Tag Archives: abortion
Morning Ethics Warm-Up, April 9, 2018: Experiment Results, Flowering Trees From Hell, And Ominous Signs From The Left..
…Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are…
1. Apologies for a lost Sunday. I was never able to get back to my computer yesterday. The combination of my responsibilities to the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society as it celebrated its 46th year of operation against daunting odds, some pressing client matters and important family matters just overwhelmed my schedule, plus I was wiped out by the early evening. Of course, based on the blog’s traffic this month and the continuing ethics rot, I console my self in the message of the most famous song from “Ruddigore,” GG&SS’s student production for the anniversary…especially the final line…
“This particularly rapid unintelligible patter isn’t generally heard, and if it is, it doesn’t matter.”
Ethics commentary in a nutshell.
2. However: The regulars came through in a pinch. The free swim produced at least four Comment of the Day quality posts, including a history of the Gettysburg address. Thanks everybody. The experiment was a ringing success, and I will have more open forums in the future.
3. This kind of thing is why I have a hard time taking environmentalist doom-saying seriously. We planted Bradford Pear trees, which are now blooming beautifully as is their wont, in front of our house almost 20 years ago. They have their downsides, to be sure, and you have to trim them back or they are likely to split or fall over. However, here is an environmentalist claiming that they are trees from hell, and who writes in part: Continue reading
(Do you remember when Saturday morning was fun? Stupid, but fun…)
1. Your cultural literacy note of the day. The Charles Laughton classic “Ruggles of Red Gap” was on Turner Movie Classics last night. The movie itself is wonderful—I recommended it in an Independence Day post here—but it is also a cultural literacy triumph. In 1935, when the film was released, Lincoln’s Gettysburg address was in the process of falling out of the public’s consciousness. The film’s most famous scene, however, revived it. In a saloon, reference is made to “what Lincoln said at Gettysburg,” and all the cowboys in Red Gap ask each other, “What did Lincoln say at Gettysburg?” Then, quietly, unexpectedly, Ruggles the English butler (Laughton) and the only foreign-born man in the room, recites the speech. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, in his post showing observations, revealed that when the film was first shown, audiences frequently stood and applauded Laughton’s rendition, and the Address itself became more widely known and quoted.
This is how popular culture works when it is in sync with national values, and not attempting to undermine them.
Here is the scene…for some reason YouTube doesn’t have it, but does have the entire film. The saloon scene begins at about the 56:09 mark:
2. The Atlantic-Kevin Williamson controversy. Unless you routinely plumb the depths of pundit wars and cultural bloodletting, you might well be completely unaware of this skirmish, but it is ultimately an ethics story. Continue reading
I have been reading about marsupials and kangaroos. Don’t ask why. But it got me thinking…
Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe where the human race evolved, due to the vicissitudes of chaos, from marsupials rather than primates. In every respect, the Kangaroo-People have developed as we have. Same nations, same traditions, same institutions, same ethical standards, life expectancy, gender distinctions, laws, culture and politics. The only difference is that in this universe, the Kangaroo-People give birth like kangaroos, as females have the same reproductive equipment as their kangaroos ancestors To look at them, you’d never know. Kangaroo Person Kate Upton looks exactly like ours; Kangaroo Person Hillary Clinton could walk up to our Bill and he’d never know the difference. (She does have a safe place to keep her Blackberries, though.)
After a few weeks of gestation, baby Kangaroo-People are born at about the size and shape of a jellybean, with about as much personality. The Kangaroo-People mother guides her offspring by licking a path from her cloaca ( which leads into three vaginas, just like regular kangaroos in this universe) to her pouch. The baby is essentially still a fetus at this point, with incompletely developed eyes, ears, organs and central nervous system. It does have claws, so it can crawl, and an olfactory bulb, the section of its brain devoted to the sense of smell. This allows the baby to follow the scent of mom’s saliva into the pouch. There it latches on to a teat, and holds on as involuntary contractions of muscles in the mother’s stomach wall force milk out of her mammary glands to the growing fetus/baby. 235 days or more later, the baby, now fully developed, emerges from the pouch. Before that, the baby Kangaroo-Person gets strong enough to periodically let go of the teat, and crawl around the pouch.
Kangaroo People celebrate their birthdays based on when they were born, of course. They also are named by Mom and Dad, and have their birth certificates filed. Continue reading
Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/22/2018: The Returns Of A Terrible Idea, A Times Mania, And Lord Acton’s Observation
1. Bad Ideas Never Die Dept. The Obama Administration killed an unethical Bush Administration rule that permitted a wide variety of health care workers to refuse to administer treatments and procedures they found morally repugnant, what the Bush administration termed workers’ “right of conscience.” It was, and is, a terrible idea; The American Medical Association explained why, in the context of opposing conscience outs for pharmacists, when it declared..
“RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association reaffirm our policies supporting responsibility to the patient as paramount in all situations and the principle of access to medical care for all people (Reaffirm HOD Policy)…
Now that bad idea and the same ethically warped principles are embodied in a new Trump administration policy that provides “religious freedom protections” for doctors, nurses and other health care workers who object to performing procedures like abortions and gender reassignment surgery. This is a sop to the Republican evangelical base. As I wrote here (actually partially quoting myself from an earlier article),
“Conscience clauses” came into being in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade opinion legalizing abortion. Obviously that right to privacy ruling put Catholic hospitals in a difficult position, so the U.S. Congress passed the Church amendment (named after Sen. Frank Church of Idaho) in 1973. This provision allowed individual health care providers and institutions such as hospitals to refuse to provide abortion and sterilization services, based on moral or religious convictions. Most states adopted their own “conscience clause” laws by 1978. Conscience clauses are a terrible idea that encourage arbitrary professional misconduct. It is an example of how morally-based action can lead to unethical conduct….People who voluntarily undertake the duties of a job should either be prepared to fulfill those duties, take the consequences of not doing so, or not take the job in the first place.That is the ethical duty that one accepts when one agrees to do a job. “
President Trump doesn’t do ethics, and not being a deep thinker, inconsistencies of principle don’t resister on him. The reason for requiring health care workers to perform their jobs regardless of whether some portion of it clashes with their religious beliefs, moral conviction, political passions or gag reflex is the same whether a doctor objects to abortions, a baker doesn’t approve of gay marriage , a restaurant owner doesn’t want to serve blacks, Hispanics, or Republicans, or an NFL football player is offended by the National Anthem. Society doesn’t work any other way. The religious freedom dodge easily turns into a cover for bigotry, harassment and oppression.
Nothing in the Constitution says that citizens have the right to hurt people when they practice their religion, or defy our laws, or refuse to perform the duties of their professions or employment while still getting paid because they cite religious conscience.
2. I Told You Not To Look Under That Rock! Dept. For some reason, I broke my own rule and skimmed a Paul Krugman column. What was I thinking? What is so digsuting about Krugman is his intellectual dishonesty, as he writes down to his readers using rhetorical tricks, rationalizations and lazy arguments that are 90% political bias and 10% substance at best. Here was the sentence that exploded my head, stopped me from reading, as Krugman twisted reality to hold Republicans responsible for the government shutdown that was 100% caused by Senate Democrats blocking the continuing resolution to keep the government open:
“Protecting the Dreamers is, by the way, enormously popular, even among Republicans, who oppose deporting them by a huge margin. So it’s not as if the G.O.P. would be giving up a lot.”
So, as long as a provision is popular with its base, a party isn’t “giving up a lot” by supporting it—regardless of whether it is responsible, fair, smart, principled, or in the best interest of the country. Got it, Paul. This is the lowest common denominator theory of democracy being peddled to New York Times reader by its Nobel Prize-winning columnist: legislation by poll. Continue reading
1 When Darth Vader cuts off Luke’s hand, that’s not news. When Mark Hamill bites the hand that feeds him…In recent interview, Mark Hamill, the one-trick pony, one-role actor who had been playing cameo parts on SyFy cable channel movies because he wasn’t enough of a draw to put in “Sharknado 6,” criticized how director Rian Johnson had him play Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” “He’s not my Luke Skywalker,” said Hamill in a recent interview, who originated the part four decades ago, when he had a career.
This is astounding ingratitude, and shows a lack of professionalism that suggests it wasn’t only limited range that strangled Hamill’s non-“Star Wars” prospects. The movie is still in theaters. The fact that he is in the latest trilogy at all is a gift. If he wants to knock the film in about ten years or so when he’s doing Fishin’ Magician informercials on cable and his comments get him 12 and a half minutes of fame on TMZ, that’s fine, but right now, he has an ethical obligation to the studio and his fellow artists to do everything he can to make the “Star Wars” geeks want to see the film.
You know Luke—can I call you Luke?—most of those other actors aren’t as lucky as you were, and don’t have a cushy guaranteed lifetime income from a single surprise hit that easily could have ended up on the second half of drive-in double features.
May the Force slap some sense into you.
2. Update: Governor Kasich is an idiot. But I bet you knew that. Yup, John Kasich signed into law that Ohio bill that made it illegal to abort a fetus diagnosed with Down Syndrome. This law is going to be struck down as unconstitutional, and it makes no sense. Signing it into law displays a bad combination of incompetence and cowardice.
BOY, that was a horrible crew of Republicans who all were thinking about Donald Trump, “Well, at least I know I can beat THIS guy!” I know many people like me, including some moderate Democrats, who were rooting for Kasich because he seemed preferable to having another Bush, the theocracy craving Mike Huckabee, the corrupt Chris Christie, weird Rand Paul, diabolical Ted Cruz, not-ready-for-prime- time Marco Rubio, dumb-as-a-box-of-whoopie-cushions Ben Carson, scary Carly Fiorina, or, as the alternative, the venal, inept and frighteningly ambitious Hillary Clinton. No, he’s a conservative hack with an honest face. This proves it. Continue reading