Comment Of The Day: On The Passing Of A Beloved Dog

Spuds lobbied hard for this post by Joel Mundt on Friday’s Open Form to be a Comment of the Day, but I didn’t take much persuading. Joel began by wondering if it was sufficiently related to ethics to belong on Ethics Alarms at all, but he needn’t have worried. His story is reminiscent of the experience of a close family member of mine, who relatively late in life discovered the transformative power of unconditional love as only a dog can bestow. It changed her perspective profoundly, making her kinder, more patient, more optimistic and empathetic….and best of all, happier. The experience made ethics alarms surface that had been buried deeply for most of her life.

That’s Bailey, whom you will soon learn about, above. I hope Joel is all right with my publishing the photo, which he kindly sent along when I wondered what a Shar Pei/Whippet would look like. If you are a dog lover and have not already encountered it, I also recommend that you read The Oatmeal’s classic, “My Dog, the Paradox.” It is relevant, and you will see why.

Here is Joel Mundt’s Comment of the Day, his reflections on the passing of Bailey, his dog.

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This afternoon, we said goodbye to Bailey, our fifteen-year-old Shar Pei/Whippet mix. She was happy, sociable, and a good eater up to the end, but her liver issues (either Cushing’s or cancer or a combination of both) could not be overcome. Her bad liver numbers went up 50% between March ’21 and March ’22, then went up another 50% (and into the red zone) in the ensuing five weeks. So as April ended, we made the difficult decision – if her health and demeanor held – to give her five more weeks.

Bailey was my first pet, and honesty compels me to admit that I did not initially want her. When our son called in April of 2019 and asked if we could take her, my first answer was absolutely not. But some contemplation and prayer changed my mind…well, really, my heart. Had we not taken her, our son would have been left in the untenable position of having to put her down, and we didn’t think it was time. So we drove to Phoenix three weeks later and brought her home. And to say that she has been a joy would be a gross understatement. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Interrupted Marriage Proposal

Disney clearly “can’t win for losing,” as a saying I’ve never understood goes. At Disneyland Paris, a couple invaded a stage in the park reserved for performances so the guy could propose to his love with a castle in the background. A Disney cast member then interrupted the romantic moment, snatched the engagement ring, and motioned the couple and guests to leave the forbidden area.

There is some controversy over whether the couple had received permission for the stunt (from someone not authorized to grant it)—an Ethics Alarms principle holds that all public wedding proposals are stunts, and unethical ones—but the intervening Disney employee was undoubtedly correct that the couple and the witnesses were breaking park rules.

So your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Was it unethical to break up the proposal?

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Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife

Ever since I dropped my subscription to the Washington Post in disgust (yes, the Times is better), I have been neglecting Carolyn Hax, the most consistently ethical advice columnist in captivity. I stumbled upon her latest column today, and my wife vociferously disagreed with my reaction to a question posed to her. I decided to make it an Ethics Quiz.

“Resentful” wrote that her father was widowed five years ago and remarried. She’s resentful that he keeps calling his second wife “Love of my life” in front of his adult children and his grandchildren. The daughter has “minimized contact with him as a result.” He’s hurt, and she wants to know what to tell him. “Quit [dumping] on the memory of my mother in my presence and you’ll see us more than twice a year” is what I WANT to say.”

The Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Is the daughter being fair to her father?

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So…Would Georgetown Law Dean Treanor Have Suspended Philosopher Stephen Kershnar?

We’re still waiting to see if Georgetown University Law Center, my disgraceful alma mater, will fire scholar Ilya Shapiro for expressing doubts that limiting the pool of Supreme Court nominees using factors that have absolutely nothing to do with judicial competence, experience or acumen is the best way to get the optimum Court. The statements condemning Shapiro by GULC’s Dean have been indefensible, consisting of woke virtue-signaling and speech-chilling posturing. It worked: none of the law school’s faculty have had the courage or integrity to oppose him, essentially abandoning their support for academic freedom.

This caused me to wonder in the Law Center would be similarly hostile to philosopher Stephen Kershnar of the State University of New York at Fredonia if he were instead a GULC faculty member. Kershnar, you might have read, gave a recent interview about “sexual taboos” on the philosophy podcast Brain in a Vat.The politically conservative Libs of TikTok posted a video about it and social media went metaphorically berserk. Kershnar expressed doubt that adults having sex with minors is necessarily wrong, and raised some hypotheticals and examples to make his point. Grandmothers in some cultures fellate baby boys to soothe colic, for example. Kershner also opined that the harm to children and teens who engage in sex with adults has not been established, and he made a terrible Rationalization #22 (“It’s not the worst thing”) argument that children participate in a number of activities besides sex that they don’t fully “understand” and which aren’t generally considered to be harmful. He also posed thought experiments, like…

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Ethics Observations On Scott Adams’ Cat

Car relaxing

This issue was brought to my attention by Ann Althouse, who has a weird fascination with Scott Adams, the “Dilbert” cartoonist who emerged in 2016 as a “Trump whisperer,” much to his benefit and infamy. Adams recently tweeted,

cat tweet

This, in turn, prompted the predictable responses from people outraged at how Adams chooses to spend his own money, as well as the puzzled “it’s just a cat” crowd.

Observations:

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Comment Of The Day: “Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21” (Item #1, The Baseball Player’s Long Paternity Leave)

alex-verdugo-girlfriend-2021-2-600x600

The Comment of the Day below is really two consecutive comments in the same thread, as Sarah B. argues that fathers are not only justified in leaving their jobs at critical times to be with their wives at childbirth and thereafter for as long as they deem necessary, but that this is the most ethical choice. My note prompting her response involved the case of Red Sox star Alex Verdugo, who left the team at a crucial time when the season hung in the balance, and stayed away for four days to be with his girlfriend and their new-born child: there is no indication that he provided anything but companionship and moral support.

(I just learned that he is not married to the mother (above). No, I don’t think that changes the ethics issue, though it raises others.)

I stated that this was a breach of his duty to the team, which he is paid handsomely to respect. I am quite certain that this is the correct ethical position, but my view represents the resolution of an ethics conflict, where two ethical principles oppose one another. I can’t say that how Sarah prioritizes these principles is wrong, only that I would prioritize them differently, and have in analogous situations.

Here is Sarah B’s Comment of the Day on #1 from the post, “Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21.” I will have a few rebuttal points at the end…

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“The priorities are linked, but still need to be ranked and four days is nothing. Heck, if my husband only got four days after the birth of our children, unless his absence from me would literally cause someone to die, I’d give him the choice of his job or his family. If we want men to step up and be good husbands and fathers (which would do amazing things for our society) we need to let them do that. Considering what a woman’s body goes through with the birth of a child and the incredible amount of healing she must do after the fact, four days barely lets a mom get home from the hospital (having had complication-free natural births has led to us getting to go home on day three at my hospital) and set up a good feeding schedule for the first kid (my best kid so far took two weeks before we got the bugs worked out enough for their health and mine). Subsequent kids require so much more because of the need to care for the older children too. The fact of being in high levels of pain for every action and dealing with incredible dizziness for days lead to a new mom being a literal danger to herself and the baby (not to mention any other kids) if left alone. According to my OBs, that condition is totally normal, even expected.

“Due to the danger, new moms are forbidden from lifting their own child or walking with the child in their arms in my hospital. My hospital also asks about the support a mother can expect for at least two weeks post baby before they will even let the child go home with the mother. Sure, a lot of us rely on other family members for that second (or third or fourth week), but the dad has to be there in the beginning if he wants to start himself off on a good foot of proper prioritization of responsibility. Most marriages I have seen where a dad does not give totally of himself for 1-2 weeks after a baby are at best strained. The mother needs support, and who is best able and most desired to give that support, but the father of the baby? If MLB cannot give new fathers a week away at minimum, they need to require that their players are celibate while on contract, so no babies come about. If a multimillion dollar contract is enough to abandon a wife and kid for at a time of great need, it should be enough to abandon sex for. Family is the primary responsibility, and all the more so at the birth of a baby.

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Comment Of The Day: “Distracted Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/2020: “’A Website, Two Governors And An Actress Walk Into A Bar…’”

I hereby vow to straighten out the Comment of the Day backlog over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, especially since the sinister alliance of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, The Great Stupid, the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck and the Axis of Unethical Conduct has kicked Thanksgiving in its metaphorical groin, perhaps crippling it forever. THanksgiving has benn on the Left’s hit list for a long time. You know: religion, Native American genocide, white supremacy, evil Pilgrims. “First they came for Columbus…”

But I digress. Sorry.

I’m hopping Humble Talent’s past other earlier and deserving COTD candidates because, first, it’s a thoughtful and moving piece, but also because it is not about politics—a rare commodity of late—and because it is a pure ethics reflection, at a time of year, especially this year, when such shared reflections are much needed.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Distracted Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/2020: “’A Website, Two Governors And An Actress Walk Into A Bar…’”

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The American Bar Association Has Lost Faith In Professionalism, It Seems.

For as long as I can remember, lawyers took pride in that fact that they could pound away at each other in the court room, shout, sneer, mock and beat an adversary into a metaphorical pulp, and put it all aside the second the case was finished. The idea that being friends, even close friends, with an opposing advocate compromised a lawyer’s determination and willingness to fight for his or her client was an anathema to the whole concept of professionalism. During the Civil War, West Point classmates on opposite sides sometimes met before a battle, shared a whisky, old memories and a few tears, and the next day did their best to kill each other. That mindset was analogous to how I was taught lawyers were supposed to behave, and, indeed, did.

Now the American Bar Association has apparently decided that it was all a myth. In  Formal Opinion 494, “Conflicts Arising Out of a Lawyer’s Personal Relationship with Opposing Counsel,” the ABA expresses doubts that many lawyers are up to the task.

“A personal interest conflict may arise out of a lawyer’s relationship with opposing counsel, the ABA now says. “Lawyers must examine the nature of the relationship to determine if it creates a …conflict and, if so, whether the lawyer reasonably believes the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client who must then give informed consent, confirmed in writing.”

The opinion breaks possible personal relationships into three categories:

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Wuhan Virus Ethics Updates, Part 1

1. Why keep calling it the Wuhan virus? Because the largely successful news media and political correctness assault on the completely legitimate (and non-racist) label continues to bolster Chinese Communist propaganda and blame-shifting, and because the effort emerged as yet another use of Big Lie #4: “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist.”

As for me personally, I will keep using the term because I resent being told that what cannot possibly be racist is racist, especially when my capitulation enables similar political correctness bullying. See the Third Niggardly Principle.

2. Because it’s so darn difficult to maintain social distancing while playing tennis... About  200 yards from my home in Alexandria, Virginia, the public tennis courts have their nets removed by another proto-fascist. Yesterday, I saw two people playing on one of the courts using a self-rigged net.  Good for them.

3. The problem is, you can’t force bank employees to come to work. Our bank, a large national chain, has all of its offices closed in this area, Banking is certainly an essential  service, but the fact is that you can’t do banking completely remotely, though the bank is pretending you can. Its website asks for a social security number at the same time as scammers are sending out fake emails that lead you to an authentic-looking clone of the bank’s site so they can steal your personal data. Try to call to clarify or address any problem, and you get a message about how wait times are longer than usual. I’ll say they are: to try to get a fraudulent $4000 charge to our account cancelled, I had to wait for an hour and 40 minutes, then be transferred to wait another 35 minutes, then be cut off when a transfer failed.

Meanwhile, the bank’s on-hold music is played at an unbearable volume, and is an endless loop of some hellish arrangement of a melody that would have been rejected for a theme park ride. I am certain that the recording is designed to make you hang up, or, in the alternative, go crazy and run into the street naked.  It is exactly like the deliberately uncomfortable seats and garish color schemes fast food outlets use to ensure you vacate the premises the second you finish eating. I swear that there cannot be a single person on the globe who would find this music anything but torture. The genre is “loud, abrasive, repetitious semi-music,” and there is no market for that. It makes hip-hop seem like Chopin.

Banks are essential, and rather than stopping stores from selling “non-essential” items, the government ought to require really essential services to have open outlets to serve depositors and bank customers experiencing their own emergencies. If a 7-11 clerk can come to work, so can a bank employee. Banks have my property within their control, and in exchange for the privilege, they are obligated to respond when I need service related to that money. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Don Giuseppe Berardelli

Be sure to tell David Brooks about this..

Don Giuseppe Berardelli, an Italian priest, died from the Wuhan virus after giving up his respirator to a younger patient, a stranger.  The following is from the Google Italian to English translation of this source:

 Don Giuseppe had been archpriest of Casnigo for almost fourteen years and would have concluded his mission in Casnigo. He ended it earlier, in a hospital in Lovere, hit by the coronavirus. Already last year he had had health problems. His perennial smile, his availability, but also his activism in the realization of important and expensive works, that smile hid the worries.

He was a simple, straightforward person, with a great kindness and helpfulness towards everyone, believers and non-believers. His greeting was ‘peace and good’. Always friendly and available to the public administration, associations and not only those of the parish, he participated in all the events without ever being intrusive…. He was loved by everyone: his former parishioners still came from Fiorano after years to find him. But he also had an incredible ability to solve economic problems, to knock on the right doors for help.

This is the testimony of Giuseppe Imberti, long mayor of Casnigo: “Don Giuseppe died as a priest.  And I am deeply moved by the fact that the archpriest of Casnigo, Don Giuseppe Berardelli – to whom the parish community had bought a respirator – announced his will to assign it to someone younger than him.” Continue reading