Mid-Afternoon Ethics Afterthoughts, 5/25/2022: The Wisdom Of Harry Lime

For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to tag all of the upcoming unethical doings in the wake of the latest school shooting tragedy as part of the Sandy Hood Ethics Train Wreck, which also included the Newtown shooting freakout. They are all the same issue, with the same rhetoric, the same appeals to emotion, and many of the same players, dunces and villains. “History repeats itself, and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history,” Clarence Darrow said.

It is particularly nauseating, in my view, to have to listen and read the “other countries don’t have this problem!” talking point. Yes, the United States is unique in a lot of ways. The major point of uniqueness is that the US allows its citizens unusual freedom, and thus attracts and has always attracted risk-takers, iconoclasts, eccentrics, nut-cases, heroes, those who resent authority, and many who think that the guarantee of liberty and the opportunity to succeed or fail is the same as a promise of success. This, in turn, means that among the unpleasant byproducts of our liberties is more violence and more crime (also more personal responsibility). “We have spawned a new race here-rougher simpler, more violent, more enterprising, and less refined. We’re a new nationality and we require a new nation,” Ben Franklin tells John Dickinson in “1776,” and while that is only a manufactured quote from various writings of Adams and Franklin, Ben was right, as usual. The Bill of Rights reflects the needs and aspirations of that “new race,” so does the Constitution’s emphasis on the right to bear arms, and so does the proclivity of that race to abuse our unusual treasure of rights. For human beings and nations, the greatest strengths are often the greatest flaws. We pay a large and sometimes bloody price for our liberties and ideals, but if one supports the American experiment and where it has brought us, the conclusion must be that the cost is worth it.

Not everyone is cut out to be an American. Those who don’t like the culture should consider relocating somewhere less stressful, and accept the reduced upside in exchange for a more sedate set of risks.

That’s the lesson of the clip above from “The Third Man” above, in the final speech of the film by Orson Wells as the mysterious rogue Harry Lime.

1.The pro-abortion signature significance keeps on coming! CNN’s Dana Bash to the Governor of Arkansas: “Arkansas already struggles to support vulnerable children. Nearly 1 in 4 children in Arkansas lives in poverty….Do you really think that your state is prepared to protect and care for even more children if abortion does become illegal there?”

Bash did not get the answer she apparently anticipated, which would have been something like, “No, you’re right, Dana. It makes mores sense to kill them. Thanks for setting me straight.”

2. Nah, there’s nothing hypocritical about “Historically Black Colleges and Universities”…Morehouse college, one of the HBCUs, is facing backlash from alumni because it dared to hire a white woman as its new “Chief Brand Officer and Vice President of Strategic Communications, Marketing, and Admissions.” Inside Higher Ed reported that  the announcement was followed by an outpouring of  calls and emails to the college from alumni questioning the decision. The reviled white woman replied to some negative comments on social media, defending herself and asserting her commitment to stay in the job, but later deleted her responses. One alum called the hiring decision an “INSULT to the legacy of Morehouse and a blow to the Brand, ” adding, “Just wondering how long before Morehouse ceases to recognize itself. Six months? Let’s take bets on how long before it’s not about Black Men at all. If there are any Morehouse Men who see what I see they should speak up and stop pretending this is okay.” Another wrote, that he had “yet to see a reasonable explanation of this anywhere.”

What, “diversity, equity and inclusion” doesn’t count?

3. And while we’re on the topic of our monolithic, ideologically intolerant indoctrination factories...Princeton did it! The school really fired tenured professor Jonathan Katz because he questioned  woke orthodoxy by raising the issue of “black privilege” in a tweet. As discussed here, when Princeton realized that it couldn’t get away with firing him for his opinion, it went back and reopened a settled sexual misconduct matter for which he had already served a year long suspension, and used that as its excuse.
Katz is no weenie, and he will sue. And win.
4. Gee, that was fast! In today’s “Ethics Alarms told you so first!” segment, I note that at the end of last week,  the White House signaled that Karine Jean-Pierre, its new paid liar, had so thoroughly destroyed confidence in her ability to do the job that it hired Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, who is terrific, for an undoclosed purpose (wink,wink). Unfortunately, he is not black, female or a lesbian. I wrote here two weeks ago, noting Jen Psaki’s replacement’s obvious incompetence, “How can Biden get rid of a “historic” black, lesbian woman whose first line of defense has been to cry “Racist!”?
Answer: He can’t. Since it was obvious that Kirby was brought on to be a shadow Paid Liar, several White House officials and insiders told Politico that  the move cast a pall on Jean-Pierre’s first week, and undercut her credibility at a moment when that evil conservative pundits were criticizing her, aka “Republican pounce!”

Some said Kirby’s hiring demonstrated that the White House leadership believes that the first African American White House press secretary needs “adult supervision;” another Democrats called the competent white man’s hiring “demeaning,” and “insulting.”

And that is what happens when a President elevates race, gender and sexual orientation above actual qualifications in an important job! As Pete Seeger sang, “When will they ever learn?’

5. “The Lincoln Lawyer” is unethical. Netflix’s new series “The Lincoln Lawyer,” based on the Michael Connelly novels, included a version of the unethical “evidence bluff” most famously illustrated in film by Tom Cruise’s imaginary “flight log” evidence in “A Few Good Men” and by Abe Lincoln’ almanac gambit in American legal history.

The “Lincoln Lawyer”(so named because the recovering addict LA trial lawyer used to practice out of his car) represents a defendant whom a cop claims assaulted him. The client swears it’s a lie, and that the cop assaulted him because of a dispute involving a woman they both had been romantically involved with. The defendant has a rap sheet with other assaults and related charges, so the DA and the judge are pushing for a plea deal. There is no video of the incident because the police officer had turned off his camera. LL stops the annoyed judge from scheduling the trial by saying that he had just come upon new evidence that might make a trial unnecessary: a video from a camera on the street where the incident took place. He hands the DA the thumb-drive and says, “Let’s watch this with the judge.” The prosecutor sees the cop furiously signaling him, goes over and confers, and drops the charge.

The LL’s client, now free and grateful, asks, “Where did you get that video?” The lawyer replies, “Oh, I think that thumb drive had some jazz videos on it. I didn’t check.” In California and everywhere else, Rule 3.4 of the legal ethics rules pronounces it unethical for an attorney to “allude” in trial to any evidence he or she cannot produce.

8 thoughts on “Mid-Afternoon Ethics Afterthoughts, 5/25/2022: The Wisdom Of Harry Lime

  1. Speaking of your introduction. Someone I trust pointed me to this paper today:

    From the abstract: “Out of the 97 countries where we have identified mass public shootings occurring, the United States ranks 64th in the per capita frequency of these attacks and 65th in the murder rate.”

    I still have to read the full paper, but it strikes me that the American experiment got it right even about gun availability for public safety.

  2. http://www.quora.com/How-can-a-gun-enthusiast-still-claim-their-right-to-bear-arms-is-more-important-than-public-safety/answer/Paul-Harding-14

    All of your Constitutional Rights come at the cost of safety.

    For example, you would be much safer if I could search houses, cars, and people whenever I wanted to, for any reason, or no reason at all. I’d catch more real bad guys. You know those stories about creeps who keep sex slaves locked in their basements for years? I’d find those victims and rescue them. That neighbor of yours who might have a meth lab that is going to send poisonous fumes into your child’s bedroom window, or explode and burn down your house? I’d find out for sure whether a lab was there.

    How about all those guys who are probably child molesters, and we’ve got some evidence, but it isn’t enough to convict in front of a jury, especially with that defense attorney throwing doubt all over our evidence? Those guys are on the street right now, and a child you love may be their next victim.

    Give up your rights under the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, and I’ll make the world safer for you. No question about it.

    The only problem is that if you give up all those rights, which are really just restrictions on the things I’m allowed to do to you, what’s going to keep you safe from me?

    Every right you have increases your danger from other people who share that right. Free speech? It allows monsters to spread hateful messages, possibly about a group to which you belong, just the same as it allows you to petition your government with legitimate grievances.

  3. “Those who don’t like the culture should consider relocating somewhere less stressful…”

    Unfortunately for them, one way that most of those less exciting places keep things from getting too spicy is by having very restrictive immigration policies that, unlike America’s comparatively weak laws, are sometimes even actually enforced.

    Whenever someone (always a leftist, it seems) makes the comically unlikely threat to move to Canada or elsewhere in the event that their preferred candidate loses an election, I always ask why they assume that their fantasy adopted country wants them and would them to relocate there…allow

    • If you dare say that there are 194 other countries in the world and those who don’t like this one should consider a move, then they get all indignant and say no, why don’t you move instead? They don’t want A place that’s like their ideal, they want THIS place to meet their ideal. When they’re in power here, they don’t hesitate to tell you to get the hell out of THEIR country, you racist f***. The fact is that most of the left really does believe this country would be perfect if only all of us on the right would just disappear, like today.

      Let’s think about that for a minute. Envision a country, if you will, that was suddenly nothing but big cities, half to two-thirds empty suburbs, and nothing but huge swaths of wilderness in between, dotten with the occasional ghost village or hamlet. Imagine a country where every police or fire station was way undermanned, and in a lot of cases completely unmanned, and there was almost no military. Imagine a country where the oil fields ceased to flow, the farms were untended, and the mom and pop businesses were out of business. Imagine almost no commercial truck drivers (famously a bunch of conservative yahoos). Imagine the number of effective businessmen halved. Imagie the number of effective professionals of most kinds, except for attorneys and teachers, halved or cut back by even more. Imagine the demographics of this country changed overnight,as a good chuck of the Catholic,family-oriented Latinos, family-oriented, goal-oriented Asians, and of course those privileged white people, especially married couples and older people, disappeared.

      Suddenly you’re left with a country of big cities filled with techies with many fewer people to provide service for, teachers with fewer and in some cases no children to teach. lawyers without enough clients to go around, MANY fewer skilled people to do what’s necessary to keep things going, almost no way of maintaining order, and only as much food and fuel as is on the shelves and in the tanks now.

      Does that sound like a U-topia or a DYS-topia? ,

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