1. William Shatner didn’t die. It doesn’t matter. People really don’t get moral luck, do they? Of course, only a tiny percentage of the public reads Ethics Alarms. 90-year-old William Shatner flew into space yesterday aboard a ship built by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company. The former “James T. Kirk” and three fellow passengers boldly went to an altitude of 66.5 miles over the West Texas desert in the fully automated capsule, then safely parachuted back to Earth. The flight lasted just over 10 minutes. I had previously and correctly pointed out that Bezos had violated basic Kantian ethics, the Categorical Imperative, by exploiting Shatner and placing the old egomaniac at risk in order to promote Blue Origin. “But Shatner consented!” Bezos apologists kept telling me. So if someone consents to being used as a means to an end, that makes using a human being as a means to an end ethical?
Well, sometimes—Kant was an absolutist, and there are no absolutes. However, Shatner’s exploitation doesn’t qualify as an exception. What if the stress of the flight had killed him? Then many would be questioning Bezos’s motives, but the ethical problem is the same whether Shatner survived or not. That the flight didn’t end up looking like an elaborate grand suicide for an iconic actor who knew his time had almost run out anyway was pure moral luck.
2. This should be an “Unethical Quote of the Month.” However, it’s out of the mouth of Ethics Villain Nancy Pelosi, and her unethical quotes are just frosting on an unethical cake. Once she committed the vile act of disrespect to the office of the President by tearing up Trump’s State of the Union speech on live TV, I knew Pelosi was irredeemable, and anyone who doesn’t recognize that she lacks ethics alarms lacks them too. The quote? “Whether they know it or not, they overwhelmingly support it,” which was the Speaker’s response to a CBS News poll claiming to show that all but 10% of the public don’t know specifics of Democrats’ spending bill. The bill is almost 3,000 pages long, and I will bet my kidneys that Pelosi herself hasn’t read all of it, and almost certainly less than half. Neither have the 10% who say they know the specifics—they don’t. I don’t; you don’t. We don’t really know the cost, which is supposedly 3.5 trillion, but estimates have it costing 5.5 trillion or more. What is so unethical about Pelosi’s quote, other than the fact that she’s asserting something she can’t possibly know is true, is that it shows the arrogant heart of the totalitarian she and so many Democrats have become. “
Never mind about the facts,” she is saying,”Trust us; we know what’s best for you, even if you don’t.” It is the sentiment of a leader who treats her constituency like sheep because she believes they are sheep. [Pointer: Steve Witherspoon]
Why hello there, Gina! Back so soon?
3. Speaking of Nancy’s home, San Francisco… Walgreens announced that it will be closing five more stores in the city next month, SFGATE reported. “Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average,” Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso told the news outlet, noting that theft has increased despite increased security. This is because the city refuses to prosecute petty theft, making petty theft, in essence, legal. Walgreens has reportedly closed 10 stores in San Francisco since 2019. One now closed location in the city lost nearly $1,000 a day to theft.
After the closings, of course, which are mostly in minority neighborhoods, the lack of easily accessible stores will be cited as more “systemic racism.”
4. Bret Stephens, the lone non-progressive fanatic on the Times op-ed page, wrote, while commenting on this story that Ethics Alarms discussed two days ago,
“[O]ur universities are failing at the task of educating students in the habits of a free mind. Instead, they are becoming islands of illiberal ideology and factories of moral certitude, more often at war with the values of liberal democracy than in their service.”
Gee, ya think, Bret? His solution to the problem is that “Coward Culture” on campuses “has to go.” “Courage isn’t a virtue that’s easily taught, especially in universities, but sometimes it can be modeled,” he writes. True, but it had better be modeled earlier than college, and it has its costs. I watched my father quit several jobs (driving my mother to distraction) when a supervisor required him to do something he regarded as unethical. When I got myself fired from a large D.C. association (I was actually fired from two of them, and for the same basic reason) for refusing to turn what was supposed to be an independent research foundation into a fake independent foundation that would somehow always prove that the association’s lobbying positions were correct, my Dad called me up, laughing. “I’m sorry, son, this is all my fault,” he said. “You caught my idealism. Now you’re doomed!”
5. Integrity! Dignity! Greed! Here is a real press release from Minor League Baseball:
“Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) today announced a three-year partnership with Marvel Entertainment, one of the world’s most prominent storytelling brands, for an exciting event series that will play out in ballparks across all levels of MiLB starting in 2022 . . . The new partnership will feature 96 MiLB teams participating in an event series called “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond” during the 2022 through 2024 baseball seasons. The deal was facilitated by AthLife, Inc, Marvel’s longtime sports representative. In each of the three years of the partnership, all 96 participating MiLB teams will host at least one Marvel Super Hero-themed game as part of the “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond” campaign, where teams will wear special edition Marvel Super Hero-branded jerseys on field during the game with other Marvel-themed activities and promotions taking place throughout the game.”
Message: “We will play baseball in scuba gear or dressed as teddy bears if someone pays us enough.”
[Pointer: Craig Calcaterra]