Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/15/2019: Starring Two Of My Favorite Unethical Websites!

WAKE UP!

Oh, great: started this post at 7 am, hell broke lose at ProEthics, and now it’s after noon. Well, the hell with it: I’m not going back to change the headline or the intro, and I like Lenny’s version of the Stars and Stripes at any time of day.

So there.

1. Unprofessional and dangerous stuff from  Above the Law….as usual. The legal gossip and snark online tabloid is run and written by lawyers who are not practicing law, so they feel free to engage in conduct that lawyers are forbidden from engaging in, like misrepresentation.  Lately the cyber rag has been cyber-ragging on Jones Day, a long-time, distinguished D.C. mega firm. Why are they doing that? Come on, it should be obvious.

ATL takes the position—and it has company— that Jones Day is eeeevil and must be shunned because it represents the Trump campaign. Hence you get headlines like “IF YOU HAD TO GUESS WHICH FIRM WOULD DO THIS:New allegations claim Jones Day lightened the skin and narrowed the nose on the picture of one of their lawyers.” Continue reading

Meet The New APSA Editorial Team, George Orwell!

[For the second time in a week, reading a near-head-exploding ethics item right before bed has caused insomnia, necessitating this late-night post. My brain was already churning as I try to solve a work-related conundrum: this, I didn’t need. But this kind of stunning hypocrisy, dishonesty and lack of integrity the nation and the world don’t need, either.]

Behold a recent announcement from The American Political Science Association. Read carefully, now:

APSA Announces the New Editorial Team for the American Political Science Review for 2020

The American Political Science Association is delighted to announce a new editorial team to lead the American Political Science Review (APSR).  The APSA Council selected a team co-led by twelve political scientists from many institutions across North America. The new team’s term begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through May 31, 2024.

  • Sharon Wright Austin, Professor of Political Science, University of Florida
  • Michelle L. Dion, Associate Professor of Political Science, McMaster University
  • Lisa García Bedolla, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division and a Professor in the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
  • Clarissa Rile Hayward, Professor of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Kelly M. Kadera, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Iowa
  • Julie Novkov, Professor of Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University at Albany, SUNY
  • Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, Associate Professor of Political Science, Purdue University
  • Dara Strolovitch, Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies and Politics, Princeton University
  • Aili Mari Tripp, Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Denise M. Walsh, Associate Professor of Politics and Women, Gender, and Sexuality, University of Virginia
  • S. Laurel Weldon, Professor of Political Science, Simon Fraser University 
  • Elisabeth Jean Wood, Crosby Professor of the Human Environment and Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Vision Statement by the Editors

We are honored to have been selected as the American Political Science Review’s new editorial team. We thank the APSA Council and the selection committee for their confidence in our team and for their support for our vision. In entrusting the editorship of the association’s flagship journal to our diverse and all-woman team, the Council is demonstrating its commitment to promoting a wider range of voices and scholarship in the journal and the discipline.

Notice anything strange? Ridiculous, mayhap? Babylon Bee-worthy, you might say?

It’s this: “our diverse and all-woman team.” Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-up, 7/18/2019: Heading Toward An Ameriac Where “America” Is Banned, Where It’s Illegal To Call An Illegal Illegal, Where Judge’s Say “Good Work!” To Felons, And Where Illiterate Celebrities Are “Influencers”

Aiiii!

Everything is seemingly spinning out of control!

1. For example, this stupid controversy, and surprisingly, it involves the Kardashian family. Kylie Jenner, Kim’s half-sister, is, as you may know, a “social media influencer,” which means companies pay her millions to use Instagram to promote their brands or products to the mouth-breathing idiots who follow this fatuous and useless celebrity.

Kylie recently issued a post featuring this photo of herself nude in a huge straw hat…

 

which rankled another “influencer,” Amanda Ensing—how can someone get paid to influence people when I’ve never heard of them?— who accused Jenner of stealing her pose.  Ensling has more than one million followers on both YouTube and Instagram, where she posts her outfits, makeup looks, travel experiences, and hairstyles, and  had previously appeared on Instagram like this…

She implied that Jenner had engaged inInstagram pose plagiarism, or something. (There’s no such thing.) The ever-articulate half-Kardashian lashed back, in words reminiscent of Dryden or Wilde in high form,

“from the words of Kim K ur not on my mood board but i did get my inspo off Pinterest”

This exchange justified breathless accounts in People, The Daily Beast, Cosmo, E!, Us, and dozens of other websites, as well as celebrity cable shows, spreading the false impression that what these semi-literate narcissists  say or do matters, thus increasing their ability to make our young trivial and even dumber that our schools make them.

Apparently Pierre Auguste Renoir isn’t active on social media, or he might have complained to both “influencers.”

2. From Minnesota, a very different kind of stupid: In an epic example of woke virtue-signaling because Nationalism Bad,  the city council for St. Louis Park in Minnesota decided to end the practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at its meetings—you know,  to be more “inclusive,” which means to pander to members who don’t care that much for the United Sates of America.  Then they were shocked to discover that a very vocal majority of constituents found the move offensive, so the city council members did a complete 180,  said, “Never mind!” and reversed themselves unanimously,though complaining bitterly and implying that Deplorables made them do it. Integrity! Principle over expediency! Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum!”

Aaron Paschal’s Comment of the Day is on a topic that comes up here often, the distinction between having a right to do something, and claiming it is right to do it. It also is relevant to the weekend post about objections at my ethics seminar to my referring to Harvey Weinstein as an asshole. The student Aaron describes in his comment also earned that sobriquet, and it is descriptive, not uncivil, to employ it. (Aaron uses the lesser term “jackass,” which I view as inadequate under the circumstances.)

Here’s Aaron’s Comment of the Day from the recent “Open Forum!” (I’ll be back at the end):

My wife took my son to his college registration day yesterday. The parents were separated out from the kids, and so she sat her laptop down by a balcony outside the Starbucks at the student center.

While she sat there working, a young college – I’ll call him a guy – walked up to her, complimented her laptop, then proceeded to climb on top of her table to scale the balcony wall and reach the Starbucks. She protested “can I help you?!?” As he stood, to which he only responded “nah, you’re just in my way”

Shortly after this, he placed his order and stood at the balcony rail over her head, and struck up a conversation with a friend on his cell phone about anal sex and the delightful anal rape videos he had watched online recently. A nearby man shortly had enough of this, as he was visiting with his 3 year old and 7 year old children, who were also listening to the conversation.

Upon being confronted, the young college student exploded in indignation, affirming that he had first amendment rights to say what he wanted in public, and how the others were racist against him due to the fact that he was gay. When asked to calm down, he began chanting “free speech” and “you don’t have a problem with your president talking about PUSSY, do you?” Continue reading

Poll: The Racist Comment

Ethics Alarms received another one of its periodic racist comments today. As with most of them, it was generated by this post, about the racist site Chimpmania.

Unlike most of the comments I get of this ilk, this one is reasonably well-written: the writer probably has most of his teeth and would beat the kid who plays the banjo in “Deliverance” handily in Scrabble.

I routinely spam these kinds of comments, even the articulate ones. For a while I would allow the first one in, with a warning, but for more than a year I’ve just refused to publish them. Is that both ethical and wise, though? I am liking all forms of viewpoint censorship less and less of late, especially since Ethics Alarms is a victim of it. If there are substantial numbers of people who think like this bigot, shouldn’t the rest of us know about it, and learn what we can about their reasoning and motivation?

The contrary view is that this comment and the others like it are res ipsa loquitur, inarguable examples of uncivilized discourse that society reasonable and legitimately refuses to tolerate for its own safety The problem with this construct is that there are no clear standards to block the slide on the slippery slope. If it is legitimate to put racism, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and misogyny in the category of the properly censored, why not, according to another censor’s sensibilities, climate change skepticism or support for President Trump?

I’m interested in how you respond to this poll:

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/25/2019: The Greatest Morning Warm-Up Ever Blogged!

The movie “The Greatest Story Ever Told” was far from the “Greatest Movie Ever Made,” as the Duke’s casting as a Roman soldier demonstrated vividly.

OK, not really, but it better be good after yesterday’s potpourri never made it off the launch pad due to a series of unfortunate events. I’m using “The Greatest Legal Ethics Seminar Ever Taught!” as a title for an upcoming program I’m writing now, so the rhetoric is on my mind. My teaching partner complained that the title really puts the pressure on us to be outstanding. And that’s the point…

1. Harvard’s new President punts. Of course. The Harvard alumni magazine this month was notably light on criticism of the Ronald Sullivan fiasco, with only two critical letters on the topic, one of which made the suggestion that it might be a “conflict of interest” for someone who is defending a #MeToo villain to also serve as a residential faculty member (what was previously called a “House Master,” but that triggered some delicate students who felt it evoked slave-holders. No really. I’m serious. I don’t make this stuff up. Organizations capitulate to these complaints now, like Major League Baseball changing the name of the “Disabled List” because disabled rights activists complained). It is assuredly NOT a conflict of interest, though, by any definition but an erroneous one.

Deeper in the magazine, we learn that new President of Harvard, Lawrence Bacow, was asked during a faculty meeting about his views on the episode. His response was essentially a Harvard version of Ralph Kramden’s immortal “huminhuminahumina” when “The Honyemooners” hero had no explanation for some fiasco of his own engineering. Bacow said he would respect “the locus of authority,” meaning College Dean Rakesh Khuratna, who fired Sullivan after joining in student protests over the law professor and lawyer doing exactly what lawyers are supposed to do.

So now we know that, not for the first time, Harvard is being led by a weenie. What should he have said?  How about “I am firing Dean Khuratna, and offering Prof. Sullivan his position back. Any Winthrop House students who feel  “unsafe” are welcome to transfer to Yale”?

Most news media gave inadequate coverage to this story, and none, in my view, sufficiently condemned the university’s actions or the un-American values they represent. At least the New York Times is keeping the episode before its readers by publishing an op-ed by Sullivan titled Why Harvard Was Wrong to Make Me Step Down.”

2. Insuring the life of a son in peril. Is this unethical somehow? It honestly never occurred to me. When I had to give a speech in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the most dangerous cites on Earth, my wife tried to take out a policy on my life with her as the beneficiary. I thought it was a good and prudent idea. But in Phillip Galane’s “Social Q’s” advice column, a son writes that he is still angry, decades later, that his late father did this , writing in part, Continue reading

The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: A Directory. Big Lie #3: “Trump Is A Fascist/Hitler/Dictator/Monster/White Supremacist”

 Big Lie #3: “Trump Is A Fascist/Hitler/Dictator/Monster/White Supremacist” is the Big Lie of longest duration wielded against Donald Trump, since it arose early in the 2016 campaign, before Trump had been nominated. It’s a framing lie, designed to color everything he does or says within an established bias. If there is some interpretation of his words, however far-fetched, that can be used to support the premise that Trump is a fascist/Hitler/dictator/monster/white supremacist, it will be. #3 is also useful for spreading fear and hate. It is a direct cognitive dissonance ploy: on the cognitive dissonance scale,

…all of those labels are about as low as they can be in the value systems of most Americans. Linking any individual to them, even a President, effectively pulls his positive rations down without evidence or support. Continue reading