The Ethics Of The Government’s Planned Door-To-Door Vaccination Campaign [Updated]

President Biden has announced that there will be a door-to-door campaign designed to inform people in less-vaccinated sections of the country to encourage getting the shots and to address concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Many Republican, conservatives and civil libertarians fell the plan is an abuse of power. “How about don’t knock on my door. You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose. Why is that concept so hard for the left?” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) tweeted. “The government now wants to go door-to-door to convince you to get an ‘optional’ vaccine,” Rep. Lauren Boebert, (R-Colo)., snarked. Some reactions were a bit more hysterical, such as this from GOP Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene:

“Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows covid is a political tool used to control people. People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations. You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment.”

But you know…Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Is a representative of the Federal Government coming to your home to try to get you to do something you have chosen not to do or may not want to do an abuse of power? It might be. I have ruled it unethical for uniformed police officers to come to homes seeking contributions to police charities, and indeed this practice has largely been stopped because it was viewed as inherently coercive. A government representative coming to your home to urge you to do anything, from paying taxes to brushing your teeth, may be stressful and feel like the heavy hand of Big Brothers. Moreover, such a visit strongly suggests “We are watching you!”

My guess is that the national public health goal of having as many Americans vaccinated as possible would be seen by most courts as a sufficient justification for this minimal incursion on public privacy, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see one or more court rule that the government has no business coming to you home to metaphorically twist your arm.

The Ethics Alarms verdict is that door-to-door visits are ethically defensible if…

  • Each home targeted for such a visits gets advance notice of at least 72 hours, and an opportunity to opt out.
  • The government representative begins every visit by handing out a document and reciting it’s contents, which should be something like a Miranda Warning:

Hello, my name is XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, and I am representing the Federal Government in a national effort to encourage the public to be fully vaccinated against the Wuhan virus. You have no obligation to listen to me, invite me into your home, take or read the materials I have for you or to get vaccinated. If you prefer, I will leave immediately. However, I would be grateful if you would allow me to explain why it is important for you and members of your family to get vaccinated, and to answer any questions you might have. If you decline this visit, there will be no penalties or consequences, nor will your decision be noted on any government records.

Update: Upon thinking some more about this, I would want to see this added:

“Furthermore. no benefits or advantages will accrue to any of your neighbors who do not decline to speak with me, allow me into their homes, or accept my materials.”

Absent such warning, any visit by a government employee (or volunteer) is potentially coercive and an abuse of government power.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/2/21: The All-****Swaddle Edition

1. Just a little insurrection. Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon was arrested last week after attempting to barge into the office where Gov. Brian Kemp was signing a the new Georgia voting reform bill into law. Yesterday she argued that her actions were justified. Why? Because when a Democrat thinks a law is misguided, that justifies trying to stop the democratic process, apparently, as opposed to when citizens think that a Presidential election has been stolen. They are completely different. No really. They are.

“I believe the governor signing into law the most comprehensive voter suppression bill in the country is a far more serious crime,” Cannon said. That sounds familiar too, embodying several illicit rationalizations that the idiots who attacked the Capitol on January 6 also would probably echo. Legal act X that we disagree with justifies illegal act Y we resort to because since we disagree with it, Legal Act X is really a crime. This can, of course, be used to justify almost anything.

As with most statements by critics of the Georgia law, Cannon’s raise the question of whether she has actually read the thing or is just going on what she has gleaned from Democrat and news media propaganda. Cannon described the law as a “voter suppression bill” that with “one stroke of a pen….erased decades of sacrifices, incalculable hours of work, marches, prayers, tears and … minimized the deaths of thousands who have paid the ultimate price to vote.” She says this because the bill requires that absentee ballots be properly verified—nobody died to vote by absentee ballot—-and allows the state to take over when it looks like something fishy is going on with partisan election boards. If the bill really was so restrictive in its terms, those trying to demonize it wouldn’t have to make up stuff. President Biden repeated his lie about the law closing voting at 5 pm, a day after the Washington Post reluctantly noted that it was a whopper, or as Joe might say, “malarkey.”

Still, the news media is doing its level best to prop up the propaganda: Yahoo News, which really is a disgrace, referred to the law as adding “voter restrictions.” Meanwhile, Park is raising money for her legal defense on a GoFundMe page titled “I Stand With Park,” as the crowdfunding site bans citizen efforts to impose critical race theory indoctrination in the schools.”

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: CNN

“We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees. However, it is not surprising that in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would.”

—-CNN spokesman Matt Dornic, in a jaw-dropping defense of anchor Chris Cuomo after it was revealed that he used  his brother’s influence to “cut in line” to get Wuhan virus testing when it was unavailable to the general public.

Earlier this week, the The Albany-Times Union and The Washington Post reported yet another scandal involving New York’s Francis Ford Coppola-redolant governor, Andrew Cuomo. As if the deadly NY nursing home cover-up and the expanding sexual harassment allegations were not more than enough, we learned that…

“High-level members of the state Department of Health were directed last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor’s relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration. Members of Cuomo’s family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times.”

The governor, in short, manipulated state resources to ensure that his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, received Wuhan virus testing when tests were scarce and generally unavailable. “The CNN anchor was swabbed by a top New York Department of Health doctor, who visited his Hamptons home to collect samples from him and his family,” WaPo reported. The test specimens from Andrew and other Cuomo family members were then rushed, in some cases driven by state police troopers to a state public health lab in Albany, where they were processed immediately. Some employees in the state health laboratory worked overtime late into the night to process the results for Cuomo family members whose roles in society, while hardly essential to New York or the public, were favored by the Governor of New York.

In particular, the CNN anchor got specialized medical attention while “media reports were full of accounts from New Yorkers desperate to get tested — including some with symptoms and recent travel history who were turned away because of scarcity.”

Glenn Greenwald neatly sums up the import of this beyond the obvious fact that this is another example of elected officials using their power and influence for personal gain:

For more than a year now, CNN’s promotion of “interviews” conducted by Chris Cuomo of his own brother — in which the CNN host repeatedly heaped lavish praise on Gov. Cuomo and even hyped him as a presidential contender while the Governor was corruptly and possibly criminally covering up COVID deaths — was one of the most glaring breaches of journalistic ethics imaginable…it aggressively deceived CNN’s audience. That they knew it was corrupt was evidenced by the CNN host’s recent announcement that he would not cover his brother’s recent scandals: what conceivable framework makes it journalistically permissible for a news host to shower his own brother with praise, but then not cover his scandals?

But now Chris Cuomo is directly involved in a serious abuse of power scandal by his brother: in fact, he’s the prime beneficiary of that scandal. He sought special medical favors from his brother, depriving other sick people more in need of it than he, by exploiting the fact that his brother is Governor and thus rules the state. That’s a scandal by any measure — one involving not only the Governor but also the CNN host.

What’s even more remarkable is that on May 6 — just weeks after Gov. Cuomo provided special COVID testing and treatment for him — Chris Cuomo “interviewed” his brother and began the interviewing by noting that New York State lacks the resources to provide COVID testing to the public at large. So not only did they conceal that they had both just used state resources to get Chris that scarce testing, but they both acknowledged that there was a resource shortage to serve the general public, even as Gov. Cuomo was lavishing those resources on his own family.

Now read CNN’s response again. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month:Rep. Alex Moody (R-WV) [Corrected]

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“It is wrong to have sent members of Congress home and then try to adopt without any debate a precedent-setting resolution that could imperil our Republic. The U.S. House must never adopt a resolution that demands the removal of a duly elected president, without any hearings, debate or recorded votes.”

Congressman Alex Mooney, blocking the Democrats’ idiotic and unethical attempt to pass a unanimous motion calling on Vice-President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which is neither relevant nor legal under current circumstances.

Why yes, Congressman, it is! Not that you don’t deserve credit for speaking up, but it increasingly appears that the latest, most petty and potentially most dangerous effort by Democrats to prematurely end Donald Trunp’s tenure as President is incompetent, grandstanding, and not very serious, as if trying to remove a President shouldn’t always be serious.

On the other hand, after 19 previous attempts, maybe these mini-coups are like eating buttered popcorn to these vicious hacks. Once they start, they just can’t stop.

Mooney’s statement began, “Today I objected to Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to adopt via unanimous consent a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump. Speaker Pelosi should not attempt to adopt a resolution of this magnitude without any debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Exactly. It’s good to know someone in that big, white domey thing can read.

Pelosi’s statement, in contrast, suggest that she’s the one who has become unable to discharge the duties of her office:

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Waning 2020 Ethics Warm-Up

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A reader reports that he can’t pull up Ethics Alarms on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Is anyone else having this problem?

Wasn’t it nice when we naively assumed that such things were just technical glitches and not part of Big Tech’s increasingly intrusive alliance with the totalitarian-minded forces of the extreme Left?

1. Embrace the narrative. “Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies with COVID-19” is just one of many headlines announcing that the 41-year-old Representative-elect died from the Wuhan virus. So far, every headline I’ve seen is some version of this. Letlow died of a heart attack, in fact, during some un-named procedure related to his treatment for the virus. People die of unexpected heart attacks with some frequency during hospital procedures for other problems, and the cause of death is usually listed as “heart attack.” Maybe the virus caused his death and maybe it didn’t, but the headlines stating this as fact is more pandemic fearmongering, and. yes, fake news.

2. Good. You will recall that Twitter censored The New York Post’s account of the incriminating Hunter Biden laptop being found because it claimed that the business memos, photos of a Hunter using illegal drugs, and other disturbing photos came from a “hacker,” when Twitter’s real objective was, it seems fair to conclude, to keep as many people as possible from learning about matters that might cause them not to vote for Hunter’s father. Now the computer repair company’s owner is  suing Twitter for $500,000,000.00 for libel, defamation, and ruining his business, claiming that the social media giant disparaged him.

3. One more reason to distrust the election results: President Donald Trump topped former President Barack Obama for the title of most admired man in America in Gallup’s 2020 survey. Trump had tied with Obama in 2019 while Obama beat him in 2017 and 2018. President Joe Biden came in third. Obama had been #1 since 2008.

Don’t you find this strange?

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The Inexcusable Big Brotherism Of Governor Phil Scott [Revised and Corrected]

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Just so I’m clear: it isn’t only Democratic governors and mayors who have revealed themselves as Big Brother wannabes in the pandemic, just mostly. They also win hypocrisy prizes over their GOP counterparts for their party’s pushing Big Lies # 3 and #6, which are both dependent on the verdict that the President is an autocrat. Yet when a gift-wrapped excuse arrived for totalitarian edicts, it was Trump’s critics, not the President, who eagerly began squashing rights and crossing lines. Thus, to evoke the last line of today’s post, the Democrats are the bigger assholes, though both parties’ tin despots can bite me.

Vemont’s Republican Governor Scott, for example, should be impeached. Luckily for him, he is the governor of the state with arguably the least American values-friendly state in the union: Vermont, where the citizenry have elected such strange creatures as Howard Dean, who thinks hate speech isn’t protected by the Constitution, and Bernie Sanders, who admired the Soviet Union.

Scott informed Vermont via Twitter that schools will be adding new questions about how students spent their holiday to daily health checks. If the answer shows that a family didn’t toe the line, kids may have to take online classes for a two-week period or quarantine for a week. Or the Vermont State Stasi may drop by and take Mom and Dad to a re-education camp. You never know. Businesses are being instructed to similarly9nquire into employees’ private lives:

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I’m Thankful That So Many Americans Will Refuse To Comply With Pandemic Orders From Arrogant And Contemptuous Elected Officials Like These

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Elected mayors and governors across the country have simultaneously demanded obeisance to their burdensome orders constraining American rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while showcasing their belief that they are above the obligation to live by their own rules.

I’m grateful for this disgusting phenomenon. It vividly exposes a political class that thinks Americans are marks and fools, or perhaps some kind of human-sheep hybrid. These elected dictators’ not-so-secret desire is to dominate and rule. They have but a faint concept of what a representative democracy means, and have contempt for it and us. Members of the public who can’t see the unethical double standards these nascent totalitarians would inflict on the nation, or worse, those who accept and tolerate the double standards, are the intended victims. Fortunately, there are still a critical number of citizens who recall this nation’s origins as a rebellion against tyrants.

The open contempt these leaders have for us is staggering. Perhaps they expected their allied propagandists among news media to hide the hypocrisy, which so far it has been unwilling to do. Actually, considering the embargo on stories that might reflect positively on President Trump during the run-up to this months election, it is surprising our aspiring dictators haven’t been provided with more cover. This is something else to be thankful for.

From the Thanksgiving section of the Dead Ethics Alarms files:

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/22/2020: Death, Ethics, And Rationalizations

I just learned that my sweet, kind cousin Kathy has died as the result of several recently discovered brain tumors. I hadn’t seen her for decades, so in my mind she’s still 35, vibrant  and beautiful. I have to come to terms with the fact that we had no relationship at this point, but her loss still stings. She lived alone after her marriage with a real creep fell apart; never had children. Like all of the Coulourises (my mother’s side), family was so important to her. I could have picked up the phone.

1. I suppose today’s anniversary of Lincoln signing the  Emancipation Proclamationin 1862 has to be noted, but it was a strategic act, not an especially ethical one. After all, it exempted slaves in the border states, which allowed slavery  but had not joined the Confederacy. After the Union’s sort-of  victory at the Battle of Antietam earlier in the month,  Lincoln announced that enslaved people in areas still in rebellion within 100 days would be free. Then, on January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, which declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”  Note that it freed no slaves that he had the power to free, but the maneuver successfully made the Civil War about human rights. Anti-slavery nations like Great Britain and France, which the Confederacy desperately wanted as allies,  couldn’t back the Confederacy after Lincoln made the war explicitly a statement against slavery.

2. Does Mitt Romney have any core principles at all?  If he does, I don’t know what they are. It has always been clear—I hope— that he is a pure pragmatist, doing whatever he thinks will work at any given time. Non-ideologues often make effective leaders: FDR was one. Lincoln too. Romney would hate this, but Donald Trump is like Romney in that regard. (So are Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.). Over in the Facebook hive, the Deranged are gnashing their teeth over Romney’s announcement that he’ll vote for a qualified nominee for SCOTUS. I guess they thought that he would be like John McCain, and be governed by spite. Sure, Romney voted for impeachment because it was meaningless except to give the President a poke in the eye. He is still a Senator from Utah, however. he’s not going to torpedo an effort to solidify a conservative majority on SCOTUS.

If he were a Senator representing Massachusetts, it would be a different tale.

3. Black Lives Matter quietly deleted the “what we believe” page on its website. You know, that was where the group said its mission is to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” to “dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’ so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work,” as well as “foster a queer-affirming network” by “freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual.” Maybe they were afraid all of those corporations, sports teams and politicians proclaiming their support might finally decide to read about what they were endorsing. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Goodyear’s ‘No Tolerance’ Policy Is Cowardly, Unethical, And Wrong, And The President’s Response Was Worse”

Commenter Steve Witherspoon has colorfully expressed  the Ethics Alarms position regarding President Trump’s “punching down” with his direct attack on Goodyear Tires and Rubber for endorsing Black Lives Matter attire in the workplace while banning MAGA hats. In a comment to the recent Goodyear post, he wrote in part,

I absolutely HATE the way President Trump punches down like this from the Oval Office, it’s unpresidential! This is where his unethical loose cannon mouth gets him into trouble. Calling for a boycott from the office of the President of the United States is inappropriate….President Trump, shut the hell up and stop punching down; let the consumers make their own choices and speak with their dollars in the manner in which they choose.

Michael R, in his Comment of the Day on the post, “Goodyear’s ‘No Tolerance’ Policy Is Cowardly, Unethical, And Wrong, And The President’s Response Was Worse,” makes his case to the contrary:

When someone is acting unethically towards you, what should you do? What if there is no actual, ethical recourse for you because EVERYONE around you is acting unethically? Do you just accept it or do you fight back anyway? The press and the DNC are pushing a murderous agenda. Didn’t Andrew Cuomo kill 4x+ as many New Yorkers as the 9/11 terrorists? How many lives have been lost and businesses destroyed by their actions in the recent ‘peaceful protests’? What about their calls for perpetual lockdowns and states of emergency? Gangs of people are setting up roadblocks to harass and attack people. They are intimidating any local official that dares oppose them. They are demanding people turn over their houses. They are teaching elementary school children that all white people are racist. The press’ 1619 project teaches that this country is ONLY about slavery and uniquely so. What happens if their Marxist agenda succeeds? Continue reading

Thursday Ethics Thirst-quencher, 8/20/2020: Actually, This Doesn’t Taste So Good….

I filled in a gap in my history knowledge today, one I’m embarrassed to have had for so long. I remember being creeped out the first time I heard John Hinckley crooning the song he dedicated to Jodie Foster on her answering machine at Yale. “Ohhh Jodie! Ohhh Jodie! My love will turn you on!” All these years, I thought Hinckley had composed that song in his sick infatuation. Today, almost 40 years later, I found out that he just ripped off a John Lennon song called “Oh Yoko,” which I heard for the first time on the Beatles Channel on Sirius-XM. Am I the only one who didn’t know that? My ignorance is my fault: I would no more listen to anything extolling Yoko than I would voluntarily groove on “William Shatner’s Greatest Hits.”

And what was it about  Beatles compositions that inspired aspiring killers?

1. Yes, this seems rather irresponsible...Here’s a trailer for an upcoming Netflix series:

Over at The American Conservative, columnist Rod Dreher is disgusted, with good reason. He writes in part,

“Twerking their way to stardom. Eleven years old….These are little girls, and this Netflix show has the acting like strippers as a way of finding their way to liberation. What is wrong with these Netflix people? Do they not have children? Do they think our daughters are only valuable insofar as they can cosplay as sluts who are sexually available to men? ….There is nothing politicians can do about this…I hope sometime this fall a Senate committee calls Netflix CEO Reed Hastings] to Capitol Hill and forces him to talk about how proud he is that he has 11 year olds twerking on his degenerate network.”

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