Here’s Another Unethical Trend To Dread As Progressives Grab The Reins: “Trauma-Informed Justice”

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Trauma-informed justice, also called “victim-centered” justice, is becoming the cool new thing as woke anti-civil rights activists seek to get around due process and the presumption of innocence when it suits their agenda. The technique involves an interview methodology where the police prioritize empathy for accusers, who are automatically presumed to be victims. The methodology is especially favored for allegations of sexual abuse and domestic violence, where the accusers are overwhelmingly female: this a “believe all victims as long as they are wo,men” anti-male approach that has its roots in the feminist movement. The methodology was refined by Russell Strand, U.S. Military Police School, who offered the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) as a way to question presumed victims without making them relive an assault.

The theory dictates that police conduct investigations following three principles:

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Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?’

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It’s a gift to your host when I can start out with a Comment of the Day, especially on days like this, when I wake up feeling like I lost a bucket of IQ points overnight.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the Mrs. Q’s discourse on the meme/poster above, and the chiding of pundit Andrew Sullivan, who criticized it:

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Comment Of The Day: “Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?”

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Mrs. Q—I’m still beginning 2021 hoping that she will re-activate her personal column on Ethics Alarms!—delivered a characteristically sharp and thoughtful commentary on the meme/poster above, thus earning the Comment of the Day.

In related news, Andrew Sullivan had this exchange with a trans activist who accused him of being a bigot. (Andrew, as he tells us at every opportunity, is gay):

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A brief on-topic digression: I find it amazing how really terrible reasoning and stunningly lame arguments find their way onto public forums to make the public even more ignorant and incompetent than it already is, meaning dangerously ignorant and incompetent. Consider that last tweet: Molly begins by saying that her assertion that Sullivan is bigot is bolstered by her own self-proclaimed status, or in other words, “It’s true because I saw so.” Next, she cites a personal anecdote as if what she thought and she chose to do proves anything about anything other than what she thought and she did. Finally, we get the non-sequitur that “Foucoult had sex with transwomen,” a twist on #32. The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing.” There was nothing wrong with Foucoult having sex with transwomen if indeed that is true, but that still doesn’t mean that not having sex with transwomen is proof of bigotry, and who made Michael Foucoult the arbiter of sexual preferences?

Ann Althouse, who found that Twitter exchange, was sufficiently perplexed by Molly’s argument that he hypothesized that it has to be a joke. She also found this, for which I am grateful:

Schrödinger’s Douchebag: A guy who says offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction of people around him.

That’s funny, but in real life the process is that someone makes a statement that offensive or stupid, means it, but retreats to Rationalization #55, The Joke Excuse, when they are criticized.

Here is Mrs. Q’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?”:

Welcome to the world lesbians have been subjected to for at least 6-10 years.

Please take a gander at TERF is a Slur. A “TERF” is likely defined as Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. However this term has been used specifically against lesbians who object to sleeping with or dating men who identify as lesbians. Ask any lesbian what being a part of the LGBTQ+ “community” is like if you object to a born-male partner personally.

The sad thing is there are plenty of queer and bisexual identified women (and men) who are more than happy to date men who identify as women and/or lesbians. For a long time in history, men have viewed “bedding real lesbians” as a badge of honor or conquest or something. For some lesbians the energy from these born men feels the same. Now straight men are finally getting the same treatment.

Gay men are also being pressured to be an ally by sex act. The whole LGBTQ+ solidarity idea is a myth pushed by lobbies hungry for money and power. This queercraft – as I call it – pushes a message that gay is whatever you decide but also that gay is old-fashioned and to be transcended by being an all encompassing “queer.”

And queer, mind you, increasingly means heterosexuals (often white, progressive, and middle class or above) who want to facilitate both “gender variance” in fashion/personal expression, and playing with “sexual edges and norms.” Basically some kinky straight folks want to get points for donning more than rainbow socks but also rainbow identities.

Gays who don’t have an interest in transgender partners are at times vilified for having a “genital fetish” and I suppose the TRA’s, aka trans radical activists (or trans rights activists – but I like to separate those who want equal rights from those who perpetuate false equity through eradicating sex-based rights), are finally coming for the straights.

But I want to say something else regarding why this issue became something I came to pay attention to for a while.

It began when my wife, a “gender non-conforming” lesbian, was harassed multiple times by FtM’s. Each time she was literally just minding her own business when one shoulder-checked her and called her a “fucking dyke.” This happened a couple more times in different ways by two others assailants. Worse, at her former workplace, a bizarre campaign to remove sex-segregated bathrooms went out of control.

When a six foot two person in heavy boots and too short of skirts claims online to “love blood” and “body horror” while identifying as a “leather dyke” who is into children’s books and anime, it’s understandable some women may be uncomfortable around such a person, especially one who clearly shows, by the fit of clothing, to be an intact male. The bathroom felt like a war zone when this person and others began publishing various workplace bathroom photos online.

And the lesbian bars in cities across the country closed, many after being targeted for being “transphobic” for simply calling themselves “lesbian bars.” Some were cancelled because enough women at such venues rejected born-male advances.

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Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?

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Here’s my preliminary list:

1. It deliberately or ignorantly confounds bias with hate. Bias is a preference that may or may not be rational. There is no evidence that those men who would not choose to date trans women hate them. Do short men choose not to date tall women because they hate them? Do educated men prefer not to date high school drop-outs because they hate them?

2. Thus the poster denies the human right to choose who we want to have romantic relationships with. If it’s hateful not to want to date women who used to be men, then it’s hateful to choose only to date attractive women, thin women, strong women, Jewish women, women of one’s own religion, nationality or race. Personal preference is itself unacceptable if it does not advance the current definition of social justice.

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“Miracle On 34th Street,”An Ethics Companion,Chapter 4: Is Kris Crazy, Or What? [Corrected]

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(The Introduction is here.; Chapter I is here.;Chapter 2 is here; Chapter 3 is here.)

When we last saw Kris Kringle, he had become a big hit at Macy’s by sending shoppers to Gimbel’s, and even was making inroads on young Susan’s precocious skepticism after she heard him speak Dutch. The story really begins going off the ethics rails at this point.

Doris decides that it would probably be responsible to have Kris checked out by the company psychologist, Mr. Sawyer, since her Santa is, after all, nuts. Yah think? In truth, it is per se irresponsible for Macy’s to knowingly employ a Santa Claus operating under the delusion that he is really Santa. The first authority a store would consult in real life, yes, even in the 1950s, would be a member of the legal department. If anything happened to a child in Macy’s store while sitting on the lap of a man who openly claimed to be a mythological figure, the lawsuits would write themselves. Thus the story really takes a turn toward an indictment of capitalism and corporate ethics: Macy’s is willing to put children at risk for some extra profit. Luckily, nobody has noticed in the past half-century.

Here we have a famous breach of competence by the screenwriter, George Seaton. While boasting to Doris about all the mental acuity tests he has passed, Kris says,

“I’ve taken dozens of them. Never failed one yet. Know them by heart. “How many days in the week?” Seven! “How many fingers do you see?” “Four!”….No damage to the nervous system! “Who was the first President of the United States?” George Washington! “Who was Vice-President under John Quincy Adams?” Daniel D. Tompkins! I’ll bet your Mr. Sawyer doesn’t know that!”

He doesn’t know that because it isn’t true. Tompkins was Vice-President under James Monroe, the fifth President, not Adams, #6. It drives me crazy when Hollywood allows historical misinformation to pollute the minds of the historically ignorant public, because there’s no excuse for it. Even before the internet, this fake fact could have been checked using any dictionary or encyclopedia. Nobody cared enough to bother. To make the mistake worse, John Quincy Adams’ VP was, unlike Thompkins, an important historical figure, John C. Calhoun.

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List Ethics Case Study: “The 25 Greatest Actors Of The 21st Century (So Far)”

Lists are fun (that’s why “The Book of Lists” was a runaway best seller); they also drive me crazy. Unless the lists are based on incontrovertible statistics and identifiable features (American League batting champions since 1900; states that begin with the letter “N”) they are essentially a stranger’s arbitrary opinions misrepresenting themselves as facts. I’ve posted about this a couple of times, first in 2011. That one concluded (in part), “I know these lists are all intended in good fun. When one is dealing with history, however, fun doesn’t excuse advancing misinformation at the cost of enlightenment.”

The list in question today involves subjective aesthetic judgments, not history, but it still has ethical problems. It was compiled by the New Your Times film critics—you know: experts!”—and purports to show us the “25 greatest actors of the 21st Century (so far).” That’s a lie. I guarantee that the authors themselves do not believe these are the 25 greatest actors by any standards.

Let’s look at the list:

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“Fertility Equality”

This ethics topic has been lying around on my office floor—literally—for more than a month now. I have not known what to do with it. The New York Times—it is for occasional articles like this that I subscribe to that habitually unethical paper—published an article in July headlined (in the print version) “The Right To A Baby?” It appeared in its “Thursday Styles” section, which specializes in elite trivia (the other piece on that section’s front page was about tattoo artist and dog groomers who make house calls).

Here is the first part of the article:

While plenty of New Yorkers have formed families by gestational surrogacy, they almost certainly worked with carriers living elsewhere. Because until early April, paying a surrogate to carry a pregnancy was illegal in New York state.

The change to the law, which happened quietly in the midst of the state’s effort to contain the coronavirus, capped a decade-long legislative battle and has laid the groundwork for a broader movement in pursuit of what some activists have termed “fertility equality.”

Still in its infancy, this movement envisions a future when the ability to create a family is no longer determined by one’s wealth, sexuality, gender or biology.

“This is about society extending equality to its final and logical conclusion,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, the founder and executive director of Men Having Babies, a New York nonprofit that helps gay men become fathers through surrogacy. “True equality doesn’t stop at marriage. It recognizes the barriers L.G.B.T.s face in forming families and proposes solutions to overcome these obstacles.”

The movement is led mostly by L.B.G.T.Q. people, but its potential to shift how fertility coverage is paid for could have an impact on straight couples who rely on surrogates too.

Mr. Poole-Dayan and others believe infertility should not be defined as a physical condition but a social one. They argue that people — gay, straight, single, married, male, female — are not infertile because their bodies refuse to cooperate with baby making.

Rather, their specific life circumstances, like being a man with a same-sex partner, have rendered them unable to conceive or carry a child to term without medical intervention. A category of “social infertility” would provide those biologically unable to form families with the legal and medical mechanisms to do so.

“We have this idea that infertility is about failing to become pregnant through intercourse, but this is a very hetero-centric viewpoint,” said Catherine Sakimura, the deputy director and family law director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “We must shift our thinking so that the need for assisted reproductive technologies is not a condition, but simply a fact.”

Fertility equality activists are asking, at a minimum, for insurance companies to cover reproductive procedures like sperm retrieval, egg donation and embryo creation for all prospective parents, including gay couples who use surrogates. Ideally, activists would also like to see insurance cover embryo transfers and surrogacy fees. This would include gay men who would transfer benefits directly to their surrogate….

Observations:

  • I see this as an excellent example of how a threshold decision in an ethical analysis of any new idea is whether bias and the automatic prejudice human beings tend to have against any new concept—basically the “Ick Factor”—is making a fair analysis impossible. It’s hard to do; our tendency with such ideas is to think, “That’s ridiculous!” and  stop there. But of course, that was the original majority reaction to many ideas that were revolutionary at one time but that represented the progress of ethics, which is evolutionary by nature and necessity. We always are learning that there are things we thought were right and “natural” that were, in fact, wrong, and that some concepts that society viewed as wrong for centuries were either neutral or benign.

That process is what ethics is. Continue reading

From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur” Files: The Presidential Ranking Survey

One of the more depressing developments during the Post 2016 Election Ethics Train Wreck has been how virtually all of our professions have proven unable to remain objective and trustworthy, instead descending into bias and submitting to peer pressure—exactly the kind of behavior professionals are supposed to have the training and integrity to avoid. Journalists have been the worst in this respect of course, with politicians close behind. However, judges, lawyers, educators, academics, psychiatrists, health officials, performers and, yes, ethicists have also disgraced themselves, among others.

One persistent example of a corrupted profession is historians, and a useful measure of their ethics rot has been Presidential rankings. Here’s one I missed from 2018, when “172 professional historians” were asked to rank the POTUSes from first to last, using a 1-100 scale. A Jimmy Kimmel writer who ran out of current Trump-bashing material circulated this on Twitter, and it is, as they say, “trending.”

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Nice Try, Charley…But You Still Struck Out

I usually skip the New York Times Sunday Review section now. By mid-2017, it had become so partisan and such a nest of rabid Trump Derangement that it was not unusual for 75% of the content to consist of anti-Trump screeds. I finally got bored with it; the stuff was predictable and too often completely bats. If I read it at all, I did so to check how fanatically the Times was supporting the various coup efforts.

Charlie Warzel is one of the less hateful of the Times op-ed writers, though based on his Ethics Alarms file he is also one of most juvenile. He was the author of a New York Times editorial  titled “Open States, Lots of Guns. America Is Paying a Heavy Price for Freedom,” or in my print edition, “Will We Get Used To The Dying?” that I had fun shredding—it wasn’t hardhere. I was curious to see if he’s gotten any better since May in his Wuhan virus hysteria. His title seemed promising:  “How to Actually Talk to Anti-Maskers: You cannot force public trust; you have to earn it.”

I think “anti-maskers” are jerks. It is still unclear to me how much good masks do, and the information from the “experts” has been inconsistent. I still see no reason to wear the things outside when nobody is going to come within ten feet of you, and I don’t. However, the ethical reasons to wear them are still valid:

  • They might make a difference.
  • Wearing them demonstrates good will and that one is trying to be responsible.
  • It places those at enhanced risk at ease.
  • It can’t hurt. The recent claim of Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) that his mask probably infected him was spectacularly dishonest and irresponsible, but you know, that’s Louie.

I also regard fanatic pro-mask hysterics as ridiculous and will say so when pressed.

However, I was interested to see if Charlie, having gotten himself on the Ethics Alarms Naughty List with his previous screed about the pandemic, would redeem himself. For writing op-eds is all about trust too: if I know you shade the facts, omit relevant information, engage in bias and cheat in your logic, I really don’t care what your opinion is. It’s not worth reading.

Charlie begins with an anecdote about how health officials gained the trust of the public in Senegal during an Ebola outbreak. OK—as long as the idea is to make a point about trust. Ebola isn’t the Wuhan virus, and the United States’ culture isn’t remotely like Senegal’s. Then he writes,

Taiwan is welcoming baseball fans back into stadiums. As of June, more than 20 other countries have begun the process of bringing children back to school. Thailand, a country of 70 million, hasn’t had an instance of local coronavirus transmission in seven weeks, as of last Thursday. And yet Americans are staring down nearly 150,000 virus deaths while governors and health officials pleading with citizens to wear masks are starting to sound like substitute teachers who’ve lost control of the classroom.

One indicator of how bad things are: Last week, Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading infectious-disease doctor, felt compelled to reassure his audience during an online talk, “You can trust respected medical authorities.” He added, “I believe I’m one of them, so I think you can trust me.”

Ah! So Charlie trusts Dr. Fauci on the topic of masks., and thinks we should to. And my immediate reaction to this is.. Continue reading

The “I’d Say ‘Thank God It’s Friday,’ But In A Home Office During A Pandemic Friday’s Just A Name” Ethics Grab Bag, 7/10/2020

1. Re: Privilege and bit more on the Harper’s letter fiasco. At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein flags this tweet by New York Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi:

A few thoughts:

  • Why do I subscribe to a paper that would employ someone like this? I forget.
  • She’s a bigot. I just wrote a bit on the “privileged smear” on another thread:

I have to say again that I do not comprehend the “privilege” line of thought at all. In the hands of most who wield it, I find the tactic the equivalent of Butch Cassidy kicking huge Harvey Logan in the balls to start their knife fight….

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