Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/30: Memorial Day Edition

That’s my Dad! Our family will be visiting his final destination (and my mother’s as well) at Arlington National Cemetery today. Major Jack Anderson Marshall, Sr. was a decorated war hero, a wounded veteran, and a man who hated war and guns but knew when they were necessary. World War II was the defining experience of his life, and his traumas, triumphs and travails in those years, which began for him before the U.S. entered the war (Dad signed up with the British to fight in Africa) crystalized an ethics code that he conveyed to his two children by example and through intense dinner-time discussions.

I think about him just about every day, so I don’t need this particular holiday for that purpose, but this particular Memorial Day reminds me that I still have to find time to get his fascinating and inspiring memoirs published, which have been languishing in my care since Dad died during a nap on December 1, 2009. (I can’t believe it’s been that long.)

My father was proud that he would rest at Arlington, and took me on periodic outings there in his eighties to “scout the neighborhood.” A Kentucky boy (and Boy Scout), Dad liked to say that he was going from Arlington, Massachusetts (where I grew up), to Arlington, Virginia, where my parents moved to be near their grandchildren, to Arlington National Cemetery. He loved the United States, Loved its history and culture, loved the military, and genuinely loved this holiday. He was one person I could say “Happy Memorial Day!” to and not feel a little goulish.

Happy Memorial Day, Dad.

And thank-you for your service.

1. A superb analysis of the Princeton and MIT ethics abuse of two distinguished professors has just been posted on his blog by Curmie. He provides context and details of the persecution of David Sabitini (MIT) and Jonathan Katz (Princeton), both of which were covered on Ethics Alarms but not nearly as well. I recommend it highly.

2. “Do something! Do something!” I was tempted to make this story a full post (and rant) as either an Unethical Quote of the Day or a mass Ethics Dunce. Before leaving the Uvalde church yesterday where he attended the obligatory service for the victims of yet another mass shooting , Biden encountered angry demonstrators gathered nearby, some of whom booed him as others chanted, “Do something! Do something!” The reason I didn’t make this a stand alone post is that I am applying some restraint in recognition that people in the grip of emotion say and do stupid things. Nonetheless, there are far too many Americans who, prodded by irresponsible politicians and pundits, are using “Do something!” as if it is a legitimate policy position. The chant is offensive, brain-dead, un-American and dangerous. We don’t run to the government to solve our problems, giving it an invitation to abuse its power. The President isn’t God, a King or a Magician, and making one feel omnipotent is suicidal for a democracy. Nor is demanding “something” fair or helpful.  Uvalde has some very specific problems that only its community can solve, like an incompetent, badly-led police force, teachers who leave school doors open that are supposed to be locked, and citizens who ignored one warning sign after another that an angry teen in their midst was potential menace. Meanwhile, telling aspiring totalitarians like the current crop of Democrats to “Do something!” in the midst of hysteria and exploitation is how democracies disappear. Felling insecure? Unsafe? Dissatisfied? Run to papa, have him kiss the boo-boo, trust him to make everything swell. Saying that to this regime is like sending the kid on the yellow inflatable raft out to play with the Great White Shark in “Jaws.”

3. Oh! Ethics Dunce Gabe Kapler now says that he’ll make an exception to his National Anthem boycott, which he just announced, for the Memorial Day game. Kapler said just three days ago that he would refuse to take the field for the Anthem “until I feel better about the direction of our country.” (He wants it to “do something.” Hey, don’t ask Gabe what; he’s just a baseball manager.) But before yesterday’s game, asked specifically what he would do on Memorial Day, Kapler waffled, saying, “I’m very comfortable taking it day by day. I think I’ll just decide what makes the most sense in the moment. Memorial Day is an important day in our country’s history and a special day and a unique day. I find it to be one that deserves special attention.”

Is it finally dawning on Gabe that the National Anthem represents the nation, its ideals and its history, and not whether a citizen approves of policies and events “day to day”? Shut up and manage.

4. ‘Nah, there’s no LGBTQ indoctrination going on in the public schools! It’s a conspiracy theory!’ A North Carolina preschool class was using LGBTQ-themed flashcards to teach kids colors. Here’s the card for “white”:

Yes, that’s a pregnant man.

Republican State Rep. Erin Paré, alerted to the use of the cards at Ballentine Elementary School in Wake County, N.C. by a constituent, confronted the school’s principal, who confiscated the cards and alerted the district superintendent and Human Resources about the incident. The principal said she was unaware of the cards until being alerted to the situation by Paré. Either way, she should be fired along with the teacher.

With these kinds of episodes popping up, how can the furious criticism of the recent Florida law prohibiting such topics in the lower grades be justified?

5. He did it AGAIN! The official news media line about President Trump was that he lied constantly, but no President has repeated the same lies over and over even after his own allied factcheckers in the media flagged them like the current White House resident.

Last week President Biden said again, as he has intermittently for a year, that police officers had been killed by Capitol rioters, which is factually false, and repeated his fantasy that “you couldn’t buy a cannon, when in fact the Second Amendment passed.” How hard is it for Joe’s puppeteers, or advisors, or Jill, to sit the President down and say, “You can’t keep saying this, Joe. It’s simply untrue, and you sound like an idiot”?

6. Nice. University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler  tweeted this bigoted and hateful tweet:

Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodríguez is a Hispanic-American as is Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pedro Arredondo. Many of the officers at the scene were as well, and children of officers were in the school. While professors who tweet views that clash with progressive cant are routinely investigated and punished at our universities, Butler was able to just delete hers and Penn won’t do a thing. [Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur]

7 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/30: Memorial Day Edition

  1. Last night’s National Memorial Concert contained a specific nod to the Capitol Police, in what was obviously a reference to January 6th. Shame on the producers for even a veiled political reference. I wonder if they’ll dare invite proud Son of Confederate Veterans and master of the pro-military ballad Trace Adkins back any time soon, or any time not so soon. Do you think he should tweak his famous pro-military song “Till the Last Shot’s Fired” to elide the Confederate references in the first verse?

    The present first verse goes:

    I was there in the winter of ’64,
    When we camped in the ice at Nashville’s doors
    Three hundred miles our trail had led
    We barely had time to bury our dead
    When the Yankees charged and the colors fell
    Overton Hill was a living hell
    When we called retreat it was almost dark
    I died with a grapeshot in my heart.

    Maybe:

    I was there in the spring of ’64,
    When we camped in the fields at Richmond’s doors
    Three hundred miles our road had led
    We barely had time to bury our dead
    When the rebels charged and the colors fell
    Jerusalem Road was a living hell
    When we called retreat it was almost dark
    I died with a grapeshot in my heart.

    I’m hardly a songwriter, of course.

  2. Before leaving the Uvalde church yesterday where he attended the obligatory service for the victims of yet another mass shooting , Biden encountered angry demonstrators gathered nearby, some of whom booed him as others chanted, “Do something! Do something!”

    This reminds me of the time when Michael McBride and other pastors went to the white House to discuss solutions to inner city violence.

    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/how-the-gun-control-debate-ignores-black-lives/80445/

    Later, other ministers who worked with McBride would get an even blunter assessment from a White House staffer: There was no political will in the country to address inner-city violence.

    (emphasis added)

  3. 3. From Kapler’s wiki page: “In a clubhouse poll, it was once revealed that of the 25 players on the Red Sox, 24 were Republicans and Kapler was the one Democrat.”

  4. 2. “…there are far too many Americans who, prodded by irresponsible politicians and pundits, are using ‘Do something!’ as if it is a legitimate policy position.”
    When I heard the story of the “Do something!” chants reported on my truck radio this morning, my first thought was that an open-ended “Do something!” is likely the most dangerous mandate any politician can hear, and especially our current government.

  5. How hard is it for Joe’s puppeteers, or advisors, or Jill, to sit the President down and say, “You can’t keep saying this, Joe. It’s simply untrue, and you sound like an idiot”?

    Who says they haven’t, possibly several times? Joe ain’t even close to “all there”, and at this point asking him to break out of his well-worn ruts would be like house-training a chicken. You can try, but you’ll spend a lot less on upholstery cleaning if you just leave the damn bird outside.

    This is just one of many reasons why it’s not a great idea to make a doddering, senile moron the President of the United States.

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