Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 11/9/2020: A Bad Date, Pseudo Blackface, Harvard Being Harvard, And Short-Lived Integrity At The New York Post

  1. I was just checking this date in history. Wow. As if Kristallnacht wasn’t bad enough all by itself, the date November 9 seems to have been cursed. Other events on this date include:
  • Lincoln appointing the incompetent General Burnside as commander of the Union Army in 1862. Burnside made George McClellan look like military genius by comparison. He was responsible for the slaughter at Fredericksburg, where he ordered charge after futile charge up a kill into Confederate artillery. He was responsible for the blood mess resulting from a battle for a useless bridge during Antietam (anyone could easily walk across the river at that point), and was the idiot responsible for the crater fiasco at Petersburg, where a great plan was transformed into a disaster because Burnside replaced trained clack troops with untrained white troops, who promptly charged into the hole made by the Union’s underground explosion.
  • The Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge by the state of Massachusetts regarding the constitutionality of the undeclared  Vietnam War by a 6-3 vote.
  • A Sunday school teacher and Boy Scout troop leader Westfield,, New Jersey father John Emil List slaughtered his entire family,  his mother Alma, his wife Helen (in the side of the head), and two three children He then left the murder weapon alongside their carefully laid-out corpses. This was premeditated:  List had  cancel newspaper, milk, and mail delivery to his home in the days leading up to the murder, and called the children’s schools to say that the family was going to visit a sick relative out of town. By the time the bodies were, List had vanished, and he stayed missing for 18 years.

2. Well you know…Harvard. Harvard College undergraduate Joshua Conde, and editor of the school paper and a Government major (like me!)  argued in the Harvard Crimson that the school must fire professors who hold “unacceptable views” and “controversial beliefs.”

 “Harvard does not care about its students of color,” he said, because it had hired  professors Diana Schaub and David Kane. Schaub’s had expressed concern about “the erosion of both Bible-based faith and faith in progress” in the African-American community, and opined that high abortion rates and low marriage rates can help to explain Baltimore’s falling population.

“How can Schaub successfully teach such a course if her academic work reveals that she holds such bigoted views of African Americans?” asked Conde. “The opinions held by instructors wield too much influence not to be heavily scrutinized. So, what Harvard must do now is simple. Fire Kane and Schaub, and any other faculty member with similar unacceptable views. Then, establish a proper vetting system that prevents the hiring of others like them. No more lengthy emails and empty promises. No more half-hearted measures. The voices of students cannot be ignored any longer; it is time they are finally heard.”

I had a discussion with a lawyer who is a Republican but who voted for Biden because he’s sick of Donald Trump and the turmoil surrounding his Presidency. I’m sympathetic, but I don’t believe my friend fully recognizes the genuine threat to democracy and free speech posed by a Biden Presidency.

Daniel Mahoney ,  a political science professor, wrote an op-ed in National Review responding to Conde. The fact that anyone would have to demonstrate what’s wrong with Conde’s position is as frightening as the fact that a Harvard student holds it. [Pointer: College Reform]

3. Even the news media that show integrity have no integrity. Last month The New York Post called President Trump “an invincible hero, who not only survived every dirty trick the Democrats threw at him, but the Chinese virus as well.” It then became almost the only news organization to call attention to the emerging scandal involving Hunter Biden’s use of his father, apparently with Joe’s knowledge, to harvest fund in an influence peddling scheme.  Suddenly, last week, the paper’s tone changed markedly, attacking the President in several articles and op-eds. What’s going on here?

The New York Times’ analysis: “the President appears to be going down ,  and The Post is not about to go with him.” Indeed, that appears to be the case. Top editors at the tabloid told staff members last week to be tougher in their coverage of him. Meanwhile, Col Allan, the Australian editor who was once seen in the Post newsroom wearing a Make America Great Again cap, is on the way out.

You know, this would all be unnecessary if newspapers just reported the news objectively. Then they wouldn’t have to decide what biases to advance.

4. Hmmm…is this blackface? I watched “Hatari!” again last night, a delightful sui generis John Wayne comedy-action film directed and conceived by the great Howard Hawks. The film has no plot to speak of, just the usual entertaining banter that Hawks excelled at staging, wonderful African wildlife and scenery, a fabulous action sequence involving an angry rhino that Steven Spielberg has ripped off at least twice, and the cutest baby elephants you ever will see. The Duke doesn’t shoot anyone or even punch someone in the face. At one point the character played by Elsa Martinelli is honored by the Wa-Arusha tribe for her rescue of the elephants,, and they give her a ceremony, naming her “Mama Tembo”, “mother of elephants,” and making her an honorary member of the tribe. Part of the ceremony involves a make-over including a Wa-Arusha hair-style and costume, and the natives paint her skin to match their own.

Are we supposed to be offended at that today? If an African tribe colors a white woman’s face to honor her, is that still blackface?

Let do a poll!

12 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 11/9/2020: A Bad Date, Pseudo Blackface, Harvard Being Harvard, And Short-Lived Integrity At The New York Post

      • Probably because of his combat experience during the Mexican-American War, his work designing the Burnside carbine, and his fabulous facial hair.

      • Was it Burnside who managed to reorganize the Army of the Potomac logistically that it was thenceforth able to supply its soldiers and maintain the army in the field? I forget just which horrendous general it was, but I think it was around that time period. His only good moment, largely overlooked, but that was not a trivial thing. There is truth to the cliché that an army travels on its stomach.

        But I think Burnside was effectively removed after Fredericksburg. Lincoln allowed him to keep his command as long as he kept the army in camp — as soon as he showed signs of wanting to do something with the Army he was replaced.

  1. (2) This isn’t just Harvard, it is every state school and every prominent secular private school. There are very few college or Universities in this country that don’t operate according to these principles.

    • And I doubt the student is the only one holding such an opinion. I’ve not doubt the student was put up to writing that opinion piece by a faculty member.

  2. #2)

    The fourth paragraph:

    “I had a discussion with a lawyer who is a Republican but who voted for Biden because he’s sick of Donald Trump and the turmoil surrounding his Presidency. I’m sympathetic, but I don’t believe my friend fully recognizes the genuine threat to democracy and free speech posed by a Biden Presidency.”

    Seems to be either out of place or missing it’s conclusion?

    • No, all as intended. The Harvard kid shows how the tolerance of progressive fascism is on the ascendant, and Biden, whose party is a main proponent, will only advance such constraints on free speech the more power it has.

      • Not out of place at all. As I’ve told any number of crazed lefties of my vintage (right before they tell me to go to hell), I am not as sanguine as they are that the country can continue functioning while under relentless attack by socialists and hateful communists. They seem to think the country is impregnable. I’m not so sure.

  3. “45 years ago today, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald departed Duluth, Minnesota on an unseasonably warm afternoon. By 7:10pm on Nov 10th, she was lost to the Gales of November.”

    Lake Superior does not give up her dead.

    • How did I miss that?

      You know, the same lawyer I quoted in this post has a friend who has a party every year on this date in honor of the ship, and at the fateful hour,everyone sings the Gordon Lightfoot song as they watch a model of the Edmund Fitzgerald sink in a tub.

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