Comment Of The Day: “Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 1… Ethics Quote Of The Month: President Donald Trump”

Adding international and historical perspective  to yesterday’s post regarding President Trump’s “dark and divisive” speech at Mt. Rushmore ( the mainstream media narrative has been so remarkably consistent that it has been credibly suggested that a memo went out. I could believe it…), E2 gives us this Comment of the Day on “Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 1… Ethics Quote Of The Month: President Donald Trump”:

Re the media’s race/Trump racism false commentary:

Doesn’t anyone know any history? As an amateur historian of British history, Churchill, the Holocaust, and WWII, I understand the horrors of British imperialism in the 18th-19th century (Africa, the Near and Far East, and on and on), but…

Queen Victoria (against the South’s fond hopes) refused to support the Confederacy for one reason: slavery. Despite England’s need for cotton, she wouldn’t put her stamp of approval on slavery in the interest of their economy. Of course one could argue that British imperialism was almost as bad as slavery, but it really was not, and unlike the French, who conquered African nations, hunted with chieftains, slept with their women, stole their resources, then left when it seemed appropriate or necessary, the British, in their unique fashion, created whole government structures (e.g. India) that survived as useful bureaucracies after WWII and the end of British imperialism. Smart they were, though, creating the British Commonwealth, which their conquered countries could join if they chose. An amazing number did.

But slavery of a particular race was not in the British ethic. (Or the Romans either, who enslaved everyone they conquered, regardless of race/origin/culture…) The result — especially after WWII — is that Britain became populated by traditional Englishmen, Indians, African blacks, Asians — all with the hope and most always the realization of good, safe, respected, lives. (The European Union, Brexit, etc., is changing that, I’m sure. It’s been a decade since I’ve been to England.) But to the point: Continue reading

Boy, Do We Need The Third Niggardly Principle Now.

To review….

The Third Niggardly Principle , the last of three Ethics Alarms rules applying to situations where someone mistakenly takes offense at a valid and useful word, comes into play when capitulating to such sensitivity create a precedent that will do tangible harm to society, culture, individual rights and personal freedoms. It declares:

“When  suppressing speech and conduct based on an individual’s or a group’s claim, sincere or otherwise, that such speech or conduct is offensive, however understandable and reasonable this claim may be, creates or threatens to create a powerful precedent that will undermine freedom of speech, expression or political opinion elsewhere, calls to suppress the speech or conduct must be opposed and rejected.

Spineless, fearful, submissive and appeasing corporate lackeys, showing us that they can be counted on to surrender core American principles and values to keep their market share and pander to the mob, have decided in recent days to ban certain well understood, useful, common and benign words because “some” believe they imply racism: Continue reading

How Bad Is The Madness? This Bad… [Corrected!]

Trust me, that’s appropriate for this post. So is this:

What’s the connection? Well, as part of the effort to declare virtually all Western  culture racist to justify tearing it down, Black Lives Matter activist Fiona Onasanya, a former member of the UK parliament, argues that Rice Krispies are racist because the three elves who are the spokeselves for the Kelloggues cereal are all white. Moreover, she argues, “Coco Pops and Rice Krispies have the same compòsition (except for the fact CP’s are brown and chocolate flavoured)… so I was wondering why Rice Krispies have three white boys representing the brand and Coco Pops have a monkey?”

And you thought banning “Eskimo Pie” was loony.

Her first contention is mind-meltingly stupid, but also ominous. I have no doubt that the extreme and essentially racist logic of the George Floyd Freakout will eventually reach this point if it hasn’t already. Any group, even as small as three (or two?) that doesn’t include a black member, or at least, in this case, an “elf of color,” is prescriptively based on discrimination and thus racist.  We are seeing evidence of this trend taking root in such weird developments as “Jake from State Farm” suddenly changing color. Soon the Three Stooges will have to be colorized to show a black Stooge, and it will have to be Moe, since he’s in charge. It can’t be Larry, who’s submissive, or Curly, who’s an idiot. No, it has to be Moe, and the sight of him abusing the white Stooges will suddenly make the old comedy shorts popular again.

I’m kidding, but just barely. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethical Quote Of The Month: French President Emmanuel Macron”

Prolific commenter Steve-O-in-NJ was on a roll last night, ultimately producing the epic Comment of the Day below regarding French President Macron’s unequivocal rejection of historical airbrushing and statue toppling in his country.

Earlier, Steve had made the sharp observation that the George Floyd Freakout mobs and their complicit elected officials and journalists are simultaneously demanding sanctification of the image and memory of Floyd, whose life consisted of a series of socially destructive and irresponsible acts,  while demanding the de-honoring of important historical figures world wide. “The only thing he ever did of note was to die at the hands of a crazy cop,” he wrote. “Yet we’re supposed to brush his history aside and worship him as some kind of new saint. Columbus achieved one of the greatest things ever done. Jefferson wrote the [Declaration of Independence]. Washington was the father of this nation. Churchill saved the world in its darkest hour. Yet we’re asked to forget their achievements and reduce them to their failures. Anyone want to explain the logic here?”

Logic, except to the extent that cultural lobotomies are a tool of revolution and totalitarianism, has little to do with it. Nor does perspective and erudition, as proved by UK Activist Lorraine Jones, who is chair of the Lambeth Independent Police Advisory Group Jones was asked about the wisdom of removing a statue of Winston Churchill in London that has been a target of local protesters.

“I’ve heard many arguments on both sides,” Jones told reporters. “Some say that he’s a racist, some say that he’s a hero. I haven’t personally met him, but what I would say is that that question of whether he should remain should be put to the community.”

She has no idea who Winston Churchill is.

Here is Steve-O-in-NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethical Quote Of The Month: French President Emmanuel Macron”:

I discussed the attempted airbrushing of history here by the removal of several monuments to the Confederacy or its adherents some time ago. At the time I would have described the feeling underlying it as what I would call a moral panic, similar to the overwhelming fear surrounding role-playing games in the 1980s or the unreasonable response to New Zealand’s Mazengarb report. However, moral panics usually ebb and flow and eventually the majority see how silly they really are. I was wrong, this was not a case of a moral panic. This was a case of a chisel often used by the left, that of iconoclasm, finding an opening and being used to chip away at society in an attempt to recurve it in their image. It’s now spread to Columbus memorials, and is starting to seep into memorials to the Founding Fathers and now even to Abraham Lincoln and Churchill(?!).

Iconoclasm, defined broadly as the organized destruction of images or symbols, has been around pretty much since man started erecting symbols and memorials to individuals, groups, ideas, or anyone or anything deemed important enough to build a lasting memorial to. Sometimes it was practiced in straight-up war between nations or civilizations, as a way to damage the enemy’s morale, although it ran the risk of making him angrier instead. Sometimes it was practiced in internecine conflicts, when one group seized power over another. Occasionally it has been performed simply as a matter of political policy, without actual armed conflicts.

Examples of the first category include the sack of the Jewish Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius’ destruction of the Persian fire temple at the Throne of Solomon (this one particularly thorough, with the knocking down of the temple, the extinguishing of the holy fire, and the deliberate pollution of the sacred lake with dead bodies), and the Muslim policy of destruction of religious symbols of those they defeated: the Persians’ holy standard, the original church at Santiago de Compostela (for which the Muslim rulers of Seville later paid a terrible price at the hands of St. Ferdinand of Castile), and countless Hindu idols and temples. Continue reading

Ethical Quote Of The Month: French President Emmanuel Macron

Jean-Baptiste Colbert, controller-general under King Louis XIV, who drafted the Code Noir, or Black Code, which regulated slavery in French colonies.

“I will be very clear tonight, compatriots: The Republic won’t erase any name from its history. It will forget none of its artworks, it won’t take down statues.”

—Emmanuel Macron, President of France,  during a televised speech yesterday.

While vowing to be “uncompromising in the face of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination, the French president said everyone in the country “should look at all of our history together,” with an aim to find the “truth” instead of “denying who we are.”

Perfect.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/15/2020: Cancellations!

Good Morning…

1. Facts don’t matter...On HLN today,  CNN’s police expert James Gagliano explained to smiley-face host Robin Meade why his experience tells him that the police shooting at the Atlanta Wendy’s was justified. (His reasoning turns up in printed form here.) Her response? “This is going to be an unpopular opinion!”

Uh-oh. Can’t have that!

2. Cancelled! From The Future of Capitalism website, here is an updated list of the people who have been fired or otherwise “cancelled” in the wake of the George Floyd Freakout:

  • As we have discussed,the editor of the editorial page of the New York Times, James Bennet.
  • The founder and CEO of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, for referring to the Freakout as the Floyd19 virus.
  • The president of the Poetry Foundation, Henry Bienen, and its board chairman, Willard Bunn III, for issuing a public statement that was deemed  “vague and lacking any commitment to concrete action.”
  • The editor-in-chief of the food magazine Bon Appetit, Adam Rapoport, after photo surfaced of him in 2004 “dressed in a racially insensitive costume.” You know, like the woke Governor of Virginia and the Prime Minister of Canada.
  • The head of video at Conde Nast, Matt Duckor, who critics said presided over a racially biased compensation system.
  • The top editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stan Wischnowski, because he approved of a headline that read “Buildings Matter, Too.” (They do, but never mind…)
  • The editor of the website Refinery29, Christene Barberich, after black employees complained about the work environment.
  • David Shor, a political data analyst, was fired for having tweeted out a summary of a paper by a Princeton sociology professor.
  • Audrey Gelman, CEO and co-founder of the Wing, a co-working community for women, for requiring diversity and antibias trainings that were deemed inadequate.
  • University of Chicago professor of economics Harold Uhlig was placed on leave from his role as editor of the Journal of Political Economy following “accusations of discriminatory conduct in a classroom setting.” Uhlig also had his contract with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago canceled after a Fed spokeswoman said the bank determined “that his views are not compatible with the Chicago Fed’s values and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
  • St. John’s University assistant fencing coach Boris Vaksman was fired “after making derogatory remarks about black people in a private lesson” according to “what appears to be an edited video,” the New York Times reported.
  • Stephen A. Huffman was dismissed by TeamHealth from his job as an emergency room doctor in Ohio after publicly speculating about why blacks have been hit particularly hard by Covid-19.
  • The CEO of Crisis Text Line, Nancy Lublin, was “ousted by the nonprofit’s board of directors on Friday, in response to allegations of racism and mistreating staff,” Axios reported.  The board also said that “at least two members of the board will be replaced with black, indigenous, or persons of color candidates” and “Anti-racist trainings for board members will begin in July.”
  • Canadian television personality, Jessica Mulroney’s  show, “I Do, Redo,” was canceled by its Canadian network after a blogger accused her of exhibiting “white privilege,” the New York Post reported.
  • Barbara Fedida, an ABC News executive, was placed on “administrative leave” after what a HuffPost article based on unnamed sources described as “a long pattern of insensitive statements, including racist comments.”

I’m glad I run my own company. Continue reading

Ethics Hero Emeritus: Virginia Hall (1906-1982), “The Limping Lady”

World War II continues to be the richest source of forgotten or obscure ethics heroes, and no figure fits that description better than American super-spy Virginia Hall.

Only in the last few years, as newly intense focus has been placed on  women’s contributions to society and history, has Hall’s story come out of the shadows: three books about Hall have been published, and  two movies are awaiting release, one to be streamed on Netflix. In Hall’s case, her anonymity was substantially her own doing. She had no interest in fame or accolades, and decisively rejected them. Hill left no memoirs, granted no interviews, and spoke rarely about her exploits, even to her family.

She was born into a wealthy and privileged Baltimore clan that assumed its daughter would follow the well-trod path of a debutante and eventually the wife of an appropriate young man from her own class. But Virginia was different, “capricious and cantankerous” in her own words.  She liked guns and adventure. She once went to school wearing a bracelet made of live snakes, just to shake up her teachers and class mates.

Hall attended Radcliffe and Barnard, then went abroad to study in Paris. She wanted to be a diplomat or even an ambassador, but received no support from the State Department. There were only six women among the 1,500 U.S. diplomats at the time, so she settled for a clerical job at a U.S. consulate in Turkey. While hunting birds in her spare time, she accidentally shot herself in the foot, and gangrene set in. Her left leg was amputated below the knee. Hall named the wooden leg that became her constant companion thereafter “Cuthbert.”

In 1937, she again applied to the Department of State to enter the diplomatic corps , this time being turned down because of a rule against hiring people with disabilities as diplomats, an especially odd restriction for a nation led by a disabled President. She quit her job as a consular clerk two years later, and at 34, joined the war effort before America did, becoming an ambulance driver in France in 1940. When France was invaded by the German army, Hall fled to Great Britain.  By purest chance she came in contact with a representative of British intelligence. Hill offered her services to the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), which trained her in weapons, communications, security, and resistance activities.

So it was that an American woman with a wooden leg  became one of the first British spies sent into Nazi-occupied France in 1941, posing as a reporter for the New York Post.

Primarily working out of Lyon, Hall organized agent networks and recruited French men and women to run safe houses, all while evading the Gestapo, which called her “The Limping Lady.” She became a master of disguise, often changing her appearance several times in a day and managing to become invisible despite the impediment of “Cuthbert.” She even had her nice, straight, American teeth ground down so she could pass as an elderly peasant woman, which was a favorite false identity. Continue reading

Afternoon Ethics Warm-U…OH MY GOD I JUST SAW THE “I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY” VIDEO AND MY BRAIN IS CRAWLING OUT OF MY SKULL!!!!!

1. This thing above. How can anyone take these people, or the entire industry they represent, seriously? Was someone challenged to come up with the most nauseating, self-indicting example of narcissistic grandstanding and virtue-signalling imaginable? Among the more recognizable celebrities are Kristen Bell, Kesha, Aaron Paul, Stanley Tucci, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Debra Messing, though I’m sure I would have recognized more if I hadn’t been retching so violently. This PSA is supposed to launch  a new project by entertainment production company Confluential Content, in partnership with the NAACP. So earnest (and as performed, manifestly phony) that it hurts, the stars—I’m assuming they are all stars—take turns reading a wildly hyperbolic and deceitful script:

“I take responsibility for every unchecked moment, for every time it was easier to ignore than to call it out for what it was. Every not-so-funny joke. Every unfair stereotype. Every blatant injustice no matter how big or small. Every time I remained silent. Every time I explained away police brutality or turned a blind eye. I take responsibility. Black people are being slaughtered in the streets. Killed in their own homes. These are our brothers and sisters. Our friends. Our family. We are done watching them die. We are no longer bystanders; we will not be idle. Enough is enough.”

Who is it who will decide what’s a stereotype, an unfunny joke (what if the joke is funny?), or a blatant injustice? You silly people? Right. Continue reading

A Nazi Jumbo!

OK, OK, I put the mustache in. I couldn’t resist.

In Great Britain, the enlightened isle that has never quite embraced the  concepts of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of association,” is putting four neo-Nazis in  jail for being “active members” of the banned  group National Action (NA).

Alice Cutter and her former partner Mark Jones, along with Garry Jack and Connor Scothern, appeared at Birmingham crown court, where they were convicted of being members of the group. NA was banned in December 2016 after a series of rallies and incidents that included praising the murder of the MP Jo Cox.  Not killing her, mind you. Praising her murder.

Cutter denied that she was an active member of the group as the prosecutor had argued to the court. True,  Jurors were shown messages in which she joked about gassing synagogues and using a Jew’s head as a football.  Joke! She was joking! But I’d say where she really ran into trouble denying that she was a Neo-Nazi was the fact that she competed in the “Miss Hitler” beauty pageant. Cutter entered the  pageant under the catchy name “Buchenwald Princess.”

Führer ? What Führer ?

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 6/7/2020: Let’s Play “Name The Breached Ethics Values”!

Awash with shame for forgetting D-Day yesterday…

I don’t know about you, but for me the days merge into each other of late. I didn’t realize that I had snubbed D-Day until almost midnight. My Dad used to remind me that my existence may have been due to his unexpected inability to participate in the invasion: he had been assigned as an observer, which sounded scary to me, but “luckily” the idiot who blew himself and my dad’s foot up with a live hand grenade took him off the beaches.

1. I wonder...are the same PR hacks who wrote all of the “we’re all in this together? messages about the Wuhan lockdown the ones responsible for the smarmy “black lives matter” messages various companies are putting out?

Yesterday I was watching a movie on Vice, and the CEO kept interrupting the film to blather on about social justice. He is going to host a special, and among the guests—Trayvon Martin’s mother! That tells me all I need to know about the program. Outside of the false narrative constructed around it, the Zimmerman-Martin affair holds no enlightenment about systemic racism, police, or anything else useful, other than being a fine example of how the news media and politicians exploit race whenever they can.

The ethical values breached are honesty, responsibility, and citizenship.

2. Ann Althouse posted this sign from her neighborhood (Madison, Wisconsin).

Yeah, that attitude will really assist the battle against “systemic racism.” Nothing builds racial trust like one race telling the other that there are some opinions it can’t express because of their race.

These are the people that the NFL, Uber, BestBuy and so many other businesses and institutions are supporting.

The ethical value being ignored are trust and integrity. Continue reading