Open Forum!


This is as good a place as any to announce a new commenting rule on Ethics Alarms that I should have thought of earlier.

On a post from June, a new commenter entered the fray making the increasingly popular Rationalization #64 claim that the kiddie versions of Critical Race Theory that are being used as propaganda in schools (the “1619 Project” course materials qualify) aren’t really CRT, which is “only taught in law schools.” (I’m not sure it is taught in law schools at all, since it has nothing to do with law.) When I replied that I didn’t appreciate that kind of disinformation on Ethics Alarms, he devolved into outright insults and the clichéd “Good day, sir!” exit that I’m still sick of, though it hasn’t surfaced in a while. I banned him of course (I was being generous to allow his first comment on, in retrospect: I’m looking for articulate progressives, but this jerk was a poor candidate), and I warned him about defying the ban, as he had the whiff about him of someone who would. Sure enough, he tried to return with successively more insulting retorts, which were promptly deleted.

This inspired me to launch the new rule: If a commenter is banned, and comes back and comments anyway, all of that commenter’s previous comments and posts will be sent to Spam Hell.

This isn’t an ex post facto edict, so the mercifully few past commenters who did this won’t be penalized (and I would not want to lose the contributions from the best of them). It also won’t apply to the self-banned going forward.

So that’s that.

Now, please contribute your usual provocative and ethical observations in this week’s Open Forum.

Noon Ethics Warm-Up, 9/10/2019: Fat-Shaming, Race-Baiting, And Terrorist-Tarring [UPDATED]

ARRGH!! Half-way through the day, and not out of my pajamas yet!

1. Here’s the kind of comment that won’t get an aspiring  new commenter approved…From Erik Guettler: “It’s sad that you think you actually know anything about ethical behavior by criticizing Bill Maher, while Donald Trump’s the most unethical, openly racist and corrupt president Americans have ever had.”

The comment fails on many levels. To begin with, it’s stupid (there is a stupidity justification among the Ethics Alarms banning tenets.) Criticizing Maher for his frequent absence of functioning ethics alarms cannot make me think I know anything about ethical behavior. The opposite is true: it is because I am an ethicist that I criticize Maher, though it hardly requires an expert to recognize his unethical conduct.A relatively well-raised 17-year-old could do it.

Second, the comment breaches basic ethical analysis principles, not to mention common sense: President Trump’s conduct is irrelevant to how unethical Maher is, as is my criticism, or not, of the President. Third, his list of Trump failings is—oooh! Let me finally use this!NPC junk. Neither he nor anyone can find me any “openly racist” conduct or statements on the President’s part, for this is one of the Big Lies (#4, to be exact.) I have gone through this dance with many Trump Deranged Facebook friends. Challenged to back up the “openly racist” lie, they babble about how he challenged Obama’s birth certificate, and go downhill from there. The statement that he is the “most unethical” President, personally or professionally,  is proof of historical ignorance and bias. Unethical he is, but whether Trump’s lack of ethics is more or less substantive than that of Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton is a matter of legitimate disagreement. The “corrupt” accusation is also non-substantive, unproven, and based on supposition and bias rather than evidence.

But never mind all that: the claim that Ethics Alarms has somehow ignored Donald Trump’s ethics deficits is so easily disproved that the insulting comment is an example of reckless disregard for the truth.

Bite me, Erik.

And don’t come back.

2. While we’re on the topic of Mr. Maher’s ethics…Here is the professional asshole in his most recent HBO episode:
Continue reading

On Basic Blog Participation Ethics [Updated]

I just had to spam 14 comments, come of them quite extensive, a couple gratuitously insulting, by a former privileged participant here who has been banned from commenting following the procedures described quite clearly under the Comments policies above. That all of these illegal comments arrived exactly during the time when I was unable to visit or moderate Ethics Alarms because of a speaking engagement was either a remarkable coincidence or bad luck. The Mexican army attacked while the Alamo [no, not “Amazon,” as I wrote the first time.] defenders were asleep, too. It’s a crummy thing to do, and, of course, unethical. Continue reading