The Friday Ethics Alarms Open Forum January 8, 2021 / Jack Marshall Somehow, I sense there’s a lot people want to talk about. As always, please keep posts on topic, civil, and brilliant… Share this:TwitterLinkedInFacebookRedditPrintEmailLike this:Like Loading... Related
60 thoughts on “The Friday Ethics Alarms Open Forum”
When a large segment of a society wants to shift their culture in a very major way and in a way that has historically been widely opposed, is using propaganda and intimidation to “force” the desired cultural shift on a population ethical, in other words, when trying to shift culture does the ends justify the means?
Before answering, think about major cultural shifts in the USA’s history. A few examples of major cultural shift are when the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution were written or when slavery was abolished or when electricity and phone lines were wired across the USA or when automobiles began to gradually take over the streets across the USA or when airplanes became common place or when the population began to shift from print media and word of mouth as their only sources of information to radios and then to televisions or the civil rights marches in the 1960’s. There are a multitude of examples of major cultural shifts in the United States.
When trying to shift culture, does the ends justify the means?
You’re starting to sound like Robert Reich, Steve. You have to break some eggs to make an omelette.
Other Bill wrote, “You have to break some eggs to make an omelette.”
I asked the question; so are you implying that the ends justifies the means when trying to push a major cultural shift?
I think I’m just saying revolutionaries seem to think so. Of course, I’m what revolutionaries have cleverly denominated a “counter-revolutionary.” A fancy name for anyone who doesn’t agree with what the revolutionaries are pushing for.
But yes, there are a bunch of people who do want to significantly change American society in any number of ways and they don’t really care about how it is done.
The old REVOLUTIONARIES are now the counter-revolutionaries.
I thought “You have to break some eggs to make an omlette” was the NY Times’ reasoning for hiding the Soviet starvation of millions of Ukrainians, labelling anyone who reported on the subject a spreader of ‘right-wing conspiracy theories’. It worked. The Soviet’s reduced the Ukrainians to slaves, Walter Duranty got a Pulitzer Prize for the work, and FDR was able to recognize the Soviet Union without blowback from the public.
Remind me. When did the NY Times stop being an unbiased source of news and sold out to spread Communist propaganda?
You have to break some eggs to make an omelette.
I can’t take credit for this, and I don’t remember where I heard it, but:
“That’s great. Now show me the omelette.”
You’re word of using “Force” is the key.
1. The Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution were by “force” via the Revolutionary War
2. Slavery being abolished was by force via the Civil War.
3. The ’60’s marches were a form of light force and more reasoning. Better then the previous examples (showing improvement) and shows what I would insist is true, that is, The US Republic “Democracy” is a self cleaning organism that eventually correct behaviors that are working to destroy it.
4. All other examples were technology adoption and not forced upon people. I know people that still choose to not have electricity or to fly.
Using the vehicles of intimidation and force to shift culture as a means to an end is unethical. It will only create resentment and a counter resistance. This sets up a path that goes down 1 and 2 above.
If basic logic and reasoning are used then the 3 and 4 paths seem probable.
The current forced culture shift is to control free speech by labeling some speech as hate speech (who decides this?). There current arguments are illogical and hypocritical
The “Green New Deal” is a silly Verruca Salt wish list with no workable solutions or viable direction
The forced pronoun is based on “because we said so” logic, that’s garbage and should be resisted
Let me answer your question with another question: when did Christians acquire the most sincere converts? When they lived a solid Christian life and were willing to die (peacefully) for their ideals, or when the Christians held the reins of government and could force conversions?
As an anecdote to that, consider the problems that arose due to forced conversions of Jews in Spain. At a point in time when religious tensions wavered between tolerance and intolerance, when any district might see either Christian or Muslim rulers, depending on the year, Jews were pretty much tolerated. Once the Christians gained ascendancy in the mid-fifteenth century, with the Muslims mostly defeated (though the last Muslim stronghold would endure in Granada until 1492), sentiments turned against the Jews, and they were given the choice to convert or leave. Many Jews chose to convert, and gave rise to a body of Christians called Conversos.
The Conversos ended up holding much wealth, many high offices, and aroused a great deal of resent from “true” Christians. It did not help that the Conversos both retained many Jewish practices, and spoke of their own superiority because they were “blood brethren” to Jesus. And so sentiment turned against the Conversos. Local mob violence started to broil against the Conversos, and many were accused of heresy. The accusations and vigilantism grew to such a proportion that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella petition Rome to form an Inquisition. This Inquisition had the purpose of sifting out the falsely accused from the true heretics.
In a very real sense, the Spanish Inquisition started in the defense of the Conversos. But the Inquisition brought with it its own problems. While the Catholic Inquisitions were considered far more just and fair than secular courts, the accused often faced exceedingly long waits for their trial, and they could face torture to extract their confessions. The vast majority of the accused were acquitted, but again, the process could take years as the Inquisitors accumulated evidence, conducted interviews and interrogations, and finally assembled court for the accused to make a defense.
What can we make of this? I think the obvious conclusion is that when a party attempts to force a major cultural shift even on a minority population, it will breed a great many more issue than if the culture was allowed to shift based on good will, reasonable argument, and the willingness to walk the walk. Forcing a change down the throats of the unwilling and recalcitrant will create a subculture of distrust. Can you really believe that someone has had a change in heart if they only profess the creed at gunpoint? The conversions could be real, but those who forced the conversion will always have to struggle with the grain of doubt, and in seeking for continual affirmation will likely drive wedges further until the culture breaks apart in violence.
The only alternative is to suppress the dissidents, relegating them to second-class citizenry, shunned from all social places, or liquidating them as enemies of the state.
Great comment Ryan!
This is exactly what happened in 1930’s Germany.
Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are currently very popular tactics in the United States that are freely being used by a growing segment of our culture. Although currently the use of these tactics is limited, it’s growing in popularity and becoming much more “acceptable” and more common place, it seems that no one is actually surprised when the tactics are used. I suspect that these particular tactics will grow in popularity over the next few years which will continue to spiral our culture deeper into division.
Number four on your list is damn near inevitable if the people implementing tactics 1, 2 and 3 are left unchecked by our culture and enabled by divisional politics, bigotry and hate.
No, the ends do not justify the means. The adage that people resist change is generally untrue. People change all sorts of things, all the time. They change their hairstyles, their wardrobe, cars, houses, heck even their spouses. People don’t resist change per se; what they resist is BEING changed. All change is painful to some extent (cost, inconvenience, personal impact, etc.). The “change equation” was developed to illustrate this: For change to be accepted, the pain of NOT changing must exceed the pain of changing. Using overbearing means to “force” change is an example of inflating the pain of not changing. When people feel they are being forced to change needlessly, they resist. Honest persuasion is ethical, coercion is not.
I’m sure USA Today did this same thing when the Left led by Antifa was running amok in Portland, DC, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago, Louisville, Los Angeles, Seattle, and a number of other Democrat-run big cities I have forgotten. So I’m sure their “journalism” and intentions are as pure as the wind-driven snow.
Somebody get a rope, please…
I do wonder where all this is leading. While I don’t object to criticism of the riot of the other day, the dichotomy between the media and political response to it versus the earlier “social justice” riots is striking, if not surprising. However, I wonder, if this continues apace and there is a vast difference between the law enforcement reaction between this and the earlier riots (surely done in the name of the “nation’s capitol,” but frighteningly tone-deaf) what will happen? I don’t think the Right is going to take unequal law enforcement with a grain of salt, especially with their vote integrity grievances being scrupulously ridiculed in stark contrast to earlier similar complaints on the Left.
People are noticing the disparate treatment between the two parties. Do they suppose the Right’s “law and order” fealty is without limit?
What really amazes me is how the incoming administration apparently cannot see the danger lurking just below the surface here. Do they actually want a real insurrection, or even a rebellion? Because unequal enforcement of the law is how you get one. You can ignore election issues to some extent, or give them lip service and “commissions,” but when you start down the road of unequal law enforcement, that way lurks the abyss.
This is the first time I’ve noticed media widely reporting (and emphasizing) all deaths that occurred during this type of incident, rather than just those killed by violent action of the police or the mob. Most reported the woman shot, though withholding or delaying to note that she was not shot by a protester. Most also repeatedly announced that there had been FOUR deaths, though three were “medical emergencies” (heart attacks, strokes…?). Coverage seems deliberately geared towards making these particular rioters appear as bad as possible.
Yes, well, that’s exactly what I expect. I’m not sure about anyone else.
Look, the media has picked a side. They are going to do everything in their power to make anyone to the right of Joe Biden look like some kind of crazed traitorous maniac.
“Most also repeatedly announced that there had been FOUR deaths, though three were “medical emergencies” (heart attacks, strokes…?)”
Five, though two were natural causes so arguably should not be considered (but see below for legal ramifications).
One shot in the throat by a guard who, while part of an armed mob, attempted to enter a secure area with legislators inside and let the others in.
One armed insurgent who accidentally shot themselves with a reduced lethality weapon, in circumstances that stopped their heart. As happens all too frequently when reduced lethality weapons are misused, lethality is not always reduced.
One Capitol guard with his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher by the mob, and who was rendered brain dead after the resultant stroke. He died after life support was withdrawn the next day. 12 other guards were hospitalised.
Many jurisdictions in the US have laws that state if any death occurs during the commission of a felony, all those involved in committing it are guilty of homicide. So if a bank guard shoots a bank robber, then both getaway car driver and lookouts are guilty of homicide. If a customer has a heart attack during the robbery, likewise.
If a Cop gets killed during a break in by an armed mob… I think you can see where this is going. I think we have to rely on prosecutorial discretion to avoid manifest injustice to the thousands who were just doing political cosplay as a bit of a joke. It’s all good fun till someone loses an eye. Or a life.
The gibbet that was erected outside the Capitol was strictly theatre. Too far away, and a caricature not a death machine.
The armed insurgent with the heavy duty tiedowns for taking hostages on the other hand, was (if you will pardon the expression) as serious as a heart attack. A prosecutor would be justified in asking for the Death Penalty on 3 different grounds. Treason, Murder, attempted kidnapping.
I wouldn’t, but that’s because I believe capital punishment does more harm than good. It corrupts the executioners. However, I digress.
Jack is the legal expert. Maybe he could correct me where I am wrong.
You illustrate the point. Would easily accessible information in the media have enabled you to compile such a detailed list of infractions and injuries so shortly (or even now) after any of the earlier leftist riots? (aside: Not to diminish the incident, but If the fifth death is the officer who returned to his desk and later collapsed, “head bashed in” might be a bit of a hyperbolic description.)
“ Do they actually want a real insurrection, or even a rebellion?”
Watching the coverage of the event, I can only conclude that yes, that is exactly what they want. The double standard in coverage, the double standard in elected officials statements, the double standard in prosecution, all indicates they want to pour gasoline on the fire. The question is, why are the fomenting violence?
Why are they fomenting violence? Easy. They want to kill off opposition to the Biden-Harris Administration. The appeal by the Biden to “heal” and/or “unite” went out the window when he invoked race as a justification of the Summer of 2020 Madness. “Heal” and ‘unity” simply mean, “sit down, shut up, do what you are told, and obey. Or else.”
Fomenting violence isn’t going to kill off opposition. It’s going to increase it. I’m not sure what they are doing makes sense in that context. Unless you mean to literally kill them off. That is a lot of people to kill.
ABC News is advocating for “cleansing” Trump supporters from the country. They might be fine with genocide. I think that is a jump too far at this point, though.
I think they think they achieve something by causing an increase in violence from the right. Maybe it makes the left wing violence less of a talking point, or helps change opinions on investigating things they don’t want investigated. Maybe it just increases their ratings at a time when ratings are going to be slumping due to Trump leaving office. They have to view this as helping them somehow.
Null Pointer said:
ABC News is advocating for “cleansing” Trump supporters from the country. They might be fine with genocide. I think that is a jump too far at this point, though.
Yeah, I agree. Honestly, the rhetoric, even eliminationist rhetoric that the Left spent years assailing as evil, I can live with. I don’t like wild, angry words, but as long as they are just words, I can live with them. I also don’t care if the Democrats pass another impeachment (as long as it fails in the Senate, which it will) or Pelosi demanding Trump be neutered or arrested. All those things are just moral preening. I do want Trump to be very careful lest he actually foment violent conflict instead of merely creating a situation where people can interpret his words that way.
If, however, Trump is actually impeached and removed, it will be very dangerous and could provoke a real insurrection, not a riot that gets called an insurrection because it makes the Left (and some of the more idiot Republicans) feel morally powerful. Making loud, noisy proclamations and threats is not good for the country, but it does no lasting harm if that’s all they are. Actions to suppress or punish the opposition, however, will result in a lot more than pushback as raw as tempers are now.
Where are the statesmen? Are there none left anywhere? The only person who has truly distinguished himself on either side of this is Mike Pence.
“Do they actually want a real insurrection, or even a rebellion? ”
Someone does. Or did.
It’s only a Revolution if you win…
That’s not the “they” I was talking about.
I have to wonder whether the incredible franticness on the left these days isn’t attributable to what I’d call pre-separation anxiety. The relentless attacks on Trump have actually increased since the election rather than decreased in light of the fact he’s toast. I wonder whether the fact the left has nothing, no plausible agenda, no real platform other than “We’re not Trump!” hasn’t begun to cause some real terror to set in. Once Trump’s not around to bash, what will journalists write about? What will Democrat politicians have to say? Who will want to get and relay Mitt Romney’s opinion? Trump’s defeat seems to have brought on a panic rather than relief and celebration. Maybe there’s even a more than a little concern along the lines of “Holy Crap! Joe Biden is actually President? He’s going to stand up to Xi and Putin in a conversation one on one? He’s going to stand up to Angela Merkel or Macron? He can’t even carry on a conversation! And Kamala Harris is on the bench? She’s an idiot. Yikes! “
Other Bill wrote:
Maybe there’s even a more than a little concern along the lines of “Holy Crap! Joe Biden is actually President? He’s going to stand up to Xi and Putin in a conversation one on one? He’s going to stand up to Angela Merkel or Macron?”
Sure. The conversations will go like this
Putin/Xi: “China/Russia have the right under international law to protect their national interests and will be not be dictated to or controlled by foreign interference with our interests in the region. Any attempt to influence our relationships with our allies will be dealt with forcefully under the rules of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.”
Biden: “The United States . . . uh . . . stands with the People of Maldives, and recognizes their fundamental right to self-storage. C’mon, man.”
Interpreter: “While the Russian/Chinese national interests may be important, which the US recognizes and understands, the US will not stand for or tolerate foreign intrusion in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Any threat to Ukrainian sovereignty and self-determination will be construed as a direct threat to international peace and security.”
Harris: “It’s a debate. You understand? It’s a debate!” Childish laughter.
Interpreter: “As the Russian/Chinese delegation realizes, the Biden-Harris Administration, with the full force of the United States Congress and its international allies, will always support democracy and independence everywhere.”
John, you should be writing satire full time.
OB, they don’t want him to stand up to Merkel or Macron or Xi. He’s the perfect empty suit to occupy the hot seat while the globalists have their wishlist fulfilled by the team of Clinton-era relics and Obama acolytes they’re assembling.
Speaking of a cultural shift, can you imagine who would be screaming if the woman who was shot by the Capitol police officer had been black, rather than white?
PS: I think the assault on the Capitol was horrible, but utterly foreseeable.
I’ve been recalling that all cops are bastards, John. Are the Capitol police heroes and good guys? Or were they inciting and taunting the peaceful demonstrators? Couldn’t they have de-escalated the situation? Withdrawn? Called in sociologists? Did they have warrants to detain any of the people exercising their constitutional right to petition the government? Why is protecting government property worth killing a single human being?
At the very least, couldn’t they have just shot the woman in the leg.
“Just wing her, boys!”
This got buried in holiday bustle, but I found this article about David Sedaris thinking it should be okay for customers to fire employees in the service industry difficult to swallow.
“He came up with the idea after a recent series of unpleasant run-ins with service employees. In the most bourgeoisie example of them all, Sedaris wrote that he and his sister, comedian and actress Amy Sedaris, “bought a number of very expensive cups and saucers,” only to find that the person checking them out didn’t offer anything to put them in since the store was (somehow) out of bubble wrap and bags.
Sedaris said he wanted to ask this check-out person, “Do you have a purse? If so, you need to get it and go home. My sister and I are ﬁring you!” He also suggested, half-jokingly, that the person operating the till should have taken off their own socks and underwear to wrap the pricey dishware.”
We’ve all had our own poor customer service experiences, but, as someone who’s had experience working with the public, I can tell you that allowing customers to fire service workers for failing to meet the customer’s standards is a bad idea. Few abuses of power occur more than in interactions between customers and service workers.
Many years ago, in college, I was working in a McDonald’s drive-thru, wearing the new promotion work cap – a hot pink little number that read “What you want is what you get”. “What you want is what you get, huh?”, leered an older customer sitting in his car.
I didn’t think it was funny. Some customers think you are required to laugh at unfunny, even offensive, jokes. Should that customer have been able to fire me?
Should customers be able to fire the waitresses who don’t respond to sexual harassment? How about customers who want the service worker to break the law to give the customer what he or she wants? How about racist customers?
Just wondering what you all think?
Ah, I could fill pages of amusing anecdotes about my experiences with service employees. Oh, yes, I can. In fact, I have written about them on this very website. It does beg the question, though: If customers can fire service employees, shouldn’t customer service employees be able to fire customers?
He’s a moron. Yes he has “termination” authority, but his authority extends only to his relationships, not the relationships of others. His relationship here is with the retailer. The retailer provides a support staff to foster that relationship and if they offer alternatives (multiple till workers) he can chose his experience. If he’s utterly dismayed, he can terminate his business with the retailer. But what he cannot do is dictate who the retailer employs. Those are the retailer’s relationships. Now, surely he can advise the retailer (owner, manager) of his experience and the retailer can make a decision on their own if they agree or not…but the customer is certainly not always right. In fact, if an employer forces an employee to endure illegal discrimination (racial slurs, sexual harassment) then the acts of the customer can be viewed as endorsed by the employer and then the employer has a lawsuit liability.
Just my 2 cents.
If there isn’t a male equivalent for a KAREN, there should be.
Or would that eliminate an opportunity for women…?
If the public were authorized to fire service people, there’d be no staff on duty by about eleven AM every singe day. Can’t these people puzzle out the consequences of their hair brained policy bromides? This is a real problem in the populace.
” ‘What you want is what you get’.”
That’s right up there with the “seemed like a good idea at the time” Continental Airlines’ 1978 We Really Move Our TAIL For You ad campaign.
Mr. Sedaris has always written from the “Karen” point of view about interactions in the world. He used to be more funny but has turned into a bitter old queen by the piano bar in the last several years.
His sister I saw in-person years ago when Amy was promoting a book (this was before the laundry soap commercials) she wrote. She had been done with her show Strangers with Candy for a few years and was trying to stay relevant.
At the time I was in my social justice warrior phase and had combed through things she had said previously that could easily be deemed at the time as “hipster racism.” At that event she even made a crack about liking to listen to Mahalia Jackson while cleaning her house because it reminded her what a struggle house cleaning is.
So, me being me, during the Q&A I asked her, “Amy are you actually a racist or do you just pretend to be one to get attention?”
The almost all white audience was stunned silent. People were craning their necks to see who the person was to call her out. She remained calm but was flustered enough to mumble for a few seconds. Then she said finally, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” The rest of the event continued as normal.
When it comes to the Sedaris family I’d ignore them. Silly people.
I saw someone bring this up yesterday. Apparently the Capitol grounds are usually open during rallies, protests, and demonstrations, but were, due to the coronavirus, closed the other day.
I’d like to know who made that decision and what their reasoning was.
The fact that the Capitol was “stormed” may simply be the result of the grounds having been closed off, despite business going on inside. This may also explain the contextless footage of barricades being moved to let people in. Perhaps they were thinking, “Oops, it was a bad idea to not allow them to use the grounds to protest when we’ve done it for every other group that comes here to protest.”
What cynical Leftist catchphrases should apply to “storming the Capitol?”
“You care about buildings and windows more than people.”
“Riots are the voice of the of the unheard.”
“The Capitol building has insurance.”
“Don’t use your data to try to silence my lived experience.”
“It was fiery but mostly peaceful.”
“It was no different than the Boston Tea Party.”
“Riots have a long history of being a positive force for change.”
“You should have listened to their concerns instead of dismissing them.”
“Rich white people shouldn’t feel safe on their stolen land.”
“Who says protests have to be peaceful?”
“Where’s the tree of liberty?”
Here’s a theory: The Chinese virologists were tasked with developing a virus that would “cull the herd.” That is, it would attack and kill the elderly, thereby solving China’s growing elderly population problem.
Anyone? Anyone? Beuhler?
That approach to “culling the herd” is probably more time/cost efficient than the approaches taken by the Third Reich and the Cultural Revolution.
BTW, you just might be a HEALTHIST.
There’s a reeducation facility just up the road in Tucson; would you like to self-report or shall we arrange for transportation…
Paulie, just how far off in the weeds are you. The Georgia Law Review? Man, you’re impressin’ me. Funny how Commie style thinking can be contorted into White Supremacy by critical racial theorists. Can’t tell the players without a program, I guess.
This will probably get lost in discussion of current events, but have some questions. I know context can be important, but like the discussion of these in general, especially the ethical aspects of them.
I’ve recently taken a new managerial position. Am I ethically obliged to try to honor verbal promises made to specific employees by my predecessor?
Is it ethically wrong to ask employees to physically come to work “during these unprecedented times”? What if the employee has no medical reason and is just scared to be around other people (with good social distancing rules, etc)?
I hope Jack takes this up, T.S. Great ask.
1. Re: promises. A new manager is ethically bound by the organization’s promises to employees. A predecessor’s personal promise’s cannot be binding on a predecessor, but a) the outgoing manager is obligated to detail all such promises and maximize the chances that his or her successor will follow through. However, a new manager is not bound to fulfill a promise that he or she feels is not in the best interest of the organization. In a vaccuum, fulfilling such promises, if possible, is best for staff morale.
2 and 3. Absent government edicts, laws and other outside requirements, there is nothing unethical about requiring workers to work, They have sick time; they have options, like quitting. If an employee has a physical reason why he or she can’t work, then he or she needs to present reasonable accommodations the employer can put in place to allow them to work. If that’s impossible, then it’s come to work, or find another job. Absolutely fair and ethical.
There is nothing unethical about paying people not to work, as long as its your own money.
If he’s scared to be around other people, that’s his problem, and he can’t ethically make it yours.
One thing that is very obvious in the media bias is how they refer to anything President Trump is alleged to have done. They don’t use alleged. They don’t say claimed when he says something. They say things like ‘He willfully incited’ or ‘He lied.’ Even when showing video of someone in the act, the media previously and for other people was careful to say ‘alleged’ in front of any accusations.
I mentioned earlier that I’d have a lot more to say about the coming Party Realignment and how the GOP has been “blessed” with a head start in rearranging its message and appealing to new voting demographics. I was hoping to post it all at once, but I’m realizing that’s not feasible. So I’ll try to drop my opinions on the topic as I can.
But here’s the intro:
Ok, I mentioned that I’d weigh in on some topics in detail after the Senate elections did exactly as I predicted they would as soon as it was shown Georgia would have to go to a special election. I was hoping to weigh in earlier, but things certain took quite a turn. I’m going to post generally what I was going to post as if the chaos in the Capitol didn’t happen, then I’ll weigh in on the Capitol developments at the end.
I’ve been merely jotting notes down throughout the week of areas I’d like to explore and after typing this up, I’ll try to organize it, but it may still seem haphazard.
There is a coming party realignment. This will not be a false realignment like Democrats like to smear the GOP with…that is how supposedly racist democrats joined the republican party en masse as part of Nixon’s cynical southern strategy (which has been exhaustively proven to be a very silly notion…given all the “flipped” democrats were either retired or rejoined with the DNC shortly after). No, this will be a periodic realigment, like many that have happened in the past. The closing of the “Founder’s era”, the Jacksonian era and the birth of the Democrats and protecting slavery, the rise of the Republicans ultimately centered on the opposition to slavery, the post Civil War, settlement of the frontier and national self-realization, regional power, global power, global super-power, Reagan era, NOW.
Every era has had its key issues around which the nation’s internal dialogue has centered. Those topics were new, were argued, were matured, and were generally resolved, and new party realignments grew out of the resolution of old topics and realization of new topics. Every era has often been spurred by new technological developments, new economic realities, or new threats to the nation.
These realignments can been seen to occur on generally big cycles of 50-80 years and small cycles of 30-50 years. They are not one hundred percent consistent, but they are predictable AND given national stresses evidently imminent.
Whether we like it or not, the Reagan Era, which, counterintuitively began *before* Reagan, began to wrap up at the end of the Clinton era and would have wrapped up sometime during or immediately after Bush’s 1st term. But 9-11 happened. That stress simultaneously accelerated political/economic change and delayed or entrenched some traditional views of government and socio-economics.
Regardless, those oddities festered until now. Obama was the signal something was going to happen…the Left wanted a revolution and Democrats loss after Obama…to, of all people, Donald Trump, was the signal that America, ready for a change wasn’t ready for a radical change. As a side topic, instead of recognizing the coming shift…the Left doubled down on their anti-American attitudes and rhetoric appealing to a sort of “futurist” and “globalist” component of America that believes technology and expertise will solve all our problems.
But Donald Trump was just a birth pang. He wasn’t even a viable solution, but merely reminded America that there was a quiet component of the nation increasingly feeling disenfranchised.
Fresh off a painfully narrow House Majority, a highly questionable Presidential victory and the narrowest Senate Majority possible (one that relies on the Vice President’s tie breaker vote) the Democrats will, with the aid of their propaganda wing, pretend like they’ve got the greatest mandate since Roosevelt. They’ll convince themselves that they cannot flounder. They’re already working on convincing America that the GOP is dead party.
This is an advantage for the GOP. They have 2 years to be sane in the face of frothing Democrat excess. They can read the changes in national priorities and needs. They can read the changing demographics and interest groups. They can grind out a new party coalition applying American Values. If they play it right and work on their message.
Make no mistake, the Democrats have some modicum of flexibility do the same. They have the advantage, as a party, of literally not running on *any* platform. They only ran on not being Trump, knowing their media lap dogs would never press them on any issue. But they are hamstrung ultimately by the unofficial party position of pure unbridled crazy advanced by their braintrust in Big Education, promoted by Big Media and further pusehd to the left by the hyper-left wing Journalist outposts.
But, there’s a coming change and the GOP stands in the advantageous position of being sort of out of power.
So, what kind of changes should we expect? Let’s run through the next few years of what dangers, opportunities, and conversations face our nation with Democrats in power.
Hopefully this discussion will be as if business is usual in the United States. But frankly, the way the Democrats have handled things since the later Bush 2’s years and each iteration of amping up the insanity and just the past 3 months of exponential increases in crazy, I don’t know what kind of American situation we’ll be facing in 2 years.
It could be as dire as many predict.
But we’ll do this discussion as though some level of sanity returns.
In the realm of foreign policy, the world order built out of the devastation of WW2 – the Pax Americana, the United Nations, the 1st half defined by the Cold War and the last half defined by the United States being the sole super power – is coming to an end. European politics, ever the center of American attention as long as Europe was the other center of economic might and within immediate danger of the Soviet Union, are increasingly less important. Other nations spanning the globe – many of them third world at the conclusion of WW2 are now increasingly competitors with the previous powers. America no longer has to focus on Europe like it used to.
Comfort zone politics combined with our own cultural heritage will still tug at us to pay outsized attention to Europe and Europe’s opinions. While they will still be key players, however, they aren’t exclusively so. There will be a tendency, in the coming party realignment, to emphasize a European-centric bias. We’ll continue to hear talk about “worrying our Western NATO allies”, when frankly, it’s our Eastern NATO allies whose opinions are increasingly important.
Russia, though an increasingly depleting force, poses a threat to the stability of Europe. It has never forgotten where it once was, and even more so, feels threatened by liberalizing forces literally within a few hours drive from Moscow…where once Russia had a buffer zone reaching Berlin. In 20 years from the fall of the Berline wall, the border between America-oriented Europe and Russia-oriented Europe shifting east by 800-1000 miles in the northern corridor of the Baltic states AND in the southern corridor of Ukraine. In the central corridor, the border shifted 500 miles east hitting the border of Russia’s last remaining steadfast European buffer – Belarus.
Now, with Belarus faltering and close to a flip towards the West, adding another 300 mile advance towards Moscow, traditionalist Russian leaders are feeling *very* hemmed in. Russia has played a few hands already – their sponsored insurgency in Southeast Ukraine and the clearly rigged elections in Belarus staving off that border shift are two of them. Demographically and economically Russia will shortly be reaching a point of no return on whether or not it can pull off more aggressive moves and that’s precisely when they’ll be most dangerous.
Likely Russian moves will involve increasing efforts to destabilize Baltic governments and increasingly suppressing reformist movements in Belarus. Russia’s most dangerous courses of action involve expanding their activities in Ukraine with an eye on completing the land bridge between Russia and Crimea. Another dangerous course of action would involve, using pretenses of protecting ethnic Russians in the Baltics, to make a physical move to close the gap between Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
This would directly compel a NATO response.
Another, even more dangerous move, would be, again under the pretenses of protecting ethnic Russians who have emigrated for work, to make a physical move to occupy Gotland. Such a move gives Russia a blocking position on the Baltic Sea. This move would also compel a NATO response.
Our question here: Does a Biden administration project the kind of deterrent strength to stave off such a Russian move? Does a Biden administration have the wit to outmaneuver *before hand* any Russian glances in that direction?
Recall, Biden was the Vice President to Barack Obama of “wait until I win the election and we’ll have more flexibility” fame when appeasing Putin.
Republicans, unable to really do anything at this point, can merely beat the drum of focusing on our Eastern NATO allies. Russia will try to appeal to our Western NATO allies and quietly try to drive wedges between them and the United States, but they won’t make much headway, except maybe with Germany…but even there they won’t ever come close to flipping any of them.
What are the odds of Russia making a dangerous move?
I don’t know. They are certainly *more* elevated than under the Trump presidency.
For one, Biden comes from the Democrats, who by appearances are the perpetually spineless party when it comes to stopping bad actors. Make no mistake, this isn’t 100% accurate – Obama was the Drone-master-in-Chief. But they exude weakness. Putin made his first forays into Ukraine during Obama’s years. We’ve already mentioned the famous line by Obama that Putin would basically have more breathing room if he was reelected.
ISIS ran roughshod over the Iraqi military while Obama had the ability to release fury on them and chose not to. We all remember the “red lines” that meant nothing. We remember giving Iran back a crap ton of money that it immediately used for bad purposes.
Everyone screamed and ranted that Trump would get us in WW3 because of his “reckless” foreign policy. Except bad actors backed down when faced with likely American force. Trump’s supposed instability and unpredictability actually acted in a stabilizing way.
That will be gone soon and based on the team Biden is putting together, it’ll be Obama part deux.
What’s the ethical approach to Russia then?
What’s the ethical approach for the GOP to handle America’s attitude towards Russia?
This will be rambley.
China. The emergent competitor.
This will be a tough nut to crack. We’re heavily “interdependent” with them economically (but we don’t have to be). We’re becoming direct competitors in the eastern Pacific.
From an “all nations are equal” point of view America has the distinct positional advantage. We have allies ringing the Chinese periphery on one side. As frontiers are described, nations prefer a “peripheral zone” around their “cultural core” before the nation even reaches the “fringe” or the “frontier”.
For the vast majority of American history, the core was the “Boston-Washington corridor”, with the periphery being the “North” +West Coast and the “fringe” being “the South and the West Coast” and the frontier being “the Southwest” and Alaska + Hawaii, with outposts in the wide ranging Pacific. America has been “comfortable”.
China…with landmasses in it’s ideal “peripheral zone” being oriented towards the United States: Japan and Taiwan, and several being neutral but more inclined to the USA, such as Vietnam….and with landmasses in it’s “fringe and frontier”, such as Indonesia and Singapore, being oriented towards the United States, has never enjoyed the “comfort” that the USA has felt.
But that’s ok…because all things are not “being equal”. I don’t care that a Communist country that inflicts as much pain on it’s landed periphery and fringe- Tibet and Western China- that it would love to inflict on its Pacific periphery. They are the Bad Guys.
But they have one thing they can trade to the world- cheap labor.
If there has ever been a crisis of slavery in the modern age, it’s been China. They have not only a captive work force, but a captive workforce that is seemingly content with it’s station in life. That’s partly due to geography…the vast population of China is beholden to it’s coastal elite for even a modicum of access to the outside community. When the coastal elite breaks down and can’t unite against the outside…the interior and China’s workforce has even *less* access to the free parts of the globe.
Cheap labor means inexpensive goods for the world’s consumers.
But this is an ethical conundrum on two levels.
Is it right for us to enjoy inexpensive products ostensibly gained through “free trade”? But it’s not really free?
This is a hard question. Libertarians will argue that opening up trade to Soviet Russia helped bring Soviet Russia down. Instead of a military invasion we invaded them with Coca-Cola, Jeans and Rock and Roll. And the subversion won. But we have remarkably free trade with Communist China given the circumstances…and nothing’s budging.
So are we ethically wrong to enjoy cheap products from Chinese abuse of their own slave population?
A question political parties need to ask.
America, as a point of craftmanship almost has the same dichotomy that faces Italy. Italy has artisans who try to mass produce stuff and it’s crap…like some of Fiat’s more memorable flops…or it has artisans who focus their efforts and produce the Ferrari. We have the ability to mass produce, and when we produce crap we get past it and improve and can mass produce quality.
If we want to devote ourselves to it and it’s associated costs.
Divorcing ourselves from China will require a sort of *gasp* *nationalistic* pursuit of internal production. But it will take the wind out of the sails of China’s ability to manipulate world financial markets.
Make no mistake…when your economy doesn’t rely on the same rules everyone else’s economy plays buy…your money is meaningless. And that’s how China will defeat us. Through despicable monetary tricks.
It’s of *global* existential importance to divorce ourselves from the Chinese “economy”. While on paper they are physically weak, even despite a billion person population (which matters in one key aspect), they can still completely hose the world’s economy which has willingly coupled itself to China’s cheap slave labor.
*Shame on all of us in free Republics and semi-Republics*
And that’s the prisoner’s dilemma. While libertarians will argue that “opening the economy will defeat China”, we don’t realize that China isn’t Russia. It’s a whole different worldview. Defeating China will require more aggressive steps. On a level of economic warfare and “great game” power maneuvering. Which is where we pivot to actual physical maneuvers. We’ll leave the question of the China economic approach open to the coming party realignment.
Frankly, it seems the Democrats, at a most likely configuration are just playing the “peace-nik” approach (which will accomplish nothing but emboldening China), or they are playing the “wimp” approach (which will really accomplish nothing but emboldening China). But the true *worse case scenario* with a Biden administration and a Democrat control of Senate and House is that even the most rudimentary and disorganized conspiracy theories are true – that Biden and the Democrats *want* to oversee an American waning in favor of any other nation’s ascendancy – and given the fear and orientation of Biden’s commentary… it would seem he’s beholden to China.
*I do NOT want to go down that route because not only is it terrifying to contemplate an entire political party selling out our nation to a foreign power’s interests it is painfully believable at this point*
so to focus on China’s physical options:
South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam are all essential friends in containing China in the Pacific.
Taiwan is a key point…even American global corporations who enjoy China’s fake money translated into America’s real money kowtow to China’s claim on Taiwan.
The South China sea, ringed by America-oriented states, but gradually probed by Chinese “development” (read as China literally inventing Islands to house military aircraft), is a hot spot. We’d do good to increase economic integration of that region to the slight exclusion of China. Eyes on Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.
But we’ve let China take some symbolic leads in that area (to the chagrin of the Trump administration).
I think a Biden administration will be milquetoast enough to let China make subtle-but-huge symbolic strides in this area.
This isn’t good…but it’s a talking point the GOP can use for the coming realignment.
A real physical competition will occur between China and India. We’ve obviously seen China pressure India in their western borderlands in the past year. While this is of immediate concern to India, this should be seen as China probing *OUR* resolve. China knows it currently cannot contest the American Navy in the Pacific. So it will see what kind of tiny land grabs it can accomplish. While China is running a big show along the western component of it’s border with India, it’s been recently inventing some land claims along the eastern border…where a blitz land grab would be hard for India to physically respond to.
If China successfully accomplishes that with *no opposition*, which it can expect from a Biden administration much like Russia’s satellite land grab in Ukraine during Obama’s administration, then China can gleefully look to bigger options in the South China Sea or even Taiwan as a most dangerous course of action.
The GOP will do itself HUGE favors to continue to highlight the plight of India.
What’s the ethical response to China? The Democrats will make a fiasco of things…how will the out of power GOP craft an appropriate message in this regard?
Ugh…I can’t believe I forgot to mention the Philippines in regards to strategic southwestern Pacific nations.
I’m returning my diploma.
I’ll trade ya!
Well, I still use my Bachelor of Landscape Architecture for local community value.
I’m just not bringing any glory to my alma mater by forgetting something as non-trivial as our oldest Pacific outpost.