Lapsed Sunday Sundown Ethics, 6/12-13/2022: Something!

[I hate when this happens: I had yesterday’s ethics short (well, shorter) notes almost ready to post,  things got complicated, and now it’s the next day. Well, I like that sundown photo, so to hell with it.]


There are not too many speeches that have had a tangible impact on world events, but June 12 is the anniversary of one of them:  President Reagan challenging Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” in 1987.  Two years later, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. Liberals and left-leaning historians disliked Reagan so much that to this day they deny him his well-earned credit for undermining Soviet communism. On the anniversary of his death last week, Twitter was full of ugly, vicious attacks on his achievements and character. Nothing inspires hate more than someone who proves that your fondest beliefs are garbage. Here is what Reagan said to the crowd of West Berliners:

“There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.” He then called upon his Soviet counterpart: “Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace—if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe—if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

All delivered, as usual, with the skills of a professional and experienced actor.

1. Ugh. Why is the principle of moral luck so elusive? A baseball controversy erupted in Chicago last week because ancient and “old school” White Sox manager Tony LaRussa intentionally walked Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner with a runner on second base  and a count of one ball and two strikesin order to have relief pitcher Bennett Sousa face Max Muncy instead. Muncy promptly hit a three-run home run to give the Dodgers a 10-5 lead in a game they would eventually win 11-9. A live microphone  caught one fan yelling “He’s got two strikes, Tony!” and “Tony, what are you doing?” before Muncy homered. The intentional walk is a baseball strategy that has largely gone into disuse because statistics don’t support it except in very specific situations. The White Sox have been a disappointing team so far this season, and that tactic by LaRussa seemed to catalyze a fan consensus that he is too old, behind the times, and the reason for the team’s performance. (He was booed in Chicago the last two games, and also faced “Fire Tony!” chants.)

So here comes ESPN’s esteemed David Schoenfield to write, “Now, to be fair here, the pounding on La Russa is also a little unfair. If Muncy strikes out, it looks like a good move.”

No, no, NO, you idiot! Whether or not the tactic is a wise one must be determined when it is executed, not after its results are known. La Russa had no control over whether Muncy homered or struck out once he had ordered the intentional base on balls. What a third party, or subsequent events, do cannot change whether a decision was competent or incompetent. That’s just luck.

2. Michael Moore sighting! Famous people who say ignorant and irresponsible things are engaging in fame abuse, which is unethical. In his podcast, the socialist documentary maker said last week,

“We need to start a movement to repeal the Second Amendment and replace it with something that says it’s not about the right of somebody to own a gun, it’s the right of all of us to be protected from gun violence. We have a right to live. If you’re afraid of somebody breaking in, get a dog… you don’t need a gun.”

Repealing any on the Bill of Rights is impossible, but if concentrating on that windmill-tilting is what is going to occupy Moore’s time so we don’t have to put up with other nonsense, hey, knock yourself out, buddy. What he’s really talking about, however, is indoctrination, the same strategy being used to program the next generation to believe that the United States is racist and must therefor confer race-based advantages according to skin shade. Indoctrination works, so I’m sure Moore is envisioning decades of gun-phobic teachers including Scary Guns Bad material in K through 12 grades. Note that MM is not just talking about “assault weapons”—oh, heck, why not? Here’s a morning meme…

…he’s talking about all guns, because Michael Moore, in his infinite wisdom, has concluded that you “don’t need one.” Give him credit for that: at least he’s honest.

He is also, however, an ignoramus. The Bill of Rights concerns rights individuals have the the government cannot take away or significantly infringe. Moore’s idea of “rights” is what individuals can demand that the government do for them.

3. In other gun madness news—yesterday (meaning the 12th), what the New York Times called a “bipartisan gun safety deal’ was announced. “Gun safety” is the new cover-phrase for gun control the progressive high command has ordered to confuse the public, so naturally, having received the memo the Times is all in. In addition to that lie, the four words also mislead by calling this a “deal,” as in “binding agreement.” It isn’t. There’s no guarantee that it will pass the Senate. It’s also epitomizes “do something.” It’s amazing how open the gun control advocates are about this. “They [that is, the public] are all asking that Congress act,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) who is one of the “deal’s” authors. “They are not sure what should be done, but there are things that Congress can do that will make a difference. There is more of a sense of urgency that something has to be made into law.” Typical Collins, but thanks, Senator, for adding “make a difference” to the list on meaningless rhetoric.

The primary “difference” in this “deal” is that Salvador Ramos won’t be able to shoot up an Uvalde school again: as I so sagely predicted, it’s “The Barn Door Fallacy.” The “deal” contains more extensive background checks for gun buyers aged 18 to 21, allowing juvenile and mental health records to be included. It also includes provisions to make it harder for those accused of domestic violence to obtain guns.

Yes, soon one’s constitutional rights can be limited by an accusation, because all women, what ever they are, must be believed. Or something.

But “something” is the objective. After the next shooting, the argument will be that the last something obviously wasn’t enough, so more somethings are obviously need, and who “needs” a gun anyway?

4. Profiles in Courage!  Four of the ten Republicans who are backing the proposal (Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania)  are retiring, and none of the other six Republicans who signed on to the compromise is on the ballot in November 2022.

5. Well, to be fair, the country was paying him…John  Allen, a retired four-star general who once commanded American troops in Afghanistan, has resigned  as president of the Brookings Institution after a court filing revealed evidence that he had secretly lobbied for Qatar.

6. Ann Althouse reassures me that I’m not imagining it all. Athouse is a left-of-center retired lawyer and academic who really does try to be objective, so I am very grateful that while I am constantly wondering, as the Left increasingly behaves like aspiring totalitarians while warning Americans that their opposition constitutes an existential threat to democracy, Althouse frequently indicates that she sees the same ominous signs I do. I may be crazy, but at least I have respectable company.

This time she was reacting to Post op-ed writer and former Bush  speechwriter Michael Gerson’s Jan. 6 Committee-hyping “History will accept only one Jan. 6 narrative. This committee has it” in which , gag me with a spoon, he describes Liz Cheney as “our indomitable, irreplaceable, unsinkable Liz.” (That Bush-Cheney cult does stick together, doesn’t it?) Ann writes in part,

…the headline bothered me so much that I felt that I needed to know how any educated, intelligent person could say such a thing. What a static, impoverished view of history! He seems to have it mixed up with propaganda — specifically, the propaganda of a totalitarian state.

7. Speaking of the totalitarians, they really do want to keep Americans frightened and masked forever. Here was the major criticism of last night’s Tony Awards broadcast in the New York Times, by critic Laura Collins-Hughes:

Disturbingly, the picture that the industry chose to present to the television cameras at Radio City Music Hall was a sea of bare faces, as if Broadway inhabited a post-Covid world. In the vast orchestra section, where the nominees sat, there was scarcely a mask anywhere…it was hard not to wonder about Broadway choosing a normal-looking TV visual over caution, knowing how scary it can get when positive test results start rolling in.

28 thoughts on “Lapsed Sunday Sundown Ethics, 6/12-13/2022: Something!

  1. 2. It’s the mantra of Socialists and would-be Communist totalitarians everywhere – “You don’t need”. Even 30 years ago in a Marxist Theory class I took with the professor being an avowed Marxist (I majored in Political Science), I remember the class members trying to grasp Marxism as they excitedly realized that “No one needs a washing machine” in their homes when community washing machines make more sense.

    I sat there and wondered if I happened to be the only one who thought there was a problem with that.

    To me, Marxism and all its cousins comprise the philosophy of Other People Te;ling You What You Need. If they can tell you what you need and don’t need, they can tell you what you can and can’t do. That’s always worked well, hasn’t it?

    • Year ago, I heard a saying that cautioned all busybodies about trying to dictate to others what they should and shouldn’t do. The saying was “Other people’s spending is always irrational and at least slightly immoral”.

      What Michael Moore means is that he NEEDS his armed bodyguards, but they aren’t as effective at bullying the riffraff if the riffraff can’t have their own guns.

  2. …he’s talking about all guns, because Michael Moore, in his infinite wisdom, has concluded that you “don’t need one.” Give him credit for that: at least he’s honest.

    Here’s my question: Does he even understand what the word “right” means in the context of enumerated rights? “You don’t need…” is a frequently-used rationalization by the left that completely ignores the fact that “need” has absolutely nothing to do with a right. Michael doesn’t need to speak out (his trope has been repeated nearly verbatim by such luminaries as President Biden among countless others) but he wants, and has a right, to do so. So it is with firearm ownership and use in America.

    So Michael, let me put it another way — You can’t take our guns away because we want them and, irrespective of need, it is our right to lawfully posses and use them. Now please, return to the cold, clammy hideout under whatever rock you’ve been living. I think you and the rest of humanity are happier when you’re at home.

    And as to repealing the Second, or any other of the Bill of rights — Not only no, but hell no.

    Yes, soon one’s constitutional rights can be limited by an accusation, because all women, what ever they are, must be believed. Or something.

    The Left will utilize any method to introduce subjective judgment into the rights they want limited — the old “camel’s nose under the tent” strategy. Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey released a statement after this “bipartisan deal” was announced that included the statement, “The door has cracked open. We must open it wider.”

    But you knew that was coming.

    • That’s spot on, Glenn. Does it strike anyone else as strange that when Democrats offer solutions to problems – whether it is financial issues, wuhan, climate, guns – they always offer solutions that are pretty much guaranteed not to work? If I was more into conspiracy theories, I would be tempted to write that they do that on purpose, so when their ideas fail, they can tell us we need to give up more freedom on the next hair-brained idea “that’s guaranteed to finally fix it”.

      Lather, rinse, and repeat.

      • Good point, that. It seems they’re always trying solutions that transparently won’t solve the problem, but does reduce freedom.

        I think you’re sensing a pattern here…

      • It seems like a sort of mashup of “dosomethingism” and magical thinking to always be demanding just one more new law (that usually only burdens the sane and law-abiding), and imagine that this time that new regulation will solve the problem.

        From Marc Glaze, former executive director of Michael Bloomberg’s astroturf anti-firearm organization “Everytown for Gun Safety”, a quote that should be remembered and repeated:
        “Is it a messaging problem when a mass shooting happens and nothing that we have to offer would have stopped that mass shooting? Sure it’s a challenge in this issue.”

  3. I have some thoughts about several of these, but let me concentrate on #7.
    This weekend, I saw a former student in a show she’d also co-written. It was performed in an Equity house in Houston, in a smaller space that seats about 250. I’d guess that there were a little over 200 people in attendance, so we were pretty much in close proximity to strangers. There were about a dozen folks in masks. I’m guessing that’s about the same ratio as those attending the Tonys. (I haven’t watch any awards show in decades, so I don’t know, exactly.)
    But Broadway, of course, requires masks of audience members at least through the end of this month. The problem, to my mind, is not that x or y percentage of attendees wore masks, but that there are different rules for theatre-goers than for important folks like Tony nominees.
    In March, I attended a conference in Memphis. Masks (and proof of vaccination) were required to even enter the convention center. So I wore a mask, whether or not I personally thought it necessary to do so.
    Masks were “encouraged” at my hotel and at a couple of the restaurants I went to (except when actually eating, of course). But within each category, everyone was treated the same. If you were the president of the organization, you were held to the same standard as a high school kid auditioning for a college scholarship or a summer stock apprentice gig, and vice versa.
    If Broadway wants to require masks, I guess that’s their prerogative–it’s a capitalist society, after all, and if they think they’ll get more patrons by assuring them that their fellow spectators are masked than they’ll lose by having potential customers decide that paying a couple hundred bucks to see a show only to be stuck wearing a mask for two hours or more, it’s their call.
    But if they’re going to insist on masks if you sit in the audience at a Broadway show, then they need to require the same restrictions at their event at Radio City. Even if it’s Tonys night. Even if you were nominated. OR if it’s OK for the sound designer for show X and the featured actress from show Y to sit next to each other, unmasked, at the Tonys, then it’s OK for Fred from Des Moines and Ethel from Long Island to do so at Aladdin. Choose one, Broadway.

    • I think you are correct. There should be an even-handed approach to this. Yet, that is the problem: “Rules for thee but not for me.” Gavin Newsome issued some very strict mask rules on Monday only then to find himself at some really expensive restaurant a few days later ignoring what he issued. Speaker Pelosi and her Congress issued strict rules/guidelines, only then to see her traipsing off to the hair dresser sans mask. Countless supposed leaders have had issue statements or clarifications of their behavior when it didn’t follow what they imposed on the citizens within their jurisdiction. It has led to the further distrust of the government and authority figures, most of whom should be run out of town on a rail.

      As for Broadway and Radio City Music Hall, my only thought is that the RCMH may have different rules than Broadway shows, so I would sut them some slack as to that facility. I do get your point, though, that Broadway is not being consistent with is mask mandates.


  4. they deny him his well-earned credit for undermining Soviet communism

    Deny him credit? Hell, they’ve never forgiven him for it.

  5. #4 So funny Lisa Murkowski R-AK didn’t joint in with her Senate sister Susan Collins. I can just imagine how badly she wanted to, but the party poobahs told her to “keep it cool boy” West Side Story style, otherwise she’ll upset the rubes that are supposed to re-elect her. I’m pretty sure they’re already upset with her. One recent episode with Murkowski makes me chuckle. A secretary of Bureau of Land Management (the OG BLM) or a dept of similar type, can’t recall, put a hold on a bunch mineral development on Federal land in Alaska. Murkowski voted for that secretary, because she had a constructive conversation and they would work together to promote the well being of Alaskans, yadda yadda. 5 min later, the secretary gives Alaska a kick in the groin, and Murkowski says that she is disappointed in her and regrets her vote. It’s like middle school, you try to suck up to the cool kids, they will trick you and embarrass you. And they will still hate you.

    • “5 min later, the secretary gives Alaska a kick in the groin, and Murkowski says that she is disappointed in her and regrets her vote. It’s like middle school, you try to suck up to the cool kids, they will trick you and embarrass you. ***And they will still hate you.”

      Priceless, emphasis mine.

      The fascist Left hates every non-clone and always will. They can never be trusted and just like ISIS the only way to neutralize them is through superior strength and will because anything softer will simply be exploited for their advantage.

  6. Ah moral luck. I know a woman who married a man who previously had two women file restraining orders against him, and one of them accused him of taking her 14 year old daughter lingerie shopping. It’s possible his exes were lying, but this woman did not really investigate and just assumed his version of events. Someone even called her and warned her about him.

    So far, he hasn’t done anything (though that doesn’t prove he didn’t do those things in the past).

    She was defensive when her daughter asked about it and accused her daughter of “trying to take away her happiness.”

    Time will tell, but the moral luck here so far is strong.

  7. RE: #2: allow me to actually offer some praise for Michael Moore here, who I find to be a tiresome, unappealing, hypocritical bastard under most circumstances. I think his proposal is squarely on the money.

    There is nothing about the first ten Amendments – popularly known as “The Bill of Rights” – that makes them immune from the amendment process spelled out in the Constitution. The Second Amendment COULD be repealed, or amended itself. The Founders were wise enough to give us a process for that.

    At least Moore is suggesting using the Constitutional process, rather than the judicial and legislative processes otherwise advanced by the left, and which generally run headlong into SCOTUS. Moore’s suggestion is, in fact, the only way that anti-gun citizens have any hope whatsoever of seeing their dreams realized.

    Given that any said amendment would first need to be approved by 2/3 of both the House and Senate, and then ratified by at least 3/4 of the states, the odds of this actually happening in any of our lifetimes rests somewhere between scant and none. Maybe Moore is smart enough to realize this, or maybe he’s not – but either way, the process he suggests IS the Constitutionally- correct approach, IMO. I’ll give him credit for that much, even though I think his rationale for doing so is bonkers.

    • This is what Scalia always said. Instead of trying to distort the Constitution to fit your aims, amend it through the formal amendment process. if you don’t have the votes to amend it, that means you have to stick to the plain meaning of the text.

      I think the left believes the constitution says false things.

      So, to the left, the constitution says the sky is green when we all can see the sky is blue. Instead of pretending like the sky is green until we can X number of states to admit the sky is blue, they want to change the meaning of green to make it blue.

      Underlying this leftist attitude is a hostility towards limits on government power and to a fixed meaning of words. If you think about the type of people who believe un omnipotent government and use language to distort reality (think of the term reproductive justice), then that would explain why the far left does what it does.

      There are normalish lbierals who do believe in government limits and such, but increasingly, I don’t see many of them. I don’t see my liberal friends defending free speech anymore. I don’t see my liberal friends saying abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. I don’t see them really believing in any immigration restrictions (even if they outwardly claim to do so). They also think almost everything bad someone does (unless the person is white) is due to mental issues; there’s no such thing as evil in leftist world because their moral categories are fundamentally different.

      • “They also think almost everything bad someone does (unless the person is white) is due to mental issues;”

        Unless that person is a mass shooter, then it was the gun that was responsible and mental illness had nothing to do with it.

    • Well, if we’re gonna wipe out . . . erm . . . amend the Constitution to rewrite the Second Amendment, how about we get rid of a couple of other ones, eh? I mean, if no constitutional right is absolute, then let’s get on with. The 16th Amendment would be kinda cool place to start. How about the 13th and 14th Amendments?


    • You know, the entire Bill of Rights is a curious blind spot for our otherwise brilliant Founding Fathers. The Constitutional Convention didn’t include it in the text of the Constitution essentially because they assumed that all these things were so self evident that they didn’t need to be enumerated.

      Fortunately the ratification conventions in the various states felt differently, and there were several states that extracted a promise that the first order of business for the First Congress would be to propose the Bill of Rights as amendments to the Constitution — otherwise they wouldn’t have ratified the Constitution.

      That brings to mind another quote from another famous German: “God protects fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.”

  8. Interesting note on Reagan’s speech that I heard somewhere, though I can’t remember where. The President had an ongoing “battle” with someone (Marlin Fitzwater maybe?) to keep that phrase in the speech. Whoever it was kept removing it and Reagan kept re-inserting it. We know who won that one.

    1. At this point, Tony LaRussa is probably better suited to judging Jackie-Robinson-look-alike contests than coaching at the major-league level.

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