Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/13/20: Sick Dog Edition


This is likely to be short, because the Marshall household is distracted. Over the last 48 hours, some mysterious malady has attacked our sweet dog, and we are deciding whether to avail ourselves of one of the few 24-hour vet emergency services or wait until tomorrow. Thanks to the $$$#@!%! pandemic, anything is going to require hours of waiting, and this is a very bad day for that, as it is a work day here at ProEthics. Starting Friday night, Spuds started acting distracted and hyper, wanting to go out, not wanting to come back into the house, making weird yips and staring outside like the devil was lurking. He suddenly started lying down in strange places, and stopped seeking out his usual resting spots (laps, bed and sofas). At the same time, his pink skin where the fur is sparse looked pinker, his face started showing blotches, and little bumps showed up today on his head. Nose: cold; appetite: fine. He’s not listless: the opposite, in fact. But he’s clearly not happy.

Glad to see he’s adopted the Marshall canine tradition of only having medical emergencies on weekends, though….

1. Ethics Quote from African-American sportswriter Jason Whitlock in a recent column about racism, critical race theory and excuses:

We all love excuses — white, black, brown, yellow, whatever. People who love us, respect us, want the best for us, take the excuses away. The Liberal Construction Company does not love, respect or want the best for black people. That’s why liberals promote excuses for any black failure and disavow any excuse for white failure. If you can control a group’s expectations, you can control their level of success. A generation of black people have had their expectations diminished by Critical Race Theory. It’s a mental slavery, a Jim Crow for the mind.  

I’m not in denial of the existence of racism. I just reject using it as an excuse, and I refuse to fall for the clever marketing of racism’s primary proponents.

2. Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor turned legal analyst and pundit, shows again why he’s one of Ethics Alarm’s most trusted authorities with his article, “Supreme Court right to refuse to block Biden election — rejects absurd legal theory.” Of course, this is likely to be cited as one more reason for conservatives to abandon Fox News, which has been declared a traitor to the cause because of its admittedly strange coverage on election night.

3. I hate to say I told you so, but I was right about Parler: its management is incompetent, it was not ready for prime time, and it is not the social media alternative Twitter we need, “we” meaning everyone interested in free expression of diverse ideas and opinions. Yes, I know: the article is on Vice, a progressive site that can be expected to try to undermine a conservative platform. Based on my conversations and experience, however, I think their story is accurate.

4. Speaking of alternative sites: Citizen Free Press, which has flourished as a conservative news aggregator since Matt Drudge became an anti-Trump bore, has just about exhausted my patience and good will. There has been a link reference to a “statue of limitations” up for two days now, for example. Ugh.

5. Wait, WHAT? The College Fix reports that Cornell University has revised is student conduct code to prevent law students from representing accused students in any meaningful capacity. The Cornell Sun reports that about 4 percent of Cornell students were referred to the Office of the Judicial Administrator for alleged violations last year, and that law students, known as “Judicial Codes Counselors,” have guided students through investigations and interviews, spoke on their behalf at hearings and even cross-examined witnesses.

Now law students will be excluded because, Judicial Administrator Barbara Krause explains, the process should be “less adversarial and less legalistic.”To the contrary, it must be adversarial because students accused of misconduct can have their reputation and edicationalprivileges seriously affected, and it should be “legalistic” because their rights are involved.

6. This is another one of the really bad ethics dates. Except for Al Gore conceding, December 13 is so bad that Time Magazine naming Greta Thunberg–remember her?—its ridiculous choice as “Person of the Year” in 2019 doesn’t even register. In 1937, for example, the Japanese Imperial Army began the “rape of Nanking” in China, slaughtering an estimated 150,000 male “war prisoners,” killing an additional 50,000 male civilians, and raping at least 20,000 women and girls of all ages, mutilated or murdering many of them as well. America’s worst President, Woodrow Wilson, arrived in Paris on this date to begin work on the Treaty of Versailles, which in no small part due to Wilson’s contributions paved the way for Hitler’s rise, the Holocaust, and World War II.

In 1862, December 13 witnessed the horrible battle of Fredericksburg, when Union incompetence sent wave after wave of doomed soldiers up a steep hill while Confederate artillery and rifle fire rained down on them. By the final, hopeless assault it is said, Union boots never touched ground, because they were walking on top of their fallen comrades. If you visit the Virginia battlefield, as I have many times, you will find the setting horrifying. How could it have not been obvious that the Confederate position on the hill was so strong that, as one Confederate officer said, “a chicken could not live on that field when we open on it”? Ah, but Union general Ambrose E. Burnside was no chicken. He was just an incompetent fool.

But the most interesting ethical fiasco on this date that my research stumbled onto involved one of the great jerks of American history, General Charles Lee (no relation to that other General Lee).

On December 13, 1776, American General Charles Lee, a talented and experienced leader but a complete and irredeemable ass, left his army to find some prostitute services atat Widow White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Though General Washington had told Lee to expedite his movements across New Jersey in order to reinforce Washington’s position on the Delaware River. Lee, who was angry that the less experienced Washington had been given command of the Continental Army, defied him and his duties.

Lee rode to Widow White’s tavern with a minimal guard, and General Banastre Tarleton and the 16th Queen’s Light Dragoons captured him two days later. Lee reported to Valley Forge upon his release in May 1778, and after a series of arguments with Washington, was suspended from the army in December 1778 and dismissed in 1780. About a century later, it was discovered that Lee had drafted battle plans for the British to use against the American forces while he was held captive.


11 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/13/20: Sick Dog Edition

  1. Any progress on the finale of the Pandemic Creates A Classic and Difficult Ethics Conflict?

    “The decision to include, among other sectors, outdoor dining and limiting that, turning to restaurants to deliver and provide takeout options instead, really has to do with the goal of trying to keep people at home,” Ghaly said during a briefing on Tuesday. He noted that “we have worked hard with that industry to create safer ways for outdoor dining to happen.”

  2. The same Lee who later butted heads with Washington on the battlefield at Monmouth, and definitely NO relation to Henry “light horse Harry” Lee, father of Robert E.

  3. Some type of anxiety, maybe? Is this the time of year Spuds might associate with his previous period of neglect? I hope he feels better soon.

  4. Could it be an allergic reaction to something? Did his diet recently change? Could he have eaten something, or been bitten or stung by something, outside?

    I tried putting the symptoms into a variety of online veterinary symptom checkers, (as perhaps you did too?). It wasn’t particularly useful. None of the Vet symptom checkers I found seem to have the capability of combining various symptoms into one check. One good suggestion I found, though, was to take videos of his behavior so you have something to show to the doctor.

  5. Best of luck with Spuds — I hope this is something he quickly gets over.

    6)All I can say to that is ugh. Not one of those ‘Today in History’ days you really want to come across.

  6. The WSJ’s obituary for Charley Pride was a textbook example of anti-“anti-racism”:

    …“They used to ask me how it feels to be the ‘first colored country singer,’” he told the Dallas Morning News in 1992. “Then it was ‘first Negro country singer;’ then ‘first Black country singer.’ Now I’m the ‘first African-American country singer.’ That’s about the only thing that’s changed. This country is so race-conscious, so ate-up with colors and pigments. I call it ‘skin hangups’—it’s a disease.”

    Mr. Pride was raised in Sledge, Miss., the son of a sharecropper. He had seven brothers and three sisters.

    In 2008, while accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Mississippi Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, Mr. Pride said he never focused on race.

    “My older sister one time said, ‘Why are you singing THEIR music?’” Mr. Pride said. “But we all understand what the y’all-and-us-syndrome has been. See, I never as an individual accepted that, and I truly believe that’s why I am where I am today.”…

    —To ensure that Mr. Pride was judged on his music and not his race, his first few singles were sent to radio stations without a publicity photo. After his identity became known, a few country radio stations refused to play his music.

    For the most part, though, Mr. Pride said he was well-received. Early in his career, he would put white audiences at ease when he joked about his “permanent tan.”

    “Music is the greatest communicator on the planet Earth,” he said in 1992. “Once people heard the sincerity in my voice and heard me project and watched my delivery, it just dissipated any apprehension or bad feeling they might have had.”

    Throughout his career, he sang positive songs instead of sad ones often associated with country music.

    “Music is a beautiful way of expressing oneself and I truly believe music should not be taken as a protest,” he told the Associated Press in 1985. “You can go too far in anything—singing, acting, whatever—and become politicized to the point you cease to be an entertainer.”…

    …“I’d like to be remembered as a good person who tried to be a good entertainer and made people happy, was a good American who paid his taxes and made a good living,” he said in 1985. “I tried to do my best and contribute my part.”

    He is survived by his wife, Rozene, whom he married in 1956; three children, Kraig, Dion and Angela; and several grandchildren.

    Charley Pride was a true American. May he Rest in Peace.

    • I was very surprised to see how popular he was before “Kiss An Angel Good Morning” came out in 1971. He had been near the top of the country charts since 1966. He was a guest on the very first Hee Haw episode in 1969.

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