This Ethics Alarms Rebuke Of Instapundit Is Brought To You By Spuds

Spuds head small

Proving once again that dog ignorance and breed bigotry knows no partisan, ideological nor erudition boundaries, a bunch of conservatives are spreading false anti-pit bull propaganda. As is often the case, they don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

The impetus was an anti-pit bull abuse organization citing the work of Ann Linder, a Legislative Policy Fellow with Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy Program, who wrote a paper, “The Black Man’s Dog: The Social Context of Breed Specific Legislation,” that argued that pit bulls have been unfairly tied to “gang violence by urban youths, as well as the hip-hop music scene.” The group then made the leap to arguing that anti-pit bull restrictions in the many American cities that have them are racist. Well, that’s demonstrably idiotic: the reason for all of those ignorant laws isn’t racism, but that the legislators passing them know zilch about dogs and are pandering to public hysteria. The hysteria is spread by the news media, popular culture, and a lot of otherwise intelligent people who should know better but don’t, and are too lazy and irresponsible to educate themselves. This group includes Conservative law prof and conservative pundit/blogger Glenn Reynolds. Shame on him.

Here’s the way it goes: since the pro-pit bull group cited a race-baiting Harvard scholar, that meant that the group must be made up of progressives, and thus wrong about everything in Instapundit Land. Conservative site College Fix posted about the foolishness of the “racism” claim. Instapundit host Reynolds snarked to his millions of followers:,

“Academics say fear of pit bulls is linked to… racism? I thought it was more about the biting: “Despite accounting for just 6.5% of all dogs in the United States, pit bulls were responsible for 66% of total fatal dog attacks between 2005 and 2017.” Why aren’t these academics following the science? I think they should be banned for “spreading misinformation.”

HA HA HA! Good one, Glenn! Why isn’t this academic checking his sources before making a high-profile ass of himself by spreading misinformation? As anyone with a smattering of canine education knows, there is no breed called a “pit bull,” but anywhere from four to eight distinct breeds that are lumped together as “pit bulls” by people, apparently like Reynolds, who don’t know a dog from a garden hose.

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Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/1/2021: Simone Biles-Free Zone Edition!

Tower shooting

I don’t think that we need to debate the ethics of deranged mass shootings. The first one I was ever aware of occurred on this date in 1966. Charles Whitman, a former Eagle Scout and Marine, brought a stockpile of guns and ammunition to the observatory platform atop a 300-foot tower at the University of Texas. He had packed food and other supplies, and before settling in for 90 minutes of deadly target practice, killing some victims from as far away as 500 yards—he was a trained marksman—Whitman killed the tower receptionist and two tourists. He eventually shot 46 people, killing 14 and wounding 32 before being killed by police. The night before, on July 31, Whitman wrote a note saying, “After my death, I wish an autopsy on me be performed to see if there’s any mental disorders.” Whitman then went to his mother’s home to murder her, using a knife and a gun. He returned home to stab his wife to death.

Whitman’s story does raise medical ethics issues. He was seeing a psychiatrist, and in March told him that he was having uncontrollable fits of anger. Whitman apparently even said that he was thinking about going up to the tower with a rifle and shooting people. “Well, your hour is up, Mr. Whitman. Same time next week, then?” The intersection of mental illness with individual rights continues to be an unresolved ethics conflict 54 years later. In addition, the rare but media-hyped phenomenon of mass shootings has become a serious threat to the right of sane and responsible Americans to own firearms. See #5 below.

1. The King’s Pass in show business. A new book by James Lapine tells the antic story of how the Sondheim musical “Sunday in the Park With George” came to be a Broadway legend. Lapine wrote the book and directed the show. The cult musical—actually all Sondheim shows are cult musicals–eventually won a Pulitzer Prize ( you know, like the “1619 Project”) and bunch of Tony nominations. I was amazed to read that the show’s star, Mandy Patinkin, at one point walked out on the production and was barely persuaded to return. Lapine writes that he never fully trusted Patinkin again. Why does anyone trust him? In fact, how does he still have a career? Patinkin has made a habit of bailing on projects that depended on him. He quit “Chicago Hope,” and later abandoned “Criminal Minds,” which had him as its lead. To answer my own question, he still has a career because of “The King’s Pass,” Rationalization #11. He’s a unique talent, unusually versatile, and producers and directors give him tolerance that lesser actors would never receive. Mandy knows it, too, and so he kept indulging himself, throwing tantrums and breaking commitments, for decades. He appears to have mellowed a bit in his golden years.

2. Speaking of Broadway, the ethical value missed here is “competence”…There is more evidence that the theater community doesn’t realize the existential peril live theater is in (the medium has been on the endangered list for decades) as it copes with the cultural and financial wreckage from the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck. Just as theaters are re-opening, the Broadway theater owners have decreed that audience members will be required to wear masks at all times.

I have one word for that: “Bye!” Maybe some fools are rich, submissive and tolerant enough to pay $100 bucks or more for the privilege of being uncomfortable for three hours. Not me. My glasses fog up when I wear masks. I have been vaccinated; I’m fairly sure I was exposed to the virus before then and had minimal symptoms, and much as I believe in live theater, I will not indulge the politically-motivated dictatorship of virtue-signalling pandemic hysterics. The industry is cutting its own throat, but then theater has never been brimming with logic or common sense.

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A Simone Biles Thought Experiment I Dare Her Apologists To Try…

Womens soccer goalie

The New York Times writes of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s desperate-needed victory over the Netherlands in the Olympics:

“It was only afterward that Alyssa Naeher let down her guard. After she had dived to saved the penalty kick late in the game. After she had dived again to push aside the header in extra time. After she had turned away not one but two penalties in the shootout. Naeher’s teammates count on her to do her job as well as they do theirs every time they take the field. Better than they do even, since their mistakes have a tendency to wind up in the back of her net.

In the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament on Friday, facing a dangerous Netherlands attack, that had already happened twice. Now the United States needed Naeher to save them again. After the teams played a 2-2 tie, a penalty kick shootout would decide who would go to the semifinals, and who would go home. The Americans turned to Naeher. Save us, they said. Just like you have before. “There’s no one else I’d rather have in the net than her,” midfielder Rose Lavelle said later. “She’s saved us so many times.” And so Naeher, who had saved her teams in big games and small ones, in World Cups and friendlies, saved them again.”

Now imagine that Naeher suddenly announced when the game was a tie that she would not guard the goal in the shootout, but was quitting the game. “It’s been really stressful, this Olympic Games,” she says. “I think just as a whole, not having an audience, there are a lot of different variables going into it. It’s been a long week, it’s been a long Olympic process, it’s been a long year. So just a lot of different variables, and I think we’re just a little bit too stressed out. But we should be out here having fun, and sometimes that’s not the case. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times.”

So she quits, just as her team is depending on her. The back-up goalie takes her place, and the American Women’s Soccer Team loses, and is out of the Olympics.

Would Naeher be hailed as a hero and a role model? Would her team mates say afterwards that they support her decision 100%?

Anatomy Of An Ethics Train Wreck: The Amazon Warehouse “Nooses”

Amazon noose

Warning: reading this story is likely to make you feel hopeless. For this is what the hyper-racialization and resulting division of American society breeds, and it can only go in one direction from here. Hint: it will not be a direction that will lead anywhere good.

A brief summary:

  • In Windsor, Connecticut—I once spent a summer there!—Amazon contracted to have a warehouse built, with the promise of jobs and economic revitalization.
  • Over the past three months, workers building the Amazon warehouse claimed to have found nooses, or ropes that looked like nooses, or “noose-like” ropes at the construction site.
  • Protests have been organized by activists who have never seen the alleged nooses. Demands are being made for police to find and charge the noosemakers. The presence of the nooses, if they are nooses, is being called a “hate crime” by the local NAACP.
  • Local community activists have organized several demonstrations to demand that Amazon take stronger action to ensure the safety of Black construction workers. One such demonstration included members from the Huey P. Newton Gun Club and the New Black Panthers, who showed up at the construction site carrying guns. The armed activists said they were there to defend the Black workers and make them feel empowered to speak their mind.
  • Amazon and the other companies involved claim they have done everything they can. They have delayed construction twice, adding security (to protect workers from the nooses, apparently) and cameras at the site and putting up $100,000 in award money for anyone who can provide information about the nooses.
  • The police say their investigation has determined that there were only two nooses, with six others being  ropes with the kind of loop often used in construction projects.

Observations:

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There Goes My Head! The Latest On Simone Biles…

jackheadexplosion

The LA Times just blew up my head, which is my problem, and also made it mandatory to once again raise the increasingly aggravating matter of Simone Biles, the greatest, most courageous gymnast who ever quit on her team because the pressure just became too much. The latter is your problem because I assume you’re as sick of reading about Biles as I am sick of thinking about her.

In an article bemoaning how the failure of so many of America’s putative stars in the Tokyo Olympics has put “the Games in a deep hole with lots of digging to be done,” Times sportswriter David Wharton wrote,

Biles could help. Though facing some detractors, she has received a wave of support on social media over the past 24 hours and, speaking with reporters, sounded as if she might compete in the all-around and individual events beginning later this week. ‘Just a lot of different variables and I think we’re just a little stressed out,” she said, adding that “we’re going to take it a day at a time.Given the very personal yet very public circumstances of Biles’ withdrawal on Tuesday, [assistant professor of sports management at the University of New Haven Jason] Chung believes her return could become an even bigger story. “I could imagine it bringing more viewers because of the human-interest angle,” he said. “Having someone of her magnitude and ability struggling emotionally, people might be interested to see how she weathers the storm. “Also,” he said, “she could draw younger viewers who connect with that kind of authenticity.”

This passage made my head explode four or five times—it’s hard to count when your brains are on the ceiling.The last was the worst–AUTHENTICITY???? Paging Inigo Montoya:

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The Suicide Of Officer Smith And Ethics Zugzwang

Officer Smith

Ethics zugzwang is a term used on Ethics Alarms to describe situations where there are no ethical options, only unethical ones The origin is the world of chess, which uses the German word zugzwang to indicate a game position in which a player is safe from checkmate as long as he or she doesn’t move. But of course, a player has to do something; time cannot be stopped in place. In ethics zugzwang, and resolution is a bad one.

The current controversy over the suicide of Jeffrey Smith, a D. C. Metropolitan Police Department police officer who confronted the mob in the Capitol on January 6 and shot himself nine days later, is a perfect example of ethics zugzwang in our ugly political environment. Smith’s widow Erin is convinced that his death was caused by the riot, she says, and will petition the Police and Firefighters’ Retirement and Relief Board to designate her husband’s suicide as a death in the line of duty. “When my husband left for work that day, he was the Jeff that I knew,” Ms. Smith said in an interview. “When he returned after experiencing the event, being hit in the head, he was a completely different person. I do believe if he did not go to work that day, he would be here and we would not be having this conversation.” Of course, she is welcome to believe whatever she chooses. Having her husband’s death ruled as occurring in the line of duty also carries with it substantial financial benefits. Confirmation bias is unavoidable.

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Comment Of The Day: “Gee, Jason Whitlock, What Do You REALLY Think About Simone Biles’ Quitting On The Olympics?”

Yes, I guess this is the sixth post related to the Simone Biles controversy. Isaac’s Comment of the Day elaborates on one of the many reasons this episode bothered me so much and continues to, especially as the excuses and rationalizations for Biles’ conduct appear to be taking over the “narrative” in the absence of what I consider persuasive facts and arguments. The next ugly shoe to drop, I predict, will be when the female American gymnast who won a gold in Tokyo gets endorsement contracts in preference to the “Greatest of All Time” who somehow couldn’t access that greatness when the spotlight was on, and chose not to try. The preference for the winner over the “hero” will be attributed to malign influences. Just wait.

Giving women appropriate power and influence in American culture has been generally beneficial to all, but the ascension of traditional female virtues has had the unfortunate effect of diluting some of the the very values that allowed the United States to come into existence and succeed over the centuries. The disastrous handling of the pandemic has been one example of how this development is not an unalloyed good, and the fact that Biles’ conduct is not merely greeted with sympathy, which is nice, but praise, which is offensive, is another.

Here is Isaac’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Gee, Jason Whitlock, What Do You REALLY Think About Simone Biles’ Quitting On The Olympics?”

***

America used to be associated with very masculine qualities: toughness, stoicism, risk-taking. This reputation did not exclude American women. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Calamity Jane, Amelia Earhart.

It’s easy to point out the Generation X and millennials’ glaring lack of these qualities, but to me it’s their parents who steered America wrong. Specifically every boomer who jumped on the socialist bandwagon and participated in the 1960s and 70s revolutions against marriage, Christianity, monogamy, patriotism, sobriety, and hard work. The ones who think Woodstock was some kind of beautiful, transformative event. The ones who wax nostalgic about the “Summer of Love” when their poorly-raised grandkids turn chunks of Seattle into murder-dystopias. The generation that necessitated the invention of the term “latch-key kid” to describe their neglected children.

So I perused Simone Biles’ Wikipedia page, and, sure enough…in and out of foster care…abandoned by Mom…no Dad ever in the picture. Showed incredible talent that was her ticket to a secure future, only to be one of the gymnasts sexually exploited by serial abuser and boomer Larry Nassau. Diagnosed with ADHD; currently on medication. These are the symptoms of growing up in a world created by the values of the 60s and 70s. We can mock them for not knowing how to talk to girls, change a tire, be in a stable relationship, or cope with stress…but these are things people learn from their dads, their faith, and their stable community of neighbors, extended family, and church. Younger generations were not only not given those things; they were taught they didn’t need them.

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Friday Late Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/30/2021: Pot, Bribes, “Advocacy Journalism,” Baseball’s Domestic Abuse Policy, And How Did A Woman Win The Gold In The Men’s Decathlon?

White rabbit 2

I often check multiple websites to see what of ethics significance occurred on given dates. This July 30 isn’t a major ethics day, though the fiasco that resulted in 1864 when the serially incompetent Union General Ambrose Burnside made his third major blunder of the Civil War in the Battle of the Crater carries a crucial leadership lesson that apparently is impossible to learn: don’t give incompetent leaders second (or third) chances to lead.

However, on one of the sites, “This Day in History,” the headline on a note reads, “1976: Caitlyn Jenner wins Olympic decathlon.” That may be politically correct, but it’s cowardly (would the trans activist mob pounce if the event was stated straight?) and absurd on its face. Bruce Jenner won the Olympic decathlon, and it was a men’s event. Caitlyn was, as far as we know, not even a twinkle in his eye. Bruce fathered children after winning the gold; the event and the other events in his life when he was a he were not magically altered by his later transgender journey, like “Back to the Future.”

1 “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” note of the day. Frequent commenter and invaluable tipster Steve Witherspoon sent me a link to a Jonathan Turley column I had missed. The law professor covers a lot of issues we have discussed here as he notes that “Professional ethics, it seems, has become entirely impressionistic in the age of advocacy journalism.”

It seems? There is no question about it. Turley also points out the hypocrisy of the Times with several examples, writing, “If none of this makes sense to you, that is because it does not have to make sense. Starting with the [Senator Tom] Cotton scandal, the New York Times cut its mooring cables with traditional journalist values. It embraced figures like Nikole Hannah-Jones who have championed advocacy journalism.” He also notes that “while the Times has embraced advocacy journalism, its has not updated its guidelines which state that “Our journalists should be especially mindful of appearing to take sides on issues that The Times is seeking to cover objectively.”

Read it all, and I recommend sending it to any friend or relative who calls assertions that the news media is a left-wing propaganda machine at this point “conservative disinformation.”

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: NBC Gymnastics Commentator Nastia Liukin

2021 Gymnastics - Nastia Cup

I’m not going to pull a single quote from former gymnast and current ethics corrupter Liukin’s much-praised and shockingly awful letter slobbering all over Simone Biles. The whole thing is revolting, and as riddled with offensive anti-ethics as Sonny Corleone was riddled with bullets. Here it is—I’m going to letter each line for reference.

Dear Simone,

Thank you.

A. Thank you for showing the depth of who you are beyond an athlete as a leader, role model, mental health warrior, and person.

B. Thank you for epitomizing what the next generation of role models should be.

C. Thank you for creating a safer space for current and future athletes to unequivocally be themselves.

D. Thank you for helping the world realize that prioritizing your physical and mental health is the mark of a true champion.

E. Thank you for illuminating that nobody is defined by the depth of their trophy case, and that you don’t owe anything to anyone but yourself and the pursuit of happiness.

F. Thank you for taking the sport of gymnastics to new heights as the unanimous GOAT. No one will be remembered for any single routine, competition, or medal.

G.You, however, will undeniably be remembered by many for the compassion and bravery shown here in Tokyo.

H.You came here as a gymnast, and you’re leaving as a hero.

xo NL

Wait, I have to gag…ACK!!PTUI!GGGGACK!

I think it’s past, but as I review this astounding exercise in gaslighting and designating as admirable what isn’t, my gorge may rise again, so you have been warned. Well..

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