Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/2/2022: Noam Chomsky Praises Trump, And Other Amazements…

Well, today we stopped getting the New York Times on our lawn in the morning. The price went up again, and almost a hundred bucks a month is too much for the convenience of seeing where the Times places its propaganda, even though those blue tubular plastic bags the paper arrives in are perfect for cleaning up after Spuds on his walks. And I’ll have to find something else to read in the bathroom….

1. Priorities, Ann. Jeez. Focus! Perceptive but decidedly weird blogger Ann Althouse isn’t interested in the Times devoting thousands and thousands of words smearing Tucker Carlson as a racist, but she is perplexed that the paper used the term “stick-up.”

One more example of how intellectuals who consider themselves above it all are useless, if not worse, during periods when their influence might be helpful.

2. On the other side of the activism spectrum, Noam Chomsky said in an interview that “one Western statesman of stature” is pushing for a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine rather than looking for ways to fuel and prolong it, and “his name is Donald J. Trump.” Now what is the ethical response to that? Chomsky has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that his is a toxic, biased, anti-American world view. Does this show his integrity? Or is the responsible reaction, “Why the hell would anyone care what Noam Chomsky thinks?”

3. Who says the Supreme Court justices can’t agree on anything? In Shurtleff v. Boston, the court held 9-0 that the city of Boston violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment when it refused to let a group fly a Christian flag outside city hall. The guts of the opinion:

But the key issue is whether Boston shaped or controlled the flags’ content and meaning; such evidence would tend to show that Boston intended to convey the flags’ messages as its own. And on that issue, Boston’s record is thin. Boston says that all (or at least most) of the 50 unique flags it approved reflect particular city-endorsed values or causes. That may well be true of flying other nations’ flags, or the Pride Flag raised annually to commemorate Boston Pride Week, but the connection to other flag-raising ceremonies, such as one held by a community bank, is more difficult to discern. Further, Boston told the public that it sought “to accommodate all applicants” who wished to hold events at Boston’s “public forums,” including on City Hall Plaza.  The city’s application form asked only for contact information and a brief description of the event, with proposed dates and times. The city employee who handled applications testified that he did not request to see flags before the events. Indeed, the city’s practice was to approve flag raisings without exception—that is, until petitioners’ request. At the time, Boston had no written policies or clear internal guidance about what flags groups could fly and what those flags would communicate. Boston’s control is therefore not comparable to the degree of government involvement in the selection of park monuments…or license plate designs…Boston’s come-one-come-all practice—except, that is, for petitioners’ flag—is much closer to the Patent and Trademark Office’s policy of registering all manner of trademarks … All told, Boston’s lack of meaningful involvement in the selection of flags or the crafting of their messages leads the Court to classify the third-party flag raisings as private, not government, speech…. Because the flag-raising program did not express government speech, Boston’s refusal to let petitioners fly their flag violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

(Pointer: Steve-O-in NJ)

4. Yo Ho Ew! A Disneyland visitor stood up and peed in the water of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride while it was delayed a while due to a mechanical issue. Nice.

5. Domestic abuse meets baseball ethics meets presumption of innocence. I’m not sure what is going on here. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced last week that Dodgers starting pitcher (and the 2020 Cy Young winner) Trevor Bauer has received a 324-games suspension, two full seasons’ worth, effective immediately. Last season Bauer was placed on administrative leave mid-season, meaning that he received his full (about $35 million!) salary, pending an investigation. Now Bauer will be suspended, without pay, through April 2024, and at his age, 31, such an enforced break from playing likely ends his career. Bauer tweeted this defiant response:

“In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence & sexual assault policy. I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives & I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”

MLB originally placed Bauer on  leave after sexual assault allegations were made by a California woman who filed a temporary restraining order against him. In August of last year, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied a permanent restraining order to the alleged victim The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced that criminal charges would not be brought against the pitcher, saying that “After a thorough review of the available evidence, including the civil restraining order proceedings, witness statements and the physical evidence, the People are unable to prove the relevant charges beyond a reasonable doubt.” A second sex partner of Bauer’s also has claimed that he abused her.

Yesterday a third woman came forward to accuse Bauer of abuse. MLB has suspended and even banned players for alleged misconduct that was not proven in court (Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose come to mind), but their offenses had a direct impact on the integrity of the game. Baseball also allowed Barry Bonds to keep playing (and breaking records) despite the fact that his use of banned anabolic steroids was beyond rational dispute. Many wonder, as do I, if Bauer’s reputation as a vocal critic of baseball management and his pariah status among players is behind this draconian punishment. It looks like the opposite of The King’s Pass….like “The Asshole’s Handicap.”

8 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/2/2022: Noam Chomsky Praises Trump, And Other Amazements…

  1. 2) He’s proven that his method of ethics calculation is too imbalanced that, yes, no one should care what Chomsky has to say. BUT that a prominent Republican gets his nod on this particular topic is further indication that old political alignments aren’t making sense anymore (even while typically, on foreign policy, the two parties are a lot less internally lockstep than they are on domestic policies)

  2. Chomsky hit intellectual menopause a long time ago, and I’m just waiting for him to join Howard Zinn in hell. As for the Disney story, well, at least he didn’t go for code brown.

  3. 3. Raise your hand if you think the Left will completely ignore the unanimous ruling and paint this as those dangerous conservatives on the SCOTUS trying to turn the US into a theocracy.

  4. 2. Noam’s a red diaper baby Commie like Bernie and Abbie Hoffman and that entire generation of Jewish old school revolutionaries. (Ever heard of a thing called a pogrom, Noam? Come on, you’re a linguistics expert, right?) Of course, he wants a negotiated settlement with Mother Russia and the Soviet Union. I’m sure he’s one of those guys who considers the notion that Ukraine and Ukrainians are anything other than Russians absolutely preposterous. He’s probably to the right of Vlad Putin. Things must not be going well for the Ruskies on the ground, but who knows?

  5. “Chomsky has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that his is a toxic, biased, anti-American world view. Does this show his integrity?”

    I think it shows that he’s still the attention whore he’s always been. Whenever he needs an ego boost, he says something that one side or the other will find outrageous so he can be the topic of conversation for a short while.

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