Day’s End Ethics,9/3/2020: Three Terrible People, And The NFL

This is really getting up late; I spent all day writing legal ethics song parodies, including a new version of the “American Pie” parody I posted earlier. I was going to discuss the answers to that one, but I am so sick of “American Pie” right now I could spit.

Did you know that there was different end of the last verse? It comes in after “And the man there said the music wouldn’t play.” It went,

And there I stood alone and afraid
I dropped to my knees and there I prayed
And I promised him everything I could give
If only he would make the music live
And he promised it would live once more
But this time one would equal four
And in five years four had come to mourn
And the music was reborn…

The Day the Music Died.

1 . Here’s someone to add to your venal scum list: Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who has a “tell-all” book coming out exploiting her time as a trusted friend of Melania Trump. All of these wretched people—Omarosa, John Bolton, Mary Trump, “Anonymous,” the rest of them—are the same. They betray trust for money, like Judas, or Robert Hansson. By any ethical standard, such books should be written, if at all, after the individuals who trusted the authors are dead or at least out of the public eye. That rule is the same whether the scum is cashing in on being trusted by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama or Donald Trump.

And yes, those who reward such low-lifes by buying their books are endorsing, rewarding and encouraging unethical conduct.

2. Wait, why isn’t this guy “cancelled?” From the Times:

The rapper and internet troll 6ix9ine, one of the most polarizing figures in popular culture today, is by turns grating, defiant, relentless, hostile and savvy, a self-proclaimed car crash, a rat and an admitted domestic abuser. At 24, he is also inarguably compelling to many, having landed two Top 5 hits — including “Trollz” with Nicki Minaj, his first No. 1 — and racked up more than one billion new YouTube views in less than four months, since his early release from federal prison this spring.

… In February of last year, he pleaded guilty to firearms and racketeering charges stemming from his role in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, a violent, drug-trafficking Brooklyn gang, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, delivering what the judge in the case called “game-changing” testimony against his former associates… he was sentenced to two years, including the 13 months he’d already served — but it also put his life and rap career in jeopardy…

6ix9ine, a rainbow-haired, suggestively tattooed attention addict, was already controversial — an endless source of Instagram beefs that often devolved into real-world violence, and a convicted sex criminal, having pleaded guilty as a teenager to the use of a child in a sexual performance. Then he repeatedly doubled down on his villain status. His new album is called “TattleTales,” out Friday via the independent distributor Create Music Group,

3. I have an impolitic question to ask after you’ve digested this… Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers

“While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country, We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country.”

—Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D…naturally) in a statement following an officer involved shooting in Kenosha last night, before any investigation has occurred, knowing that the rioters were already gearing up to cause violence and destruction.

And, of course, violence and destruction is what he got.

Police have not commented on what led to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  He was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee after being shot multiple times, in the back, as he appeared to be entering his car and perhaps reaching for something. (I’m no expert, but doesn’t the fact that more than one cop reflexively started shooting suggest that there was  a reason other than “Oh!Here’s an uarmed black man: let’s shoot him”?)

At this point, the important facts are not known, just irrelevant facts injected into the story to make the police look like villains. Blake was apparently shot in front of his kids. Irrelevant.  It is said that he was trying to break up a fight between two women—he’s a peacemaker!—which is what precipitated the police call. Irrelevant. What is relevant is why the police fired, and what action Blake was engaged in or appeared to be engaged in immediately before the shooting. That is not clear in the video. Continue reading

Now THIS Is Racism…But It’s Joe Biden, So Never Mind.

I admit that I am still using the old, original, can’t-be-adjusted-to-fit-anyone-or anything-you-want-to-smear definition of “racism”: “the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.”

That’s one reason that I know that the attacks on President Trump as a racist comprise a Big Lie.  No, criticizing a single Black individual, even nastily or unfairly, isn’t racism. Not favoring policies that confer advantages because of race isn’r racism. Even referring to third world countries with primarily black populations as “shit holes’—just to pick a hypothetical—isn’t racism. However, what Joe Biden said yesterday, during an interview with black and Latino journalists,

“Most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things.”

That’s racism, flat-out, no doubt about it, no spin possible. Not only that, it’s old school racism, like “them darkies just love their watermelon, and are happy pickin’ cotton in the fields!” In sexist terms, it is like saying that women are too emotional to hold leadership position. In a homophobia context, it is like saying that gay men are potential child molesters. The idea that blacks are monolithic and basically all alike was a Jim Crow staple, and like all racist tropes, is, or should be, nonsense on its face.

What Joe Biden said wasn’t a “gaffe.” His statement was clear and unequivocal; indeed it was one of the most coherent things he has uttered in public for a long time. It wasn’t a “gaffe,” except if you use the cynical Washington, D.C. definition of that word, which is “a politician saying in public what he really thinks.”  Back in 1988, when Ross Perot was scaring both parties with his third party run for the President, the NAACP tarred him as a racist because at one point in his address to the group he referred to them as “you people.” Imagine if he had said, “you people are all the same.” Yet that is exactly what Joe Biden said yesterday. Continue reading

My Ethics Conflict: Woodrow Wilson’s Name Should Have Been Removed At Princeton Long Ago, But Erasing It Now Opens The Floodgates, Part II: The Case For Expunging Wilson [Corrected]

Woodrow Wilson’s name should have never been put on

Yet President Wilson ended up being honored by having his name plastered on buildings, schools and bridges (like here in Washington, D.C) more than most Presidents, in part because influential Democratic historians, notably Kennedy family flack Arthur Schlesinger Jr., pushed the false narrative that he was a great idealist and a great leader. This required burying Wilson’s well-documented record as a racist, though the rest of his record wasn’t great either.

In Part I, I gave the official Ethics Alarms argument for not tearing down honors to Wilson now that Black Lives Matters and its allies are in full Soviet/Maoist cultural bulldozing mode. When Wilson is gone, I see little stopping the mob from tearing down Franklin D. Roosevelt memorials next, to name just one example of where this slippery slope leads.

Despite leading our nation through an existential depression and World War II, FDR had his own black marks regarding racism and discrimination, arguably as many as Wilson. In  1916, a document was discovered  showing that  Roosevelt, as Wilson’s Deputy Secretary of the Navy, personally signed an order segregating bathrooms in the Navy Department. As President, FDR wouldn’t allow his black and white White House servants to eat together.  Everyone knows (or should) that he imprisoned about 70,000 American citizens because they were Japanese, and just last year, “The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the Holocaust” revealed  archival evidence of FDR’s callous and bigoted treatment of European Jews prior to and during the Holocaust.  Franklin Roosevelt was a racist and an anti-Semite. When we get into retroactively dishonoring Presidents virtually all of them are at risk.

However, there are persuasive arguments that Wilson is a special case. Continue reading

My Ethics Conflict: Woodrow Wilson’s Name Should Have Been Removed At Princeton Long Ago, But Erasing It Now Opens The Floodgates, Part I: The Case For Woodrow

Reviewing, I see that the original Black Lives Matter attack on American values, history and culture first broke out in 2015. Then as now, Democrats rushed to embrace the racist group’s anti-white, anti-police and anti-America agenda, seeking, as usual, to enamor itself with its base. That was also the first time Princeton University was urged by student activists to remove honors to Wilson from the campus, though Wilson was not only a President of the United States (and according to Democrats until recently, one of the greatest) but also a lauded president of Princeton. The 2015 calls for his airbrushing out of Princeton’s history coincided with many similar attempts, some successful, to dishonor past historical figures whose legacies or conformity with modern values had been called into question.

College campuses, not city streets, were ground zero in 2015. Yale and the University of Missouri led the madness. At Mizzou, black students manufactured racial outrage out of ambiguous and off-campus incidents, then engaged in what Ethics Alarms then termed  an “I’m mad at the world and somebody has to pay for it” tantrum (Hmmm! Still sounds pretty good!), demanding all sorts of special accommodations and race-based policies and hirings, and demanding the university president’s resignation. Thomas Wolfe did resign, giving us an early precedent for all the capitulation and cowardice we are seeing today. As we’re seeing today, intimidation, race-bullying and attacks on free expression and language were part of the assault:

  • Amherst students demanded a crack-down on any free speech in the form of criticism of Black Lives Matters or the protest goals.
  • Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matters members roamed through the campus library, verbally assaulting white students attempting to study.
  • Smith College held a sit-in, and barred reporters-–the new breed of campus freedom-fighters just don’t like that pesky First Amendment—unless they promised to cover the protest positively. .
  • Occidental College students occupied a three-story administration building, demanding “a series of actions ranging from racist to just unreasonable to oppressive” in the name of “safety” and “diversity”, of course. Predictably, the leftist faculty which helped make the students this way were fully supportive.Refresh your recollections with the list of student demands here; my favorites: demanding an increase in tenured black professors and black doctors; funding for the student group for black men, which is racist and counter-diverse by definition; and “elimination of military and police rhetoric from all documents and daily discourse.”

Why is this so familiar? Continue reading

The Uncle Ben Conundrum

Let’s begin with this: what’s racist about Uncle Ben?

Yesterday we discussed PepsiCo dumping Aunt Jemima on the silly pretense that doing so would  “make progress toward racial equality,” thus grabbing the lead in the breakfast food grovel  sweepstakes. Even though Aunt Jemima no longer looks like a “mammy,” the idea was that she began as an offensive racist stereotype, and once a stereotype, always a stereotype. First they came for Aunt Jemima…and then it was Mrs. Butterworth. Like Althouse, who blogged about Mrs. B yesterday, I never thought of the female-shaped syrup container as having any race at all. An article in the  New York  Post claimed that the bottle was modeled after Butterfly McQueen, the black actress who played  the mentally-challenged slave Prissy in “Gone With The Wind.” That’s odd: I don’t recall Prissy being filled with syrup. This is one more example (among many) of activists desperately searching for things to be offended about  to bend individuals and companies to their will at a time when so many of those with power appear to be ready to agree to anything to prove how woke they are.

Now we learn that Mars is going to rebrand Uncle Ben’s Rice because Ben evokes a racist stereotype. What would that be? Uncle Ben appears to be a middle aged-black guy in a bow tie, and that’s how he’s always looked. What’s the theory here?

The clue may be the Cream of Wheat man, who never had a name that I was aware of.

Reportedly he’s on the chopping block too. Is it because he’s a chef? Is it because he’s smiling? Is it because he had a relationship with Aunt Jemima? Continue reading

From The Ethics Alarms Archives, August 21, 2014: “Wishing Ethics: What Should We WANT The Outcome To Be In Ferguson?”

finger-crossed

[This seems to be a propitious time to re-post this essay, from the peak of the Micahel Brown shooting upheaval. I’m going to wrestle my fingers to the ground and avoid making any comments on it now, and leave such reflections to the comments.]

The simple answer to the question in the headline is: we should all want the truth to come out, whatever it is, and be dealt with honestly and justly. I don’t think that result is possible, unfortunately, just as it proved impossible in the Martin-Zimmerman tragedy.If the truth could be determined, however…if an experimental, advanced video recorder just happened to capture everything that occurred between Officer Wilson and Mike Brown, including in the squad car; if it captured the incident from all angles, and we could hear and see everything that transpired between them, what would we want that to be, recognizing that the tragedy cannot be undone?

Would we want it to show that Mike Brown was murdered, that he was fleeing for his life when he escaped the car, then turned, fell to his knees ( as at least one witness claims) and was gunned down with his hands in the air? Obviously many Americans, including Brown’s family, the Ferguson protestors, many African-Americans, civil rights activists, police critics, politicians and pundits, have an interest in seeing this be the final verdict of investigators, for a multitude of reasons. The grieving family wants their son to be proven innocent of any fault in his own death. Others, especially those who prematurely declared Officer Wilson  guilty of “executing” Brown, have a strong interest in being proven right, for even though it would not excuse their unfair and irresponsible rush to judgment, such a determination would greatly reduce the intensity of criticism leveled at them.

[Side Note on Ethics Dunce Jay Nixon: That won’t stop the criticism here, however: Whatever the facts prove to be,  Gov. Jay Nixon’s comments are indefensible, and inexcusable. Now the Democrat is denying that they meant what he clearly meant to convey: calling for “justice for Brown’s family” and a “vigorous prosecution” can only mean charging Wilson, and that is what those calling for Wilson to be arrested took his comments to mean. If the Governor didn’t mean that, as he now claims, then he is 1) an ignoramus and 2) beyond incompetent to recklessly comment on an emotion-charged crisis in his state without choosing his words carefully.]

Or should we hope that the facts exonerate Wilson? After all, shouldn’t we want the one living participant in this tragedy to be able to have some semblance of a life without being forever associated with villainy? Certainly his family and friends, as well as member of the Ferguson police force who want their own ranks to be vindicated, and police all over the nation who have had their profession attacked and denigrated in the wake of the shooting, fervently hope that the narrative pushed by the demonstrators is proven wrong.

Others want to see Wilson proven innocent for less admirable reasons. They want to use the incident to condemn police critics, and undermine and discredit civil rights advocates, especially long-time ideological foes like Al Sharpton. They want Eric Holder to look biased, (he looks biased anyway, because he appears to be taking sides) and to make the case—one that a single episode neither supports nor can possible rebut—that police do not have itchy trigger fingers when their weapons are pointed at young black men.

From the standpoint of ethics, which means that the best outcome will be the one that does the most good for society, the choice is complex.  Continue reading

Pandemic Ethics Potpourri: Spring Cleaning, Chapter 1

My files of potential and ongoing ethics stories and issues involving the Wuhan virus outbreak are stuffed to overflowing. I’m not going to have time to do the full posts many of these deserve, and the rest risk dropping into oblivion. Here is the first of several collections that will at least flag issues while allowing me to keep current…

1. Golf and the virus…

  • Three Massachusetts golfing enthusiasts, blocked from the links in their own state , were charged with misdemeanors in Rhode Island after going to extraordinary lengths to sneak into that state to hit the little white balls around. Rhode Island has issued a directive requiring all travelers to quarantine themselves for 14 days after entering the state. Gregory Corbett, 51, Tyler Pietrzyk, 22, and Nye Cameron, 22, determined to make it to the Meadow Brook Golf Course drove from Massachusetts to the smallest state, changed cars in a McDonald’s parking lot, and proceeded to the golf course with Rhode Island-issued plates to the club.
  • Right: right, we’re all in this together. Here’s Michigan Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel in two tweets:

2. When the going gets tough, the tough get race-baiting. Black Americans are experiencing a significantly higher percentage of infections and deaths than other demographic groups, especially in big cities. There are many likely reasons for this, but this one is infuriating: Continue reading

Eureka! Here’s One Way To Guarantee Diversity In College Admissions: Eliminate Objective Standards

Oh, it can’t be you! It’s always the test.

A group of students, advocacy groups and a primarily black and Hispanic California school district filed suit against the University of California last week,  alleging that  the SAT and ACT college admission tests discriminate  against black and Hispanic students and demanding that the school stop using standardized test scores in its admissions process.

The theory that the tests are biased against poor and mainly black and Hispanic students concludes that the system illegally discriminates against applicants on the basis of their race, wealth or disabilities, thus denying them equal protection under the California Constitution. This battle has been fought before, of course. There was a time, decades ago, when foes of standardized testing could point to test questions referring to yachting and Western philosophers, baking in a bias that handicapped students fromracial and ethnic  sub-cultures in America. Those prejudicial questions have been purged, but the long-time disparity between the test scores of white and Asian applicants on one side and black and Hispanic students on the other continues. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day, From The Epic Commenter Donnybrook In This Week’s Open Forum

battle-marvel

I was reading with interest, amusement and edification the comment thread in the recent open forum in which two, then four, then even more veteran Ethics Alarms participants got into a heated—but admirably rational and fairly fought—debate over  Steve Witherspoon‘s social media battles with a near-parody of a progressive member of the Madison Metropolitan School Board.  The donnybrook eventually extended to the ethics of public figures blocking critics on social media, apology ethics, race-based school policies, mass-incarceration, and more.

In addition to Steve weighing in were Michael R,  Jutgory, Humble Talent, Paul W. Schlecht, and late entrants slickwilly, Here’s Johnny, and Chris Marschner.

It was kind of like an “Avengers” movie, but more intelligent.

In making the choice I have for this Comment of the Day, I am not declaring any winner. Indeed, there are conclusions in the post to follow that I disagree with, and I’ll be back at the end with some of my own comments.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the Ali Muldrow thread in the recent open forum:

“What I’m hoping for is less crime committed at school thus requiring fewer arrests and that is what you should be hoping for too.”

I think this is a useless truism. In a conversation about whether certain group are being treated differently than others or whether we ought to arrest children for being disorderly at school, saying “I wish people committed fewer offenses.” is a non sequitur.

As an aside: And this is a question Ali didn’t ask properly: Do you think that children should be arrested for being disorderly? And what do you think “disorderly” in that context entails?

Ali Wrote: “Explain to me how arresting people makes the world a better place, how prisons and detention centers are keeping Americans safe?”

To which you commented: “In all seriousness; anyone that writes that kind of question is completely blinded by their own bias, or they’re a blithering idiot, or they’re trying to justify the elimination of police, prisons and detention centers.”

I think this is an Americanism. Ali said that America was one of the most deadly nations on Earth. That’s not true, she should visit the Congo. But it is somewhat ironic that “The Land of The Free” has three times as many incarcerated people per capita that any other nation on Earth. Does American exceptionalism mean that Americans are also exceptionally criminal, or are you maybe doing something wrong? My take is that America locks people up for a ridiculous number of non-violent crimes, but your mileage may vary. And I don’t think “Well did he break the law or not?” is a good response to “Should this crime carry jail time?” or even better, “Should this be a crime?”. People learn how to be better criminals in jail, it stunts their lives both financially and socially, it’s permanently scarring, and sometimes fatal. While it is necessary to remove people from society or otherwise punish them for some things, sending people to criminal boot camp for jaywalking *is* counterproductive, it *does* make the world a worse place. (and I realize jaywalking is not that kind of crime, that’s hyperbole.) Continue reading