I wonder: which is more significant in U.S. ethics history? On this date in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sounded his famous warning about the malign influence of the growing perpetual military bureaucracy and the industrial interests dependent upon it, a “military-industrial complex” that benefited from war and was vulnerable to an abuse of power.. Eisenhower warned, “[while] we recognize the imperative need for this development…We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence…The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Largely forgotten now was Ike’s other admonition: “As we peer into society’s future, we–you and I, and our government–must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow,” he said. “We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.”
Then there was 1994, when on this date Paula Jones accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment, leading to Clinton’s in-court perjury and, indirectly, his impeachment via the Monica Lewinsky mess. Clinton, I believe, corrupted the entire Democratic Party, made George W. Bush’s election possible, and began the decline of the respect and credibility the U.S. Presidency must have to be effective.
Or maybe, in some sense, this date in 1964 planted a truly insidious seed of ethics rot in our culture. On this date, NBC gave the go-ahead for the production of “The Monkeys,” a TV sitcom about a fake pop band modeled on the Beatles as they were portrayed in “A Hard Days Night.” Eventually assembled from struggling musicians and two has-been former child stars, the briefly successful development began the toxic trend of ersatz celebrity, even though, as it turned out, the fake band wasn’t much worse than a lot of the real bands the Sixties inflicted on us.
1. MLK pornographic sculpture update: In an op-ed in the Boston Herald, Rasheed Walters wrote in part of the fiasco,
The Boston Common’s illustrious history and Boston’s popularity as a tourist destination made this opportunity to honor the Kings that much more fitting. Furthermore, this statue will represent how far Boston has evolved in the last 50 years from a racist city to a world-class city inclusive of all people, reflecting Dr. King’s dream [but] the statue that was supposed to symbolize an embrace between Dr. King and Mrs. King was nothing more than two arms detached from a body. Depending on the angle, the statue appeared to be feces, sexual innuendo, or a “woke penis,” as described by the New York Post. The “Embrace Statue” is an utter insult to the honor and legacy of the Kings, an embarrassment to the city of Boston, and an aesthetically unpleasant addition to the country’s oldest park….This spectacular failure has been the subject of countless jokes around the country. However, Black Bostonians are not laughing; we are outraged, dissatisfied, and upset that this opportunity was squandered. We don’t see any statues depicting the severed arm of General George Washington brandishing a sword. So, why should we see statues of our African American heroes mutilated?
I don’t think controversy is going away. The parallel might be Winston Churchill’s infamous portrait awarded to him by Parliament, and which his wife eventually torched:
(I like the portrait better than “The Embrace”…)
2. The U.S. has got to learn to keep the world at arms length, or its un-American values will poison us. The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting is taking place in Davos, Switzerland, from Jan. 16 to 20, bring together “global elites” together from politics, business, and the arts. Naturally, American conservatives are in short supply on the guest list. Some sense of the gathering can be gleaned from the fact that it paid ex-CNN hack Brian Stelter to attend and host a program. Stelter isn’t especially bright, talented, witty or astute, but he is a leftist, so that was qualification enough. He hosted a panel on “the clear and present danger of disinformation” featuring Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, media executive Jeanne Bourgault, and European Union official Vera Jourova. This is “balance” at events like this one. Jourova, ominously enough, told the audience and Stelter,
“For hate speech, we need the people who understand the language and the case law in the country, because what qualifies as hate speech, illegal hate speech, which you will have soon also in the U.S., we have a strong reason why we have this in the criminal law. We need the platforms to simply work with the language and identify such cases.”
Stelter had neither the guts nor the erudition to point out to Jourova that the U.S. would have to repeal the First Amendment for “hate speech” to become a crime. If Democrats have their way (nad don’t eventually regain sanity), we may come to that disastrous point, but certainly not “soon.” It was an incompetent and ignorant thing to say, and a professional moderator would have gently corrected her.
3. Something else that isn’t happening.…More than a dozen House Democrats this week proposed an amendment to the Constitution to allow 16-year-olds to vote. Democratic Rep. Grace Meng of New York introduced a resolution to replace the 26th Amendment giving 18-year-olds the right to vote with new language that says: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are sixteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.” In the last Congress, Meng said that lowering the voting age would help establish Democratic policies. “Our young people, including 16- and 17-year-olds, continue to fight and advocate for so many issues that they are passionate about from gun safety to the climate crisis,” she said. “They have been tremendously engaged on policies affecting their lives and their futures.” The fact that minors have undeveloped brains, have never had to support themselves and are increasingly ignorant with each generation doesn’t matter to the ruthless left: if they entrench Democratic power, that’s good enough. Michael Walsh writes, as he advocates raising the voting age back to 21 (that’s not happening either),
Where will it stop? It won’t, until we stop it. As I like to say, they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit. Next will be the 12-year-old voter, then the 8-year-old voter; by the time the Democrats reach the unborn voter they may finally reconsider their position on abortion, but by then the Republic will have passed into history, the victim of its own unlimited appetite for diversity, tolerance, and “progress.”