Comment Of The Day: “Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations: Megan Rapinoe, Harvard, Pelosi And Double Standards,” Item #1, “The College Pledge”

Dallas Justice NOW

A few quick notes on “the College Pledge” are in order. It is the work of something called Dallas Justice Now which claims to be “a member-driven project of activists, researchers, and local leaders dedicated to making our city more just.” Yesterday the rumor was rampant that its threatening “pledge” demanding that white Dallas parents agree not to let their children apply for admission to elite institutions so black and brown kids could have an open field to obtain an Ivy League degree was a conservative “false flag” operation. This does not appear to be the case, and the increasingly unhinged Far Left, which is now just “the Left,” hardly needs any assistance in appearing menacing and racist.

The version of the pledge that I posted yesterday was not the full document, which included the implied threat that those who did not sign would be outed and ostracized, and the miserable device of introducing a false dichotomy: “Will you take the college pledge?” can be answered only with “I am a racist hypocrite.” and “I agree.” That’s rather funny, since the whole exercise is an example of anti-white racist hypocrisy.

I have searched, and apparently no mainstream national media news source finds this attempt to intimidate white Americans in the Dallas area newsworthy.

Here is Michael West’s Comment of the Day on the “College Pledge” item in “Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations…”

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The vast majority of wealth is *multi-generational*. Yes, America is replete with the starry examples of rags-to-riches stories, but even those are generally isolated exceptions. For the rest of those who have significant wealth, it is mostly because the generation before them made tiny sacrifices in their lives that they didn’t have to make. Those sacrifices were essentially investments in and for their children that paid off in dividends worth VASTLY more than the sacrifice.

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Comment Of The Day: “Cowardly, Culture-Betraying Grovel Of The Month: Karen Taylor Of Breakfast Cure”

I’ll answer the first query in Null Pointer’s excellent Comment of the Day on the great congee cultural appropriation brouhaha: “I’m not sure I understand why the woke mobs are throwing fits on Asian people’s behalf.”

There are two reasons. One is part of the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck. In order to tar President Trump as a racist before the 2020 election, the Axis of Unethical Conduct (the unholy and undemocratic “resistance,” Democrats and the news media alliance), claimed that what we knew pretty much then and now know almost certainly now, that the pandemic originated in China’s Wuhan province, nonetheless was racist to speak out loud because so many idiots were attacking Asian-Americans as a result of telling the truth. This was accompanied by absurd inflations of the actual number of such attacks without any evidence in most cases that the attacks there were had any nexus to calling the Chinese virus a Chinese virus.

Thrilled nonetheless to finally have a platform from which to cry “Victim!” like women, blacks and Hispanics, some Asian-American activist groups gleefully embraced the new discrimination fable, neatly sidestepping the inconvenient fact that a disproportional number of the attacks on Asians were carried out by African Americans.

The second reason the woke mobs are throwing fits on Asian people’s behalf is to avoid dealing honestly with the approaching reckoning for elite colleges and universities that are making Asian-Americans real victims of discrimination as the pursue unconstitutional affirmative action policies.

That’s why.

Here is Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Cowardly, Culture-Betraying Grovel Of The Month: Karen Taylor Of Breakfast Cure.”

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I work almost exclusively with Asians, mostly from India. I have never, not once, ever heard any of my Indian coworkers say ANYTHING about cultural appropriation or condone any woke causes. On the contrary, they are almost all quite eager to share their cultural traditions and cuisine, and eager to learn about American culture and cuisine.

I’m not sure I understand why the woke mobs are throwing fits on Asian people’s behalf. I work almost exclusively with Asians, mostly from India. I have never, not once, ever heard any of my Indian coworkers say ANYTHING about cultural appropriation or condone any woke causes. On the contrary, they are almost all quite eager to share their cultural traditions and cuisine, and eager to learn about American culture and cuisine.

They put on little performances during the Hindu festivals to show off the dancing and food and fashions. They are always inviting me to go to Indian restaurants and explaining which part of India the different foods come from and how to eat them.

They also love going to the American holiday events and partaking in our traditions. When one company I worked for had a gingerbread house-making contest for Christmas, all my Indian coworkers went and happily made gingerbread houses and proudly showed them off. There were no tantrums about Christian holidays, white oppression, or anything else the Woke like to have fits about. Just fun and little houses made out of cookies.

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Comment Of The Day: “Mid-Day Ethics Mop-Up, 7/15/2021: …Wikipedia…”

Wikipedia-Logo-2003

John Paul, aka JP, adds his experiences to the discussion of Wikipedia bias and ethics, broached yesterday in his Comment of the Day to Item #2 of the post, “Mid-Day Ethics Mop-Up, 7/15/2021: Trump Derangement, Wikipedia, And Fact-Checking”:

“While I know I am not the best writer, I like to consider myself a studious person. But this was done through some rather painstaking classes I had to take in undergraduate and graduate classes. One of those classes was Scripture Interpretation. It is by far the hardest class I took in undergrad. My professor spent the first two weeks, making sure we knew how to do proper research. It was there I first learned (2005 I think) about Wikipedia. He said, it was not a site to be trusted and would not be considered useful for the course. This peeked my curiosity. So I went in during his office hours to asked him why. He told me: Go down to the men’s bathroom down the hall, use the last stall on the right, then come back and tell him what I saw.

“This was a rather strange request to tell me why I shouldn’t trust a website, but I figured he must have had a point, so down I went to the empty bathroom, found the stall, looked in it and saw what was a rather normal looking stall. Confused, I looked around the toilet, checked the toilet paper holder, looked up at the ceiling, found nothing. I was about to admit defeat when It occur to me to check the back of the door. It was there I found numerous jokes about a particular student (just one). There must have been quite a few. Mostly, they were told in the Chuck Norris style of jokes like “God said, let there be light” and X says, “Say please.” There were attempts to fix this problem with obvious layers of paint, but it was a band aid to a persistent problem.

“So I went back and old him what I found. He then pulled up the Wikipedia for our school and there with information about our school were the same jokes about the same student found in the stall. The site used his first and last name. The professor told me that no matter how many times and has changed it himself, he keeps encountering the same problem. The site and the bathroom keep popping up with the same lewd comments and jokes.

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Comment Of The Day: “Ethical Quote Of The Week: Donald Trump”

Just as Barack Obama’s despicable quote came to my attention shortly after a post directly relevant to it, James Hodgson’s comment on that post was perfectly timed as further exploration of my follow-up post, which I put up seconds before reading what James had written. It’s fate! Kismet! I couldn’t resist making his fortuitous observations relevant to two posts, one of which he hadn’t read yet, a Comment of the Day.

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“his admirers…regard his exaggerations, careless misstatements, and counter-factual pronouncements as trivial compared to his willingness to say out loud what other politicians and elected officials will not.”

Certainly the Leftist media will never give Trump credit even for just saying what everybody already knows about polls and how they are used.

Like many conservatives who ultimately supported Trump in 2016 (and again in 2020), I did so not because he was my first (or even second) initial choice but because he was the only candidate who seemed to grasp the degree of popular discontent with the Left, its consistent march toward socialism, and their impatience with the GOP’s tepid response to these efforts.

He was the only candidate who, although not a hard-core conservative himself, understood conservatives’ continuing (and expanding) dissatisfaction with the establishment GOP for hijacking the “Tea Party” movement and quietly smothering it to death, and the rise of the neocons, who like the country-club RINOs aren’t trying to conserve anything. Conservatives were (and are) well and truly pissed about widespread federal misfeasance and overreach, and Trump assured conservatives that they were right to be pissed. Then he told them what he intended to do about it. He was as successful as could be expected after being opposed and vilified 24/7 for his entire term by the united forces of the Left.

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And The July 5 Comment Of The Day Trifecta Concludes With Arthur In Maine’s Delicious Analysis of “Your 4th Of July Ethics Quiz: Food Racism?”

鮟肝

Finally, in the last of today’s opening trio of outstanding and varied Comments of the Day, Arthur in Maine, whom I did not know until this comment was a former chef, whips up a filling and pleasurable examination of of the issues raised in “Your 4th Of July Ethics Quiz: Food Racism?”...

There’s no longer any doubt in my mind: people are actively looking for ways to be offended. In the case of BLM, for example, the belief is clearly simple-minded rage at the rank-and-file level, but among those further up the chain it’s obviously about power and the grift. Calibrate your outrage correctly, and one can lead quite a handsome life.

Racism (and its first cousins misogyny and homophobia) is the perfect charge to level to achieve this (lucky souls like Lori Lightfoot can, and do, score the trifecta by claiming all three).

As a recovering professional chef (I haven’t lifted a pan for a paycheck in more than 30 years, and still miss it almost every day) I can tell you that serious pro cooks may be able to wow you with the complexity of their offerings. But the foods most of them prefer to eat generally trace back to poverty foods – those developed in poor cultures, where most people ate what the rich folk wouldn’t.

Most Americans, regardless of when or how their ancestors first showed up, simply don’t understand that in most other parts of the world NOTHING goes to waste. We give our scraps to cats and dogs. But very few other places do that. Thus, it’s little wonder that someone figured out a way to make duck feet in a way that actually tastes good. For the record, I would order those in a heartbeat, with full knowledge, just to try them! But in a place like China centuries ago, wasting protein like that was unthinkable, so you did what you could to make them tasty and that’s what’s for supper.

This doesn’t mean I like everything – not by a long shot. I find tripe revolting, and it’s extremely popular in first-world France. As a true afficionado of sushi, I’ll try anything – and just about the only thing I’ve ever been horribly disappointed in at a great sushi bar was ankimo – which is steamed monkfish liver. [Above] It was described to me as the “foie gras of Japan,” and I can see why. But it was still vile. I like foie gras, but not when it’s overlayed with the aroma of a cod-liver-oil-based ointment my mother used to use on us when we were small.

Some cultures happily eat grubs – no thank you. Others eat various insects; again, I’ll pass, but you’re welcome to my helping. The fact is that every culture has its culinary oddities and we’ve all got different tastes. This doesn’t mean our distaste for something is racist. It merely means that it’s so far outside of our culinary comfort zones that we just can’t get our heads around the idea. Many cultures find the American fondness for huge slabs of meat served up with starch baffling, for a variety of reasons.

This, by the way, extends beyond ingredients. There are those only too happy to make accusations of “cultural appropriation” when it comes to food. It is not. When I cook Chinese or Thai or Indian or Mexican food, I do so as a student, not as an appropriator. I do it because I’ve had the good fortune to taste these wonderful cuisines done properly. I want to understand how they’re done, partly because cooking professionally makes you fascinated by differing techniques and ingredients, and partly because I love to eat them and access to these foods locally, prepared by those from that region, is sharply limited. In the case of Chinese, especially, Chinese-American food has been so heavily adapted to North American tastes that it bears little resemblance to the real thing – and almost all of the adaptation has been done by Chinese cooks and restaurant owners. I really want to try the real thing.

Far as I’m concerned, when I make up a dinner of low-country shrimp and grits, the last thing on my mind is contempt for the poor Blacks for whom this was subsistence food. Rather, I’m thinking “this is absolutely ingenious. They took cheap stuff (grits) and free stuff (shrimp) and whatever else they had lying around and made it transcendent!” For me to cook it is not appropriation – it is the deepest possible respect.

I could make a similar argument with music, but I think you folks get my drift. This is “The Great Stupid” and “A Nation of Assholes,” to use Jack’s terms, colliding head-on to form a Great Nation of Stupid Assholes. We’d better come up with a way to pull out of this dive, and quickly.

A Comment Of The Day Trifecta! First Up, Curmie’s COTD On “Independence Day Ethics Fireworks, July 4th, 2021: ‘The Stars And Stripes Forever,’ And Other Matters”…

Tenure

In yesterday’s Independence Day post, I challenged readers to present “an honest, factual, non-ideological defense” of the University of North Carolina’s decision to award a tenured faculty position in journalism to to New York Times race huckster and “1619 Project” propagandist Nikole Hannah-Jones. I did not expect a serious response, much less a persuasive one, as the challenge was, in my mind, akin to challenging someone to translate the Zodiac Killer’s code.

But reader Curmie has lived and worked in the world of academia whereas I only visited periodically, and understands why these things happen, and why, after a certain point in the process, have to happen. Here his his Comment of the Day on “Independence Day Ethics Fireworks, July 4th, 2021: ‘The Stars And Stripes Forever,’ And Other Matters,” Item #2.

I’m not sure if I can offer a “non-ideological defense” of the UNC Trustees’ reversal in the Hannah-Jones case. But I can say I’m one of the few people in the country who sees the decision as neither a triumph nor a capitulation. And I suppose that as one of the more liberal of your readers and as a veteran of three decades in tenure-track and tenured positions at colleges and universities, I might be the logical… erm… advocate?

So… Unless things work fundamentally differently in North Carolina than in the state university systems with which I’m more familiar, there are some things the average person might not completely understand.

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Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The Portland Police Bureau'”

Police Trust

Woke up with a bang this morning at 4:45 remembering that I hadn’t posted this Comment of the Day on this Comment of the Day, (by Extradimensional Cephalopod ) regarding the Ethics Alarms commentary about the Portland police staving off another police shooting riot with a tweet saying, in essence, “It’s OK, the guy we shot was white!”

Here it is, by Humble Talent, who included a wistful nod to departed but not forgotten EA commenter Charles Green. This is, I believe, Humble Talent’s 35th Comment of the Day.

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“The urge to do violence without having first gathered all relevant facts comes from fear, which comes from mistrust. In order to build trust, you first have to set mutual expectations, and then demonstrate you will fulfill them even when it’s costly.”

This is a great way to look at it. It’s kind of unfortunate that Charles Green left the site, because as stubbornly, blindingly, partisan as he is, he is literally in the business of building trust, and I think it would have been interesting to hear his take on what the first steps towards establishing trust would look like.

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Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Ethics Heroes: The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’”

Socrates

We have a veritable Comment of the Day chain. Sarah B.’s COTD yesterday on the Ethics Alarms post applauding the U.S. Catholic Bishops for preparing to hold Joe Biden accountable for his open support of abortion had inspired two excellent questions, in sequence, from reader Curmie. Both were answered with brio by Ryan Harkins.

We’ve never had such a Socratic Comment of the Day exchange before, and maybe I should have a separate category for such delights, but I don’t. So I’ll just introduce this by saying, “Here is Curmie and Ryan Harkins collaborative Comment of the Day on the post,Comment Of The Day: ‘Ethics Heroes:The US Conference of Catholic Bishops.” (Curmie plays Socrates.)

Curmie: One question, or rather series of related questions, for Sarah B, from a long-lapsed Protestant:

As respects “grave matter,” is there an inherent element of volition in the act itself (it wasn’t an accident), and if so, is there a distinction between literally not knowing the sinfulness of an act (had no idea the Church forbids a certain action) and deciding for oneself that the act is innocent, despite Church doctrine? And, assuming any of these distinctions are relevant, are we talking about a disjunctive yes/no, or something along the lines of a continuum?

I’m thinking of the Ancient Greek and Shinto (to name two) concepts of pollution (as opposed to sin), and wondering if Catholicism is closer to the former than I had hitherto believed.
In a pollution-based theology, Oedipus is still guilty of incest despite his active attempt to avoid it. In today’s world, according to this idea, a driver who hits and kills a child who ran out into the street is still guilty, although the event was entirely accidental, and the driver did everything possible to avoid hitting the child.

Ryan Harkins: In backing up, the Catholic Church teaches that a sin is mortal if it meets three requirements: first, that it is grave matter; second that the sinner knows that it is grave matter; and third, that the sinner consents, or intends, to commit that act. Grave matter is grave because of the extent of damage it does, and this is regardless of intent. Killing someone is grave matter; they are just as dead if you didn’t intend for them to die. I think St. Paul encapsulates this idea in his letter to the Romans when he writes, “Sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses (Rom 5:13-14).” The point is that even though you don’t know that what you are doing is wrong, because the act itself is inherently wrong, it will still cause harm. So the gravity of an action is not a matter of volition.

Where volition enters the picture is in the second two conditions. A person might not know that an act constitutes grave matter, but this could either be an unintentional state, in which he is not culpable for his ignorance, or it could be willful ignorance on his part. One aspect of being Catholic is the assent to the Church as authoritative, infallible on matters of faith and morals. A Catholic then has an obligation not just to follow the Church’s instructions, but to learn what the Church actually instructs. This touches on what Sarah B was saying on primacy of conscience: we should follow our consciences, but we have a duty to properly form our consciences as well. On some matters where the Church has not made any official pronouncements, the faithful are allowed flexibility of opinions. But on many issues that are hot topics today, the Church has made pronouncements, and those are, as far as any Catholic is concerned, infallible and made so through the protection and guarantee of the Holy Spirit.

A Catholic does not evade culpability by concluding privately that an action the Church condemns is actually innocent. His rejection of Church authority would actually be itself grave matter, on the order of the great sin of the Devil, who said, “Non serviam.” The sin of pride has long been held as the father of all other sins. It is the sin by which we seek to supplant God as the arbiter of good and evil. For a Catholic, who ought to know that the Church claims infallibility on matters of faith and morals, to reject Church teaching, he either has to deny the Church, or he has to believe he has some higher authority than the Church.

As for whether we are speaking of a disjunctive or a continuum, my answer is both. When it comes down the end of the day, either you have committed a mortal sin or you haven’t. But because of the third condition for a sin to be mortal, the question of whether one actually committed a mortal sin can become murkier. Take an addict, for example. It is a sin of gluttony to engage in debilitating drug use. So the use of hardcore, recreational drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin is grave matter. (The use of lesser drugs like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and a few others do not fall into this category because the impact of moderate use is not very large. Drugs that have practically no “moderate” dosage are the ones that would constitute to grave matter.) But an addict has lost a great deal of his capacity to resist temptation. As he tries to quit, his falling of the wagon and using is of lesser severity than someone taking those drugs the first time. As he progresses, and he regains control over his appetites, then his culpability in slipping up and using again increases.

So there can be debate over whether a sin was actually mortal, due to the degree in which a person consents to a wrong. If someone resists temptation for a long time, but is eventually worn out by the struggle, did he really consent when he finally gave into temptation? However, this line of questioning can be destructive. Overly scrupulous people can argue themselves into condemnation over the slightest of offenses, and any of the rest of us would really like to rationalize our sins into the venial category, given the opportunity.

Of course, any of this is tangential to the question of public support of abortion. On this the Church is very clear. Abortion is a grave evil, perpetuated against the most defenseless and the most innocent members of the human race. Any Catholic politician who advocates for expanding access to abortion is defending an intolerable evil, and any excuse of being personally opposed is insufficient. A politician is to be held to a higher standard in this regard than a private citizen because of his capacity to influence legislation one way or another. Since the Church has expressed all this, there should be no excuse for any Catholic politician.

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Comment Of The Day: “The Classical Music Critic Of The New York Times Thinks That Symphony Orchestras Should Choose Members According To Race, Gender, And ‘Other Factors’ That Have Nothing To Do With Music”

The Comment of the Day that follows by David Rohde is welcome for many reasons. First, he is a professional musician, and a skilled one. Second, he defends the author of piece I criticized vociferously (and will continue to). Third, I think this is an important issue. Fourth,, a new voice here is always welcome, and we haven’t been getting as many as I would like of late. Finally,, as required for COTD, it is well written and worthy of considerations and debate.

Not that I agree with it, but that has never been a criteria for Comment of the Day honors. Here’s David Rohde’s Comment of the Day. on the post,The Classical Music Critic Of The New York Times Thinks That Symphony Orchestras Should Choose Members According To Race, Gender, And “Other Factors” That Have Nothing To Do With Music.”(I’ll be back with my reaction at the end.)

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It may be that using blind auditions has elevated the performance level of symphony orchestras. Or it may be serious overkill in an era of a supply-demand imbalance for classical musical talent. But either way, simply rolling this issue into what I know is this blog’s current obsession with – in other words, against – identity issues misses a lot that’s going on here.

First of all, you have to admit that hiring people without knowing who they are in ANY field is kind of strange. In particular, you certainly wouldn’t use blind auditions to cast people in a show, now would you? I know I know, different genres, different requirements. Roles in theater are individual, while 30 or 40 violinists in a symphony orchestra are doing much the same thing.

But I would argue that live classical music IS showbiz, and the sooner that people in that field realize it, the better. If the product is just “the music,” and many people assert that the overall technical performance level is higher than ever, then why is classical music struggling at all?

Second, I think you have to remember what the main impetus of blind auditions was in the first place. While I’m oversimplifying, the essential problem was (or shortly became) the inability of women to secure places in symphony orchestras. A quick check on YouTube of recent orchestra performances now versus 30 or 40 years ago will demonstrate the resulting change. Part of Tommasini’s argument is not to let solutions to problems become so institutionalized that they run past their sell-by date while different problems fester.

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Comment Of The Day: “Dispatch From ‘The Great Stupid'”

nixon-tweet

I had a long list of topics I wanted to write about today, but I have been rendered mostly unproductive due to some malady or another. Luckily, and not for the first time, readers have come through with content at least as valuable as anything I could have generated. I already have backlog from the last two Open Forums, and some delayed Comment of the Day as well. I am very grateful.

This Comment of the Day is another from the frequently history-minded (and often pessimistic) Steve-O-in-NJ, and his subject is the bad ideas, an evergreen topic, focusing on the tweet above, which is more representative of the current drift of progressive thought (it one is generous enough to call it that). Only one previous post had the “bad ideas” tag: this one, on “fertility equality.” I bet there are a hundred more that should have it, like anything about making Kamala Harris Vice-President.

Here’s Steve:

The U.S. and the world have hosted some pretty bad ideas over time.

The tulip bulb bubble, the ancient astronauts theory (remember “Chariots of the Gods?”), phrenology, New Coke, the XFL, and Boston selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees were some of the more benign ones. John Maxwell’s execution of the leaders of the Easter Rising, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and the National Guard opening fire at Kent State were some of the ones that were not so harmless. The Reign of Terror, where the Committee on Public Safety sent who knows how many to the guillotine for any reason or no reason, Pol Pot’s Year Zero, in which towns, money, religion, and private property were abolished and execution by clubbing to death by a pick or a hoe, also for any reason or no reason,, Petrograd Order No. 1 (mostly now forgotten) which de facto stripped military officers of disciplinary authority, causing the Russian military to collapse like a deflated balloon in the face of renewed German offensives, and Hitler’s crackpot racial theories were examples of instant disasters.

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