EARLY Morning Ethics Warm-Up. 12/6/2021: Christmas, The Great Stupid, Virtue-Signaling And A Fake Olympics Boycott

Contrary to all predictions, we got our 8 ft, real, live Christmas tree, and it didn’t cost any more than last year. The hero was 40-year neighbor Ted West, who grabbed what we needed at his annual church Christmas tree sale which sold out in less than two days.

It was between Bing and Johnny Mathis for the Christmas season musical kick-off. It had to be Bing.

1. When taste alarms don’t work…Here’s a mall Christmas display.

Crappy Tree

How do these kind of things slip by?

2. Speaking of slipping by… The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that a jury room in Giles County named after the United Daughters of the Confederacy and decorated with a Confederate flag as well as a portrait of Jefferson Davis mandated the reversal of a jury conviction of a black defendant for aggravated assault. The defendant objected on the grounds that the jury could not hold fair deliberations in such a room. Though the the trial court disagreed, but the appellate court threw out the verdict, concluding that …[b]ecause the defendant established that the jury was exposed to extraneous information or improper outside influence and because the State failed to sufficiently rebut the presumption of prejudice, the defendant is entitled to a new trial.”

I guess they have really suggestible juries in Tennessee. I cannot imagine my deliberation on a a jury or on anything being influenced by the name of the room I was in or what was hanging on the walls. Prof. Volokh notes,

Juries have deliberated in this room for more than four decades. Presumably, every black defendant convicted in that courtroom can now object and secure a new trial. The Court did not address this issue. And other courts in the state, and probably throughout the south, may have similar deliberation rooms, or even courtrooms. If these opinions catch on, countless convictions will be vacated.

The Ethics Alarms verdicts are that a) it is ridiculous that the jury room wasn’t purged of Lost Cause propaganda decades ago, and b) the court’s ruling is irresponsible virtue-signaling.

3. More tales of The Great Stupid…And speaking of virtue signaling, in Linlithgow, Scotland, a pub named The Black Bitch has changed its name to The Black Hound, because the old name has “racist and offensive connotations.” But it doesn’t, of course, unless the historical and local context of the name is ignored, and unless the self-explanatory sign accompanying the name is somehow confusing, which it isn’t. There is a local legend about a “black bitch” that is commemorated with a statue in town, and the word “bitch,” rather than the slur, means…well, you know.

Black Bitch

On the plus side, it’s good to know that the Great Stupid isn’t just lowering IQs on this side of the Atlantic. [Pointer: Curmie]

4. More res ipsa loquitur… In Georgia, Gwinnett College Professor Bruce Carroll has been charged with shoplifting items worth nearly $700 from Target over the past three months. That’s a felony. He’s caught doing so on security footage, so the “alleged” requirement is a bit silly. Prof. Carroll chairs the criminal justice department at the school. What more needs to be said?

5. Oh yeah, this’ll teach ’em. The Biden administration will announce this week that no US government officials will attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. That’s being called “a diplomatic boycott” of the games being hosted by the brutal regime that also wrecked the world economy by covering up its Wuhan virus outbreak. The idea is that this boycott would allow the US to send a message on the world stage to China without preventing US athletes from competing. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been calling for action to protest of China’s human rights abuses.

The message such a boycott will send is that the United States is gutless, and unwilling to take a meaningful stand against China’s international lawlessness and domestic brutality . Who cares what U.S. officials attend the Olympics? I doubt that the Chinese care very much, if at all. Now, if U.S. television networks don’t cover the games and U.S. athletes stay home, that will cost China prestige and money.

18 thoughts on “EARLY Morning Ethics Warm-Up. 12/6/2021: Christmas, The Great Stupid, Virtue-Signaling And A Fake Olympics Boycott

  1. This is interesting:
    [b]ecause the defendant established that the jury was exposed to extraneous information or improper outside influence and because the State failed to sufficiently rebut the presumption of prejudice, the defendant is entitled to a new trial.”

    The Ethics Alarms verdicts are that a) it is ridiculous that the jury room wasn’t purged of Lost Cause propaganda decades ago, and b) the court’s ruling is irresponsible virtue-signaling.

    Would a picture of Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan on the walls also be extraneous information or improper outside influence? Many southern state flags had the stars and bars included in them. Would that be undue influence as well? There is no way to prove a negative so how exactly does one rebut the presumption of prejudice?

    As for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, my experience with the organization today is not one of propaganda but one to preserve the legacies of their ancestors. Many members belong to both the UDC and their equivalent northern state counterpart because they had relatives on both sides. Furthermore, many UDC members are also Daughters of the American Revolution who work to preserve the values embodied within the US Constitution. Without the UDC we would forget the fact that most of the confederate soldiers were not slave holding landowners but people whose lives and fortunes were oriented around their states and not to a national sovereign. We have already taught by politicians like Obama and other notable members of Congress that Jim Crow laws were crafted by evil racist Republicans and not landowning Democrats. That is the propaganda.

  2. I checked on this: the public display in the US of the infamous Nazi flag is protected by the First Amendment. It is considered free speech. Not so for the Confederate flag? Once again we pick and choose our issues, mostly out of bias and ignorance. What’s the power here? The left wing propagandists or the US Constitution?

    It’s early: more on this later.

  3. 4. From the linked report:

    ‘He has a law degree from South Texas College of Law and a doctorate in political science from the University of Houston, according to his faculty profile. He is a former Fulbright Scholar. “It was definitely a surprise that he was a college professor and he taught criminology,” Hideshi Valle, a spokesperson with Gwinnett County, told Fox 5.’

    So much for the best and the brightest. And silly me, I had assumed the guy to be a black guy who was stealing things because he is oppressed. He’s evidently as white as … oh say, Jefferson Davis or Ted Turner or Jane Fonda or Lester Maddox.

  4. On 5;

    I think arguments could be made either way…. And in fact, it’s been had, this is almost blow-for-blow the conversation had in advance of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Not to make everything about the Nazis… But it’s been a while since a Superpower threw racial and religious minorities in work camps while the developed world looked on in lukewarm horror.

    On one side, you have the people who say that having the despots host the Olympics and showing up validates them, on the other, you have people that say that the Olympics could be an opportunity to show the Chinese people what normal society looks like, or that there are other benefits built into participation.

    Me personally? I’m a troll. I love the stories of the 1936 Olympics where the black competitors absolutely shellacked the good old aryan boys. Tell the stories of Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe, and Mack Robinson from the rooftops. It’s not a perfect narrative; The American team benched two of their runners, it’s assumed because they were Jewish, and America was willing to insult the racists with black people but not Jews. Fuck that. If I were Joe Brandon, I would throw a billion dollars (God knows he’s wasted more on less) into training up the best Muslim-American Olympics line that has ever existed and take petty glee at watching my team steal gold out from under the dictator of very little brain’s petty clutches.

    • However, in 1936, the Nazi horrors had not really gotten fully into motion. Their concentration camps at that point held maybe 8,000 “political” prisoners. They hadn’t become the human charnel fest that they would. For the most part, by the time of the Olympics, the competition with the Nazis was mostly rhetoric and an open competition like the Olympics a great place to show the Nazi rhetoric of racial superiority to be complete bunk.

      The question is, where in the horrors of Chinese totalitarianism are we? Since it’s founding, the CCP has joined the top 3 mega-killing regimes (you know the other two), have released without repercussions a bio-weapon on the world, and are currently perfecting their concentration camps behind a media-iron-curtain.

      Are they past 1936 Germany levels of evil, where a good old-fashioned sporting event won’t prove much? Did the 1936 Olympic shaming of Aryan athletes accomplish much anyway?

      • This is an obvious and good argument for the disengagement narrative. The obvious and good arguments for the engagement narrative revolve around things like the dangers of isolating people in countries with shitty governments (using North Korea as a template).

        I think this is one of those things where people can have very different but valid takes on the situation, and because it boils down to a values judgement, there won’t be a clear-cut best answer.

        • I’m not yet decided. I think we beat the Soviets through very thoughtful isolations (primarily later on through bankrupting them in the arms race) and very thoughtful flooding their culture with jeans and rock and roll.

          The Chinese are a different nut to crack entirely, but it will still be a combination of thoughtfully denying them America-access in certain spheres and pouring America into them in other spheres.

          To me, the Olympics is less about what it will do to China and more about what it says about us.

          • Just read a very good op-ed in the WSJ: They describe the containment strategy we used against the Soviet Union and how it came to be. It was designed as a long term strategy and necessarily involved us with some countries and regimes that we would have preferred not to have to support. The idea here being that we had to keep our eye fixed on the greater goal — the USSR — and realizing that we could not do as we’d (failed to) do after WWI.

            They make a good case that a similar strategy can be effective against China. China is not the same as the USSR, and Russia is not the USSR. That said, if we don’t start formulating a strategy, we will face the likelihood of going the way of Poland and Czechoslovakia in the late 30s.

            I think the Biden administration senses this — but is there a Truman or Marshall or Keenan lurking within who can formulate an actual strategy and not just ineffectual gestures?

            • Our key hurdle with enacting a similar strategy against China that we did against the USSR is that we are so much more economically entwined with China than we were with the USSR. The USSR was already very isolated from US anyway, each additional barrier just hurt them just a little more until the final straw while doing scant little to our system.

              Doing so with China hurts us significantly. To engage in this coming fight, America will have to realign itself to be a little more of what most detractors call “too much nationalism”.

              We ready for that?

              • The other hurdle, is the Chinese Core – the Han Chinese – for the most part, do not feel themselves unduly burdened by the CCP – whereas the Soviet Core – the Russians, weren’t huge fans of being under Communist rule even while they were the beneficiaries of the entire Soviet sphere.

                Even though it didn’t seem like it at the time, I think by comparison, breaking down the Soviet core will seem much easier than breaking down the CCP core.

              • I think we’re a lot more ready for that than we were a few years ago. This is one thing that the pandemic has actually helped — it’s exposed how dependent we’ve become on Chinese imports of some key strategic materials.

                It’s also why we need leaders who can articulate a new policy. It’s not enough to say we’re pivoting towards China. Truman, Churchill were able to do that, also I think of JFK’s famous speech — We will pay any price, bear any burden.

                I think a lot of Americans are ready to buckle down against China. Are our leaders ready to lead?

            • You may be ignoring all the American small-to-huge businesses and factories whose parts (or wholes) are exclusively made-in-China, as well as all the major parts of large items economically vital to communities and large manufacturers that are not available here. Nor could they be economically reproduced here.

              It was interesting to note, however, that:
              “Made in USA” = for government procurement purposes, only requires that a product be manufactured in the U.S. of more than 50% U.S. parts

              I did remember that “Made in America” includes Canada and Mexico in all cases, but bought the platter anyway: it still holds the fruit okay.

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