Friday Night Ethics Fever, 11/13/2020 [Corrected]

1. “Then they came for Professor Turley…” Jonathan Turley, who has distinguished himself throughout the Trump years and the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck with clear, unbiased, non-partisan analysis that generally correctly identifies who is the transgressor and why, was attacked by University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos who compared his discussion of possible voting irregularities to Holocaust denial. Turley is measured, as usual, in his criticism, but he is obviously troubled by the continuing trend, writing in part,

“It is part of a wave of intolerance sweeping over our colleges and our newsrooms. It is therefore an ironic moment as someone who has been writing about the growing intolerance of dissenting views on our campuses and efforts to fire academic.  Some have been targeted for engaging in what is called “both sides rhetoric” rather than supporting a preferred narrative or viewpoint. Campos is arguing that it “would be appropriate to fire” any professor who stated that we should allow these challenges to be heard even though they have not and are unlikely to produce evidence of systemic fraud to overturn these results.  That is a view of academic freedom and viewpoint tolerance shared by some in academia.

I am not the first academic that Campos called to be terminated for his views. In the end, I would defend Campos in his posting such views. Unlike Professor Campos, I do not believe that he should be fired for holding opposing views or even calling for others to be fired. That is the cost of free speech. Indeed, Professor Campos is the cost of free speech.’

And yes, this is exactly what you voted for if you voted for Joe Biden.

In fact, it’s what Professor Turley voted for, as I suspect he did, when he voted for Joe Biden.

2. Regarding another favorite Ethics Alarms blogger…I respect and value Ann Althouse’s opinions and analysis, but boy does she epitomize what’s irresponsible about intellectuals.  There is a constant tone on her blog that it’s all just a big cosmic game, nothing really matters much, and all these intellectually inferior people are running around in circles, obsessing over base and minor matters. Meanwhile, Ann is preoccupied by the fact that there’s a “homophone for alibi,” the relative size of statues, and some local interviewer in Lincoln, Nebraska. These matters seem to concern her about as much as the means by which a President was finally taken down, the cracking of our democratic institutions, and the fact that our journalists have become no better than rumor-mongers and partisan assassins.

It’s that studied distance that academics and those over-educated egotists who are full-time frolickers in the playgrounds of the mind display that makes normal people—and me— suspicious of their motives and judgment.

3. The Oxford Dictionary changed its definition of “bigot,” and some conservative pundits find it sinister. The new version is beneath the old.

Dictionart definition

Writes one alarmist,

The new definition leaves little doubt that this inference is being taken further by the intelligentsia that want you to know what to believe and think…Are you “unreasonably attached” to any beliefs? Like say, that Jesus Christ is exclusively the only hope for eternal life? Or that abortion is an abomination in the face of a holy and just God? Or that giving sex changes to kids is a brutal form of child abuse? Or that men shouldn’t be in the restroom with your teenage daughter? If so, this new definition justifies animus toward you. It‘s now okay to hate you for “clinging” to beliefs deemed unacceptable.

This complaint meets my definition of confirmation bias and perhaps paranoia. I’ve always thought the definition of “bigot” was the new one. It’s exactly how I have used the word for decades.

4. Here’s some diversity that is a breath of fresh air! The Miami Marlins announced that Kim Ng will be the MLB National League team’s new general manager, making her the first Asian-American GM in Major League Baseball history and the first woman to ever act as a GM for a men’s team in any of the major North American sports. Baseball doesn’t do affirmative action: her credentials are impeccable She’s worked in baseball for 30 years, and as an assistant GM for both the Yankees and Dodgers. Congratulations are due to Ms. Ng.

5. The ethical implications of this are what you make of them: President Trump has apparently won North Carolina, giving him 232 electoral votes. Here’s the completely unbiased and accurate headline from the state’s News & Observer: “President Donald Trump wins North Carolina after losing reelection.”

(The President has not “lost re-election” at this time.)

Five states now assigned to Biden have a less than 1% advantage for the Democrats: Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. This seems like as good a time as any to offer this poll.

6. I watched “A Man For All Seasons” again…and discovered a quote that I had missed in all the other viewings through the years. It seems especially apt right now:

“If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that avarice, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought perhaps we must stand fast a little…”

28 thoughts on “Friday Night Ethics Fever, 11/13/2020 [Corrected]

    • FIXED. [8:47 am] Sorry. Clicked in haste on the wrong jpeg.Apologies to everyone who thought they were going crazy…

      Nothing I like better than waking up and finding out that something stupid I have done has been sitting there festering all night.


  1. RE: #4
    Kim Ng is no more of an “affirmative action” hire than Jackie Robinson was. Both qualify as about-damn-time hires. Their talent and perseverance qualify them and their sex or race is irrelevant. Kim may be more of an outlier than Jackie, as there was a vastly deep pool of Black American baseball talent being stupidly ignored and actively excluded by the major league clubs (cough…BOSOX…cough). I don’t know that there will be a quick influx of female baseball execs, but I’m glad Kim achieved her ambition, and it will be easier for the next woman who chooses that path.

  2. According to at the link, the older definition is: “a person who is intolerant toward those hold[ing] different opinions.”
    The key difference for me is the word ‘obstinately’. For example, I am obstinately attached to a belief in free speech; therefore, by the apparent new definition, I am a bigot. But, by the old definition, my obstinate attachment to free speech means I am tolerant of those with different opinions, since they have free speech rights, too, and therefore I am not a bigot.
    I cannot access the dictionary without a subscription, and I’m not getting one, but if the change is accurate, then it represents one more effort by the ‘language people’ to marginalize others, i.e., bigotry.

  3. 5. Poll: the baseball writer Bill James observed that the greatest home run hitter of all time had learned to hit differently from how everyone hit, with the “wrong” hand lower on the bat. Given Hank Aaron’s results, James wondered if maybe baseball people shouldn’t investigate to see if there was some cause-and-effect between the ill-advised training and the spectacular outcome. Trump’s tweeting is the similar: his accomplishment is so spectacular that we’re on thin ice to shine a light on some aspect of it and say, “There, that’s where he was undid himself,” especially if that aspect is something we don’t particularly like.

  4. 3. I think that the definition of bigotry has to have a statistical component. It’s bigotry to connect Latvians with being overweight if Latvians are, on average, less heavy than other groups. Even if Latvians are heavier than average, it’s bigotry to emphasize that connection if Finns and Swedes are also heavier than average, but no attention is directed to their weights. So bigotry should be defined as attributing qualities to groups without supporting, or using data unfairly to target a specific group.

  5. HJ
    I concur. My worry is that who defines “unreasonably attached”. If everyone believes Gatorade will grow plants does that make it a reasonable belief?

    Gallileo and Copernicus would be classed as bigots for their unreasonable attachment to their scientific beliefs in their time. John Brown held a thoroughly unreasonable attachment about slavery among many in his time.

    Simply because a group says X is unreasonable and your principles prevent you from succumbing to the groupthink does not make one a bigot.

    • Citing one’s own position as “reasonable” is often merely a way of seeding the idea that those holding different opinions are without reason, and that yours is the only valid position in a debate, without having to actually demonstrate why that may be. Witness the calls for “Reasonable Gun Control Measures” that ironically usually consist of demands to implement illogical, ineffective, and often already failed policies.

  6. 2. As I’ve told any number of run of the mill lefty contemporaries, I’m much less sanguine than they are about the robustness of our country and its institutions and traditions and their ability to withstand the unrelenting attacks being conducted these days. To so many academics and intellectuals, it’s just a game and their paychecks and pensions will continue to show up on time notwithstanding. They are impregnable.

  7. 1. Is it not unethical to continue refusing to concede when there is NO path to victory for DJT even if he won all challenges, which he now can’t. In my book, it is. Not saying that alleged “irregularities” should not be investigated. They should. That does not make it any less compelling that DJT stop clinging to the impossible dream that is becoming a probable nightmare.
    1. Politico is an objective source, consistently rated very high for its facts and centrist to leaning left for its editorial bent. Here’s an article that all should read:
    3. Then there’s Bill Maher, who got it right (in my view) for a change:
    4. Not only did DJT need to stop tweeting, he needed to muzzle Rudy, the former “Country’s Mayor”. And Rudy seems to have scrambled the “legal strategy” to the point of making it laughable.

    • Michael, see the post I just put up. We’re on the same page.

      Politico is not objective; it’s part of the AUC. It isn’t as flamingly biased as CNN, but that’s nothing to be proud of. Here’s one of the examples that I’ve commented on When you change a headline to make sure you avoid giving Trump credit for a positive development, that’s signature significance.

  8. #3 I’ll continue to use this as the definition…

    Bigot: a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.

    It is short, to the point and very easy to understand. This definition should remain as one of the acceptable definitions of the word.

    • Make up your own minds about the definition of Bigot. Here is some available relevant information.

      Here is the definition I’ve been using for bigotry for quite a while, it’s from Oxford…

      Bigotry: obstinate or unreasonable attachment to a belief, opinion, or faction; in particular, prejudice against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.

      Which is a dead ringer for their new definition for bigot…

      Bigot: a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.

      Here is the definition I’ve been using for bigot for many years, it’s from Oxford….

      Bigot: a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.

      Here are more definitions for bigot…

      Bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

      Dictionary . com
      Bigot: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

      Bigot: a person who has strong, unreasonable beliefs and who does not like other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life.

      Vocabulary . com
      Bigot: A bigot can also be someone who refuses to accept other ideas, as in politics.

      Bigot: 1. a person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion, etc. 2. a narrow-minded, prejudiced person.

      Wiktionary . org
      Bigot: One who is narrow-mindedly devoted to one’s own ideas and groups, and intolerant of (people of) differing ideas, races, genders, religions, politics, etc.

      Notice the similarities and differences between these definitions and make up your own minds based on more than one source.

  9. 3. The first part of the definition of bigot, reading “a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction” bears further examination. My dictionary defines “obstinate” as “stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.”
    I have numerous beliefs and opinions (my faith, values and standards of behavior, for example) which I stubbornly refuse to change despite nearly a lifetime of efforts of some others to change. Some folks might think of this as unreasonable, but their opinions don’t matter to me. If that makes me a bigot, then so is nearly everyone I know. (I do know a few wishy-washy folks who have never held a deeply-felt belief of which I am aware, but that’s another story)
    I guess we get a pass on the part of the definition begins with “especially,” making us minor league rather than major league bigots. Looks like “bigot” is on the way to joining “racist” on the Large List of Lame Leftist Labels.

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