Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 4/26/2020: Face Masks, Face-Saving, Faceplants, And Truths Too Awful To Face

1. Mask ethics:

See, when someone complains, she tells them they must be too close to her. Heck, why not decorate a mask with accident photos, abortion pics and fellatio snapshots?

  •  Michigan State Senator Dale Zorn, a Republican, was photographed wearing  a mask with a  Confederate flag design. I’d say the First Niggardly Principle applies: people are irrationally emotional about the flag, which is part of our history, still included in a couple of state flags, and a bold design, but there are less inflammatory design options. One has to wonder if someone deliberately displaying the flag is making a political statement, and since many of the possible statements are repulsive and divisive, it seems the ethical move is to choose another design. Like penises.

Zorn, however, not only wore the mask, he denied that it was  the Confederate flag, using a Clintonian argument ( it was more similar to the Kentucky or Tennessee flags, he said), then issued this apology:

So if he didn’t support what he knows the design represents to many people, why did he display it in a political forum?

  • I don’t know about you, but I’m thoroughly sick of conflicting information about the value of facemasks. This expert, for example, says they may make you sick.

Maybe that explains this confounding photo, from a recent flight into New York’s LaGuardia airport…

2. Trump’s face-saving tactic is a half-truth. In the wake of the latest fiasco, the President is going to limit the daily Wuhan virus press updates, and this is his explanation:

What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!

He’s right about the media, which is why the White House briefings were suspended before the pandemic. But the President is leaving out half the reason: he is over-exposed, not playing on a field he’s qualified to play on, and stumbles like the “Are we exploring using disinfectant as medicine?” followed by “I was just kidding!” are reckless self-inflicted wounds in a Presidential campaign. Trump needs less exposure, not more, and apparently someone persuaded him to cut back. Good.

I will never get used to the President of the United States using juvenile, hackneyed insults like “lamestream media.” Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Pete Buttigieg

The competition for the worst Democratic Presidential nominee hopeful just got a bit more interesting when one of the media darlings among the 24 (24!) hopefuls made an Ethics Dunce of himself (in an interview with Hugh Hewitt) in a manner that is disqualifying for the Presidency by Ethics Alarms standards. Here’s the relevant section:

HH: … A very blunt question, because you talk about going to every Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Indiana when you were running statewide. Should Jefferson-Jackson dinners be renamed everywhere because both were holders of slaves?

Buttigieg: Yeah, we’re doing that in Indiana. I think it’s the right thing to do. You know, over time, you develop and evolve on the things you choose to honor. And I think we know enough, especially Jackson, you know, you just look at what basically amounts to genocide that happened here. Jefferson’s more problematic. You know, there’s a lot to, of course, admire in his thinking and his philosophy. Then again, as you plunge into his writings, especially the notes on the state of Virginia, you know that he knew that slavery was wrong…. And yet, he did it. Now we’re all morally conflicted human beings. And it’s not like we’re blotting him out of the history books, or deleting him from being the Found[ing] Fathers. But you know, naming something after somebody confers a certain amount of honor. And at a time, I mean, the real reason I think there’s a lot of pressure on this is the relationship between the past and the present, that we’re finding in a million different ways that racism isn’t some curiosity out of the past that we’re embarrassed about but moved on from. It’s alive, it’s well, it’s hurting people. And it’s one of the main reasons to be in politics today is to try to change or reverse the harms that went along with that. Then, we’d better look for ways to live out and honor that principle, even in a symbolic thing.

Even before this fatuous statement, my Presidential history, common sense and current day political analysis led me to conclude that the South Bend mayor has no chance of being nominated, and if by some miracle of convention deadlock deal he was, no chance of being elected. He is 1) gay, 2) white, 3) male, 4) way too young, and 5) too much immersed  the Democratic Socialist camp. I don’t have to get to some of his other problems, like the fact that he is infuriatingly smug. However, the statement to Hewitt would disqualify him for me even if I were a Democrat, and should make all thinking and ethical Democrats—you know, the ones that aren’t nascent totalitarians, look elsewhere, though good luck with that. Continue reading

Explain The Reasoning Process Of This School System, Please…

Hate speech. Sorry. The lesson has to be "Some states fought the Union over something or other, waiving a flag that we can't show you because it's dangerous." Quiz tomorrow.

Hate speech. Sorry. The lesson has to be “Some states fought the Union over something or other, waiving a flag that we can’t show you because it’s dangerous.” Quiz tomorrow.

President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education is facing the closest Senate vote on any cabinet member ever, in part because two Republican Senators (what the Democrats say doesn’t matter, since they have decided not to cooperate in the governing process) question whether Betsy DeVos “understands the public schools.” In her defense, I don’t see how anyone could understand public schools, especially when they behave like this one…

In Folsom, California, the family of an African American 8th grader  filed a complaint against  Sutter Middle School history teacher Woody Hart.  Tyrie McIntyre’s son had asked Hart for a definition of equality during a discussion of the U.S. Constitution. The teacher  allegedly told his eighth-grade class, “When you hang one black person, you have to hang them all.  That is equality.” At least that is what Tyler McIntyre, 13, thought Hart said. Tyler, one of only a handful of black students in the class and school, felt embarrassed.

Hart, 70, didn’t deny his student’s account, but explained in an interview that he made the comparison because he was trying to make the discussion “interesting” and “express something that would catch students’ attention.”

“Here’s what I said: ‘If you hang black people in the South, that means that you hang any black person who comes from outside the state. ”

Hart also said that he has spent much of the year teaching his students about racial equality. If that’s the clarity, logic and accuracy with which he taught it, a remedial course, indeed several, may be required.

After the complaint, Principal Keri Phillips interviewed six students chosen at random, all of whom heard Hart give “hanging all blacks” as an example of how states treated individuals under the Constitution. She said that Hart has been told to henceforward  use examples “at a level that eighth graders can understand,” avoid stereotypes or culturally insensitive language, and must rely on “very simple analogies that do not focus on the controversy” during lessons involving challenging material.

McIntyre said that this doesn’t address his concerns. “My issue wasn’t the context,” he said. “It was the content. There was no way to justify the statement that he made.”

That’s exactly right, because the statement that “If you hang black people in the South, that means that you hang any black person who comes from outside the state” isn’t insensitive or “too complex” for an 8th grader.  It’s stone-cold stupid, bad logic, bad history, and bad teaching. An example that is “at a level that an 8th grader can’t understand”? I’m worried about anyone who thinks he does understand Hart’s example. That the teacher thinks it makes sense tells me that it is an unacceptable risk to allow Hart to teach any subject to anyone.

Nonetheless, Woody Hart was allowed to keep teaching, because public schools. Ah, but last month, he really crossed the line, or whatever it is that causes schools to ding teachers. Teaching the students about the Civil Way, Hart showed them…

A CONFEDERATE FLAG!!!

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Ethical Quote of the Month: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President Leron Gubler

cosby-star

“The answer is no. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk.”

Leron Gubler, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, answering a question about whether Bill Cosby’s star would be removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cosby was formally charged with sexual assault today in Pennsylvania, the first time allegations of any of his nearly 50 accusers have resulted in a court appearance. The Cos is out on a million dollar bond.

Exactly.

Variety also quotes the late Johnny Grant, a former chairman of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Committee, who once addressed the status of another fallen star’s place on the walk, saying:

“Stars are awarded for professional achievement to the world of entertainment and contributions to the community. A celebrity’s politics, philosophy, irrational behavior, outrageous remarks or anything like that have never been cause to remove a Walk of Fame star.”

On this matter of ethics, at least, Hollywood gets it, unlike Disney World, Harvard Law School, Princeton, the University of Kentucky, the World Fantasy Award, Connecticut Democrats, the National Park Service, Saltzburg University…and many others.

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Week (And Worst Christmas Card Of 2015): South Carolina Rep. Christopher Corley

xmas card

South Carolina lawmaker Rep. Christopher Corley (R- Aiken) decided to take on the daunting challenge of topping Las Vegas Assemblywoman Michele Fiore’s entry in the “Most Tasteless Christmas Card That Proves Its Republican Politician Author Is An Idiot” competition. You saw that one, right? It  features Fiore, her husband, her adult daughters, their husbands and one of her grandchildren…

michele-fiore-christmas-cards-guns

…holding guns, with a useful note in the corner denoting which models the are each planning on using to bag a reindeer and Santa too, I suppose, since there are ten Fiores.

There is a lot wrong with the card, beginning with the fact that, as the Bible says, there is a time for every season, and regardless of one’s faith or lack of it, this season is and has always been about peace and love, not shooting things. Fiore uses children as props for political grandstanding, which is ugly and an abuse of power.

The card also says “I am an idiot,” but that arguably is a good thing, since as many people should know as possible. (Either her constituents are idiots, or they like them for some reason.) Still, the silly card is relatively harmless, except that Fiore embarrasses her party and gives anti-gun hysterics another excuse to portray all those who resist the obvious progressive goal of banning guns entirely as lunatics.

Corley’s card, however, is much, much worse. Continue reading

Airbrushing History, Again: If Woodrow Wilson Is At Risk, Can George Washington Be Far behind?

woodrow-wilson

While Paris was bleeding, the predicted anti-white black student power play spread from its origins at Yale and the University of Missouri to 23 other campuses (so far). None of the new outbreaks of victim-mongering, black-dictated apartheid  and outrageous demands had any more justification than the Mizzou Meltdown, but they all entered the competition. Some highlights:

  • Amherst students demanded a crack-down on any free speech in the form of criticism of Black Lives Matters or the protest goals.
  • Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matters members roamed through the campus library, verbally assaulting white students attempting to study.
  • Smith College held a sit-in, and barred reporters-–the new breed of campus freedom-fighters just don’t like that pesky First Amendment—unless they promised to cover the protest positively. There’s one more school that doesn’t teach basic American rights and values….
  • Occidental College is in the middle of a me-too imitation of the Mizzou stunt, with students occupying a three-story administration building all this week, demanding that a series of actions ranging from racist to just unreasonable to oppressive, in the name of “safety” and “diversity”, of course. They are also insisting that President Jonathan Veitch resign. Predictably, the leftist faculty which helped make the students this way are fully supportive. Read the demands here; my favorites: demanding an increase in tenured black professors and black doctors (a racist demand: there is no mention of ability; color is enough); funding for the student group for black men, which is racist and counter-diverse by definition; and “elimination of military and police rhetoric from all documents and daily discourse.”

Freedom of speech is so passe.

  • The crazy is getting stronger: The University of Vermont-–from the lands where Bernie Sanders roams— hosted a three-day retreat for students who “self-identify as white,” called  “Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White.”  The goal was to give students “the opportunity” to “conceptualize and articulate whiteness from a personal and systemic lens”  and “recognize and understand white privilege from an individual experience.” This, I submit, has absolutely nothing to do with education, and everything to do with self-obsession and narcissism.

Ah, but my favorite is Princeton, which finding itself third among its fellow Ivies (as usual), this time in concocting an embarrassing and offensive student protest, decided to go for broke.This week, members of the Black Justice League walked out of class and occupied the building that houses the Princeton administration’s offices. They demanded that the school reject “the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson,” formerly president of Princeton before becoming a President of the United States and Democratic Party icon, by removing his name from anything bearing it. They also demanded “cultural competency training” for Princeton professors and assistants (that is, forced re-education and ideological brainwashing, academia style) teaching at Princeton, courses on the “history of marginalized people,” that is, approved leftist narratives, and  the setting aside of public spaceto be  restricted to the use and enjoyment of black students only, which is properly called self-segregation and racist exclusion.

Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Mediaite’s Tommie Christopher Locks Up The Dishonest Spin Of The Year Award In Defense of Calling Ben Carson A Coon”

Rocket-Raccoon-in-Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-international-trailer

johnburger2013 piled on after my take-down of Tommie Christopher’s epic attempt to spin the unspinnable racist tweet by  University of Pennsylvania religious studies professor Anthea Butler, who wrote regarding Ben Carson. If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award …”  His post went well beyond mine, was more exacting, analytical and funnier than my effort, and had Comment of the Day written all over it. I wrote that I was going to withhold the republication only because Christopher doesn’t deserve that much ink, but I received multiple protests from readers, so I am reversing myself. It is a terrific comment, but you really have to read Christopher’s screed to understand how terrific. Do that first, here.

Now read jb2013’s Comment of the Day on the post, Mediaite’s Tommie Christopher Locks Up The Dishonest Spin Of The Year Award In Defense of Calling Ben Carson A “Coon”:

I am going believe that everything Tommie Christopher wrote in his Mediaite column was tongue-in-cheek. I simply refuse to believe that someone can be that obtuse, that devoid of critical thought, and that blinded by self-delusion. Maybe it was a slow column day and he figured he would write something so far off the mark just to see how many people would . . . Oh, forget it. I can’t do it! I lost my roll of duct tape. I fear I will lose my security deposit when my landlord sees all of that cranial debris all over the walls and ceiling.

I do think that Tommie should have his computer privileges revoked, though, because he has utterly forfeited his right to write by writing stupid things under the guise of sophistication. He concludes his missive with this little gem:

“It’s a free country, though, so if you want to be offended by what Professor Butler said, go ahead. Just be offended by what she actually said, not what you imagine she said, and just know that no matter how many times she tweets the word ‘coon,’ it’s still racist when white people say it.”

Erm . . . Um . . . Tommie? Isn’t that what Dr. Ben Carson said about NASCAR fans proudly displaying the Stars and Bars? Superficially, Dr. Carson said they should fly it if they want if they’re on private property. Dr. Carson also said it was offensive, just as offensive as the Swastika. Nuance, Tommie. Nuance.

As you know, Tommie, words have meanings, and context does matters. When someone strings a bunch of words together, they are called sentences. Sentences strung together are called paragraphs. Paragraphs strung together form . . . oh, you get the picture, right?

Now, let’s think about “coon”. Setting aside the short cut for raccoon, what did the illustrious Professor mean to convey when she wrote her incomplete thought? She wrote, “If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award …” Maybe I am naive, but I don’t think she meant ” . . . Ben Carson could tell NASCAR to hold the ceremony, as long as it’s a majority of people in the area who want to give out the award, and it was on private property.” Nah. She said exactly what she meant. It is a simple syllogism (that’s a fancy word for argument, Tommie – look it up). This may be a bit over your head, Tommie, but the statement she made is commonly referred to as “modus ponens”, which posits (meaning, states) “that if one thing is true, then another will be. It then states that the first is true. The conclusion is that the second thing is true”. It is commonly referred to as

“If A, then B. A; therefore, B”… Simple, no?

So, let’s try it out, shall we Tommie?

A: If only there were a “Coon of the Year” Award.
B: Then Dr;. Carson would win it.

See, Tommie? It’s really not that hard to figure what she meant.

But, Tommie, if we are going to extend or imply meanings or unwritten nuances into Prof. Butler’s comment as you suggest, then she could have meant just about anything. For example, she could have meant “. . . then apple pie is tasty”. But, that destroys the simplicity of the syllogism. Moreover, if we are going to imply non-racial connotations (meanings, Tommie), then perhaps we should extend the same courtesy to Dr. Carson. That seems reasonable to me. Consequently, I think Dr. Carson probably meant that free citizens, living in a free and ordered society exercising their own liberties, should not be waylaid by government censorship. He did not endorse that flag’s meaning, any more than the good Professor Butler did (according to your post) when she uttered her little gold nugget. If Prof. Butler did not mean to denigrate Dr. Carson by saying he should win the “Coon of the Year” Award, then Carson did not intend to promote racism by encouraging NASCAR fans to fly that stupid flag. See what I did there, Tommie? I used your argument to imply nuance in Dr. Carson’s comments. Neat, huh?

As aside, Tommie, if you are going to link to a website for support that “coon” is not a derogatory word, then perhaps you should actually read the site – it may come as a shock that the site declares what the common meaning of the word is and, oddly, tracks use of the word to marginalize blacks. Oh,and, next time, spare us the self-righteous moral indignation about only whites can be racists and are incapable of being outraged by black racism. It’s insulting.

Tommie, I know you meant well. You really did. But, sometimes, people say and write indefensible things and, no matter how hard you tie yourself into a pretzel, you just can’t save them from the consequences of their actions. Prof. Butler used a racially charged statement to insult Dr. Carson, who is a black pediatric neurosurgeon from John Hopkins University, lest we forget. Perhaps she should have called him an “Uncle Tom” for good measure, but I guess that wouldn’t be racially charged, either. Right? You are a fool, Tommie.