That’s Ukrainian model Tetiana Gaidar above, nicely symbolizing what old guy Vladimir Putin didn’t get about launching an unethical war in 2022.
Because of social media, 24-7 cable news and the web, world public opinion can–can—quickly coalesce around basic ethical values and arrive at a crushing consensus. Putin is being personally cancelled, and if his nation’s people decide they don’t want to be cancelled too, he might be in bigger trouble that he could have imagined in his worst nightmares. Ethics Alarms already mentioned how Putin forgot the Alamo, always a bad thing to do. He apparently also had forgotten that one of the big cracks in the Iron Curtain was inflicted when Ronald Reagan termed the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire.”
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith, writing in the Sixties about what made huge corporations successful, argued that they created nation-like loyalties by behaving as good corporate citizens, and that there was a crucial benefit in this that went beyond mere profit. The best people, he claimed, would not work for companies perceived as unethical, so becoming an organization that the best and the brightest would be proud to be part of was a matter of long-term survival.
Galbraith, was we have seen, was overly optimistic, but his general point is still important, particularly at the extremes. Too late, Putin is trying to save his reputation by trying the absurd cognitive dissonance trick of associating the Ukraine government with Nazis. It’s not working, because it is so obviously a self-serving lie.
1. If only baseball writers read Ethics Alarms...(or knew what ethics was, for that matter). More than five years after Ethics Alarms explained why Red Sox icon David Ortiz created an unavoidable slippery slope likely to carry Barry Bonds and the other steroid cheat superstars into baseball’s Hall of Fame, esteemed baseball writer Bob Nightengale figured it out, and just announced his brilliant analysis in USA Today. Ortiz was recently voted into the Hall, as EA noted here in the follow-up to the original article. [Much thanks to Jutgory for alerting me to Nightengale’s piece]
See? I’m smart! Not dumb everybody says… I’m smart and I want respect!
2. If the Republicans are going to publicly shun Liz Cheney for joining the political witch trials the Democrats are holding on the January 6 riots, they have no excuse not to take even more decisive action against the GOP Congress members Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, and AZ State Senator Wendy Rogers, for openly supporting Nick Fuentes, a Holocaust denier who has been correctly labeled a “white supremacist” by the Justice Department, and his organization, the America First Political Action Conference. Republican Gosar and Greene both attended the group’s conference this weekend, and both addressed the all-white throng, which engaged in such fun activities as applauding for Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and chanting “Putin, Putin!”
This is signature significance; Greene and Gosar were obligated to object, and then to walk out. Greene, confronted by CBS, claimed that she didn’t support Fuentes but was simply at the white nationalist gathering to “talk to young people.” She claimed that she knew nothing about the political views of the group itself. She is an idiot, but she is not that big an idiot: she’s lying. On the National Review site, David Harsanyi makes the obvious point:
On social media, conservatives grouse that there’s a double standard. Democrats, they say, never condemn their extremists, they celebrate them. That’s a double standard worth living with. After all, any denunciation of Omar, Tlaib, or any other Squad member lacks credibility if House Republicans can’t publicly take the position that hanging out with (actual) white supremacists is deplorable.
3. The airbrushing history disease gets Fanny Brice. I see that a Broadway revival of the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill musical “Funny Girl,” which propelled Barbra Streisand to superstardom, will soon open. I also see that the original book (that’s the plot and dialogue) of the Tony-winning musical has been “revised” by Harvey Fierstein. Musicals, like plays, are literature; what they express about both the times they portray and the times in which they were written are vital records of American history and culture. Their original forms deserve as much respect as novels, poems or classic films. Theater, however, is over-run with under-educated, over-woke knee-jerk political correctness addicts, so virtually every revival of a classic musical now is rewritten and cut to conform with progressive cant. It is the artistic equivalent of destroying a village in order to save it, and wildly wrong, unfair and disrespectful to both the creating artists who made the work, and future audiences who never will see the original, un-“improved” classic.
4. In one respect, Biden’s SCOTUS pick is not diverse enough. President Biden announced the nomination of federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Breyer, who will retire at the end of the current Supreme Court term. It is impossible to challenge Jacskon’s credentials, and if the Republicans were smart, and they are not, they would give Jackson the kind of respectful hearing nominated Justices used to routinely receive before Democrats broke the system with their attack on Robert Bork. Then the Senate Republicans should unanimously confirm her, sending a clear message that this is how the process should be handled—without cynically recruited hit-witnesses to make unsubstantiated accusations against the nominee based on years-old alleged grievances.
How much more gratifying the nomination would be for Jackson if Biden had nominated her without Biden stating that his first priorities were her race and gender! Yet despite all the hype about diversity and the current fad of celebrating “firsts,” as if the most important thing in life is being a trivia question, Jackson in one key respect will be a typical SCOTUS.
Color and sex organs should not influence a judge’s thinking, but legal training and culture inevitably will. The Court right now is made up of eight Harvard Law or Yale Law grads; Amy Comey Bryant (Notra Dame Law School) is the one exception. Biden will be replacing one Harvard Law School-trained justice (Breyer) with another. Jackson is also a Harvard Law graduate and a former editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Same old, same old…
5. Not about the Ukraine invasion, exactly…Ann Althouse picked up on how various U.S. critics are insulting Putin by referring to his short stature. Mitt Romney, who is taller than average, said, “We’re seeing a small, feral-eyed man who was trying to shape the world in the image where, once again, Russia would be an empire, and that’s not going to happen.” Maureen Dowd, who is snarkier than average, wrote, “As for Putin’s Napoleonic megalomania, perhaps the Russia expert Nina Khrushcheva summed him up best in a Vanity Fair podcast: ‘He’s a small man of five-six saying he’s five-seven.'”
Putin’s height has absolutely nothing to do with an ethical evaluation of his leadership. Deriding his height is pure ad hominem, and unethical itself, like attacking Donald Trump’s hair and skin-shade, Rush Limbaugh’s weight, or Hillary Clinton’s legs. The tactic isn’t any more ethical because the target of it is objectively despicable.
Shortness insults are particularly stupid. Putin is the same height as Winston Churchill (who was also bald and fat), John Adams (ditto), and taller than James Madison, the primary author of our Constitution. The Napoleon reference is also outdated and ignorant: historians have determined that Napoleon was not, in fact, short for his time, and the myth that he was arose from a mis-translation of his nickname, “The Little Corporal,” to signify size, when “little” in French at the time also meant, “dear” or “beloved.”
Dowd, by the way, is no more than 5’6″ herself. That is another problem with insulting men by impugning their height: it is intrinsically sexist. If height matters in evaluating a leader, then women, as a group, are innately inferior.
Just as a point of reference: Kamala Harris is 5’3″, and would be no more competent is she were 6’3.”