Saturday Ethics Respite Before Holiday Madness, 11/21/2020: The Justice, The Pope, The Scouts, And The Chickens

This is annually the last day before everything goes bananas in Marshall World. From now until New Years, its like the Nantucket Sleigh ride, not quite as dangerous, but not as much fun either. November 22 is the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, my generation’s 9-11. It changed everything. The 23rd is my anniversary, #40, which my son is sure to forget and my wife, for various reasons, doesn’t like to celebrate. Next is Thanksgiving, always depressing now because what was once a vibrant table of 7-15 relatives and friends is now at most four and a lot of wistfulness. My birthday comes on December 1, forever tainted because my perverse father chose the date to die on, and fate chose me to find his body. Then it’s the anxious run-up to the Christmas holidays, which always follows in the deadest period for ProEthics, meaning that we are counting pennies at the one time of the year we don’t want to be. (There is also the annual tree drama, since both my family and Grace’s were addicted to real, meticulously decorated trees, and we have a 20 foot ceiling which makes any tree less than 8 feet look silly. The thing takes about 2500 lights, which I have the responsibility of hanging, and then over a hundred mostly unique ornaments, beginning with the yarn Santa my mother made for Jack Sr. and Eleanor’s first scraggly tree in their new Cape Cod-style home in Arlington, Massachusetts. It was 1948. Getting our tree up and decorated to family standards takes about twelve hours and multiple First Degree prickle wounds. I can’t wait.

On the plus side, I’ll finally finish the Ethics Alarms Ethics Guide to “Miracle on 42nd Street”…

1. No, I’m not surprised that the Catholic Church sexual abuse cover-up went straight to the top. Are you? I’m not even disappointed. This is what organizations and institutions do: they protect themselves, and sacrifice the victims of their misconduct.

The Vatican this month released a report that showed Pope John Paul’s role blame in allowing the disgraced former prelate Theodore E. McCarrick to continue in the Church’s hierarchy.

The investigation, commissioned by Pope Francis, who canonized John Paul in 2014, reveals how the Pope ignored a wave of accusations of sexual abuse and pedophilia against McCarrick. Three popes participated in the cover-up, but one of them, John Paul, has been canonized. So Catholic saints are now accessories to rape.

A reversal of the canonization, which may never have happened, is unlikely, but it may slow the rush to canonize future popes.

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Wednesday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/18/2020: The Betraying Friend, The Abusive Model, The Grandstanding Lawyer, And The Partisan CEO

Several of these items could support stand-alone posts, I suppose, but I have bigger metaphorical fish to fry. I’ve also figured out that traffic would look better if I broke some of these 800-1000 word posts into multiple 400-500 word bites, but to hell with it: a post should be as long as it has to to make the points I want to make. Traffic has also been excellent lately: from Election Day through yesterday EA has had the best extended streak since 2017. As usual with such surges, this has involved some quirks. For example, the post about Margaret Thatcher’s favorite poem has been leading all posts in clicks for three days. I didn’t see that coming…

1. Ethics Quiz: Which is more unethical, the creep who offers such tales out of school, or the publication that gives her a platform?

The entire genre of former school mates coming forward with unflattering and ancient anecdotes about political figures is unethical. Now that Ivanka Trump’s father is likely to be out of the White House next year, her seventh grade friend Lysandra Ohrstrom decided it was a safe to reveal what a creep the First Daughter was as a 13-year-old, because so few of us lacked a functioning ethics compass at that age. She also decided that she would enjoy being interviewed on various Trump-hating TV shows, I assume.

Why the woman continued to stay friends with someone she now says was an elitist snot is a mystery; yes, some of Lysandra’s tales impugn adult Ivanka as well as the child version.

One of her earliest memories of Ivanka is her blaming a fart on a less popular classmate. The monster! In their twenties, Ivanka asked Ohrstrom for a book suggestion and when her friend suggested “Empire Falls,” replied, “Why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people?” Ohrstrom also recalls Ivanka once telling her “You’ve really turned into a Marxist” during a discussion about affordable housing in Manhattan.

Is there anyone who has ever lived who doesn’t have embarrassing incidents that occurred early their lives and that they trust that the family and friends who witnessed them have the decency and loyalty not to inform the world? Ohstrom’s ignorance of the Golden Rule and her pathetic lunge for 15 minutes of fame tell us more about her character than reveal anything relevant about Ivanka Trump.

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Afternoon Ethics Wind-down, 11/17/2020: Greenwald, Kelly, Typical Irresponsible College Professor, And “Name Withheld”

windingUp

1 Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias… Glenn Greenwald, the gadfly journalist who was cut off at the metaphorical knees for not supporting the media black-out of the Biden family influence peddling story in the waning days of the campaign (Hey! It worked, so it must be ethical!), is apparently just warming up in his campaign to expose the mainstream media’s hypocrisy and bias. Here’s a recent thread on Twitter.

Of course, it’s just a matter of time before Twitter suspends his account…

2. I LOVE this guy! He’s the perfect example of so much that’s wrong with academia, Black Lives Matters, and the entire race-baiting phenomenon! (But why is he allowed to teach anyone?) Bucknell University will be featuring a scholarly debate over the new film “What Killed Michael Brown?,” with participants considering “whether the idea of systemic racism today is a truth about what needs to be addressed in shaping a just America, or a ‘poetic truth’ that as a strategy exacerbates social division in America.” (Strange…it is beyond question that what killed Michael Brown was his fatal and perhaps drug-aided decision to resist arrest, try to grab an officer’s weapon, ignore a lawful order to stop, and to direct his entire bulk in a charge at a police officer. It will be a short webinar.) Roosevelt University journalism Professor John Fountain, one of the participants, asserts that “questioning the existence and impact of systemic racism in the United States is itself offensive and racist.”

3. Whew! I almost lost this one. From an October 6 column by “The Ethicist.” “Name Withheld” writes: Continue reading

“You Have No Enemies” By Charles Mackay (1814-1889)

Let’s start the week with some poetic inspiration.

The excellent Netflix series “The Crown” launched its fourth season yesterday, with Scully herself, Gillian Anderson, delivering a brilliant portrayal of “the Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher. At one point, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman) warns the Prime Minister that she is making enemies, and she responds by reciting from memory this poem, which I had never heard or read before.

You Have No Enemies

You have no enemies, you say?
Alas! my friend, the boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never turned the wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.

Mackay is not well-known in the U.S., and he was a marginal literary figure in England. But in 2019, a confidante of Thatcher’s revealed that she turned to the writings of Mackay for solace and inspiration, particularly “Enemies,” which she kept in her scrapbook.

I’d describe the poem as a simpler, more direct predecessor of Theodore’s Roosevelt’s famous “The Man in the Arena” speech. (Teddy did go on.) Mackay’s poem has the advantage of being suitable for children, who need to be taught, as do almost all of our current politicians, that popularity isn’t everything.

Saturday Ethics Review, 11/7/2020: And The Beat Goes On (Item #7 Added)

1. It’s not only the obvious hypocrisy and double standard, it’s the fact that they are so shameless about it. Of course, the average low-information voter (or the average partisan hack who likes applying double standards) cheered on Al Gore and the Democrats when they challenged the 2000 election using a shifting set of theories—remember the “butterfly ballot” that sparked the first legal challenge from Al’s lawyers? Then it was the hanging chads. The 2020 election isn’t over and the race isn’t won until every re-count is completed and there is a credible and trustworthy result. The results so far in multiple states are spiderweb thin, and even relatively small instances of voter fraud could change the winner.

As I have already written here more than once since Tuesday, President Trump has an obligation to oversee responsible investigations into questions regarding irregularities in the vote counting and mail-in voting. He is, after all, President for two more months at least. But the Axis of Unethical Conduct is, as it has from the beginning of his term, claiming that what is virtuous and justified when their favorite politicians do it is sinister when Republicans do the same. I have a complete library of asshole tweets to the effect that the latest Democratic coup attempt should be granted instant legitimacy before all of the issues are satisfactorily resolved. Here are two samples,

Tapper twt

Winslow tweet

If you have problems with my characterization of “coup” just now, sorry, I’m not retracting it. The election was not held on even ground, between the news media’s open bias and the use of the pandemic to justify early and inherently corruptible mail-in voting. It is certainly possible that Joe Biden would have won in a fair election, but we will never know that. The price of the party’s “ends justify the means” strategy is that this election can never be regarded as decisive or fair, and expect the Right to act accordingly.

The fact that a news organization or a decision desk has declared Biden the winner doesn’t mean that he is the winner, and if there are valid legal issues and voting questions to be settled, we should settle them now, because we know they won’t be addressed once the Democrats have the Presidency. I also endorse the point made in this tweet…

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“Systemic,” A Four Part Ethics Alarms Depression, Part II: Now THIS Is Systemic Racism!

Love is Love

Once again, I don’t understand how this episode could happen. But let me back up.

Today, while walking my dog on a glorious fall day in Alexandria Virginia, and observing the odd juxtaposition of virtue-signaling lawn signs, Biden-Harris signs and Halloween decorations (Spuds was quite unsettled by 8 foot standing models of a ghoul and his love wearing Trump and Melania masks), I passed one neighbor with a lawn sign grand slam: a Biden sign, the thing above, a straight Black Lives Matter sign, and a sign that read, “End Racism Now!”

I already noted the questions I would like to ask anyone with the BLM sign here. The virtue-signaling extravaganza above is almost too easy, since it’s one flaccid, intellectually lazy generalization without substance after another, and to my mind, is signature significance for a dolt. (“Love is Love, for example,is Rationalization  23 A. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”)

But what precisely is the entreaty “End Racism Now” demanding? It appears to contradict Black Lives Matters, which involves demonizing whites and white society, as well as requiring an end to race-based preferences. What is racism? If it’s an attitude, the sign seems to be advocating brain-washing, indoctrination and re-education camps. If the sign refers to conduct, then I need a definition. Many “systemic racism” complaints consist of African Americans preferring to have “someone who looks like me” on a court, on a board, in a  movie cast. Isn’t a preference for those who are like us one of the definitions of racism being advanced? (It’s not racism, or if it is, it’s racism for anyone, not just whites.)

This story, however, is an example of racial discrimination oozing from racism, and not only should we be able to end such incidents now, I’m stunned that this kind of conduct hasn’t been wiped off the face of the U.S. map.

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“Abducted In Plain Sight”: Maybe People Really Are Too Stupid To Be Trusted With Democracy

Abducted

If that title sounds harsh, by all means watch the Netflix true crime documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.” Otherwise, I’m not sure the ordeal is worth it, since it may throw you into a depression from which you never recover. That’s where I am now.

With the nation facing what might be—“I do believe in people, I do believe in people,” he says in his best Cowardly Lion imitation—an existential election, I really did not need any more reason to despair of the life competency deficit and declining mental state of the nation’s voters. In fact, I decided to watch “Abducted in Plain Sight” to take my mind off of The Big Stupid, with its ongoing efforts by the news media to keep Americans ignorant of the Biden scandal, the brain-melting tale of the Zoom adventures of He Who Must Not Be Named, and polls that seem to show that most of the American public is incapable of paying attention to matters that will effect their lives, family and nation.

Big mistake. What watching the 2017 award-winning documentary did was vividly remind me that normal, decent, religious middle-class Americans like those you live and work with may well be too moronic and irresponsible to be entrusted with children, never mind make decisions about leadership and public policy that will affect the rest of us.

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Scary Tales Of The Great Stupid: San Diego Schools Decide That To Fight Racism, Character And Education Have To Go

Triple facePalm

Oh, yes, this will work out well.

Seldom have social upheavals combined with irresponsible propaganda resulted in more devastating mass amnesia by institutions regarding well-settled reality than “The Great Stupid,” now playing in your community and mine. Joining advocacy for such self-evident disasters as open borders, eliminating police, self-declared childhood gender flips and re-segregation is the decision to eliminate basic standards in education because educators can’t seem to explain stubborn racial gaps. Make everyone equally ignorant, unethical and undisciplined! Brilliant!

I’m not exaggerating; I wish I were. The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), the second largest school district in California with over 106,000 students, announced that it is overhauling how students will be evaluated because “teachers fail minority students more than White students.” Since the possibility that the reasons for this persistent problem may rest within minority culture and society pathologies rather than failures of the educational system is unpalatable to the Left and politically incorrect, the proscribed solution is to overhaul the way students are graded as part of what school board members call  “a larger effort to combat racism.”

“This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district,” says SDUSD Vice President Richard Barrera. “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years.” Thus the school board voted unanimously last week —unanimously; think about that— to make sweeping changes. There will be no yearly grade averages. “Things like” turning work in on time and classroom behavior will not affect academic grades, but will only count toward a so-called “citizenship grade.” On the docket for reconsideration in an upcoming meeting: de-emphasizing discipline and penalties for cheating.

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Ick or Ethics? The Cool Diorama Controversy

Lion_Attacking_a_Dromedary

Boy, as a kid, would I have loved the diorama “Lion Attacking a Dromedary” at The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh! Things like that—by “like that” I mean cool, stimulating exhibits that fired my curiosity—got me interested in all sorts of subjects growing up: paleontology, zoology, history. The creation of French naturalist and taxidermist Edouard Verreaux and his brother was made for the Paris Exposition of 1867 and has been at the Pittsburgh museum since 1899. I wish it had been lodged at the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Mass., where I used to spend long, leisurely Saturdays with my best friend, Peter Bena.

But now, fully in the grip of what I call “The Great Stupid,” the Carnegie Museum’s interim director says the exhibit is being “reconsidered,” because the exciting scene has disturbed “some.” After all, it depicts violence against a man described as an Arab courier. Also, the victim’s garb has been determined to be “derived from” at least five separate North African cultures. So that’s bad. I’m not sure why, but it’s bad. I’m sure PETA thinks the scene encourages cruelty to camels.

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Columbus Day Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 10/10/2020: Dumb Tweets, Rigged Reviews, Insane Academics, And Police Conduct Worth Protesting

Is it that time again already? Great, now we have to listen to more Statue Toppling rants from anti-Columbus zealots who don’t think changing the world unquestionably for the better and setting in motion the chain of events that allowed the United States to exist is worthy of a day of recognition.

1. I confess. Although I bailed out of following baseball this “season” when MLB’s groveling to Black Lives Matter became too much to bear, I do check the scores now and then, and thus am taking some pleasure in the fact that the New York Yankees were eliminated in the best of five Divisional Play-offs by the Tampa Bay Rays, making it eleven straight years since the Bronx Bombers got to the World Series.

2. Idiotic tweets that did not come from the White House. Whether one believes the Doomsday Polls or not, it is beyond question that President Trump’s prospects this November would be far brighter were he able to resist sending out dumb tweets, many of which I have highlighted here. (There is a Trump Tweets tag, if you want to reminisce. Like so many of his regrettable proclivities, this one is apparently contagious. Powerline recently flagged three head-exploders:

  • From Washington governor Jay Inslee:

Inslee tweet

  • From former CIA director and Deep State Trump saboteur John Brennan:

Brennan Tweet

Those who visit here often know that by Ethics Alarms standard, quoting “Imagine” as if this infantile doggerel by John Lennon is profound automatically wins any “Dumbest” competition.

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