Category Archives: Comment of the Day

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: The Little House On The Cultural Divide”

There has been a paucity of Comments of the Day lately; it’s probably my fault. This one is by a first time COTD awardee, and involves the rare Ethics Alarms topic of children’s literature, in response to the Ethics Quiz about the justness of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name being stripped from the award created in her honor. Apparently her “Little House” books were not sufficiently prescient regarding modern sensibilities and 21st Century hindsight.

And no, I didn’t pick this comment because it includes a compliment to “The Wind in the Willows,” perhaps my favorite book of all time.

Here is Bob’s Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz: The Little House On The Cultural Divide:

“Is it fair and reasonable to remove Wilder’s’ name from the award, essentially taking away an honor despite no new information or evidence arising?”

No.

Bit of backstory: my husband and I were both inveterate readers when we were children. Oddly enough, neither of us read “children’s books” when we were kids … we went from Dick and Jane to fairly adult novels very early on.

However, when we hit our 40s-50s, we started a campaign of reading the great classics of kiddie lit. (Just a note — “Wind in the Willows” is a masterpiece, the first six [and only the first six] Oz books are spectacular, E. Nesbit rocks and the popularity of “Peter Pan” is a mystery we have never plumbed.)Among those books were the entire Little House corpus. They are quite terrific. (As with most series, some are better than others.) While the attitudes may be dated, there is nothing “hateful” about them. In order to be hateful, there should be some evidence of a clear animus against a particular group of people; Wilder has no agenda, and simply reflects the attitudes common of her era.

It is essential to note that these books are not virulent anti-Amerind screeds, but stories of the heroic pioneers who built our nation. Native Americans occasionally cross this landscape, but these books are neither about nor against them.

It does seem as if there is a concerted effort to erase (or … re-envision) American history to something more palatable to post 1960s sensibilities. This is mischievous and dangerous, and should be confronted whenever possible.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Childhood and children, Comment of the Day, History, Literature

From The Ethics Alarms “These Really Are Terrible Human Beings” Files: Unethical Quote Of The Month: Bill Maher

“One way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy, so please bring on the recession. Sorry if that hurts people, but it’s either root for a recession or lose your democracy.”

—-HBO’s Bill Maher, on his show “Real Time”…as his audience applauded, as usual.

Did any conservative, Republican or pundit root for the nation’s failure under Obama? The closest would be Rush Limbaugh’s infamous declaration that he wanted the new President to fail, which was more unpatriotic than I could tolerate, but even Rush didn’t go so far as to wish for the nation itself to be thrown into crisis. Maher is a repulsive individual, but he is not alone. We already discussed here how many members of the media appear to be rooting for the North Korean talks to fail. Other progressives openly wish for the President’s death: I could name some right here who have told me that in person. Lawyers. Professionals. Wishing for the death of not just another human being, but the President of the United States.

The attendant hysteria, fear-mongering, monomania and values distortion that have spawned the “resistance” have also apparently created a human mutation with lethal potential. Never before have there been mainstream American citizens who not only wished ill on the nation and neighbors, but who got cheered for it. The mutants are a threat to society and to sanity. Do not pretend they aren’t.

They may not be traitors, but they think like traitors. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Finance, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Observations On The Masterpiece Cake Shop Decision”

How refreshing it is, while at least half the pundits and journalists are misrepresenting the Masterpiece Bakery decision to the public, to read an Ethics Alarms comment that both clarifies Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion’s flaws and also highlights an important issue that only the routinely-derided Justice Thomas focused on.

As it happens, I disagree with Thomas that a custom wedding cake for a gay wedding is  necessarily “compelled speech.” What is it saying? If it can’t be reasonably interpreted to express a position that can be fairly attributed to the baker, then it’s the customer’s speech, not the baker’s. I know there are cases where sign-makers and others have been upheld in their refusal to reproduce messages they personally find offensive. We saw a hint of that in the silly “Summa ___ Laude” cake fiasco. My position is that a business that creates a setting for speech by others should have no right to interfere with that message—hateful messages, obscene messages, it shouldn’t matter. It should be no more acceptable for a sign-maker to say “I won’t make that sign” than for a cabbie to say, “I won’t drive to that address,” or a haberdashery to refuse to let you buy a suit that makes you look fat.

Here is Glenn Logan’s excellent Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Observations On The Masterpiece Cake Shop Decision:

Justice Thomas, in his partial concurrence:

“Ac­cording to the individual respondents, Colorado can com­pel Phillips’ speech to prevent him from “‘denigrat[ing] the dignity’” of same-sex couples, “‘assert[ing] [their] inferiority,’” and subjecting them to “‘humiliation, frustration, and embarrassment.’” Brief for Respondents Craig et al. 39 (quoting J. E. B. v. Alabama ex rel. T. B., 511 U. S. 127, 142 (1994); Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U. S. 241, 292 (1964) (Goldberg, J., concurring)). These justifications are completely foreign to our free-speech jurisprudence.

States cannot punish protected speech because some group finds it offensive, hurtful, stigmatic, unreasonable, or undignified. “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable. Johnson, supra, at 414. A contrary rule would allow the govern­ment to stamp out virtually any speech at will.”

This is the opinion that should’ve carried the day. In fact, Kennedy’s opinion is a blatant special pleading, fallacious on it’s face when he claimed the CCRC disparaged Phillips’ position. Even if I allow the comments made by some CCRC members do in fact disparage Phillips’ religion, the law makes it clear that religion is inoperative as a defense against its requirements anyway. How, then, can hostility to religion matter one jot or tittle, and isn’t such expression protected in its own right? The CCRC needed not show the least deference to Phillips’ religion, because the law that creates it manifestly doesn’t: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Rights

Comment Of The Day: “When Businesses Have No Principles, No Courage, And The Community Likes It That Way”

Toxic woke is a specialty…

The bizarre episode in Portland, Oregon, in which two bakery employees were fired for following store policy because their doing so upset a black activist, and the establishment is so self-righteously “woke” that her demands were deemed sufficient to make injustice mandatory, has received almost no national publicity. I presume this is because it illustrates the worst of progressive logic, group preference, and hubris to a nauseating extent. Almost as awful as the Back to Eden bakery’s mistreatment of its employees are the addled statements of its owners, which betray an increasingly common (I wish I could write “rare”) certitude of a standard-issue social justice warrior’s virtue, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Here is johnburger2013’s fascinating analysis of this mess in his Comment of the Day on the post,When Businesses Have No Principles, No Courage, And The Community Likes It That Way….

This story is fascinating on so many levels, from all angles: legal, business practices, ethics, public relations damage control, and a whole host of other areas. Thankfully, geometry and nationalized medical care were spared.

From the outset, it seems kind of dumb to deny a patron pastry at 9:06 p.m. because of a rigid application of store hours. This is a bakery and the business of a bakery is sell baked goods. Any sale of a baked good is a good sale, no?

Yet, if the bakery declares the store hours, the employees should not necessarily be punished for enforcing that policy. Otherwise, you would have people coming and going at all hours and the employees would have to stay beyond their shifts, which may result in hardships on them and others the employees depend on. For instance, if a child is at daycare, there may be an additional fee payable to the daycare because the employee arrived late to pick up the child. Termination of the employees for enforcing the store’s hours seems cruel, harsh, and unfair to the employees.

How this situation spiraled out of control is truly amazing. At first, I thought the fired employees posted about it; then, I learned the Lillian, the Perpetually Aggrieved, posted videos she took from outside the bakery on her Facebook feed, which then went viral. Many Facebookers banded together in a quasi-online lynch mob and filled the bakery’s Facebook page with love letters and messages.

The owners, dreaming of gluten free cookies, awoke to a public relations nightmare. One of the owners contacted Lillian via Facebook Messenger to try to apologize and resolve the problem (without knowing the real facts); though well-intentioned, he stepped into a virtual hornets’ nest. He then tried to make further amends by writing a preliminary statement, which failed miserably. His response: a 3400 word statement, which he subsequently deleted. Here is a link I found on a site called “The Way Back Machine”* that includes the bakery’s initial statement and the update:

https://web.archive.org/web/20180529123148/https://m.facebook.com/backtoedenbakery/posts/10156247917969043

The two statements, taken together are a brilliant lesson in multiculturalism, diversity, virtue signaling, damage control failures, capitulation to The Mob, sacrificing someone for the Greater Good, and the ranking order of privilege and standing in the Grievance Industry.

The initial statement had this little gem:

“Back to Eden Bakery is 100% committed to being a welcoming and supportive environment for all customers who share our values of inclusivity (sic?) and dismantling the white supremacist hetero-patriarchy.” Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Facebook, Journalism & Media, Race

Comment Of The Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/16/ 2018: The Fake Moussaka Edition”

I fear that a theme on Ethics Alarms over the next few days is going to be the awful conduct and deteriorating ethical standards of the Trump-hating left. This situation is not really debatable, and flagging it from an ethical perspective should not be regarded as a partisan or an ideological act. It is, though: I have the emails, comments and Facebook insults to prove it. Why aren’t progressives and Democrats properly outraged? Why don’t they find this conduct by their apparently unhinged compatriots as repulsive as I find it—as repulsive as it is? I don’t understand it. When they are confronted, and I have confronted many, they have no answer, no reason. Just rationalizations, or more often, just emotional outbursts. Today a Facebook friend, and a real friend too, an actor and, I am pretty sure, a Communist, wrote in Facebook that he would rather have Harry and Megan running the country, because republican democracy wasn’t working out so well. He wasn’t kidding, either, and nobody in the progressive Facebook echo chamber challenged him. People are going insane, and they are rotting from the inside out.

Steve-O-wrote this in response to Item #1 in the 5/16 Warm-up. That section was about all the Democrats and pundits actively cheering for the North Korea talks to collapse, because they are so filled with hate that they want Trump to fail even when his successes would be good for the country and the world. That is, in a word, diseased. And that is what the “resistance” has devolved into in less than two years. I could not be more disappointed in my fellow citizens. I thought they were better–fairer, smarter, more patriotic, with a firmer hold on the values they claimed to possess—than this.

They’re not.

Here is Steve-O-in-NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post,Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/16/ 2018: The Fake Moussaka Edition:

David Gergen once said that those who dislike and criticize this nation, particularly blacks who don’t celebrate July 4 because they are still bitter about their history aren’t unpatriotic, they just practice “a different form of patriotism.” He also said that Jeremiah Wright might well love this country more than conventional patriots, but just believe we have fallen short of our ideals. The concept of “matriotism,” a sort of pacifistic yin to patriotism’s yang, was floated for a while, but never really caught on.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of us on the right loathed Obama and loathed his policies, but we never let that turn into us hating our own country, and we never stood against our own servicemen, even when Clinton wasted our efforts in the Balkans and Obama led from behind to topple Gadaffi…without a clue of what to do afterwards. We (except a few crackpots) also never talked of taking up arms against our own elected officials, nor rioting. Guess who put mobs in the street before the War on Terror and rioted the day Trump was sworn in, the duly elected president? Hint: it wasn’t the right.

The fact of the matter is that the left is a strange mix of the ultra-violent (the Black Panthers, antifa) and the ultra-disloyal (the National Lawyers’ Guild, the Peace and Freedom Party) held together by a few charismatic folks who want ultimate power and don’t give a damn how they get it. The only problem is that the right is in the way, and after Vietnam the right has pretty much a lock on the flag and conventional patriotism, which the average Joe still reveres. Like it or not, Donald Trump has become identified with the flag, strong law enforcement, a strong military, and other conventional symbols of pride in this nation. That’s still pretty powerful. Worse still, under Trump the economy is doing better, people have more money in their paychecks, and overall things seem to be looking back up after years of looking down. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Character, Citizenship, Comment of the Day, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics

Comment Of The Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up Overstock, 5/15/ 2018: It’s Use Them Or Lose them…”

Good things can even come out of really dumb ethics episodes, like the effort to silence critics of illegal immigration by pointing out that they had legal immigrants in their lineage, a non sequitur if there ever was one.

This good thing is Greg’s Comment of the Day, on Morning Ethics Warm-Up Overstock, 5/15/ 2018: It’s Use Them Or Lose them…:

The notion that immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries assimilated much more quickly than today is largely untrue. In fact, most Americans in the early part of the 20th century believed that the failure to assimilate by Lahren’s ancestors and millions of others like them was a matter for grave concern. These days, we read over and over again that the laws passed in the 1910’s and 1920’s restricting immigration were motivated primarily by racism. But that is a gross distortion. If you read political commentary at the time when those laws were debated, you will certainly find discussion of race (usually referring to what we would now call “nationality,” not to what we now call “race”), some of it quite offensive to modern sensibilities.

But the most important concern expressed by immigration restrictionists was that too many immigrants were failing to assimilate. Most immigrants were not becoming citizens. Consulting my grandfather’s trusty, albeit brittle and yellow, 1924 World Almanac, I see that in 1914, the last year before the first restrictive immigration act was enacted, the Census Bureau reported that there were 1.2 million immigrants to the United States but only 0.1 million naturalizations.

The vast majority of immigrants moved to a few large cities in the North. Census figures in 1910 revealed that in most major northern cities, Americans born of parents who had been born in America (as shorthand, in order to avoid wordy repetition, I’ll call them “American-Americans”) were outnumbered by immigrants and their children. In many cities, the number of immigrants was more than twice the number of American-Americans, and the number of immigrants and their children (about two-thirds of them born to two immigrant parents) was often three to four times the number of American-Americans.

Moreover, most immigrants clustered in insular ethnic neighborhoods where they continued to speak their native languages and follow their native customs, standing largely outside the broader American society. In the 1910 census, the population of the United States was 92 million, of which 33 million were immigrants and their American-born children. Of those 33 million, 23 million told the census that English was not their primary language, with 3 million admitting that they did not speak English at all (although the actual number was generally believed to be much larger). Those heart-warming Italian, Irish, Jewish and other ethnic neighborhoods that you see in countless movies and books? There was a widespread conviction that those neighborhoods were a serious social problem. They were viewed, not unfairly, as encouraging their inhabitants to maintain dual loyalties or primary loyalty to their native countries, perpetuating European ethnic hatreds that imported from their native countries, breeding ethnic criminal gangs (Irish, Italian, Jewish and others), fomenting anti-democratic political tendencies, and most of all, undermining America’s sense of itself as a people joined by common values and purposes. Most Americans believed that something should be done to induce people in those neighborhoods to assimilate into the mainstream of American society; and that this necessary assimilation would never happen if immigration were not curtailed. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Comment of the Day, Education, Government & Politics, History, language, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Month: New Mexico Congressional Candidate Pat Davis (Guess What Party!)”

This is one of the times I am grateful for a backlog of worthy Comments of the Day. I have several posts pending requiring a lot of thought, research and writing, and I’m exhausted as well as swamped. It’s nice to have some excellent ethics commentary from the regulars here to keep new content flowing. I am very grateful to all of the authors.

This time it’s Still Spartan, a mother, a lawyer, a self-described liberal (though on today’s spectrum I’d call her a left of center moderate) with an interesting back-story. In fairness, I should note that she protested later that if she knew this would be a COTD she would have been more circumspect regarding her choice of words. With the exception of “sucks,” which I believe now is an acceptable rhetorical device for emphasis (though my father would still object if I used it), I made some minor edits to address those concerns. I hope she approves.

As is often the case here, this Comment of the Day came out of a thread inspired by the post but pretty much irrelevant to it. Although the post concerned the gratuitous vulgarity of an anti-NRA House candidate, much of the discussion was about illegal immigration, or as it’s known around the Marshall house, The Amazing Controversy For Which  There Is No Logical Or Defensible Justification For The Pro- Position, But That Roils Politics Anyway (TACFWTINLODJFTPPBTRPA, for short). Another prolific commenter, Slickwilly, had written in part this response to a comment defending illegal immigrants and discarding claims that they are a burden on citizens,

I have been poor… I worked my way up just a bit, but still sit in the lower middle class, if not the upper poor….I STILL pay taxes, and the illegals suck that money down. While the legal poor may sometimes use those tactics, it is NOT the norm, as THEY HAVE ROOTS HERE. You know, like family, friends, jobs, or at a minimum welfare payments. All of those make it harder to just up and leave, especially in this day and age of computer tracking. Illegal Aliens have none of those ties. I have lived with them my entire life, and know more on a bad day than you ever will. Most are good people, if you ignore that they are criminals. They run up bills and change addresses, change names, change jobs, as a matter of course. They do not pay any type of insurance. They cause car wrecks and abandon the scene, running to Mexico until the heat is off. They clog emergency rooms with minor, minor ailments, BECAUSE IT IS FREE. They steal identities causing citizens hundreds of miles away tax problems, when they bother to pay taxes at all (and those that hire them should be in jail).

Here is Still Spartan’s response to that comment, and her Comment of the Day on the post, “Unethical Quote Of The Month: New Mexico Congressional Candidate Pat Davis (Guess What Party!)”:

Actually, I think Slick’s comment is indicative of many people’s thinking right now (and I am not writing this with any snark at all). We have a large population of white, rural, poor people in this country. And it sucks. I was one of those people. Good jobs have become scarce, especially with blue collar jobs virtually disappearing overseas. And the jobs that are left don’t pay the bills. These people also don’t have the money to move elsewhere — or tend to not have the education needed to get a good paying job in the information age anyway.

Now, we have poor black populations and poor Latino populations as well of course, but what makes the white rural poor unique is that they tend to be isolated in the country and do not have the freedom of movement that predominantly urban poor have. The white rural poor do still have some advantages: 1) they are white (so they don’t face discrimination); 2) food scarcity isn’t as big of a problem. Many supplement with gardens, hunting, and even farms if they have the space; 3) because people are spread out, crime isn’t as big of a problem. But these people still want jobs. And they see, for the most part, that they are struggling even more than their parents did. It is scary. Liberals are not doing enough to appeal to them. Continue reading

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Filed under Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Finance, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society, Workplace