Ethics Alarms Ringing: A Judge Orders Citizens to Undergo “De-Radicalization”

"You WILL feel differently about guns!"

In Minnesota, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, Abdullahi Mohamud Yusuf, and Hanad Mustafe Musse  pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. The defendants  charged last April following an investigation into a network of young Somali-Americans  involved in  ISIS recruitment  in Minnesota. ordered the four to undergo an evaluation by a visiting German scholar, Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and Deradicalization Studies in Stuttgart. His  evaluation of the men will factor into Davis’ sentencing decisions, and will  form the basis of a “de-radicalization program” to rid the men of  their radical ideology.

The Star Tribune reports that the program will be the first of its kind in the United States. (Well that’s a relief.) Apparently such deprogramming treatments are used to “cure” radical recruits  in Europe, as hundreds of young people have left to join Middle Eastern militants.

Wait, are anyone else’s ethics alarms ringing like crazy? Mine just busted an ear drum. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Quiz: Holder’s ‘Brainwash’ Comment”

"You want 'consensus'? I'll give you consensus, Pilgrim..."

Penn, who has been on a roll lately, has another Comment of the Day regarding the prospects of a cultural shift in public attitudes toward guns in America. I’ll have some thoughts afterwards, but right now, here is Penn COTD on the post, Ethics Quiz: Holder’s “Brainwash” Comment:

“I’m seeing a problem here that’s as insoluble as “what to do with the homeless.”  It comes up again and again: defending the right to bear arms against teaching non-violence — okay, that’s simplistic, but I think you know what I mean. Since arguments on both sides have been validated, their proponents feel duty-bound to reiterate them.

“Granted, consensus is a no-go in our culture. You win or you lose: compromise is a dirty word, and a win/win situation, while given lip service as a goal (e.g. good sportsmanship), is not an acceptable outcome.  Thus neither argument, in theory or in practice, takes a step further in solving in the short-term the problem of what to do with an increasingly violent society (schools, families, criminals, celebrities, etc.), a society embedded in an ever-shrinking, increasingly threatening world. Thinking that these guns/no guns arguments have some pragmatic use keeps us, so to speak, backward. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Holder’s “Brainwash” Comment

"You WILL feel differently about guns!"

The death of founder Andrew Breitbart hasn’t slowed down his website’s ability to dig up provocative and embarrassing videos one bit. Its latest is a bit of off-putting rhetoric from Eric Holder, when he was the Clinton Administration U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., telling a D.C. audience that the long-term solution to gun control is to “brainwash” the  public into opposing firearms. Holder said…

“What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we’ve changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”

He went on to outline steps that could be taken to “really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”

Seeing this as a major “gotcha” for the embattled Attorney General, who is already facing growing criticism both for his oversight (or lack of it) of the Fast and Furious gun-smuggling fiasco and his evasive testimony about it before Congress, conservative critics are jumping on the 1995 statement to bolster calls for Holder’s resignation.

Your Ethics Quiz today: Is it fair to criticize a U.S. Attorney General’s statement that he wants to “brainwash” the  public into rejecting a core Constitutional right, when the statement is more than 15 years old, and was made while he was in a different job? Continue reading

Coercive Indoctrination in the Schools: Unethical, Regardless of the Content

A German language teacher at Western Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas sent 14-year-old honors student Dakota Ary to the principal’s office for telling a classmate that he believes “homosexuality is wrong.”

Ary was then suspended as punishment. Homosexuality isn’t wrong,, but the school was.

Ary, who was raised in a church that believes homosexuality violates God’s laws, has a right to believe whatever he chooses to, and also has a right to express those beliefs as long as he doesn’t denigrate fellow students or incite violence or a disruption. There are words for schools punishing students for their beliefs, and among those words are “indoctrination,” “coercion,” brain-washing,” and “unethical.” Continue reading

CNN’s Ocatavia Nasr: Another Victim of Cognitive Dissonance

Octavia Nasr, a CNN editor and reporter for two decades, just got her walking papers for a 140-character tweet reading, “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” The problem is that this particular “giant” was an anti-American, anti-Israeli terrorist who advocated suicide bombings and who encouraged terrorist acts by Hezbollah. In an explanatory blog post that failed to save her job, Nasr blamed the limitations of Twitter, and explained that she didn’t really admire him, just his stance against the abuse of Muslim women.

Maybe. Continue reading