Afternoon Ethics Picnic, 8/20/2022: Today’s Theme? Not Giving A Damn…

Yesterday, walking Spuds, I was on a path temporarily blocked on one side by the fencing for a school toddler play area. I glanced over into that area, and suddenly, bearing down on us, was tall young man jogging hard and apparently prepared to run at us. Bad idea: on the leash, Spuds is protective unless he knows an individual or that individual’s dog. I literally had no place to go to avoid this guy. I assumed he would break to my left, but couldn’t be sure; if he kept going, I would have to pull Spuds left, and I wasn’t sure there would be time to get him far enough away to prevent his interacting with the jogger. Literally at the last moment, the jogger veered to go around us. Spuds lunged, and I just barely was able to keep him off this jerk by throwing all of my weight into the leash. I’d estimate that Spuds was within an inch of nipping him…and he would have deserved it. The jogger just happily ran on, never saying a word. Spuds, who had never been charged by a stranger like that before, was upset. I was more upset. I have long considered the great majority of joggers self-absorbed, inconsiderate and anti-social creeps who treat the rest of the world as an afterthought. This was only the latest proof of my thesis.

1. Bias makes you stupid, but it can’t make you this stupid, can it? Chris Isidore claimed  in a  CNN Business article that the drop in gasoline prices from their earlier high is like a “$100-a-month tax cut. Or a maybe $100-a-month raise.” This is challenger for most audacious cherry-picking of all-time. “The steady drop in gas prices over the last few months has turned into an unexpected form of economic stimulus, coming at a time when the Federal Reserve is trying to cool the economy and battle rising prices with higher interest rates,” this alleged journalist “explains.” But contrary to Isidore’s shameless and dishonest spin, economists estimate that Americans are  spending  an extra $5,200 in 2022 just to buy the same things they bought in 2021. Another calculation put the extra cost at $460 extra each month, or more than $5,500 this year.

CNN trying to frame this as a boon for consumers because of a drop in price of a single commodity is–what? What do you call it? Is it better or worse than Biden and media propagandists claiming that an 8.5 percent inflation increase is actually “zero,” or that two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth indicates a depression this time as it always has before (except for the strange year of 1947)? In truth, it’s all the same: a biased and corrupt media that sees its job as not informing the public, but to misinform them to ensure that they keep voting Democrat. [Pointer and Source: The Federalist]

2. Walrus Ethics? Freya, a 1,300-pound walrus named for the Norse goddess of love, beauty and war, had become famous as adorable mascot of Oslo. But visitors to the marina where Freya liked to hang out had become increasingly bold, or more accurately, reckless. They got as close to Freya as possible for—ugh!–selfies. Stupid parents let children get too close to the huge wild animal for safety. Authorities warned that if the public didn’t stop courting disaster,“there is a possibility to greenlight a controlled operation to put the animal down.” This reminded me of an infamous National Lampoon cover:

People are displeasing you, so you kill…an animal? And that’s exactly what Oslo authorities did. They killed the walrus, because people were acting like idiots.

I don’t know what a better way to deal with the problem would be, but my ethics alarm is ringing hard.

3. “Diversity” at Harvard. The Harvard Crimson released  results of a survey it conducted of approximately 500 Harvard professors. Only 16% of Harvard faculty regarded themselves as politically moderate and 1.5% identified as conservative. (I would say that the “moderates” are almost certainly what would have been called mainstream liberals just a few years ago. The rest? All solid left progressives. A university should be very concerned about intellectual and ideological diversity, but obviously this one isn’t. It is aiming for intellectual and ideological conformity, and is achieving it. The Crimson calculates that just 6.4% of recent Harvard graduates identify as conservative.

Then there is this:

“When asked whether they would support increasing ideological diversity among faculty by hiring more conservative-leaning professors, only a quarter of respondents were in support,” the survey reported. “In contrast, 31 percent opposed hiring conservative professors to increase ideological diversity, while 44 percent of respondents said that they neither supported or opposed it.”

4. I know I make too many typos, but Yahoo is supposed to have, you know, editors and a staff… here is a current Yahoo! headline. It’s been up for two days:

A Man Feels Weird Asking His Girlfriend’s Parents for Permission to Marry HerA Man Feels Weird Asking His Girlfriend’s Parents for Permission to Marry Her & Reddit Has Some Thoughts

They just don’t care.

30 thoughts on “Afternoon Ethics Picnic, 8/20/2022: Today’s Theme? Not Giving A Damn…

  1. Once again we have a depressing story about a supposedly lower-level animal being murdered because of the arresting stupidity and selfishness of the bi-pedal animal—> aka dumb ass humans.

    “I don’t know what a better way to deal with the problem would be”
    I assume you did not really think this one through Jack.

    The usually accommodating marine mammal should be left alone until the big fella
    *at a bare minimum* claims a substantial chunk of human flesh for its own and even then, murder seems extreme.
    I’m not a big fan of pre-crime euthanasia, although willing to consider exceptions for certain proglibots.

    • “proglibots.”

      My dear Caped Crusader, The Gotch would be flattered beyond words were you’s to use his signature, and…um…inclusive, reference Proglibocrat….

      The Gotch

      • Good to hear from you Gotch.
        I first came across both words reading comments by you and GDHM.
        He used both.
        Cannot remember if you only used proglibocrat and do not know if y’all are the originators.

        The aforementioned is attribution here and now but will be the only one.
        I never liked the (HT/to whoever) every time the words were used.
        Too cumbersome and breaks the flow of the sentence.
        I hope you understand and acquiesce.

        For me, the words have different connotations and I prefer proglibot most of the time although they are certainly both keepers.
        The important thing to remember is the people both words point to need to be thoroughly
        disempowered so they cannot continue to violently deconstruct all that is righteous and holy.

  2. Well, you do know that all enlightened cultures kill inconvenient life because of the irresponsible behavior of others.

    That’s why we’re so far behind Scandinavia.

  3. I often go jogging and as we in New Zealand drive on the left we also walk, jog, cycle on the left on any paths. There seem to be a lot of people, especially recent immigrants from China who try to walk on the right. If I keep going on the left most of them who are coming from the opposite direction move over to their left and for those who don’t I shout “Keep left” as I dodge around them. But as for the dogs a lot of the dog walkers seem to have no concept of left or right so I usually take a wide deviation through what is at this time of year soggy, muddy grass to avoid tripping over the leash. I guess a lot of these dog owners who can’t or don’t keep proper control of their dog seem to be self-absorbed, inconsiderate and anti-social creeps.

  4. Did Spuds growl or bark when the jogger got close? If he did, then the jogger is a double-idiot. Otherwise I kinda understand the jogger’s lack of concern if the dog showed no reaction until the last second. That being said, if I was the jogger I would’ve slowed down, and asked “Will he be alright if I pass?”

    Regarding the walrus matter, I don’t have much sympathy for the “it’s just an animal, it doesn’t know better” argument for NOT euthanizing an animal that’s proven to be a danger. It’s precisely because an animal is an animal that you can’t nicely ask it to stop, or slap it with a fine, or put it in jail then release it back where it was. Sometimes euthanasia is the only option. It’s just like a cape buffalo killing a lion; no reason we as a species can’t fight for own interests. That being said, I don’t know if euthanasia was necessary here. I haven’t seen an explanation about WHY they couldn’t relocate the walrus; might’ve been more expensive but it would’ve been better PR. You want people to respect wildlife, but you also want them to to VALUE wildlife.

    • An argument could be made that by taking the most horrific course of action, they may have shocked people into learning to behave better around wild marine mammals. Many of the idiots who ignored multiple pleas to knock it the hell off might now remember that they contributed to the animal’s death every time they look at their stupid selfie.

      They should have taxidermied the corpse and put it in the town square with a sign saying “Get your fill of fucking selfies now, you selfish assholes.”

      • The other alternative I considered, but that would be legally impossible, would be to officially make any injury or death to humans caused by their recklessness in interacting with the walrus beyond civil or criminal remedy. That is, “OK, morons, go in for a walrus kiss, but if you do, you get no sympathy, damages or insurance. You take the risk, it’s your funeral. And the walrus bears no responsibility. You’re the human, after all. And you were warned.”

        • Wait, why would it be legally impossible? Isn’t that how it normally works when a human tries to interact with nature without proper preparation and gets themselves injured or killed? Freya wasn’t a captive walrus; she was a wild walrus living in her natural habitat, albeit a bit further south than their normal range if my cursory research is any indication.

          Does a government have an obligation to remove a wild animal that just lies on a beach and doesn’t attack anyone who keeps a respectful distance? If so, would it also have an obligation to destroy all sharks and purge the swamps of alligators? Finish off the last of the bison? Drive bears to extinction?

          …I think there’s more to this story. Notification mindset activated for further research.

          I got curious about the article’s line early on regarding boats, and Google suggested to me “Freya the walrus sinking boats”. Apparently that’s how she got famous; just crawling up on (docked) boats and capsizing them.

          It looks like the issue is more as if a moose started hanging out in suburban areas and tipping over people’s cars. It’s a big animal that may lash out violently if it feels threatened, causes property damage unprompted, and really shouldn’t be anywhere near humans in the first place. (Walruses are supposed to live closer to the Arctic Circle, as my earlier research revealed.) If anyone got hurt, the government would indeed be to blame for allowing the animal to continue frequenting human-populated areas.

          So it’s not like a human walking up to a bear in a national park; Freya was actually invading human spaces. Could people have dealt with that? Maybe. But it is still the government’s prerogative to remove the animal, and unfortunately transporting a walrus with current technology is not safe enough for the walrus that it would be cost-effective. Based on this new knowledge, I hereby update my conclusion: I now think that euthanizing Freya was a justifiable decision, and possibly even the best one given the constraints of the situation. Just as humans must learn to respect nature, wild animals need to keep their distance from human-settled territory.

          • Policy everywhere is that if an animal kills or seriously injures a human no matter who is at fault, the animal is put down. It’s Priority of the Species, or Human Superiority.We apply this to dogs, bears and snakes, among other species.

            I agree that if Freya was a nuisance because she was invading human spaces, the ethical argument for killing her is much stronger…although it is the boats that are in her territory, not the other way around.

            • According to the article EC linked to, Freya was quite the traveler, so her territory was pretty much whatever she decided it was. It’s often risky for animals to not hold to established boundaries; not just from humans, but from other animals that get testy about their space being invaded, and the travelers finding themselves in unfamiliar conditions that they can’t survive in.

            • If human stupidity is the only reason the human got hurt, meaning the animal is not dangerous as long as no humans do something stupid, then I don’t see what purpose killing the animal would serve. I get the concept of Human Superiority if it means valuing the life of a human over the life of an animal, but I don’t get it if it means subscribing to the Barn Door Fallacy. Killing the animal doesn’t bring humans back to life. If you can take safety measures to prevent it from happening again, what’s the justification for killing the animal?

              (If only stupid humans died, I wouldn’t even be that passionate about the safety measures, except that stupid humans can later become smart. Plus, feeling threatened by stupid humans might traumatize the poor animal. Or it might develop a taste for human flesh, in which case killing it might be advisable after all.)

              From the video thumbnails I saw, those were docked boats Freya was jumping on. That’s not her territory, though I can understand why she would think it is. More importantly, she’s a lot further south than she should be. Again, it’s like if a moose came into a suburb and started walking on parked cars and crushing them. Or if a polar bear started wandering around the countryside. Or saltwater crocodiles showed up on American beaches. Maybe it hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but it really shouldn’t be in human lands. In this case, Freya shouldn’t be in human waters. Does that make sense?

              • Yes, it seems the main driver of the decision to euthanize was costliness. I don’t know what their economy is like over there, but I sense their wildlife agencies may lose more in the long-term than they would if they at least tried to relocate the animal.

  5. The caption for the cartoon, “Goodness, Murray, it wouldn’t be a picnic without ants”

    Some cyclists can be assholes too. Not all of them, but occasionally I’ll come upon a group taking up the whole lane.

    VTL 1234. Riding on roadways, shoulders, bicycle or in-line skate lanes and bicycle or in-line skate paths. (a) Upon all roadways, any bicycle or in-line skate shall be driven either on a usable bicycle or in-line skate lane or, if a usable bicycle or in-line skate lane has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge.

    Conditions to be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, in-line skates, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle or person on in-line skates and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.

    Then if you give the briefest of toots possible they act like they’re ready to kill you or that you have no right to be driving while they are cycling. Anyway, not all cyclists are in this category but still too many.

    #1) I’ve also noticed the focus on gas price decrease while ignoring the overall inflation rate. They should start talking about food prices – our food bill has gone up significantly and we don’t eat any junk food (well very little).

    Tangent: Has anyone noticed the lack of new cars; specifically sedans? I don’t like SUVs – I want a sedan. Not that I’m currently in the market for a car but there isn’t a dealer near here with sedans. My current vehicle is a Lincoln and now Lincoln doesn’t make the MKZ or the Continental any longer – only SUVs. Maybe CNN should cover the cost of used cars right now?

    #2) Many people don’t seem to realize how dangerous animals in the wild can be. If someone got injured or killed it would have been their own fault.

    #4) I spotted some typos:
    “Freya liked to hang out had become oncreasingly bold”
    “Only 16% of Harvard faculty regarded themselves as politically as moderate”

    C’mon two typos in the post cannot be regarded as “too many typos”. At least not for me. The quality of the posts is what matters.

    • PS: I found more. I’ve had several kind readers in the past who regularly proofed posts and alerted me to typos, but eventually the work burned them out. I’m a bit worried about Pennagain, who has been missing for a while…

    • The “briefest of toots” will make most cyclists very angry (even the ones who don’t get off on getting in the way of cars) because a horn is much louder and startling when you’re right next to the car and not expecting it than you’d guess.

  6. 2. I suggest they should have required people approaching the walrus to read about walrus attacks and to watch videos of walruses battling each other, to remind them that a walrus isn’t just an overgrown baby seal. For the kids, there’s a Swiss children’s television show called Pingu, and one episode features the penguin protagonist having a nightmare about a walrus… seal… man… creature. Even adults find it quite disturbing. That will extinguish any enthusiasm that children have for approaching pinnipeds for a while. That said, walruses do look pretty adorable and can be trained.

    I don’t think we should be punishing wild animals for hurting humans that approach them. They have a right to defend their personal space. Humans have a responsibility to understand how nature works and seeking something more harmonious that thoughtless destruction for the purpose of maintaining complacency.

  7. You can’t keep people from being mindless around dogs. The way to mitigate these issues is by using training to keep these things from happening. Regardless of the jogger, if your dogs bites someone it’s on you.

    Try reigning in Spuds to be right by your side and not further out. Put him on the side the jogger isn’t while trying to block his eyes. Remain calm and use curving and other calming signals like yawning to bring down the tension.

    Training for urban “combat” should be a priority. If you need resources, let me know.

  8. Although it pains me to do it, I’m going offer a qualified defense of the 0% inflation claim. The annual inflation was 8.5, and that’s how it’s normally presented, but the consumer price index in July was unchanged from July, so there as 0% monthly inflation.

    The month to month change in CPI is NOT how inflation is usually reported, so harping on that is inherently deceptive, especially when the media tends to drop the “monthly” from “monthly inflation rate” when describing it.

  9. “…while 44 percent of respondents said that they neither supported or opposed it.”

    Which, in this case, is likely the same as saying “44 percent of respondents actually opposed it, but had enough sense to realize that saying so would reveal them to be craven ideologues unfit to teach at a clown college, much less at an inexplicably highly prestigious university, so they claimed no opinion.”

  10. [2nd try – first one may have been eaten by the spam filter]
    Another in the continuing saga of dog vs. human. Previous situations I recall involved a couple of women with a group of kids near an elementary school and some kids on skateboards. Joggers are different, but I wouldn’t presume that most are “self-absorbed, inconsiderate and anti-social creeps” (don’t presumptions and biases have a similar effect on thinking?), but I have some seen some who are like that and think they own the multi-use path. Personally, I always try to give unknown dogs a wide berth because they do have a protective nature and owners cannot always be trusted to control them.
    In trying to picture the situation here, it sure seems the jogger could have and should have given that wide berth, although if that meant going into the road, then the traffic situation would be important, too. If there was traffic, then stopping, waiting, and then going around would be an option, but at least some joggers are very reluctant to ever stop their jogging until they finish their run; you’ve probably seen them jogging in place while waiting for the traffic signal to change to green.
    I’m not a jogger any more, but I do walk a lot, and there are a lot of dog-walkers in my area as well. I’m grateful for those owners who have trained their dog to sit and stay when the passing room is limited.

  11. I’m in the U.S. where it’s customary to walk on the left side of the road. One semi-foggy dark morning a few years back a jogger loomed up out of the dark in his right lane passing close by us, and got bit on the thigh for his trouble. Only person Max ever bit, and he damned well deserved it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.