Ethics Zugzwang At CVS

I have a lot of pressing ethics posts on the metaphorical EA runway, but I have to get this one down while it is fresh in my mind.

Once again dealing with the pharmacy at CVS (no, the company never did respond to my complaint of rude and abusive treatment from last year; it just kept promising an investigation that never happened and a response that never came), I found myself waiting for prescription that I had been told was ready three days ago. An elderly woman sat down next to me, and started up a conversation: she was black, probably in her seventies, and less than four feet tall, with severely malformed legs.

I wanted so much to talk to her about her life. What was it like? What obstacles she must have overcome! Were most people kind and fair to her growing up? What prejudice and bigotry had she encountered? What was her view of humanity? Of America? Of race? Was she bitter, or did she have a positive view of the world? I would have loved to do an ethics podcast with her.

Yet there is no way, none, within current boundaries of etiquette, consideration, privacy and respect, to have such a conversation. All I could do is share my candy bar with her and chat amicably and emptily. She had, I think, a lot of wisdom to share that would help focus my ethics perception, yet there was no way to ethically unlock it. It was as rude to begin the conversation that I wanted to have as it was irresponsible to pass up the opportunity to have it.

“Dear April: No, Don’t Have Children. Your Letter Proves You Are Too Dumb To Be A Responsible Parent”

That would be my entire response to this recent query from “April” to Kwame Anthony Appiah, the ethics scholar whom the New York Times dubs “The Ethicist”(hold on to your skull; it almost blew mine):

I have always loved babies and children. I babysat throughout high school and college, and do so even now as a full-time engineer. My fiancé was drawn to me because of how much he appreciated my talent with and love for children. We have many little nieces, nephews and cousins whom we love but don’t get to see often. We also have always been clear with each other that we would try to have biological children soon after getting married.

That being said, my fiancé and I, who are both Generation Z, care deeply about the planet and painfully watch as scientists predict that the earth will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the 2030s. Is it selfish to have children knowing full well that they will have to deal with a lower quality of life thanks to the climate crisis and its many cascading effects, like increased natural disasters, food shortages, greater societal inequity and unrest?

We realize that a child’s very existence adds to our carbon footprint, but as parents we would do our best to foster an environmentally friendly household and try to teach our children how to navigate life sustainably. My fiancé says that because we are privileged as two working engineers in the United States, we can provide enough financial support to keep our children from feeling the brunt of the damage from climate change. Is it OK to use this privilege?

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Ethics Dunce: Ireland

Boy, if Ireland thought they had mad cows before….

Ireland’s government is reportedly seriously considering plans to destroy 200,000 cows to meet its mandatory climate change targets from the nutsy-cuckoo European Union. Farmers will be offered financial inducements participate in the bovine holocaust. Thus the collateral damage of net zero emissions insanity, a sub-category of The Great Stupid, is extending to cows, just as AOC wants it to in her “Green New Deal.”

There shouldn’t be a lot to argue about here: killing 200,000 Irish cows now will have exactly no effect on the climate even if the most apocalyptic and hysterical scientific models are correct. It’s like the Biden and Obama killing pipelines: it’s just climate change theater and virtue-signaling, except that the pipeline decisions just killed jobs and brain cells of rational people thinking about them.

And yes, in this case, just seriously considering such an obviously wasteful policy is sufficient to justify Ethics Dunce honors even if ultimately rationality prevails. Even pondering such idiocy is signature significance, as when grandpa says, “Yeah, I was thinking about flapping my arms and flying out the window to visit Neverland, but decided it was too far away.” You call the rest home and double quick, even if Gramps had seemed lucid before.

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Ethics Hero: ESPN Pundit Stephen A. Smith

Boy, that’s a headline I thought I’d never write! Smith was a major reason I dropped ESPN from our satellite package: here’s a typical post about his work. The kind of loud-mouthed opinionated jackass that I’d get up and move away from if he was holding forth near me at a bar, if Smith were a white pundit who talked about blacks the way Smith talks about whites, he would be fired mid-sentence. I still stand by the last thing I wrote about Smith in that post: “‘Ethics Dunce’ doesn’t really describe someone like Smith, an arrogant narcissist who feels entitled to inflame racial resentment and division while not only profiting from it, but complaining that he isn’t profiting from it enough. What is that? Maybe it’s just as simple as ‘asshole’.”

And yet…here we are. That video above is from Smith’s podcast, “The Stephen A. Smith Show.” In this case, the fact that Smith sees anti-black racism in all things actually helps. His bias, and he’s all bias, all the time, gives him credibility here. If anyone would be thrilled to excuse black culture malignancy by crying “systemic racism,” it would be Smith. Instead, the amazing number of shootings in Chicago over the Memorial Day Weekend prompted Smith to ask the black community: “When are we going to look at ourselves when it comes to black people being killed in the streets of America?”

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Me: “Berkeley Law School Hiring Chesa Boudin Is Unethical!” Harvard: “Hold My Beer…”

I’m not sure Harvard’s hiring of failed Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot is quite as outrageous and incompetent as Berkeley hiring the pro-criminal ex-DA who helped turn San Francisco into a close approximation of Frank Miller’s “Sin City,” but it’s close enough to make me sick to my stomach.

Lightfoot will teach a course at Harvard later this year on “Health Policy and Leadership,” she announced yesterday, saying, “I learned a lot over the past four years, and this gives me an opportunity to share my experiences and perceptions of governing through one of the most challenging chapters in American history.”

This is an interesting concept: hire teachers to teach what they proved to have no skill at or comprehension of when they had actual responsibility in that area. This is like hiring Mario Mendoza (lifetime batting average: .215) as a hitting coach. It gives Alissa Heinerscheid, the vice president of marketing for Bud Light responsible for the Dylan Mulvaney debacle, hope for a new career in academia.

Lightfoot demonstrated as Mayor of Chicago that she knew virtually nothing about leadership, policymaking or public health management, and now she’s teaching it. Perfect. Here’s how her hometown paper sympathetically describes her qualifications:

Early in the pandemic, when Black Chicagoans were dying at six times the rate of whites, Lightfoot and her team led by Dr. Allison Arwady …provided door-to-door outreach with masks and information in vulnerable communities and, when vaccines became available, prioritized them for South and West side residents. But Lightfoot also was slow to take action when the pandemic spurred Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to close schools and businesses across the state, following along only reluctantly. She later clashed with the governor over bar and restaurant rules and battled the Chicago Teachers Union in a push to return to in-person learning, even as she faced blowback over keeping the lakefront closed too long…. Lightfoot also walked away from her campaign promise to reopen public mental health clinics closed by predecessor Rahm Emanuel. Lightfoot argued the city could better serve residents by giving money to vendors…

I wonder if Prof. Lightfoot will teach her students to accuse critics of sexism and racism when their policies crash and burn?

On the same pedagogical theory, she should team teach the course with ex-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who can explain what he learned by killing thousands of elderly nursing home residents by stashing pandemic victims in their midst.

Oh, all right, Berkeley hiring Boudin to head a new criminal justice center is more unethical than Harvard letting Lightfoot pollute student minds with her concept of leadership…after all, it’s just a single course, and the smart students can just skip it.

‘Live From Ethics Alarms, It’s FRIDAY OPEN FORUM!’

On a rainy June 1st in1975, President Gerald Ford slipped while walking down the Air Force One boarding stairs after landing in Salzburg. The caught-on-camera incident became a PR problem for an already controversial and unelected President seeking a full term the old fashioned way. The writers for newly-minted late night satirical skit comedy show on NBC, Saturday Night Live, know comedy gold when they saw it, turned Ford’s alleged clumsiness into a signature gag, with break-out show star Chevy Chase playing Ford and including elaborate pratfalls in many of the SNL “cold opens.”

Exactly 43 years after Ford’s fall, Joe Biden, who makes Ford look like one of the Flying Wallendas by comparison, took a Chevy Chase-like face plant on stage at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation ceremony in Colorado yesterday. This poses an immediate integrity test for SNL, or would, if the show had not completely abandoned integrity when it decided to leave Barack Obama essentially unscathed for eight years. If I were producing SNL, I’d bring back Chevy and have him introduced as Biden in the cold open…and that would be enough (and it would be all that would be realistically possible, as Chase ruined his back by all those falls as Ford.

What are the odds? I’m not curious enough to watch the show, as I have not since it became a full-time Democratic Party attack machine, but Joe’s tumble had me thinking about it.

But I digress. There is plenty in the ethics jungle to talk about, so get to it.

Ethics Mash-Up! Combine Bud Light, Disney And Baseball, and You Get…Ethics Dunces: The Los Angeles Dodgers

What a mess.

Blinded by wokeness and desire to pander to typical Californians (if not typical baseball fans, which is, after all, their market) the Los Angeles Dodgers invited the group ‘The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’ to the team’s Pride Night this year, coming up fast on June 16. The group mocks religious objections to certain sexual practices and orientations by satirizing religious imagery and employing cross-dressing. They have been fairly described as flamboyantly anti-Catholic drag queen nuns. Recognizing that this may not have been the wisest move (a low level LGBTQ staffer seems to have sneaked the group on to the list of invitees), the Dodgers retracted the invitation. You know what that meant: there were screams of bigotry and protest from left-wing activists, including a teachers’ union that warned that refusing to honor the drag queen nuns “will lead to more deaths.” That’s the ticket these days: anything short of full endorsement of fringe sexual groups makes one complicit in theoretical hate crimes. Being weenies, Dodger officials went into full grovel mode. They offered their “sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and their friends and family.”

Now religious fans and Catholic groups are upset. This is a binary situation: the Dodgers can be targeted by the anti-religions, LGBTQ+ zealots as bigots, confident that local news media will support them, or it can honor a group that is openly hostile to people of faith. Good job, Dodgers!

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More Disney Ethics: The NYT Movie Critic’s Review Of “The Little Mermaid” Highlighted What’s Wrong With Disney’s Wokism, But Conservatives Didn’t Notice

Ah, the curse of confirmation bias! So determined are conservative pundits and bloggers to condemn the New York Times as being a full conspirator in the effort to wokify U.S. society and culture that it missed the paper’s movie critic admitting that the movement wasn’t working. Wesley Morris, who is clearly Democrat, progressive, and an African American, began his review of the already controversial live action version of “The Little Mermaid” thusly:

The new, live-action “The Little Mermaid” is everything nobody should want in a movie: dutiful and defensive, yet desperate for approval. It reeks of obligation and noble intentions. Joy, fun, mystery, risk, flavor, kink — they’re missing. The movie is saying, “We tried!” Tried not to offend, appall, challenge, imagine.

“Dutiful and defensive, yet desperate for approval. It reeks of obligation and noble intentions.” That’s a perfect, if incomplete, description of what political correctness and the cultural fascists of the Left have wrought. But because the critic appended  “kink” at the end of “joy, fun, mystery, risk, flavor,” the qualities he felt the movie was missing, that word was all the critics of the critic could see. “NY Times ripped for piece lamenting lack of ‘kink’ in new ‘Little Mermaid’: ‘The left sexualizes kids'” Fox News announced, and it was typical.

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Exhibit A On How Academia And The Public Sector Corrupt Each Other: The Berkeley-Chesa Boudin Affair

What is most amazing about this story is how transparent U. Cal at Berkeley is, even proud, about it. Amazing and alarming. The American far left is so confident now that it doesn’t attempt to disguise its most radical and destructive impulses.

Here’s the short version: the most radically progressive city in the country essentially fired its even more progressive district attorney for allowing the city to begin a death spiral into lawlessness. So despite that failure—indeed perhaps because of it— he was just named the founding executive director of the new Criminal Law and Justice Center at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law.

The city is San Francisco, and the former DA is Chesa Boudin. Boudin, who has been discussed here before, is really an antimatter prosecutor: he doesn’t believe in prosecution, law enforcement, or laws, really. The son of Sixties radicals, members of the violent Weathermen group, his mission in life is to “dismantle the system,” as they used to say (and are now saying again) on college campuses. Among all the so-called “Soros prosecutors” allowing cities to decline into urban hellscapes where shoplifting is considered a right and police are hesitant to police, Boudin was the worst by far. Imagine what it says about our elite educational institutions that one of them, after seeing him removed for placing his ideological delusions above his duty, said, “Hey! This is the perfect guy to head up our new criminal justice center in our law school!”

It boggles the mind, or would, if we had not already observed the rapid and so-far unimpeded ethics rot in academia. Here’s part of Berkeley’s announcement:

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I Have To Ask: What Is Disney Doing And Why?

For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been planning a long post examining what Disney’s mission and methodology need to be in 21st Century America. Walt’s creation faces an important challenge and a difficult one, and I would hope that the people responsible for guiding a company whose role in shaping U.S. culture has been both successful and beneficent as well as profitable are up to the task. They had better be, for the sake of the culture, not merely stockholders.

I was well on the way to devising a post I felt would be perceptive and provocative when I saw the video above. That stopped me cold. I wasn’t exactly optimistic about Disney, which has been a major positive influence in my own life, being able to safely navigate around the cultural icebergs in the roiling societal seas ahead before I watched the thing, but now I am as confused as I am depressed.

The classic starting point for ethical analysis is “What’s going on here?” In this case, it is more appropriate to ask, “What THE HELL is going on here?”

I’m open to suggestions.