Great Moments In Totalitarian Hypocrisy: Stanford Law Students Who Proudly Shouted Down A Federal Judge Want Their Names And Images Removed From News Reports

Of course they do!

This reminds me that one of the epiphanal moments in my philosophical development was when the fellow students at my college who took over a building, rifled though records, precipitated a riot and the shutting down of classes that I had every right to attend, included among their demands to allow the school to re-open their immunity from any discipline or adverse consequences whatsoever. At that moment I learned what kind of ethical principles revolutionaries respected: none. I never forgot that lesson, and nothing has occurred in the intervening years to alter my assessment.

Hilariously, the same students who posted the names and faces of the Stanford Federalist Society all over the school prior to disrupting its program featuring a conservative Federal judge’s remarks are now demanding anonymity from the Washington Free Beacon, the conservative news source that has thoroughly covered the law school’s disgrace. “They say we’ve violated their right to privacy by identifying them. You can’t make it up,” tweeted Aaron Sibarium, a Free Beacon reporter.

Well, you don’t have to make it up; the demand was completely predictable and in character with today’s mutant breed of progressive totalitarians.

The school’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, the far-left force behind the exercise in the Heckler’s Veto handled so atrociously by the Stanford staff papered the school’s hallways prior to U.S. Circuit Court Judge Kyle Duncan’s scheduled speech with the names and photographs of the Federalist Society’s board members. Nevertheless, when Sibarium quoted the group’s board members describing the censorship exercise as “Stanford Law School at its best” and named those board members, the board’s demanded that that the Beacon redact her name and those of her classmates. “You do not have our permission to reference or quote any portion of this email in a future piece,” she wrote.

Translation: “You do not have our permission to reveal that we behaved like bullies and assholes even though we have said that we are proud of behaving like bullies and assholes.”

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Ethics Conundrum: Is Teaching That Communism Is Evil History or Indoctrination?

All of the turmoil over public school indoctrination of students regarding such matters as climate change, systemic racism and LGBTQ normalization naturally raises the question of whether there are legitimate topics for indoctrination in the United States. Should students be taught, for example, that democracy is good? That the Bill of Rights are crucial to the united States’ culture? That capitalism works/

What about teaching students that Communism, at least in its execution, is a dangerous and deadly ideology? Is that a fact?

I was prompted to consider this issue after reading NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd’s characteristically inarticulate objections to Gov. DeSantis signing a bill last May designating November 10 to be set aside for teaching Florida students at all grade levels “about the evils of communist regimes throughout history.”

“I don’t know if DeSantis is going to be talking to swing voters, here’s like one of the things he said in Vegas yesterday; take a listen to this,” Todd like said prior to playing like a clip of the Republican touting his program. “You know, …it’s sort of like, look, being a Floridian, I sort of know what he’s trying to play there and all of that. I went to Florida public schools we were taught this: It was called history. It just seems like a weird politicizing—you know he’s going out of his way to politicize something.”

Isn’t it amazing that NBC has employed an individual presiding over an iconic news show who speaks that way on live TV?

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Visiting Dog Ethics

A question to the New York Times’ “The Ethicist” raised multiple issues, perhaps the least interesting of which was the subject of the letter:

My brother-in-law and his wife adopted a dog a year ago. Since then, every time they have come over to our home, they have brought the dog too. My husband and children aren’t incredibly fond of pets. This creates some uncomfortable situations for us. I don’t think we truly enjoy their company, because they are always running around after the dog while they are with us. I have tried to indirectly hint that getting a dog sitter may be an option, but that’s hit or miss.

Nowadays we don’t feel that comfortable inviting them over as often. I feel sad, because it’s creating a distance between us. Shouldn’t they just accept the fact that not everyone is comfortable with a pet and find ways to leave it at home (for a few hours) instead of taking it with them everywhere they go? I hate bringing this up with my husband, because I know he is torn as well. How can we delicately and politely let them know without hurting their feelings?

“The Ethicist,” , issued the obvious answer: it is ethics blindness for visitors not to seek permission to bring their dogs to another home (even if the dog isn’t a Caucasian Shepherd like the one above), but also irresponsible for a family being inflicted with an unwanted canine guest to keep its resentment secret so it can fester. The brother-in-law should be told that his family dog isn’t welcome.

I was bothered by other things in the letter: Continue reading

Ethics Heroes: The Mid Vermont Christian School Girls Basketball Team [Updated]

The Mid Vermont Christian School girls basketball team, the Eagles, were set to play against the Long Trail Mountain Lions in the fourth game of state championship tournament playoffs last week. But the Eagles forfeited the game and lost their place in the tournament, taking the position it was unfair and unsafe for a high school girls team to have to play against a team with a biological male on its squad.

Which, of course, it was and is.

[That’s another trans member of a women’s basketball team above, but illustrative of the problem…don’t you think?]

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Gee, Who Would Have Predicted That Legalizing Pot Would Put Children At Risk?

Sorry, I have no sympathy, zero, zilch, nada, for any parents and grandparents of the rebellious toking generation who are horrified at the effect widespread pot legalization is having on the young. Any idiot could have and should have predicted it. For example, I predicted it when I was 18, and being prodded, mocked, urged and wheedled (perhaps that should be “weedled”) into taking “just one puff” almost every day in college. (It was also against the law, which stodgy old me took too seriously, I was lectured, by a lot of students who went to law school.)

Here is how the New York Times’ “Kids Buying Weed From Bodegas Wasn’t in the ‘Legal Weed’ Plan” begins…

Not long ago, a mother in Westchester learned from her teenage son that he and his friends had gone to a nearby bodega and bought weed. She understood — they were kids, stifled and robbed by the pandemic of so many opportunities for indulging the secretive rituals of adolescence…

But it was deeply troubling to her that a store was selling weed to kids — New York State’s decriminalization statute makes it illegal to sell to anyone under 21 — so she embarked on an investigation. Predictably, when she confronted the bodega owners, they denied that they were distributing to anyone underage, so her next stop was a visit to the local police precinct, where she did not encounter the sense of urgency she had hoped for.

The cops greeted her with a kind of smug indifference, she said, an affect of I told you so, suggesting that liberals were now faced with the downstream impact of values that law enforcement had always disdained. Mothers in earthy, expensive footwear from the River Towns to Park Slope had supported the legalization of marijuana on the grounds that it needlessly funneled so many young Black and brown men into the criminal justice system. But now it was ubiquitous, and in the worst case scenarios possibly laced with fentanyl, and all too easy for their children to access. The bodega, in this instance, was a short distance from the local high school.

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Presidents Day Ethics Warm-Up: Sick Of Presidents Edition

Usually Ethics Alarms has a special Presidents Day feature, but not this year. I hope the mood passes, but right now I am thoroughly sick of the office. Three passions have driven the course of my life, beliefs, interest, pursuits, education, relationships and careers: baseball, Gilbert and Sullivan, and the Presidents of the United States. At this moment, I am disgusted with two of the three.

The accolades being heaped on Jimmy Carter as he has announced that he will wait to die with his family near rather than seek more medical care further sours my mood, because it cripples me with cognitive dissonance. All Presidents deserve the nation’s gratitude and respect, and Carter has led a life devoted to public service. Yet he was a terrible President, and did as much damage to the nation in his four years as any modern POTUS—at least until Joe Biden arrived.

1. “Red Joan” Not helping my mood was watching “Red Joan,” the 2019 British film celebrating the foolish Melita Stedman Norwood, a British civil servant who became a KGB spy in the post-war years. She was convinced that she was doing a good and ethical thing to send nuclear secrets to Stalin’s government so the USSR could develop its own atom bomb. The movie is fictionalized enough that Norwood, played by Judy Dench, is given a different name (Joan Stanley), but the beliefs she espouses are accurate representations of Norwood’s various explanations and rationalizations.

She thought Communism was the hope of the future; she thought the Russians “deserved” to have the nuclear advances developed by the U.S. and Great Britain shared with them; she thought the US using the atom bomb to end World War II was mass murder; and she believed that giving the Soviets the ability to wield nuclear power would prevent World War III—and continued to justify her treachery with the last excuse after she was exposed and caught in her 80s, taking credit for “saving millions of lives.”

My head exploded when the British nuclear scientist who was her lover erupted over learning that she had sent his work to the Soviets, telling her it was madness to give such secrets to a “ruthless dictator” like Stalin. “But we didn’t know that then!” Joan protests.

That’s what ethicists call “contrived ignorance.” Continue reading

Britain’s Unethical And Deliberate Micro-Viewpoint Indoctrination In The Schools: It Can Happen Here, And Probably Already Does

I have been blissfully ignorant of the existence of Andrew Tate (above) until very recently; my life was better before. He is considered a social media influencer, aka “someone with power in the culture without any genuine reason to have it.” Tate was a professional kickboxer who appeared on the British reality show “Big Brother”—which is just as moronic as the American version— and was the source of controversy when his social media posts got him kicked off the show. He began offering paid courses and memberships through his website promoting an “ultra-masculine, ultra-luxurious lifestyle,” as well as sexism and misogyny. Last year, Tate and his brother were arrested in Romania on suspicions of human trafficking. He’s also been charged with rape.

In summary, this creep makes Kim Kardashian seem like Eleanor Roosevelt. But he’s got a buff bod and drives cool cars, so British boys and teens are suckers for his act. In response, British schools, the New York Times tells us, are now spending class time condemning Tate rather than teaching their students math, reading and critical thinking.

“I am sad that I have taken up important curriculum time to talk about Andrew Tate,” Chloe Stanton, an English teacher in East London tells the Times. “But women have to fight enough in society without this type of attitude to deal with.” The Times writes, “Believing that schools are a microcosm of society — and a preview of its future — educators said it was crucial to target Mr. Tate’s influence early. Since last fall, principals have sent letters to parents warning of his reach, and Britain’s education secretary has said that influencers like Mr. Tate could reverse the progress made in countering sexism.”

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“Good Censorship”: Regarding Ethics Villain Puffin Books And Its Defender, Seth Abramson

Yes, that’s a dead and rotting puffin above. It should be the new logo for Puffin Books, a division of Penguin. According to Wikipedia, “it has been among the largest publishers of children’s books in the UK and much of the English-speaking world” since the 1960s. According to the Penguin website, Puffin Books is “prestigious.”

According to Ethics Alarms, the children’s book publisher has no regard for authors’ rights, integrity, fairness, literature or language, all rather crucial to its trade, wouldn’t you say? What’s happened at Puffin? Well, what’s happened to Disney, elementary schools and toy makers? ( Clue: Mattel has a gender-fluid line of Barbies).

Puffin has decided that the demands of wokism, political correctness and child indoctrination justify rewriting the works of iconic British author Roald Dahl. Since Dahl’s death, Puffin has made hundreds of changes to his childen’s classics, removing words and passages that The Wonderfully Woke might consider offensive or harmful, even to the extent of adding passages that Dahl never wrote.

What?? I’m assuming that Puffin owns the rights to the books somehow and can do this legally. You want to know why authors like Samuel Beckett made sure his estate had iron-clad control over his works? THIS is why. Please note: it doesn’t matter one whit that Puffin can allow some anonymous censor to rewrite “Charlie and the Choaolate Factory,” it is throbbingly unethical for it to do so.

In the original edition of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” Grandma Josephine speaks of a “crazy Indian prince.” The 2022 edition describes the character as a “ridiculously rich Indian prince.” Augustus Gloop, one of the horrible children in the novel, is no longer described as “enormously fat” as Dahl wrote; he is now   described as “enormous”(whatever that means). Puffin apparently has a fetish about “fat.” Aunt Sponge, in the 2022 edition of “James and the Giant Peach,” is now “quite large” instead of “enormously fat,” leaving the possibility that she could be the size of  The Rock or even a T-Rex. Other passages where Aunt Sponge is described as “fat” have been excised.

Meanwhile, “two ghastly hags” has been changed to “two ghastly aunts.” “Queer” is apparently no longer acceptable to describe a house—just in case its a gay house, I suppose—and was replaced with  “strange.” In “The Witches,”  edits by Puffin made character descriptors gender-neutral, so “chambermaid” became “cleaner.” Though Dahl wrote that a character said, “You must be mad, woman!,” the line is now, “You must be out of your mind!” The line describing a, “Great flock of ladies” was changed to a “Great group of ladies.”

And so on. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Icky Question

Gwendolyn Herzig, a pharmacist who describes herself as a transgender female, testified in support of the gender-altering treatment of minors during an Arkansas state Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week. The legislation, S.B. 199, being considered would prohibit physicians in the state from providing most types of such treatment to minors, including prescribing puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapy, or from performing transition-related surgeries. (NBC uses “gender-affirming care,” which is both an oxymoron and cover-phrase devised by pro-transexual activists. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!)

At one point, Sen. Matt McKee, a Republican, asked Herzig if she has a penis. You can see the exchange above.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is..

Was McKee’s question unethical?

Whatever you may think of the question, Herzig handled it very well.

I could justify the question was going to credibility and bias. The other side of the argument is that it was needlessly embarrassing to the witness, as well as disrespectful.

I wouldn’t have asked it.

“The Ethicist” On Allowing Your Kids To Associate With The Children Of Crooks [Corrected]

One of the downsides of only getting the digital version of the New York Times (because I no longer could justify sending such an unethical and nation-damaging publication almost a hundred bucks a month) is that I don’t keep up with “The Ethicist,” aka , as well as I did when the Times Magazine was always available in our bathroom. A recent catch-up session revealed a lot of interesting topics posed by “The Ethicist’s” readers, as well as some that shouldn’t require an ethicist to figure out ( “Is It OK to Let My Relatives Think Their Dead Sister Is Still Alive?”).

At the end of January, a mother asked whether she should have let her children go to a sleepover at a new classmate’s home after she discovered that the parents  “are now infamous for their unscrupulous and callous illegal business dealings that ultimately led to a multimillion-dollar settlement with our city government.” The mother was concerned about punishing the couple’s children for their parents’ misdeeds. “Should we let the children hang out?” she asks. “How much do we share with our own child, who is old enough to understand why their behavior is unacceptable?”

As usual the ethics teacher goes into great detail examining all pros and cons, writing things like, “Your duties to your own child do take precedence over your concerns for the children of others. In the philosophical literature on “partiality” — the special concern we have toward those with whom we have special relationships — some have argued that it’s morally permissible to give your own children priority. In my view, it isn’t merely permissible; it’s morally obligatory. What you owe to your child is not the same as what you owe to just any child.” Continue reading