Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/25/2021: The George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck Is One Year Old Today


It really is amazing: I have already read three references today to George Floyd’s death as a cultural watershed in the U.S. society’s recognition of racial injustice, yet there remains not a single piece of evidence or a logical argument that Floyd’s death had any relationship to his race whatsoever. This was a manufactured narrative that the news media deliberately advanced in flagrant defiance of the facts. I have challenged more indignant progressives than I can count to justify treating Floyd’s death as anything but negligence and brutality by a local cop who should never have been allowed to keep his badge. All they can come up with is that the officer was white, and Floyd was black—in other words, presumed racism based on skin color, which is itself racism, or that the episode had a positive impact, justifying treating it as something it was not. That, of course, is an “ends justifies the means” rationalization.

The ugly episode is a lesson, not in “racial reconciliation,” but in how events can be manipulated for political gain—in this case, involving violent protests and virtual societal extortion— if there is no trustworthy news source to keep the public informed.

Today is also the anniversary of another ethics low in U.S. history. It was on this date in 1861 that President Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus so he could keep a Maryland state legislator locked up on the charge of hindering Union troops.

SCOTUS Chief Justice Taney issued a ruling stating that President Lincoln did not have the authority to suspend habeas corpus, but Lincoln, channeling his inner Andrew Jackson, just defied the Court. Five years later, another Supreme Court case held that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus.

1. The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck misses its biggest target. Good. The giant images of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson carved into Stone Mountain as Confederate nostalgia’s answer to Mount Rushmore have survived the latest effort to tear them down. The Confederate flags at the base of Georgia’s Stone Mountain, placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, will be removed, and new exhibits will offer a more thorough history of the park, including the role the Ku Klux Klan and resistance to desegregation played in its creation. Also good. The thing is a pro-Confederacy monument to be sure, a defiant one, but it also is a piece of history that should be seen, debated and thought about.

Many dedicated historical censors are upset that the mountain art will not be blown up any time soon. arguing that racist anger, not a desire to honor the South’s heroes, inspired the monument’s creation. OK, and so what? It is a vivid historical relic. Fall River’s Joe Aronoski, 82, told the New York Times after touring Stone Mountain, “It’s American history. It shouldn’t be destroyed. What are you going to do? Make-believe the Civil War didn’t happen?”

Well yes, that’s the general idea behind statue-toppling: make believe any events that make some people “uncomfortable” didn’t happen.

2. When ethics alarms don’t ring...At Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns County, Florida, some time traveling yearbook supervisor from the 1950s decided it was necessary to digitally alter 80 photos of female students to make them more “modest.” No pictures of male students, including one of the swim team in which the boys wore Speedo bathing suits, were similarly altered. Here are two examples:

Yearbook photos

Parents and students are understandably upset. “[The school] needs to recognize that it’s making girls feel ashamed of their bodies,” one angry parent said. The district superintendent answered in part, “[T]here has never been an intent to embarrass or shame any student for the clothes that they wear. Unfortunately, we are learning a valuable lesson in the importance of process and understanding that the intent is not always the result.”

Translation: “Our schools are run by morons. Oopsie!” If administrators and teachers don’t understand those things without inflicting a stupid botch like this, then they shouldn’t be trusted with educating students.

3. Ethical Quote of the Day: Sean Lennon, musician, son of John and Yoko, via Twitter:

“When I grew up New York truly felt like a melting pot. It wasn’t perfect, but ppl did not self segregate along tribal lines to the degree that I am seeing today. There is something wrong with the strategy and direction we have chosen, in academia, in politics, and elsewhere. It’s not working. And to be clear I am not blaming all of the bad things we are seeing in culture today on political correctness. Yes we inherited a problematic history (yada yada) and I think PC culture has achieved some good and some progress for society. I am simply saying we should check our strategy if we are not getting the results we intended. I don’t know what the solution is, but I suspect that over sensitizing ppl to arbitrary characteristics like skin colour may be doing more harm than good. I know very well that the idea of being ‘colour blind’ is out of fashion, that MLK’s vision of character over skin colour is considered to be naive. But that vision surely made our society better. I’m not sure the modern vision of ‘race consciousness’ is making things better.”

4. Jaw-dropping Unethical Quote of the Day: NYT op-ed writer Paul Krugman. He writes at the beginning of this piece of shameless gaslighting:

“America’s democratic experiment may well be nearing its end. That’s not hyperbole; it’s obvious to anyone following the political scene. Republicans might take power legitimately; they might win through pervasive voter suppression; G.O.P. legislators might simply refuse to certify Democratic electoral votes and declare Donald Trump or his political heir the winner. However it plays out, the G.O.P. will try to ensure a permanent lock on power and do all it can to suppress dissent.”

It amazes me that even Krugman would write that. His beloved Democrats refused to accept Donald Trump as a legitimate President for four years. They impeached him twice simply because they had the votes to do it. They launched a two year investigation of a false allegation of “collusion” to undermine him. They used false accusations to try to sabotage a Supreme Court nominee, while advocating Supreme Court packing to ensure that their attacks on the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, among others, and the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution; do not get struck down. They explicitly oppose the rule of law in such matters as illegal immigration and in encouraging Black Lives Matters rioting; they are pushing for race preferences in employment, education, and law enforcement; they are promoting Critical Race Theory that paint the United States as a malign culture. Their high-handed and in some cases illegal imposing of loose mail-in voting procedures ensured the widespread public distrust in the 2020 election. They have delegated content-based censorship to their Big Tech allies and the complicit news media to manipulate what the public is allowed to read and hear.

And he says that the GOP is an existential threat to democracy!

21 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/25/2021: The George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck Is One Year Old Today

  1. 3. My upstate New York college has been sucking up to black demands for quite a while now. I suggested to a friend and fellow alum who’s on the board of trustees that the college should simply open up an all black campus in Brooklyn where the black students and faculty and administrators could do as they pleased without any interference from any white people. He said it would be too expensive. I remain convinced that what we’re seeing is a black separatist movement.

  2. What Sean Lennon there reminds me of something Stephen Fry said during a Munk Debate.

    He was sharing a stage with Jordan Peterson against Michael Dyson and Michelle Goldberg. Dyson and Peterson had what I’ll call “The obvious spat” you’d assume from Jordan Peterson and Michael Dyson, but Fry actually said something that I hadn’t heard in the way it was presented, and it crystallized something that had been playing in my head for a while.

    Page 28:

    “I’m still very lost about why we aren’t talking about political
    correctness; we’re talking about politics — and that’s fine. And I
    share exactly what you think about it. I’m not an enemy of identity
    politics per se. I can obviously see where it goes wrong and where
    it’s annoying.

    But let’s be empirical about this: how well is it working for you in
    America at the moment? Not well at all, it really isn’t. You can
    answer me in a moment.

    The reason that Trump, and Brexit in Britain, and all kinds of
    nativists all over Europe are succeeding is not the triumph of the
    right, it’s the catastrophic failure of the left. It’s our fault.”

    This has since become one of my favorite go-to’s: “How’s that working out for you?” You want to Defund your police. Well, I think that’s stupid, but let’s check back in a month or two. Oh, You’re having one of the worst crime sprees in local history. How’s that Defund thing working out for you?”

    Before ideas actually form policy, we can have the existential debates, the what ifs and the slippery slopes, the weighing of truth and historical similes and metaphors. Once you manage to actually get your policies in place, they wither work or they don’t. “How’s that Working Out For You?” Is a recognition that regardless of whether the policy is well intentioned or not, whether the people involved are moral or not, whether the theory was sound or not, when rubber hit the road: It failed.

    • I bet you’re a big Noam Chomsky fan. LOL – Sorry, couldn’t resist. He said Republican Party ‘most dangerous organization on earth’.

      • He’s the worst, Edward. Or maybe Howard Zinn is worse. I’ll defer to Jack on that. These Red Diaper Babies never cease to amaze. Bernie Sanders, Robert Reich. Why are certain Jews such big fans of Soviet Communism and virulent, relentless haters of the United States? I don’t get it. Have we ever had pogroms in the United States?

        • Unless you want to restrict ‘pogrom’ only to violence against Jews, then surely of course ‘yes’ the US has had pogroms, eg directed against the native American ‘Indian’ populations?

          • According to Merriam-Webster,

            pogrom noun

            po·​grom | \ pə-ˈgräm

            , -ˈgrəm, pō-; ˈpō-grəm, ˈpä-

            Definition of pogrom (Entry 1 of 2)
            : an organized massacre of helpless people
            specifically : such a massacre of Jews

            pogrom verb
            pogromed; pogroming; pogroms
            Definition of pogrom (Entry 2 of 2)
            transitive verb
            : to massacre or destroy in a pogrom

            I think you have “pogrom” mixed up with “conquest.” And I have to say, I’ve never heard the term used outside the context of a spontaneous, usually non-official, attack against a Jewish population. In that sense, no, there has never been a pogrom in the US. Attacks on Jews, yes. Harassment of Jews, yes. But even the Ku Klux Klan never conducted anything close to a pogrom. The only pogrom in the Americas was in Argentina during 1919’s Tragic Week, which makes last summer here look like a day at the beach.

            BTW, did you folks always treat your naked, grub-eating indigenous folks well?

        • Chomsky is worse, since he has had 11 more years to be a public pain in the ass who long ago reached intellectual menopause. Howard Zinn went down for the dirt nap in 2010. Zinn at least fought in WWII, Chomsky has never been anything more than an ivory-tower academic. Why his dean or whoever never sat his ass down and said “Noam, enough. You’re not a public official, you’re not a government teacher, you’re not a political scientist, you’re not an economist. You’re a linguist, and it’s time you got back to teaching language and linguistics, which is what you were hired to do. You can cry tenure all you want, but I can still fire you for bringing disrepute on this institution. Now get going,” is beyond me. Take heart, though, the man is 92 years old, and I’m sure his final ticket south/free pass downstairs will be punched any day now.

    • It’s their big chance to snuff out any meaningful opposition, which is what this has all been about in the first place.

      They’re going to scream until the last Republican on Earth is some tire salesman in Scottsbluff, Nebraska named Doug. And then when the whole country turns into Detroit, they’re going to blame that on Doug.

      • Let us quote from the article.

        Their conclusions — that the GOP had become “ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science, dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition” — did not gain wide acceptance then. Many journalists joined leading Republicans in dismissing them.

        Most rank-and-file Republicans, polls show, believe Trump’s lies about voter fraud.

        Most Democrats believe that the Russians tampered with the vote totals in the 2016 election.

        ut on the Dem side, we have people advocating that colleges expel people for suspicion of rape if there is only a 20% chance of guilt.

        On the Dem side, we have the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights pretending to be the Supreme Court, coming up with completely ludicrous interpretations of Title IX such that it requires a preponderance of evidence standard when adjudicating sexual harassment claims, and that it prohibits cross-examination of witnesses.

        On the Dem side, we have people arguing that rape is as common in college campuses as it is in the war-torn Congo region of Africa.

        On the Dem side, we have the Justice Department threatening to punish schools for racial discrimination if they choose to punish misconduct.

        On the Dem side, we have the EEOC suing businesses for running criminal background checks on the basis that it is racist.

        On the Dem side, we have the same people claiming that requiring a photo ID to vote is racist because it places a disparate burden on minorities, while simultaneously supporting universal background checks on firearm purchases, ignoring any concerns about a disparate impact on minorities

        On the Dem side, we have accusations that the police are racist, while simultaneously claiming that these police officers be trusted with discretion to decide who may carry a concealed weapon.

        On the Dem side, we have people claiming that an employer is imposing religion and denying access to women’s health if they refuse to offer health insurance that includes contraception without co-pay, even though it would be ludicrous to claim that employers are imposing their religion and denying access to women’s wine if they refuse to offer coupons for BevMo.

        – Me

        Local politicians at the time condemned law enforcement and lionized the criminals. Portland city councilwoman Jo Ann Hardesty spread a conspiracy theory that police were engaging in false-flag arson attacks to frame left-wing protesters. Mayor Ted Wheeler told President Trump in a news conference to take his “troops” and leave. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden called the officers an “occupying army.” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown described them as “secret police abducting people in unmarked vehicles.”

        The media were no better.

        In August, NPR gave an unchallenged platform to Vicky Osterweil to promote her book “In Defense of Looting.” During the interview, the author argued that rioting and looting were legitimate acts of protest. Both local and national media rigidly only referred to the far-left rioters as “protesters.” The Associated Press, which sets guidelines for journalists, amended its stylebook to discourage use of the word “riot,” given protesters’ “underlying grievances.”

        – Andy Ngo

        A Black teenage girl named Ma’Khia Bryant was killed because a police officer immediately decided to shoot her multiple times in order to break up a knife fight. Demand accountability. Fight for justice. #BlackLivesMatter

        – Valerie Jarrett

        “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

        – Maxine Waters

        “I am hopeful that we will get a verdict that says, ‘guilty, guilty, guilty,’ and if we don’t, we cannot go away. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.

        – Maxine Waters

      • In the days right before the French Revolution French priest turned atheist said that the greatest day would be when the last king was hung by the entrails of the last priest. It wouldn’t surprise me if some in the BLM movement said that the nation will finally be in the right place when the last Republican is hung by the entrails of the last white man.

  3. I’m beginning to think a George Floyd national holiday may be in the offing. Or maybe they’ll just change Memorial Day to George Floyd Day. That sounds about right.

    • O’Biden ordered all US state department offices to display BLM memorabilia in their offices overseas. Oh, and O’Biden and members of Congressvmet with the Floyd family today, each extolling St. George and his life working struggle against white supremacy and fentanyl.


    • A friend of mine who’s in the Knights of Columbus joked that maybe they’ll be asked to change their name to the Knights of Floyd. 😀 The slightly scary thing is I can see it.

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