Open Forum, Searching For Something Better

What a depressing week.

I think the cap might have been right before bedtime last night, when I finally checked out what strange tangents Ann Althouse had been on lately. For some reason she had tracked down an article at Metafilter about Nate Silver’s being separated from his creation, 538, and a reader comment that said he had been guilty of “bothsideism.”

Nate is far from an Ethics Alarms favorite, as when he is not analyzing sports he uses the alleged neutrality of his statistical models to mask an obvious left-leaning bias. However, the flat assertion that he didn’t slant his analysis enough for the Leftist totalitarians out there is genuinely frightening. It also echoes the ethics rot emanating from this recent post. I’ve encountered the term “bothsideism” periodically and mentally noted its absurdity, but now I realize that a frightening proportion of the public, academics and especially journalists really do believe that thoughtfully considering multiple points of view and perspective is wrong.

As they sing in “Sweet Charity”: There’s gotta be something better than this.

Please try to find it.

13 thoughts on “Open Forum, Searching For Something Better

    • Thanks for reminding me of this one, ME. It warrants a post. Quick comment: No, it would be unethical….and stupid. Abbott was foolish to make such a promise. Imagine a California governor promising to pardon OJ after he had been found guilty. We have to accept and support the justice system. I think Derek Chauvin was wrongly convicted by a biased jury and a tainted trial environment, but I sure wouldn’t pardon him.

  1. I think Joe Smith was wrongly convicted by a biased jury and a tainted trial environment, but I sure wouldn’t pardon him.
    Wait, why not? Fear of the mob maybe..

      • Fair enough. But your opinion, in this case anyway, tacks very close to reality. Does a “biased jury and a tainted trial environment” equate to due process? In the Perry case, is not the governor’s pardon power encompassed in due process? (Not making a case for or against the ethics of the proposed pardon, although it sounds, based on the discussion here, pretty dicey.)

        • “Does a “biased jury and a tainted trial environment” equate to due process?” To be decided by appeals courts. The system is what we have, and we can’t pick and choose when we want to follow it.

          • So when is it appropriate for a Governor to pardon someone in your opinion? To correct a grave miscarriage of justice after all appeals have been exhausted? Never?

            • Well, there’s a lot here on that topic already. Use the search function with “Pardons.” Limiting the question to murder, I’d say 1) after all appeals have been exhausted 2) after careful review of the trial and all evidence 3) only in cases where the pardon would not appear to be taking political sides in a controversial case (thus ruling out race-related cases) and 4) cases where the convicted individual has provided some justification for special treatment or 5) the discovery of new evidence.

  2. Minnesota’s scheme of keeping all of the proceeds of tax foreclosed homes (beyond just the taxes owed) may be about to end (saw update at This seems an obvious abuse of government power and it brightens my day to think that the courts occasionally push back.

  3. “Rationalization Because this is Horrible” or is this an “Unnecessary Rationalization Because There’s Nothing Unethical About This”?

    But the auction house has acknowledged that, in deciding to host the sale, it also had to grapple with the fact that Helmut Horten’s business empire was built atop his purchase of companies from Jews who were pressed to sell by the Nazis.

    “We are aware there is a painful history,” Peers said. “We weighed that up against various factors,” she added, saying that the foundation is “a key driver of philanthropic causes.”

    “Several historians and the daughter of a businessman who worked for a Jewish-owned company targeted for acquisition by Helmut Horten during the Nazi era said the philanthropic benefits today are not sufficient to warrant a sales event that has the effect of obscuring the roots of the family’s fortune.”

    “Last year, a historian hired by Heidi Horten to investigate the nature of her husband’s fortune released a lengthy report that said Helmut Horten had clearly benefited from the acquisition of Jewish businesses sold under duress, but that the level of wealth he realized from those activities had been exaggerated.”

    Is it unethical to benefit from this wealth? If it is, then the “hey we use some money for charity” is a rationalization. If it isn’t unethical to benefit from this wealth, then they’re using just a normal use of wealth to unnecessarily rationalize an imaginary wrong…

  4. Well, given this era’s love affair with disproportionately ruining people and simultaneously, with irrational zeal, ruining people only tangentially in contact with wrong-doers – I give you, a bad idea:

    Here is a list of *merely* accused or suspected Nazi collaborators. At this point they are almost all surely passed away but they have relatives who are not. And given the wretched atmosphere of virulent and oft times violent cancel culture – the living relatives or descendants of the accused will suffer.

    And worse about it – it will be entirely on accusations or suspicion that time has long since erased any ability to *prove*.

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