Ethics Hero Vaclev Smil Offers The Truth About Climate Change That The Hysterics Don’t Comprehend And The Biden Administration Ignores

Finally: a respected, objective scientist who is trying to explain how useless the arguments of climate change hysterics are, and how incompetent and dishonest (or ignorant) the Left’s approach to the problem continues to be.

The scientist is Vaclev Smil. He’s the Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, with interdisciplinary research interests including energy, environmental, food, population, economic, historical and public policy studies. His latest book is “How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going.” The New York Times Magazine made the mistake (from its political agenda’s point of view, anyway) of interviewing him about climate change, and the interviewer, David Marchese, was clearly dismayed at what he heard.

Read the whole thing, but here are some representative snippets:

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Thursday Ethics Theorizing, 5/19/2022: Book Banning, Another George Floyd Victim, And A Lucky 911 Botch

I don’t put many Ethics Alarms posts on my Facebook page. The bubble there is so overwhelmingly lazy-leftist and Trump-Deranged that the responses just make me sad and depressed about the state of public discourse and my social circle. I posted about Kamala Harris’s “working together” attack, and predictably two (lawyer!) friends immediately defaulted to “but Trump!” The response that really annoyed me, however, was to my link to the tattooed baby story. Two relatives (one is 94, so she gets a pass…kind of) complained that “with all the problems and threats” (you know, like the threat that a spectacularly incompetent performance by the entire Democratic Party might cause voters to look elsewhere for leadership, which, of course, will doom democracy…but I’m just guessing) the nation is facing, why care about a woman using her baby as a self-promoting human canvas? My answer is simple: unethical conduct matters whether it is big or small, and it’s my job to do what I can to explore both. The site is called Ethics Alarms, and alarms are dulled and muffled when so-called “trivial” ethics abuses are shrugged off. (See: the Rationalization List) In addition, almost none of the over 300 friends (I’m slowly paring it down: more than a hundred gone since January) on my list ever bother to read the blog, which would help save their imperiled brain and values if they did. I cover seven to ten issues every day, more than 50 topics a week. There have been over 14,000 posts on Ethics Alarms in about eleven years; I assume that readers would be bored or worn out if we only explored the big stuff, and even if they wouldn’t be, I would.

1. Remember, the political right is untrustworthy too... After Virginia Beach schools voted two books  from their libraries’ shelves following a school board member’s complaints, Virginia Beach attorney and State Delegate Tim Anderson is representing a client suing Barnes & Noble for making the book accessible to minors, because it is “obscene.” This is just one more sign that if Republicans get the power they crave their most extreme party members will work day and night to make them just as seem just repulsive and fanatic as the Democrats are behaving now. Book banning is as much as an assault on free speech as the current progressive mania, censorship. Book stores are already endangered species: making them responsible for what minors buy there like a 7-11 selling beer will finish them off. Parents should be thrilled that their kids are reading at all. The law suit is a goner, but it will waste a lot of time and money while making the public dumber just by its presence. [Pointer: valkygrrl]

2. Thanks, HBO, but I got my fill of George Carlin while he was alive…George Carlin’s American Dream” will premiere on HBO this weekend, and my sock-drawer is calling. Carlin is a resurgent hero again among the Woke, which is appropriate. His leftist political comedy was often just as shallow and pandering as what we (when I say “we” I mean “not me”) hear from virtually all comics today who have full membership in the Progressive Propaganda Club. He called golf “racist.” I just heard a spectacularly unfunny environmentalist rant in which he claimed that he rooted for natural disasters because humans deserved them. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Heat-Up, 5/18/2022: More Judicial Review And Lies

Because I was otherwise obsessed, I missed noting yesterday a true landmark in law and ethics. It was that date in 1954 when a unanimous the  Supreme Court handed down the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Linda Brown, a young African American girl had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

Written in 1896 as the KKK roamed the South, the SCOTUS ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson held that “separate but equal” accommodations in railroad cars conformed to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. Plessy was interpreted as justifying segregation in everything from buses to water fountains to elementary schools. The white school Brown attempted to attend was far superior to her the segregation-mandated alternative and miles closer to her home, so The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People  took up Linda’s cause. Thurgood Marshall led Brown’s legal team, and on May 17, 1954, Plessy was overturned after 58 years as “the law of the land” despite the siren call of stare decisus. The opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren declared that “separate but equal” was an unconstitutional doctrine in ringing terms: “We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”  A year later, the Supreme Court published guidelines requiring public school systems to integrate “with all deliberate speed.”

1. Prudent and responsible, if not courageous. Speaking of SCOTUS, newly confirmed Justice-in-Waiting Ketanji Brown Jackson sat for an interview by the Washington Post and was asked about the leak of Justice Alito’s draft opinion in the Dobbs abortion case. Conservative media was triggered by this section:

Q: What was your response when you when you saw the draft leak [of a Supreme Court opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade]?

A: Everybody who is familiar with the court and the way in which it works was shocked by that. Such a departure from normal order.

Q: Do you think it was a good thing or a bad thing?

A: I can’t answer that.

Q: What do you think about peaceful protests outside of Supreme Court justices’ homes?

A: I don’t have any comment.

Charles Cooke at the National Review writes, “This ranges from somewhere between cowardly and sinister, much like the failure of the justices to issue a joint statement that echoes the chief justice’s condemnation of the leak and statement of determination to identify the leaker, and that condemns the protests, which violate federal law.”

Wrong. SCOTUS justices should not issue opinions on such matters. Her statement that the leak was a breach of the normal order was factual, and breaches of normal order in any institution are unethical. She was right to go no further. As for the demonstrators, some of them may be arrested at some point, and a statement by a Supreme Court Justice regarding their conduct could interfere with a fair trial.

Her responses give me more reason to trust Jackson’s judgment, not less.

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More On Media Disinformation To Confuse The Public About Roe And SCOTUS

I finally ditched my expensive print subscription to the Times, but old sections and articles are scattered hither and yon. One is an April 10 Sunday Review section that has one of Jamelle Bouie’s columns. It has proven enlightening in the wake of the subsequent freakout over the impending reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Facts Don’t Matter to Bouie, who has toned down his brazen anti-white racism a tad since moving to the Times from Slate, where he was the resident race-baiter. (His Ethics Alarms dossier is here.) Now and then, as in this case, he even writes about something not exclusively racial. His April 10 column included a revealing paragraph in his attack on the concept of judicial review, which, if it were banned as today’s Democrats appear to fervently wish, would allow a sufficiently totalitarian-minded party in control of Congress and the White House to ignore the Constitution and pass laws “for the greater good” that violate it.

Bouie wrote in part,

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Update: Georgetown Law Center’s Unethical Punishment Of The Professor Who Criticized Selecting SCOTUS Judges According To Race And Gender

The update is simple: nothing has changed.

Ethics Alarms first noted the Illya Shapiro debacle here, on January 29 of this year. The incoming newly-appointed executive director for the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies posted a (admittedly badly worded) tweet critical of President Biden’s stated criteria for choosing the replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Breyer, and the Law Center’s wonderfully woke (and unethical) Dean despicably called his tweet racist and suspended him pending the obligatory “investigation.” Here I wrote about a letter of protest to the Dean from various Law Center Alumni (including me). Here Ethics Alarms noted the letter of protest signed by professors from schools all over the country (but none from the Law Center) pointing out that “the substance of the which is that Sri Srinivasan is the most qualified progressive nominee, and that it’s wrong for the President to pass him over because of race and sex, is a position that is most certainly protected by academic freedom principles of “[f]ree inquiry and unconstrained publication of the results of inquiry.”

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Ethics Dunce Flashback, Abortion Division: Pete Buttigieg

This is the second time I’ve used that photo in a post this week. It’s a third-trimester fetus, and it’s up because it is important to remember what we’re talking about, or, in this case, what current Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was talking about in his usual intellectually lazy, ethically-inert manner in a 2019 exchange with Chris Wallace.

Most of my Facebook friends block me from seeing their political blatherings because I have a tendency to call them on badly-reasoned pandering to the woke, and they can’t handle it. They just want “likes” on their regurgitated talking points and usually aren’t equipped to defend them. I was just scrolling down to see if anyone had left a substantive post on my feed, and to my horror, an old friend whom I regard as generally sharp and perceptive had tracked down the interview (from a Fox News town hall) and pronounced it “the only acceptable answer” regarding late term abortions. Here is what he called “acceptable”:

Whereupon my head exploded.

As he has proven repeatedly, Buttigieg is a facile, intellectually lazy, platitude-mouthing pandering phony, and this is vintage Pete. In matters of law and lives, the government draws the line: that’s called “civilization.” The “fundamental question” in late term abortion is how society balances the competing interests of two parties. “I trust women to draw the line when it’s their own health” is a deceitful and offensive statement, ducking the issue and muddying vital considerations. No one, and no law, denies a woman the right to place her own survival over that of her unborn child. The question of balancing interests only comes into play when the mother’s “health” involves lesser factors that might reasonably be considered subordinate to another human life. “I trust women” is just flag-waving: I don’t trust anyone to make a decision involving their personal interests and the competing interests of someone else. Such decision-makers have a conflict of interest; that why we have laws.

Tellingly, Buttigieg tries to escape dealing with substance by dismissing late-term abortions as “hypotheticals.” They aren’t hypothetical, they are real, and they are important because ending a pregnancy when the fetus is viable compels consideration of what abortions involve Extreme pro-abortion activists really hate that. It is hard to pretend the baby isn’t there in late-term abortions, and pretending there is no life being ended is crucial to the “choice” deception. Continue reading

I Don’t Understand: Why Is This News, Newsworthy, Or Even Twitter-Worthy?

Huh? Why wouldn’t they remain not just “mostly silent,” but entirely and forever silent? What does abortion have to do with gaming? What possible justification would there be for the video game industry to take a position on the legal and Constitutional issues relating to Roe? What can they add to a productive discussion besides noise and ignorance? Why should the U.S. Supreme Court pay any attention at all to uninformed opinions by those who are brick-ignorant about the law?

This isn’t just an example of “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” This is “If all you care about is a nail, everything looks like a hammer.”

Oh…and it’s not “repeal” you ignoramuses. Laws are repealed. Roe v Wade isn’t a law. SCOTUS rulings are overturned.

Comment Of The Day (2): “Today’s Dobbs Leak Freakout Developments And Observations”

This Comment of the Day, by Chris Marschner, is on a different topic entirely, the much discussed assertion by Justice Alito in his draft opinion that abortion cannot legitimately be called a Constitutional right because unlike the other rights, it was generally disapproved in American society and condemned or regarded as shameful over centuries of Western culture.

Chris’ comment was posted in rebuttal of another by esteemed commenter zoebrain, who wrote,

Women Health. Summer 1979;4(2):159-67.
Abortion in early America : Z Acevedo

“This piece describes abortion practices in use from the 1600s to the 19th century among the inhabitants of North America. The abortive techniques of women from different ethnic and racial groups as found in historical literature are revealed. Thus, the point is made that abortion is not simply a “now issue” that effects select women. Instead, it is demonstrated that it is a widespread practice as solidly rooted in our past as it is in the present.”

” Abortion was frequently practiced in North America during the period from 1600 to 1900. Many tribal societies knew how to induce abortions. They used a variety of methods including the use of black root and cedar root as abortifacient agents. During the colonial period, the legality of abortion varied from colony to colony and reflected the attitude of the European country which controlled the specific colony. In the British colonies abortions were legal if they were performed prior to quickening. In the French colonies abortions were frequently performed despite the fact that they were considered to be illegal. In the Spanish and Portuguese colonies abortion was illegal. From 1776 until the mid-1800s abortion was viewed as socially unacceptable; however, abortions were not illegal in most states. During the 1860s a number of states passed anti-abortion laws. Most of these laws were ambiguous and difficult to enforce. After 1860 stronger anti-abortion laws were passed and these laws were more vigorously enforced. ”

Alito is factually incorrect in his statements.

This is as good a place as any to remind readers that comments chosen as a Comment of the Day does not necessarily represent my position or that of Ethics Alarms.

Here is Chris Maschner’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Today’s Dobbs Leak Freakout Developments And Observations”…

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Zoe: Your citation was published in 1979, six years after Roe was decided. There would be no reason to publish this unless the practice was in need of a defense. That in itself suggests that significant attitudinal differences existed in American society even after Roe was decided. Those differences are still prevalent today and may even be more entrenched throughout the nation. Alito’s opinion made the point that Roe and Casey could not be settled simply by decree.

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SCOTUS Leak Freakout Update: The Times’ Unethical Editorial Of The Month

It’s rare that one sees blunt incivility in an old and revered political publication like the National Review, but here was the headline of Charles Cook’s column there yesterday:

The New York Times’ Editorial Board Is Apparently Extremely Stupid

I had read the editorial and my reaction had been the same, except that I would have been tempted to leave out “apparently.” I’d also categorize this as old news, at least to readers of Ethics Alarms. Then, for a nonce, I regretted the absence of self-exiled commenter “A Friend,” since his predictable efforts to defend the indefensible in the Times would have been particularly entertaining in this case.

Here’s the the paragraph Cooke was reacting to:

Imagine that every state were free to choose whether to allow Black people and white people to marry. Some states would permit such marriages; others probably wouldn’t. The laws would be a mishmash, and interracial couples would suffer, legally consigned to second-class status depending on where they lived.

This is the newspaper that is regarded as the flagship of the news media. This is the newspaper that holds itself up as a paragon of objective news analysis. This is a newspaper that claims that its perspective isn’t skewed by a progressive bias.

This is the newspaper I have been paying almost 90 bucks a month to have delivered every day for four years. Yes, I’m stupid too.

Here, in part, is what Cooke writes in his understandable disgust: Continue reading

Saturday Night Live Lies And The Biased Mainstream Media Cheers: Propaganda Mission Accomplished

That cold open from last week’s Saturday Night Live was a perfect illustration of the maxim, best articulated by the late, great, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, that “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” Satire must be granted considerable license, but basing nasty mockery on a deliberate misrepresentation is unethical even if it is funny. The SNL skit above isn’t funny, unless one finds deliberate misrepresentation and outrageous laziness funny. I don’t.

The opening narration essentially takes the skit out of the realm of humor into the murky world of propaganda and public disinformation. Alito’s draft only states that “no woman has a right to an abortion” in the context of Roe v. Wade’s legally flawed and factually sloppy argument that the U.S. Constitution guarantees such a right through the unenumerated right of privacy. The SNL phrasing is deceitful, technically accurate but misleading. The draft does not state that no woman should have an abortion, and specifically states that the opinion takes no position on whether abortion should be legal or not.

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