1. I have some ethics observations on this thing that was sent out to white parents in the Highland Park area of Texas by a Black Lives Matter-affiliated group:
Here they are:
As long as white individuals hesitate to push back on BLM’s outrageous assertions and demands, the group will continue to grow more audacious and arrogant
The logic of this demand can only make sense to someone who has no concept of right, wrong, and fairness. “We want you to handicap your own children in order to clear the way for our children, who can’t compete and who shouldn’t have to work especially hard to overcome obstacles that you and your children are not responsible for placing in their path.”
The screed is an excellent example of how the concept of equal opportunity has been warped into “equity,” meaning not just equality of results, which life never guarantees, but punitive measures to ensure advantages of favored groups over those that are disfavored, aka whites and males.
The extension of the argument in the letter would require athletes fortunate to have advantages of strength, speed, and skill to pledge not to compete against those not so “privileged” as to be born with these advantages, and job applicants of superior talent, intelligence and character to refuse to place themselves in a position where they would be chosen for a job over less fortunate job-seekers.
I’ll answer the first query in Null Pointer’s excellent Comment of the Day on the great congee cultural appropriation brouhaha: “I’m not sure I understand why the woke mobs are throwing fits on Asian people’s behalf.”
There are two reasons. One is part of the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck. In order to tar President Trump as a racist before the 2020 election, the Axis of Unethical Conduct (the unholy and undemocratic “resistance,” Democrats and the news media alliance), claimed that what we knew pretty much then and now know almost certainly now, that the pandemic originated in China’s Wuhan province, nonetheless was racist to speak out loud because so many idiots were attacking Asian-Americans as a result of telling the truth. This was accompanied by absurd inflations of the actual number of such attacks without any evidence in most cases that the attacks there were had any nexus to calling the Chinese virus a Chinese virus.
Thrilled nonetheless to finally have a platform from which to cry “Victim!” like women, blacks and Hispanics, some Asian-American activist groups gleefully embraced the new discrimination fable, neatly sidestepping the inconvenient fact that a disproportional number of the attacks on Asians were carried out by African Americans.
The second reason the woke mobs are throwing fits on Asian people’s behalf is to avoid dealing honestly with the approaching reckoning for elite colleges and universities that are making Asian-Americans real victims of discrimination as the pursue unconstitutional affirmative action policies.
I work almost exclusively with Asians, mostly from India. I have never, not once, ever heard any of my Indian coworkers say ANYTHING about cultural appropriation or condone any woke causes. On the contrary, they are almost all quite eager to share their cultural traditions and cuisine, and eager to learn about American culture and cuisine.
I’m not sure I understand why the woke mobs are throwing fits on Asian people’s behalf. I work almost exclusively with Asians, mostly from India. I have never, not once, ever heard any of my Indian coworkers say ANYTHING about cultural appropriation or condone any woke causes. On the contrary, they are almost all quite eager to share their cultural traditions and cuisine, and eager to learn about American culture and cuisine.
They put on little performances during the Hindu festivals to show off the dancing and food and fashions. They are always inviting me to go to Indian restaurants and explaining which part of India the different foods come from and how to eat them.
They also love going to the American holiday events and partaking in our traditions. When one company I worked for had a gingerbread house-making contest for Christmas, all my Indian coworkers went and happily made gingerbread houses and proudly showed them off. There were no tantrums about Christian holidays, white oppression, or anything else the Woke like to have fits about. Just fun and little houses made out of cookies.
“By only covering specific stories that bolster the conservative agenda (such as… polarizing ones about race and sexuality issues)… readers still come away from The Daily Wire’s content with the impression that Republican politicians can do little wrong and cancel culture is among the nation’s greatest threats.”
The fact that NPR only covers stories that bolster its progressive agenda or covers them in such a way that any conservative criticisms are obscured apparently never occurred to the taxpayer-funded operation that panders furiously to it’s upper-middle class majority Democrat audience. I speak as a former contributor who was banned from NPR for correctly explaining an aspect of sexual harassment that the host felt could be too easily used to defend President Trump…and told me exactly that.
Yet NPR tells its listeners that “experts worry” conservative websites may be “furthering polarization” in America.
These people are hilarious!
2. Now who can argue with that? Daily Caller reporter Shelby Talcott asked President Biden, “Are there people in the Democratic Party who want to defund the police?”
“Are there people in the Republican Party who think we’re sucking the blood out of kids?” Biden responded.
Good answer! For the record, police budgets have been slashed in more than 20 major cities with Democratic Party-run governments, including Minneapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Austin, Texas. Evidence of Democrats displaying vampire conduct toward children is, in contrast, sparse.
3. Nah, there’s no indoctrination in colleges and universities! Campus Reform reports that Penn State professor Sam Richards orders white students in front of the 700-student “SOC119: Race and Ethnic Relations” lecture so he can intimidate them into validating his anti-white theories. One exchange:
Prof.: “I just take the average white guy in class, whoever it is, it doesn’t really matter. Dude, this guy here. Stand up, bro. What’s your name, bro?”
Prof.: “Look at Russell, right here, it doesn’t matter what he does. If I match him up with a black guy in class, or a brown guy… who’s just like him, has the same GPA, looks like him, walks like him, talks like him, acts in a similar way…and we send them into the same jobs…Russell has a benefit of having white skin.”
With another student similarly called out in front of the class, James, Richard asked, pointing to a slide from Coca-Cola’s infamous woke training that read, “To be less white is to be less oppressive, be less arrogant, be less certain, be less defensive, be less ignorant, be more humble, listen, believe, break with party, break with white solidarity,” what the intent of the screed was.
“I think, you know, it’s more or less just recognizing the advantages you have in life,” James responded. “Whatever that may be, and not thinking yourself superior because of that.”
Prof.: “Awesome answer man.” [Unspoken but clear: “And best of all, now you won’t be harassed, shunned and attacked for expressing a non-conforming opinion!”]
Here’s the exchange with a third student put on the spot, Brian, using the same slide:
Sorry, I had to find some way to feature U.S. Grant this morning, in part because he died on this date in 1885, but mostly because my son was named after him, and I love Grant Viktor Bowen Marshall with all my heart. Grant is one of the most interesting and complex of Presidential personalities, as well as among our most ethical Presidents. Even in death he was ethical: he spent his last days furiously writing out his memoirs so his family could be cleared of debt by selling them. (The publisher was Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain.) Grant was in the process of dying in agony of throat cancer, but he not only wrote through the pain, he did a fine job of it. I’ve read most of the Presidential autobiographies, and if there is one as good, I haven’t encountered it yet.
I suppose by now everyone knows my favorite piece of Grant trivia: he was christened Hiram Ulysses Grant, but was embarrassed that his initials spelled out “hug” (Grant was fanatically modest, and wrote that his wife had never seen him naked), so he flipped his middle and first names so the initials spelled “uhg,” as if that’s an improvement. Then some careless clerk at West Point substituted an “S” for the “H,” and the young Grant recognized that “U.S. Grant” was a pretty cool name, and kept it. The “S” didn’t stand for anything except “Hiram,” but he got sick of explaining this, so settled on “Simpson.” This eventually made Grant one of two U.S. Presidents with a middle initial S that actually was meaningless: the other is Harry Truman. If a source prints Harry’s name with a period after the S, it’s a hack outfit. Wikipedia has the period, for example. No, Truman’s middle name was just “S”…
But I digress.
Start writing about your ethical issues, concerns and observations, please…
The question has been looming for many years, but intensifying of late. The cynical use of the fraudulent term “antiracism” to promote racism—but the good kind, where it’s white people who are the targets of stereotyping, hate and discrimination—has exploded on the culture, with many, many people, businesses and organizations too cowardly to stand up and say, “Enough.” At some point, decent Americans of all races will have to do so in great and overwhelming numbers. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.
I was thinking of all this after reading a truly disturbing essay by Elie Mystal. Mystal is a black lawyer and pundit who teems with hate. The last time Ethics Alarms sullied its cyberpresence by mentioning him was in January of this year, when he tweeted this:
If you search for Mystal by using his tag here, or just use the Ethics Alarms search engine to find “Mystal,” you can get an even uglier picture of the man, a lawyer who has a double Harvard degree and has used it to spread the maximum amount of racism and racial division such credentials can permit. It is an open question whether Mystal is mentally ill, but if he is, it is a kind of mental illness that the Left now celebrates. And he has a apparently always been this way. In 2016, he advocated black jurors sabotaging the justice system:
“Black people lucky enough to get on a jury could use that power to acquit any person charged with a crime against white men and white male institutions. It’s not about the race of the defendant, but if the alleged victim is a white guy, or his bank, or his position, or his authority: we could acquit. Assault? Acquit. Burglary? Acquit. Insider trading? Acquit.Murder? … what the hell do you think is happening to black people out here? What the hell do you think we’re complaining about when your cops shoot us or choke us? Acquit. Don’t throw “murder” at me like it’s some kind of moral fault line where the risk of letting one go is too great. Black people ARE BEING MURDERED, and the system isn’t doing a damn thing to hold their killers accountable. Sorry I’m not sorry if this protest idea would put the shoe on the other foot for a change.”
I wrote, “Mystal is bonkers. There’s no reasoning or fairness in his screed. He’s just fulminating, growling and slobbering like a rabid dog. It’s sad. Nobody can take anyone who expresses this kind of irrational hate as a response to frustration seriously. He’s not accurate, he’s not truthful, he’s not responsible. He has left law and logic so far behind he may never work his way back to them.”
Well, he clearly isn’t working his way back, and won’t. The latest from Elie is a post in “The Nation,” where he is the “justice editor,” which tells you all you need to know about both “The Nation” and its readers. Mystal felt secure in revealing the dark depths of his hate by extolling his favorite video-game, “The Sims,” because it allows him to create the perfect neighborhood, or what he thinks would be one:
“….I picked a neighborhood and moved all the prepackaged Sims out. I moved my Sim family and Sim friends in. I have to be around Sims that I want to be happy, after all. No Republicans are allowed in my game. I’ve even deleted the files of prepackaged Sims that give me any kind of Republican vibe…. The friends I do put in the game are people I really like in real life, people I’m happy to be reminded of as my Sim-self jogs through town… My world is much browner and, well, gayer than what I started with. That’s just what happens when you let Sims flirt with whomever they want and marry people who share their interests. But I do occasionally have to add a family I don’t personally know just to decrease the chances of inbreeding: So, the Obamas are in my game. Sasha grew up and married my grandson. I’m buried in their backyard. Frankly, I couldn’t write a better utopian postscript for myself: a founding member of a brown, gay, rainless world that banished Republicans who is buried under the kiddie swing of his progeny…. Sometimes, I just need the terrible world to leave me alone with my doll.”
I never got a chance to write the Wednesday warm-up, cool-down, or whatever it was going to be called yesterday, so I don’t know what this is. Something. A lot is rattling around what I laughingly call me mind, which is one reason I had trouble sleeping, I guess.
One thing I wanted to mention about yesterday, perhaps because I’m still thinking about Alexander Hamilton’s fatal duel with Aaron Burr on July 11, is that it probably marks the first recorded instance of an Old West show-down. On July 21st in 1865, Wild Bill Hickok, a rare genuine gunslinger who was a dead shot with a pistol, killed Dave Tutt in the street in Springfield, Missouri. Tutt drew his weapon first and missed, whereupon Wild Bill calmly took aim. Tutt died of a bullet in his chest a second later. By the standards of the time, this was an unusually ethical shooting. Most men were not good shots and didn’t want to risk finding out that the guys they had a quarrel with were, so fatal gun battles tended to be ambushes or a nasty surprise to the loser. (Wild Bill himself was murdered when he was shot in the head from behind while playing poker.)
Because I worry about such things, I wonder how many Americans under the age of about 40 know who Hickock was. Like most of the Wild West icons, his real life exploits paled in comparison to his legend, but once upon a tim, he was a well-known figure in popular culture. Guy Madison played him as a clean-cut good guy in white in a 50’s TV series pitched to kids (its sponsor was Sugar Pops). This was strange, since Hickock was famous for his long hair, buckskins, floppy hat and long mustache. Bill’s major contribution to U.S. lore was his poker hand when he was shot: two pair, aces and eights, all clubs and spades. This was known ever after as “The Dead Man’s Hand” and reputed to be bad luck. Director John Ford included the portent in every movie he could: if a character was doomed, there was a glimpse of his poker hand, and it was always aces and eights.
1. No self-respecting woman should accept an appointment like this. No responsible President should make one, either. Victoria Reggie Kennedy is Biden’s nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Austria. She’s no dummy, but the only reason she is getting this plum is because she was married to Ted Kennedy. In the press release, her credentials are inflated by all the honorary degrees and other goodies she got as organizations sucked up to Ted or his too influential family. Such an appointment is lazy and insulting: is there anyone cognizant who doesn’t see this as what it is, symbolic ring-kissing for Democratic Party royalty? Moreover, it is one more example—the fact that Biden is President is another— of how the party’s vaunted feminism is more mirage than real. There must be thousands of women who have better arguments for being the U.S. Ambassador to Austria than “I was the second wife of a U.S. Senator who was only elected because of his brothers and whose greatest accomplishment was getting away with negligent homicide.” If Victoria had any integrity, she would have asked Biden to appoint one of those women.
2. I’m not surehow this connects to ethics...honesty and courage, perhaps…but long-time Boston Globe reporter Jack Thomas has written what seems like a sincere and thoughtful column upon learning that he has only a few months to live. He seems convinced that he will have an afterlife, which may contribute to his upbeat reflections, and if that helps him through what he calls “the hell to come,” fine. He concludes his essay,
Once again, we encounter the gratuitously hostile stranger phenomenon.
I was running a quick groceries errand today, and a young man right in front of me dropped a cardboard carton containing a hot slice of pizza on the floor. Naturally, it landed top down, and the pizza was smeared all over the linoleum. I was right beside him as he froze briefly, looking down at the mess forlornly.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I said, my Golden Rule reflex kicking in. I hate dropping food, especially ice cream cones and pizza; it brings back many childhood traumas. I genuinely empathized with the guy. And you know what? He completely blew me off. He didn’t look at me, acknowledge my expression of sympathy, or even grunt. He just left the dead pizza slice there, turned on his heels, and walked quickly off to call a staffer.
No, he didn’t have ear buds. He was just another rude SOB who has no interest in contributing to a congenial, mutually supportive society. Can you devise any excuse for this behavior? I don’t think there is an excuse. I think this is evidence that he is a member of the growing and thriving jerk component of American society. Why do so many bystanders refuse to demonstrate care for strangers in peril or stress? Reactions like I got is one of the reasons.
Relentless and esteemed Ethics Alarms commenter Michael Ejercito wants to know why I have yet to publish the finale to an Ethics Alarms series that began way back in May, 2020. This Comment of the Day, by another veteran commenter, Michael R, is why. All along and from the moment I wrote the May post, my intention has been to explain that from an ethics and U.S. cultural perspective, the lockdown was a mistake, a disaster, politically motivated, and wrong. But I cannot write that post competently without having some definitive statistics regarding pandemic deaths and the identity and demographics of the victims. Michael’s post contains a version of these stats that would allow me to go forward, but I have seen other statistics [See above] that point in exactly the opposite direction.
This is the consequence of the macro-ethics national crisis created by our untrustworthy news media and professions. It is, at this point, impossible to know what the objective facts are, and not only in this matter, but virtually all others.
Here is Michael R’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Afternoon Ethics Delights, 7/19/2021: The Follies,” focusing on the final item on Colorado’s vaccine lottery(and I forgive him for using the Trump-bashing motivated term “Covid 19” that was devised to advance the Big Lie that President Trump was “racist” to accurately call a Chinese virus a Chinese virus and to place the blame for this crisis squarely where it belonged…)
You thought I was going to play the damn song, didn’t you? (When Drew Barrymore’s hair moved like that in “Firestarter,” it meant she was about to fry someone…)
1. Good for Mike Judge, the school pal of Justice Kavanaugh, for not letting the disgusting smearing of the judge by Kamala Harris and other Democrats (and the media, of course) sink completely into the memory hole. Judge has another of several articles he’s written on the “Get Kavanaugh by any means necessary” hearings, and it’s as informative as it is infuriating. He writes,
When they got desperate, the left dragged out Julie Swetnick. Remember her? She was the pawn of then-lawyer, now-convicted-felon Michael Avenatti. She told the disgraceful Kate Snow of NBC News that she was gang raped at a party where Brett and I were also present. The claim? That she “saw boys gathered outside closed rooms at parties but did not know what was happening behind those closed doors until she says she herself was attacked around 1982.” Swetnick said she was drugged and then “shoved into a room” where she was “raped by more than one man.” Swetnick says Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were in the same part of the house earlier that evening but she cannot be sure if they were involved. “I cannot specifically say that he was one of the ones who assaulted me,” she said.
...So what about that Swetnick police report? Jackie Calmes, a journalist at the Los Angeles Times, has tried to find it, [writing]: “County officials never did search for any Swetnick police filling. The 1982 records had not been digitized, and the county records custodian told me in September 2019 that no one, including Avenatti, would pay the $1,260 charge for looking through three thousand boxes of hundreds of microfiche files for the year. I paid the county to do so, but rescinded the work order when Swetnick, in a brief interview before the search began, retracted her claim that she was assaulted in 1982. She’d specified that year in both her sworn statement and her NBC appearance, but a year later told me it could have been 1980 or 1981.”
Wow. Not only was I a criminal mastermind at seventeen, I was wheeling and dealing early as fifteen. It was probably around the same time I was living at the Playboy mansion. There was a police report to prove it. Strangely enough, neither the media nor their hero Avenatti would bet $1,260 that it even existed.
I will never forget—nor forgive—the experience I had during the Kavanaugh fiasco, when two female Massachusetts attorneys and bar administrators, co-presenters with me in a bar program, smirked, rolled their eyes and gave each other “what a sexist!” winks and nods as I politely explained during lunch that Blasey-Ford’s unsubstantiated account of a conveniently-timed recollection of an alleged sexual assault at a time and place she couldn’t remember by a teen-age Brett Kavanaugh should never have been allowed before the Senate, and that the feminist and progressive assumptions that Kavanaugh was guilty because they wanted him to be was unconscionable. The two women were so insufferably smug and condescending, and they had nothing to justify their position but Leftist certitude.
Make no mistake: I know why they are getting a surge in donations: cynical virtue-signalling and mindless George Floyd Freakout tribute. However, like the historically black colleges themselves, the phenomenon of picking now to celebrate segregated education, and mostly inferior education, is self-contradictory. It also highlights the hypocrisy of the “antiracism” movement itself, and the incoherence of the “diversity” chants coming from the Left.
For these colleges are the opposite of diverse. They are, in fact, discriminatory in concept and execution, and to see them “thrive” while activists are demanding literal quotas in other institutions in order to create numerical demographic parity—at least—is a blazing example of how the George Floyd Ethics Train wreck is less a cultural awakening than it is an opportunistic and unethical power play fueled by white guilt and cowardice.