Ethics Dunce And Weenie Of The Month: Scholar And Author Mary Eberstadt

Eberstadt, recently the writer of “Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics “was scheduled to give a speech about her book’s thesis at Furman University today. Prior to her scheduled appearance, the South Carolina campus was festooned with protest fliers. The online student newspaper accused Eberstadt of perpetuating “dangerous myths.” Letters denigrating Ebestadt’s character and demanding that credit for attending her speech be denied were sent to the university’s Cultural Life Program.

So she bailed out, ran away, and capitulated to the mob. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Eberstadt complained that though the odds of physical violence being inflicted on her if she appeared were low, they were not“not non-existent.” She defended her flight from conflict by writing in part,

Bullies have a right to protest, but that right doesn’t extend to dragooning others into untruths—including the untruth that people who join a hateful mob have any intention of listening to a speaker in the first place. They don’t, and the rest of us are under no obligation to help them live that lie by playing along.

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Bullies have a right to protest, but that right doesn’t extend to dragooning others into untruths—including the untruth that people who join a hateful mob have any intention of listening to a speaker in the first place. They don’t, and the rest of us are under no obligation to help them live that lie by playing along.

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So John Connolly Secretly Undermined U.S. Efforts To Get Iran To Return Its American Hostages In 1980…

As we continue to debate what constitutes stealing a Presidency, Ben Barnes, a former close associate of the late John Connolly—Texas Governor, Democrat-turned-Republican, the man wounded during the assassination of President Kennedy and Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan—revealed this week that he believes he took part in a secret mission by Connolly to sabotage Jimmy Carter’s re-election. Barnes says that Connolly went to “one Middle Eastern capital after another” in the summer of 1980, telling regional leaders to get a crucial message to Iran’s leader that the nation should not release the 52 U.S. citizens taken hostage from the American embassy until after the election, which Reagan would win and proceed to give Iran “a better deal.”

The New York Times has the details here in (for a change) straightforward reporting. As we all know, Reagan won, and won handily. Nobody can know if the hostage crisis was the reason for Carter’s defeat; after all, Jimmy was not having a very successful term in any respect. Nor, apparently, does anyone know if Connolly’s alleged message ever was relayed to Iran, or if it was, whether it had any influence on Iran’s actions.

The Times makes a strong case that Barnes is telling the truth, though Barnes has no diaries or memos to corroborate his account. For one thing, there is no reason for him to make the story up. For another, the Times spoke with four living individuals who confirmed that Barnes, who is now 85, shared the story with them years ago. Another part of the account that tends to make his tale credible is that William J. Casey, the chairman of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign and later director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was involved. Casey was a shady figure, and his participation in a scheme like this would be in character. Still, there is no evidence besides Barnes’ word.

Ethics Observations:

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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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Remember The Alamo Today, March 6, When The Fort Fell, And Entered American Lore And Legend Forever.

I regard the siege of the Alamo one of the signature ethics events in U.S. history, both for what it was and what it came to represent. There have been many posts on the subject as well as many references to the Alamo in other posts, all of which are accessible here.

Today, March 6, marks the fall of the converted mission. Ethics Alarms has two pieces from its archives to present:

I. Last year, Texan and Ethics Alarms stalwart Michael West’s provided Ethics Alarms readers with a day by day account of the Alamo’s the final days, March 5 and March 6.  Here it is:

March 5, 1836

After the previous day’s war council (on March 4), Santa Anna was content that his glorious assault would occur. But evidently, according to several reliable Mexican sources, a civilian woman from the town, who had retreated to the Alamo with the Texans, made it out of the Alamo during the night and gave dire information to the Mexicans. Evidently the Texan garrison was increasingly despondent. According to the lady who escaped, Travis and the garrison had discussed their options and one of the more forceful arguments made was that they should consider surrender.

Santa Anna wanted none of this, and accelerated his assault time-table (which he hadn’t necessarily meant for the 6th of March but for the 7th or even the 8th).

The Mexican soldiers would have received their orders in the morning and spent the rest of the day making preparations. There was little physically they had to do other than check the locks of their muskets, ensure they had the requisite number of extra flints (which would occasionally break in battle – testing the coolness of even the most experienced soldier), or assist in the production of several ladders Santa Anna had commanded each battalion to have prepared.

No, most of the preparation would have been mental. A deeply Catholic people, the Mexican soldiers would have spent their energies on prayer and confession. New soldiers would have been nervous about how they would perform under fire, simultaneously trying to hide their nerves from the experienced soldiers, who would have recognized the unique challenge before them. Almost none had been asked to climb tall walls after traversing several hundred yards under fire against an enemy who had, in the previous 12 days, proven that their rifled muskets out-ranged the standard Mexican issue musket by nearly 300%Some of Santa Anna’s soldiers were eager to get into the fight – to uphold the honor of the Mexican nation against, not only rebels, but rebels seemingly motivated by pro-American attitudes. Some of Santa Anna’s soldiers had been farmers pressed into service only months before, who would have had a partially begrudging attitude and were mostly  leaning towards “let’s get this over with so I can get home.” Some of the dictator’s soldiers were convicts for whom the upcoming bloodshed was just one more act of brutality to endure in an already brutal and brutalized life. For a large number of the soldiers, for whom soldiering was life, this would be a terror that they  knew would be expected of them. Regardless of their motivations, there would be no getting out of the upcoming ordeal and every single one of them would be in the same peril  when a Texan cannon roared out at their formation.

Set to wake up at midnight to begin movements to their attack positions, the  few soldiers could fall asleep would have tried to do so by twilight.

Inside the Alamo, evening would draw a miserable day to a close. Earlier that day, according to Enrique Esparza, aged 8 (who’s father, Gregorio, was fighting with the Texans), the faeful courier entered the Alamo with news that despite  all the hopeful reports, no immediate help was on its way. Travis would have discussed with the men their options – a break-out attempt in case of a successful assault would be their best recourse. A break out during the day would be impossible and one at night would be extremely risky. Whatever was said, it appears all but perhaps one of the men decided to stay

For the Texans, sleep would come quickly that evening. For the first time in 12 days, Santa Anna’s cannons didn’t create chaos inside the compound. It was silent. There could be no doubt that the defenders knew what this meant, but they were exhausted. They would have kept watch and pure anxiety might have boosted their necessary alertness. Nonetheless, they began succumbing to sleep deprivation and may have been deep in dreams of life after the war – or perhaps of life before the war.

Before collapsing in whatever position suited rest, most would have reviewed their plans in their minds of how to get out once they’d done what they could to slow or halt the Mexican advance. No shame in that: when a battle is clearly lost and standing your position doesn’t buy anyone else on the battlefield any opportunity to turn the tide, there’s no principle of warfare that requires that a soldier  die on principle.

Most would have recognized that with San Antonio immediately to the west, and several Mexican artillery batteries to the north and south, the east would be the best direction to break out for should the situation so demand. That was also where the gathering Texan army could be found, eventually.

Right after dusk, Travis dispatched the final courier on yet another appeal for assistance. Then, as in each night during the siege , Travis assigned several men outpost duty beyond the walls of the Alamo to provide an early warning before turning the watch over to another officer.

He hoped to get a little bit of sleep himself.

March 6, 1836: The End

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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

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: George Sen. Emanuel Jones

George Santos broke this Ethics Alarms distinction last year, but I still can’t let Georgia State Senator Emanuel Jones get off scot free. I’m not even awarding him “Incompetent Elected Official of the Month” for smearing Clarence Thomas as an “Uncle Tom.” That slimy tactic is well-worn, far from original, and a lazy cliche, as stupid and wrong as it is. MSNBC’s Joy Reid, among other hacks, has used it. The theory seems to be that there is an ongoing race war between blacks and whites, so any black appointed or elected official , including a judge, who doesn’t defy the ethical obligation to serve the whole public and not abuse their position by favoring his own race is an “Uncle Tom.”

I really can’t designate a black state senator “Incompetent” for saying that, since apparently a large number of black voters approve of such divisive and dastardly rhetoric. They are the true incompetents.

No, Jones is more incompetent than the others who have used this lazy slur. Oh, he’s a racist, all right: in the same speech that got him today’s distinction, he said,  “Y’all just don’t get it. And I don’t expect people of non-color to get the sensitivity that we feel.” Nice. But he really scored with his casual admission that he didn’t know the origin of the term “Uncle Tom” or whether Uncle Tom was a real or fictional character. Continue reading

The NFL’s Offensive And Divisive “Black National Anthem” Pander [Revised and Corrected]

Just because I wasn’t watching the showcase for the nation’s most unethical professional sports league doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention. The NFL truly is a blot on American culture, and its nauseating use of the so-called “black national anthem,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is one more piece of evidence.

The NFL started its practice of using the song as a counterpoint to THE National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner in 2021, in craven grovelling to the George Floyd riots and Black Lives Matter, as well as sop to the NFL’s National Anthem protesters like Colin Kaepernick. It was a disgraceful suck-up to the large majority of black players in the league, and if 2021  were the only instance of it, the stunt could be forgiven. But now the song has been presented before three straight Super Bowls, and that means we are stuck with it forever, just like baseball is stuck with “God Bless America,” the redundant Irving Berlin song that stadiums started sticking into the Seventh Inning Stretch as a show of unity after the attacks of 9/11. But “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is even more beyond ending, and you know why as well as I do. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: Unethical Quote Of The Week: Former Head Of Twitter’s Office of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth

In this Comment of the Day, made yesterday by veteran EA commenter Glenn Logan, he alerts us to an arguably even scarier statement at the Twitter censorship hearings yesterday, pointing to Jonathan Turley’s horrified (the professor is always horrified in a restrained fashion, unlike me) reaction to both the statement and the Democratic approval of it. The entire day of testimony justifies the appearance of Geena above, and she was only warning about a single man gradually turning into a giant fly. We are watching our nation mutating into a repressive, totalitarian society that restrains and punishes independent thought.

How many of your friends would vote for the likes of  Rep. Melanie Ann Stansbury (D., NM), whose response to the creepy statement Glenn writes about was “Exactly”? Or with former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s statement that he pledged to regulate the platform’s content as “reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation” and would  “focus less on thinking about free speech” because “speech is easy on the internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard”?

For all his weirdness, hypocrisy and Trumpish trolling, Elon Musk performed one of the most important acts in defense of democracy and America’s future in recent memory.

Here is Glenn’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Former Head Of Twitter’s Office of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth.”


Jack wrote: Roth literally said that Twitter believed you have to destroy free speech in order to save it—and he didn’t even realize how Orwellian that is.

Indeed, but what really freaks me out (and only slightly hyperbolically) was the testimony of his fellow Twit, former Twitter executive Anika Coliler Navaroli at a House Oversight Committee hearing yesterday, which is analyzed by Jonathan Turley on his blog:

Navaroli said in response to a question from a Democratic member:

“Instead of asking just free speech versus safety to say free speech for whom and public safety for whom. So whose free expression are we protecting at the expense of whose safety and whose safety are we willing to allow to go the winds so that people can speak freely.”

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Ethics Quiz: The Announcer’s Suspension

North Carolina State basketball and football announcer Gary Hahn, broadcasting the NC State-Maryland Mayo Bowl game, said at one point, “down among all the illegal aliens in El Paso it’s UCLA 14 and Pittsburgh 6.” Learfield Communications suspended the Wolfpack Sports Network play-by-play announcer “indefinitely” following the game.

Various media outlets have described the statement as “offensive,” but it was unquestionably factual.

illegal immigrants are crossing the border into El Paso, Texas at a record pace. The mayor has declared a state of emergency. If it was the politically incorrect term “illegal alien” that was deemed offensive, the description is still used on some official government websites, perhaps because that’s what they are.

There is some crucial information we don’t have yet, though. Does Learfield Communications have a policy forbidding its announcers from making political comments during broadcasts? It should. There is no justification at all for sports broadcasters to bring non-sports topics, opinions and commentary into their broadcasts. I regard doing that as offensive whether I agree with the commentary or not. It is unprofessional: I don’t care what a baseball of football play-by-play announcer thinks about anything other that the game he or she is describing, and using that role to make gratuitous comments on public issues and current events is an abuse of position.

Was Hahn warned about this in the past? If this was his first offense, even if there is a policy, an indefinite suspension is unethically severe, so I won’t even bring that factor into today’s employment ethics Ethics Quiz, which is…

Can suspending Hahn for making a gratuitous reference to El Paso’s “illegal aliens” be ethically justified?

Outkick points out that Hahn might be excused for thinking that such editorializing is acceptable today based on the conduct of broadcasters like ESPN’s Mark Jones. ESPN (that’s Disney!) seems to encourage Jones, who routinely injects his extreme, woke, biased opinions into his basketball game coverage, constantly slamming Donald Trump, denigrating conservatives, even at one point making the false claim that Jacob Blake was unarmed to jibe with Black Lives Matter propaganda. The problem with that excuse for Hahn is 1) ESPN has clearly given Jones, at least, a green light to be unprofessional 2) Jones is black, and as we have seen elsewhere (CNN’s Don Lemon), there are different standards of professionalism for some black broadcast journalists. 3)Making gratuitous statements that offend conservatives is okay; offending progressives, even with facts, is currently far more risky.

My quiz answer: Absent a written policy, Hahn should have been warned and nothing more. If he violated a policy, a brief suspension would send a valid message.

I, however, am not broadcasting football or basketball game. They are illegal aliens (or illegal immigrants), not “migrants” or the other euphemisms and cover phrases, and that’s what they should be called, so the public understands the issue.