A Powerful Anti-Abortion Message From A Disgraced And Cancelled Messenger

Back before it was all discarded to elect a serial harasser and accused rapist President, #MeToo saw to it that comic Louis C.K. was condemned to wander in the metaphorical wilderness for a particularly disgusting variety of harassment. He is indeed what is clinically defined as a “sick fuck,” but C.K. is intelligent and perceptive too. If anyone is listening, he is capable of conveying wisdom beyond “don’t masturbate in front of female colleagues who you have invited up to your hotel room.”

The clip above is from 2018, I think, when a post-cancellation Louis extolled in grand (if vulgar) terms the wonder of life, and how even the worst lives were a marvel. (The Thornton Wilder classic “Our Town” carries the same message, and I’m sure it is on the verge of being cancelled too, since it is about, yechh, white people. Actually it is about all people, but never mind, that won’t save it.)

And I found myself thinking, as I listened to C.K.’s routine on the radio yesterday by purest happenstance, how can anyone ethically deny life, this gift, this wonder, to another human being who would have it without outside interference, for any reason other than literal survival. Those invalid reasons include, “I have a legal right to do it,” as well as “that future life will interfere with my career,” and “it’s just not convenient right now.”

Self-Checkout Ethics

Self-Checkout-Loss

I am embarrassed to admit that this issue never occurred to me begore a friend sent me an article about it. Or maybe I should be proud.

Voucher Codes Pro is a company that offers coupons to internet shoppers. It surveyed 2,634 people, and almost 20% said they had cheated while using a grocery store self-checkout. Over half of the cheaters said they took advantage of the system because they realized being apprehended was unlikely. A 2015 study of self-checkouts with handheld scanners conducted at the University of Leicester audited a million self-checkout transactions over a year’s time.Out of $21 million in sales, goods worth nearly $850,000 left stores without being scanned and paid for.

How does this happen? There are several techniques:

  • Ringing up a T-bone ($13.99/lb) with a code for a cheap ($0.49/lb) variety of produce is known as “the banana trick.”
  • When a pricey item leaves the conveyor belt without being scanned, it’s “the pass around.”
  • Then there is “the switcheroo,” where you peel the sticker off something inexpensive and place it over the bar code of something pricey. You do have to make certain that the two items are about the same weight to avoid triggering the “unexpected item” alert on some machines.

“Anyone who pays for more than half of their stuff in self checkout is a total moron,” reads a comment in a Reddit discussion on the subject. Another one says, “There is NO MORAL ISSUE with stealing from a store that forces you to use self checkout, period. THEY ARE CHARGING YOU TO WORK AT THEIR STORE.”

I guess this would apply to gas stations too.

Continue reading

Comments Of The Day: “The Friday Ethics Alarms Open Forum” ( Forced Cultural Shifts Thread) [Corrected!]

Inquisition

This is really an Ethics Question and Answer of the Day.

Steve Witherspoon [ Notice of Correction: I erroneously attributed this to the wrong Steve, not that Steve-O-in NJ doesn’t also ask provocative questions. I apologize to Steve W, and thank Other Bill for the correction…] asked a provocative question in our last Open Forum, which is what the Ethics Alarms open forums are for:

When a large segment of a society wants to shift their culture in a very major way and in a way that has historically been widely opposed, is using propaganda and intimidation to “force” the desired cultural shift on a population ethical, in other words, when trying to shift culture does the ends justify the means?

Before answering, think about major cultural shifts in the USA’s history. A few examples of major cultural shift are when the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution were written or when slavery was abolished or when electricity and phone lines were wired across the USA or when automobiles began to gradually take over the streets across the USA or when airplanes became common place or when the population began to shift from print media and word of mouth as their only sources of information to radios and then to televisions or the civil rights marches in the 1960’s. There are a multitude of examples of major cultural shifts in the United States.

So…

When trying to shift culture, does the ends justify the means?

Commenter Ryan Harkins provided an excellent and thought-provoking answer:

Continue reading

Remembering, Again, The 1914 Christmas Truce

Truce

I’ve posted on this a couple of times, and as it is one of the more unusual ethics events in history to occur on Christmas, here it is again. Of course, as an America, I am joyful about another, more consequential military event that happened on Christmas. Washington crossed the Delaware river on this date. His resulting victory over the Hessians at Trenton was, in the end, less than consequential militarily, but it was important nonetheless . It bolstered the rebelling colonies’ morale, at a point where there were serious doubts that the nascent democracy had any chance to prevail.

One of the weirdest events in world history took place on Christmas 1914, at the very beginning of the five year, pointless and stunningly destructive carnage of The Great War, what President Woodrow Wilson, right as usual, called “The War to End All Wars.”

World War I, as it was later called after the world war it caused succeeded it,  led to the deaths of more than 25 million people, and if anything was accomplished by them, I have yet to read about it.

The much sentimentalized event was a spontaneous Christmas truce, as soldiers on opposing sides on the Western Front, defying orders from superiors, pretended the war didn’t exist and left their trenches, put their weapons and animus aside, sang carols,  shared food, buried their dead, and perhaps, depending on which source you choose to believe, even played soccer against each other.

The brass on both sides—this was a British and German phenomenon only—took steps to ensure that  this would never happen again, and it never did.

It all began on Christmas Eve, when at 8:30 p.m. an officer of the Royal Irish Rifles reported to headquarters that “The Germans have illuminated their trenches, are singing songs and wishing us a Happy Xmas. Compliments are being exchanged but am nevertheless taking all military precautions.” The two sides progressed to serenading each other with Christmas carols, with the German combatants crooning  “Silent Night,” and the British adversaries responding with “The First Noel.“ The war diary of the Scots Guards reported that a private  “met a German Patrol and was given a glass of whisky and some cigars, and a message was sent back saying that if we didn’t fire at them, they would not fire at us.”

The same deal was struck spontaneously at other locales across the battlefield. Another British soldier reported that as Christmas Eve wound down into Christmas morning,  “all down our line of trenches there came to our ears a greeting unique in war: ‘English soldier, English soldier, a merry Christmas, a merry Christmas!’” He wrote in a letter home that he heard,

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: Ethics Quiz: The French And Indian War Remains

This Comment of the Day by reliably thoughtful commenter JP is exactly what I hoped this particular Ethics Quiz would inspire. Unlike some ethics quizzes, and reminding everyone that an issue isn’t presented as an ethics quiz unless I have doubts about the ethically correct answer, this one has me torn right down the center. The usual ethical systems for approaching a problem are at odds here, making it a true ethics conflict.

Here is JP’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: The French And Indian War Remains”:

I think the simple answer is that depends.

There any a lot of laws in the context of digging up graves that often vary between state and context. The United States pretty much has a statue of limitation on 100 years for excavation (not to be confused with common graverobbing). I imagine this is because it is far outside any claim a family member might have. Jack alaudid to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act which protects remains on federal or tribal lands. These rules were essentially created to protect the living. The purpose of their creation is what I believe is at the heart of understanding if the act is ethical or not. The first question I would ask: who does it hurt?

Continue reading

Pre-Christmas Panic Ethics Warm-Up, 12/18/2020: “The Virus Made Me Do It!!”

I have to give Harry a callout: his Christmas classic is the only recording on the Sirius-XM Christmas Traditions channel sung by a still-living singer. Harry’s 93 now and the clock is ticking. His voice is shot, and he has become progressively more radical, angry and bitter over the years. But ah, what a great and transformative talent he was!

I also note that just this week, YouTube has slapped ads on all its songs and movie clips. Of course it has.

Why am I panicked? Oh, the tree’s not up, its a pine and too soft to hold about 40% of our cherished ornaments,we’re behind on other decorations, no shopping has been done, and “there’s plenty of time” suddenly mutated into “Holy crap! There’s only a week left!” At least Christmas decorations around the neighborhood are at an all-time high. I’ve been walking Spuds around to see them: boy, those huge inflatable lawn things are horrible. What does an Imperial Walker have to do with Christmas? Spuds tried to kill a giant inflatable Nutcracker Prince. I was proud of him…

1. This is, in short, a lie. “COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the U.S.” says an editorial published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This false and intentionally fear-mongering conclusion is in part based on the U.S. practice of calling every death of someone who was diagnosed with the illness a death caused by the illness. That’s ridiculous. Three researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, cite current daily mortality rates to show that COVID-19 has now surpassed heart disease and cancer as the leading daily cause of death in the U.S. “It’s been a long time since an infectious disease was the leading cause of death for the whole country,” said lead author Steven Woolf, M.D., director emeritus of VCU’s Center on Society and Health. “And it’s a tragic milestone we could’ve prevented.” As for that last statement, prove it, without a time machine. Meanwhile, it appears that Wuhan virus-“caused” deaths also include deaths from other causes that killed people because they put off getting medical treatment.

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Confession: I Wimped Out”

pizza_hut_historic_bldg_5x3

I am slowly catching up on languishing Comments of the Day. Where a Humble Talent comment is involved, I don’t feel too badly about a late posting; like Mrs. Q, Chris Marschner, Glenn Logan, Steve-O and others, he is a master of the form and has hardly been neglected. This post, from November, relates to the suddenly lively topic of the duty to confront, and is also a cherished genre here, the personal reminiscence.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, Confession: I Wimped Out:

Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Justice Neil Gorsuch

First-Amendment-on-scroll1

“It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques.”

That is the final line of  Justice Gorsuch’s concurring opinion to the SCOTUS majority’s per curiam ruling, released last night,  in favor of New York Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups that sued over the state’s limited religious service attendance rules in response to the Wuhan virus.

The majority’s ruling concludes in part,

Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic,the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.

The emerging new Left no longer regards religious liberty as a big deal—ironic, since today we celebrate the group of religious expatriates who helped found our nation to escape religious persecution. The entire opinion, the concurring opinions of Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, and the dissenting opinions of Chief Justice Roberts, Sotomayor and Breyer (Roberts argues that the case is moot) can be read here.

There can no longer be any reasonable doubt that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominations have provided the nation and its citizens with crucial protection  from a furious assault on its core rights by the suddenly “ends justify the means” obsessed Left. State and city government resorting to arbitrary edicts during the pandemic is but a preface to what is coming over the next four years.

If for nothing else, Americans who cherish the liberty that makes the nation unique and the hope of the world should give thanks this day for President Trump, and the Supreme Court he has left as his legacy.

 

 

Thanksgiving Ethics Quiz: The Vatican’s Cool Nativity Scene

I don’t understand this at all.

Thanksgiving is, at least in this country, the traditional kick-off of the holidays and all the madness, music, traditions, literature, art, fun, reflection and controversies that accompany them.

Slightly off topic: I just looked in on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast.

Oh. My. God.

What is a parade without anyone watching and cheering along the route? What’s the point? All the energy, all of it, is gone. Worst of all are the live—are they really live?—performances of numbers from various Broadway shows in the middle of the street. These are always weird, but without any ambient sounds or people in the background, they are creepy and weird. The look like a post-nuclear apocalypse freak-out by community theater survivors. Also creepy: the networks’ socially distanced “hosts” now resemble those old Soviet news shows where the anchors were separated by about 15 feet at a long desk.

Where was I? Oh, right, the holidays…

With all the commercializing and vulgarizing of Christmas, the unlistenable “modern” Christmas songs, and the cynical “Christmas is horrible” movie comedies (like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”), the culture relies on the Christian religious institutions to provide context, continuity, seriousness and dignity to the season lest the ritual cease to have any meaning at all. With that duty in mind, here is the just-revealed Vatican Nativity scene:

vatican-2020-nativity-730x487

Your Ethics Alarms Thanksgiving Ethics Quiz is…

WHAT THE HELL??

Continue reading