I love these tweets! The pop music and Broadway diva and actress has provided a cultural, political, anthropological and philosophical artifact for the ages. I could write a book about these twin tweets and what they tell us, not just about Midler, but about a society that produces the kind of celebrity who would produce them.
Where to begin? Well, taken together they are not unethical tweets: I might even argue that they are ethical, because they publicly declare to the world, “I am a complete and utter idiot, and not only do I lack the critical thinking skills of a three-toed sloth, I suffer from a near terminal level of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, being both unable to discern just how stupid I am, but also unable to comprehend the consequences of advertising my disability to the public.” Now there is no excuse for anyone considering having an interaction of any kind with Midler that involves trust—letting her baby-sit a child, for example, or even a guppy—and thus to make the mistake of relying on her judgment. She has none, and has been considerate enough to proclaim it. (Not that she hadn’t provided plenty of evidence before.) The tweets make the world safer. How many social media posts do that?
Is there anything else positive to say about these 64 words? I think it’s positive that Midler’s proclamation gives other idiots on social media something to aspire to, and perhaps exceed. The more people who publicly announce that they need to be kept away from sharp objects, ingestable poisons and motor vehicles the better. I advocate making a list of the 9,000 plus people who “liked” this first tweet and the 104 thousand mentally and ethically disabled Twitter users who liked the second to create a national registry for the benefit of potential employers. Then we should trace the educational paths that ended with each one of them being dumber than a box of toe-nail clippings. It would tell us a lot about where and how the U.S. education system has ceased to function, as well as how social media is killing brain cells.
It also says a lot about the bottom-of-the-barrel level of discourse that infects the abortion debate.
Before cataloguing some observations regarding Midler’s argument, let me once again confirm that the so-called Texas fetal heartbeat law is a bad one, with stupid and unethical qualities all its own. For example,the law depends on a “fetal heartbeat” that is detected before a fetus can have what is accurately called a heart. Worse than that, as many have already noted on Ethics Alarms and elsewhere, the citizen prosecutor concept, while novel, is the slipperiest of slippery slopes that could be adapted to all sorts of mischievous and destructive agendas. It is a spectacularly unethical device to get around a Constitutional right currently enshrined in a Supreme Court opinion of 50 year’s duration. As such, the law is also hypocritical: one of the ethical objections to abortion is that it embodies extreme utilitarianism, “the ends justify the means.” So does the Texas law. “Fight fire with fire” is not an ethical principle.
I suppose I should list the specific idiocies in the two tweets…
- “Cruelty” is the latest DNC talking point being flogged on MSNBC and elsewhere: it’s “cruel” not to prevent landlords from collecting overdue rents, for example. However, calling sincere if misguided efforts to curtail what legislators believe is the legalized murder of millions of innocent human lives “cruelty” is a non-sequitur.
- The non-logic of the next section is epic. The existence of other national concerns and policy problems requires ignoring a serious issue that involves human rights! Brilliant! Who made that definitive list of what is so important that it is “cruel” to address anything else? Outside of the pandemic, everything else on that list—weather???—has been a concern constantly or intermittently for centuries, though it is worth mentioning that President Trump, whom Midler and her Hollywood pals savaged (cruelly!) for four years, nicely addressed joblessness until the virus struck.
- Bette gives us an extreme example of the “Unborn child? What unborn child?” dishonest approach to the abortion issue. The law, to people like Midler, is just about women. But I’m pretty sure it’s a “shock” to a fetus to be killed…
- Midler doesn’t have the integrity to even use the term “abortion” in her tweets. Employing “right to choose,” which she does twice, is signature significance for a citizen who hasn’t given any thought to the complex issue she’s shooting off her metaphorical mouth about. There is no “right to choose” to do whatever one finds convenient and expedient, especially when it involves harming other human beings. The current “right to choose” enabled by Roe v. Wade requires the legal and medical fiction that there is no human life involved other than the mother’s. If one wants to argue that this is ethically, morally and legally as it should be, fine; there are arguments to be made, so have at it. Using “right to choose” as a Get Out Of Reasoning Free card, however, is the mark of a shallow, ethically ignorant dolt…. like Bette.
- Then we get to Bette’s “Lysistrata” suggestion, a marvelous example, considering her first tweet, of “garbage in, garbage out.” Did she really think this was original? The ancient Greek idea of a sex strike to stop wars was designed as satire, but if Midler intends humor, she sure did a rotten job signaling it.
- The original idea was also about preventing deaths. How ironic. Bette wants the same device to be used to continue the killing.
- Midler’s “solution” seems to be based in part on the assumption that only men oppose abortion, which is , amazingly, one of the least idiotic of her assumptions. Right, now, according to Gallup (but you know: polls), women support abortion rights by 9 percentage points, 52% to 43%, but it’s a fluid margin, with the anti-abortion faction leading by 11 points as recently as 2019. But turning an ethics conflict that involves complex trade-offs in rights and priorities is so much easier for the dim of mind when it is reduced to a simple males against females conflict, with women as the victims of those horny men who want to keep them barefoot and pregnant.
- Midler’s concept is, as her peers in the rising totalitarian left increasingly hold, offensive to democratic principles. The Left’s favored way to win arguments is by intimidation, threats and extortion, not through reason, compromise, and respect for the concerns and interests of others.
- Of course, Midler’s view of women is revealed as decidedly retrograde: Bette believes that when all the pretense is stripped away, women are just sex objects after all. Unless they can sing…
- The depth of misunderstanding that Midler’s proposal reveals is like the Mariana Trench. A reduced availability of abortion procedures would necessarily require at least some women to be more careful about their sexual activities, so the law’s existence was not driven by male hormones, and thus is unlikely to be derailed by frustrating them.
A few equally dim bulb celebrities applauded Midler’s tweets, letting normal people know that they require keepers as well. One was Nancy Sinatra, whose brain’s not made for thinkin.” She wrote , “My dad actually suggested that decades ago.” Yes, Nancy, we know what your dad’s view of women were, and what they were good for, and why he liked the option of abortion.
Essentially, Midler’s Morass teaches us that bias makes us stupid, being stupid makes us unethical, and that anyone as biased and unethical as Bett Midler should shut up and sing.