On Comments Of The Day Day, Comment Of The Day #1: “Ethics Observations On ‘Prayers Of A Weary Black Woman'”

hate fist

This is a Ryan Harkins Super Comment Of The Day, combining a series of his reflections on this prayer for racial hate. Here it is, inspired by “Ethics Observations On “Prayers Of A Weary Black Woman’” and a comment by Glenn Logan:

I wonder, if we had a poll, which of the following people would find more appealing? “Dear God, please help me to hate White people…” or: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, help me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” [Side note: though this prayers if often associated with St. Francis of Assisi, it is entirely absent from his writings. Its use can only be traced back to just before World War I.]

After spending a little more time reflecting on this incredible diatribe, I decided to take a step back and ask what it is about me that would lead to this. Now, I’m not necessarily claiming any direct personal responsibility for this terrible prayer, but my reflections do stem from Matthew 25:31-46. Have I seen you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and I did not minister to you?

Have I been indifferent to your struggles, since they are not mine? Have I been dismissive of your burdens, and perhaps even cast blame upon you? Did I sneer at your poverty, your drug addiction, your broken relationships, and say they were the just desserts of your poor choices? Have I stood at a distance and shrugged, because someone else would help, or if no one else did, the government would lavish plenitude upon you? Did I think that you were greedy for free money, and not feel the sting to your pride? Did I never feel the self-doubt and the hurt? Did I never extend a hand in genuine friendship, giving in to my own fears, rejecting you for your skin color before you could reject me for mine? If I showed you a smile, was it forced and hollow, because I cared more about not being called a racist than in offering you genuine happiness? Did I always demand you come to me asking, and never came without being asked? Was I the one who demanded you get a job before I’d respect you? Was I the one who belittled you for taking the opportunities offered you, without ever taking a moment to see if you were actually qualified? Did I ever stop to listen to you, to really listen to you, instead of lecturing at you?

This is not white guilt, but perhaps a bit of personal guilt at failing to walk side by side with someone who is hurting. Perhaps trying to walk alongside that person is not what they want, but am I so pusillanimous that I would not bear my heart to be wounded, that I would rather not risk pain in an effort to help another person?

I think this applies broadly. I think it is true that conservative economic theory is better than liberal theory, that it helps more people by increasing capital and opportunities all around. But the temptation for the conservatives is the same for the liberals. Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m just spouting out my personal failings and shouldn’t indict others in my sins, but it seems that both the right and the left want to skip personally helping someone, and just let the monolithic, impersonal systems do the heavy lifting. If it isn’t letting the government distribute welfare to all those in need, then it is letting the economy generate the jobs that will then give people the opportunity to rise out of poverty.

Yes, I know there will be people who will unjustly hate with the fiercest hate imaginable, and there’s nothing I can do to change that. And there’s too much hate for anyone one person (save for the one person who proved his love for us by dying for us) to handle. But maybe there’s a great deal more hate than there needs to be because I didn’t do my small part to diffuse it.

Continue reading

Ethics Observations On “Prayers Of A Weary Black Woman”

Nice.

Wait: what is this junk?

This is an essay in a “devotional” titled “A Rhythm of Prayer” by Sarah Bessey. Containing pieces by many authors, it is available on Amazon. Target sells it online for $14.87 in its “Religion + Beliefs” section and “Christian Life” subsection. It is selling well, I hear. The anti-white screed above was authored by Professor of Theology Chinequa Walker-Barnes of Mercer University.

Observations:

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Exclamation Points, 3/16/21: Duh! Whoa! Yay! Gag! Asshole!” (Item #1)

AngryJudge

The following Comment of the Day by long, LONG time commenter Michael West is especially welcome: there’s nothing I like better than a long, erudite COTD when I feel terrible and every moment not seeping is an ordeal. For a lot of reasons, I was way behind on my usual dental care last year, and the piper must ne paid: I have two toothaches, a related sinus infection and headache, and now face three extractions next week that wish could be in the next minute. My situation is just one more fun benefit of the lockdown, drastic, sot-in-the-dark precaution that had still unmeasurable benefits and many, many costs that have still not been quantified.

But I digress. People citing the Bible as authority for dubious ethical principles or, in the case sparking the COTD, unethical conduct has always been a pet peeve of mine even before I started thinking about such matters as a career. The example abused by Don Lemon was even on the Rationalization List: #6, The Biblical Rationalizations.

As a special treat, Michael ends by taking on “Walk a mile in another man’s shoes.”

Here is his erudite Comment of the Day on the first item in the post, “Ethics Exclamation Points, 3/16/21: Duh! Whoa! Yay! Gag! Asshole!”

***

Oh look, someone who hasn’t cracked open a Bible in decades hopes to lecture Christians or Jews on Judeo-Christianity!

Here’s the whole passage from Matthew-

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

This comes from the famous Sermon on the Mount.

Continue reading

Getting The Week Off To An Ethical Start, 3/15/2021! LBJ’s Doubts, Fake News, And second Acts

Today in ethics history, on March 15, 1964, President Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of a voting rights bill. Johnson declared that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote, a right supposedly guaranteed by the Fifteenth Amendment, passed after the Civil War but foiled by many states that erected barriers based on race such as literacy and character tests and outright intimidation. “Their cause must be our cause too,”Johnson said, referring to Africa-Americans. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

It is a propitious time to consider LBJ, because a newly published book has revealed that his wife Lady Bird had to talk him out of quitting not long after his voting rights bill had become reality.

Johnson dictated his ideas for a withdrawal statement to his friend, Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas while in the depths of depression. “I want to go to the ranch. I don’t want even Hubert to be able to call me,” he told his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. “They may demand that I resign. They may even want to impeach me.” The First Lady ultimately talked her husband him through that period, allowing him to complete the final three years of his term. She wrote about the episode in her diary, she ordered the entry kept secret for years after her death.

I was not aware that Johnson was prone to clinical depression. Now I’m curious about how many of our other Presidents were. I was aware of three before Johnson—Pierce, Lincoln and Teddy. I’m sure there are more. Leaders, however, must not reveal their doubts and failures of confidence.

1. I believe this is called “putting the cart before the horse...” From the Boston Globe:

US officials have arrested and charged two men with assaulting US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray during the Jan. 6 attack, but they do not know yet whether it caused the officer’s death.

Ah, how they want to be able to say that the rioters in the “armed insurrection” in which nobody had a gun (and that wasn’t an insurrection) killed Brian Sicknick. This mission has taken on extra urgency since the mainstream news media keeps saying, even now, that Sicknick was “killed” in the riot or by rioters. Yet as the Globe admits, as of today, this claim remains a lie, or if you prefer, fake news.

My experience is that reminding Facebook friends of this fact drives them bonkers.

Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: New York Times Columnist Ross Douthat

seusscancelled-header

“It was mildly creepy to hear that the custodians of Theodor Geisel’s estate, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, consulted with a ‘panel of experts’ and decided to cease publishing six Seuss titles because they ‘portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.’ But it was much creepier that so few people notionally in the free-expression business, so few liberal journalists and critics, seemed troubled by the move.”

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, one of the paper’s three token conservatives (or perhaps “non-knee-jerk Democrats” is more accurate), in his column, “Do Liberals Care if Books Disappear?”

The question is a rhetorical one. Douthat knows the answer, and so do regular Ethics Alarms readers: “Only if the books that disappear are those they agree with.” Though the column focuses on the Dr. Seuss metaphorical book-burning, Douthat properly interprets what it signifies. Of course, he is appropriately late to the party, for it was obvious well before “If I Ran the Zoo” was under attack that the totalitarian-tending Democrats and their progressive supporters and allies were in favor of “good” censorship. Never mind—Americans rushed to their mailboxes to vote an anti-free speech regime into power anyway.

Better late than never for Ross, I guess. Here are some highlights (but read his whole piece):

Continue reading

And Today In The Attack On Liberty And The Pursuit Of Happiness That Is Known At Ethics Alarms As “The Great Stupid”…

Liberty weeps

Online retailer eBay has announced that it will no longer allow owners of the six Dr. Seuss books eliminated this week from Theodore Geisel’s published children books to sell the books online in its auction platform.

Citing its offensive materials policy, eBay Corporate Communications Specialist Parmita Choudhury explained, “At eBay, we have a strict policy against hate and discrimination to ensure our platform remains a safe, trusted and inclusive environment for our global community of buyers and sellers.We’re currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items. It can take some time to review all existing listings and provide education to impacted users. We’re also monitoring the newly published list to be reviewed.”

First they came for Yertle the Turtle….

Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! You’re Cancelled, You Racist.

Suess birthday

Today is Dr. Theodore Geisel’s birthday. Better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator of such classic children’s books as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Horton Hears A Who,” and my personal favorite, “Fox in Socks” because it drives my wife crazy, was born this day in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1904. Geisel, who used his middle name and his mother’s maiden name as his nom de plume, wrote 48 books (even some for adults). His work has now sold over 200 million copies and been translated into multiple languages. His style of verse and illustrating have been imitated and parodied countless times. Jesse Jackson even read “Green Eggs and Ham” on Saturday Night Live.

Nobody ever thought of Dr. Seuss books as “racist” until recent fads, events , cancel culture and The Great Stupid washed over the land. Well, OK, not “nobody.” Ethics Alarms had a post about the Seuss Museum in Springfield cutting a piece out of a Dr. Seuss mural because three prominent children’s authors who had been invited to attend the Children’s Literature Festival at the Museum threatened to boycott the event on the theory that the mural, painted to replicate a scene from Dr. Seuss’s first book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,”  was, they claimed, offensive. It had, said one of the grandstanding hysterics, a “jarring image” of a man with slanted eyes and a coolie’s hat using chopsticks to eat rice, because, apparently, Chinese people never wore such hats, don’t use chopsticks and hate rice. I wrote, while awarding the museum an Ethics Dunce designation (I’m thinking about adding a “Weenie of the Week”…what do you think?):

There is nothing racially jarring about Geisel’s painting of a “Chinaman” except to someone already looking for offense. Dr. Seuss’ drawings can be fairly termed cartoons. The definition of a cartoon is “a simple drawing showing the features of its subjects in a humorously exaggerated way.”  What are these juvenile children book authors asserting…that all cartoons are racially insensitive? That only cartoon of non-whites are offensive?…Normal Americans, meanwhile, understand the cartoon art form, recognize that features are exaggerated, and thus do not take drawings like those by Dr. Seuss (or Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons) as literal or malicious.

Well, silly me. I thought this was just a one-off moment of woke insanity: I have since learned that the Woke never sleep. In the post, I referenced “The Simpsons” and the fact that nobody had called for the elimination of Apu. Apu has since been cancelled as “racially insensitive.” The show also decreed that white voice actors can no longer portray black characters, so Dr. Hibbard has a new sound. Presumably “The Simpsons” will eventually seek a low IQ hick to voice “Cletis the Slack-Jawed Yokel” and a socially awkward MIT PhD. to do the voice of Prof. Frink.

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quote Of The Month (Yes, It’s More Impeachment Analysis, And I’m Sick Of It Too, But This Is Important): Professor Jonathan Turley”

Sentence first

Here is Aaron Paschall’s Comment of the Day (he gets extra credit for the “Alice in Wonderland” quote) on the post, “Ethics Quote Of The Month (Yes, It’s More Impeachment Analysis, And I’m Sick Of It Too, But This Is Important): Professor Jonathan Turley”:

“Sentence first, verdict afterward!”

The nitpicking of “’Legally, due process only applies to life, liberty, and property,” she lectured. “A job is none of those.’” honestly terrifies me. This is the consequent of thought processes like the argument against Justice Kavanaugh: “It isn’t a ‘trial,’ it’s a job interview. Due process doesn’t apply outside a court of law.” Or the one which we see now extolled in defense of Facebook/Twitter bans: “Private companies can ban whoever they like – the government isn’t doing a thing. Freedom of speech has no bearing outside of the government.” In attacking Trump and more than Trump, they’ve whittled away virtually all defenses or niceties like fairness, decency, moderation, humility, justice, the benefit of the doubt and a million more. How they can bear to stand on such a barren plain of life and declare it rich and good is beyond me.

In C.S. Lewis’ “The Silver Chair,” Puddleglum the Marshwiggle was a gloomy sort. Near the end of their adventure, he and his comrades found themselves deep underground, with a fire emitting thick, bewildering fumes. The villain of the piece encouraged them to give up, that the surface world they were trying to escape to didn’t even exist – it was a figment of their imaginations. The sun, the sky, the wind – illusions, and one she was trying to save them from expending their lives in fruitless search of. At the last moment, when nearly everyone was convinced, Puddleglum stamps his foot into the center of the fire, putting it out – and filling the room with the scent of burnt Marshwiggle, which was not nearly so nice. And he addressed the witch with what is one of my favorite quotes ever:

Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Novelist Raymond Chandler ( 1888-1959)

Chandler

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.”

—-Novelist and detective story master Raymond Chandler, in his essay, “The Simple Art Of Murder,

The quote continues,

He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.”

My father, Jack A. Marshall Sr., was not much for revenge, but otherwise Chandler’s quote, which he liked very much, was descriptive of Dad as well.

There has been a lot of discussion of courage here of late, both because I see it lacking at a crucial and defining time in our history, and because it must be found, as this nation has always managed to find it before, sometimes at the last moment before it was too late.Women should not feel snubbed by Chandler’s quote, which just wouldn’t read as well using two genders, or “they.” He was a typical male sexist of his time (though a complicated one), but today he would concede that his description of courage knows no gender limitations. In my immediate family, it describes with equal accuracy my grandmother, my mother, my sister, my late mother-in-law, and especially my wife. Cross her at your peril.

I had forgotten Chandler’s quote until I was reacquainted with it in an episode of “Blue Bloods,” when police commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) used it to describe his late son.

Yet PETA’s Campaign To Limit Speech Is No More Unethical Than Other Attacks On Freedom Of Expression, Just More Self-Evidently Stupid…

Speciesism

It doesn’t matter what words, phrases or expressions politically-motivated censors try to eliminate from the language, be it gender pronouns, “retard,” fuck,” “nigger” (or “niggardly”), “bitch,” “Karen,” or “master; ” “a chink in the armor,” “sexual preferences,” “Illegal aliens,” or “anchor babies.” The intent is to limit the ideas that can be expressed, and, eventually, thought. The principle is pure Orwellian linguistic: what the brain can’t express, it can’t imagine. The technique is unethical; worse, it’s a weapon against democracy and freedom of thought.

PETA, the U.S. organization that most egregiously misuses the word “ethical” in its name (with CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is a close second) would like to erase the boundaries between human beings and animals in law and culture. Thus it must have seemed like a natural progression to them to come up with “speciesism,” a form of alleged bigotry in which humans view themselves as superior to animals, just because they are. Hence the new directives above. PETA wants dictionaries to excise from the language derogatory metaphors involving certain animals. “Animal-related slurs used to debase humans reinforce inaccurate and harmful characterizations of animals,” PETA says.

“Oh, shut up and get a life, you silly people,” Ethics Alarms says. Animal metaphors and comparisons contribute to the richness of language and literature, and unlike negative characterizations of human individuals and groups, nobody’s feeling are hurt, because, see, one of the reasons humans are superior is that they can read and understand complex language.

Continue reading