Tuesday That Feels Like A Monday Ethics Catch-Up, 10/13/2020.

Antifa arrests

Every one of the antifa rioters arrested in Portland a couple nights ago!


I have what I believe is an important ethics essay completed in my head—that’s the weird way I write, and nobody knows why—and I just haven’t had the time or the energy to get it done. I’m sorry. Today, actual ethics work intervened. It’s not that there wasn’t time to finish that post (and two others that are almost written), but that the long posts really need my complete attention, and that was impossible today, as it has been increasingly frequently of late.

1. Goodbye Alizia. One of Ethics Alarms more controversial and prolific contributors informed me that she was leaving the comment wars, presumably permanently. I agreed with virtually nothing she wrote, and found her characterization of the approach to ethics here ranging from bizarre to infuriating to hilarious. I also, I must confess, often failed to do more than skim many of her epic screeds, which I found about as forbidding as Finnegan’s Wake. She has been, however, a unique voice here, a sincere and serious one, and virtually always civil. I also admire her resilience, since few participants here have been battered as intensely and personally as she was.

Or accused of being a robot.

Recently there had been suggestions that my failure to ban her from commenting—she is a white supremacist, after all, as well as anti-Semitic—has cost Ethics Alarms readers. Any potential readers who would reject this ethics blog because he or she objects to the opinion of another reader can go piss in their hats, to be blunt. I reject the entire attitude behind such a reaction. There have been commenters who have made me wince when I saw they had weighed in, since I had a pretty good idea what I was in for; indeed Alizia was one of them. But I have to read the comments here—the format includes my actively engaging with those bold enough to speak up. EA recently passed the 12,000 post mark, and I lead all commenters with over 50,000 replies. Nobody, however, has to read any particular commenter, or any of them. Nor am I responsible for the opinions offered here by others. I have Comment Policies, and generally stick to them. Veteran commenters receive a lot of leeway, because they do contribute content to the blog, like it or not. Yes, there is a provision that says a commenter can be banned for “…Exhibiting racism or other bias.” I interpret that narrowly, in part because a theme here has been the effort by progressives to demonize and suppress speech they find inconvenient or upsetting, and to abuse the label of “racist” to do it. I have chosen to err on the side of free expression, especially when it is under assault, and when the party that signals an intent to metaphorically kneel on liberty’s throat seems poised to take power.

But I digress.

Alizia informed me of her decision in a graceful and uncharacteristically brief note. I told her that she would be missed, at least by me.

2. Ah, Portland… Yesterday, after promoting the event on social media as an “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage,” protesters toppled statues Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, then went on to ruin the entrance to the Oregon Historical Society before moving into other areas of downtown, smashing storefronts and engaging in a full-fledged riot. Police ordered the rioters moving  through the city’s streets to disperse but this being Portland, but did not directly intervene until nearly an hour after the first statue fell.

The organizers had called for “direct action” and demanded that onlooker who happened upon the group were ordered to stop filming or delete photographs. An apartment resident who tried to shoot a video from his terrace had lasers aimed at his eyes and a liquid thrown in his face. There were about 200 in the group dressed in black, some with body armor, shields, and weapons.

These are the people Americans are voting for when they support the Democratic party in 2020. Joe Biden has passively supported them and their violence with his weasel words, and his VP has directly endorsed them.

3. A Big Lie attack from one of the most unethical Senators, which is quite an accomplishment. Mazie Hirono (D-Ha) asked Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett today,  “Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?” I wonder why she didn’t also ask, “Have you ever had sex with a fam animal, seduced a boy under the age of ten, or bathed in fecal matter?” Might as well, since the idea is to frame baseless accusations with deliberately embarrassing questions.

I’m guessing the Democrats have a Blasey-Ford clone being prepped who will testify that the 15-year-old judge-to-be tried to persuade him to make out, knowing that he was gay and would find the idea “icky.”

See the last paragraph in the previous item.

4. Coup Plot C finally bites the dust. The intellectually bankrupt theory held that the Emoluments Clause, an obscure and dead letter constitutional provision that has never been used, never been understood to apply to businesses owned by the Chief Executive, and which should have been raised, if at all, during the campaign, now disqualified Trump from the Presidency.

The Supreme Court today declined accept a challenge by 29 Senate Democrats who alleged that President Trump violated the  Emolument Clause after a February ruling by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Senators lacked the legal right to sue the President. They argued that Trump’s continued ownership of companies engaged in business with foreign governments amounted to accepting “unauthorized financial benefits from foreign states.”

68 thoughts on “Tuesday That Feels Like A Monday Ethics Catch-Up, 10/13/2020.

  1. I am one who will miss Alizia. She is what practicing tolerance looks like. Once I lashed out at her. I didn’t like it. She volunteered, in a way, to be an opportunity for others to engage with the dredded white supremacist (did she actually say she was?). And to be honest, she has conversationally, been much kinder to me than some of the avowed “anti-racists” who comment here.

    Sometimes I skipped her comments, but when I really read one, I saw something behind our labels and identities (proclaimed or not). Alizia is young and learning. Everyone benefits from challenging conversations, spoken with a willingness to grow. I hope she doesn’t stop growing. She set an example to keep trying to make sense of the world and engage with people who may not always like you. Many are not that brave.

  2. I will also miss Alizia the iconoclast who’s posts I found frequently incomprehensible but sometimes thought provoking. I’m certainly glad that she ended her participation in this blog in a gracious and non petulant manner unlike some of the lunkheads who could not bear being challenged.

  3. 1. Awww, come back, Alizia! Just keep your comments shorter. The participants on this blog are the most good-willed bunch, person for person, that you can expect to find in any Internet saloon (or salon). We “regulars” have changed and grown in our times of presence here, believe it or not. I am sure I am speaking for Jack and virtually all other regulars when I say that in our hearts, we only hope that your experience here will result in your change and growth also – and we would be delighted to watch as it happens also to you, reflected in your comments. I am not sure, but I believe one of my most recent attempts to connect with you was to speak of you in third person to another regular – in mocking deference to your “pure” conservative view. I firmly believe that you would benefit in your life by continuing to follow this blog, even if you just “lurk.” I’m sure many of us regulars have lurked from time to time. Stay healthy, in any case; I was definitely poorer (and even less healthy) for missing months of the blog this past year, due to my health issues. Stay free to choose, and choose wisely, Alizia. You might someday realize that you are even more Lucky than I am. That’s a Blessing you don’t want to miss.

  4. I too wish Alizia well and thank her for sharing her references and quite provocative views. There can be considerable value in being confronted by what seem quite appalling ideas, to reconsider the nature of ones opposition. Apparently Voltaire didn’t say :”I disapprove of what you say but I defend to the death your right to say it” but it would be good to think he would have said it many times to Alizia if they’d met on this blog.

  5. A voice like Alizia’s is interesting and unusual. I wish her well will definitely miss her. More than once I wondered if she had weighed in in the comments on something, and I am sure I am not alone in finding her thinking valuable, thought provoking and well worth the trip into those waters.
    I missed the part where she is an avowed white supremacist, or anti-Semite, though I haven’t read more than a fraction. I also wonder: Can one have a “Save Western Civ” bumper sticker without being a “white supremacist”?
    Best to you, Alizia.

  6. 1. There are some people formerly on these forums who I was glad to see go. The top loss of course was liberal firebrand and full-time asshole Chris. Some of Alizia’s comments I just skipped over, because I found them incomprehensible and frankly, a distraction from the main point I was trying to make or respond to. She did have some insights. She was hardly unintelligent. I was a little shocked when she revealed herself as the anti-semite she is. I am surprised that did not get her, if not banned, at least warned that that particular attitude is not permissible. I could have torn her to shreds myself, but decided against it, because she is someone who would not listen. I think her most interesting response that I remember is her telling me that she was an expert with thrown knives so beware her. I just sneered, this forum did not need an Emma Peel wannabe. Still, I found her posts more interesting than the formulaic liberal posts of some other long departed folks who I won’t name. If I wanted to read liberal talking points I could find them any day on Democratic underground or daily Kos.

    2. I am not the least bit surprised at this. The slow motion suicide of the city of Portland has unfolded before us for about 6 months now. It is not surprising that antifa runs wild in a city where the mayor is in sympathy with them. It’s only going to get worse when, and all probability on election day this mayor is succeeded by a woman who is in fact a member of antifa. There are no other options, like many cities in America there are no republicans in power and a republican could not be elected dog catcher. The voters’ only choices are to vote for the far left and the extremely far left. However, it is the voters who created the situation, and who are slowly making it less and less possible for Republicans to be elected anywhere, as demographic shifts turn formerly red states purple and then blue. In the meantime, there shouldn’t be any surprise in the city of Portland as the businesses and those residents who can leave do leave. Take that together with the crazy idea that the police need to be defunded and you are setting yourself up for a situation probably not too far down the line where the city will be like post-riot, sorry, post- REBELLION Newark (the current mayor and his black supremacist supporters insist it must be called that), where everything is boarded up or in ruins except the liquor stores, the pawn shops, the payday loan places, and a few seedy bookstores owned by radicals who are too old to actually join the violence. You get the government you elect, and a vote for these folks is a vote that says you like walking through dirty alleys where someone might jump out to take your wallet at any minute and crossing poorly maintained parks seeing nothing but dog excrement, cigarette butts, globs of spit, empty beer cans, and ugly plinths where statues once stood before they were all pulled down. It’s a scary thought that we could be right on the cusp of handing this party unfettered power, but there is a very good chance that enough people in this country hate the president enough to do just that.

    3. This is the same senator who said that men generally need to shut up and step up. She’s an idiot, and you yourself said she probably couldn’t get elected to any public office outside of Hawaii. I don’t think they have a gay male clone of Blasey-Ford prepped with that angle, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few contemporaries who did not do as well prepared to testify that she was a queen bee and a mean girl back in high school, or that she participated in some kind of racist act of exclusion or hatred while she was in college. Some have already described her as having a clown car vagina, as though having several children, or indeed, having children at all rather than climbing up the ladder unfettered by a family was a bad thing and a betrayal of her gender. I know what it’s like to live your entire life without a family, and, it doesn’t end in a good place. When you are 50 and all of your picture frames are empty and your weekends are dead quiet, you regret it. Maybe she didn’t want to end up in that place. yes, you pointed out that these are the kind of people that are running under the Democratic party banner, however, it is entirely possible that hatred of Trump trumps all.

    4. This is good, but it may well represent a pyrrhic victory as there is in my opinion a very good chance that the president will lose in less than 3 weeks and this will become irrelevant. On the other hand, there is also a very good chance that a Biden justice department will find itself under a huge amount of pressure to pursue Trump and former officials from his administration and attempt to prosecute them and put them in jail. the Democratic party has already set a large number of very bad precedents during this administration. However, I don’t think it has hit bottom yet, and I think it will set even more during the next Democratic presidency whenever that may be. However, the silver lining is the Trump would be gone, and that’s something, isn’t it? Ha! I am too old and too practical to try to find silver linings in every cloud. Some things are just bad. I have a hard time seeing how the party that gave us Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK, that gave us the New Deal, the Civil Rights Act, and that did not hesitate to stand up to the Soviet Union in the early Cold War becoming itself a party of tyrants only interested in maintaining their own power and silencing those who do not agree with it has any upside.

    • A bit unfair regarding Chris, Steve. He was distinguished by a willingness (occasionally) to admit when he was wrong or had overstated his case. I view him as a tragic case of progressive (in both senses of the word) Trump Derangement—by the final stages, he was just angry, tunnel visioned and irrational, increasingly lashing out, as demonstrated by his exit. He crossed a line, I required that he admit an excess and apologize, and he refused to do it, essentially banning himself.

      • Occasionally he admitted he was wrong or had overplayed his hand. However, that was probably at best once out of three times. I specifically warned him myself at the beginning of 2018 that he was headed for trouble if he didn’t rein in the anger naked partisanship, double standards, and dysentery of the mouth (keyboard?). However, as time went by he just became more hateful, more nasty, more insulting. I admit to using some brutal tactics on him, however, that was done to show him what it felt like to be on the receiving end of something he justified when done to a GOP official. He didn’t take it well, showing what he justified was a straight up violation of the Golden Rule.

        Towards the end he began to resemble an internet troll I had the misfortune to run into yesterday on an Italian-American Facebook page called “Save Columbus Day.” The guy joined the page the day before apparently specifically so he could drop a link to Gretchen Whitmer’s online proclamation of Indigenous People’s Day, adding “you’re welcome” with a smug smile emoji, like we stick-in-the-mud Italian Americans who won’t embrace this new holiday and give up our own should be thankful for his enlightening us. Predictably, this did not meet with a positive reaction from the membership. He remained on the page for probably an hour, responding to objections with taunting, insults and threats (among other things, saying the last guy who tried to kick his ass wound up in the hospital with his jaw wired shut and his ribs set), before the page admin deleted the post and banned him. It’s one thing to talk TO others, it’s another to talk AT them. Chris talked AT people at the end.

    • Re: #3. Dianne Feinstein is at least trying to keep the hearings from becoming a shit show likle it did with Brett Kavanaugh. Leftist Twitter activists actually criticized her for it.

      I have a hard time seeing how the party that gave us Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK, that gave us the New Deal, the Civil Rights Act, and that did not hesitate to stand up to the Soviet Union in the early Cold War becoming itself a party of tyrants only interested in maintaining their own power and silencing those who do not agree with it has any upside.

      This quote is very telling.


      “Cuban American and Venezuelan voters here in South Florida are being targeted with messages by the Trump campaign claiming that a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for the radical left and socialism, and even communism,” [Peter] Gonzalez said. “What can you tell people in my family, my friends—who are understandably concerned with that issue—that would make them feel comfortable voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?”

    • Regarding your #1 item Steve, here is a report today in the Oregonian: https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2020/10/portland-apartment-rents-are-falling-outpacing-declines-elsewhere.html

      Of course the article blames the shift to working from home due to Covid. No mention of the insanity that is Portland. No mention that businesses have been trashed while the police watched on orders to stand down. No mention of the mental health crisis that leaves the city awash in homelessness and the dugs, human waste and garbage. No mention of the fact that they had a kidnapping of a kid when a crazed man broke into an apartment and nearby residents had a standoff with the man until he left 45 minutes later, all with no police response because they were short staffed due to riots and officers quitting in disgust. No mention of a huge spike in violent crime. Nope, it’s just Covid.

      My dad worked in downtown Portland when I was young. It was quite nice back then, My parents had no concern with me traveling around as a tween. It doesn’t remotely resemble what it did back then. I have no visions of ever returning to that hell hole now.

    • re Steve-O’s comments

      #2 – The last I heard from people who had moved from SF to Portland to fulfill their more activist progress, was that they were waiting for (working for?) Trump to send in the troops so they could “really make a statement.” When i asked what they thought they could do up there, one of them, over 70, said she though she would make “good cannon fodder.”

      So far Gov. Kate Brown, who disagrees strongly with the Portland mayor, has said she would resist calling in the troops under any circumstances. She has so far managed to utilize the services of the county Sheriff’s Department and State Troopers who first refused to help, citing the ban on CS gas which they say is the safest way to disperse crowds. They were later authorized to use the tear gas, since the ban was for the City of Portland, not for the state.

      It’s a volcanic situation.

  7. #1 Goodbye Alizia.

    #2 I wrote the following on my Apathy Fertilizes A Breeding Ground For Stupidity blog back in June of 2019…

    When you have one stupid person ranting in public it’s easy for the public to shrug it off and explain it away to others as “it’s just a wacko”, but what happens when that wacko’s rantings become mainstream and there are hordes of stupid people publicly parroting the same irrational emotionally driven nonsense, shutting down public meetings, blocking roadways, wrecking businesses, destroying property and making the public feel unsafe to use their fundamental right to free speech and speak their mind.

    If you don’t want to live under rules created by stupid people then you need to set aside your apathy for society and politics, stand up for intelligent truths and do something about what’s happening!

    #3 I listened to or watched a lot of the hearings and I noticed that even though the Democrats were constantly presenting tear jerking stories related to the ACA and trying to setup a gotcha moments with Judge Barrett related to Roe vs Wade and constantly complaining about President Trump or misrepresenting President Trump or repeating lies about President Trump the hearing was pretty civil, at least the parts I saw and heard.

    #4 I’m not so sure that Coup Plot C has actually bitten the dust yet, they could easily find another way to approach this.

  8. 1–I’ll miss Alizia, yet something tells me EA hasn’t heard the last of her.

    3–It should be noted that some, if not all, of Barrett’s seven (7) children (six [6] minor, one a 2nd grader) were seated directly behind her listening in as their Mother was asked if she were a abuser/pervert/rapist.

  9. “epic screeds”

    I always to keep the Declaration of Independence in mind, about 1,300 words. It’s rare for me to wade through blog comments two or three times the length of the Declaration.

    “however, it is entirely possible that hatred of Trump trumps all.”

    It’s not mainly hatred. Again, the core of the resistance – the DNC and their media allies – promoted Trump as a dirty trick. This thing has been run by cool-headed people in the DNC, big media corporations, the bureaucracy including education, and extends to overseas governments, including China and the EU. There’s more sneering contempt than actual hatred, but most of the resistance is about dollars and cents and has been done in cold blood.

    • Too true – the media pushed him to become the nominee because he was a ratings generator AND could sweep 16 other candidates including effective governors away. Then they turned on him the moment he became that nominee, saying he was a dangerous demagogue and all that, in the hopes that Hillary could beat him like a drum and just glide into the White House without so much as a wrinkle in her pantsuit. They failed. Unfortunately, this time they are much more likely to succeed.

  10. 1.

    This is troubling news. I’m more convinced of an idea by the nature of its opposition than the dialectic in support of it. I’ve always been a contrarian that way. Anyone can make a case for anything, but the validity of the case depends on how it stands the winds of scrutiny. Alizia’s views were nuanced and well-argued, to be sure. They were shared by people throughout history, some with towering intellects. The “Jewish question” was entertained in some form or another by men such as G. K. Chesterton, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and St. Maximilian Kolbe, all opponents of the Nazi regime, one driven from his home country by that regime, and the lattermost martyred for the Catholic Faith in one of their own death camps. So, watching the entirety of her opposition resort to such dismissals as “we don’t say things like that” at best and base derision at worst was more convincing to me than anything she could have ever penned alone. We are gripped with the comical artificial fear, for instance, that any criticism of Jews as a collective is some sort of justification for the holocaust which killed some 6 million Jews (and 4 million Catholics; no permanent inviolability prize for second place, it seems). Clowns, all. May I only ever think and speak ill of any such notion. I have thus been wizened by Alizia’s commentary, and that wanting counter-commentary. I expect there is a great number of people who were likewise convinced but are afraid to say so. That may be healthy.

    Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre once mused that in our current persecution by the devil most of us will be denied the red martyrdom which once sustained the Faith, but the martyrdom we suffer in spirit will have to supply the merits necessary to renew the Church. Her cause wasn’t strictly religious, but I should think that any suffering for truth as Truth is worthy of some consideration.

    It was a marvel how she endured and with what grace. On a few occasions I blundered in to defend her, but it was always unhelpful. She held her own, and assistance only seemed to detract from the effect. Her resistance was non-combative somehow, even when rarely insulting, and more effective thereby than any bluster, force of will, or show of numbers.

    I’ll pour out my next glass for Alizia.

      • I suppose it maybe customary somewhere to insult someone’s character in response to a eulogy of sorts, but let me be clear that any such culture is objectively inferior to mine.

        I assume this is a joke, but the humor sort of depends on the assumptions that she would post self-supportive deceptions under a pseudonym and that there isn’t a single person who would speak well of her.

        Or maybe you’re comparing my composition to hers. I don’t think that works, either.

          • Maybe, but then that wouldn’t have been my style. If I dropped my character (the only one I have, alas) to avoid the accusation, I’dve been made for sure!

        • Well, thank you, Steve. The consensus was so strong I was going from certainty we have nothing in common stylistically, to thinking there must be something, to searching my memory for gaps and thinking “if I was Alizia and didn’t know it, would I know???

          Now I’m back to thinking the whole theory is preposterous, where I duly belong, being one of the interested parties.

          • You have an uncommonly formal style for the Internet, as Alizia did, but your writing is definitely distinct from hers (or anyone else’s)! I always thought your perspectives were very different, too.

            So yes, someone else from the outside who believes you’re definitely yourself.

  11. I will chime in my regards for Alizia. I’m always sad to hear that someone is making a definite break. I will miss her essays, some of which I could agree with, some of which I wish I had time answer, and some which I could only scratch my head. We did have some pleasant exchanges, and do I hope she changes her mind and returns.

  12. 4. There are other Emoluments Clause cases making their way through the courts. This was was denied cert. most likely on fairly narrow standing issues.

    • Depends. I think there’s a nuanced difference between “talking about racism” and “doing a racism”. Same principles apply to n-word. I think there’s a difference between 1) Quoting 2) Uttering 3) Using the n-word.

      Quoting – Repeating a statement from someone else.
      Ex: I’m reading a passage from a Mark Twain novel to further a conversation.
      Not: Quoting a movie out of context to get away with ‘doing a racism’.

      Uttering – Talking about the word.
      Ex: In this post, I’m commenting on the word “nigger”. That’s the n-word I’m referencing. I’m not using the word, I only uttered it for clarity of the post.

      Using – Employing the word in reference to a specific person or group of people.
      Example not necessary.

      I think there’s some common similarities for all taboo subjects. If you’re in an intellectual discussion (which Ethics certainly is) then exhibiting your thoughts, even if presumed to be racist, should be okay, so long as you aren’t “acting racist” or “using racism” against the fellow commentariat or subjects of discussion.

      Now, I’m not 100% clear on every situation, so perhaps if you were actively advocating some kind of genocide plan, even if it was all a theoretical intellectual exercise; I would view that negatively. But if your discussing what the nazi’s were doing in the 1930s and what they perceived their goals to be at the time, then I think that has intellectual value.

      With all that said, I never even bothered to skim Aliza’s comments once I figured out who she was. Even if she responded to me directly on a comment, I never bothered reading it, which is why you won’t see any replies from me to her. If people say she added value, however wrong her position was, I’ll believe it. We learn more from mistakes than from being right.

      • Sure, but Alizia debated the merits of racism/separation/white supremacy. That type of thinking should not have an audience here.

        • Still Spartan wrote, “Sure, but Alizia debated the merits of racism/separation/white supremacy. That type of thinking should not have an audience here.”

          Why not?

          Isn’t Alizia welcome to her opinion too?

          Wouldn’t it be considered prejudice based on bigotry to ban Alizia based on her views on racism.

          Are you advocating that racists don’t have the right to be heard just like you and I?

          • This is confusing free speech with ethics. This site is not run by the government, it is moderated by a private attorney, and is a blog about ethical behavior and thought. If I were moderating such a site, I would not permit racist commentators. In the past, Jack had to step in after years of a popular participant using performance level misogyny against all women here. He adjusted his behavior and later left (or got himself banned) for an unrelated offense. In my opion, by allowing true hate speech to infiltrate a blog like this normalizes it and erodes the blog’s mission. If Alizia/Benjamin/or some other algorithim wants to debate the merits of racism, an ethics blog is not the place to do it.

            • If I were moderating such a site, I would not permit racist commentators.

              Spartan, I actually think this would be an interesting subject to debate. Should someone espousing a view that is strongly agreed to be unethical be given a chance to defend his view on an ethics blog? I would argue yes, presuming such an individual doesn’t simply spew it out in some of the screeds that Jack has brought to our attention over the years. Suppose, for example, that I believed I had very compelling reasons why we should consider slavery as an ethical option. Should we completely shut down the conversation because everyone else not only agrees slavery is unethical but also has strong ethical arguments against slavery? Or should we be willing to engage in conversation, see what the arguments are in favor of slavery, rebut them charitably, and see if we can change my mind?

            • If Alizia/Benjamin/or some other algorithim wants to debate the merits of racism, an ethics blog is not the place to do it.

              I wonder, once Jack dropped his gavel on the dreaded istists if the question of seething, grandstanding, self-righteous idiocy might arise. How could you stand when that wind howls, all the presumably more objectionable “ists” having been leveled?

              And that assumes your ilk wouldn’t go first, being the ones responsible for nearly every real-world woe we have to contend with!

              • If Jack were to ban me, so be it. If the government were to ban me from speech — abhorrent as my speech might be — then I would have a problem.

                • I really think this is a straw man. Yes, the Constitution only relates to government censorship, but it, plus the Declaration, establishes the cultural value of free speech and expression.

                  • It isn’t a straw man at all. We have settled many issues in our society. Some things are evil and unethical — racism, slavery, genocide, denial of basic human rights. The list is longer, but hopefully everyone here can agree on those, at a minimum. I would not waste my time debating any of these issues with anyone, and I certainly would not frequent a blog if an ethics expert/lawyer/moderator permitted such discussion.

                    • You have named three behaviors, and one endlessly expandable definition of various opinions.The opinion that one race is superior than another in all things and not deserving of equal and just treatment, there’s no reason to debate that. But no one has argued that here.

                    • To be clear: if one opinion can be labeled unspeakable, then another can. What’s to stop the facsisst of the Left, like AOC, from insisting that skepticism about climate apocalypse theories, or opposition to open borders, among other positions they view as evil, should be suppressed? I don’t see the line. Racism is the line because—it just is, that’s all?

                    • OK, here’s a chance for some needed clarification.

                      Hannah0Jones, the race-baiting Times reporter responsible for the racist “1619” screed, has accused the Times and Bret Stephens of being racist because it challenged, based on facts, her warped history. So she’s black and a ,cough. Pulitzer Prize winner. Does that mean nobody should read Bret Stephens or the Times?

                      How about my observation that blacks, including prominent blacks, in the 21st Century are increasingly acculturated to cry “Racism!” rather than accept responsibility for problems of their own causing? Because it WORKS by shutting down cowardly whites? Does that make me racist? Isn’t that exactly what Hannah-Jones is doing? So she doesn’t know what racism is—yet I should be banning opinions that embody whatever it is?

            • If there was a reasonable, fair definition of “racist” that I saw used in the public square, this might be a justifiable point. But there isn’t. I use my own definition, which is appropriately narrow: denigrating an individual based on that individual’s race, or asserting that members of a race have negative characteristics based on their genetic make-up alone. That’s it. Thus I regularly reject submitted comments about “those people” or that use racially denigrating terms. The same is true of anti-Semitism and sexism.

              The progressive movement and Democrats seek to shut down dissent by terming, among other things, opposition to reparations, opposition to affirmative action, opposition to Black Lives Matter, criticism of Barack Obama, criticism of the NBA and NFL, criticism of absurd African American activist like Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters, and criticism of black cultural maladies like unmarried parenthood and observations about conduct that is more common among blacks that other racial groups and much much more as “racist.”

              Freedom of speech is a core and crucial value in the U.S. Of course it is an ethics topic.

              • Pity there is so much heat in any discussion around ‘discrimination’, be it on race, age, sex, gender, religion, political leanings etc. So many seek brownie points asserting that of course ‘they’ don’t do it. Seems to me to have been an essential part of our evolutionary DNA that we should be wary of strangers, people who look or sound different, or come from the other side of the mountain. There has always been a balance to be struck. Consorting with and pairing up with strangers improves genetic diversity and provides obvious gains in terms of expanding knowledge and experience. But there are also risks, most obviously and topically, being damaged by some new virus (or idea) that we haven’t experienced before.

                Up until recently we have been generally unworried about catching dangerous new infections from strangers. And we have gained massively from increased interaction. Now however many of us face regulatory restrictions on who we can meet with, in the name of a public health emergency.

                So now I am a ‘bubbleist’! Come from the wrong country, state, or part of town and it may be illegal for me to come to within 6 feet of you!

                But of course I will be massively offended if you suggest I might be discriminating against you.

                And if I did find an alien ‘ET’ in my toy cupboard I’m closing the door and looking for hazmat.

            • Still Spartan wrote, “This is confusing free speech with ethics.”

              I’m not confusing anything.

              Is being a bigot ethical?

              Still Spartan wrote, “If I were moderating such a site, I would not permit racist commentators.”

              That would be your choice if it was part of the site rules but that choice is still an act of censorship based on bigotry.

              Censorship: the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

              Bigotry: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

              Own it.

              Still Spartan wrote, “In my opinion, by allowing true hate speech to infiltrate a blog like this normalizes it and erodes the blog’s mission.”

              Only if that so called “hate speech” is not identified for what it is. Alizia’s statements that were considered racist have been called out by you and I and a few others around here, we’re not normalizing a damn thing and the mission of the site hasn’t been eroded in any way.

              Still Spartan wrote, “If Alizia/Benjamin/or some other algorithim wants to debate the merits of racism, an ethics blog is not the place to do it.”

              Why not?

              Actually isn’t an ethics blog is a really good place for a racist to debate the merits of racism, they would be confronted and learning from people that don’t coddle to unethical behaviors. A racist learning from outside their racist hive mind that racism is unethical is a great idea!

              Do you think that ignoring racist behavior makes it go away?

            • . . .by allowing true hate speech to infiltrate a blog like this normalizes it and erodes the blog’s mission. If Alizia/Benjamin/or some other algorithim wants to debate the merits of racism, an ethics blog is not the place to do it.

              Thank you, Spartan.

              • Ah, if only there were an accepted and reasonable definition of “hate speech.” I think I’ll accept SS’s standard when the Southern Poverty Law Center isn’t used as an authority to ban organizations the Left finds nettlesome.

        • It was a virtually unanimous critical audience that was perfectly capable of rebutting it. And that is the point of civic discourse.

          I wonder if, had not such discussion been censored, the current mobs advocating anti-white racism might have been able to hear the ethics alarms ringing.

        • If certain ideas are so abhorrent, you should be able to easily dispose of them. Censorship achieves nothing. It only exacerbates thinggs via the Striesand Effect.

            • Still Spartan wrote, “I also don’t debate flat-earthers.”

              People who use that term flat-earthers are intentionally trying to shut down debate it’s used exactly like the race baiting. Please explain to me why you choose to use it and what does the term means to you.

              Still Spartan wrote, “Some concepts need to be accepted before we move forward.”

              So you must accept my opinion, idea or interpretation of reality as fact before we can move on?

              • I chose something that was easy and a phrase in common parlance. I almost typed “reinvent the wheel” but that made the sentence too wordy.

                The intent is clear — there are topics on which we shouldn’t waste our time. If this were an engineering blog, presumably it would be a waste of everyone’s time for people to patiently explain to someone why wheels should be round and not square. Similarly, on an ethics blog, it would waste time — and detract from the mission — to engage in debate with someone who advocates racist ideas.

                • Thanks and I understand your opinion; however, I completely disagree with your conclusion that “on an ethics blog, it would waste time — and detract from the mission — to engage in debate with someone who advocates racist ideas”. Serious Spartan, what better place to address those who advocate unethical racist ideas than on an ethics blog, these become challenging ethical teaching moments?

                • I’m all for debating challenging concepts — racism is not one of them. It’s pretty easy to not be a racist, and if you choose to be one, I am not going to spend time with you. (I’m not referring to you obviously.) If others want to, that’s fine, but dont’ be surprised if I — and others like me — decide not to participate and look to debate interesting and complex issues elsewhere.

                  • Still Spartan wrote, “I’m all for debating challenging concepts — racism is not one of them.”

                    You’re willing to enable racism by not confronting it, that’s a rough equivalent to apathy.

                    For the sake of discussion; I’ve found that many people don’t want to confront racist for a number of reasons:
                    1. They’re a closet racist themself.
                    2. They are afraid to confront racists.
                    3. They don’t know how to argue against racism.

                    Usually it’s #2 & #3 that I come across but as people are educated on how to argue against racism #2 become almost irrelevant for most people. There are books and websites out there to help.

                  • Again, this is a straw man. If there has ever been a thread here debating the validity of racism, I missed it. The topic of what is justly categorized as racism, however, comes up often, and that is certainly a valid ethics topic.

  13. 1) This would be like the 3rd or 4th time Alizia has “left the blog”…

    Maybe it’s actually permanent since I assume the notification was by email since presumably she can list a lot more personal and private reasons for her departure.

    I don’t like people leaving. Even people with wrong ideas are useful for healthy discussions.

  14. #1 I really did have more to say than just “Goodbye Alizia” as I did in my comment above.

    I’ve been on Ethics Alarms for nearly five years now and Alizia was here long enough before me that it was obvious from others comments that Alizia was a commenter that rang people’s bells. I pegged Alizia as an internet troll within the first couple of weeks here on Ethics Alarms and I stick with that assessment today.

    That said; I have had dozens of really good conversations with Alizia when her verbose comments weren’t full of gaslighting Aliziaisms trying to drag others into down her rabbit hole of metaphysics. Those rare conversations were usually quite good right up to the point where the gaslighting Aliziaisms would start and I’d respond with my usual style of blunt retorts. I made the decision a while back to pick and choose when I engage with Alizia and those times have become a lot less frequent then they were five years ago. In recent years I’d briefly scan some of her comments, depending on the topic, but mostly I just ignored them and spent the minute or so it took to scrolled past all of them without giving them a second thought.

    Aliza chose his/her words. Alizia chose how to interact with others. Aliza’s words represented who Alizia was to Ethics Alarms participants. Words and actions have consequences.

    I’ll miss the possibility of more of the good conversations but I won’t miss, not even for a moment, the off-topic overly verbose gaslighting Aliziaism deflections that drag others into Alizia’s never ending philosophical abyss.

  15. Alizia, I’d rather have you stay, but sometimes stepping back a little is what’s needed. I agree with you on some, disagree on others, but I’ve come to appreciate your point of view. Wishing you the best in whatever the future brings.

  16. 3. A commenter in yesterday’s Financial Times opined that the Democrats wouldn’t be stupid enough to play games with the confirmation hearings. I responded by posting “Democrats: ‘Hold my beer'”. The post was removed by a moderator.
    However, it was (once again) the Hank “Guam” Johnson of the Senate, in inimitable Senator Hirono, to the rescue. Not only did she lecture the Professor on the correct use of language, but she also Kavanaughed her. Well done, Mazie!

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