Ethics Hero: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)

Mike Lee

It was generally lost between in the pandemic resurgence, the post-election controversies and the holidays, but in the final month of the generally awful year of 2020, a single Senator had the integrity and principle to at least delay one more effort to transform the United States of America into a Balkanized culture of competing identity groups.

Hispanics and their allies in Congress, and feminists and their allies have been trying to get approval for the creation of a National Museum of the American Latino and A National Women’s History Museum in Washington D.C. since around the beginning of the century. Last year, after the obligatory studies, commissions and reports, bipartisan bills authorizing the creation of the two proposed museums passed in the House. After all, it’s not as if the year’s budget deficit had blown the national debt up to dangerous levels or anything. Why not spend millions more on new structures honoring only segments of what was conceived as a single nation?

More specifically, why not suck up to two powerful voting blocs in an election year?

Because the Senate is similarly driven by political pandering and is almost as irresponsible as the House, it was assumed that the bills would pass by unanimous consent, a practice reserved for noncontroversial measures. Senators John Cornyn, Republican from Texas (lots of Hispanic-Americans there, coincidentally), and Bob Menendez, the Democrat from New Jersey who is himself Hispanic-American, introduced the legislation setting up the latest hyphenated American museum on the National Mall, and lauded the history and contributions of 60 million Americans, blattety-blah diversity, blattety-blah recognition. But Senator Lee, the Republican from Utah (where, also coincidentally, there are not so many Latinos), stopped the proposed new museums dead (though they will rise again) , as a single vote can do when unanimous consent is needed.

Lee said in part,

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End Of Day Ethics Sighs 1/21/2021: Here’s Kamala! Here’s Batwoman! Here’s Your Newsmedia! And “Heeeere’s Johnny!”

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A very good friend who is married to another very good friend posted yesterday that Kamala Harris’s swearing in as Vice-President moved him to tears, and the Facebook post instantly harvested about a hundred “likes” and “loves.” As God is my witness, as Scarlett used to say, I had to fight to restrain my self from writing on his page (since there is no “What the FUCK is the matter with you?” icon to click on), “Why, because she’s a woman with no qualifications to be President or Vice-President? Because she’s the first Indian-Jamaican VP, and you’ve always wanted one of those? Because she’s just the right skin-shade to pretend to be an African-American, when she’s not? Does it choke you up because she slept her way to political power, then locked up a lot of black men for drug crimes, then accused the U.S. of being racist because of “over-incarceration”? Or does any Democrat, even phonies and rank incompetents, getting power make you feel all misty inside and out? Really, I’m curious.”

Well, he’s a nice, good-hearted guy who has the political sophistication of a cheese, so I just shut up. However, his reaction is just incomprehensible to me.

1. Oh, look, now there’s black Batwoman. Yay. Isn’t this a little cliched and formulaic by now? Will every fictional character eventually have to be made black or have his or her race switched, and every male character get virtual transexual transitioning, to satisfy the Woke and Wonderful? Mikey (who liked Life cereal), is now a girl. Jake from State Farm is now black. Perry Mason’s Paul Drake in the new reboot is black. Inspection Lestrade, Sherlock Holmes’ ally, is black on the Netflix Holmes spin-off. (Watson became female in the TV show “Elementary.” And Asian!) A really bad movie made Ralph Kramden from “The Honeymooners” black; Norton too. On Broadway, when there was a Broadway, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were black, and they aren’t even fictional. Of course.The whole Ghostbusters team was turned female for the reboot (but still had only one black member). There is much, much more. Isn’t this lazy? Isn’t this boring? Don’t women, blacks and other minorities want to have their own popular and iconic characters rather than just taking over white or male ones? Why isn’t such fake “diversity” an insult? Aren’t hand-me-down characters like hand-me-down clothes?

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The Tragically Warped Legacy Of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Ethics Alarms has posted several paeans to the iconic civil rights leader on his “day” is the past, but it is time—past time, really—for a more rueful and honest assessment of his legacy. No one can (or should, anyway) deny King’s crucial role in eliminating segregation in the United States, killing Jim Crow, and prompting long-overdue legal and cultural reforms, epitomized by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. King’s words have continued to inspire while serving as guideposts for the nation’s journey, still infuriatingly incomplete, to a society where citizens are judged “by the content of their character” rather than the color of their skin. But in 2021, a celebration of King and his legacy seem particularly hypocritical. His alleged followers have transitioned to a cynical strategy of encouraging a national mentality that accepts that the color of an American’s skin defines the content of their character, or to put it another way, that race is the most important feature, factor and consideration in American life.

This is a perversion of what Dr. King stood for, but that is the status of his legacy today. Most of what I mention in this post is old news that we have discussed before, but there are, as there now are virtually every day, additional examples of this corrosive use of race to divide and corrupt society. In this morning’s New York Times Arts section, for example, an article headlined “Bringing on New Leaders For Diversity In The Arts” told us that “cultural institutions around the country are hiring their own diversity officers to increase the number of people of color on the staff and board, broaden their programming and address a widely acknowledged pattern of systemic racism.” Translated, all this statement means is that, cowed by routine accusations of racism, arts groups are substituting one undeniable system of racism for an unproven one. People are being hired and appointed because of their skin color alone, or certainly over all other reasons. This is not, of course, restricted to the arts. The idea that skin-shade equals talent and virtue has been embodied at the very top of our government. The soon-to-be official Vice-President of the United States is in that position solely because she is “of color” as well as female. Her character, ability, experience and accomplishments have nothing to do with the responsibility and high office handed to her: she was roundly rejected by the members of the public who belong to her party when running on the basis of those factors. “Diversity” is a cover-word for discrimination. Dr. King was not asking for quotas in his protests, speeches and marches: he was demanding that blacks like him be given the opportunity to succeed on the same basis as whites, judged, rewarded and advanced without regard to their race.

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The Biden Nomination of Kristen Clarke To Be Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights

Biden Promise

Kristen Clarke is the African American attorney who Joe Biden announced will run the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, pending Senate confirmation.

From FOX News:

In 1994, Clarke wrote a letter to The Harvard Crimson in her capacity as the president of the Black Students Association to explain her views on race science.

“Please use the following theories and observations to assist you in your search for truth regarding the genetic differences between Blacks and whites [sic],” Clarke wrote.

“One: Dr Richard King reveals that the core of the human brain is the ‘locus coeruleus,’ which is a structure that is Black, because it contains large amounts of neuro-melanin, which is essential for its operation.

“Two: Black infants sit, crawl and walk sooner than whites [sic].

Three: Carol Barnes notes that human mental processes are controlled by melanin — that same chemical which gives Blacks their superior physical and mental abilities.

“Four: Some scientists have revealed that most whites [sic] are unable to produce melanin because their pineal glands are often calcified or non-functioning. Pineal calcification rates with Africans are five to 15 percent [sic], Asians 15 to 25 percent [sic] and Europeans 60 to 80 percent [sic]. This is the chemical basis for the cultural differences between blacks and whites [sic].

“Five: Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities — something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards.”

The technical term for such a screed is “Yikes!”

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/29/2020: Another Dark Date For Ethics

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December 29 is one of the bad days in ethics history, beginning with the 1170 murder of England’s Archbishop Thomas Becket as he knelt prayer in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights of King Henry II. The knights were not explicitly ordered to kill Becket, the King’s friend who had become a problem when he took his role as Archbishop of Canterbury to be a calling to defend the Church against royal efforts to constrain its power. Instead, Henry made his wishes known by making the public plea to his court,

“What a parcel of fools and dastards have I nourished in my house, and not one of them will avenge me of this one upstart clerk.”

This is often quoted as “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Either way, the idea of such an oblique request is to relieve a leader of responsibility for the actions of subordinates, giving the leader plausible deniability. It didn’t work for Henry, but it may have worked for, for example, President Obama, whose Internal Revenue Service illegally sabotaged Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election, greatly assisting Obama’s efforts to defeat challenger Mitt Romney. In truth, when a powerful superior makes his or her desires known, it may as well be an order. An order is more ethical however, because it does not require the subordinate to take the responsibility upon himself.

1. But The worst example of a U.S. ethical breach on this date is the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, when the U.S. Cavalry killed at least 146 Sioux at the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. It is definitely the most people killed because of a dance: the government was worried about a growing Sioux cult performing the “Ghost Dance,” which symbolized opposition to peaceful relations with whites, and was seen as inciting violence. On December 29, the U.S. Army’s 7th cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under the Sioux Chief Big Foot near Wounded Knee Creek and demanded they surrender their weapons. A fight broke out between an Indian and a U.S. soldier, a shot was fired, and an unrestrained massacre followed. Of the estimated almost 150 Native Americans were killed (some historians put this number at double that number), nearly half of them women and children. The cavalry lost only 25 men. Many believe that the tragedy was deliberately staged as revenge for Custer’s Last Stand 14 years earlier, which seems like a stretch to me.

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Thoughts On The Entertainment Industry’s Cultural Brainwashing Regarding Diversity.

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Statistics on this are inherently inexact, but approximately 8-9% of the marriages in the U.S. are interracial, and that’s including Hispanics and Latinos as “non-white.” However, if you have been watching movies, TV shows or commercials made in 2020, you would get the impression that the percentage is closer to 80-90%, and maybe higher. This parallel universe has been a special bonanza for actors of Indian extraction, who seem to be the default “lovers of color” that casting agents use when they have decided that another African-American-White mixed race couple would be boring.

I really don’t care if Hollywood and Madison Avenue want to create their own fantasy U.S. and madly virtue-signal at the same time, except that I don’t like having my arm twisted, metaphorically or for real. I would happily volunteer to be permanently dyed whatever generic color was decided upon if we could just stop all the posturing, excuse-making and drama over race; the sooner everyone is the same shade the better say I. It is, however, not the job of entertainers and ad execs to shove diversity down our throats., and that’s exactly what’s happening.

Right now, the situation is literally laughable. When we are watching a recent production in which a white character is about to introduce his or her significant other, my wife and I try to guess whether the Mystery Friend will be black, Asian, Hispanic. Indian, or just some kind of unidentifiable non-white. If a white actor shows up, our first thought is, “oh-oh, something’s wrong with this pair.”

The clear message being sold is that if you aren’t part of a mixed race couple, then you’re a racist.

That message is not fair or true.

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Ethics Hero Prof. Dorian Abbot Rescued By Ethics Hero Robert Zimmer, University Of Chicago President

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Dorian Abbot, a professor of geology at the University of Chicago, was troubled when a colleague in his department gave an internal seminar that included the idiotic and unethical quote, “If you are just hiring the best people, you are part of the problem.” The setting being a university, Abbot set out to provoke some enlightened discussion on this assertion, creating a video slide show including graphics like the one above.

His primary messages in the presentation were, he wrote, that “we need to think through the consequences of diversity efforts on campus lest they harm promising scientists of all demographics; adjusting departmental demographics at elite universities doesn’t solve any problems, but may make some worse, and that ” the current academic climate is making it extremely difficult for people with dissenting viewpoints to voice their opinions.

Yes, “The Horror.” Such opinions obviously meant that the professor was evil and a danger to everyone on campus.

The professor writes,

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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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Discrimination, Diversity, And The Tattooed Teacher

Sylvain Helaine, 35, has, as you can see above, gone to great lengths to cover nearly every centimeter of his body with tattoos, including the whites of his eyes. He is, believe it or not, a kindergarten teacher, and Helaine is complaining that he has been told he cannot teach young children because some of them find his appearance nightmare-inducing. This, he feels, is discrimination.  Nonetheless, he is still teaching older children.

He says that he hopes his tattoos will teach his students about acceptance so that “maybe when they are adults they will be less racist and less homophobic and more open-minded.”

I’m sorry this issue is emerging in France and not in the U.S. It’s an excellent Ethics Incompleteness Principle case. When an individual deliberately mutilates himself like this, a school rejecting him as a teacher of young children, and indeed older children as well, is fair, reasonable and responsible. His “disability” is self-inflicted, his appearance teaches that narcissism and lack of respect for others is admirable, and he is quite possibly mentally ill. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, Or “Good-Bye, Oscar!”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Science signed the death warrant of the Oscars, or, in the alternative, the film industry itself. This would warrant the “Madness! Madness!” clip, but I’m getting sick of it since that last moment in “Bridge Over The River Kwai”  been relevant almost every day since early June.

It was in June, in fact, that the Academy said it would add a diversity component to the Oscar requirements. I wrote than that it was an anti-artistic development. Yesterday, the dreaded other shoe dropped, and it was far more dilapidated and stinky metaphorical footwear  than I could have imagined, even with the complete contempt for Hollywood and the intellect of its leadership I have developed over the years. I am certain the race-hucksters and minority activists are dancing with joy, having destroyed the Oscars in order to “save” them. Yes, it’s a victory: the Woke Mob has succeeded in wrecking another American  institution and source of enjoyment for the  public. The only question is which institution: merely the Awards, or Hollywood itself.

To be optimistic, I assume it’s just the Oscars, in which case the Academy just committed suicide. The Awards show once was a shared cultural experience, then the actors started getting political and partisan, then the integrity of the process began to look fishy, and over time, culminating in the nominations miraculously including more African American nominees because a activists complained about too many white people receiving the honors. If I had bothered to think about the Oscars at all, they would have been high on my list of casualties of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck. Of course Hollywood would leap at the invitation to mandate the “right” kind of discrimination.

When you read the hilariously pompously named “Academy Aperture 2025” below, it should become immediately clear that the Academy has abandoned its mission of encouraging, promoting and rewarding excellence in cinema, and now will be giving out awards for meeting interest group dictated quotas and dubious social justice criteria. Whether the movies are any good or not will be secondary. Artists are being given incentive to seek political objectives at the cost of artistic integrity and worth.  Well, good luck with that: I doubt many Americans will care about such awards, especially since they barely care about the Oscars now. The Academy Awards seem to be following the doomed path of the Miss America Pageant, which capitulated to the feminists, ceased to be about attractive women in bathing suits, and thus eliminated the only justification, already slim,  for its existence.

I think I understand how the Academy came to make such a bone-headed decision: it is dominated by progressives, and as they have devolved from  passion to fanaticism to  obsession, progressives have become deluded into  accepting the concept that politics and political correctness determines virtue and value in all things.  It is an indefensible decision that betrays the essence of art, but I understand it.

I assume that most film-makers, and all of those with integrity— will choose to follow their artistic vision whether it allows the requisite number of “diversity” boxes to be checked or not. I assume that eventually, maybe quickly, a widely praised and a hugely successful film will be snubbed for not having the required number of handicapped and trans key grips, and the Awards will be mocked out of existence. We shall see: the studios, being award-hungry and run my morons, will initially insist that films meet the Oscars’ restrictive criteria, and then, when the box office suffers, most of them sill conclude, “To Hell with this: let’s make movies people want to see.”

Hollywood has bet its chips on joining the Black Lives Matter mission of creating a race-based culture where color and ethnicity, and secondarily gender, dictate advancement, financial rewards, influence and power. This is part of the indoctrination process, and if it results in bad art, so be it.

I think it’s a foolish bet, but time will tell.

Now hold on to your butts, as Samuel L. Jackson says in my favorite dinosaur movie: here are the standards that, beginning in 2024, films  will have to meet on order to  to qualify for the Best Picture category… Continue reading