Ethics Workout, “Get In Ethics Shape For 2022 Edition,” 12/27/21: No Pain, No Gain!

1. On second thought, who needs work? The United States has been a nation that embraced work as a value and a mark of character as no other. Naturally, this core value has been under assault from the Left as part of its cultural overhaul strategy. The pandemic created an opining that has been brilliantly exploited politically, leading to a large part of the work force now unwilling to work. The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the biggest bloc of liberal lawmakers in Congress, has endorsed a bill proposed by Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., which would seek to implement a four-day workweek. Americans work far more than people in most other affluent countries, and we also produce more without using, as some countries do that I might mention, slave labor. But the work ethic is weakening.

The anti-work ethic is the goal on one of Reddit’s fastest growing sites — r/antiwork. The subreddit is “for those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, [and] want to get the most out of a work-free life.” It is up to 1.4 million members, ranking among the top subscribed-to subreddits.

Members discuss tactics workers can use to slack off, cheat, sabotage, and steal from their employers. You would learn there, for example, that April 15th is “Steal Something From Work Day.” [Pointer and source: Linking and Thinking on Education]

2. Observations on the Gallup Poll on public approval of Federal leaders (You can find the poll here).

  • Yes, I know, polls. But Gallup is straighter than most, and while the specific numbers should be ignored, the relative values are interesting.
  • The big finding, and what has been attracting all the headlines, is that Chief Justice John Roberts is way ahead of anyone else on the list, with a bipartisan 60-40 favorability split. This undercuts the pro-abortion strategy of warning that the Supreme Court can’t afford to make its decision on Roe v. Wade cases without considering the potential harm to the Court’s legitimacy. The Court seems to have the most trust of any of the branches, which means that it can (and should) be courageous if legal principles require.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is second. How many Americans know who he is or what he does? 20%? Less? What is it they approve of?
  • Dr. Fauci is third at 52% approval, which shows you can fool a lot of the people all of the time.
  • Mitch McConnell is dead last, even behind Nancy Pelosi. Good.

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NYT Letters To The Editor On Abortion vs. Adoption Continue An Revealing Unethical Pattern

adoption

Perhaps no comment during the recent oral argument before SCOTUS regarding Mississippi’s Roe-defying 15 week abortion limit received more attention than Justice Amy Coney Barrett statement that a mother’s option to give a baby up for adoption at birth rendered abortion was unnecessary in most cases. Numerous abortion defenders have attempted to discredit her assertion, and, like all of the pro-abortion arguments I have seen and heard so far, fell short in logic, honesty and ethics

Today’s Sunday Times letters section exemplified the disconnect among reality, self-interest and fairness that continue to plague abortion fans, no matter how passionately they argue their position. The Times dedicated the section to rebuttals of Comey’s assertion. That the editors deemed these the cream of the crop is telling. Also telling: no letter selected by the editors supported Comey. Here are the key quotes from each:

Anne Matlack Evans, of Napa, California writes in part,

In 1954, my mother, a single mother of three young children, had no other option than to do just what Justice Barrett proposes. After losing her job because of the pregnancy, she took refuge with her mother and, several months later, gave birth to a child whom she gave up that very day….

The consequences of my mother’s pregnancy and the baby’s adoption profoundly affected my mother and us children. She was traumatized by the pregnancy and the necessity of abandoning a child — especially so after caring for us. She felt ashamed, stigmatized and less able to protect her existing children.

Ethics Alarms Comment: Why did a single mother have three children? Why did she get pregnant again? She felt ashamed and stigmatized about giving up a live infant for abortion that she couldn’t care for, but apparently would have flt no stigma or shame if she ended the nascent human being’s life before it could be born. That’s exactly the confused attitude that our culture needs to change. Her unborn child “existed” before it was born.

David Leonard of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania writes in part, Continue reading

And The Latest Desperate Rationalization As Abortion Advocates Search For A Persuasive Argument To Justify Allowing Pregnant Women The Unilateral Right To End Another Human Being’s Life Is….

Unborn children in heaven

…..this intellectually dishonest opinion piece by Kate Cohen in the Washington Post. It is titled “How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?’ Easy. I’d feel nothing,” and embodies several themes in the abortion-loving Left’s escalating freak-out over the very real possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned or limited by the current Supreme Court.

One theme is that that abortion advocates almost unanimously continue to avoid dealing with the other human party in the equation whose interests are at stake: the unborn human being. Another is using collateral attacks on religion and faith to minimize the belief by religious people that it’s wrong beyond question to kill an innocent individual for the benefit of a more powerful one. The third…

Well, let me address the second a bit again. Progressives are largely hostile to religion and the religious, whom they regard as unsophisticated, superstitious rubes. Since people tend to project their biases and attitudes on others, those who want open season on fetuses think they score points by linking the anti-abortion side of the debate to something they think is ridiculous. It is not a genuine argument but rather a cognitive dissonance trick. They are counting on a someone conflicted about the abortion debate being pulled to their side by the association with a different subject they regard with contempt. It is the same kind of tactic as using “The Handmaiden’s Tale” as a false map for the dystopian future abortion fans claim awaits if Roe goes down: linking abortion to something horrible, even a science fiction story, will diminish the appeal of the anti-abortion position, not with logic or reason, but with a negative association alone.

I have a difficult time not concluding that those using the anti-religion, association tactic are malign people because of their association with it. The belief that killing an innocent human being is wrong isn’t only a religious belief and bedrock moral tenet. It is basic ethics as well, a conclusion virtually all societies have accepted based on human experience. That’s where ethics comes from: one doesn’t have to be religious to strongly object to killing human beings, indeed religion isn’t necessary to reach that conclusion at all. Whether one reaches the position that legal abortion consists of one powerful human being who has had the opportunity to live ending that opportunity for a weaker human being for her own sole benefit and is therefore wrong, through religion, Kant, Rawls, basic ethical analysis, logic, common sense or some other path is irrelevant. You got there. Congratulations. It’s the ethical place to be.

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Abortion Wars: It’s The New York Times vs. The New York Times!

fetal development

Stockholm Syndrome liberal David Brooks, once the alleged conservative pundit in the Times far-left array, was in one of his “pox on both your houses” moods as he condemned what he claimed were equally unethical (my word, not his) arguments coming from the pro-and anti-abortion camps. “Many conservatives focus on the fetus to the exclusion of all else, ” he wrote. “A lot of the progressive commentary, on the other hand, won’t recognize the fetus at all.” False equivalency, David (and you know it). Since the fetus is the party that’s killed in an abortion, many conservatives and anti-abortion activists take the completely defensible and classic Kantian position that “deference to women who become pregnant in terrible circumstances” doesn’t and can’t justify taking a human life. On the other side of the divide, however, refusing to acknowledge the existence of a life at all is to deliberately rig the debate. And it isn’t “a lot” of the progressive commentary that tries to do this; it’s virtually all of it.

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Ethics Villain: University Of California Prof. Michele Goodwin

Goodwin

Why does Ethics Alarms rate Professor Goodwin an Ethics Villain rather than the more common, and usually forgivable, status of Ethics Dunce? It is because in her op-ed for the New York Times, “I Was Raped by My Father. An Abortion Saved My Life,” she deliberately misrepresents the law and ethics of the abortion issue while using her status as a law professor to mislead readers. She also presents an argument that is purely an appeal to emotion, though as a scholar and teacher she is professionally obligated not to advance a position without basing it in reason and fact.

There is nothing unethical or inappropriate about Goodwin advancing a pro-abortion position if she does so honestlt. She is obviously committed on the issue as the founding director of the U.C.I. Law Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy and its Reproductive Justice Initiative, and the author of “Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood.” Terrific: make your case, Professor! I have an open mind; I look forward to reading it. You obviously have the skill, background, experience and erudition to be enlightening and persuasive on the topic.

But Goodwin doesn’t make a legal case, an ethical case, a moral case or even a logical one in her op-ed. Doing any of those require acknowledging counter arguments and rebutting them with facts and analysis. Instead, her essay goes straight for the heartstrings and viscera, bypassing the brain entirely. Goodwin was raped by her father when she was 12, you see. How horrible. She courts our sympathy, and, not inappropriately, receives it. However, she never makes the case that a young woman’s (or girl’s) misfortunes, however severe, justify taking the life of another human being.

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A Second Introduction To “Thoughts On What An Ethical Solution To The Abortion Ethics Conflict Might Look Like, Part 2: A Solution”

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I decided that it was finally time to complete and post Part 2, having promised it way back in September. The impetus is two polls on the subject released today and yesterday. But having read the polls, I feel like a second introduction to Part 2 is necessary. (The first introduction, posted a day after Part I, is here.)

The first introduction closed, “Absent something that causes a tipping point in public opinion on the same level of influence as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” [on the public’s perception of slavery] the approach to abortion I offer in Part 2 is, and will ever be, impossible.” The two polls purport to tell us what the public’s current perception of abortion is. At least, that’s how they are being presented in the news media, which, as we all know, is completely unbiased on this topic as well as others.

I’m joking. Most of the media is ignoring the second poll, by Marquette, which makes the Washington Post-ABC poll that is more positive toward abortion incoherent. The Marquette poll found that more of those polled favored a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy than opposed it. Survey respondents were asked if they would favor or oppose a ruling to “uphold a state law that (except in cases of medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities) bans abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.” This is a direct reference to to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which SCOTUS will hear oral argument regarding on December 1. The case turns on the constitutionally of a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after….. 15 weeks of pregnancy. Allowing the law would, if not overrule Roe v. Wade, significantly limit it. Yet 37% of those polled approved of a decision upholding such a law, while 32% opposed such a result. The remaining 30% said they didn’t know enough to make a decision.

In most polls on other topics, that group that pleads ignorance are apathetic slugs, but on this topic, maybe they are the wise ones. How many Americans really know what Dobbs is about, or even what Roe v. Wade really says? My guess is considerably less than 50%. Maybe less than 25%. 10%?

The Post-ABC poll that is being waved triumphantly in the public’s face is the one summarized in the diagram above (the data is here) and claims that large majorities of Americans “support maintaining Roe v. Wade, oppose states making it harder for abortion clinics to operate and see abortion primarily as a decision to be made by a woman and her doctor, not lawmakers.” How can that be the case if a majority also believes that woman and doctors should not be able to decide to abort an unborn baby after only 15 weeks?

It can’t.

What’s going on here?

Americans, except for small numbers of activists on both sides, haven’t thought carefully about the issues in abortion sufficiently to have an informed opinion about it. That’s what.

I would like to have the groups polled by Marquette and ABC/Washington Post pollsters asked if they have read Roe. What’s your guess: how many would say they have? 5%? Less? How many have thought about when a fetus should have the right to live? If they were shown a photo of a fetus at 8 months, would they support aborting it? Six months? Three?

Of those who say they support abortions in the case of rape or incest, and were asked why how a human is conceived should change its right to live, how many could answer intelligently? How many have thought about it? How many have the education and critical thinking skills to analyze the problem competently?

If you asked if a man who killed a woman who was three months pregnant should be prosecuted for killing one human being or two, what would the majority answer? If they answered “two” and then they were asked, “How can it be murder if an unborn child is killed by anyone else, but no crime if the killer is the mother?,” how many would mutter “Huminahumina”?

The vast, vast majority of Americans thinks about abortion so shallowly as to be ethically useless, simply following their peer groups, or joining one team of the other who band together under deliberately misleading labels: “pro-life,” which ignores on of the crucial interests in involved in abortion policy, and “pro-choice,” which ignores the other. Or they don’t think about abortion at all.

No political, legal or societal acceptable solution to the abortion ethics conflict is possible when the public remains this ignorant and apathetic. A condition precedent to any solution, therefore, is to bring about a dramatic shift in public consciousness and commitment—that tipping point I mentioned before. That’s what “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” did: it forced people who had never thought seriously about slavery and what it meant to think, and once they did, they opposed it.

Polls are easily manipulated and generally do more harm than good, but these two, taken together, show us a way out. The public needs something or someone who will make its members think about abortion and its issues, honestly and without the spin, obfuscation, emotionalism and bullshit. If a metaphorical slap in the face could be found for slavery, one can be made for abortion.

So getting to that slap is the first part of any solution.

Got it.

Now I’m finally ready to finish Part 2…

This Weekend In Pro-Abortion Ethics

SCOTUS protest

Let’s examine this by categories….

Warped Concepts of How the System Works: Yet another Women’s March, like all of them, misleadingly labeled to avoid the ugly transparency that “March to be Able to Kill the Unborn at Will” would broadcast, ended up at the steps of the Supreme Court yesterday. Thousands traveled to Washington, D.C. to demand abortion rights, as if the Supreme Court decides complex issues according to who shouts the loudest, is most passionate, or has the coolest signs. Demonstrators surrounded the court,shouting “My body, my choice” and cheering loudly to the beat of drums.

Morons. These assaults on the Curt have driven me mad for decades, as what they demonstrate is that difficult matters of law, precedent and policy can be decided by slogans and the incoherent bellows from a mob. It’s an insult to the Court, the Constitution, and the system. If you have a valid argument, file an amicus brief. These demonstrations, and it doesn’t matter what their goal is our which side of the ideological spectrum they come from, waste time, energy, passion and taxpayer funds. Is the idea intimidation? Good luck with that. Persuasion? Sure, a bunch of screaming and weeping activists are going to persuade anyone but TV talking heads. Narcissistic grandstanding?

There you go.

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Having To Argue The Obvious On Gender Identity: “Trans”

lienear constant

it’s not as catchy as “Bias makes you stupid, ” but “Ideology makes you unethical” is just as true. However, just as bias is unavoidable, ideologies of some kind are necessary. The trick is to find one that doesn’t do more harm than good.

The diagram above was explained to me by a friend, fan and boss, the late Richard Halpern. He was a devotee of Chaos Theory, which he called his “religion.’ Life is chaos, he said, and human systems were chaotic. He likened living to a passenger plane’s journey through the endlessly unpredictable air currents and weather phenomenon in the skies. He analogized the plane’s guidance system to a linear constant through chaos, without which, Rich said, the plane would be lost. “No plane follows the charted path the whole trip, because it is constantly knocked off course, but that constant is there for the plane to return to. Ideologies are the same: you have to have that ever-present constant or be lost, with no basis for deciding where to turn, and when you’re navigating through chaos, it really doesn’t matter what it is.

This is why religion is so useful, and all mandated value systems, what Ethics Alarms defines as “morality.” Laws are mandated moral codes, You don’t have to make a million separate decisions, just one: Follow that constant! The constant can be repugnant to others or based on myth and bias, but once someone commits to it, it will do the job. This is where cults come from. This is how Amway became successful. This is why people elevate political and social goals to the point that all of their decisions about who to associate with, what to watch and read and how to align priorities are based on them. Abortion. The environment. “Social justice.”

A new book by Helen Joyce, an Irish journalist who is executive editor for events business of “The Economist,” takes on one of the weirder ideologies that has arisen in recent years, what she calls “gender-identity ideology.” It would be nice if she were a psychiatrist, or a doctor, but then those and most other professional groups in the United States have been so cowed into knee-jerk alliance with the progressive movement that any member of them daring to challenge the cant would face “cancellation.” Her book is titled “Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality.” To be fair, that title could be fairly and accurately adapted to any ideology; remember that neo-conservative icon Irving Kristol (yes, Bill’s dad) famously said that a conservative was “a liberal who has been mugged by reality.” (A cynic is a neo-conservative who was mugged by Iraq.)

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Friday Ethics Wars, 9/17/21: More Harvard Craziness, Woolly Mammoth Ethics, And The Importance Of Hiring A Competent Hitman

Death Star2

1. Fair Harvard, you continue to be an embarrassment. This is a candidate to make it into my “why I’m boycotting my reunion” note for the Class book: Giang Nguyen, executive director of Harvard University Health Services, sent a campus-wide memo telling students to follow these rules while eating and socializing in the dining halls. (I learned more eating in the dining halls and in late night snack sessions than I did in my classes):

“Eating and drinking together are a cornerstone of human social interaction, but there are ways to interact that minimize the time spent unmasked and in close proximity,” Nguyen wrote.

Among his requests to students:

  • Follow the “Quick Sip Rule” when drinking. Lower your mask, take a sip, and then promptly cover your mouth and nose. A straw can make this more efficient.
  • Do not linger with your mask down. If you wish to slowly savor a hot beverage, do it away from others.
  • Consume and cover! Consume your meal and immediately mask up when done.
  • Conversation, checking your phone, and other activities should be masked, even when you are in a designated indoor dining area.
  • If you are taking your time between bites (for conversation, for example), put your mask back on.
  • Dine in small parties of 2-to-4 people.
  • Avoid table-hopping.
  • Consider dining consistently with the same small group of people rather than a different group at every meal of the day.
  • Keep your close contacts to a minimum.
  • Limit each interaction to under 15 minutes.
  • Plan events that don’t involve eating, drinking, or removal of masks

My advice to the author of such a “request” were I a student today: “Bite me. Then put your mask on.” Harvard has a 94 percent vaccination rate among its students. As of this week, its test positivity rate is 0.18 percent.

2. Fake Woolly Mammoth ethics. This article managed to go on at great length about how a new company is planning to “de-extinctify” Wooly Mammoths and start new herds in Siberia as if it all made perfect sense. They’ve fooled private investors into giving them $15 million for the project: this is a scam, whether they know it or not. As far as the Times piece goes, it rates an ethics foul for never once mentioning “Jurassic Park.” Come to think of it, the article should have mentioned “The Producers.” Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D, and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, explains just how absurd the project is:

“What they are doing is making a genetically modified Asian elephant by inserting into its genome a maximum of sixty mammoth genes that they think differentiate the modern species from the extinct one: genes that involve hairiness, cold tolerance, amount of fat, and so on. What they’d get would be a genetic chimera, an almost entirely Asian elephant but one that is hairier, chunkier, and more tolerant of cold. That is NOT a woolly mammoth, nor would it behave like a woolly mammoth, for they’re not inserting behavior genes…Further, a lot of other genes differ between a mammoth and an Asian elephant. What guarantee is there that the inserted mammoth genes would be expressed correctly, or even work at all in concert with the Asian elephant developmental system? But it gets worse. Since you can’t implant a transgenic embryo into an elephant mom (we don’t know how to do that, and we would get just one or two chances), [the group] has this bright idea…’make an artificial mammoth uterus lined with uterine tissue grown from stem cells.’

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Thoughts On What An Ethical Solution To The Abortion Ethics Conflict Might Look Like, Part I: 25 Stipulations

pregnant-woman-with-friends

This is Labor Day, after all…

Eventually it is irresponsible and cowardly to criticize all of the rhetoric regarding abortion and not make a serious proposal. I feel like I’ve reached that point.

Let’s start with what we have to work with.

25 Stipulations

I have not labored to put these in order of priority or importance, and many constitute “but on the other hand” reflexes upon considering the previous point. I’ll bold the items that seem particularly important as I post them. I am certain that I will miss some or many points that need to be considered as well.

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