Ethics Shopping, 12/18/21: Thoughts And Observations

No, it wasn’t Bing who introduced this Christmas song into the playlist…it was Bob Hope!

I’m having holiday guilt pangs over friends that I have lost touch with and know are struggling and unhappy. Some of them I consciously cut off because they became an oppressive burden, never offering companionship or contact without accompanying it with a plea for assistance, usually money. One such friend, and I do consider him a friend, and care about him, accepted several thousand dollars as desperation “loans.” I didn’t expect to ever see the money again, but I couldn’t deal with the never-ending appeals in the midst of new emergencies. How many such friends can one maintain, even if you are wealthy? What do you do with such people? Then there are the friends who are perpetually miserable, have never been willing to be pro-active and try to change what they hate about their lives, and have developed the habit of treating you with a constant “oh, you’re so lucky, and I’m not” guilt trip. What a joy they are at the holidays.

One unsentimental, cold realist friend analogizes trying to help such friends as “feeding squirrels”they gradually expect more and more from you, become dependent, and finally aggressive. Is the ethical approach to try to brighten their Christmas at the expense of darkening mine and my family’s?

1. Good. The Florida Supreme Court just reaffirmed its decision earlier this year that bans Florida lawyers from receiving continuing legal education credit for programs that require “diversity” among panelists. This was aimed particularly at the American Bar Association’s CLE programs, because the ABA’s diversity policy imposes quotas on CLE panels which the court said “smacks of stereotyping or naked balancing.”

“We reject the notion that quotas like these cause no harm,” the Florida Supreme Court said in the Dec. 16 decision. “Quotas depart from the American ideal of treating people as unique individuals, rather than as members of groups. Quotas are based on and foster stereotypes. And quotas are divisive.”

2. And welcome to my world...the vast majority of the legal ethicists and ethics-specializing lawyers and law professors on the legal ethics listserv i pay to participate in were aghast at the decision. One well-respected authority in the field wrote,

Can we agree that one goal of diversity and inclusion initiatives is to encourage us to consider the inherent value of embracing people in our talks and walks who have historically been marginalized? 

A more flagrant example of virtue-signaling jargon would be hard to devise. What does “encourage” mean here? “Consider”? “Inherent”? “Value”? “Embracing”? “Historically”? This is the kind of rote progressive pandering that passes for substance, and even in a group of otherwise intellectually exacting professionals, it passed for persuasive. It isn’t even substantive.

Another member of the overwhelmingly woke group wrote that “the notion – which was just promoted by the Florida court – that white guys like me need protection from discrimination is abject nonsense.”

I don’t often engage with the group, but I felt compelled to respond,

Oh dear, I have to “popeye” this one (“It’s all I can stand, cause I can’t stands no more!“) My last chance at the prosecution career that was what sent me to law school was ended when my position as a finalist for a group of AUSA openings at Justice evaporated as I was informed, outright, that no  white males would be hired. Period. “I’m sure you understand.” Sure, I understood. Now, I didn’t know who gave the order. When I heard this, I wasn’t angry; I knew that the US Attorney’s Office had some fixing to do, and that this was a period where affirmative action was deemed essential to begin leveling the playing field in the law and elsewhere.  So when I was discriminated against for my race and gender—and I was— I let it go. I was confident that I could succeed in other roles, including those that didn’t involve a law degree. And I have. But that decision changed the arc of my life and my career, and I had done nothing as an individual to justify what was done to me, unless the idea was “payback” or some other tortured rationalization.  It is wrong, and to say that everyone needs and deserves protection from such bigotry and discrimination is NOT “abject nonsense.”

3. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias...I wish someone would do an analysis of New York Times print headlines related to the pandemic. It is ridiculously blatant: during the Trump administration, the objective was obviously to seed fear and panic while casting as harsh a light as possible on the President. Now, bad news that would have been weaponized in 2020 is announced in the old fashioned, low-key Times style of decades ago. Today, for example, “Surging demand for virus tests swamps system” is a two inch heading on a column taking up one-sixth of the top half of the front page. Under Trump, this would have been across the whole front page in 3/4 inch type.

4. Until I hear President Biden and Democrats apologize for their disgusting rhetoric about how President Trump “caused” the deaths from the pandemic, I will not be able to suppress some satisfaction at Biden’s abject failure at controlling the virus and its relatives. That was perhaps the lowest of the progressive/Democratic/ mainstream media’s lies designed to turn the public against Trump, and if blood was “on his hands” then—it wasn’t—then its on Joe’s hands now.

5. Meanwhile, regarding Joe’s pal Barack: Last night I watched a grim, pseudo-Tarantino film about a hit man (Brad Pitt) called “Killing Them Softly.” It took place during the 2008 economic meltdown and that year’s Presidential campaign, and included long clips, usually in the background, of Obama’s campaign speeches.

Oh. My. God. I had forgotten. Has any U.S. President’s actual performance and revealed beliefs ever proved to be so at odds with his campaign promises and projected persona? Obama was one of the most divisive and biased Presidents in our history, and what the U.S. is suffering through now was the direct result of that. Yet in 2008, he spoke aspiring to be a President of all people, and how bringing the nation together as one was his most important goal. Not only did he not achieve that, Obama actively worked against it, though often through agents and surrogates. Donald Trump, whom his furious detractors refer to as a con man, proved to be exactly as he always represented himself, for good or ill. Barack Obama was the phony, the fraud, the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

And don’t get me started on Michelle.

6. [Added] Apparently the Salvation Army is falling far short of its annual holiday season goals. The suspicion is that this is because of the organization’s anti-white, Critical Race Theory-embracing rhetoric on its website. Boy, I hope so.

[Gotta run…sorry for any typos. I’ll fix them when I get back.]

3 thoughts on “Ethics Shopping, 12/18/21: Thoughts And Observations

  1. Prologue: Jack, you’re a giver. You have to set boundaries because takers don’t have any. The emotional vampires who leach off your good will don’t want help; they want validation that their lives are terrible and nothing will change because they have every excuse in the world for why nothing will change that all boils down to…they don’t want to change.

    I’ve been there. I’ve spent hours on the phone at each sitting with a grief-stricken friend who could never stop going over and over the events of her loved one’s tragic demise years after the fact. I’ve dealt with the people who don’t respect my time; the ones whose repeated poor choices keep them in a perpetual state of homelessness and pass on the cycle of poverty to the next generation and the ones who have already scared everyone else in their lives away because everyone got wise faster than me.

    Of course, you feel guilty for not seeing or speaking to them more. That’s because you’re a good person.

    They need help that you can’t give them.

    1&2: The sad thing is that this decision will be filtered through the narrative of Florida being a racist, anti-science rogue state because, of course, we must defeat DeSantis before he runs for President.
    3. Font size? What font size? (Still giggling at Lucille Ball’s complaint about the red- “Hindenburg-sized font” regarding her being a Communist in last week’s movie).
    4. No apology is coming. Guilt and remorse are not in their vocabulary. Biden won, didn’t he?
    5. I give Michelle some leeway. She was just the First Lady. She had no official role; she wasn’t the President. Her husband was supposed to know better…and did know better…but didn’t care.

  2. #5 “[Obama] spoke aspiring to be a President of all people, and how bringing the nation together as one was his most important goal.”

    Yes he did in speak about that; however, he openly lied. What he was wanting to unify was enough votes to get him elected, beyond that “he won”. Who was it that said something like this “you say whatever you gotta say in a campaign so you can get elected”.

    Obama’s core speeches were not about unification they were about division. Obama called social progressives to action when he said “change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for, we are the change that we seek” and that general theme of division and the associated power grab was always there under the false facade of unity. Obama was never about unifying, he simply mouthed the words he had to to get elected and to try and hide his extremism.

    Then there was this stated quote by President Obama after he was President, “Elections have consequences; I won”. Interesting how non-unifying that stated quote was after he was President.

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