Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up After A Cold, Cold Saturday, 6/26/2022: Dobbs Freakout Edition

Ever have one of those days when you lost all control over your schedule, plans and agenda and there was nothing you could do about it? Yesterday was that way for me. I’m sorry. The last post here went up before 9 am yesterday, and by the time al the metaphorical alligators had stopped nibbling on me, I just couldn’t find the energy or enthusiasm to even go back into the ProEthics offices, much less clear my brain and get out a post or two.

It was so bad that I failed to mention “Custer’s Last Stand,” one of my favorite rich ethics, leadership and life lessons from American history. The 25th is the anniversary of the massacre, in 1876; the anniversary of Custer’s greatest moment is coming up in about a week, and maybe I won’t be such a worthless slug then. I can hope.

My sincere thanks to the small group of diligent commenters who kept the home fires burning yesterday.

On to the Freakout…

1. Warming up slowly: Pseudo woke, recently perceptive aspiring truth-teller Andrew Sullivan issued a clunker of a reaction to the Dobbs ruling after trying to keep things in perspective after the opinion was leaked in May , writing in part, “America until today, was the only Western country to have abortion as a constitutional right. No other country, not even Canada, not Germany, nor any of the other liberal countries. They did it by democratic rule.” No, abortion under Roe was a Court-created right that sufficiently interfered with democratic rule that it had to be overturned. This statement should also be remembered and referenced the next time a progressive pundit uses the “Everybody does it” argument that X U.S. policy or law is wrong because the U.S. has a different perspective than European “industrialized nations,” which, we are constantly told, know best. In fact, the U.S. still has a unique approach to abortion that no country in Europe has: the difficult ethics dilemma has no national resolution.

Sullivan also waxed on about how the Dobbs ruling came to pass only because of a series of random events. “If Hillary Clinton had won in 2016, this wouldn’t have happened,” Sullivan wrote. “If Ruth Bader Ginsburg had resigned and retired when she should have, this probably wouldn’t have happened.” And if China hadn’t loosed a nasty virus on the world, he would still be President, and if Umpire Larry Barnett hadn’t botched a crucial call in Game #3 of the 1975 World Series, the Red Sox might have been World Champions 29 years before 2004. Every event, major and trivial, results from a confluence of unrelated and related factors. Resorting to “but if” narratives is useless. Sullivan is usually better than that.

2. Grandstanding, of course...Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a superfluous executive order aimed at protecting “reproductive health care services” in Massachusetts, even though the reversal of Roe had no effect on abortions in the Bay State at all.

Baker said that his new executive order will “further preserve” abortion rights in Massachusetts and protect “reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents, adding,

“I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the Supreme Court which will have major consequences for women across the country who live in states with limited access to reproductive health care services. The Commonwealth has long been a leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose and access to reproductive health services, while other states have criminalized or otherwise restricted access … In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v Wade, it is especially important to ensure that Massachusetts providers can continue to provide reproductive health care services without concern that the laws of other states may be used to interfere with those services or sanction them for providing services that are lawful in the Commonwealth.”

Imagine what could be accomplished if the supporters of abortion had the integrity and respect for law and reality to state clearly the issues involved rather than to indulge in this kind of deliberately deceitful rhetoric. Can you think of any other group of human beings who are seriously affected by the decision Charlie? “Baby? What baby?” If you are such a supporter of abortion, why don’t you have the guts to say the word? “Reproductive health care”…”choice”…why won’t so many of abortion’s proud and indignant advocates admit what they are supporting?

That’s a rhetorical question. Otherwise, the Governor is just pandering to the mob.

3. Wouldn’t you think….that a political party engaged in a show trial aimed at making the ridiculous case that single half-day riot at the Capitol was a plot to overthrow the government would try to avoid inciting “mostly peaceful demonstrations” in response to a legally sound Supreme Court decision that happens to displease a core constituency?

I would. However, today’s Democrats are a) leaderless b) corrupt c) lack integrity or responsibility and d) are nuts:

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.): “ILLEGITIMATE! ILLEGITIMATE! ILLEGITIMATE! IN THE STREETS! IN THE STREETS! IN THE STREETS!”

It will be fascinating to see how many of the pundits and media outlets that have called Donald Trump’s assertion that the 2020 election was “stolen” a “big lie” will render a similar verdict on the far less defensible claim that Dobbs is “Illegitimate.” And if a mob of people wearing pussy hats instead of horned head-dresses breached the Supreme Court building, would the elected officials who inspired them be considered “insurrectionists”?

  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.): “You ain’t seen nothing yet. … The hell with the Supreme Court. We will defy them. … And if they think black women are intimidated or afraid, they got another thought coming. Black women will be out in droves. We will be out by the thousands. We will be out by the millions.”

Maxine is truly special. a) The decision has nothing to do with race, but apparently race is the only card in her deck. b) Defying the Constitution-established third branch of the government! Did you know that Republicans were an existential threat to democracy?

  • Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel (D): “SCOTUS and the Republicans are coming next for your birth control, the sexual positions you can engage in with another consenting adult (in Michigan-missionary only) and your same-sex marriage.”

Does he really believe that? If so, he’s too dumb to be in his position. If not, he’s lying to the public, which trusts its elected lawyers not to deceive them.

  • Rep. Tim Ryan (D, Ohio): “Today’s disastrous decision is the largest case of government overreach in my lifetime.”

Wow. If enough of his constituents had any civic literacy at all, that nonsense alone should guarantee his defeat. The Supreme Court over-ruling its own previous unsupported usurpation of state democratic processes to return a matter of public concern without clear moral/ethical resolution to the public is “government overreach.”

4. Nothing’s unethical about changing one’s mind, but if a mature elected leader does a complete flip-flop, the public is owed an explanation.

In March 2006, when he was just dumb and not senile, Sen. Joe Biden gave an interview in which he said

“I do not view abortion as a choice or a right. I think it’s always a tragedy, and I think that it should be rare and safe. And I think we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions. And there ought to be able to have a common ground and consensus as to do that.”

Last week, however, President Biden said Roe v. Wade being overturned was a “sad day for the country.” In his speech , the President said that “the health and life of women in this nation are now at risk” and called Dobbs a “decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country.”

What caused this radical reversal in his beliefs? Is anyone going to ask him?

5. Speaking of abortion flip-flops… The New York Times reports that privately, Donald Trump has told many people that he believes the Roe reversal will be “bad for Republicans.” Publicly, Trump has said, “God made the decision…[it was]following the Constitution, and giving rights back when they should have been given long ago….I think, in the end, this is something that will work out for everybody” and “Today’s decision, which is the biggest win for life in a generation, along with other decisions that have been announced recently, were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.”

Observations:

  • I find it completely plausible that Trump would say the decision he indeed worked for and promised to facilitate was “bad for Republicans,” meaning his chances of getting elected President again. He has no ethical core, and everything is about him. But…
  • It is unethical journalism to publish unsourced gossip and rumors as news. This is how the news media has smeared Trump since 2016 (and why the claim that the election was stolen from him is not “discredited”) This sort of attack by anonymous whispers is designed to appeal to confirmation bias. Despicable.
  • Donald Trump clearly can’t trust anyone. When I have private conversations, I don’t expect my friends and associates to leak them to reporters, and if they did, I would never have any contact with them again.
  • If Trump really is saying privately what the Times reports, he’s ridiculous and hypocritical much like Biden. He stated that ending Roe was a prime objective of his presidency, and now says it’s “bad”? I’d like to see how he can reconciled those two positions.

19 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up After A Cold, Cold Saturday, 6/26/2022: Dobbs Freakout Edition

  1. Regarding Trump, “bad for Republicans” is exactly the kind of vague statement taken out of context that has been used to attack him since his first candidacy. There is nothing unethical about noting that achieving a policy objective might be unpopular and have “bad” consequences, and then strategizing how to mitigate those impacts. If anything, it shows integrity that they pursued the right thing despite foreseeable negative political consequences.

    • Second. He’s a pretty astute political operator. There are doubtless lots of Republican voters who are not pro-life, and Dobbs may push them into the Dem column. How is it unethical to make an observation? This is not LBJ saying of the Civil Rights Act, “This’ll keep the niggers voting for us for the next two hundred years.”

    • Of course the Roe reversal is bad for republicans and the shameless dems will do everything possible to insure that manifests at the ballot box.
      It is an enormous gift, the perfect anti-right rally cry, and infinitely spinnable.
      Pelosi and her ilk did not waste any time doing just that.
      Trump’s instincts are often correct but he usually lacks the ability to articulate them well.

        • Yeah, after all the dust has settled you may very well be right Jack, despite Lefty’s enthusiastic efforts to the contrary.
          I suppose when alone within the voting booth, apart from external influence, a thoughtful normal citizen, even a democrat, will probably consider 62 million murdered babies not something to rejoice and rally around.

    • Yes. I often make the observation that every new government expense will almost never go away, because cutting government services is almost always political suicide, even if it is moral, fair, and (if not now, will eventually be) necessary.

      Still a bad move, politically speaking.

  2. The Times has about as much credibility on the topic of Donald Trump as a militant vegan has on the topic of smoking brisket. Especially when they’re quoting their “anonymous sources” again, and the quote just happens to match up exactly with what the Times staff desperately wants to be true.

    Source the quote, then I’ll consider it. Otherwise, I have to assume, based on years of prior “reporting” on Trump, that the Times is being deceitful in some way.

  3. Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.): “You ain’t seen nothing yet. … The hell with the Supreme Court. We will defy them. … And if they think black women are intimidated or afraid, they got another thought coming. Black women will be out in droves. We will be out by the thousands. We will be out by the millions.”

    The perpetually angry bitter Maxine Waters seems overly enthusiastic about the idea that possibly fewer black babies will be aborted.
    Very peculiar.
    If she genuinely cared about black women her message would be something like: love yourself enough, respect yourself enough, value yourself enough, to insist that the men in your life do the same when desiring intimacy with you.

    • Wow, that first sentence really came out wrong.

      Should read: The perpetually angry bitter Maxine Waters seems overly *upset* about the idea that possibly fewer black babies will be aborted.

      • Yes. Evidently black lives don’t matter to Maxine. How will the black women defy the Supreme Court? Get pregnant and then have the babies aborted? That’ll show ’em, eh Maxine? Them cracker ass judges.

  4. As a woman, what guts me is that the safest place for a baby to be isn’t , and the person who above all others should advocate for that babies life and protect it, instead is upset they can’t kill it at will, for any reason whatsoever, including their own irresponsibility and stupidity.

    Hearing my fellow “sisters” complaining that they can’t “exercise their RIGHT” (and have others pay for it) is one of the sickest, ANTI SCIENCE, anti nature, things I have ever seen.

    And, for a party committed to science, the left has huge blinders on with this one.

    So huge their religion that condemns abortions is IGNORED as well!

    It’s as if people who are for abortions lose all logic and reason and don’t even see the hypocrisies and inconsistencies in their arguments.

    But today, I’m most disappointed by women. The things I hear them say are so opposite what they say they are, “strong,” “smart,”, “powerful.” And it’s those mean old men who have kept them down.

    Well here’s an opportunity to EXERCISE that power you say you have ladies!

    Don’t you see? In our fight to be equal, and our boasting that we are smarter than men, we can’t keep from becoming pregnant, despite the resources available? Despite all the knowledge we have on how it happens?

    We act like these babies appear out of the blue like a wart or dreaded pimple!

    It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so utterly ridiculous, irresponsible and pathetic.

    And I’m not talking about those who were raped. They are the only victims in this issue. The rest of us? No.

    Women have ALL THE POWER in this one.

    We seek power and equality in society, and then we continually play the victim. We fully ignore the fact we alone control our “health choice.” And we seem too stupid and blinded to realize, despite the abundance of resources made available to us, that PREVENTATIVE health choices are the BEST.

    Meaning, how on earth are we still having to even talk about getting an abortion????

    We can prevent getting pregnant!

    But none of my “sisters” ranting and protesting right now are even mentioning the obvious!

    So they whine, and cry and act like victims when all along they’ve had the power.

    Maybe it’s time for them to watch the Wizard of Oz again and realize it’s always been in them. Remember the ruby slippers?

    And, imagine how fast men would magically change if they exercised that power?

    All that being said…

    Where are the men’s voices in this telling their brother’s, “dude, what the F? Get a condom or go relieve yourself! Your future child could be KILLED BY ITS MOTHER if you don’t!”

    This can’t fall solely on the woman, though she alone can deny sex.

    Our entire culture has failed.

    And as we boast so much progress, we are still as barbaric as the ones killing their babies thousands of years ago.

    Maybe the truth is, mankind has ugly and self serving tendencies and seeks immediate gratification without counting the cost.

    I don’t truly know.

    I do know one thing…

    We best get back to talking and LISTENING to each other, and hearing those with whom we disagree and their fears and concerns.

    Both sides.

    Because if we continue on this course, more than innocent babies are going to pay the price.

    Time for leaders to lead. Be examples of what integrity looks like. And enter into the hard work of uniting people who are moving farther and farther away from each other.

    It’s as if an entity has been working overtime to divide us.

    Divided we WILL fall. And maybe this is what falling looks like.

    Sorry I rambled. I’m guessing this will get eaten! Lol.

    By then at Jack, PLEASE don’t call yourself names because you are human, ok?

    You’re an awesome person and allowed to be effected by life! Even when it means you don’t do as much as you planned.

    • Wow, great comment Mermaid! You da man, I mean woman, or whatever.
      Sometimes the gender of the author commenting really does matter.
      I wish I had ten female friends like you, or five, or even one…

      • LOL!!

        Well, a friend said, “how can we protect women’s rights when we now are arguing what a woman is?

        The good news is there IS some conversation happening now with women ON BOTH sides.

        it really only takes one or 2 modeling what ADULTS do when they disagree, and others will take note and see a better way.

        We do NOT have that in our leadership. So people really have no idea what it looks like.

  5. In regards to Trump, I think the answer is more nuanced than it seems. I’m not sure which of my four thoughts apply, or if some component of all of them do.

    First, as multiple comments before me have said, Trump can say that while he is proud of attaining this victory, it will harm Republicans at the polls. Many things can be a proud accomplishment and still be harmful at the polls. Cutting defense spending by requiring less waste would be harmful at the polls. Cutting welfare or food stamp spending by cracking down on fraud and welfare queens would be harmful at the polls.

    Second, trusting the New York Times to accurately report on Trump is foolish. They couldn’t accurately report about his exaggerations, calling them lies when everyone who watched some of the events that he was quoted on could immediately tell that he was using hyperbole. Indeed, noticing his character for several years prior (if we had to) indicated that he was overly prone to hyperbole.

    Third, Trump had, for a long time, been pro-choice. That being said, he ran on a promise to fight abortion. He delivered on that promise. He may have disagreed that it was something he thought was good, but he promised, and like a business man who makes deals, he fulfilled his end of the bargain. Privately commenting that he isn’t fond of a part of a deal that he brokered isn’t wrong for a deal maker. Businessmen often have to accept parts of deals that they personally dislike, but are part of getting the business they desire.

    Fourth, Trump is unethical. If he decided to be hypocritical, isn’t that just part of the Julie Principal for him? Trump acted unethically again. We can say how that was unethical, we can talk about how not to be unethical, but it isn’t worth getting excited about. The Wyoming desert got inadequate rainfall…again. Shock!

    • Regarding #5) I’ve seen quite a few people opine about the political danger posed to Republicans by finally achieving a victory over Roe. Quite a few of these commenters were Republicans themselves AND quite a few of THEM seemed to imply that Republicans should have strategically NEVER sought to overturn Roe in order to keep its base motivated.

      Pure sniveling cowardice.

      This victory could very well reduce some Republican impetus – and to the contrary, how many Republican voters were slowly becoming disenchanted for years of what seemed to be only nominal opposition to abortion – how many of them did Republicans risk losing in the coming years because of inactivity.

      But not a bit of that matters – if a policy goal is fundamentally believed to be *right* for the nation – and by definition ALL policy goals must be considered by their proponents to be fundamentally right for the nation – then any party cynically delaying the resolution of those goals is wretched.

      Good for the victory regardless of who it disillusions or who is invigorates.

      For me, I think politically speaking it’s just one more indicator that we are at the closing paragraphs of the current chapter of American political alignments and coalitions. The return of abortion to the States is one more milestone in the heated conversation of the waning days our era’s Republican – Democrat dichotomy.

      Good. As 2030-2032 approach we’ll continue to see how the party shake ups (which Republicans seem to have a head start on and Democrats are starting to show fractures) settle into a new dichotomy.

      • But not a bit of that matters – if a policy goal is fundamentally believed to be *right* for the nation – and by definition ALL policy goals must be considered by their proponents to be fundamentally right for the nation – then any party cynically delaying the resolution of those goals is wretched.

        Bingo.

  6. I have a few observations, but since they involve multiple commenters, I thought it best to make this collection general:
    First, for Batman, who wrote “I suppose when alone within the voting booth, apart from external influence, a thoughtful normal citizen, even a democrat, will probably consider 62 million murdered babies not something to rejoice and rally around.” My sense is that this may play into some voters’ political calculus, but I think the old James Carville admonition will overpower it all: It’s the economy, stupid.” That, I believe will drive most voters this fall.
    Second, for M², thank you so much for both your comments. They were thoughtful and, I believe, heartfelt, baring your soul to the Commentariat. What a wonderful way to give us insight to a very complex moral issue that SCOTUS settled by sending it back to the States.
    Third, and finally, to JMF: that entitlement programs never end is something I’ve noticed since I “came of age,” so to speak, in ’71, when I graduated and entered the USAF. Congrats, HJF, you are right on target. Perhaps a Sunset Requirement for entitlements could be a more effective Amendment than a Balanced Budget Amendment.
    Wonderful discussions for a Sunday morning, Jack!
    MB

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