Evening Ethics Elegies, 4/26/2022: The Return Of Captain Compliance!

Captain Compliance brings ethics reliance!

After I wrote here that I was inclined to return to Twitter once it stopped partisan censorship and double standards, commenter Michael West asked if I would keep the same handle, “Captain Compliance.” I realized I had never featured my alter ego, the visitor from the distant Ethics Planet who ethics-bombed corporate meetings, conventions and retreats to inculcate eager managers and employees in workplace ethics. I portrayed the always masked Captain primarily under the auspices of Altria, which even sent me to try to inject ethics into the operations of its subsidiary R.J. Reynolds. (It did not go well.) I created the character as one of the “out there” options for introducing Altria’s new compliance program, and, to my amazement, they bought it. (They were especially impressed that I shaved my head for the role.)

That photo was part of a feature on the Captain in the D.C. bar’s magazine, showing CC as he burst into a local home to point out some neighborhood ethics. Now the Captain is all but forgotten…did he really exist? Has he gone to the Ethics Planet for good? Nobody knows.

But I still have his costume, should he decide to return…

1. Some progressives, it seems, have just nightmares, not dreams. Here is how the New York Times reviewer began her critique of the new revival of Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth”:

[H]ave human beings really proved their worth? We have brought the world calculus, the sonnet, no-knead bread. But think of what we have inflicted: environmental devastation, species collapse, atrocities of various complexions. Humans keep surviving. We’re fit that way. But when you think about it — should we?

Once, I would have dismissed such a reflection as reviewer gamesmanship, but now I wonder. The Left’s recent tantrums and excesses have made me wonder if progressives are permanently and irredeemably unhappy, literally dissatisfied not only with their nation, its culture and and their heritage, but also with humanity and life in general. The Times reviewer praises the director for reversing the ultimately optimistic view of Wilder’s 1942 comedy. She muses, “The stage blooms with a thousand flowers, and when characters traverse that meadow, it feels like a dream. Do we really want to wake from it? When “The Skin of Our Teeth” first opened, in 1942, the world wobbled on the threshold of disaster. Now, it seems, we are wobbling again.”

Yes, she really compares 2022 to World War II. Well who can blame her? The mask mandate was overturned! Elon Musk might let Donald Trump back on Twitter! Republicans are requiring voters to prove they are who they say they are! The Supreme Court is about to rule that nascent human beings can’t be killed if they are more than 15 weeks old!!!! People seem to resist the international dictatorship that will eliminate capitalism and individual liberties to save humanity from a fiery death in ten years! Well, 20 maybe. OK, a hundred at the most…

Of less import, but significant nonetheless, the Times critic notes that

[I]n most productions, the Antrobuses are white, but here they are Black, which lends that choice particular resonance, twisting the knife of human cruelty. This strategy doesn’t warp the play so much as deepen it.

I have never seen a production of “The Skin of Our Teeth” in which the Antrobus  family, the play’s stand-in for the human race, wasn’t multi-racial. But as we have all learned after the George Floyd Freak-Out, everything is “deepened” and improved by replacing white people with black people. Jake from State Farm! Vice-Presidents! Supreme Court Justices!

2. He keeps on mistreating his eventual wife, but much as you hate it, it isn’t your life. A woman wrote to the Times Magazine columnist “The Ethicist” to ask if it would be right for her to try to break up her brother-in-law’s relationship with his long-time girl friend before she could make the horrible mistake of marrying her. Prof. Appiah was stumped. He ran through all of the options, noting the ethical problems with each, and eventually came around to the obvious: “Always remember, though, that the decision is hers to make.”

3. Scared stiff of free speech through bold Mr. Musk, the Left’s hacks are screaming from dawn on to dusk…I know I already wrote about this phenomenon, but it is amazing. Do these people know how they look to anyone not suffering from their anti-democratic malady? Consider:

  • CNN’s Brian Stelter actually said this on the air: “If you get invited to something where there are no rules, where there is total freedom for everybody, do you actually want to go to that party or are you going to decide to stay home?” Other than the fact that a social media platform isn’t a “party,” that nothing on a social media platform forces you to be around participants you don’t like, and that mere words do not threaten physical harm…what a great analogy!
  • This is wonderful, from MSNBC’s Ari Melber:

“If you own all of Twitter or Facebook, you don’t even have to be transparent. You could secretly ban one party’s candidate or all of its candidates, all of its nominees or you could just secretly turn down the reach of their stuff, and turn up the reach of something else and the rest of us might not even find out until after the election.”

Oh my GOD! Imagine Twitter doing something like that!

  • Deborah Brown, at Human Rights Watch, wrote, “Regardless of who owns Twitter, the company has human rights responsibilities to respect the rights of people around the world who rely on the platform. Changes to its policies, features, and algorithms, big and small, can have disproportionate and sometimes devastating impacts, including offline violence. Freedom of expression is not an absolute right, which is why Twitter needs to invest in efforts to keep its most vulnerable users safe on the platform.”

Whatever that means.

To its credit, the ACLU’s reactiont is consistent with its earlier concerns when Twitter banned Donald Trump. Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director, wrote,

“While Elon Musk is an ACLU card-carrying member and one of our most significant supporters, there’s a lot of danger having so much power in the hands of any one individual. In today’s world, a small handful of private tech companies — including Twitter — play a profound and unique role in enabling our right to express ourselves online. Social media is a critical tool used to share ideas, express opinions, and consume information that has real-life impacts in discourse in the offline world. We should be worried about any powerful central actor, whether it’s a government or any wealthy individual — even if it’s an ACLU member — having so much control over the boundaries of our political speech online.”  

4. KABOOM! Though contrary to what it should teach, the U of I now wants to enforce compelled speech! The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign approved a policy that will require faculty to contribute to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts in order to qualify for tenure.  For now, it’s optional, but after 2024-2025, the school plans on making it mandatory.

I think this is particularly dishonest virtue-signaling. The university has to know that requiring support of a political initiative is unconstitutional. This appears to be pandering to woke students, so they can say when the policy is struck down, “Well, we tried!”


12 thoughts on “Evening Ethics Elegies, 4/26/2022: The Return Of Captain Compliance!

  1. 4. That’s creepy. What university faculty or dean would propose such a thing? What self-respecting faculty member would submit to such a regime? This is “Everyone must wear their underwear on the outside of their clothes” stuff. The American academy has gone into the ditch.

  2. Captain Chaaaaaos! 😆
    (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    1. I think a lot of the left consists of people who are not happy unless they’re unhappy. I also think that it consists of people who are more interested in having a cause then in achieving a goal. After all, where would Wile E. Coyote be without the roadrunner to pursue? That’s why the LGBT activist types pivoted quickly to transgender rights after the Obergerfell decision. Some of them didn’t like the idea of gay people simply marrying the person they loved, buying a house, and maybe raising a family. They wanted them to continue being angry and activist. Just you wait four years, until this country is due for its semiquincentennial. I think both the media and the entertainment industry are going to be full of hatred for this country and lamentation of this country, like it’s never done anything right except elect Obama. I think there is also a dislike of success involved. After all, if there is no success to be had, only failure, all you need to do is sit back and pen scathing editorials and spew criticism, well-founded or not. You don’t have to think about achieving success or building on success.

    2. It took the guy a while, but eventually he came around to not getting involved. Although I would also add to that that if things eventually get intolerable for this person, I’m not going to come to the rescue. Someone else’s problem is not necessarily my problem, and a bad choice on someone else’s part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

    3. Just another example of the left wanting a monopoly on everything. It is perfectly all right if they bury stories unfavorable to them, silence those who disagree with them, and so on. It is a human rights disaster if the other side does the same. A week ago they were saying too bad, if you don’t like it, get your own Twitter. Now the other side decided just to make the last two words of that phrase a reality and they’re shitting bricks. Yes, your overly comfortable monopoly on the electronic town square is about to come to an end. You’re going to have to compete on a somewhat more level playing field with those who don’t necessarily agree with you. Why does that somehow horrify you? I’ll tell you why. It’s because you left us never grew up from being selfish children who always wanted everything your own way, and more often than not, what you wanted, you got. You always took the first slice of cake. You always took the lucky red ball when playing croquet. When the family went hiking you always walked at the lead with the pennant. You always took the best seat in the room. No one said anything about it, because if you were corrected even mildly, you would throw tantrums, and your parents didn’t want to deal with your tantrums. Well, it’s over. Now somebody’s going to smack your chubby little hand and say “grown ups before kids,” someone’s going to stop you from taking the lucky red ball and take it away from you if you try to take it, someone is going to take the pennant and say, “it’s someone else’s turn this time,” and if you try to take the best seat and smirk at everyone else, someone’s going to pull you out of that seat and give you a good sound spanking. This is the real world, so get used to living in it.

    4. If someone has to litigate to get this policy struck down, the university should be on the hook for fees and costs.

    • Designed by my friend Kathy Fuller. Once I saw the collar, I knew I had to shave my head. And never looked back. And couldn’t, because the damn thing was so high I could see behind me…

  3. #3. MSNBC’s Ari Melber is clearly a hypocritical doofas. Melber is a perfect representation of a meme that I read some time ago that says something like if the left says the right is doing or going to do something then the left has been doing that same thing for quite some time, the left is constantly engaging in psychological projection. People who think like Melber are morally bankrupt.

    The left can’t sell their ideology to anyone that’s not already completely consumed with their morally bankrupt hate so they resort to attacking those they oppose and try to gin up…

    I wonder if Hanlon’s Razor should be applied to the plethora of unethical and immoral things the political left does and has done over the last 15 years but then there are things like this that transparently show me that there’s clearly malice in their actions. Even if people like Melber are blithering idiots that have been brainwashed into believing that their malice is justified, their actions are still pure malice – call it what it is.

  4. Although it may make leftists everywhere bitter,
    we all welcome Captain Compliance to Twitter.

    But as for me . . . never signed up, . . . never will.


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