Collective Ethics Dunce: The BET Awards

As Ethics Alarms has stated many times, any individual, official, politician, pundit, journalist, celebrity or organization that abuses its public trust and engages in unethical and destructive conduct when their statements make the public more ignorant than it already is, and it already is too ignorant to competently participate in a democracy.

Welcome to the BET Awards!

The hostess of last night’s televised festivities (of a racially exclusive awards show that makes pronouncements about equality and civil rights), Taraj Henson, got things off to an irresponsible start by saying, with the ‘I’m pissed off and certain I am right though I have no clue what I’m ranting about’ expression on her face you see above by saying,

“It’s about damn time we talk about the fact that guns have more rights than a woman. It’s a sad day in America. A weapon that can take lives has more power than a woman who can give life, if she chooses to.”

This is being called a “powerful statement” this morning, on CNN’s HLN among other places. Stupid statements are not powerful. It is not a fact that guns have more rights than women: inanimate objects have no rights. Henson is making declarations about rights when she doesn’t understand what a right is. Weapons don’t take lives: they have no agency or autonomy. People take lives. Unlike “guns,” abortion is an act performed by people, and that act has taken far, far more lives in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade was written than people firing guns have. No laws in any states either require women to “give life” or prevents them from doing so. The laws at issue do limit the extent to which a women, having created human life, can unilaterally end it when she “chooses to.”

Misleading, inarticulate, hyperbolic and intellectually muddled pronouncements like Henson’s do no good whatsoever, and a lot of harm by making intelligent debate impossible.

Others were similarly adamant and destructive.

Rapper Janelle Monáe introduced the nominees for best female R&B/pop artist thusly:

“To Black queer artists, to Black non-binary artists, these artists making art on our own terms, owning our truths, and expressing ourselves freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and police our bodies, my body, our decisions, and my decisions. Fuck the Supreme Court. I know we’re celebrating us right now, as we should. We absolutely deserve to celebrate. Especially now, we must celebrate our art by protecting our rights and our truths.”

Nobody gets to have their own “truths.” Personalized “truths” are better known as delusions, fantasies, and rationalizations. Nor is any citizen’s body free to do whatever it chooses: BET’s celebrities would have served their community better by pointing out that they do not, for example, have the freedom to kill each other, especially in the wildly disproportionate numbers they do. Abortion may become illegal because there are very strong arguments ( I would say irrefutable) that the procedure also involves killing human beings, and if Janelle Monáe has a persuasive counter-argument to offer, it had better consist of something more substantial than “protecting our rights and our truths.”

Then singer Jazmine Sullivan appealed to the self-interest of the legion of black men who depend upon facing no responsibilities for having unprotected and promiscuous sex, leading to a black out-of-wedlock pregnancy dwaring that of any other demographic:

“OK, fellas? Y’all got us? Cause we got y’all. This is everybody’s issue. As always, I do this for the women, for my sisters especially. It’s a hard time right now for us, and I want to speak directly to the men. We need y’all. We need y’all to stand up — stand up for us, stand up with us. If you’ve ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing with us. This is not just a woman’s issue. This is everybody’s issue, and we need your support more than ever.”

The same line of reasoning argues for men rallying to repeal laws against drive-by shootings.

I’ll be collecting and periodically reporting on the notable celebrity outbursts about the Dobbs decision, which none of the bloviating celebs have read. If you encounter a fair, informed, well-reasoned and civil critique of the decision by a celebrity, please let me know.

Also alert me if you see a passenger pigeon flying overhead…

18 thoughts on “Collective Ethics Dunce: The BET Awards

  1. Nor is any citizen’s body free to do whatever it chooses: BET’s celebrities would have served their community better by pointing out that they do not, for example, have the freedom to kill each other, especially in the wildly disproportionate numbers they do. Abortion may become illegal because there are very strong arguments ( I would say irrefutable) that the procedure also involves killing human beings, and if Janelle Monáe has a persuasive counter-argument to offer, it had better consist of something more substantial than “protecting our rights and our truths.”

    Nor does the Constitution prohibit states from requiring people from getting vaccinated.

    Robert Reich actually defended the OSHA vaccine mandate; I need not remind you which side he is on.

    The sam side that caterwauled “my body my choice” when it comes to abortion enthusiastically embraced unprecedented COVID-19 vaccine mandates, such as requiring the vaccine just to visit public establishments, or to fly domestically within the United States, which has never been done before with any vaccine.

    There have been calls by people for hospitals to deny health care to people who did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Again, hospitals do not have a history of doing this with respect to other vaccines. I saw a tweet where one person argued that sex offenders are more worthy of getting hospital care than people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

    Others have demanded that health insurance companies either charge higher premiums for those unvaccinated from COVID-19, or deny coverage altogether. Again, health insurance companies do not do this with respect to the swine flu vaccine nor any other vaccine.

    And these ideas all came from the “pro choice” side.

  2. Has anyone ever sat the leftists down and quietly mentioned to them that continuing to rant with *really* bad arguments like this only make conservatives actually want to win more?

    Like, you’re going to guarantee conservatives will not seek compromise on anything related to guns if you act like this. Why? Because as all adults know (which clearly leftists aren’t adults) is that you don’t negotiate with children. You discipline them.

    • This is an apt thread:

      “You don’t like the decisions yesterday and today?

      You’re really not going to like the next part.

      I mean, it’s your fault, but you’re not going to like it.

      See, we were cool with the status quo.

      Yeah, we wanted abortion to go back to the states. Yeah, we wanted gun rights expanded. Yeah, we wanted our kids safe from LGBTQ indoctrination.

      But it wasn’t enough to fight about.

      We thought you were like us, that we could argue and make small gains and lose some ground but everything staying fairly level and levelheaded.

      But boy, were we wrong.

      Because while we were copacetic and just going along to get along, you were pushing.

      You pushed abortion. From “legal, safe, and rare in these specific instances”, you pushed now to the point of post birth abortion on demand for any reason.

      You pushed gun control. From “background checks and gun free zones” to now “red flag laws” which deny due process.

      (flagged portion of twitter thread, not sure what’s in here)

      And during all of this, you pushed disagreeing politically to calling us Nazis and justifying violence against us, justifying harming our families and our jobs.

      So now, we push back.

      We pushed back with Trump.
      We pushed back with state legislators.
      We pushed back with school boards.

      And we haven’t even begun to push back, kiddo.

      We’re going to push abortion back to the “rare” side in many states.

      We may give you a timeframe like 12 to 15 weeks, about what your beloved “other industrialized nations” give.

      We may not.

      We’re going to push back on gun control.

      We’re not going to accept your offer of “you can keep some guns until we decide to get rid of them.”

      We’re going to elect legislators to make ownership easier. We’re claiming our rights back.

      We’re going to push back on the LGBTQ agenda.

      We’re going to make your lives miserable when you try to get our kids to question their gender.

      We’re going to remove the power you think you have and put it in the hands of the parents.

      You had a chance to call a truce.
      You had a chance to be in control and be happy.
      You had a chance to just leave us alone.

      You didn’t.

      You pushed and prodded and provoked.

      And you’re threatening to commit violence now?

      Good luck with that.

      There’s a saying about the danger of making people who want to be left alone get involved.

      You’ve made us get involved.

      So all of it, from here on out, is squarely on you.

      Enjoy the whirlwind you have so deservedly reaped.”

  3. Ironically for the BET crowd, it could be argued that “guns don’t kill people, blacks kill people” (about 13% of the population, over half the murders). Considering that they are also the demographic that consistently votes in the highest percentage for democrats (about 90%), it could also then be accurately noted that it’s democrats that kill people.

  4. I’m even seeing commentary about womens health, generally impacted by roe v Wade. HIPAA, hysterectomies and other reproductive health issues. I’m no expert on this case, but I’m skeptical. Honestly I would appreciate input on Roe and HIPPA. I thought HIPPA was legislated later and not part of Roe at all.

    • As far as I know, HIPPA has nothing to do with abortions. It’s a separate act, passed in 1996, but it regulates privacy issues with regards to medical information.

      It means that hospitals and physicians and other health care providers cannot disclose medical information of any kind without your specific consent. So without my consent, my doctor cannot tell someone that I have, say, diabetes, that my blood pressure is 120/70, any and all number of things.

      • It also puts some hard technical requirements on the storage and transmission of medical data, meaning that the servers that hold your records have to be secured properly. Without it, there’s no assurance that those servers are any more secure than a typical Department of State email server . . . .


    • The concern is that medical records may be subpoenaed to investigate or prosecute illegal abortions. How HIPPA applies in such circumstances following the reversal of Roe is the question.

        • Medical privacy or complete privacy? I was under the impression that the Right to Privacy was cut from the same bolt that weaved abortion into a Constitutional Right. Is there a Constitutional Right to Privacy that I’ve failed to recognize?

          • The right to privacy was deemed one of those unenumerated rights flowing from “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” covered blanket-style by the 10th Amendmendment. I think that’s valid, because the Bill of Rights protects individuals from government infringement on matters the government has no legitimate interest in. Like birth control, as in Griswold. Or same sex marriage. None of the government’s business. Abortion, however, is not about private “choices” with no impact on anyone else.

            • I had been under the assumption that if there was a Constitutional Right to Privacy, it would’ve been a 4th Amendment Right to be secure in one’s person & papers. The 10th Amendment seems like less fertile ground for a Right to Privacy and possibly redundant.

              • Nothing wrong with redundancy when rights are involved. I have no problem with the 10th being taken to, among other things, protect citizens from the government interfering with what they choose to do behind closed doors when no other living thing is harmed and society isn’t undermined. Privacy encompasses matters that an individual should be able to engage in without government interest or oversight. Birth control–Yes. Child molestation—No. Same sex relationships: Yes. Addictive drug use: No. It’s not even a difficult line to see.

                • I agree. As my father used to say “As long as no harm is done, what consenting adults do in private is no-one else’s business”.

            • During the past one and a half years, there were discussions of vaccine mandates.

              the case Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 US 11 (1905), upholding a society-wide smallpox vaccination mandate against constitutional challenges.

              Jacobson of course predates rthe line of cases explaining the right to privacy.

              if the Supreme Court were to be faced with a challenge against a vaccine mandate, and the challenge can not be resolved on procedural or statutory grounds (the OSHA vaccine mandate was decided on statutory grounds) , it would have to reconsider Jacobson given the line of precedents recognizing a constitutional protection of a right to privacy.

              Because, under the line of precedents that include Griswold and Cruzan, vaccine mandates infringe on the right to privacy.

    • Some people in my circle of friends/acquaintances are hearing chatter from women on the Left that underneath much of the mental/emotional thrashing is the prospect that dating may be adversely affected by the Roe reversal. I was sad and disappointed to hear that.

  5. Apropos of nothing but this is beyond cynical:


  6. I wonder how a progressive pundit would respond if someone were to ask, ” isn’t it a good thing that the reversal of Roe could lead to an increase in progressive and black childbirths?”

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