But enough of that.
Let us never speak of it again.
1. A day that will live in ethics infamy...on 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up shortly after launch, signalling the beginning of the end of the NASA manned space program. Ethics Alarms has published a lot about the ethics space wreck that led to the disaster and continued in its wake. The Challenger Disaster tag has a most of the relevant posts, of which this one, this (which I built a legal ethics seminar—and a song!—around) and this are the most extensive.
2. Another historical ethics note: Walter Bernstein died last weekend. He was one of the screenwriters blacklisted during the Red Scare. Blacklisting seems especially relevant right now. Most of his films were political; the best known is probably “Fail-Safe,” a movie I deeply dislike that was and is over-shadowed by the superior “Dr. Strangelove…” which hit theaters around the same time. His best screenplay was probably “The Magnificent Seven,” an ethics Western, which he contributed to surreptitiously while he was still blacklisted. After he could write under his own name again, Bernstein wrote “The Front,” a mordant comedy about based on his experiences being “cancelled” in Tinseltown.
Bernstein, unlike many others who were blacklisted (like my friend Bob McElwaine), really had joined the Communist Party. The Communist cause was attractive to him after the war, he said in an interview, because the “Communists seemed like they were doing something.” Such was the intellectual focus of Hollywood Communists, but having lazy and naive political opinions isn’t supposed to cost you your profession and livelihood in the United States of America.
3. Nor should it cost you your right to purchase goods and services. [Pointer: JutGory]: Trigger Firearms and Reloading, a gun store in Jefferson City, Missouri, announced on social media it had would not sell firearms and ammunition to Joe Biden voters. I confess: I’m thoroughly disgusted with these episodes ov viewpoint discrimination. Withholding commerce and public accommodations from anyone based on their opinions, political affiliations or speech is exactly as wrong and societal damaging as doing so on teh basis of race, ethnicity, gender or religion. Exactly. It is bigotry and discrimination, and threatens American society and values. It just happens to be legal, except in California. (Maybe a few other states; I haven’t checked.) A nation doesn’t have freedom of speech if political opinions, however uninformed (see Item #2 above) limit where one can work, associate, live, eat, drink, or buy guns.
Most of the comments on the store’s idiotic Facebook post are supportive of the ban, which is impossible to enforce unless custpmers wear “I voted for Joe” badges. This just shows that a lot of conservatives don’t understand what the Bill of Rights is all about despite their worship of the Second Amendment. The critics aren’t any better. Here’s one gun rights advocate who doesn’t favor the measure:
“The Republicans lost the Senate and we have a pro-control President. Is it not obvious that we need left leaning and moderate gun owners’ voices to be heard? Is it not obvious that we need to reign in those in our community who play to the Culture War and Identity Politics narratives? …. You must see the importance of allowing gun owners who don’t want to be associated with them to be a vocal part of our community. “
Those are non-ethical considerations. The reason not to ban Biden voters from buying guns is that it’s wrong and un-American to ban anyone from doing anything based on their political speech.
Here’s another conservative who just doesn’t get it:
“The right to keep and bear arms is still a right of “the people,” however. It isn’t predicated on what you look like, where you live, who you voted for, how much money you make, or how powerful and connected you might be. I have no issue working with folks from the Left in opposition to gun control, even though that may be one of our few points of agreement. Politics isn’t a purity contest. In fact, the more you try to purge a movement with the idea of leaving only the true believers behind, the more you end up punching yourself in the face. Movements win by swelling their ranks. They lose by winnowing out those who won’t march in lockstep with the revolutionary vanguard.”
Again, this is a pragmatic argument, not an ethical one or a constitutional one: “We shouldn’t alienate these assholes because we need them!”
I don’t know how people can defend the Second Amendment when they don’t understand the First.
4. I have not had time to study the weird Gamestop story sufficiently to have anything to say about it, but the episode clearly has ethical relevance. Here is Glenn Greenwald’s video explanation; I haven’t had time to watch it all the way through, but soon will.
If an enterprising reader can turn in a clear, well-written explanation with ethical commentary, I’ll post it as a guest column.
5. Remind me: why did I vote for Mitt Romney twice? Mitt Romney said in an interview,
“You have many of the Trump supporters in elected office, senators, congresspeople, governors, continuing to say the same thing, that the election was stolen…[But the Trump campaign] “had a chance to take their message to the courts, the courts laughed them out of court. I’ve seen no evidence that suggests that there was widespread voter fraud.”
Thus Romney repeats a AUC talking point that is factually false. Most of the cases were thrown out on the basis of standing or timeliness, not on the merits, which being “laughed out of court” suggests. Moreover, Romney’s “widespread” is a tell. If there was voter fraud that changed the results in any state, that is serious, and by itself “suggests” wider voter fraud. Indeed, the double-talk and obfuscation like Romney’s falsehood itself “suggests” a distorted election result.
Now to be fair to Mitt, many conservative sites are quoting him as saying, “You know what, I was a big Trump supporter, I was really pulling for Donald Trump, but he lost fair and square” and mocking Romney, who was never a Trump supporter. But that’s a quote out of context. Romney was quoting what he felt a hypothetical Trump supporter should say on Fox News.