn’t seem to bother them).

        I believe they have also banned a book or two from the anti-vaxxers extremists.

        We know that Germany has laws against selling any sort of Nazi stuff, if I remember correctly.

        Fortunately the main used book aggregators don’t have those types of restrictions. Of the ones I list my books with, the biggest is in Canada, second is here in North Carolina, and there’s one in either Nevada or California. And certainly my web site has no restrictions.

        I don’t sell contemporary political books (and for the most part don’t read them) — not because I don’t like the content (which I don’t generally), but I don’t think they fit my business model. Older history books or books about older history — they do just fine.

        • Yes, Germany does have laws against selling or displaying artifacts from the Nazi era. It’s why the United States is not Germany. Hate speech proponents here in the United States would love to enact those same kind of laws here to restrict all manner of speech and commerce.

          Amazon has the right to determine what it does or does not sell, but it has the same effect of chilling speech that every corporation that makes arbitrary rulings on what is or is not considered appropriate does. When there are no more chain bookstores and only Amazon can sell and distribute books, you will suddenly find that there are a lot of works out there that just aren’t available or can’t be sold through its platform.

          This doesn’t even take into consideration the nebulous ownership of digital books. Those who relied on electronic doohickeys to store their digital music suddenly found that the platform could delete any item it no longer offered or lost the rights to sell, even if the customer had paid the purchase price for a song. If a platform went under, customers lost all of the music they’d paid to store on their whatchamacallits.

          The same is happening with e-books. If the platform loses the rights to say, “Huckleberry Finn”, anyone who paid to access the book loses it. It’s not a stretch that Amazon might just decide that “Finn” or “The Fountainhead” or “The Art of the Deal” or Ron Chernow’s “Washington” is hate speech and refuse to sell or distribute it. And it’s the click of a mouse to delete anything from e-readers they don’t want out there.

  4. I read the cover of the report as DEFACES. I think that is more apt.
    Regarding Bell, I am at a loss. I did some searching and only found a piece in the Atlantic that favourably mentions Bell writing to President T. Roosevelt about the treatment of one of his black employees in Halifax. He was writing to urge for better treatment of black people in US and Canada. The language therein would not pass muster today, but that is not surprising.

    Bell also employed Lewis Latimer, a black man who assisted with Bell’s pioneering telephone patent and later had many of his own inventions and also worked with Edison.

      • I was wondering the same but got nothing in my time allotted to this. There has long been a controversy that Bell was not first inventor and may have been assisted improperly but the other fellow in that controversy was not a black American and son of a slave as Latimer was.

  5. I’m believing the Final Report on the canceling culture cancer of the Left, of the cowardice of many our leaders (politicians and educators), and of this malicious DCFACES Working Group, will be established on November 3rd ….although it’s announcement may be delayed a bit this year (though not due to the Wuhan Virus).

    Tens of millions of Americans of these United States of America will reject the cancelling of our extraordinary History and Heritage!!

  6. In defense of Benjamin Franklin: This is going to be done off the top of my head, not with any type of research because this doesn’t need to be a book.

    Benjamin Franklin was born into modest circumstances and worked his way up to become a figure of worldwide renown for his positive contributions to society. He is the embodiment of the American Dream.

    Benjamin Franklin was and influential printer and established the long-running Poor Richard’s Almanac and a newspaper. He also was influential in establishing the postal service that was vital to the new Republic.

    Benjamin Franklin was a prolific inventor, inventing the lightning rod and the Franklin stove among others. For a man born to meager beginnings in a backward colony was an inspiration to the new country.

    Benjamin Franklin was an IMPORTANT scientist in his day, worldwide. It had been known for thousands of years that rubbing amber with fur would create an electric shock. Shortly before Franklin, it became known that rubbing a glass rod with cloth would create a similar electric shock, but the electricities were not the same. Electrical research was at a standstill and people couldn’t make sense of the results. Benjamin Franklin proposed that matter contains 2 types of charges that he called positive and negative. If you have a buildup of either, you get electrical charge. That is why you have amber and glass electricities, they have buildups of different types of charges. When you have equal amounts of positive and negative charges, you have the neutral state. When you see the positive and negative charges on your batteries, that is due to Franklin. The negative charge on the electron is due to Franklin’s definition of negative.

    Franklin’s work unleashed a flood of electrical research. A theoretical model of electricity was all that was needed to further the work and Franklin provided it. Within 50 years, we had working electric generators and motors. Franklin became a rock star. When he was caught intercepting British military messages in England, they just sent him home instead of brutally executing him (you can’t kill Benjamin Franklin). In France, he could just walk into the king’s presence any time he wanted, because he was BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. He dated a woman and her daughter at the same time, he raised a pirate fleet to fight the British, he got the French to send us aid because he was BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

    How dare you deign to sully his reputation, Mayor Whoeveryouare. No one will remember you in history unless your name becomes a synonym for fool. Benjamin Franklin’s name, however, will be known for a thousand years.

  7. Jack wrote: “I like to think the absence of dissent on this topic here is that stupid and ignorant people don’t read Ethics Alarms. Good. Still, I would love to have a bold and articulate defender of eliminating honors to Franklin, Jefferson and Washington weigh in here.”

    While I would never advocate for eliminating honors as you put it, I would advocate a far more strident advocacy of a decided return to the values of those persons. And that is to say in harder, more demanding definitions of Americanism that represent genuine returns to the values of those persons.

    This involves a complete examination of the destructive and undermining influences that are now sweeping them aside.

    I say here — I repeat — that you and many on this blog are similarly liberal and progressive and far too *inclusive* and far too supporting of Liberal Multi-Culturalism. You are, as I say (and no one here can oppose this because what I say is true) liberals and progressives almost — almost! — to a man.

    You share complicity in this Hyper-Liberal state-of-things. You are not the answer nor the cure to the Liberal Rot I defined brilliantly and eloquently here .

    As Hyper-Liberalism manifests it has no need of these former visionaries, creators and heroes! They are in a sense artifacts of history when The End of History is nigh. In a modern American Hyper-Liberal Corporate *Culture* we do not need any of those former identifications. Those former identifications have become non-relevant and non-necessary.

    The Hyper-Liberal State is showing us all where its allegiances rest. And how did this Hyper-Liberal State come into existence? Who has constructed it?

    You do not have an answer for this question nor does your readership. However, we are all in the same boat.

  8. Hopefully, the D.C. government doesn’t itself have the authority to tear down all these things — and I cannot imagine Congress approving them. In another time, a tantrum such as this would make Congress think again about the District having its own government. On the other hand, who in Congress — what committees — would want the job.

    I noted that one of the problems the group saw was that few of these people being honored were from D.C. Perhaps that might be due to the fact that few people from D.C. did anything like the things for this country that people such as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin were responsible for. Also, until recently, there just weren’t that many people living there — even now, 700 thousand in a nation of 330 million is really not that many.

    • D.C. was a swamp. Probably the country’s first “new town.” It’s analogous to Brazilia, a capital dreamt up in the ’60s and carved out of the Amazon jungles for some reason. Of course the founders weren’t from D.C. It didn’t exist, Muriel.

      • Maybe we should give it back to Virginia and Maryland. I wonder if we paid them for the land….buyer’s remorse anyone?

        For other countries, the embassy in Washington in the 19th century was a hardship post.

  9. In my experience, there is a direct relationship between the length of the document and the amount of BS it contains. This multi-colored production which took 15 minutes of my life away makes as much sense as the Unabomber’s Manifesto.

    • Hey, at least the Unabomber had one or two kernels of legitimate complaints buried in his ridiculous manifesto. This trash is just a vindictive, angry primal scream.

  10. Benjamin Franklin: those who want him “canceled” focus on the fact — and it is a fact — that he ran ads for slave trade in his newspaper, and advocated peopling the continent with more white people from England rather than planting darker people here. But that was when he was very young, and as he became more knowledgeable and “wise” he was a staunch abolitionist. Some argue that was because he did not want so many “darker people” here, referencing his very early writing; there is apparently scant to no evidence supporting that view of his evolution to abolitionist.

    • No person in their right mind, then, now or in the future, would choose, deliberately, to people a country with very un-alike types. If you (this you is a general you-they) would do this now, you would be setting the stage for civil conflict. It is I think a fact, a simple fact, that un-alike people tend to conflict. Most places that have 2 ethnicities and different *life-ways* tend to have civil conflicts, and some of them are quite serious.

      What Franklin and all the Founders understood is that the nation they envisioned and created was for them and their *progeny*, their descendants. All of the Founders thought this way without exception.

      Now, in this distorted and distorting present, it is certain ideologies borne out of liberalism — or hyper-liberalism which may be more accurate — that *insist* that such a society is possible and desired. But they do this because liberalism itself reduces people to mere cogs. And a cog is to be nothing more than a cog. And a cog will not act differently than a cog should act. Liberalism, or this mutant form of it we live under, is tremendously forceful in asserting its power over an individual or a group — or a culture — that might see things differently, or perhaps more traditionally.

      Those Founders who did think traditionally, who did without doubt think historically and quite literally in terms similar to *blood & soil*, thought differently than *you* now are allowed to think or allow yourselves to think. You (a you-we) have been forced and coerced to think in terms different from the Founders.

      The Founders must be cancelled for this reason. Their ideas, their ideologies, the views they held, are not commensurate to liberalism’s End Of History. Because they were in history.

      The way forward for America is to return to certain historical roots, and the capability of identifying according to traditional means. In my view this means understanding the profound necessity to recover a ‘super-majority status’ and to rule, quite literally, their own domains. That is normality. That is decency. That is responsibility to oneself and one’s progeny.

      If what I say here is *true* ( you and many others might not think so) and if it is moral and ethical to believe it, that would mean in a sense *honoring one’s ancestors’.

      Again, my view is that the destructive aspect of Liberalism is obvious. It is also obvious that Hyper-Liberalism such as we live in today is a decadent phase. This Liberalism will be superseded. What supersedes it is definitely in question though.

    • That example shows just how trivial and ignorant the “cancel culture” is, and why I have no respect for these people. They are blights on the Republic. A US government condemning Ben Franklin is like a Greek government cancelling Aristotle.

      • I consider Franklin second in importance only to Washington in the founding of our country. My interest in Benjamin Franklin was kindled in elementary school with descriptions of his scientific endeavors. I have several books, about Franklin individually or the founding fathers as a group, that have only increased my admiration for his intellect and accomplishments. I especially like “The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin,” by H. W. Brands and “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life,” by Walter Isaacson, et al. I recently ran across an article that extolled his early exhortations on fitness and nutrition ( ). It is a shame that he is almost always portrayed as he was in his 70s rather than as his younger, healthier self. Quite a man, and quite a life!

      • “A US government condemning Ben Franklin is like a Greek government cancelling Aristotle.”

        Shhhh…….don’t give them ideas.

  11. Naaaaaw, this can’t be right!

    Am I awake; someone pinch me.

    Do these totalitarian minded people actually want to destroy the cores of the United States all the way back to the writing of the Declaration of Independence and rebuild it into some “new” form of social justice utopia that they’re imagining in their feeble little snowflake minds?

    Is this just a bad dream?

    • The extremists, yes.
      The opportunists, no, but they think they can control the extremists and keep it from going too far while forcing changes that will keep them in power. For now, they are pandering.
      The rank and file, no, but they have been so corrupted by rationalizations, unrealistic promises and social media that they can only reason using memes or talking points.

  12. Well, I guess we’re headed for a Stalinist society where all the founding fathers are officially unpersons. Maybe Trump can find a way of stopping this nonsense now.

  13. I agree with Mayor Bowser. “No matter your race, your faith, your sexual orientation, your gender identity, your background – you should be able to live, work and play in Washington, DC without fear of violence or discrimination.”

    Given Rand Paul’s experience after President Trump’s acceptance speech. Given various republicans being verbally accosted in public. Given DC’s high crime rate which is worse than over 95% of US cities.

    I would suggest the Mayor should put her focus on putting her own house in order rather than chasing ghosts. In short physical wellbeing is a serious problem in DC.

  14. I’ve been thinking about something lately and I’d like some feedback.

    Is “Cancel Culture” an apt description of what’s been happening in the USA over the past few years or is there something more going on?

    I think there is some validity to how the phrase is being used but I think the phrase is lacking in cultural completeness to accurately describe what’s really going on in our society as a whole.  I beginning to think that “Invalidation Culture”, or something along those lines, is a much more apt description for what’s really going on.

    In context with this here are a couple of definitions.

    Cancel: to completely reject and stop supporting someone or something because there is something about it that offends you.

    Invalidation: the action of stopping a document, ticket, law, etc. from being legally or officially acceptable.

    It appears to me that what the cancel culture is doing is trying to invalidate the history of the United States of America by demonizing every person that participated in its creation and history up to now. It seems that the mentality of these cancel/invalidate minded people is that if they can demonize a prominent historical person then they can destroy anything that that person did and any cultural representation honoring that person. The list from the The District of Columbia Facilities, and Commemorative Expressions Working Group that Jack has made us aware of is a good example of this.

    Why would these people want to “cancel” all these historical figures if they’re not ultimately after the destruction of everything these people did that made our culture? That’s not a rhetorical question, give me an honest alternative perspective as to why?

    Are we in the midst of a cultural revolution that’s built upon invalidating our past therefore we are actually in an “Invalidation Culture”? This is exactly what the terrorist organization ISIS was doing across their territory in the middle east, they completely destroyed the past of those they oppose and instill, by force, that the only valid acceptable past is the views and ideology of ISIS.

    Cancel Culture vs Invalidation Culture.

    I think they are both unethical.

    Let the discussion begin.

    • Let’s say we had a time machine and went back to remove at birth every one of those people they are demanding be removed. What sort of society would we now live in?

      For a certainty it would be a society where those people would not be permitted — these protesters would be locked up or shot down in the streets.

      Now as to whether our society might resemble, say, South Africa in the bad old days or perhaps the Kaiser’s Germany (or even Stalin’s Soviet Union) — I think it is clear that many of the societal and individual freedoms and rights that we take for granted would not exist.

      These protesters would be shocked to really live in a police state. They have no clue.

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