Comment Of The Day: “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/27/2022…”[#2]

Few read Ethics Alarms on weekends (I guess I should write, “even fewer”), and I may start Mondays with more comment highlights from the Dead Zone past. This weekend was unusually lively. This Comment of the Day by Null Pointer took off from item number #2 of yesterday’s warm-up, regarding the GOP’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar speaking at white nationalist event, in which I quoted The National Review’s David Harsanyi:

“ 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.”

Here is Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day on “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/27/2022…”:


White supremacy is bad. All forms of racial supremacy are bad. All forms of supremacy are bad.

Republicans need to jump on the “all forms of supremacy are bad” principle, hard. Otherwise you will see white supremacy taking off again.

No, you cannot have a double standard. If you have a double standard, you do not have a fair principle that addresses the problem equally across the entire spectrum of the problem. If you don’t have a fair principle, no one is going to listen to you. People will not agree to operate by unfair principles.

Extremism is bad, in all its forms. Some extremists are not good while others are bad. If you tell some extremists they are good, then you are telling all the extremists extremism is good. That is simply the practical, real world fallout of promoting extremism.

The Republicans cannot stop the Democrats from promoting some types of extremism, but they can strongly condemn all types of extremism themselves. The republicans have not strongly condemned all types of extremism. The republicans have fallen into the trap of debating the relative merits of different types of extremism, and now the consequences are showing their ugly faces.

Double standards in principle lead to no standards in real life.

Black lives are not more important than white lives. Trans lives are not more important than non-transgender lives. All lives are sacred. All lives matter. If the republicans don’t have the balls to say it, then the criteria for universal radicalization have been met. That is just how the cookie crumbles in the real world.

If the Republicans want to root out the white supremacy disease, they need to get out there and start espousing a real principle. They need to start actually caring and stop pretending to care. They need to start doing something about the problems of poor rural white people. Meth labs are not employment. Fentanyl habits are not life goals. If the Democrats don’t care about poor white people, and the Republicans don’t care about the problems of poor white people, but the white supremacists do care about the problems of poor white people, who gets the vote? The white supremacists!! Ding ding ding!

Oh where, oh where could our white supremacy problem be coming from? Our political leaders, that is where the problem is coming from.

4 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/27/2022…”[#2]

  1. “People will not agree to operate by unfair principles.”

    Some will, as long as they benefit. The only question is can you get enough to benefit enough so that you stay in power.

  2. I read but did not comment on the original post, but all this talk of “extremism” prompted my memory of Barry Goldwater’s famous statement, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” The lines were composed by speech writer Karl Hess for Goldwater’s acceptance speech, and are usually condensed to, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
    Exactly what Hess may have been thinking when he wrote those words, or what Goldwater may have been thinking when he said them, I have no idea, but I believe these words were meant as hyperbole, not to be taken literally, which of course leads to all sorts of scary and violent interpretations. Both the “defense of liberty” and the “pursuit of justice” must be moderated by a variety of concerns (including ethics!) if they are to achieve either true liberty or justice.
    When I think of the term “extremist,” I am thinking of violent extremism of any sort, the pursuit of any ideology “by any means necessary.” I personally know people who passionately hold to all sorts of radical views. but none of them are violent people. I have dealt professionally with actual (violent) extremists on both the right and the left, and the “true believers” can indeed be scary (often even psychotic) but the terms “extremist” and “extremism” are thrown around far too freely these days (just like the term “racist”), especially by the Left. For them, an extremist is often anyone with whom they disagree. Moderation and compromise are two principles on which reasonable governments must depend, in order to be effective, within the constraints of their laws and founding principles. Violent extremism is ultimately a path to chaos.

    • I thought of Barry too, Jim. It was a catchy phrase, but it also was plain wrong. How far does “Extremism in defense of liberty” or “justice” go? It’s an an invitation to “the ends justify the means” as policy.

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