Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up 2: More Rittenhouse, Because Attention Must Be Paid


1. Now THIS is an intellectually dishonest op-ed…even for the New York Times, and even for Charles M. Blow. “Rittenhouse and the Right’s White Vigilante Heroes” made my mind snap back decades to a Phillip Roth anti-Nixon satire called “Our Gang.” At one point, as Nixon tries to scapegoat the Boy Scouts of America for something (I can’t remember what, but it doesn’t matter), the White House issues a statement explaining that the Scouts carry scout knives in numbers exceeding “the entire population of Chevy Chase, Maryland” and leaps to announcing preventive measures against the BSA “in order to prevent the slaughter of the residents of Chevy Chase.” Blow condemns the verdict in the Rittenhouse trial as “another data point in the long history of some parts of the right valorizing white vigilantes who use violence against people of color and their white allies.”

On the way to that hysterical conclusion, he writes, “One can argue about the particulars of the case, about the strength of the defense and the ham-handedness of the prosecution,” which is a weasel-worded way of saying that Rittenhouse was acquitted because of the facts of the case. “One can argue” about the verdict, but only if “one” knows nothing about the law and has swallowed the Left’s false narratives. Next thing you know, Blow is drawing, Roth-like, an imaginary line from Rittenhouse defending himself against three attacks by white felons to Jim Crow lynchings. Then, of course, the line goes to the January 6 riot at the Capitol, because until Donald Trump gets a stake through his heart, this is all the Democrats have as they fight not to be swept out of office. “One could argue”—there’s that “one” again!—” that the entire Jan. 6 insurrection was one enormous act of vigilantism,” Blow intones. First, that riot was not an insurrection by any rational definition of the word. Second, all riots are “enormous act[s] of vigilantism,” especially the rioting that Rittenhouse foolishly and recklessly injected himself into.

2. One more reason Donald Trump has reason to feel that the election was stolen...The facts as they unfolded in the trial showed that Politifact, the flagrantly left-biased fact-checking group, wrongly called Trump’s statement “False” when he said during an August 31, 2020, news briefing that Rittenhouse had acted in self-defense. “You saw the same tape as I saw,” Trump said. “And he was trying to get away from them, I guess; it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now and it’s under investigation.”

PolitiFact wrote that while Trump “correctly describes some minor details about that night,” it insisted that his comments “grossly mischaracterize what happened — leaving out that by the time of the events he described, prosecutors say Rittenhouse had already shot and killed a man.” Right—in self-defense. Since when is “what the prosecutors say” “fact” before a trial?

PolitiFact was working at linking Trump to a “white supremacist” as further advancement of Big Lie #4. It was wrong, Trump was correct. Now, neither Trump nor Politifact should have had anything to say about what happened before the trial; Trump, because Presidents should not comment regarding ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions, PolitiFact because it cannot declare what “facts” are before the facts have been determined.

The factchecking operations, which dishonestly claim to be non-partisan, were used by the media to compile their biased “lies lists” on Trump and by social media to justify banning him as soon as he had been vanquished. In this instance, PolitiFact implied that Trump was distorting the truth to defend a “white supremacist” …who, in fact wasn’t, but the news media and pundits kept saying he was.

Oddly, none of the factcheckers checked that. PolitiFact is a proven propaganda organ for Democrats, and its use by Facebook and other social media to flag “misinformation” is a smoking gun.

3. How can a “law center” produce something this dishonest? Here’s the (corrupt and shameless) Southern Poverty Law Center’s statement on the verdict:

A jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse today for the murders of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and the attempted murder of Gaige Grosskreutz.

Rittenhouse was one of many armed civilians who came out to the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 25, 2020; however, he was the only one who pulled the trigger and took lives on that tragic day

Our hearts are with the victims in this case – the individuals killed and wounded by Rittenhouse as well as the families and community torn apart by the consequences of this deadly violence. 

The acquittal of Rittenhouse will add fuel to the fire of armed radicalization in the United States. That a white male youth can travel across state lines, armed with an assault rifle, and engage in armed confrontation resulting in multiple deaths without facing criminal accountability is the all-too-familiar outcome in a country where systemic racism continues to rot the system.

Far-right extremists have already published a deluge of propaganda lionizing Kyle Rittenhouse, and his acquittal is likely to further embolden them to pretend that his violent actions were somehow heroic.

We will continue to see this sort of violence repeat itself in towns across the country unless we, as a nation, move toward greater prevention of radicalization, countering the antidemocratic hate that enabled the Kenosha violence, and ending the systemic racism that supports it.

This is truly beneath contempt:

  • Whether or not Rittenhouse was the “only one” to have to shoot attackers to defend himself is irrelevant to the question of his guilt or innocence. That this is the first argument made by the SPLC as it “denounces” the verdict demonstrates how threadbare and contrived its politically motivated position is.
  • SPLC’s “hearts” are also irrelevant. That’s an appeal to emotion, not fact nor law.
  • The predicted consequences of a jury’s decision must play no part in influencing what that jury’s decision is. What an unethical argument for a “law center” to attempt…
  • Again the “crossed state lines armed with an assault weapon” lie! Even now, SPLC (and others) either haven’t checked the facts or are deliberately misrepresenting them.
  • Rittenhouse did “face criminal accountability,” and the determination was that he wasn’t guilty. 
  • “Systemic racism” had nothing to do with the verdict, the alleged crimes, or the false justification for the Kenosha rioting.

4. Rittenhouse told Tucker Carlson that he supports “Black Lives Matter.” Is it ethical to short-out all narratives simultaneously? What he supports, doesn’t support or thinks he supports is completely irrelevant to the verdict in his trial. In my book, “I support Black Lives Matter” is like “I believe Anita Hill.” It’s meaningless grandstanding.

5. Rittenhouse Asshole of the Year Nominee: Mary Lemanski, social media director for the Democratic Party in DuPage County, Illinois. I wondered if some vicious progressive would go here, and she did! She tweeted, in reaction to the horrific Christmas parade tragedy yesterday when a motorist deliberately plowed into a crowd,

“The blood of Kyle Rittenhouse’s victims is on the hands of Wisconsin citizens, even the children….I’m sad anytime anyone dies. I just believe in Karma and this came around quick on the citizens of Wisconsin….It was probably just self defense…You reap what you sow. It’s sad people died, but when you open the door to vigilante justice, everyone seems threatening.”

This is signature significance. Nobody who isn’t a) vicious and b) stupid posts, believes, or even thinks what she wrote. Ever.

18 thoughts on “Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up 2: More Rittenhouse, Because Attention Must Be Paid

  1. 5. Too early still, but it appears “the motorist” was a man of color, a career criminal, who was fleeing the scene of a knifing. We’ll see how this develops as the facts become clear.

    • If the facts become clear that it was a black man with a long criminal record who was out on bail for other crimes, as appears to be the case now, we almost certainly won’t see how it develops, because the story will quietly vanish from the media before the Thanksgiving leftovers are all eaten.

  2. I was perplexed by the prosecution’s argument about “Rittenhouse is the only one who shot anybody” argument during their opening statement. Well, so what? If someone is breaking into my home, must I wait until there’s already been a murder in my township before I’m allowed to defend myself? Does it have to be the same night, or can I include the whole week? Can I count the whole county, or just my immediate municipality? And why isn’t any of this written down in our statutes?

  3. Some of these people have completely abdicated their reasoning ability when it comes to Rittenhouse. I keep thinking of AOC’s telling quote to Anderson Cooper. She said:

    “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”

    It’s about being “morally right” based on an emotionally compelling narrative, regardless of whatever the facts are. If the emotionally compelling narrative fits with the broader ideological purpose, damn the facts and push the narrative.

  4. #5 And she kept going stating that has been putting out music for 20 years but her 15 minutes of fame were over “this shit”. She also claimed she was a victim of bad parenting, and that she was going to sue Fox News for publishing her tweets (That she published. Publicly. On Twitter) She has deleted her original Twitter account but has promptly opened a new one. Her “You reap what you sow, Wisconsin” had me so infuriated this morning I could barely see straight. What a vile and disgusting human being she is.

  5. On 5: Mary Lemanski posted a tweet saying that she’d resigned as social media director of the DuPage County Democratic Party. I’d post the tweet, but then she changed her bio to “Former social media director, Democratic Party of DuPage County, IL/Actress at Second City” and nuked her twitter account.

    I have pictures, but I’ve never had much luck posting pictures to comments in WordPress.

  6. 4. I’d say the “I support Black Lives Matter” line is a subtle (and futile) attempt to slow down the death threats, and nothing more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.