Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The ACLU

I think it is fair to conclude at this point (if it was not already obvious) that the American Civil Liberties Union has abandoned its original mission of being a neutral and non-partisan guardian of individual rights to being one more activist political tool of the Left. Its hostility toward transparency for school curricula marks a 180 decree turnaround for the ACLU, which has traditionally  argued for government transparency in all its activities, including public school education.

One more time, the corrupting influence here is race and “social justice,” which increasingly are regarded as taking priority over all else. Enacting the racial agenda of Black Lives Matters and its allies (like the Democratic Party) now justifies tactics and activities that the ACLU once opposed consistently. Government indoctrination is no longer an offense to freedom of speech and thought, apparently. The ends justify the means.

Once upon a time, Nevada’s ACLU fought fought for transparency when The Silver State’s schools were establishing their sex education lesson plans. Staci Pratt, Legal Director of the ACLU of Nevada, said at the time, “The days of back door decision making are over. Compliance with the open meetings law is meant to secure the opportunity of parents, students, and community members to have a meaningful impact on the development of policy. We are all well served when decisions on the appointment of sex education advisory committee members is subject to public scrutiny, rather than the result of the presentation of a narrow range of interests.”  The ACLU of Kentucky used records requests to uncover curriculum plans in all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts, seeking to find evidence of religious instruction:

The ACLU-KY sent requests to all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts seeking policies and curriculum for “Bible Literacy” courses.  While most districts are not offering these courses, the ACLU-KY found many of the courses that are being offered do not fall within constitutional strictures, which require any use of religious text in the classroom to be secular, objective, nondevotional, and must not promote any specific religious view.

The investigation uncovered public school teachers using the Bible to impart religious life lessons (Barren, McCracken, and Letcher Counties), use of online Sunday School lessons and worksheets for course source material and assignments (Letcher and Wayne Counties), and rote memorization of Biblical text (McCracken County) — practices which fall far short of academic and objective study of the Bible and its historical context or literary value.

But that was baaad indoctrination, you see. Teaching Critical Race Theory-ish interpretations of American history that tar whites as intrinsically racist, blacks as handicapped by intransigent systemic racism, and, as a special bonus, that a person is whatever gender they decide to be are all good indoctrination, and if overly conservative, contrarian or controlling parents are inclined to interfere, well, the ACLU holds that schools are justified in making sure the Neanderthals don’t find out what’s being taught. Continue reading

My Home Town Finally Makes Good!

We always knew Arlington, Massachusetts would do something special eventually.
 
All the years that my family lived there, poor Arlington, nestled anonymously between Lexington and Cambridge, a hop and a skip from Concord, searched in vain for some way to be famous like the cities and towns around it. Sure, it was (and is) the largest municipality to have a town government, but really, so what? Paul Revere didn’t even ride through Arlington (that was William Dawes) which was then called Menotomy.
 
In the run-up Revolutionary War, our little town—-heck, we couldn’t even say that, because it was a BIG town, though irrelevant…was the site of a shooting skirmish while the British marched through to Lexington and Concord. Arlington’s big event was the massacre of some Minute Men while they hid in the closet in the Jason Russell House, the town’s one historical spot of note. You could see the bullet holes! Cool! Our classes visited the place every damn year.

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Comment Of The Day: “Bias Also Makes Philosophers Stupid”

Cornell associate professor of philosophy Kate Manne, decided to employ the disciplines of philosophy to rationalize why she didn’t want to diet any more, calling the urge to lose weight “immoral.” Is it unethical to misuse ethical principles for selfish ends, making trusting readers less informed in the process? I think so.

Commenter Isaac submitted this Comment of the Day to register his objections to her arguments, as he examined the post, “Bias Also Makes Philosophers Stupid” [that’s reality TV star Tammy Slaten above with her boyfriend, who likes her just the way she is…]

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This part is unforgivable and exposes a tainted, delusional worldview:

“patriarchal forces — the forces that tell girls and women in particular to be small, meek, slight, slim and quiet…”

Let’s break down what the “patriarchy” is supposedly demanding of girls, according to the lens through which people indoctrinated like this see the world:

1. “Small” – Women are smaller than men, across the board. Is biology a patriarchal system? Is she saying that by ballooning out into an obese woman, she will achieve equality with taller men and their more dense body structures? Or is she just saying that the patriarchy demands healthy women? (Historically, that’s not even true, if old European paintings have taught me anything.) But even if it were true that the patriarchy desires fit women, survival in a state of nature also demands a healthy body. If anything, “patriarchal” structures (like agriculture and cities) have made it possible for obese people to even exist in the first place. In some utopian feminist treehouse-jungle, fat women would just be eaten by tigers.

This is even dumber when you consider that NOBODY likes, wants, or respects a fat man. As if the patriarchy loves fat dudes but not fat women. She’s already veered into insanity, and it’s just getting started.

2. “Meek” – This is also a product of biology, not culture. Men have higher levels of testosterone, which means they generally take more risks, are louder, more aggressive, and act out more physically, compared to women. If women were as aggressive as men but with otherwise the same biology, they would be getting themselves killed in violent confrontations with men at obscene rates throughout history. It’s not likely that the demographic balance between men and women would even be sustainable that way, which means over time women would just go back to being largely “meek” again, as less aggressive women would outlast more aggressive ones. Instead of celebrating the unique qualities of women, this philosopher thinks that it’s unfair that women aren’t just…men.

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Comment Of The Day: “On Transgender Competitors Being Permitted In Women’s Sports: Is It Possible To Be More Ethically And Logically Muddled Than This?”

In this Comment of the Day, the first of two this morning, Extradimensional Cephalopod provides useful perspective on the logical and ethical flaws inherent in the trans athletes fiasco, as well as the weak arguments presented by advocates of biological males competing in girls’ and women’s sports. [That’s transgender female powerlifter Janae Kroc above, before (when she was Matthew Kroczaleski, and after. He/she calls himself/herself “gender fluid,” so when feeling feminine, Janae competes against women. She does…well.]

Here is EC’s COTD, on the post, “On Transgender Competitors Being Permitted In Women’s Sports: Is It Possible To Be More Ethically And Logically Muddled Than This?”

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The nature of most sports is a form of the liability of conflict: uncertain motivational obstacles. People want to be uncertain about the outcome of a sporting event, such that much of what decides the outcome is the motivation, the character, and the efforts of the competitors. That’s why weight classes in wrestling and boxing exist. If one competitor is larger and more physically powerful than the others, and that makes a predictable difference, that moves the event into the realm of scarcity: known physical obstacles, and out of the realm of sports.

If we want to spend the money to decouple gender and ability in sports, well and good. As long as they’re tied together, though, ability must be the priority for arranging match-ups, or else it stops being sport. (Testosterone treatments are a separate factor that would probably need to have its own class, because they’re artificial treatments that cause muscle growth.)

Due to budgetary constraints, only a subset of the most physically capable (cisgender) students are usually able to compete in academic sports, which rules out most students. (Sometimes there are also the equivalent of the Paralympics, to allow people with physical impairments to compete in sports with other athletes of similar physical ability.) Everyone who doesn’t make the team does other things, and sometimes they do amateur sports. People aren’t entitled to be on the school team, though. Continue reading

On Transgender Competitors Being Permitted In Women’s Sports: Is It Possible To Be More Ethically And Logically Muddled Than This?

I doubt it. I doubt if anything can be more ethically and logically muddled than the article —actually two articles—about another biological male crushing female competitors in a women’s sports competition. Right at the start, the USA Today piece sets a new absurd bar for “It isn’t what it is” rhetoric. The article begins, “The sentiment is universal: Everyone agrees that Andraya Yearwood should be allowed to compete in her chosen races as a girl.”

Wait: the same article in its headline says that Yearwood’s eligibility is a matter of “controversy.” If there is controversy, then obviously the sentiment isn’t “universal.” Normally, a statement that self-evidently contradictory would make me stop reading because the writer is an idiot, but I read this junk so you won’t have to.

The next sentence is just as bad:

After all, she identifies as a girl, trains alongside fellow females and plans to eventually undergo hormone therapy to complete a transition from her male birth gender to female.

“After all’? None of that is convincing proof that a biological male should be competing against women. Then Cam Smith—that’s the name of the idiot, whom USA Today entrusts with High School sports stories—gets the Triple Crown, or a hat trick, or whatever you call three brain-melting statements in a row: Continue reading

Bias Also Makes Philosophers Stupid

Kate Manne, an associate professor of philosophy at Cornell University, is tired of dieting, so she tied herself up into rhetorical knots and rationalizations to argue that dieting is “immoral.” She also allowed herself to be published doing so.

How embarrassing. This is one reason why philosophy is a dying field, albeit slowly: how can anyone trust someone who masks pure self-interest in philosophical theory?

Manne writes,

I recognize that even if you are a fat person who would be healthier if you lost weight, you don’t owe it to anyone to do so; you don’t owe it to anyone to be healthy in general. And I know how much my internalized fatphobia owes to oppressive patriarchal forces — the forces that tell girls and women in particular to be small, meek, slight, slim and quiet.

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A “Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right” Episode For The Ages: Trans Female Swimmer Lia Thomas Is Finally Beaten…by a Trans Male Swimmer…Competing As A Female

What ethical principles are we supposed to glean from this crazy story?

Lia Thomas, a biologically male swimmer who has transitioned to female, has been unfairly crushing all female collegiate competition while being allowed to compete as a transgender athlete. Ethics Alarms has covered the story in more than one post. Lia herself is unapologetic, and her Machiavellian coach is reportedly thrilled. Thomas’s teammates and opponents are not so thrilled, but so far have lacked the courage to take any meaningful action to preserve the integrity of their sport, fearing to end up like J.K. Rowling but without all the money.

So was ex-man Thomas unbeatable as a current woman? No! Yale female swim team star Iszac Henig defeated her in the women’s 100-meter freestyle with a time of 49.57 seconds. In fact, Thomas finished fifth with a time of 52.84 seconds. (How did THAT happen? Sounds like she “took a dive” to me, no pun intended…) In the 400-freestyle relay, Henig completed her leg in 50.45 seconds versus Thomas’ 51.94.

There is a catch, however. Henig is also a trans competitor, except that she is in the process of transitioning from female to male. In order to illustrate this with a dramatic gesture, the 20-year-old pulled down the top of his swimsuit to reveal the absence of breasts, which she-soon-to-be-he has had removed. A UPenn parent remarked, “I wasn’t prepared for that. Everything is messed up. I can’t wrap my head around this.”

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Furious Ethics Catch-Up, 1/4/2022: “I’m Not Dead!” Edition

Well, there I was last night, showing my wife my favorite “Schoolhouse Rock” segment (“Interjections,” a Grammar Rock episode) and getting ready to post an evening ethics potpourri when the Disney Channel, which I only have because I wanted to see the “Get Back” documentary, kicked out. The snow storm’s aftermath had caused an outage in our phone and internet connection (at least we had power, and weren’t stuck on I-95 like hundreds of motorists in Northern Virginia were last night), and Comcast didn’t get everything back up until a few minutes ago. A totally lost day for ProEthics and Ethics Alarms, but the sage words of my friend Tom Fuller kept echoing in my brain like all the Tara lines coming back to Scarlet after Rhett walks out on her. “When you have no options, you have no problem,” Tom always says, and this was a classic example. We were snowed in, and had no communications (not even a newspaper since the second); might as well relax: Snow day!

I was able to get a head start on some items, at least. I apologize for the void…and for any comments marooned in moderation (as well as the inevitable mermaidmary comment unjustly spammed).

But at least I’m not dead.

[That’s the correct Mark Twain quote above, incidentally. He also said, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”]

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RETRACTED! “The Guardian’s “Person Of The Year” Poll Disaster” [Updated]

Well, once again, I was lied to, fooled, and made an unwitting accomplice in a fake conservative news scam. Worse, I was led to the fake story by three sites I already have had bad experiences with, and thus should have been wary. ( Though memeorandum also pointed me to the story, and that is a reliably non-partisan aggregator.) As is usually the case in such situations, confirmation bias, mine, was at the heart of the mistake.  In the end, this is my responsibility, and thus my fault. I know better.

If I were Al Sharpton or Dan Rather, I might argue that what I wrote about the Guardian could have happened this way, so the article is accurate, though not true. I’m not, though. Here’s what really happened: the Guardian closed down not a poll on “The Person of the Year,” but reader nominations. It is true (maybe) that J.K. Rowling received the most nominations, but the nominations were closed because it was time to close them. She’s still on the slate of candidates.

I apologize to Ethics Alarms readers, commenters, the Guardian, J.K. Rowling, oh, everyone. And if I ever trust those sources again, hit me over the head with a brick when I’m not looking.

Thanks to Phlinn for catching this when I did not.

UPDATE: None of the sites that have run this botch have clarified or retracted it, except this one, as of 7:30 am the next day.

And there it is, right at the bottom in tiny print. The British paper “The Guardian” ran an online poll to determine readers’ 2021 “Person of the Year,” and then suddenly pulled the plug. Why would they do that?

They did it because J.K. Rowling, the author of the “Harry Potter” books, was winning the poll handily.  Rowling is currently a pariah with transgender activists for her quite reasonable assertions like insisting that human beings with penises cannot accurately be called “women” just because they want to be, and that the movement to recast what have been called women as “persons with uteruses” is ridiculous. She has refused to grovel an apology like most public figures threatened with “cancelling” because of views that differ from Leftist cant, and instead has doubled down repeatedly. Earlier this month she mocked Scotland’s law enforcement policy that allows accused rapists to self-identify as female, tweeting, “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.” Continue reading

That’s Nice: They “Considered” Taking A Stand For Ethics!

(The relevant section of the SNL skit above begins at the 5:36 mark.)

Lia Thomas, a recently “transitioned” male collegiate swimmer at Penn, has been making a burlesque of female college swimming records as well as demonstrating what the future of women’s and girl’s sports will look like if post puberty males continue to be allowed to compete as women once they can legally switch genders. Her—just because she should be called a “she” doesn’t mean she should be competing against biological shes—team mates have anonymously expressed discomfort with what their matches have become, while Lia is just thrilled to be winning in her new, less competitive category, and Penn’s swimming coach doesn’t care about fairness, only winning.

In such obvious situations of injustice, the sole road to remedy is courage and confrontation. This is true not only for the ethics debacle of trans athletes crushing original women in sports, but other situations as well. Philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) made her legacy a series of quotes about what happens when those who are aware of wrongdoing—Hannah’s short-hand was “evil”—duck their societal obligation to take action. Here’s a few of them:

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