Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/26/2021: The Alarms Just Aren’t Ringing…

alarm-clock destruction

I am no longer inclined to be charitable or passive about the facemask nonsense. Yesterday I accompanied my sister to a clinic and waited while she had a medical procedure, requiring me to sit a couple of hours. The waiting room had enforced “social distancing” (though we now know that’s arbitrary), and there was no one closer to me than ten feet anyway, because only four other people were in the room, all much younger than me, and all vaccinated (I asked). However, when I took off my mostly useless mask (which was paper—I was handed it when I entered) because I was reading a court document and my glasses were fogging up,the woman behind the counter gestured to me that I had to put my mask back on. That did it: I jumped out of my chair and asked why. “It’s our policy,” was her non-explanation.

But why is it your policy? Nobody’s near me. I’m fully vaccinated. I’m not talking to anyone. I have to wait here, and I can’t read or breathe with this thing on,” I asked, not hiding my pique.

“We’re just trying to be careful,” she said. Now I had her! “Really?” I said. “Then why is the young woman three feet from you wearing the mask under her nose?” (I had noticed that when I checked in.) The cheater quickly pulled it into position and turned towards me in a silent “”Mask out of place? What mask out of place?” gesture. The first woman then repeated, “It’s policy. We don’t make policy.”

“You don’t make policy, you just enforce policy you can’t explain or justify even though you’re the sole representatives here for us to question. Okay. I’ll be sitting outside.” And I picked up a chair and left.

I didn’t even bother to mention that the two staffers I could see through the door to the room adjoining the space behind the counter weren’t wearing masks and were giggling about two feet from each other.

I did say “Morons!” audibly as I left.

1. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the unethical tree…The oldest Trump son, Donald Jr., is promoting the $27.99 T-shirt below on his official site.

Baldwin T

Anyone wearing or endorsing such apparel is signaling to the part of the world that isn’t vicious, vindictive and full of hate for vocal progressives that such an individual doesn’t believe in the Golden Rule, civility, or basic decency. Yeah, it’s funny in an extremely nasty way, and I wouldn’t advocate censoring it or banning a Netflix routine in which the comedian said the same thing. But Donald Trump’s spawn isn’t Dave Chappelle, and as a political statement, which the slogan on the shirt is, that line is below the belt..much like much of the criticism that was aimed at Don Jr.’s father, and yes, by Baldwin among others. Still, that’s not how a society makes public discourse better or defuses division and hate. It just feels good.

Jake Tapper of CNN opined that Baldwin deserves “basic decency” from Republicans. No, he doesn’t deserve decency; he deserves to be treated with exactly the same callousness as the arrogant, wise-ass thug treated Donald Trump specifically and conservatives in general for decades. Society, however, not only deserves civil discourse but needs it. (Not that anyone who represents CNN, a prime offender, isn’t estopped from calling for fairness for the foreseeable future.)

2. Life incompetence personified: A hiker who became lost on Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest mountain, would have been rescued much earlier had he not ignored repeated phone calls from rescue teams because he didn’t recognize the number. More than 32 hours were dedicated to the search by two rescue teams consisting of five members each. “One notable take-away is that the subject ignored repeated phone calls from us because they didn’t recognize the number,” Lake County Search and Rescue said in a statement.“If you’re overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a search and rescue team trying to confirm you’re safe!”

Charles Darwin just slapped his forehead. Here’s another tip: if you’re not any smarter than this guy, don’t go hiking alone.

3. John James Audubon gets cancelled by those who owe their existence to him. The Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) announced it will change its name, ditching that of the 19th-century ornithologist and artist because he was a slaveholder. Of course, his business practices and beliefs regarding the races have absolutely no relationship to his massive contributions to ornithology, in which he unquestionably earned his position of honor.

The decision is important because it further clears the route whereby the totalitarian Left will attempt to remove the Founders from their essential place in American history. Principled members of the society have an obligation to make this indefensible decision hurt. I recommend starting a new Audubon Society after the old one is named after some non-entity whose political view were sufficiently palatable to the bird-watching woke. I pledge to send a contribution if one is established, and I watch re-runs of “Three’s Company” more often than I watch birds.

4. Bias also makes you a lousy pundit. Times snark-mistress Maureen Dowd issued a column of almost historic incompetence over the weekend. It was essentially on the same topic as the Ethics Alarms post about Colin Powell, in which I pointed out that his refusal to run for President and his inability to halt the rush into war with Iraq were indelible stains on his character and legacy. But Dowd likes Powell, she really likes him. I liked him too, but the trick with biases is to recognize them and not allow them to make you ignore or rationalize away reality. In “Colin Powell and ‘Guernica'” shows how bad at this essential ethics skill she is, making her unqualified to be a pundit.

After making the same point I did, that a President Powell might have prevented the dangerous racial and ideological rift inflicted on the nation by the toxic sequence of Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump and Biden, she proceeded to make Powell’s abdication of duty seem admirable, while using it to take cheap shots at Republicans:

“He could have been president….But like another son of immigrants, Mario Cuomo, Powell shrank from a run at the last minute. It always struck me that Cuomo and Powell seemed to overanalyze whether they were worthy, while the WASPy sons of privilege, like George W. Bush and Dan Quayle, just assumed they were worthy, no matter how little they knew.”

Oh, I see: those good people chose not to run because of an excess of analysis and modesty, while privileged idiots like Bush and Quayle didn’t realize “how little they knew.” The “Mario was just too modest” excuse is a ridiculous trope Dowd lifted from this piece. The truth is, and it was recognized at the time (1992, when Cuomo publically dithered over whether to run or not), that Cuomo knew he would probably fail to win the nomination. He was a Northeast liberal, better equipped than Mike Dukakis but with the same handicap: all indications were the the public preferred a more moderate Democrat. The fact that Cuomo looked like a Mafia boss didn’t help either. (There is still substantial anti-Italian bias in the U.S.)

Meanwhile, what possibly justifies the cheap shot at Quayle? He never made a serious run at the Presidency; he just accepted a wild-hair selection to be Bush I’s VP. How does that prove “Wasp-y” privilege, especially after an even less-qualified Kamala Harris had the hubris to accept the same office after campaigning for the top spot?

As for Powell promoting the Iraq invasion to the U.N when he thought it was a terrible blunder, it’s all Dick Cheney’s fault, according to Dowd. See, she hates Cheney, like all good Democrats, and likes Powell, so it can’t be Powell’s fault even though he did it. She writes,

The Shakespearean tragedy of Powell is that he knew it was a rotten decision. And, unlike the draft dodgers in the Bush White House, he knew the real cost of war. He knew they weren’t playing with toy soldiers. But Powell embodied the phrase “soldiering on.”…He let Dick Cheney goad him into making the phony case for war at the United Nations; Cheney mocked Powell, asking if he was afraid to jeopardize his soaring popularity ratings, treating him like a flower child. And somehow, Powell naïvely thought that he and his pal George Tenet could scrub his speech of all the deceptions shoehorned in by Cheney’s co-conspirators. The demonic Cheney and the war-loving neocons in his posse — the ones in the Pentagon were ridiculed by Powell as a “Gestapo office” — needed an unimpeachable frontman. Once they began leeching Powell’s integrity, there was no way that they weren’t going to drain him dry.

The great man got played.”

Uh, Maureen? “Great men” don’t get played. If Powell could be “goaded” by people he didn’t even respect into helping to lead his nation into a war when he believed it was a terrible mistake, then he was at fault, not Cheney, Rumsfeld, or anyone else. It’s called accountability. And he certainly wasn’t “great.” He probably wouldn’t have been much of a President either.

Then Dowd goes on to attack Trump and Republicans. After a deceitful, contradictory introduction like that, I don’t know why anyone would pay attention to her.

21 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/26/2021: The Alarms Just Aren’t Ringing…

  1. 1. “Jake Tapper of CNN opined that Baldwin deserves “basic decency” from Republicans.” Oh Jake, that’s just too rich by half. By virtue of their being Republicans, Republicans are denied basic decency. But Baldwin’s “a good guy.” He hates Republicans. What do we want? Single party rule. When do we want it? Now.

    3. Check this out for some really nasty critical race stuff that shows from whence it comes and where it’s headed:,ttps://

  2. 1. Civil discourse is dead. It’s more important at this point to win, by any means necessary.

    2. Maybe he should have PLACED a call initially. Dummy.

    3. I used to think talk of things like this was a joke. I’m not laughing anymore.

    4. Maureen Dowd is a wordsmith of considerable skill – and a naked shill for progressive causes. Please tell me you didn’t make that statement about Mario Cuomo looking like a mafioso. That is a horrible anti-Italian stereotype. OK, yes, he did look like he would have fit right in on the set of “The Sopranos,” but still, ugh. Then again, I suppose I shouldn’t care, the progressives want to erase us because we dared to be successful

    • I said it (it’s even more true of Andrew), and it’s a fact of life in US politics that was much noted at the time. Obama was the first “ethnic-looking” President we’ve ever elected, and its no coincidence. By one survey, Obama was the first President who had brown eyes (although that requires counting Nixon’s eyes as “black.”)

  3. Re: 1. With that shirt, aren’t we treating the other side the way they want to be treated?

    The left rarely presents cogent arguments on a given topic, with discussions typically ending in, “so and so is literally Hitler. ” or “your speech is violence.”

    Any rational actor will recognize the shirt for what it is and see the humor in it.

    I do feel bad for Baldwin, but I’ll drop a mag and rack a slide of a gun given to me that I just saw is unloaded. With a wheel gun you drop the cylinder (or open the load port and spin the cylinder).

    I hope I would never not do that, but as noted over at Legal Insurrection, in an article there, there were two other gun safety rules violated as well. Long day, rules bent, terrible tragedy.

    One could wear the shirt and take the time to explain how gun safety rules prevent such tragedies – and then be told they’re literally Hitler, or that their speech is violence….

    • Call me crazy, but…

      The only reason live ammunition is loaded in a prop gun is because someone wants someone else to get shot. Ms. Hutchins may have been a random victim and maybe she was the target, but regardless, the death was 100% intentional. It was completely accidental from Baldwin’s position – his only “crime” was probably the stupidity of pointing a gun at someone without first checking it – but this was no accident.

  4. Masking policies are ridiculous at this point. There were “medical professionals” telling people (and a few still are) to even wear masks in their homes among members of their family that they lived with and saw everyday. Masks are just a psychological crutch for people at this point. It makes you feel better.

    If everyone was wearing an N95 mask and following all proper protocol about not touching them and reusing them incorrectly and what not, then there might be some marginal benefit, but what we have now is little to no benefit.

    • Instead, we’re instructed to touch them to pull them down to take a bite of food and then pull them back up. I flew this weekend, and had a stewardess who spent the entire flight watching over her section like a hawk, eager to jump up and correct anyone who waited too long to put their masks back up.

      But anyone who even puts up a modicum of resistance or complaint is literally worse than Hitler, and some of the guardians of the new normal are eager to kick you out, call the cops, and press charges – and go to the press with or without said charges – if you grumble too loud. The lid is locked down tight on the pressure cooker.

        • I would agree, but that presumes that this insanity has an end. I haven’t seen one single official statement about what the goals or expectations are about any of this. With the virtual certainty that the disease will continue to mutate, and questions about the long-term efficacy of the vaccines mounting, and how easy it is to whip the general populace into a state of blind, aggressive panic now, I see things staying this way for quite some time yet.

          • I suspect that once 60% of kids are vaccinated (ie, non-antivaccine parents) there will be a critical mass to end the nonsense. Any rational basis for widespread caution does when the last portion of the population ineligible gets the shot.

  5. #1. A woman is dead. I’m a very green, conceal carrying in two states, handgun owner and I know to do better than Baldwin did. I’m also a stage manager who has transferred possession of handguns to actors and to do better than David Hall did. At the end of the day, I feel bad for Baldwin. Say what you want of him, but I don’t believe that in his heart he ever wished to live the rest of his life being responsible for the death of another person.

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