The Suicide Of Officer Smith And Ethics Zugzwang

Officer Smith

Ethics zugzwang is a term used on Ethics Alarms to describe situations where there are no ethical options, only unethical ones The origin is the world of chess, which uses the German word zugzwang to indicate a game position in which a player is safe from checkmate as long as he or she doesn’t move. But of course, a player has to do something; time cannot be stopped in place. In ethics zugzwang, and resolution is a bad one.

The current controversy over the suicide of Jeffrey Smith, a D. C. Metropolitan Police Department police officer who confronted the mob in the Capitol on January 6 and shot himself nine days later, is a perfect example of ethics zugzwang in our ugly political environment. Smith’s widow Erin is convinced that his death was caused by the riot, she says, and will petition the Police and Firefighters’ Retirement and Relief Board to designate her husband’s suicide as a death in the line of duty. “When my husband left for work that day, he was the Jeff that I knew,” Ms. Smith said in an interview. “When he returned after experiencing the event, being hit in the head, he was a completely different person. I do believe if he did not go to work that day, he would be here and we would not be having this conversation.” Of course, she is welcome to believe whatever she chooses. Having her husband’s death ruled as occurring in the line of duty also carries with it substantial financial benefits. Confirmation bias is unavoidable.

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Not Cakes, But Advocacy: The Tenth Circuit Rules That Compelled Expression Is Constitutional

compelled speech

I will state up front that I am confident that this decision will get to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that if and when it does, it will be reversed.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Denver ruled 2-1 that website designer Lorie Smith and her company, 303 Creative, violated a Colorado law by refusing to create a website celebrating a same sex union. forin a lawsuit filed before the law was used against her. She was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian nonprofit, who also represented Christian baker Jack Phillips, who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. There is a material difference, however, between a cake and a website. A cake is not generally thought of as expression, and there is a colorable argument that a bakery is a public accommodation. But Smith, whose company designs wedding websites, argues that forcing her to make one that supports a same-sex marriage violates her religious beliefs. It isn’t frosting and cake shades at issue, it’s words.

A Colorado public accommodation law bars public accommodations from refusing to provide equal access to services because of sexual orientation. The law’s communication clause also says public accommodations cannot publish any communication indicating that full access to services will not be provided because of sexual orientation. The appeals court majority decreed that neither provision violates Smith’s free speech and free exercise rights under the First Amendment, even though it acknowledged that Smith’s websites are pure speech that involve her unique creative talents. But, the Court claims, indulging in an “its isn’t what it is” rationalization, Colorado “has a compelling interest in protecting both the dignity interests of members of marginalized groups and their material interests in accessing the commercial marketplace…We agree with the dissent that a diversity of faiths and religious exercise, including appellants’, ‘enriches’ our society…Yet a faith that enriches society in one way might also damage society in other ways, particularly when that faith would exclude others from unique goods or services.”

This opinion is way, way over the traditional judicially-drawn line between compelling public accommodations to be equally accessible to all and compelling artistic expression. Under this theory, a singer who performs at weddings would have to warble at a same-sex ceremony, even if her faith held that such a ceremony was a sin.

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Trump To The Patriotic Pro-Vaccine Rescue? Of Course Not. And Try As I Might, I Can’t Blame Him

burning-bridge

I have now read many articles, almost all of them from pundits who for five years heaped the most abusive rhetoric on the previous President of the United States that any POTUS has had to endure, that Donald Trump should join President Biden, or Barack Obama, or even George W. Bush for a national, joint appeal to the vaccinated to do the right thing for their nation, swallow their fears, and get their shots. Writes one Trump-detesting letter writer to the Times this morning (well, the odds are high that anyone who writes to the Times is Trump-detesting”) who imagines an Obama-Trump Kumbaya PSA spot where a smiling Trump sits next to Barack and says, “We hardly agree on anything , but we do agree on one thing: You should get the Covid vaccine now!” “It just takes two grown men to do it!” the saddened patriot concludes.

Sure, in a vacuum, this fantasy seems reasonable. In reality, it can never happen, and I find myself gravitating to an unethical position that says that if Democrats like Biden and Obama, or Bush, really want Trump to join with them on anything but especially this, they should have to pay a large, painful and probably unpalatable price.

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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…”

***

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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Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations: Megan Rapinoe, Harvard, Pelosi And Double Standards

Thinker

1. I have some ethics observations on this thing that was sent out to white parents in the Highland Park area of Texas by a Black Lives Matter-affiliated group:

Sacrifice memo

Here they are:

  • As long as white individuals hesitate to push back on BLM’s outrageous assertions and demands, the group will continue to grow more audacious and arrogant
  • The logic of this demand can only make sense to someone who has no concept of right, wrong, and fairness. “We want you to handicap your own children in order to clear the way for our children, who can’t compete and who shouldn’t have to work especially hard to overcome obstacles that you and your children are not responsible for placing in their path.”
  • The screed is an excellent example of how the concept of equal opportunity has been warped into “equity,” meaning not just equality of results, which life never guarantees, but punitive measures to ensure advantages of  favored groups over those that are disfavored, aka whites and males.
  • The extension of the argument in the letter would require athletes fortunate to have advantages of strength, speed, and skill to pledge not to compete against those not so “privileged” as to be born with these advantages, and job applicants of superior talent, intelligence and character to refuse to place themselves in a position where they would be chosen for a job over less fortunate job-seekers.

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Tales Of The Great Stupid: Clarence Darrow’s Worst Idea Takes Hold In New York City

America’s greatest trial lawyer, Clarence Darrow, defended guilty criminals in part because he believed that it was cruel and unjust to punish citizens who committed crimes, even violent ones. Darrow, a pioneering progressive, lectured, debated and wrote that people committed crimes because of conditions beyond their control: bad parents, stupidity, mental illness, no education, poverty. Since those who committed crimes literally couldn’t stop themselves, punishment was revenge without reason. Sending someone to jail, far from advancing civilized conduct, not only destroys the life of the perpetrator but also creates a false sense of accomplishment, ignoring the socioeconomic “root causes” of crime. Nobody born free, the lawyer fervently held, should lose his or her liberty because of bad genes or bad luck.

It was and is a batty theory, and until very recently, one wouldn’t find anyone advocating it who wasn’t lying, ignorant, or a criminal himself. No longer. Today Darrow’s worst idea is running amuck in several big cities in the grip of woke Democratic government, and where it stops, nobody knows.

Take New York City…please.

The Big Rotten Apple has decided not to prosecute “quality of life” offenses, from littering to public urination to jumping subway turnstiles, with the predictable result that the quality of life for law abiding New Yorkers has cratered. Last summer, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice crowed that “the number of New Yorkers held in New York City jails had shrunk by 27% in 10 weeks, bringing the city’s incarcerated population down to the lowest level since 1946.Wow! Isn’t that great? Of course, by some coincidence, murders and shootings were rising more quickly than ever before.

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Sunday Evening Ethics Nightcap: Not Watching The Olympics Edition

TV off

Happy birthday Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” conceived via in vitro fertilization in Manchester, England, on this date in 1978 to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The bioethics controversies that flowed from this landmark event and subsequent scientific advances have not stopped yet.

1. When the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck meets the Olympics, this is the sort of garbage you are going to get, at least from Kurt Streeter. He’s the black New York Times sports columnist who really appears to believe that the main function of sports is to raise racial and gender grievances. Woke sports commentary isn’t just bad sports journalism, it’s also boring. Politics makes sports less fun and less of what it was intended to be, entertainment, not crusading. By “this” I mean columns like his most recent titled “The Olympics Rely On, but Don’t Support, Black Girl Magic.” Never mind that the headline is racially offensive at the outset—nobody should care what color bodies athletic “magic” comes from, and only bigots like Streeter view sports that way.

Streeter’s brief supporting his obnoxious thesis is based on selective facts and personal bias. Here are his examples:

“Simone Biles is one of the most brilliant talents at the Games. But if recent history holds and she tries her most stunning moves in Tokyo, gymnastics officials will place an arbitrary limit on her score. Some say this is meant to discourage other competitors from attempting similarly dangerous aerial maneuvers. I say the sport’s regulators cannot deal with her sheer audacity.

And what does this have to do with her being black? Nothing, and nobody has alleged that it is otherwise, though if Biles does not win her expected gold, I’m sure Streeter will be among the first to cry “racism.”

Naomi Osaka is …perhaps the most widely known female athlete on the planet…will get tossed under the bus if she is not polite and pleasant in her interviews with the news media, a backlash prompted by her withdrawal from the French Open because she did not want to participate in news conferences there. That pressure exists alongside the dread that she’ll be derided as either too Black or not Japanese enough if she does not win a gold medal.

Whose “dread”? Apparently Streeter’s, the race-baiter. Meanwhile, any athlete who is not polite and pleasant in interviews always gets criticism from the news media, and deserves it. She didn’t withdraw from the French Open because “she did not want to participate in news conferences,” she quit because she wanted special privileges to break the tournament’s rules, and was foiled. None if this has anything to do with race either, except that Osaka may have thought that her appeal to the King’s Pass might be especially hard to turn down since people like Streeter would be quick to call enforcement of the same rules for all “racist.”

“Gwen Berry is one of the most powerful hammer throwers in the world and one of the boldest athletes in protesting racism and injustice. But the Olympic overlords have made clear she’d better behave on the medal stand — or else.”

Those “overlords” have the same rules for everyone. Berry is bold in protesting what she isn’t in the Olympics to protest; she’s a narcissist and a lousy citizen who should have been kicked off the team once she proclaimed that she didn’t regard herself as representing the nation that is honoring her by giving her a chance to compete. Streeter thinks her “Black girl magic” isn’t being supported because she won’t be allowed to embarrass her team and act like an asshole on the world stage.

2. From the “Blind Squirrel Finds Nut” files…Criminal justice reform activists and some lawmakers are upset the the Biden Justice Department is inclined to follow through on a Trump-era memo by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel requiring inmates who were allowed out of stir to reduce the spread of the pandemic in prisons and whose sentences lasted beyond the “pandemic emergency period” to go back behind bars. Awww! How mean. Criminals will actually have to serve their sentences! Systemic racism, of course. But the Biden legal team concluded that the memo correctly interpreted the law, which applies to about 4,000 nonviolent inmates. There are still plenty of fanatics and anti-incarceration extremists among Joe’s minions, so they might get the policy reversed yet.

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Another IIPTDXTTNMIAFB Classic: Biden On Vaccinations!

Biden town hall

IIPTDXTTNMIAFB is Ethics Alarmseese for “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden.” I could probably feature such stories every day, but that would be as boring as these episodes are infuriating. They all come under the sub-heading of “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias,” which I could justifiably update to “Nah, the mainstream news media didn’t steal the Presidency for Joe Biden.”

This one was so egregious that the AP even did a “factcheck”, but muted its description so absurdly that it is a perfect IIPTDXTTNMIAFB.

You see, President Biden said, in a CNN town meeting during which he periodically babbled incoherently, “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die…You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”

That is a lie. It’s a lie because it is demonstrably false, and like so much else involving the pandemic, it is deliberate misinformation to manipulate the public. The Democrats, after all, fervently believe that the ends justify the means in all things. Apparently the truth, which the Biden Administration knows and thus its head is responsible for knowing, just isn’t good enough to move the herd along as its masters desire, so the strategy is to lie.

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More On The “Fuck Biden” Ethics Train Wreck: Is Andrea Dick An Ethics Hero?

Dick

I’ll be uncharacteristically brief: I think she is.

As I stated in the previous post, her conduct was unethical. She was uncivil and disrespectful to her neighbors. Posting “Fuck Biden” signs is protected speech, but it is still unethical speech. She isn’t doing any good by posting such rhetoric. She setting out to annoy and irritate people, while being verbally assault to her nation’s leader. She has no defense, other than the claim that she has a right to be an asshole. And indeed she has.

However, now that the government is attempting to abridge her rights of free expression and speech, and using an inapplicable obscenity ordinance to do it, she has a patriotic, legal and ethical duty to oppose the efforts to silence her even though she should have shut up in the first place.

Ironically, although her signs and banners represent unethical behavior, she has created an obligation for herself to stand behind them. This will take courage and resources, but it appears that she will not be intimidated. Good. Her abuses of free speech must be protected lest free speech itself be diminished.

Andrea may be an asshole, but she is not a weenie, like so, so many Americans of far greater power and influence than she who have been intimidated into apologizing and retracting their political or social views. We have little to fear from assholes. America was built by assholes—stubborn, ornery iconoclasts who marched to their own drummers and didn’t care who liked it. Weenies, however, are an existential threat. Weenies strip away our rights by being too timid to fight for their own.

Andrea Dick is now an Ethics Hero. After she wins, she can prove she’s not an asshole by taking down her “Fuck Biden” signs because she decides to, and not because the government demands it.

Andrea Dick And The “Fuck Biden” Ethics Train Wreck

fuck-biden-flag

I was just thinking of neighbors like Andrea Dick yesterday, after I walked my politically tolerant dog Spuds past the many obnoxious lawn signs that have proliferated in my little corner of Alexandria, Virginia. There is, of course, the large, hand painted wooden sign reading “Black Lives Matter” that is festooned with rainbow flags and a full size suit of armor for some reason. That’s been an eyesore for more than a year. Then there are the moronic “End Racism” virtue-signaling signs—“End Stupidity” would be equally effective—and that list of facile progressive nostrums, including “No human is illegal.” You know, this one:

love-is-love

Well aren’t you wonderful! There is also that oldie but goodie, “Dissent is Patriotic,” whatever that means. There are several versions of this one…

Our America

All of them are the equivalent of the homeowner standing on his or her front lawn and preaching through a megaphone, and in the cases of the homes that post signs like this one…

Welcome sign

…the implication is that all the other houses nearby are full of greedy, racist bigots. All the signs offend me. The entire practice of using one’s property to preach, proselytize or politic is offensive. Yes, it’s protected speech, and using speech like that is abusing the right.

Andrea Dick is an angry supporter of former President Donald J. Trump and detests President Biden, so she has banners and signs expressing these view on her New Jersey house and lawn, including “Don’t Blame Me/I Voted for Trump” and several banners and signs with the message in the graphic under the post’s title. These are also ugly and offensive, but no more so than the virtue-signaling blather I have to see every day.

But her neighbors complained, so local officials first asked her to take down several of the banners that they said violated an anti-obscenity ordinance. She refused, and now she is resisting a judge’s order that she do so or face $250 fines every day the “Fuck Biden” banners and signs remain. Andrea Dick is pledging to fight it in court on free speech grounds.

“It’s my First Amendment right,” she said in an interview on Monday, “and I’m going to stick with that.”

Ethics Verdicts:

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