Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 1/24/2022: Kickboxing In Margaritaville Edition

Today’s themes: masks, dumb quotes, incompetent leadership, and The Great Stupid.

1. Jen Psaki on a roll…In the annals of “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden,” or IIPTDXTTNMIAFB for short, the routinely absurd comments of White House paid liar Jen Psaki should qualify for inclusion. After all, the mainstream news media pounced on all manner of silly, offensive, off-the-cuff statements by the likes of Kellyanne Conway and other Trump surrogates, but leave it to the conservative pundits and wags to criticize equally idiotic or dishonest statements when they come from Psaki. The latest example: on “The View”—to be fair, it is understandable that anything said on “The View” would be ignored—Psaki advised frustrated Democrats,

“This is very frustrating, it is infuriating, that some people in the Senate, including the entire Republican caucus, won’t support peoples’ fundamental rights. It is also frustrating that when we talk about voter protections, just something that everybody should have the right to, some people are putting process ahead of that fundamental protection.So we have got to keep at it, including changing the rules to make sure there is a path forward to move voting rights legislation on a federal level. My advice to everyone out there who’s frustrated, sad, angry, pissed off, feel those emotions, go to a kickboxing class, have a margarita, do whatever you need to do this weekend, and then wake up on Monday and keep fighting.”

For a White House that purports to represent a coalition of the poor, downtrodden, and systemically oppressed to advise its core to turn to such privileged upper-middle class delights as mid-day margaritas and kick-boxing classes—paid for with all those pandemic aid checks no doubt—eloquently spoke to just how phony the current regime is. If a Trump spokesperson said something that dumb, Stephen Colbert would live off it for a week. But the first part was really worse. There are no endangered “rights” protected in the Democratic voting bill. There is no right to voting before election day, or not voting in person, or having third parties harvest ballots from people too lazy to deliver ballots themselves, or to vote without photo identification. These aren’t “fundamental rights’ by any definition. This kind of rhetoric had been a lie for years, and the news media allows it to continue unchallenged.

There is an implied, if not fundamental right being threatened by the bill, however. That would be the right to have confidence that there is integrity in voting system, and that there are not gaping holes, deliberately left unplugged, that can and will be exploited to steal elections if possible.

2. Now THIS is disinformation! NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton, an outspoken anti-vaxxer and anti-mask rebel, said in an interview,

Sure, John. In other news, his alma mater, Gonzaga, has banned him from attending its games because he refuses to wear a mask. Gonzaga, in addition to requiring spectators to be masked at all times—those masks do so much good, after all—won’t sell food or drink at games consuming them would mean fans would be unmasked for a few deadly minutes.

Having been at one sports event with similarly stupid rules, I can’t imagine anyone voluntarily subjecting themselves to such discomfort, much less pay for it. Gonzaga is doing Stockton a favor.

3. The dumb quotes just keep coming! It looks like New York has another real winner in Gov. Kathy Hochul. Hochul, the overwhelming leader in polls to succeed herself as an elected governor of the Empire State (she took over from Cuomo, who resigned), followed up her fatuous statement comparing students wearing masks in school to having to wear shoes with this instant classic

People don’t kill people, guns kill people, and all by themselves, apparently. If the gun had been legal, it would have never fired that shot…

4. I don’t understand this at all. In Great Britain, PM Boris Johnson’s political career lies in ruins because he flaunted the ruling classes arrogant refusal to share the sacrifices they demand by attending a mask-free party while the “little people” were told such events were forbidden. This scandal is, as they say, “in all the papers.” So how could the New York City Council pose for a happy photo in a crowded restaurant…

while they require school children to be masked all day? Missing ethics alarms? Utter arrogance? Self-destructive tendencies?

5. When ethics fails, the law steps in and usually makes a mess of things. Doing its part in The Great Stupid, a Florida House committee last week passed a bill banning discussions of sexuality and gender identity in school classrooms. The Parental Rights in Education bill, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill—boy, is THAT a bad name—passed in the House Education and Employment Committee on a party line vote. “This bill is about defending the most awesome responsibility a person can have: being a parent,” Florida state Rep. Joe Harding (R), who first introduced the bill, said Thursday. “That job can only be given to you by above.” Harding’s bill, along with its companion bill introduced Tuesday by Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley (R), would block teachers in Florida from talking about LGBTQ+ topics that are not “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

And what would that mean? LGBTQ individuals exist and have always existed (except for the Ts, I guess). Are schools in Florida supposed to treat this as a secret? Are gay students going to think that they are non-persons? Unclean?

20 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 1/24/2022: Kickboxing In Margaritaville Edition

  1. would block teachers in Florida from talking about LGBTQ+ topics that are not “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

    And what would that mean? LGBTQ individuals exist and have always existed (except for the Ts, I guess). Are schools in Florida supposed to treat this as a secret? Are gay students going to think that they are non-persons? Unclean?

    I am reminded of Professor Nalo article.

    Stipulated: a grade school teacher’s sexual orientation, identity, habits and proclivities are not a proper topic for instruction or discussion with students.

    The Florida law appears to codify what in sane times would be stipulated: that some topics regarding sexuality are not age appropriate, especially in lower grades. I haven’t reviewed the law, but it could easily be a case of the law stepping in where ethics failed.

    • I get that this is a first amendment issue, but there has to be a line somewhere on what is appropriate for kids, doesn’t there? Schools in other parts of the country have been adding books with pedophilic pornography to the libraries. They are pushing transgenderism to the point of it actually being conversion therapy on children. How do you address the out of control activism that is running amok without trampling the first amendment? Telling 7 year olds it’s cool to experiment sexually with grown men is not acceptable. There has to be a way to ban that sort of topic from elementary schools without destroying the first amendment. Maybe this law is overly broad, but the activism is doing irreparable harm to children and the activists only intend to get worse. Maybe destroying the first amendment is the real goal, I don’t know. It’s just a mess.

      • “How do you address the out of control activism that is running amok without trampling the first amendment?”

        The 1st Amendment protects citizens from government suppression. It doesn’t protect the government from citizens telling it what to do.

          • It doesn’t. The government is absolutely able to dictate curriculum so long as it doesn’t tread upon other constitutional issues, and I don’t think anyone will be able to identify one here. Not teaching something is fundamentally different than teaching about something; There are only so many hours in a school day, and governments absolutely have control over their prioritization, even if that prioritization appears to be, or functionally is political in nature. That becomes a political problem that is answerable at the ballot box.

            And I’m even going to go so far as to say that this case is concerned, that I have a certain amount of sympathy for it. I’m on record saying that I don’t like these laws, but if the schools weren’t going to regulate themselves then they didn’t have a whole lot of room to complain when the legislature did it for them. And frankly, they don’t need to be teaching kids about sexuality as early as they’ve been trying to.

  2. 3. “People don’t kill people, guns kill people, and all by themselves, apparently.”

    Well, yeah. A gun can’t break the law by itself, and therefore we can’t call it an illegal gun. The proper term is “undocumented firearm”.

    I notice they don’t say who all they’re going to be trying to take these weapons of mysterious provenance from, either. Or how, for that matter. It wouldn’t happen to involve law enforcement, would it?

      • In my community, those firearms arriving in the night would gladly adopt existing gun values, quickly assimilate into the local gun culture, and lead happy and productive gun lives. We’re diverse like that.

  3. #1 About the political left and their anti-Republican pure propaganda lies about suppressing voting rights…

    For the 21st century political left, there are four tenants of “truth”…

    1. The left is right.
    2. The right is wrong.
    3. Wrong is evil.
    4. Evil must to be destroyed.

    …that’s the dead end of the 21st century political left’s critical thinking, that’s what their leadership across the USA is projecting to the public and that’s what the Democrats expect the public to unquestionably believe.

    The expression of opinions or actions carried out deliberately by individuals or groups with a view to influencing the opinions or actions of other individuals or groups for predetermined ends and through psychological manipulations. Harold Lasswell

    This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that’s observed society and the world of politics for a while; propaganda is the most manipulative form of public communication that exists. Propaganda morphs the thinking of those that consume it without critically thinking, it’s fueled by implicit and explicit bias, it manipulates the masses both positively and negatively causing polarization of opposing viewpoints and, most importantly, it’s distributed almost instantly and constantly via modern digital media which is the most consistent rapid disbursement platform to deliver propaganda that has ever existed.

    Propaganda needs the following to effectively manipulate the public:

    • Message that is relatively popular
    (It’s very popular right now to be anti-Republican)

    • Message must trigger core emotions
    (Suppressing voting rights definitely triggers emotions)

    • Message must build upon implicit and explicit bias
    (There is definitely implicit and explicit bias against Republicans)

    • Message must be consistent
    (The Republicans suppressing voting rights message is constantly in the media)

    • Message must be delivered from a “trustworthy” platform
    (The news/media has historically been a trustworthy news source)

    • Message must be repeated ad infinitum
    (Political left and their lapdog media are constantly ponding the suppressing voting rights message)

    The propaganda messages mentioned above don’t have to be true or fact based, they can be innuendo and/or outright lies. Paul Joseph Goebbels the Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945 put false propaganda into practice building it to absurd levels of public acceptability using these principles:

    • If you repeat a lie (aka propaganda) often enough, people will believe it.

    • If you repeat a lie (aka propaganda) often enough, it becomes the truth.

    • If you tell a lie (aka propaganda) big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

    • If you repeat a lie (aka propaganda) long enough, it becomes truth.

    • If you repeat a lie (aka propaganda) many times, people are bound to start believing it.

    What do modern day propagandists use as their “trustworthy” platform of delivery, the modern digital media that’s designed to deliver instant gratification.
    And it should not ever be forgotten that…

    “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” Malcolm X

    The Democratic Party politicians and their lapdog media are abusing their free speech, they are using the media to psychologically manipulate the public. The Democratic Party politicians and their lapdog media that are saying that Republicans are suppressing voting rights are openly lying and they know full well that they’re lying, but they continue to lie to continue the brainwashing of their hive minded sheeple followers. It’s been shown over and over again that presenting actual facts that prove they are lying doesn’t stop them, they smear the ones presenting actual facts as racist, fascists and traitors and then they continue to lie. Democratic Party politicians and their lapdog media are truly morally bankrupt as they continue their ends justifies the means defamation smears of Republicans.

    I’ve never in my lifetime seen the kind of constant false propaganda and outright hate mongering that I’ve been seeing since 2016. If you oppose the opinion of the political left’s hive mind in any way today you’re smeared as evil, this is unprecedented levels of moral bankruptcy. Immoral brainwashing is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with for how we got to this politically, socially and culturally chaotic state.

    This is not going to “end” well.

    P.S. There are a lot of formatting tags in this comment, I hope I got them all correct.

    • I think all of this is absolutely true. What can be done about it? Short of burning down CNN headquarters? I think Antifa already tried that and failed.

  4. 5. This is a bit of a tangent, but…

    “That job can only be given to you by above.”

    Really? I thought the responsibility of parenting could fall on just about any schmuck, as long as they had unprotected sex. Invoking a deity’s will to make parents look more dignified and worthy of respect is shameless spin to me. There’s no cosmic test a person has to pass before conceiving a child; that much seems obvious to me. Just because they have the responsibility doesn’t mean they can handle it.

    Rights. Responsibilities. Life. Liberty. Identity. Choice. Where they came from is ethically irrelevant. If the reason you care about them is because a deity granted them to you, you don’t understand why they’re important.

  5. 1) That’s a perfectly understandable response from a worldview that enthusiastically wants in the pretend guise of elder statesmen to shepherd America into its so-called inevitable decline (as people are wont to remind us is the fate of “empires”).

    If, you, however don’t believe America is in decline or if you believe it is in a sort of decline that it doesn’t have to be in, then her comment is absolute bananas at best and treacherous at worst.

    I know which camp I’ll adhere to.

  6. Every time you complain about masks I thank the gods you’re not a woman. Five minutes in heels and you’d be on the ground howling like a banshee.

  7. 1.) Occasionally the mask slips, and members of the ruling class reveal their decidedly non-working class habits. My favourite is Obama’s:

    “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?”

    2.) Yes, certainly this is disinformation. Unfortunately, stating the opposite, that over 100 professional athletes have not died from vaccine related complications, should also be regarded as disinformation. The sorry state of our media is such that the best we can say is simply that we don’t know.

    • Re: Education reform.
      While the Florida bill may be out of line, so is teaching explicitly about LGBTQ sex to Kindergarteners on up. This is rumored to be happening, parents are speaking up about sexual content in the classrooms out and about, although I can’t confirm. I can say that parents have been at school boards discussing exactly this topic at multiple schools. Personally I err with too little LGBTQ teaching over too much, since I don’t think schools have any reason to “teach” such a complex idea nor do I trust them to be impartial when speaking about it in depth to kids. They don’t have time to teach the basics that would be uncontroversial so I think they’re right to say “don’t teach this”. Likely the school system would muck it up.

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