Nicely Timed Ethics Quote Of The Month: John Cleese

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Monty Python legend John Cleese apparently has decided that to hell with it, he’s going to get himself canceled, and he doesn’t give a damn if he is. The tweet above was part of a long string of them tweaking transgender activists, J.K. Rowling haters and more, but his “woke joke” was especially apt.

The Australian singer Sia (never heard of her—you?) wrote and directed an soon-to-be released movie titled “Music” about a young woman with autism. Music is played by actress Maddie Ziegler, who is apparently not on the autistic spectrum.

The Horror.

The cyber-mob, almost all of which have never directed or cast anything, were outraged, with reactions like this from Irish actress Bronagh Waugh:

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Ethics Quote Of The Day (And For All Time): Abraham Lincoln [Missing Post Section Recovered!]

On this date in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln added a vital coda to the United States mission statement articulated in the Declaration of Independence nearly a hundred years earlier. Gary Wills, among other historians and commentators, has argued that with this single speech Lincoln reframed the purpose of the American experiment as well as clarifying its core values. Those values, it is fair to say, are today under the greatest threat since the Civil War today. Lincoln’s address lasted just two or three minutes (it was not even announced beforehand as a speech, but rather “remarks”), but also reframed the purpose of the war itself, as not only to preserve the union, but a struggle for freedom and equality for all.

There has been so much written about the Gettysburg Address that it would be irresponsible for me to attempt to analyze it here. It probably isn’t necessary to analyze the speech. Few statements speak more clearly for themselves: if ever a speech embodied the principle of res ipsa loquitur, this is it:

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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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“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.

Sunday Ethics Infusion, 17/15/2020: “Run Away!”

1. To channel Scarlet O’Hara…If one more Trump-Deranged individual accuses me of  adopting right-wing media conspiracy theories, I will get angry, and they won’t like me when I’m angry. I accept analysis from no one, especially from the likes of (the former version of) Fox News, Breitbart, Mark Levin and others of note. If I like a legitimate authority’s analysis (like, say, Andrew McCarthy, Ann Althouse or Jonathan Turley), I will credit them for it. “It sure is suspicious that your points agree with theirs” I was told today. It’s no more suspicious than the fact that their stated analysis agrees with mine. I’m not tolerating this insult. I’m at least as informed, educated and intelligent as those I am accused of “parroting,” and I’m considerably more informed, educated and intelligent than the typical knee-jerk progressive water-carrier who tries to win arguments they have neither the wit nor the facts to support by calling me incapable of forming my own opinions.

2. An update! The original collection of movie clips that Ethics Alarms uses repeatedly to illustrate certain points has been expanded considerably.

3. “Run away!” I see that conservatives are “fleeing” Facebook and Twitter for the allegedly more accommodating and less censorious environs of Parler and MeWe. EVERYONE should bolt from Facebook and Twitter if they have any concern about the social media platforms manipulating public opinion and possible tilting the election by partisan censorship, not to mention the mendacity of both platforms’ CEOs and their basic lack of trustworthiness.

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“How Is Rewarding Unethical Behavior Ethical?”

Every now and then a comment on Ethics Alarms that I have not answered personally sticks in my brain like a musical earworm, literally keeping me awake at night. This was one of those times. That proclivity is one reason I have made over 50,000 comments on my own blog among the 300,000 here in the decade Ethics Alarms has been in existence. The vast majority of bloggers don’t do that; most don’t comment at all. I do it because, in addition to the biological need for sleep, I designed this forum to be a colloquy and an ongoing ethics seminar as much as a platform for my own analysis.

This time, the comment that stuck in my brain like “Thank-You Girl,” the Beatles’ all-time earworm, began,

“How is rewarding unethical behavior ethical?”

The comment came as a response to yesterday’s post explaining why it would be best for all concerned  if President Trump would stop claiming that the election was “stolen” or “rigged” (though it was both) and concede with graciousness and honor now that the chances of his prevailing in the Electoral College are vanishingly small.

I could answer that question in two sentences, or with a book. I will try mightily to come much closer to the former than the latter.

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Remember, At The Bottom Of Pandora’s Box Was Hope! Comments Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: Wednesday Ethics Windstorm,11/11/20: Liars, Knaves, Fools And Birds”

pandoras box

Boy, things are getting gloomy around here. Fortunately, I have in my metaphorical ethics holster not one but TWO sterling and inspirational Comments of the Day posted in response to Steve Witherspoon’s expression of ( I’m sure temporary) despair by a pair of the form: Glenn Logan and occasional Ethics Alarms columnist Mrs. Q. And here they are, back to back Comments of the Day on the post, “Comment Of The Day: Wednesday Ethics Windstorm,11/11/20: Liars, Knaves, Fools And Birds,”

First, Glenn Logan:

Steve, this is a grim comment to be sure. I doubt if I can elevate your mood, but I will make a couple of observations:

There are so many openly anti-Constitutional, anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-civility and anti-rule of law things being done and said by political leaders and common citizens across the USA and it’s been going on for so long now that I really am to the point that I truly and actually believe that all the societal signs are showing us that the United States of America is on its way towards some form of totalitarian styled socialism/communism and it will likely happen in my lifetime.

I don’t totally agree, but I do agree that this is a danger. I am heartened by the resurgence of the Republicans in the house and the conflagration of so much Democratic money attempting to unseat Republican incumbents. The Democrats burned almost 70 million dollars in the senate race in Kentucky alone (against 30 MUSD for McConnell) only for the pleasure of being curb-stomped. McGrath posters and ads blanketed the media and the streets, outnumbering “Team Mitch” 100-1 even in the most conservative areas of Kentucky, and that money might as well have been dropped in a bottomless hole for all the good it did.

That tells me the signal of freedom is still getting out there, and being heard.

The flood of new subscribers to Parler, MeWe and other alternate social media is heartening. The defenestration of Fox News after its sudden left turn is heartening. The bare margin of the presidential election even after rampant fraud and a non-stop 4-year fully-paid-for media campaign commercial for the Democrats is heartening. There are silver linings to be found, dark as the clouds may be.

There is more than just a little hope, but your point is not unworthy — there is also grave danger.

Biden’s statement’s about unity, Republicans are not our enemies and working together in peace are a rhetorical smoke screen from an empty suit puppet of the extreme political left.

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: New York Time Tech Reporter Kevin Roose

Roose Tweet

“The tricky thing, for Facebook, is that some of the most viral stories aren’t strictly false….But they are feeding a stolen election narrative that is going to be hard to dial back.”

——New York Times Technology reporter Kevin Roose, after being called on referring to four accurate articles as “Right Wing misinformation.”

And there it is! We have a smoking gun regarding the insidious, growing tendency of journalists and the news media to think of information as theirs to withhold, alter, hype, hide or bury permanently for what they perceive as the public good.

“Aren’t strictly false…but.” That’s chilling. What Roose is saying is that the truth can be dangerous, and social media should only allow “good” news to be posted and shared, news items that advance narratives supporting what the Left approves of, rather than those that challenge or rebut their obliviously superior and more virtuous views and objectives.

If a factual story makes the public distrust the election results,then perhaps the election results should be questioned. The remedy is to demonstrate with convincing arguments and other facts why this is a mistaken view. When I hear someone arguing that the remedy is to bury the story, that makes me wonder why that person is trying to keep me in the dark.

The primary facts that support the stolen election narrative is how Democrats, the resistance and the news media behaved over the past four years, making it clear that neither law, nor ethics, nor American institutions, values and traditions, nor basic fairness or common decency, would stand in the way of their obsession with removing Donald Trump from the Presidency by any means necessary.

Why, in light of all that, wouldn’t they try to steal the election?

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Prof. Jonathan Turley

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“[T]he demand for clear evidence of systemic violations after only a couple days of the tabulation stage is bizarre. We would not necessarily have such evidence, which is largely held by election officials. As expected, we have a series of localized affidavits and allegations of intentional fraud. Yet, network analysts were dismissing any and all allegations within the first 24 hours, as tabulations were continuing. It is like saying that a patient has a low white blood cell level but insisting on stopping testing if you cannot conclusively say that there is cancer.”

——Jonathan Turley, discussing the rush to proclaim Joe Biden President-elect while legitimate questions remain unanswered

Bingo. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp?

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Final Pre-Election Ethics Notes I

Election 2020

[I may have more of these as the day goes on, before the riots start.]

1. I just heard a notable radio ad “approved” by Joe Biden. An African-American male voice [Aside: I was once told that identifying a voice as African-America was racist. Can you guess my response to this?] talked about voter suppression—poll taxes, literacy tests, terrorism and intimidation. “They” are up to the same “old tricks,” we are told. Then came a montage of sound clips, one of which was from an unidentified news source stating that “President Trump continues to oppose mail-in voting.” Then the voice says, “Be sure to vote. Not because I want you to, but because HE wants you not to.”

Biden approving this despicable message would have been enough, all by itself, to convince me that he is a liar and a cheat. Every American can go to a polling place and vote if they care enough. Requiring them to prove they are citizens and voting on their own behalf is not “suppression,” and opposing mail-in ballots that are an obvious invitation to voter fraud.

The ad is hate-mongering and a disgusting use of Big Lie #4: “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist. ”

This does seem to be the latest strategy to send the Deranged, the Marxists, the antifa, the anarchists and the Black Lives Matter mob into the streets if the President wins.  Playing his part, the House Majority Whip, Rep. James Cliburn (D-S.C.) told Fox News over the weekend that the only way Democrat Joe Biden could lose the election would be “for voter suppression to be successful.”

Nice.

Clyburn also evoked Big Lie #4, and said that he would “pray” for blacks who voted for Trump. I give him credit for originality: when asked why such a vote was apparently worthy of damnation, Clyburn did not immediately jump to Trump’s birther period, which is usually the best anyone challenged to show the President’s alleges racism can come up with. No, he cited…Omarosa!

“I’m the father of three black women. I am the son of a black woman. If any black man can go in a polling place and cast a vote for a man who referred to a black woman as a dog on national television, I’m going to have to pray for them. I will have to pray for them. I don’t know of any man [who] can abide that kind of disrespect and insult,” the habitually race-baiting Representative said. Huh? I had to look it up. Yes, the President called his former “Apprentice” villain a “dog” after she turned on him—as he should have known she would do—and published a tell-all book after being fired from a White House position that he was a fool to appoint her to  in the first place. Of course, Trump has called others he was displeased with “a dog,” and uses the insult on all races and genders. It’s not Presidential and it’s not civil; it’s also not evidence of racism, but if that’s the best Clyburn had to flog the narrative, I guess he was stuck with it.

Then we have this, from the Attorney General of Pennsylvania:

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