California is not only rapidly exiting mainstream U.S. culture, it is forging its own distorted and unethical version of right and wrong.
Three alarming examples:
1. Forging ahead with single payer, and reality be damned.
The Sacramento Bee pointed out that by replacing current state-run health programs with a single-payer system, the state would still need to come up with an additional $200 billion annually.This year’s state budget in California is about $180 billion. Yes, implementing a single-payer health care system would require doubling California’s current tax burden.
Oh, never mind! voted 23 to 14 this month in favor of SB 562, a single-payer proposal that would guarantee universal health care to all Californians. “What we did today was really approve the concept of a single-payer system in California,” declared state Senator Ricardo Lara following the vote.The state Senate
No, what they did was reaffirm the fact that progressive cant refuses to yield in the face of cold, hard facts, math, reason and common sense. The cheerleading from the Left is mind-numbing. Writes the Nation: f health care is a right—and it is—the only honest response to the current crisis is the single-payer “ IMedicare for All” reform that would bring the United States in line with humane and responsible countries worldwide.”
Well, let’s see: health care is NOT a right except in Left-Wing Fantasyland, and all of those “humane and responsible countries” have crushing tax burdens, reduced liberty, economic instability, crushing debt and completely different values, priorities and responsibilities than those of the United States.
Ethics is only ethical when it is practical and practicable in the real world. The ethical response to the fact that single-payer doubles the state budget is to say, “Oh. Well, obviously we can’t do that, then. On to plan B.”
2. That minimum wage increase that Gov. Brown said was based on principle rather than economics? Yeah, about that…
Pathological Pandering: A Case Study
Today, on the day she attended Nancy Reagan’s funeral in Simi Valley, California, Hillary Clinton praised her for confronting AIDS, which emerged during her husband’s first term, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell….
“It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about H.I.V./AIDS back in the 1980s. And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan – in particular, Mrs. Reagan – we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it. Nobody wanted anything to do with it.”
As anyone who was alive at the time remembers, however, and as the families and friends of gay victims of the disease will never forget, the Reagans went out of their way to ignore AIDS as long as possible. Despite desperate calls for action from the government by the frightened and mourning gay community, Mrs. Reagan did not mention H.I.V. or AIDS publicly until 1985 and did not give a speech about the disease until 1987. Harshly judging the Reagans in retrospect may or may not be too harsh, but praising Nancy for what Clinton today called her “low-key advocacy” defies reason and reality.
The Unethical Face Of Martin Shkreli
The face above belongs to Martin Shkreli, who was subpoenaed to testify before Congress over last September’s decision as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals to raise the price for Daraprim, an antiparasitic commonly used to treat HIV patients, from $13.50 to $750 a pill. Shkreli bought the 60-year-old drug from Impax Laboratories in August for $55 million and swiftly raised its price. Three months later he stepped down from that position in December following his arrest on securities fraud charges. He is now free on $5 million bail.
He is probably the less able to justify that face above, which he displayed to the elected representatives of the United States of America on earth while refusing to testify, repeatedly citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. Nobody could justify that face, of course; not a ten year old brat, and definitely not a greedy, narcissist corporate executive and predator. In a setting where he should be humble and remorseful, he was defiant and disrespectful. The face is an affront to the entire nation and everyone in it. Continue reading
No More And The Ethics Of Awareness
I was aware of the flimsiness of No More, the NFL’s designated mouth piece to show that it cares about domestic violence, when I recently reviewed the Super Bowl ads. It wasn’t the place to raise the issue, but now Deadspin writer Diana Moskovitz had done so in explosive fashion, in a piece called “No More, The NFL’s Domestic Violence Partner, Is A Sham.”
I think “sham” is a bit harsh, but her point is well-taken: the organization doesn’t really do anything to stop domestic violence. Its sole goal is to raise awareness of the problem by creating a “brand” that can be plastered on t-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse pads, stickers and tote bags. Oh—there’s also a pledge you can take. That’s about it. If you expected that the organization giving us the frightening ad featuring the terrified woman calling 911 was more than this, I guess “sham” may be fair. “Scam” may even be fair.
As Moslkovitz explains with barely restrained anger, No More is all about PR and feeling virtuous. It was inspired by the AIDS ribbons, which in turn were inspired by the yellow ribbons people wore to show support for the Iranian hostages in 1979, which in turn were inspired by…a Tony Orlando and Dawn song. As with Michelle Obama’s hashtag appeal to brutal Nigerian terrorists, none of these symbolic efforts are substantive, but they do make the good, caring people who perform them feel like they are solving a problem. Of course, they aren’t. Moskovitz:
“You know why they are doing this? Because it works. Because it makes money. Because we love pretending to care, especially when a brand makes it easier for us to do by removing all the pain, horror, darkness, and self-reflection and turning concern for others into products—preferably ones that can be worn. Do those teenage boys wearing “I Heart Boobies” really care about breast cancer? Probably not, but at least they’re thinking about it, right? And even if they don’t think about it, they generated money (a nickel on the dollar, maybe, but better than nothing) for a good cause!
This is how low our standards are. Gesture toward a good cause and you’re practically unassailable. No More gave Goodell and the NFL a cheap and perfect way out of a public relations disaster and we shouldn’t be surprised. We do the exact same thing every day when we throw on our Toms, our pink baseball hats, and our latest rubber bracelet of choice, shopping our way into another day with pure hearts and clean consciences.”
Ethics Dunce: Jon Stewart
Face the Nation had George W. Bush on today as its primary guest, so the show’s lead in, CBS This Morning, asked its guest, “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, what question he would ask the man who preceded President Obama in the Oval Office. Stewart’s smirking reply,
“ ‘Tell me about umber and how it helps you in painting cats.’ Jimmy Carter’s like 108? He’s out in Africa pulling guinea worms out of children’s feet, trying to cure them. Bush is at home. ‘Bring me my fruit bowl. Doin’ a still life!”
The technical term for this is, I believe,“being a dick.” Yes, it’s vulgar, but the usual terms don’t quite do Stewart’s gratuitous and unfair nastiness justice in trhis instance.
I recognize that Stewart, who eschewed a flood of well-deserved Democrat jokes over the past five days because he could not get around his massive anti-Republican biases, is in mourning over the GOP electoral avalanche that turned the nation red at all levels of government in all regions. Poor baby. Nonetheless, mocking one President of the United States for his activities in retirement because they do not measure up, in Stewart’s value system, to what Presidents are supposed to do is evidence of a stunning lack of grace, decency,proportion, self-awareness and common sense. Continue reading
Not That It Will Do Any Good To Say So, But U.S. Acceptance of Prison Rape Is An Ethics Outrage
I keep an informal score each television season of how often one of the heroes in a cop or other law enforcement drama will pointedly tell a finally-cornered criminal that he can now look forward to being raped in prison. Of course, this is only representative of the shows I actually see. Even counting only them, however, I have heard such a speech four times in 2011. (The all-time champs in this celebration of prison rape are Dick Wolf’s Law and Order dramas.)
Think about what this means. The scriptwriters are presuming that such a forecast of impending sexual abuse will be enjoyed by the audience, a case of just desserts for the wicked. The casual acceptance of prison rape in America’s penitentiaries is a continuing scandal, and an indictment of our society’s compassion and commitment to the Constitution. Continue reading
Ethics Star and Ethics Hero Emeritus: Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011
I appreciated Elizabeth Taylor, who died yesterday, as a movie star, though I was never a fan. That she was astonishingly beautiful, there is no doubt, an actress who defined the word “voluptuous” when it didn’t mean”implants.” Like many of the Golden Age stars, acting was secondary with Taylor, who had such on-screen presence that she could steal a movie ( “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”) from the likes of Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Judith Anderson, and yes, Tennessee Williams by just lounging around in a slip. Her best adult performance was probably her first, “A Place in the Sun”; her Oscars were more or less frauds, the first (“Butterfield 8”) as a film community gesture of sympathy for her health problems, and the second, for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” as one of those nods for playing against type without embarrassing yourself that Hollywood likes to bestow on its favorites. Continue reading
Well, I think this is an Ethics Alarms record, and not a good one: this Comment of the Day, by prolific commenter Pennagain, is more than a month old. I have no defense, only a possible explanation: the subject of the comment is an unpleasant one, and was more than a little tangential to the main post. It was prompted by a commenter’s reference to comic Eddie Murphy’s anti-gay rants that would have pretty surely ended his career had he been rising in the social media mob-dominated environment of today rather than the still largely-closeted 80’s. That would have been a shame, because Murphy is–was?–a great talent when he wasn’t being a complete jerk, which, unfortunately, was far too often.
What reminded me that I had whiffed after more than a month? An article about Murphy’s “Delirious” was published today in “The Advocate.” So this is timely despite my ineptitude.
I apologize to Pennagain. This wasn’t just a well-written ethics comment, but an important, educational and disturbing one. Maybe it can spark some discussion anew.
Here, very late, is Pennagain’s Comment of the Day, on the post,Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/25/2018: Thuggery, Double Standards And Hypocrisy…Actually, I Could Use This Title EVERY Morning: