John Stuart Mill (1806–73), was born on May 20, not merely the most important figure in ethics to have a connection to this day, but also the most important human being born on this day in the history of civilization—yes, even more than Cher, who turns 75 today. Mill’s refined the concept of liberty that required the freedom of the individual in opposition to state control. He was the most influential proponent of utilitarianism, the crucial ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham. He helped reform scientific inquiry and research, recognizing the pervasive risks of confirmation bias, by clearly explaining the premises of falsifiability as the key component in the scientific method.
Mill was also a Member of Parliament and a towering figure in liberal political philosophy. You have certainly heard or read his most famous quote: “A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither.”
A thorough biography and analysis of his work is here.
1. Justice Breyer doesn’t care about making sure the Supreme Court doesn’t get more conservative. Good. That’s not his job. Democrats realize that their control of the Senate is hanging by a thread, “thread” defined as a few superannuated Senators who could drop dead any second, giving the GOP a majority. Thus they are increasingly pushing Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 82, to retire now so Joe Biden can name an appropriately liberal replacement (who will also have to be female and black, vastly limiting the pool of possible choices without concern for actual legal competence.) “Breyer’s best chance at protecting his legacy and impact on the law is to resign now, clearing the way for a younger justice who shares his judicial outlook,” wrote Erwin Chemerinsky, the hyper-partisan dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley in The Washington Post this month. Got that? The 80+year-old Democratic Senators have to hold on to their jobs like grim death, but Breyer is being lobbied to retire. Hypocrisy, they name is Democrat! But it isn’t Breyer:
The Justice has been particularly vocal about the importance of not allowing politics to influence judges’ work, including their decisions about when to retire. “My experience of more than 30 years as a judge has shown me that, once men and women take the judicial oath, they take the oath to heart,” he said last month in a lecture at Harvard Law School. “They are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment….If the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power.”
I wonder if he’s read (or seen) “The Pelican Brief”…Meanwhile, research suggest that retirement tends to kill Supreme Court Justices. A paper in The Journal of Demography studied the effects of retirement by Supreme Court justices on their future longevity, and found that the effect of retirement was about the same as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The Democrats don’t care if Breyer dies sooner than later, though, as long as he does it when they can pick his successor, or after he’s quit.
2. It’s a official! Governor Cuomo is an Ethics Train Wreck. He killed thousands of seniors by forcing Wuhan-infected people into old age homes; he covered up the deaths; he forced his staff to participate in the cover-up, and all while being a serial sexual harasser. His ethics rot crept over to CNN, where his brother broke ethics rules to promote him as the network, as usual, did nothing to maintain integrity. Now we learn that his book,“American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic,” brought him more than $5 million in a book advance from Crown publishing, far more than any politicians other than the Obamas and the Clintons. In addition to creating the appearance of impropriety, investigators are examining his use of state resources to write and promote the book. It has, in light of the news that came out after its publication, tanked, with about 50,000 copies sold. Crown has announced that there will be no paperback version, and it will no longer publicize the hardcover.
Incidentally, my book with Ed Larson needs to sell just a few more copies (17 bucks new on Amazon!) and I will have earned my portion of the book advance, which was about a thousand bucks. Hey, it’s only taken about 15 years!
3. Wait…won’t this just fuel more “anti-Asian hate crimes”? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a diplomatic boycott of 2022 Beijing Olympics, not because it almost certainly infected the world with a pandemic virus, killed millions, and wrecked the economies of nations across the globe, but because of China’s forced labor practices. “How sad it is to see the Olympic corporate sponsors look the other way on China’s abuses out of concern for their bottom line,” Nancy said.
I thought the rule was that you should never say “China” in connection with China’s horrible conduct, to prevent morons from beating up Japanese-Americans. I think I have that right. No, no, I’m wrong—that only applies when Donald Trump fingers China. I stand corrected.
4. Nice. College Fix has some sample tweets from student government leaders in our colleges:
- Stanford University’s Gabrielle Crooks tweeted in 2020 “Yes I think white people need to be eradicated yes I will go feral over mediocre white men we exist.” (No, they no longer teach English at Stanford apparently.)
- Virginia Commonwealth University student body president Taylor Maloney, posted , “i hate white people so much its not even funny.”
- University of California Berkeley Associated Student Government president Victoria Vera has several similarly ugly tweets. including “I AM TIRED OF THESE WHITE MEN!!!”, “White women are so entitled,” and “White culture is just violence.”
5. Finally, some Authentic Frontier Gibberish from Alexandria, VA’s Little League! Little League baseball coaches in Alexandria, Virginia, are now required to take a diversity, equity, and inclusion course this month. Casey Miller, a spokeswoman for the Positive Coaching Alliance, said that costs for training sessions vary from $1,000 to $10,000, which would all be money the Alexandria Little League doesn’t spend on baseball. She “explained”,
“We want kids to have a positive youth character building experience, and resources and training that empower youth coaches and parents. How we define culture is based on how we dive into the ‘we’ piece about that statement. What does it mean to be a part of the we? Each person, no matter what background or what they look like, should feel a part of the we.”