The Civil War started on this date in 1861, as Southern forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. That’s about all that needs to be said. All wars are ethics nightmares, but none has had more ethics ramifications for this country, from the lives sacrificed to end slavery, to the war crimes of Andersonville, and the total war tactics of Sherman, to the myriad instances of astounding courage, cruelty and incompetence on the battlefields and the ongoing debate about how best to glean the right ethics lessons from them. (Tearing down statues is not it, though.) The Civil War took away our greatest POTUS, Lincoln, and gave us Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison and McKinley, Civil War veterans all. The one non-veteran in the sequence, Grover Cleveland, is an ethics controversy himself because of it: Grover paid someone else to take his place in the draft. And yet….try asking the nearest college grad to give you the dates of the Civil War. I asked a Cornell law grad and former associate of one of the most prestigious law firm in the nation once. She guessed “Somewhere in the 1930s, right?”
1. I’ll take “Unethical environmental fanatic nutballs, Alex!” Adbusters, a self-described “international collective of artists, designers, writers, musicians, poets, punks, philosophers and wild hearts” posted instructions on how to deflate the tires of “rich people’s” gas-powered vehicles. [Pointer: JutGory] “Wedge gravel in the tire valves, leaflet the SUV to let them know the tires are flat and why it was done, and walk away. It’s that simple,” the group said in a tweet. The group cautioned “to avoid targeting vehicles with disabled stickers or hangers.” That’s considerate of them…
This is what climate change hysteria does to people who lack ethics alarms. Here’s what they want you to leave on the windshield when you disable a car:
2. Good. Now what took you so long? On the Huffington Post, progressive opinionater Stephen Crockett authored a rueful essay bemoaning the fact that Black Lives Matter is apparently a racket. (Please note that this space figured that out years ago, and it wasn’t hard.)
In Florida, two teenage males—Can we say “males”?—were playing a fun and exciting game: they took turns wearing body armor while the other shot a gun at him, police have concluded. Surprisingly, at least to them, one of the kids was shot dead when a bullet hit a place that the body armor didn’t cover.
Christopher Leroy Broad, 15, died after being rushed to a hospital. 17-year-old Joshua Vining has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child with a firearm. Continue reading →
For “don’t ring,” maybe substituting “don’t exist” would be appropriate. I question the competence and sanity of any parent who would allow their child to attend Sarah Lawrence College after this.
You can read the details of the astounding story here and here, but I’m not especially interested in the evil Larry Ray, who was just convicted in New York on 15 counts including extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, obstruction of justice, and various financial crimes, and faces life in prison. Nobody needs an ethicist to explain that his conduct was unethical (I hope!). I’m interested in this [From the Washington Post]:
After a federal securities fraud conviction, charges related to a custody dispute and a bail-jumping case, Ray was released from a stint behind bars in 2010.He began living at his daughter Talia’s dorm suite at Sarah Lawrence, a private liberal arts college in Westchester County, just north of New York City. There, he encountered Talia’s roommates and injected himself into their lives. Ray cooked meals and hosted late-night chats for the college sophomores, promising them he could help them lead “better, more honest lives…He told them that he had special training that could help them gain clarity and discipline…He said if they shared their deepest feelings with him, he could help resolve their problems…
Claudia Drury was 19 when she met Ray at the dorm suite called Slonim Woods 9. She testified that after drawing her into his orbit, Ray eventually physically abused her. At the same time, she said, he convinced Drury that she had tried to poison him and owed him huge sums of money as a result.
Eventually, Drury told jurors, she worked four years as a prostitute, meeting clients in hotel rooms and paying Ray $10,000 to $50,000 per week. In 2018, she said, Ray suffocated her with a plastic bag after she told a regular client that his name was on a website Ray created to post embarrassing and damaging information he could use to control her.
No ethics warm-up for two straight days leaves me with a big pile of stinking undiscussed and aging issues and events….
1. So much of “in sickness or in health”...Baseball Hall of Fame lock Albert Pujols, recently signed to another multi-million dollar contract to be the St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter, waited a couple of days after his wife Deidre underwent surgery removing a brain tumor to announce he was divorcing her. “I realize this is not the most opportune time with Opening Day approaching and other family events that have recently taken place. These situations are never easy and isn’t something that just happened overnight,” he wrote in part. Yeah, I’d put the baseball stuff after the family stuff, Albert. I’m sure this came as no surprise to his wife (at least I hope so), and whatever part of the $344 million he has been paid through the years will definitely help, but especially with five children, letting his wife at least recuperate from a traumatic operation before dumping her would seem to be the more ethical course. Pujols’ reputation is one of being a nice guy; you know, like Will Smith.
2. Watching free speech get “chilled” in real time...at the Grammys—who watches the Grammys?—host Trevor Noah began by promising that the he would be keeping “people’s names out of [his] mouth,” referring to Smith’s shouted demand after he went slap-happy. And he did. Today the New York Times critic approved of Noah not taking “meanspirited swipes.” If Chris Rock’s mild joke about a woman choosing to shave her head for a public appearance is now “mean-spirited,” the Left’s attempt to shut-down all comedy (except meanspirited swipes at men, whites and Republicans, of course, is nearing success.
3. Calling the Humane Society and the ASPCA! Martha Stewart announced that her four dogs killed her cat when they “mistook her for an interloper and killed her defenseless little self.” Did the dogs sign a statement to that effect? Her four dogs constituted a pack, and making a cat try to coexist with a pack of dogs is irresponsible. What really happened, I’s surmise, is that the cat and one of the dogs had what would have normally been a brief altercation, and the pack instinct kicked in for the other three. Continue reading →
There is nothing discriminatory, bigoted, ant-gay, anti-trans or unethical in the “Parental Rights in Education Bill’ signed into law by Florida Governor Jim DeSantis. Have you read it, or just relied on the hysterical and dishonest characterizations of the bill by the news media and woke activists like the three Oscar co-hosts, who chanted “Gay, gay,gay, gay!’ like four-year-olds in supposed bold and hilarious defiance of what progressives have been calling the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Read the law. It doesn’t prohibit saying “gay” at all (the word doesn’t appear in the law), and as unfortunately vague as the wording sometimes is, no fair interpretation would find that it inhibits free speech.
Here is the closest wording in the bill to an “anti-LGBTQ” provision, in Section 3, page 4:
3. Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.
The Horror. Only the most committed and unhinged gay activist could find that provision problematic, and the fact that so many progressives do is signature significance: they lave lost touch with common sense and reality. The law isn’t anti-gay, it’s pro-parent (and student). Any parents who really think their 4-8 year olds need to be trained in human sexuality are welcome to do it themselves. I would not want my child introduced to those topic by kindergarten through third grade teachers, even if I had the opportunity to closely examine the teachers’ qualifications for doing so and the way it would be done. This is not their job, and no, I wouldn’t trust them to take it on if it were. They have a hard enough time teaching language, arts, math, science and history. I don’t trust them to teach ethics. Continue reading →
The 29th is another of those ill-starred days in U.S. ethics, topped off in 1973 by the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, the half-way war that was an ethics train wreck for decades. Two years earlier, on the same date, Lt. William L. Calley was found guilty of premeditated murder by a U.S. Army court-martial at Fort Benning, Georgia. Calley, a platoon leader, had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians including women and children on March 16, 1968. Ten years before Calley’s conviction, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II. They were executed in 1953, a flashpoint in the schism between the American Left and Right that still is a sore point. (Ethel appears to have been a genuine villain.)
1. I thought this was a hoax. It’s not, unfortunately: someone got a photo of the cheat cheat for “talking points” that President Biden was holding when he massacred his explanation for his Russian regime change outburst in an exchange with Peter Doocy.
This does not fill me with confidence. You? The ethical value at issue is competence.
2. The propaganda and misinformation continues. Though some recently departed here could never grasp it, honest and trustworthy newspapers shouldn’t be publishing falsity and partisan propaganda in house opinion pieces. That’s when the opinion is offered using misleading or incomplete facts—deceit–and the New York Times does it almost every day. I can’t trust a group of editors who permit that. Examples:
It’s incredible how quickly we’ve normalized the fact that the last president tried to retain power despite losing the election and that a mob he incited stormed the Capitol. Many people took part in the effort to overturn the election — among them, we recently learned, the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice, who hasn’t even recused himself in cases about the attempted coup.
The President in question wanted to challenge the results of an election he believed was the result of illegal manipulation, and as President, he had a duty to do that. I know Krugman isn’t a lawyer, but incitement is a term of art and a crime, and Trump did not “incite a mob” by addressing a crowd. Saying Justice Thomas “hasn’t even” recused himself because of the completely legal communications of his wife falsely implies that doing so is required or the justification for him to do so is undeniable. It isn’t. Editors should not allow such deliberately confusing and misleading opinion material Continue reading →
Last night in Northern Virginia, I waited to be served at a SubWay behind a young, apparently well-to-do mother and her two children, no more than 5 or 6 years old. All three were tightly masked, though in the cloth variety that are—yes they are— virtually useless. The two women behind the counter were masked, of course, for business and PR reasons. I wasn’t. Also in front of me was a young African-American woman (who ordered a BMT with cucumber, mayo, mustard, oil and vinegar) who also wore a cloth mask, while two young men behind me were unmasked.
For about the tenth time in recent weeks, I had to wrestle my tongue to the floor to avoid asking the masked women in line, “Pardon me, but why are you wearing those things?” and the mother “Why are you forcing those tiny children to walk around with half their faces covered? (I also wanted to ask the woman in front of me, “Mayo, mustard, oil and vinegar all on an Italian sub? What are you, nuts?” But that’s another issue.) Once again, I resisted the urge, but I can feel myself nearing the point where I’m going to do it. In fact, I’m nearing the point where I think it is the duty of Americans who care about the culture, societal values and future as a democracy to challenge the maskers, especially those who are abusing and warping their children.
These people should be made to defend their conduct. It’s not a private matter, not when masks carry a message and send messages to others. There appear to be two varieties of masked Americans, one pathetic and the other sinister: those who wear masks as a symbolic show of solidarity with the statist, totalitarian Left that wants the government to train the “little people” to do and believe what they are told, and those who have been turned into lifetime germaphobes and agoraphobes by media scaremongering, inflated death statistics and incompetent health officials. Every day, in tiny, incremental ways, these two, sometimes overlapping groups are tearing down American individuality, liberty, and the quality of life.
The fact that the radical feminist and pro abortion lobbies did it is no excuse. The party has allowed abortion to corrupt it. There need to be consequences.
The Women’s Health Protection Act would codify Roe v. Wade and make all abortion restrictions illegal. Every Democratic Senator except one—Joe Manchin, of course—voted for the bill yesterday in lockstep with party leaders, despite its brutal, unethical and radical objective. [In the House as well, only one Democrat thought that the lives of full term unborn human babies were worth protecting.] The bill would allow doctors to abort unborn babies at any point in a pregnancy if they determine that allowing the pregnancy to continue to birth “would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
Note the woke weasel words in that proposed law. Although the title of the bill and the long introductory argument for the law mention women prominently, the proposed wording of the law itself doesn’t mention women anywhere, as an obvious sop to the trans community, which seeks to erase all gender distinctions.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck was the ugly spectacle of once esteemed professions deciding en masse to ditch their integrity in order to join the “Get Trump!” mob with the cool kids. Historians, lawyers, judges, psychiatrists, scholars, civil libertarians, journalists, educators…yes, and ethicists—all these groups disgraced themselves and breached the one, overarching mandate for those who supposedly labor for the public good: be trustworthy. Then came The Great Stupid, compounding the damage to society and the culture by showing “experts” to be equally unreliable, burdened as they were by crippling bias, political agendas, and flawed skills and assumptions.
Two recent examples highlighted this trend. First up, the ethicist.
Doriane Lambelet Coleman, a professor at Duke Law School, is co-director of the Center for Sports Law & Policy and a senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. She authored a jaw-droppingly lame op-ed for the Washington Post headlined, “Yes, Kamila Valieva should be skating in Beijing.” There isn’t a single valid ethical principle behind her entire, constructed-for-sentimentalists argument.
Her first sentence would normally make me quit reading any opinion piece: “Russian Kamila Valieva is the best figure skater on the planet, she is gorgeous to watch perform and she should be skating in Beijing.” This is the equivalent of “Barry Bonds is a great player and we should ignore the fact that’s he’s a steroid cheat.” An ethicist is openly elevating the most obvious non-ethical consideration seasoned with personal bias, that the author thinks she is “gorgeous” on the ice, over the clear ethical consideration that the skater broke the rules, and had they been enforced, she wouldn’t be at the Olympics at all.