Weekend Ending Ethics Remainders, 1/16/2022 [Corrected]

Back in 2016, when a smooth talking con-artist progressive President was paving the road for the mess we have now, Ethics Alarms posted a review of “Zootopia,” a clever and often very funny animated Disney movie that bombarded its audience with political correctness from beginning to end. The film was supposed to be an ode to harmony, as the fantasy city of Zootopia allowed all animals, predators and prey, to live together in bloodless, violence-free unity. The plot involved the villains attempting to gain power by creating fear of one group by the other. The clear parallel at the time was those bad conservatives promoting Islamophobia in their “War against Terror” and fear of other minorities, like illegal aliens..sorry, “migrants”. Some of the symbolism was amazingly blunt: an elephant running an ice cream parlor refused to serve a fox (one of those minority predators who couldn’t be trusted.) Elephant, get it?

Well, I’m stuck with a Disney Plus subscription for a while, having signed up to watch watch John, Paul, George and Ringo at work in 1969, so I decided to see “Zootopia” again. Its symbolism struck me completely differently six years later. For example, the police in the movie are unequivocally good guys: when was the last time the woke took that position? A line about how fear and dividing society into warring groups suspicious of each other in order for power-seeking totalitarians to seize control no longer seems like an indictment of the Right, but of the Left. The 2016 film was a warning about the danger of stereotyping: who is doing the stereotyping now?

1. Yeah, I know: polls. Still, about those totalitarians among us...A new poll from the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports surveyed 1,016 U.S. “likely voters” on on January 5. The results?

You’re on, Gina!

48% of Democrats, according to the poll, believe that the government should fine and even imprison anyone who questions the Wuhan Virus vaccine’s value on social media, television, radio, or in publications.The poll found 14% of Republicans and 18% of independent voters also saying there should be criminal punishments for criticizing the vaccines, and I would have found that number horrifying if it came from Democrats. The fact that such a large proportion of so-called conservatives believe in punishing free speech is a shock. The 48% for Democrats is simply damning. Who are these people? How did they get this way?

Oh!

Right!

Zootopia!

Fear.

According to the survey, 55% of Democrats favor of the government fining Americans who do not get the vaccine, compared to 19% of Republicans, and 29% of Democratic voters support removing children from the custody of unvaccinated parents, four times the 7% of Republicans who approve of such a draconian policy. 59% of likely Democratic voters want the government to requiring unvaccinated Americans to be confined to their homes, except for emergencies. 21% of Republicans have been similarly scared senseless. 45% of Democrats want the government to round up citizens who are not vaccinated and put them in “designated facilities”—you know, like the internment camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII.

2. “The Ethicist” brought back memories...In this week’s column, Kwame Anthony Appiah went to extreme lengths explaining to a questioner why he should donate a kidney to an older brother who needed it, even though the older brother had been a life-long jerk that the letter-writer had cut off contact with years before. The younger brother of one of my best and oldest friends was diagnosed with leukemia in his thirties, and only a bone marrow transplant could save his life. His older sister was a perfect match, but, astoundingly, she refused to undergo the procedure. My friend, whose marrow was not as good a match, donated instead, and fortunately, it worked: his brother was cured. I viewed the sister as a sociopath; I cannot imagine refusing to save someone’s life if I were in a unique position to do so. This is a pure Golden Rule call, and an easy one, regardless of how big a jerk the recipient relative was. That’s where “The Ethicist” ended up too, but it took him 623 words to get there.

3. The questions is: Why did this take so long? The Republican National Committee announced that it will require candidates to pledge to not participate in debates run by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The reason is the pervasive anti-GOP bias that has run through the debates and the choice of moderators for many election cycles. After Martha Raddatz allowed Joe Biden to interrupt and talk over Paul Ryan mercilessly in the 2012 VP debates, and Candy Crowley interjected to rescue President Obama from having his Benghazi spin exposed by Mitt Romney, I assumed the Republicans would draw a line in the sand a decade ago. I had concluded the debates would never be fair with the Commission in charge when it shrugged off conflict of interest objections to PBS’s Gwen Ifill, an open cheerleader for Barack Obama, serving as the moderator for the 2008 Vice-Presidential debate while her book about the inspiring achievement of Obama’s ascent to the Presidency was awaiting publication. Obama hadn’t been elected yet.

Gee ,why would anyone think Ifill might be biased?

4. How can this keep happening? The latest Democrat to flout the pandemic rules that her party so passionately wants the “little people” to obey is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. A restaurant owner in Latham, New York, posted a video of her “blowing past [the] manager” and ignoring “a really big sign requiring masks.” “The masks are a mandate from the Governor. As good citizens, agree or not, we must follow our leaders. Her guest is graciously wearing one. I guess Senator Gillibrand thinks that the Governor is wrong or she is special and above the rules,” the post noted. After so many Democratic officials have been embarrassed by engaging in such conduct, it is amazing that that these incidents are still occurring. “Protect yourself and help ease the strain on hospitals and health care workers. Get vaccinated and boosted,” the New York Senator tweeted this week before arousing the restaurant owner’s ire at her hypocrisy. Gilibrand later said that from now on she will try to “do better,” whatever that means.

Not get caught?

23 thoughts on “Weekend Ending Ethics Remainders, 1/16/2022 [Corrected]

  1. #4: You know people are coming to their senses when even Saturday Night Live starts lightly riffing the absurdity of wearing a mask from the door to your table, and then not wearing one for the duration of your meal at a restaurant.

        • John Paul wrote, “Jon Favreau is single handily saving the star wars universe.”

          I think it would be more accurate to say, “Jon Favreau is single handily trying saving the star wars universe.”

          I commend him on his creativity in writing the base stories however what is put on the screen is boring and I’m not so sure that either one of those series are going to “save” the star wars universe. Disney is really going to have to do better than this.

          • I have found he Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett to be quite witty, cleaver, and engaging. After the last trilogy, it is a refreshing change of pace from the whiny and farfetched screen porn that Disney tried after taking over. Agree to disagree, but I think he doing a great job.

  2. #1 I think the poll referenced is a signature significant* representation of how the United States of America is politically, socially and culturally morphing. Without significant intervention, the United States is heading directly into the gnashing teeth of totalitarianism.

    *Signature Significant: posits that a single act can be so remarkable that it has predictive and analytical value, and should not be dismissed as statistically insignificant.

    • “Without significant intervention, the United States is heading directly into the gnashing teeth of totalitarianism.”
      Indeed, sometimes in slow motion, sometimes in real time, and sometimes in fast motion, and many millions appear to be sleep walking through it all, somewhat hypnotized.

      It would be helpful to see more networking ideas and print devoted to creative resistance/organizing than the ongoing explaining, describing, and analyzing, but this is probably not the forum for that.

      • Batman wrote, “Indeed, sometimes in slow motion, sometimes in real time, and sometimes in fast motion, and many millions appear to be sleep walking through it all, somewhat hypnotized.”

        Gotta catch their Zzzzzzz’s sometime. I such an easy thing for most people to go with the flow and not rock the boat.

        Batman wrote, “It would be helpful to see more networking ideas and print devoted to creative resistance/organizing than the ongoing explaining, describing, and analyzing, but this is probably not the forum for that.”

        So create one!

        • I am a member of the local chapter of a very successful statewide organization doing important work, primarily on the legislative level.

  3. #4 When someone that’s part of the political left’s hive minded cult openly opposes something that the cult is pushing this is what happens, the “woke” eats their own.

    You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.

  4. 1. No, not fear, or rather not JUST fear. It’s the successful use of fear, arrogance, moral certitude, and the will to power. The Democratic party sees a chance to move this nation permanently back to 2009, when it had all the power, and keep it there permanently. Some of them honestly believe it would be for the nation’s greater good, but a good number of them see only two things: power and the benefits that go with it. They’ll use any method to capture power and hold onto it, and if that means ginning up hatred, fear, mistrust, and any other negative feeling or belief against those who oppose them, they’ll do it.

    2. Not sure I agree here. Donation varies in complexity and residuals. Donating blood? Sure, no sweat, the body replaces it and drawing it is no big deal. Donating bone marrow? OK, but the pain involved would justifiably give a lot of people pause. Donating some portion of a liver? That’s pretty major surgery, and the liver can regenerate some lost function over time, but it does carry some risks for the donor. Donating a kidney is major and involves both risk and permanent loss of bodily function, possibly loss of one’s chosen career if medical disability is a disqualifier. Fortunately, my immediate family can’t hit me up for that donation, since, by some combination of recessive traits, I am Rh-negative while everyone else is Rh-positive. While I’d do almost anything to save my immediate blood family (father, brother, niece, mom’s unfortunately out of the picture almost 8 years), since we’re all pretty close, there are definitely other relatives I would not make that kind of sacrifice for. However, most of them have other closer relatives they would turn to first. In this case this isn’t just old childhood nonsense that the potential donor is nursing a perhaps unjustified grudge for. His brother intentionally screwed him and his adoptive family on inheritance issues. They say if you want to know what people are really like, share an inheritance with them. They also say that when people show you who they really are, you should believe them. Sounds to me like this brother is a bastard with issues of his own, who has never put anything out into the world but negativity. His brother is well within his rights to tell him to go whistle up a pipe. Oh, and all this nonsense about being the bigger or the better person is just that, nonsense. All it does is enable the smaller and the worse people to continue being smaller and worse.

    3. I think that #2 above dovetails nicely with this. For going on a decade and a half the Republican party has allowed the Commission to obviously treat it and its candidates differently than the Democratic Party, thereby creating an uneven playing field. I’m sure there were subtle differences in the past also, although I definitely do NOT recall Tim Russert, may he rest in peace, treating GWB and John Kerry in an obviously different way in 2004, and in 1988 the moderators even threw DEMOCRAT candidate Michael Dukakis an unfair curve ball right out of the gate with the question of what if his wife were raped and murdered. Once we hit 2008, though, that’s when the media and the commission start making the transition away from at least an appearance of objectivity and a relatively level playing field to becoming the full-on Democratic activists they are now. Anyone has a disadvantage if taking on an opponent on his home ground, which is why jousting, dueling, summits, etc., were and are customarily (though not always) done at a neutral site, and the home team usually has an advantage in sports, other things being equal (which they almost never are). Still, even in sports contests you count on the referee/umpire/judge to be objective, to abide by the rules, to call a fair ball fair and a foul ball foul, and not to look the other way on dirty tactics by one side while being all over the other. Denying bias from the obviously biased is just another “it isn’t what it is” dodge, and, although the GOP is now going to catch a lot of garbage from the media for taking its proverbial football and going home, there comes a point where you have to say you don’t want to play anymore when the bias is flagrant.

    4. The Democrats know that wearing a mask is not the sure-fire prevention of transmission some claim it is. It’s like the red scarf that pioneers earned in the USSR or, in all fairness, the ubiquitous yellow ribbons that appeared in 1990 during Desert Shield and Desert Storm or the red poppy pinned to your lapel that you dare not appear in public without every November in the UK. It’s a public statement for ordinary people of, “See! I’m doing my part! I’m not like those kooks on the right who are putting us all in danger.” Senator Gillibrand is just one of those who needs to be pleased and proven to, not who needs to please anyone else or prove herself, so she gets to ignore the mandate, which she knows is nonsense. It pays to be the king.

    • #2. So the ethical response is “You always treated me mean, so now I’m going to let you die”? I don’t see it. OK, bone marrow transplants are painful…they aren’t especially risky. I was never close to any of my cousins, but one of them has made any efforts of late to connect. He’s rich, has vacation homes, etc. He’s also a jerk, a bully, and, I’m pretty sure, a crook. My late mother and sister reprimanded me often for rejecting his entreaties, to which my response was and is:”Life’s too short. I don’t have time to be properly attentive to those I have good reason to spend time on; just because this creep is my cousin doesn’t mean I have to let him assuage his conscience, or whatever he’s doing.” I literally wouldn’t cross the street to say Hi to the jerk.

      But if he needed my kidney of bone marrow, to go on living his selfish, empty life—sure. I’d do it, even though I’m nearly certain he wouldn’t do the same for me.

      • Bone marrow, ok, I can deal with temporary pain. Donate a kidney and compromise my own health for a complete jerk who’s been a jerk to me? Nope, he goes down for the dirt nap.

      • Certainly there are limits to the Golden Rule in this situation, no? “Being a jerk” is one thing, but what if the sibling had been physically or sexually abusive? What if they’re engaged in activities that are self-destructive or harmful to others?

  5. 1. I hope those 1016 “likely voters” were the fringes of the bell curve. I don’t know how many are like me, but I don’t do them, ever. Makes me wonder who bothers to answer these questions and how they word them.

  6. #2 Jack wrote, “I cannot imagine refusing to save someone’s life if I were in a unique position to do so.”

    That’s a very ethically honorable position to take; however, the follow up question must be, how far are you willing to push that position and how far should others “expect” you to push that position?

    Rhetorical Question: Critically thinking about this topic, is there a line in the sand that you will not push your position beyond?

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