Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/18/2021: Terrible Ideas, Past, Present, And Future


1. Gee, I’m surprised CNN didn’t give him Don Lemon’s old show…Over the weekend, Adeel Raja, a CNN contributor in Pakistan, tweeted, “The world today needs a Hitler.” Raja has repeatedly praised Hitler for trying to exterminate the Jews. During the Wold Cup in soccer, he said that he was rooting for Germany in the final against Argentina because “Hitler was a German and he did good with those jews!” (Actually, there may be more old Nazis in Argentina than Germany, but that’s quibbling.)

Last week’s tweet was deleted (Twitter did not suspend his account; after all, he’s not a Republican or President of the United States). Raja had 54 articles published under his byline at CNNbetween September 1, 2014, and September 15, 2020, all focusing on Pakistani news. CNN apparently didn’t mind relying on an open anti-Semite for news analysis until the latest tweet caused the issue to be raised.

After initially saying that it didn’t recognize Raja’s name, CNN released a statement that “he will not be working with CNN again in any capacity.”

2. The latest strategy in the Left’s plot to keep American masked forever. By “Left” I also mean “the news media,” since they are virtually identical. Digression: Judge Silberman’s brave and accurate confirmation of this provoked fear and horror among the AUC. I wrote about it here, but in case you missed it, here is his entire dissent in a recent libel case. He wrote in part,

“It should be borne in mind that the first step taken by any potential authoritarian or dictatorial regime is to gain control of communications, particularly the delivery of news. It is fair to conclude, therefore, that one-party control of the press and media is a threat to a viable democracy. “[The New York Times and the Washington Post ] are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets. And the news section of The Wall Street Journal leans in the same direction…Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet.”

USA Today, a lesser trumpet to be sure, more like a kazoo, gave us this:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement Thursday that fully vaccinated people largely no longer need to wear a mask has left many Americans wondering: If there are no enforcement measures, won’t people just lie about their vaccination status? Public health officials admitted that the honor system will play a large role in the new rules. “I mean, you’re going to be depending on people being honest enough to say whether they were vaccinated or not and responsible enough to be wearing … a mask,” Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, told CNN Thursday.

The whole idea, apparently, is to make certain Americans don’t trust each other, just like women can’t trust men (who are all rapists or want to be), blacks can’t trust whites, and nobody can trust the police. This, naturally, leaves the government as the one force in society that must be trusted, because Big Brother knows best.

Society has always had its cheats, fools and sociopaths. We trusted people not to come to work with dread diseases long before the Wuhan virus, and sometimes suffered for it. We trust drivers not to be drunk, and workers to know what they are doing. Sometimes, too often, society is betrayed. Remove that trust, however, and we have no society: just a lot of single units, fearful of everyone and everything, looking to the beneficent government to protect us.

3. More on the “birthing people” madness. Matthew Walther writes in the New York Post, “Sorry, but they’re called ‘mothers’ — not ‘birthing people'”:

The ludicrous phrase is becoming ubiquitous, not just in activist circles but in the medical profession. On the Web site of Harvard Medical School, you can read about how advancing something called “maternal justice” is “essential for all birthing people.” The National Institutes of Health, the New York State Department of Health, the apparently real California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, the Hawaii Department of Human Services and even the city of Milwaukee all present helpful information about this hitherto-unknown category of human beings. Countless state legislators across the country have introduced bills or resolutions that include the preposterous terminology….The rise of “birthing people” and “chestfeeding” follows a well-established pattern: Universities carry the terminology from once-fringe activist groups to the professional classes during what passes for their education. Graduates bring it with them to hospitals, law firms, big business and, of course, politics. A new consensus about apparently settled questions such as the definition of motherhood is established before ordinary Americans are even aware that new terms exist, much less that the liberal establishment wants to mandate their use.”Birthing people” should be a line in the sand for all decent and rational Americans. It is not a question of so-called “political correctness,” which is often a simple matter of politeness. The phrase is not only an insult to mothers everywhere; it is an attack on reason itself. Everyone knows that women who give birth to children are mothers. Those who suggest otherwise are either living in a fantasy world or the kind of people who get their jollies by forcing others to say that 2+2 = 5, which is the ambition of every totalitarian.

I agree, but “birthing people” should be no more (or less) of a line in the sand than the many self-evidently terrible ideas that have proliferated from the left side of the political divide of late., including no jail time for “all non-violent crimes,” defunding the police, and open borders, and “believe all women,” just to name a few.

4. Speaking of law vs ethics: The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will will review  Thomas Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, specifically focusing on Question 1 in the petition for the writ of certiorari: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” Since 1973, when the Court declared abortion to be a Constitutional right, science and medicine have learned a great deal about the unborn. In Roe v. Wade, the Court ruled that the Constitution protected abortion up until the point of an unborn baby’s viability outside the womb. Mississipi Attorney General Lynn Fitch asked the Court to consider whether or not the state’s 2018 law banning abortions after 15 weeks gestation is constitutional in light of current knowledge that an unborn baby has unique DNA, a detectible heartbeat and can feel pain early in a pregnancy. Apparently the Court is willing to wade into the controversy over when a fetus becomes a human being that the law protects. A majority of Americans, according to polls, have said that the question of when life begins is central to the ethics of abortion.

Of course it is, but the pro-abortion lobby will never concede that. Nonetheless, despite the passions on all sides of the issue, it is high time the highest court dealt with the issue.

9 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/18/2021: Terrible Ideas, Past, Present, And Future

  1. 1. One wonders why he wasn’t thrown under the bus by CNN to prove that they take anti-Semitism seriously, as opposed to that horrible racist anti-Semite Donald Trump…
    2. An anecdote from the weekend. We went out for my husband’s birthday with his mother and our son to a Japanese steakhouse, completely forgetting that those places usually place strangers at a large table with each other (it’s been a long Pandemic). We sat, unmasked, while a family at the other end of the table did the same and ate our food. The unspoken nervousness abated when we all compared notes about the quality of this place versus the other similar Japanese steakhouses in town. When they paid and were about to leave, the wife of the group spontaneously addressed the Elephant in the Room. “Don’t worry” she said, “We’ve all had our shot!”. Relieved, we announced that we had been vaccinated, too, and my husband quipped, “No one wants to ask!”. We all had a good laugh.

    Fear, indeed.

  2. 2. All through this pandemic, my biggest concern with masks has been the division that they cause. I don’t mean the political division, though that has certainly been a reality, but the separation that the masks inherently make. Aside from making facial expressions unreadable, the masks form a mental barrier between people, making them see each other as threats. Everyone is now a Cylon sleeper agent.

    3. I want to go on record as saying the dimorphism of human beings is not just undeniable, but a critical part of understanding humans as humans. We’re not just individuals, but we are also either male or female. That dimorphism is what brings two individuals together to form family, which is the building block of society. Is it any wonder that when that understanding is threatened, society begins to fall apart?

    4. I also want to go on record that human life begins at conception, and that abortion is as much an assault on the dignity of women as it is an assault on the dignity of the babies in the womb.

    I know, nothing new in any of this. But to me, all three of these items touch on the assault on human nature itself. We’re meant for family. We’re meant for community. We’re meant to give of ourselves to others. If we deny what is obvious about human sexuality, human community, and even the human person itself, we’re left with nothing. Each person is left to survive on his own in a hostile, futile existence. Take what you can, when you can. Lord of the Flies. A Hobbesian state of nature.

    • To your first paragraph, one thing that a year of masks has made me think about is very young children. We now have a large cohort of kids who may have not seen any unmasked human faces (other than their immediate family’s) for a year. How does that affect their brains in various stages of development? One of the first things babies learn to recognize are facial expressions. What happens when you short-circuit that during critical stages of development? We don’t know, and won’t know for a decade or more. My heart was broken a few months ago watching a young mother try to force a mask on a screaming toddler in a stroller on her way into the grocery store. What public health benefit was gained by terrifying that poor child?

      Not to mention older kids; I suspect we’ve created a much higher proportion of germ-obsessed people in the current generation of 5-20 year-olds. I’ve seen it in my own neighborhood, watching as the kids on my street who come from families who went overboard with COVID fear have developed odd behavioral traits and more fearful, worried personalities. Other kids, from households that tried harder to maintain a sense of normalcy for their children, have bounced back okay. Two kids, in particular, from different families, seem to have really latched onto these fears and are still paranoid about social distancing and masks, even as their (vaccinated) parents have returned to normal human interaction. Will those kids ever get over it?

      Throughout all this, especially in the “should schools be closed” debate, I’ve heard people rationalize all kinds of damage being done to children by saying that “kids are resilient”. This, of course, ignores the fact that many billions of dollars are spent every year by people hiring therapists to help them get over all manner of childhood traumas, some of it being spent no doubt by the very people who are extolling the resilience of children.

  3. 1. The left’s relationship with Judaism is a tricky one. They like Jews In Name Only, i.e. people born to Jewish parents, raised Jewish, who take off for the High Holy Days, maybe light up at Chanukah, but who probably haven’t attended a service since either their bar/bat mitzvah or the last death in the family. People like that are VERY useful for diversity actions: suing over cross-shaped war memorials, erasing Christmas carols from schools, limiting Christmas celebrations generally, maybe trotting out someone who died in the Holocaust to argue against the death penalty, and generally giving conservative Christians a hard time. Religious Jews they are less ok with, and the more conservative they are, the less ok the left is with them, until you reach folks like those at Kiryat Joel, the nearest thing to a theocracy in the U.S. They really don’t like the idea of a society with rules about everything: when to rest, what to eat, business practices, how to dress, etc. They want nothing to do with anyone who’s for Israel. Never mind that it’s one of only two real democracies in that area of the world. Never mind that it’s the US’s only firm ally in the region. Never mind that it’s doing great things and making advances. It’s a mean and racist state that mistreats those poor Palestinians that they kicked out in 1948 and still won’t let them return.

    2. NJ governor Murphy is the last governor still holding out with the mask mandate and saying “we’ll see.” There are also a few mayors here who will keep it in place for a while. It’s their way of reminding everyone that THEY decide when you get your freedom back, no one else. And you are right, the left does not want anyone here to trust anyone else. A united people, or even a mostly united people, is a danger to their power. It’s a lot easier to control the people if everyone hates and fears more people than he trusts. It’s easier to justify police crackdowns if I think the Muslims in my town are potential terrorists. It’s also easier to force me into hiding if I fear the black population, but I fear calling for help even more because I might get called a racist. It’s easy to silence anyone who disagrees if you can just call him a racist, a denier, or a danger, and have him silenced, no due process, no nothing.

    3. Political correctness is not about politeness. Neither is this. It’s about control, it’s about conforming, and it’s about an enforced blandness that refuses to acknowledge anything but this control and conforming. It used to be you went to university to fill your mind. Now you go to have it emptied of everything but this claptrap.

    4. This is about to drag the Biden administration into a fight it really did not want to get involved in. The left has so much capital tied up in Roe v. Wade that it is almost existential.

    The left has been fighting very hard for the past decade, I think, to limit or take away various rights and freedoms. No right is absolute, they say. They want to limit the right to free speech, lest it offend one of their favored groups. They want to cut back freedom of religion, at least for the religions less inclined to go along with them. They want to pare back the right to keep and bear arms to almost nothing, a disarmed and cowed populace is easier to control. They want to cut back the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, at least by their people. They want to trash the right to due process, who needs it when you know the truth?

    They also rely on the fact that advances have been made to justify some of this. Guns are more than single-shot muskets now, the internet means misinformation and hatred can go around the world before they can be stopped, and we’re more inclined to believe a woman now.

    Then there’s the good old reliable argument that it’s time to make progress on all those ideas that were settled long before 2008. Everything’s changing, after all, and the laws have to change with it. If the legislatures won’t get on board, then the courts are where they will go to change it.

    However, suddenly the SCOTUS is talking about revisiting a nearly 50-year-old decision, where the relevant technology and science have advanced considerably, which carved out a single aspect of public policy as not subject to the democratic process, which would make a big change, and which would significantly limit a relatively unfettered right. These are supposedly all the things the left likes, and now half the left is wetting its collective pants and the other half is screeching what an outrage this would be and how DARE the SCOTUS consider it.

    The fact is that the SCOTUS is about to potentially shine a very bright light on the fact that the house of the left stands on a perfectly balanced card of hypocrisy and self-made privilege. The left is very happy to take away or curb rights, but not THIS right. The left is very happy to reexamine and even upend supposedly settled law, but not THIS settled law. The left is perfectly happy to point to science to support the proposal it should get what it wants, but not THIS science. This is the left’s Forbidden Zone, its door in the Ministry of Magic that must never be opened, its silver apple tree that must always stand, lest dire consequences befall.

    It’s been relying on this decision and its status as guardian of the womb and of women’s ability to avoid the consequences of doing whatever, whenever, wherever, however, and with whoever they damn well please to gin up support, try to keep half the human race on its reservation, and try to lock down a permanent majority for almost 50 years. Now it sees that all of that could disappear, or at least be greatly curtailed, leaving it to have to make the case to a majority in each state that this should be codified, which is unlikely to fly away from the northeast and the left coast, but could cost it a lot of money and political capital as it is shown to be just out for itself.

    Pop the popcorn and make sure you have a good store of toppings, this is going to be one hell of a feature.

    • Steve-O,

      1. Let’s not forget how useful bad Catholics are, too! Now, I was curious, did you see Glenn Greenwald’s post on May 12th about AOC criticizing Yang for his support of Israel, but how she would not dare criticize Pelosi or Schumer, whom Greenwald alleges are supportive of Israel? I found it an interesting read, and was definitely contrary to the narrative that the Left monolithically opposes Israel.

      4. The fact is that the SCOTUS is about to potentially shine a very bright light on the fact that the house of the left stands on a perfectly balanced card of hypocrisy and self-made privilege. The left is very happy to take away or curb rights, but not THIS right. The left is very happy to reexamine and even upend supposedly settled law, but not THIS settled law. The left is perfectly happy to point to science to support the proposal it should get what it wants, but not THIS science. This is the left’s Forbidden Zone, its door in the Ministry of Magic that must never be opened, its silver apple tree that must always stand, lest dire consequences befall.

      I have to bask in the rhetorical beauty of this paragraph. Bravo.

    • I am sorely tempted to leave it here, but this level of anti-feminist agitprop from the left of all places needs a thorough debunking.

      “Maternal justice” is “essential for all birthing people.” Shouldn’t this be “paranatal justice”, since the emphasis is on people’s capacity for birth, rather the identity of the person giving birth? Does using Latin make “motherhood” less offensive for those who do not identify as a mother but are giving birth? (Is using the Latin word for “black” less offensive for describing people of color?)

      Should a male-identifying person who transitioned his external sexual characteristics (ie. female-to-male) be defined by his ability to give birth? Does arguing for maternal justice really not exclude him? The very use of Latinesque “scienc-y”-sounding words like “maternal” shows they know very well that “birthing people” is nonsensical. “Maternal” word means “mother”, and no one can soundly claim that a 2000 year old word refers to anything other than a woman who gave birth and/or raised a child. The word “maternal” is in fact directly derived from “mother”, which spelt phonetically has been a word for a female parent for 5000 years across almost every language west of China. Arguing “birthing people” is a gender neutral description of a class of people while simultaneously resorting to peudo-scientific gendered terminology to define this class of people shows this not a serious argument.

      Since at least the 1960’s, feminists have been arguing that women have innate value as human beings beyond their ability to give birth (this value should be trivially obvious to anyone who isn’t an anti-female bigot). Naturally, “birth” is the defining trait for a whole classification of people. This is a rhetorical choice. They could just have easily said “pregnant people”, and no one would bat an eye.

      Sure some right-wings would complain “pregnant people” intentionally distances femininity in regard to pregnancy (and they would be right), but alternative the statement “pregnant woman” is essentially redundant. Further, the statement “pregnant man” directly challenges the alleged gender stereotype that only “women” can give birth. However, “pregnant person” doesn’t itself challenge gender stereotypes, so they invent a new word that does, “birthing person”.

      These birthing people who experience maternal problems could be of any (or no) gender. This is meant to be inclusive. Historically we are told by feminists, woman were valued for motherhood. Black women in particular would valued for mothering more slaves. Now people of any gender can be valued for their reproductive ability. Non-females can experience maternity. This is considered progress.

      “Birthing people” is shot across the bow. It is doublethink, of the double-plus good variety. No studied feminist could use such a retrograde term without malicious intent (although plenty of unstudied persons of every gender will enthusiastically encourage it). It is directly intended to make discussing sexism, racism, and basic human anatomy impossible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.