Now Don’t Sue Me, SmileDirectClub, Because This Only This Ethicist’s Opinion, But…

“Hey! That’s a GREAT Idea! I LOVE it! Sure I’ll accept a refund in exchange for never telling anyone how lousy your product is!”

…no one should trust or do business with a company that engages in this unethical practice. Just an opinion, now.

What SmileDirectClub does, as documented in a New York Times Business Section story, is force customers to sign a non-disclosure (or confidentiality) agreement before they can receive refunds for unsatisfactory products. That way, other customer can’t find out about what the SmileDirectClub  can turn out to be, and in ignorance are more unwitting customers.

Here’s an excerpt from the Times piece: Continue reading

What’s The Ethical Response When Your Life And Reputation Collapses, And It’s Your Fault? My 12 Step Program For Alex Cora

I have been thinking a  lot about what I would do if I were Alex Cora.

In the past, people who have had the kind of precipitous public fall from grace that Cora has had often committed suicide. That’s neither an ethical nor reasonable response for the former Boston manager, but what is an ethical and reasonable response?

If you don’t know: Alex Cora was, until recently, one of the most popular, secure and successful young managers in Major League Baseball. His present was bright—he had a contract that paid him $800,000 a year, he was one of the faces of the Boston Red Sox, a storied franchise with a fanatic following, he was seen as a role model and an an inspiring  figure who represented the game, his city and his team, as well as his Puerto Rico home. His future was if anything, brighter: more money, perhaps even greater success with a talented and wealthy club, endorsement contracts, upper management, books, broadcasting…and of course, adulation, celebrity and fame.

Then, in the span of days, it was all gone. Cora was named as the mastermind of a sign-stealing cheating scandal that devastated the Houston Astros, and as the likely one responsible for another cheating scandal in Boston. He was fired as Boston’s manager, and the fans, and sports media are furious. Cora is certain to be suspended without pay for two years, and to be pronounced persona non grata in baseball for the foreseeable future. No baseball team will want to be associated with Alex Cora even after his official punishment is over.

So far, Cora has not addressed all of this in public; presumably he is awaiting the MLB report after its investigation of Boston’s sign-stealing in 2018. He has not yet apologized nor acknowledged wrong-doing. What is the most ethical way for him to proceed?

If I were hired to give Cora professional guidance about the way to proceed in the most ethical manner possible, what would it be? Cora still has to earn a living. He has to go on living too: he has a family. He has responsibilities.

Here are the 12 steps—it just turned out that way, I swear. Okay, when I got to ten and realized I was near the end, I did think, “Surely this can be jiggered to have 12 steps..”—that I would urge Alex Cora to follow: Continue reading

From The Ethics Alarms Res Ipsa Loquitur Files: What Does The Public Learn From These Things? Can They Figure It Out Themselves?

[This is the successor to a completed post that WordPress, for some reason, deleted beyond recovery when I hit “publish” at about 6:30 am today, thus robbing me of 90 minutes of my life and nearly my sanity. My inclination was to let it stay in cyber-hell and forget the whole thing, especially since the viewership here has similarly vanished lately and I feel like I could be more productively catching up on my “Everybody loves Raymond” episodes, but that would be petulant.]

There are a lot of dots to connect, but it shouldn’t be hard for the unbiased and attentive. I know they are out there, even if the Democratic Party is certain they are not.

So here are the dots…Let’s begin with the attack against a group of Jews celebrating Hanukkah at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York over the weekend. Grafton Thomas used a machete-like blade, and stabbed five celebrants.

  • The attack, which officials said began after 10 p.m. this past Saturday, was the 13th anti-Semitic incident in three weeks in the state and the most recent in a string of violence targeting local Jewish communities in the region.

Earlier this month, four people were fatally shot in  an attack on a Jersey City kosher grocery store.

  • On Friday the 27th, the day before the Monsey attack, Tiffany Harris, like Thomas an African American, was arrested for  punching and cursing three Orthodox women awhile shouting, ‘Fuck you you, Jews.’

Harris then was released on her own recognizance, and a day later arrested for another attack.

  • NYC’s Democrat mayor Bill de Blasio immediately shifted blame and accountability to…well, guess.

You’re RIGHT! He told Fox News, “An atmosphere of hate has been developing in this country over the last few years. A lot of it is emanating from Washington and it’s having an effect on all of us.. Not just the President — I’m saying, but we have to be clear. We need a different tone starting in Washington.”

  • OK, let’s be clear. The members of “The Squad,” Rep. Tlaib, Rep. Omar, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, have been making anti-Jewish pronouncements since they were elected in 2018. Many member of the Congressional Black Caucus, including the recent co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison, have had friendly ties with Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan, who regularly refers to Jews as vermin. Maxine Waters has openly greeted Farrakhan with hugs. New York Democrat Thomas Lopez-Pierre’s campaign slogan was stopping “Greedy Jewish Landlords.” A  black Trenton, New Jersey City Council Chair used the phrase “Jew me down;” a black Jersey City School board member opined in the wake of the kosher market massacre that Jews for were at fault for living in that neighborhood. The “Women’s Marches,” “resistance” protests all, had the endorsement of Farrakhan, and at one of them speaker Tamika Mallory referred to him as the “Greatest of All Time.”

Writes Debby Hall on a pro-Israel site,

Demonization of Israel on the left has also contributed to whipping up the people who would ultimately commit these attacks. BDS, a movement calling for Israel’s destruction, is essentially letting people know that Jews have no right to self-determination and as a result, no right to live.

  •  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released this boilerplate:

     Nice. Of course, that “zero-tolerance thingy was somewhat undercut by the  release of Tiffany Harris into the community. The Governor also has not been a practitioner of  inclusion and diversity himself, raising the question of what he means when he uses these words. For example, this year he said in part, “These extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay…if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” In a similar vein, Cuomo has said that those who do not support same-sex marriage don’t belong in his diverse, inclusive state.

Orthodox Jews do not support same sex marriage.

  • Finally, an NBC fact-checker tweeted,

This is, I repeat, a fact-checker. Rationalizations are not facts. From the Ethics Alarms list: 46. The Abuser’s License:  “It’s Complicated”…”The implication is that “yes, this looks bad, but if you knew all of the details, history and considerations, you would understand..If [an act] was unethical, it is important to say so, to make certain that nobody labors under the misconception that it was the right thing to do when they face similar decisions. “It’s complicated” is also lazy…. Complexity doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility of seeking the right approach to these matters. “It’s complicated” is an ethics cop-out.

After she was roundly condemned on Twitter, the fact-checker buried the fact of her own bias, taking down the tweet, making her account private, and finally taking down her account.

Observant Americans should be able to connect these dots, though the mainstream media and politicians, counting on the public’s own biases  and certain that they can fool all of the people all of the time, will try mightily to spin, obscure, bury and otherwise interfere with accurate perception.

___________________________

Sources: Victory Girls, Pittsburgh  Post-Gazette, PJ media, Twitchy, Libertarian Republic, Daily Wire, Washington Post, Israelycool

 

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Santa In A MAGA Cap”

The issue of whether a mall should have fired a long-time Santa who posed for gag photo in a MAGA cap inevitably invited comparisons with the Naked Teacher Principle, which holds “that a secondary school teacher or administrator (or other role model for  children) who allows pictures of himself or herself to be widely publicized, as on the web, showing the teacher naked or engaging in sexually provocative poses, cannot complain when he or she is dismissed by the school as a result.” There are many variations of the NTP, including the recently visited Naked Congresswoman Principle, which cost Rep. Katie Hill her seat.

The question: Is there, or should there be a “President Trump-supporting Santa Claus Principle?

Here is Alizia’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: Santa In A MAGA Cap”

“I think this one might fall into The Naked Teacher Principle.”

I think I can understand why you would say that, but I think there are a few problems with that assessment. I will try to explain:

First, a school teacher who engages in sexual misconduct, is transgressing in a limited area. Our social norms — though this is changing of course — does not allow teachers of children to appear to be loose sexually. Long ago, and more especially for women who were teachers — and mostly women were teachers — it was part of cultural norms that a teacher have a ‘chaste appearance’.

But in a sense there is no issue of ‘speech’ involved when and if a teacher posts a naked photo. That is, there is no ‘speech content’ or political opinion expressed. If there is a ‘speech’ issue it is only of a vary limited sort.

The Santa who had his photo taken with a Trump hat should never have had to apologize to anyone. He was completely free to take such a photo of himself. There is no possible argument that could be brought out in a so-called free society that could successfully take the man’s right away. Continue reading

The Last Of The Nazi War Criminals

Coincidentally, just as I am completing watching the Netflix documentary “The Devil Next Door,”  another former Nazi prison guard has begun trial on charges that he was an accessory to 5,230 murders at a German concentration camp in Poland during World War II.  “The Devil Next Door” engrossingly tells the strange story of a Ukrainian immigrant named John Demjanjuk who appeared to be a model U.S. citizen, respected neighbor and beloved husband and father in Cleveland before the U.S. decided he was really a former Nazi camp guard nicknamed “Ivan the Terrible” for his sadism and brutality at the Treblinka Nazi death camp in Poland. Demjanjuk was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and tried in Israel from 1986 to 1988 for crimes against humanity. A three judge panel convicted Demjanjuk and sentenced him to hang after a dramatic (and troubling) trial, but the former Ford auto-worker died while his  appeal was pending. Under the doctrine of abatement ab initio, he is still presumed innocent.

As I have written here before, I have many ethical problems with the concept of war crime trials, but “Ivan the Terrible” certainly tests them. Whether or not Demjanjuk  was Ivan, the Treblinka gas chamber operator was a monster even by SS standards, torturing the camp’s Jewish victims before their extermination. In the United States, I cannot imagine that that Demjanjuk would have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt: the evidence was compromised, the eye-witnesses often contradicted themselves and appeared confused (“Some were liars, some were senile, and some were liars and senile” is how Demjanjuk’s Israeli lawyer puts it on camera). The most damaging testimony against Demjanjuk was his own, and in the U.S. he never would have been allowed to testify.

Was he “Ivan”? All one can say is “probably.” The case was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, not even close to it.

At the time, it was widely believed that Demjanjuk’s would be the last Nazi war crimes trial, but now  Bruno Dey, 93,  a prison guard  in the Stutthof camp near what’s now Gdansk, Poland, is being tried in Hamburg, Germany. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week And Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Baltimore Mayor Jack Young

Sure, be happy and proud, Mr. Mayor! After all, you didn’t commit those murders, and better still, you weren’t the victim of any of them!

“I’m not committing the murders. And that’s what people need to understand. I’m not committing the murders. The police commissioner is not committing it. The council is not committing it. So how can you fault leadership? You know this has been five years of 300-plus murders, and I don’t see it as a lack of leadership.”

—Baltimore Mayor Jack Young, responding to criticism over another year of violent crime in the city, with the number of murders about to reach 300.

Any elected official foolish enough to make such a statement should just resign in disgrace. He is incapable of competent leadership, because he doesn’t understand what it is that leaders do. They are responsible for the welfare of those who follow them, depend on them, trust them. Because they have taken on this responsibility, they are accountable to everyone in the organization—in his case, a municipality—for a deterioration in conditions there. Continue reading

Ethics Catch-Up 11/14/2009: Better Late Than Never

Good morning!

Good Afternoon!

Good Night!

I started this post at about 10 am, and again, and again, and each time another post topic intervened, pushing the daily Warm-Up from the beginning of the day to the end of it…

1. Yet another shield becomes a sword…Add caller ID to the list of useful developments ruined by unscrupulous technology. I was recently tricked by what my phone said was a call by the Social Security Administration, and it included a phone number that I had recently received a legitimate call from, via an agent. This call was a scam. Investigating, I found that there are inexpensive apps available at the Android and Apple app stores with no limitations on who can purchase them that have few if any legal of legitimate purpose. SpoofCard, TraceBust, Fake Call Plus and more  allow a caller to enter any ID they choose, and any number. They also offer menus of background sounds, various voice pitches and other features to facilitate fraud.

When ethics fail, the law must step in, and these apps should be illegal.

2. Mona Lisa Ethics. “Leonardo’s painting is a security hazard, an educational obstacle and not even a satisfying bucket-list item. It’s time the Louvre moved it out of the way” shouted a New York Times sub-headline.” It’s hard to argue with the article’s conclusion….or its author’s contempt.  Here’s a photo of the typical crowd in the Louvre’s room where the Va Vinci painting is exhibited:

The Times observes…

Content in the 20th century to be merely famous, she has become, in this age of mass tourism and digital narcissism, a black hole of anti-art who has turned the museum inside out…Relocated to the Richelieu painting wing, the Mona Lisa reduced the museum’s Flemish collection into wallpaper for a cattle pen, where guards shooed along irritated, sweaty selfie-snappers who’d endured a half-hour line. The overcrowding was so bad, the museum had to shut its doors on several days. “The Louvre is suffocating,” said a statement from the union of the museum’s security staff, who went on strike…[The author] went up with the crowds recently. Things were no better. Now, you must line up in a hideous, T.S.A.-style snake of retractable barriers that ends about 12 feet from the Leonardo — which, for a painting that’s just two and a half feet tall, is too far for looking… visitors…could hardly see the thing, and we were shunted off in less than a minute. …Pathetic new signs [read]: “The Mona Lisa is surrounded by other masterpieces — take a look around the room.”

Morons. These are the fruits of celebrity culture and the spread of the sick addiction to self-celebration. Taking selfies of an art masterpiece only has the objective of proving an idiot was there, for other idiots who are impressed. Meanwhile, those who might really appreciate the painting are  prevented from doing so. Continue reading