Wait…Why Does Facebook Allow Non-Americans To Censor Our Political Discourse?

That’s impressive: Facebook’s “quasi-independent” review board is even more unethical than I thought.

That board’s membership was in my print version of the New York Times yesterday. If it’s on the web, it’s too well hidden for me, but here is the disturbing part: on the 20 person board, 15 of the “‘experts” don’t live in the United States of America.

Let’s make this clear: as Tom Slater of “Spiked!” correctly points out, Facebook’s banning of Trump ‘represented one of the most terrifying corporate interventions into democratic politics in recent memory. In removing Trump from its platform, used by around 70 per cent of adult Americans, Facebook was effectively standing between a president and his people, depriving him of access to what now constitutes the public square. This is an assault on democracy that makes the surreal storming of the Capitol pale into insignificance.”

Exactly. And to review a decision with massive consequences for our nation and its public, Facebook turns to distant arbiters who 1) have no stake in the fate of the United States at all and 2) lack the cultural values unique to this country of treasuring and protecting free speech and expression.

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From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur” Fliles: Matt Shirley’s “Worst Attractions” Chart

Who is Matt Shirley? He’s a guy who has hit on the creative social media gimmick of making a daily chart about whatever strikes his fancy. In this case, his chart tells us a lot about—the lack of cultural literacy, biases, and historical ignorance of the people who follow Matt Shirley. The clever thing about a product like this chart is that it relieves its creator of any responsibility for its content. He is responsible for judging the accumulated unstudied opinions of jerks and fools worthy of publication, however.

As the title above suggests, the chart should have obvious implications. However, some of the entries will cause me to strangle on my own disgust unless I mention them. For example, Continue reading

Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 1… Ethics Quote Of The Month: President Donald Trump

“It is time for our politicians to summon the bravery and determination of our American ancestors. It is time. It is time to plant our flag and to protect the greatest of this nation for citizens of every race in every city in every part of this glorious land. For the sake of our honor, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our union, we must protect and preserve our history, our heritage, and our great heroes. Here tonight before the eyes of our forefathers, Americans declare again, as we did 244 years ago, that we will not be tyrannized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people. It will not happen.”

President Donald J Trump, speaking at Mt. Rushmore last night, and aggressively defending the United States of America, its Founders, its history and culture.

Bravo.

Last night’s speech, a ringing assertion of American greatness and a defiant condemnation of those who would topple it, despite the inevitable Trump flourishes of exaggeration, hyperbole, and deliberate provocation, was exactly what was needed, called for, and had to be said. It was inspiring, or should have been: I wonder about anyone who could read the transcript and not be stirred. I would ask, “What happened to you?” We also now know why it was appropriate to give that speech by Mt. Rushmore. The President extolled and defended our heroes, and devoted a section of the speech to each of the Presidents on the mountain, including, as CNN said last night to its damnation, “two slaveholders.”

There are about ten passages in the speech that I could have highlighted. I picked that one because it reminded me of this speech by a fictional President in a movie I detest, “Independence Day.” I would not be surprised to learn the speechwriter had that model in mind:

“President Whitmore” is talking about space aliens trying to destroys us. The mobs of America-haters who are attacking our core values and culture remind me of the aliens in “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers,” taking over the minds and bodies of one rational citizens, and terrorizing those who won’t submit to their “conversion.” Continue reading

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The New York Times…And A Close Runner-Up, Both Libeling America

This isn’t news, it isn’t history, it isn’t fair, and it is anti-American. Does anyone objective need more evidence that the New York Times has abandoned any sense of its role in informing the public? This is pure, indefensible race-baiting and Black Lives Matter propaganda.

1. Native American Tribes “owned” almost all of the territory everything in the U.S. was built on, including the New York Times building. They don’t any more.

2. The Mount Rushmore sculpture is art, and the political and social views of the artist, Gutzon Borglum, is a matter of record. The George Floyd mobs want to justify erasing as much American art and culture as possible by any means necessary. If the artwork itself won’t justify the destruction (as with the Emancipation Memorial, the second version of which was just marked for removal in Boston), then the subject will ( Columbus); if the subjects are defensible, than the artist must have something in his history to support the erasure of his work. It’s a disingenuous bootstrapping exercise, for the objective is really to destroy the symbols of our republic and re-write the history of the United States. An artist’s work and the artist are separate and distinct. In the case of Mount Rushmore, the work has taken on far more importance and symbolism, all positive, inspiring and uplifting. An American who cannot find pride in Mount Rushmore is an ignorant American, one whose understanding of his or her own nation has been poisoned, or one with a sinister agenda. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/15/2019: Patriots Day! Jackie Robinson Day!

Good morning!

It’s funny: over at Ann Althouse’s blog, she’s complaining about how there’s nothing to write about. From an ethics perspective, I am finding too much to write about, especially since, unlike Ann, I still have to work for a living.

1. Quick: what does Patriots Day commemorate (and no, it’s not Tom Brady)? My home state of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine (which was once part of the Bay State), and Wisconsin observe the holiday, which honors the twin battles of Lexington and Concord, the confrontations with the British (on April 19, 1775, the day after “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”) that launched the Revolutionary War. I visited both battlefields more times than I could count when I was living in Arlington, Mass., right next to Lexington. That battlefield, what’s left of it, is in the middle of busy streets on all sides; it’s hard to imagine the scene as described in the song above from “1776.” Concord’s battlefield, in contrast, is almost exactly as it was in 1775.

All the publicity, even in Boston, about today will be dominated by the running of the Boston Marathon, but attention should be paid to the inspiring story of how ragtag groups of volunteers faced off against the trained soldiers of the most powerful country on Earth, sending the message that this rebellion would not be so easy to put down.  49 Colonists died, 39 were wounded, and five were unaccounted for. The British lost 73, while 174 were wounded,and 26 were missing.

2. It’s also Jackie Robinson Day. In every MLB game today, every player will wear Jackie’s number 42. The best way to honor Jackie for the rest of us is to tell his story to someone who doesn’t know who Jackie Robinson was, and it is shocking how many such people there are. The film “42” does an excellent job of dramatizing how Jackie broke the color barrier in baseball, simultaneously weakening segregation everywhere. The Ethics Alarms post about Robinson is here. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day on “Comment Of The Day: ‘Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/27/18: …And Slanted History’ [Item #5]”

This concise but useful comment of the day takes the baton from the previous one, which discussed the reasons for the increasing politicizing of American history, often with the objective of vilifying the American experience.

Here is JutGory‘s Comment of the Day on the post, Comment Of The Day: Morning Ethics Warm-Up. 11/27/18: … And Slanted History” [Item #5]

Tempted to write several times, but never felt I would have the time to do my thoughts (or the topic) justice. Not that I consider myself a good student of history, but even big idiots can usually crack the 90th percentile (and I am a bigger idiot than most).

Progressives are undoing a grand bargain. Grant won; Lee lost; Grant let the defeated army walk home; and Lee agreed the cause was lost. Both sides saved face; they agreed to bury the hatchet. The South had formal and substantive arguments that formed the basis for secession (or war). That issue was put to rest and both sides were able, through the wisdom of the generals on both sides, to put an end to the fight.

The hatchet has been dug up by the progressives. The honest differences cannot be entertained. There cannot be honor on both sides, which was the deal struck (even for the losing side). The implicit agreement to let the past be the past has been ripped open by those lacking the wisdom of the Founders, who kicked the can down the road, or Grant and Lee, who decided to stop kicking it. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: Morning Ethics Warm-Up. 11/27/18: “Unethical Perry Mason, Icky Science, Race Card-Playing Democrats, Intrusive Bosses And Slanted History” [Item #5]

I was searching for lost Comments of the Day, and rediscovered this, from Michael West. His commentary of a week ago struck a new chord because of this story, which ruined today for me. Apparently last year a fraternity that had run into trouble for various infractions was told  by a Stanford University administrator  that it could improve its image on campus by taking down the American flag it flew from the house. The Stanford administrator allegedly said “that the American flag, as a symbol, could be intimidating, aggressive or alienating.” 

Why are elite American institutions teaching students to regard the symbol of the United States as an offensive one? Who is responsible for this culturally suicidal trend? Why wasn’t it nipped in the bud long ago?

[Tangential observation: Anyone who talks about the border conflict while using the phrase “tear-gassed women and children” deserves to be rhetorically crushed in the toughest possible terms.  It is signature significance for an ignorant jerk. At this point in history, any progressive who defaults to the 20th Century concept they have relentless mocked and derided, that women are a tender gender that deserves special delicacy in all things, is a fraud and a hypocrite. If the men trying to rush our border and stone our agents are justly tear-gassed, and they were and are, so are the women who support them.  As for the children, they are not being tear-gassed; the adults who disgracefully and cynically use them as human shields are, and the children, due to the cruelty of those who should be keeping them out of danger rather than thrusting them into it,, are the victims of criminal activity.

The alternative is to create a mad precedent that law-breakers can ensure special immunity from law enforcement if they carry children as talismans.]

Last month a survey reported that “Younger Americans are turning on the country and forgetting its ideals, with nearly half believing that it isn’t ‘great’ and many eyeing the U.S. flag as ‘a sign of intolerance and hatred,’ according to a new and disturbing survey.” If this is accurate, then, in order, parents, the education system, irresponsible politicians and the new media are my first candidates for the accusing finger. The fact that someone like Donald Trump is the most visible and prominent advocate for patriotism is certainly not helpful either.

This is an existential development. American values are linked to the nation itself. If people reject the nation, those core values are also at risk. No wonder attacks on our institutions, efforts to unravel the Bill of Rights, minimizing American contributions to world civilization,  and other efforts to erase the essence of our culture are suddenly finding more success than ever before. Once, the Stanford story would be dismissed as an outlier, “News of the Weird.” No more. In fact, we have been dangerously blase about such stories. It’s time to take them seriously.

Oh—that Stanford fraternity responded to the anti-flag tip by buying, and flying, a bigger flag. That’s the America I know and love. Let’s fight for it, shall we?

Here’s Michael West’s Comment of the Day on item #5 in the post, Morning Ethics Warm-Up. 11/27/18: Unethical Perry Mason, Icky Science, Race Card-Playing Democrats, Intrusive Bosses And Slanted History: Continue reading