Waning 2020 Ethics Warm-Up


A reader reports that he can’t pull up Ethics Alarms on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Is anyone else having this problem?

Wasn’t it nice when we naively assumed that such things were just technical glitches and not part of Big Tech’s increasingly intrusive alliance with the totalitarian-minded forces of the extreme Left?

1. Embrace the narrative. “Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies with COVID-19” is just one of many headlines announcing that the 41-year-old Representative-elect died from the Wuhan virus. So far, every headline I’ve seen is some version of this. Letlow died of a heart attack, in fact, during some un-named procedure related to his treatment for the virus. People die of unexpected heart attacks with some frequency during hospital procedures for other problems, and the cause of death is usually listed as “heart attack.” Maybe the virus caused his death and maybe it didn’t, but the headlines stating this as fact is more pandemic fearmongering, and. yes, fake news.

2. Good. You will recall that Twitter censored The New York Post’s account of the incriminating Hunter Biden laptop being found because it claimed that the business memos, photos of a Hunter using illegal drugs, and other disturbing photos came from a “hacker,” when Twitter’s real objective was, it seems fair to conclude, to keep as many people as possible from learning about matters that might cause them not to vote for Hunter’s father. Now the computer repair company’s owner is  suing Twitter for $500,000,000.00 for libel, defamation, and ruining his business, claiming that the social media giant disparaged him.

3. One more reason to distrust the election results: President Donald Trump topped former President Barack Obama for the title of most admired man in America in Gallup’s 2020 survey. Trump had tied with Obama in 2019 while Obama beat him in 2017 and 2018. President Joe Biden came in third. Obama had been #1 since 2008.

Don’t you find this strange?

Meanwhile, incoming Vice President Kamala Harris came in second to former first lady Michelle Obama for most admired woman. If there is any reason to admire Kamala Harris, I can’t imagine what it is. Being elected Vice-President isn’t an accomplishment; it is called “coming along for the ride.”

4. And now, some of the rest of the story of the potty-mouthed cheerleader…Last year I wrote about this case, in which a high school cheerleader was dumped from her squad and suspended after posting on SnapChat, “Fuck school, fuck softball, fuck cheer, fuck everything” with a photo of herself giving the middle finger to the world. Her parents sued the school district for the suspension the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that the action violated the teen’s First Amendment rights by trying to regulate her speech while off-campus. In a follow-up post this July, I wrote, “I’ve been laying out the Ethics Alarms position on schools trying to police students’ speech away from school since 2011. In  a January essay that year called Facebook Wars: Parental Abdication, School Abuse of Power, concerning two students in two different schools suspended for what the school administrators called cyber-bullying. I wrote in part

When did schools suddenly acquire disciplinary control over what students do when they aren’t at school? There is no question that the websites involved were inappropriate, disrespectful, cruel and hurtful, just as the rumors and insults included in high school graffiti were, in those glorious days before the internet. Students so abused need to complain to parents, and parents need to talk to the parents of the offending students, and if they can’t or won’t address the problem, then the courts or law enforcement may need to become involved.

But the schools? By what theory is it their responsibility to police the personal lives of their students? Unless I am missing something, the theory is that the media and parents unjustly and lazily blame school administrators for not “seeing the signs” of cyber-bullying and other off-campus school grounds misconduct, and the schools, being terrified of conflict and liability by nature, capitulate by abusing their power.

A school has no more justification for suspending a student based on what he or she posts on a Facebook page than it has to punish a student for an insult he shouts at a fellow student in his back yard.

There is one more development that has to occur. At its first private conference after the holiday break, the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear the case, Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., No. 20-255. The Third Circuit’s ruling contrasts with decisions in several other courts. The school district argues that administrators around the nation needed a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court regarding whether schools can discipline students for what they say away from school. “The question presented recurs constantly and has become even more urgent as Covid-19 has forced schools to operate online,” a brief for the school district said. “Only this court can resolve this threshold First Amendment question bedeviling the nation’s nearly 100,000 public schools.”

Fine. I hope the Court takes the case, and squashes this incursion on free speech for all time. If school administrators were sufficiently conversant in the Bill of Rights and not so dedicated to extending their power into their student’s homes and private communications, such a ruling would not be necessary.

15 thoughts on “Waning 2020 Ethics Warm-Up

  1. No problem on chrome or Android… and I tested both clicking on link in the email as well as entering website on the title bar…
    Happy New Year to all… may it be a damn sight better than the old one.

  2. So… my kids classmate was suspended for several days and according to my kid it was for “not parking in the school parking lot”. I asked why, she said it was so they can check the vehicle for drugs, if necessary.
    I’m not sure when this policy took place and it falls in line with #4 and general cancel culture. What are we letting our children tolerate here??

    • We’re letting our children tolerate the abrogation of their rights as citizens and allowing them to be conditioned to accept violations of their privacy and autonomy.

      We’re doing it because we have better things to do than raise them to be self-sufficient adults and would prefer to leave that to the school system.

      It’s a painful truth, yes, but it’s been a slow enough creep that many didn’t notice it happening.

      • A.M. I think you’re correct. I believe most is done under the guise of safety, and it’s hard as a parent to argue with that, although I did when they wanted to install a security system that could hook up to drones. That was under the premise of Covid temp checking.

      • I think you’re partly correct. It likely started after the Columbine shooting in the guise of safety protocol. I think there’s going to be a major shift in how we educate our kids. The public accepts it, the parents go along because they don’t know there’s any viable alternate options. Covid has made public schools via zoom the worst of all scenarios. Especially for kids under 10. It’s simply awful for kids and parents. The additional protocol for Covid inside school isn’t conductive to learning or free thought. It’s oppressive, but it’s hard to argue as a parent against safety. Here, they cancelled all the things that made school fun and made well rounded adults. Online and homeschool options are easier than ever, without the building, lockdowns, yelling staff, and oppressive restrictions. Many parents are giving it a go.

  3. No problems with Microsoft Edge. Glad Mike checked Chrome; I refuse to download it (in fact, I’m avoiding most things Google these days).

  4. Jack wrote, “A reader reports that he can’t pull up Ethics Alarms on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Is anyone else having this problem?”

    I’m using Chrome now and I just successfully tested Ethics Alarms on Edge.

  5. I use Google Chrome all the time and just tested on Edge. Both work.

    4. If parents aren’t careful, they will find the school authorities coming into their homes to discipline students for what they say to their parents or siblings. Parents have slowly abdicated their responsibility for raising their kids. He who abdicates responsibility abdicates control.

  6. #4 – I am glad you have confidence in the US Supreme Court on this. Should they take it up, do they give a reason for doing so? Could it not be that the decision to take up is taken because they think it’s time to shift?

  7. Congressman elect Lutlow had no underllying heart condition. If he hadn’t contracted COVID, he would be alive today, ergo it should count as a COVID death.

    • Indeed. With the information at hand, the most straightforward way to interpret Mr Letlow’s passing is that he suffered a cardiac arrest following a COVID-19-related procedure. COVID-19 is the cause of death.

      People also die of “heart attacks” when they bleed out from gunshot wounds, go without oxygen in a drowning or go into end-stage kidney failure, but “heart attack” is certainly not the relevant cause of death.

      • Tony
        The operative statement is “with the information at hand”. Attributing anything before all the facts are in to support a narrative is irresponsible and propaganda. Do you think a doctor/hospital that screws up will admit fault in any case?

        People also sue doctors for procedures that go bad. If the surgeon misses an arterial bleed that should have been found in a GSW victim you can say they died from a GSW but in fact died from carelessness by a doctor.

      • Ironic that you use the handle “Tony C.” In Boston. “Tony C.” means Tony Congiliaro, the tragic Red Sox star first derailed from a Hall of Fame career by being hit in the face with a pitch, then doomed to spend the last portion of his life in a semi-conscious state after suffering a major heart attack in his thirties. He was in excellent shape and had no underlying conditions. Some speculated that it was the stress stemming from his beaning that was at fault. Oddly, however, the cause of his eventual death was ruled as kidney failure. But I’m sure if he died today, the same way, but had the Wuhan virus, he would be marked as a pandemic victim.

    • Your logic would suggest that malpractice cannot occur. We have no idea what treatments he received or the pathology report that directly shows covid destroyed or harmed the heart muscle causing the heart attack. How many patients contracted MERSA and died while hospitalized for something else; I personally know of one.

      To say covid killed him because he had no underlying heart condition means that no other cause could have triggered the heart attack.
      Jim Fix the famous runner had no known underlying heart ailment when he dropped dead on a run. Was his death caused by running?

  8. 3)

    They will not be the President and the Vice President… they will not be the occupants of the White House… they will not be the “current Administration”.

    For 4 years, and arguable for the next 8-60 years given that the Democrats know what to do to steal every election from here on out for the duration of my foreseeable life, they will be the “Occupiers of the White House”.

    That’s it…that’s their title.

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