Ethics Irritations And Escalations, 3/21/2022: This Stuff Isn’t Helping Me Feel Better…

This is a banner date in the Civil Rights movement, when. on 1965, 3,200 civil rights demonstrators led by Martin Luther King Jr. began a historic march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama’s capital. Federalized Alabama National Guardsmen and FBI agents accompanied them on the march. Alabama’s pugnacious governor, George Wallace, opposed civil rights for blacks, bolstering local authorities in Selma in their efforts to foil  the Dallas County Voters League and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as the worked to register local blacks to vote.

On March 7, 600 demonstrators, led by SCLC leader Hosea Williams and SNCC leader John Lewis, began the 54-mile march to the state capital, where they were met by Alabama state troopers who attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas and whips. The incident was seen on national television and helped to catalyze sympathy for the civil rights movement. Rev. King, who was in Atlanta at the time, promised to return to Selma  and lead another attempt. After another failed attempt, U.S. Army troops and federalized Alabama National Guardsmen finally escorted the marchers safely into Montgomery on March 25, where on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, King addressed a crowd of 25,000 and the nation on live TV.

1. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! In its effort to ally itself with trans activists and women’s swimming cheativists, NBC altered its photo of a victorious Lia Thomas (on the left) to the more feminine version on the right.

And yet there are still people who insist that the news media is trustworthy on national news and affairs.2. Related, and completely stupid: The Babylon Bee, a satire site, told readers today that its Twitter account has been suspended for engaging in “hateful conduct.” The site selected Rachel Levine, the transgender government official as its pick for “Man of the Year” in response to Levine’s being named one of the top “women of the year” by USA Today last week.

Once again, I am proud to be able to say that I left Twitter. It is not an act of “hate” for anyone to argue that Levene is still a “man,” since she, or whatever, has one x and one y chromosome and qualifies by most previous standards. Nobody is required by rules of etiquette or logic to accept an individual’s decisions regarding what gender he or she is, and it is neither “misinformation” nor “hate” to disagree with the woke consensus.

Me? I’m easy: I will accommodate any individual’s desire to be called a seas sponge or a teaspoon if he, she or it insists: I don’t care, as long as they say “pretty please” and don’t order me to bend to their will, or try to cheat in swimming competitions. [Pointer: Willem Reese]

3. Ugh. Just…ugh. So it appears that Republicans are determined to “rough up” Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as futile, petty and unnecessary as it is to do so, thus handing Democrats the gift of more ammunition to use in tarring supporters of the GOP as “racist.” Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has parading the case that, starting in law school, continuing through her time on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, finally as a federal judge, Jackson has been unacceptably “soft” on child pornography. This is a cognitive dissonance game, of course: how often is child porn the topic of a SCOTUS deliberation? Almost never is the answer, but the topic is icky, and “Think of the Children!” is nice, dependable emotional trigger. What is the “just” sentence for child pornographers? Reasonable minds can disagree: me, I’d like to see them strung up by their naughty bits, but that’s against the 8th amendment. And the reason why the GOP thinks it’s required that they attack a completely qualified black female justice at her hearings? Here’s the explanation of the Washington Examiner’s opinion editor:

Without any corroborating evidence whatsoever, and with all named alleged witnesses denying the incident ever happened, the broadcast networks unquestioningly attacked Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for weeks after known Democratic donor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of rape on a never-identified day in 1982.

In other words, payback.

This is an easy opportunity to begin the long, long road back to a civil and responsible process of the Senate acknowledging that the President has a right to pick SCOTUS justices of his preference except in the vanishingly rare cases where they are corrupt or unqualified.  Yet the Republicans just can’t do it.


4. I can’t wait! Eventually. I assume, we’ll see some reliable figures reporting on the likely number of Americans killed by the hysterical reaction to the Wuhan virus threat. For example, the number of deaths in the U.S. involving alcohol jumped 25.5% between 2019 and 2020,  according to research published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. There were 78,927 alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. in 2019 and 99,017 in 2020. The deaths also included motor vehicle crashes that happened as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol.

5. Thanks, Dwayne. The comment by long, longtime commenter Dwayne Zechman regarding the “echo chamber” issue on the most recent Open Forum was much appreciated, and I almost made it a Comment of the Day. I didn’t in the end, not because it was not well-reasoned and helpful, but because it was a little too complimentary, making its inclusion in the COTD category self-serving on my part. I particularly admired this observation:

Yes. Ethics Alarms IS an echo chamber, but not the kind that the use of that term normally conjures up.

Ethics Alarms is an echo chamber of people who want to discuss Ethics, and want to learn and better themselves through the study and application of Ethics to their own lives. Because of this, the commentariat specifically eschews non-ethical forms of discussion, such as trolling, discussions in bad faith, ad hominem attacks, rationalizations (we even have an explicit list of those that we will soundly reject and why), and other forms of argumentation that are rooted in emotionalism rather than logic and rationality. Personally, I think this is a GOOD thing and it’s one of the main reasons I’m a long-time regular reader and (occasional) commenter. I expect this rings true for a lot of the others here.

That is indeed what I strive for here. I do not always succeed, and commenters periodically miss the best practices I am trying to encourage, as do I. The reminder was timely.

45 thoughts on “Ethics Irritations And Escalations, 3/21/2022: This Stuff Isn’t Helping Me Feel Better…

  1. Re #3, sorry, not sorry, unethical as it may be.

    From 1987 to 2018, and surely beyond, the Democrats are now being treated the way they have shown they want to be treated, and have shown consistently.

    The Republicans need to follow Herm Edwards wisdom – you play to win the game. We’re playing by the rules set by the Democrats, which is the way they want it. Well, they get it. I don’t like it any more than you all.
    Perhaps if they get their minds right, we can all return to civility.

    Losing ethically while the other side cheats to win just feels a little off to me.

    • They’re not being treated the way they want to be treated, they’re being treated the way they want to treat others and get away with. There are times I think the Democratic Party is composed mostly of two-year-olds. They want what they want, when they want it, where they want it, how they want it, and as often as they want it. They also want to be as nastey about it as they want. However, no one else is allowed to cross their will, on the pain of tantrums, screaming, and worse. Eventually you get fed up with that whiny two year old, take him out back, and give him a good, sound spanking. Since he has no cncept of time or much else, physical pain is all that will get his attention. Now you’ve got his attention, and he learns pretty quickly NOT to do the things that will get him that pain.

      This is only the beginning, although the GOP should not overplay its hand at this point, since it hasn’t got the numbers to stop this confirmation in its tracks. At this point they just need to give this woman enugh of a hard time to let her know they aren’t going to roll over and play dead, but they also have to keep their eyes on the big prize in November. If they then successfully flip Congress, then they have every right to impeach Biden as well. Payback’s a bitch.

  2. Educated by the Sisters of Mercy, we studied the Bible only as it supported our religion–at least that’s how I remember our religion classes. My simplistic impression was that the Old Testament’s “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” was man’s harshness to man and Jesus softened things as reported in the New Testament. My interpretation of today’s politics is there is only the Old Testament ways which tend to satisfy those of us who understand human nature and the depths to which it can sink.

  3. I love this blog, BUT as regards echo chamber: I am an extreme moderate independent. I still (optimistically, I guess) see both good and bad actions by the Ds and Rs. I see ethical and unethical people in both parties. Yet, virtually all comments appear to be people supporting Rs and attacking Ds. This appears to me to be classic “echo chamber” and not the idealistic “echo chamber” of the commenter cited by Jack. Are there any Ds or Independents or Libertarians who read on comment on this blog?

    • “Are there any Ds or Independents or Libertarians who read on comment on this blog?”

      I’m a recovering (we refer to ourselves as non-participating in the meetings…) democrat who is now a devout Independent.

    • Michael,
      Please read Dwayn N. Zechman’s perspective on the “echo chamber” label of this forum.
      You can find it in the comment section under “Open Forum-Thank God!” posted by Jack on 03/18.
      I wish there was an easier way to reference Dwayn’s comment because this seems to be a recurring criticism and Dwayn’s explanation is the most accurate/informative I have read on the topic.

      • I read it before commenting. It is excellent. That is why I commented the way I did. Please re-read the last part of my comment. When commenters stick to ethics evaluation, the comments are great. Unfortunately (as Jack alluded) many do not. Because of that, the comments coming from “confirmation bias” and ideological perspectives are no more credible than MSNBC or Fox. I just wish that readers and commenters on this great blog would stick to the ethical analysis and discussion as Jack obviously intends.

        • Michael, I thought it was fascinating how Batman “instructed” you to read Mr. Zechman’s comment when it was obvious you were specifically responding to it. Also fascinating: Look at Bad Boy’s comment above and how he uses “we” and “they” to automatically mean Republicans and Democrats, as if of course this blog is for conservative Republicans. Jack, you need to notice stuff like that and be concerned about what it indicates when you deny it’s a political echo chamber. PS Michael I’m a political independent.

            • Yes, we and they, since there are general sets of opinions held by the parties that people identify with.

              And especially in the context of political parties and their activities, and in this case particularly.

              If it’s not a we/they, where are Democrat politicians saying that playing gotcha with nominees is bad all the time, not just when it’s now turned on their party nominee?

              There are a couple Democrats in the family, they all took it as faith Kavanaugh was guilty despite the fact a blind man could see it was made up out of whole cloth.

              “We” still love them, and “they” still love us and all of us still gather for family events. We and They are appropriate when defining the sides in a dispute.

              The fact that my “we” is conservative is no better or worse than your “we” as a Democrat or an Independent.

              Trust me, I can see when “we” are idiot losers, I was about to change my political affiliation to independent, given that as a whole, Republicans tend to give up the fight and lose on the principles “we” hold dear.

              In the context you seem to point at in this particular echo chamber I was about to change my affiliation to “They”. Or maybe Them, since I categorized We as Republicans and They as Democrats.

          • Do you think Jack cares?

            I’m not sure what proof he needs to show this is an echo chamber that bullies dissenting opinions.

      • For easy reference, here is what I said about DZ’s excellent comment (just wish people actually adhered to it): “This appears to me to be classic “echo chamber” and not the idealistic “echo chamber” of the commenter cited by Jack.”

    • What would happen though, if a particular ideology was so squarely at odds with unbiased ethical analysis that it cannot stand up to the scrutiny and doesn’t try – therefore also leading to echo chamber like conditions?

      • I was already doing some prep for another post where I fill in blanks of why I think Jack (and the commentariat) leans conservative, but this is a far more succinct way of putting it.

        And it bears repeating: No one here pounces on Democrats or left-leaning people simply for being Democrats or left-leaning. It’s the arguments they make that get criticized and (in my opinion) rightfully dismantled. We don’t deal in double-standards here.

        Can you honestly say that I could go into a “classic” echo chamber of leftist thought (say . .. pick your favorite university campus), declare that I’m a conservative and a Republican (whether I really am or not), and that I’d be treated with respect, with only my ideas being challenged? Or would I immediately be called a racist and everything I say labelled as hate speech?

        This is a VERY important distinction.


        • You just proved the point you were trying to counter.

          No, you wouldn’t be called a racist, you’d be called a troll. As has repeatedly happened to me, and I’m not even much of a liberal by today’s standards, just a moderate. The point is you’d be attacked ad hominem either way. Jack needs to work on it. He asked whether it’s an echo chamber, and unfortunately it is, too much. It often EXACTLY reminds me of the kind of “safe space” that woke leftists demand.

          • You spend a lot of time complaining that too many people are here approach ethical analysis from a “conservative” or “Republican” angle than you do potentially providing any alternate approach to ethical analysis. And you’ve spent a good deal of time focusing on who I presume is Steve Witherspoon or Steve-O-in-NJ (2 of about 2 dozen regular commenters).

            Do you want to provide an alternative ethical analysis of the topics at hand or continue to complain about an echo chamber?

            Or, do you want to weigh in on this:

            “What would happen though, if a particular ideology was so squarely at odds with unbiased ethical analysis that it cannot stand up to the scrutiny and doesn’t try – therefore also leading to echo chamber like conditions?”

            • Michael West says to AF:
              “What would happen though, if a particular ideology was so squarely at odds with unbiased ethical analysis that it cannot stand up to the scrutiny and doesn’t try – therefore also leading to echo chamber like conditions?”

              AF rarely (ifever) answers good faith questions such as yours (and others) because he already knows an honest answer will totally undermine his ongoing specious echo chamber argument. He pisses, moans, criticizes, ad nauseum, and when someone engages him in good faith he simply dances away with deflection or nothing. He is obviously disingenuous and those other bad words that apparently we cannot say anymore despite the mountain of supporting evidence.

          • Sorry, AF, but the fact is that anyone even vaguely conservative who dares poke his head into an academic encironment will immediately be met with “a racist! Kill it before it multiplies!” Maybe this place is a bit of a conservative echo chamber, but if we keep getting liberals like Knowledge Miner, then the liberals have no one but themselves to blame. Jack’s pointed it out a few times, this isn’t YouTube or FB or one of those other more or less unmoderated places where anyone can just come in and say whatever the hell he wants to. Repeating yourself and getting nastier each time may work there, it doesn’t here. BTW, if you think Jack needs to work on something, you should tell HIM, not one of us.

            • You act like I don’t know what goes on on college campuses. One side-effect of the echo chamber here is that any dissenting opinion is assumed to be from the far left wing because you’re so into the ideological tribal wars. I’m not. Go back and read any of Steve Witherspoon’s nuclear responses to my initial comments here, then go back and read what I actually said, all of which contain relatively moderate or centrist political instincts and the skill of understanding the non-cartoonish version of both sides’ arguments, and you’ll understand what I’m driving at. Lobbying Jack Marshall to now censor your own conservative notion of “wrongthink” regardless of how it’s expressed by any reasonable participant is what we’ve come to.

              Meanwhile, I would like everyone here to go to the “Guest Essays” section of the New York Times and SEE FOR YOURSELF the ideological variety on offer every day, including a new piece that explains further what people were whining about yesterday (“why is Russia REALLY doing what it’s doing?”), more complaints about Democrats’ overreach into identity politics (as encapsulated in the stupid neologism “Latinx”), and so on.

              • “go back and read what I actually said, all of which contain relatively moderate or centrist political instincts and the skill of understanding the non-cartoonish version of both sides’ arguments,”

                Skilled? If you say so, but it’s been my experience that a lion doesn’t need to tell you he’s a lion. Steve Witherspoon is a proven intelligent person, with his own blog going. He’s experienced with what should and shouldn’t get people zotted. If you’ve tried his patience, then that’s good enough for me. And no, I won’t go to the NYT, I refuse to put one red cent into that once-respectable publication turned partisan rag’s pocket.

          • I honestly don’t understand what you’re trying to say here. Why would I be called a troll? Do you mean that I’d be correctly called a troll or unfairly called a troll? I think you may be reading more into what I wrote but I’d rather hear it in your own words.

            Let’s stipulate that I really am a conservative Republican (strike the “whether I really am or not” parenthetical) and further stipulate that all I do is join the discussion in a respectful way, free of accusations and ad hominems, just like I’m doing right now with you.

            Does that change your answer?
            I’m listening.


        • Wow.

          You all think those ideas are stupid because you all share the same view points.

          Literally none of you ever…let me repeat, EVER actually answer a direct question. It’s pretty amazing if you ask me.

          You can ask Jack a direct question and he goes off on some typical, tirad ripped straight from The Blaze or Fox News.

          Exactly what A Friend said…you just proved our point.

          • You draw a time out for this one: I’ll see you in a week, next Tuesday at 8 PM. Not before.

            Nobody’s bullying you: you’re just making the same lame assertions repeatedly and with escalating nastiness. And you do not denigrate my commentary here: you’re mu guest, albeit one who poops on the rug. Moreover, and I have stated this repeatedly, I do not and never have taken my cues from Fox News. If someone there happens to agree with me, they are just having an especially good day.

            The suspension works like this: No comments for its duration, and if you try, you will automatically be banned permanently, with that post erased, because it will indicate your intention not to be a constructive voice here.

            • AND, as was completely predictable, “Knowledge Miner” met all expectations and couldn’t resist a final non-substantive attack. As I warned him/her/it, it’s Banned City.

              It’s hard to avoid an “echo chamber” when alleged good faith advocates keep behaving like jerks.

              • Nicely done. He was an idiot. Now I vote you turn the sights on the deceptively mild-named “Katie” if she doesn’t change her ways.

                • What a horrible idea. Literally censoring a mild-mannered commenter because she doesn’t conform to the “correct” opinion on everything. Jack, I’ll be interested to see if you disown such a notion, and if you take note of how such an idea could have even taken root in this forum.

                  • I said mildly named, genius, not mild-mannered, check your reading comprehension. My point was that “Katie” sounds like the name of your 16-year-old niece who babysits her cousins, but this “Katie” seems to be as big a pain in the butt as the now-zotted Knowledge Miner, especially with the game-playing and sealioning. Jack has a varying tolerance level for bullshit. Us regulars have a varying tolerance level for bullshit, and she has come close to exhausting mine. This place became a MUCH more pleasant and acadmic place after Jack booted the last long-term liberal loudmouth, and maybe some of us don’t want to return to those days.

                    • You call it game-playing and sea-lioning for one reason: BECAUSE YOU DON’T AGREE WITH IT. And your last sentence is amazing: It literally says you cannot bear to hear a different political opinion ever! And to think I always associated that only with way-far-left snowflake-type people – which you kind of sound exactly like now, Steve. I think Jack Marshall has to make a choice of what to do going forward with this website about ethics, and I’m glad to have helped a little in the process.

                    • Do NOT shout at me. It isn’t about not agreeing with it, how dare you act like a mind reader? It’s because it is what I say it is: game-playing and sealioning. It’s game playing and sealioning to cross-examine others on every aspect of what they say and demand sources for every damn thing someone says. This isn’t court, and acting like it is is damned annoying. It’s also damned annoying to then refuse to click on a source someone cites and dismiss it out of hand. I am not a snowflake, don’t call me one, it’s not scoring you any points. I said what I said because Chris, before Jack tossed him out on his ear for acting like a jackass, made reading this site an exercise that made your blood pressure go up ten points. I can handle opposing opinions. My tolerance level for jerkassery is nowhere near as high.

                  • AF,
                    You ask a lot of questions and individuals answer in good faith but you rarely answer good faith questions posed to you. Why is that?

                    You expend considerable time and energy to bitch and moan about the commentariat here but cannot be bothered to answer good faith questions directed to you within the context of dialogue.
                    Why is that?

                    • Bingo. The question barrage is a well-established trolling technique: it was virtually all the the recent banned commenter did. That’s one-half Socrates: eventually, the old Greek had to make his position clear.

                      A Friend is not a troll, but the device is still annoying. I, for example, and still waiting for an answer to my challenged to name a single time the NYT pursued a false story that was beneficial to Republicans or buried a report that would help Democrats, as opposed to the many times the paper has done the reverse. Let’s stick to, oh, a decade. Crickets.

                    • As I just said (!) the Hunter Biden business is a travesty. Twitter and Facebook memory-holing it was terrible. It actually proves one of my points about “fact-checking” and “censorship” in ALL directions – it will INEVITABLY be resolved in favor of the political preference of whoever is doing the censorship. That’s true whether it’s Silicon Valley moguls doing the left-liberals’ business or rigidly right-wing commenters/snowflakes (because that’s what they are) begging a blog moderator like you, Jack, to erase any non-conforming comments no matter how they’re expressed.

                      And now I will add something about the Hunter Biden laptop that people here won’t like: I seriously doubt those “polls” that say that people magically would have voted for Donald Trump rather than Joe Biden if they knew that Biden’s son was a wastrel and, additionally, likely running a cash-for-access business. Come on, Jack, you and I come from a particular social milieu that contains tons of people who voted against Trump in 2020 because of his tweets and NOTHING was going to throw them off that. It’s just part of how democracy works.

                      With regard to the Times, my view is that you keep cheating people of information today because of mistakes in 2019 and 2020, yes including the 1619 Project. Your question implies that you’ve already forgotten that the lead story in the Times a few Sundays ago blasted the Democrats over campaign finance (although, yet again, I doubt that will throw many voters off their path either way). I doubt that most people here even know what’s in the Times from day to day any more, as was proven by one of your most ideological commenters whining that he couldn’t find information on something (Putin and the war) that’s in his face every day if he’d just get out of his ideological rabbit hole. And you know that people here calling me names are wrong, and that they’re doing it strictly ideologically. It’s up to you to decide what to do about it, and on a larger scale, whether or not you want to deal with the echo chamber issue.

                      Finally, I will repeat an observation I made previously: Why is “ethics” always to take one side of an issue rather than the other? Why isn’t it often the ability to articulate the responsible version of BOTH sides rather than the straw-man version or the cartoon version that the other side tees up? Sometimes you have Ethics Quizzes that go in this objective direction, but even those seems to have fallen off, and in any case are rarely on questions of public policy. Thanks for listening.

                    • And now I will add something about the Hunter Biden laptop that people here won’t like: I seriously doubt those “polls” that say that people magically would have voted for Donald Trump rather than Joe Biden if they knew that Biden’s son was a wastrel and, additionally, likely running a cash-for-access business.

                      So do I. That doesn’t mean that the information shouldn’t have been available to all voters, and that embargoing the story wasn’t a despicable breach of trust and duty. Nor does it mean that the existence of the poll is sufficient cause for Trump to feel that he was not given a level playing field. Of course nobody knows what might have happened, and the after-the-fact claims are just that. Still, the respondents might very well believe that the information would have changed their votes, which is, as you say, not the same as it actually making a decisive difference in the election.

    • Of course it’s an echo chamber.

      Anyone who criticizes the right or supports the left is labeled stupid or disingenuous or whatever before promptly leaving.

      There is no one here who voted for Biden or Hillary or Obama.

  4. #2: I wonder if there’s a correlation between the seemingly outsized (and unevenly applied) concern with respect for certain groups and the public’s perception of that group’s actual representation (percentage) in society. According to THESE POLLS , Americans vastly overestimate the population percentage of minority groups, not only in typical categories like race, but things like income, Left-handedness, military veteran, etc.
    For example Vegetarians, Estimate: 30% Actual: 5%

    Which leads to a chicken/egg question. Does this mistaken “general knowledge” drive the over-representation of some groups in media and advertisement (as has been noted here), or has that media representation affected the public’s perception reflected in the polls?

    Or is it just all wokedriven? As one person tweeted, ” Ever notice that you’re more likely to be banned by Twitter for expressing an opinion held by 90% of the public than one held by 10% of the public?” I guess shutting down the Hunter Biden laptop story was a trial run”

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