[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.