The Sixth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2014 (Part 4 of 4)

mamoru-samuragochi2

Outrageous Hoax Of The Year

Mamoru Samuragochi, the composer sometimes known as “The Japanese Beethoven” because he composed critically acclaimed works despite being deaf, was exposed as double fraud: he didn’t compose the works that made him Japan’s most popular classical composer, and he isn’t even really deaf!  Samuragochi hired a musical ghostwriter named Takashi Niigaki to compose more than twenty compositions for Samuragochi since 1996.

Funniest Outrageous Hoax

Fake Panda

This.

Unethical Artist Of The Year

Performance artist Maximo Caminero, who  walked into the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, entered a special exhibit of sixteen ancient Chinese vases painted over in bright colors by celebrated Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, picked up one of them, and immediately after a security guard instructed him not to touch the exhibit, allowed the vase to fall from his hands, shattering into bits. Caminero admitted that smashing the pottery, which was valued at a million dollars,  was intentional, and was his protest against in support of local artists like himself whose work is not exhibited at the museum while the art of international artists like Weiwei is.

Unethical Veterinarian Of The Year

Fort Worth, Texas veterinarian Lou Tierce lost his license for five years as a result of, among other transgressions, his telling the owners of a Leonburger (it’s a very big dog) that their pet was terminally ill and had to be euthanized, then secretly keeping the dog alive in a small cage so he could use Sid’s blood for transfusions to Dr. Tierce’s other canine patients. Eventually an assistant at the clinic blew the whistle and alerted Sid’s owners, who rescued their dog and sicced the law on the worst veterinarian since Dean Jones menaced Beethoven.

Unethical Doctor Of The Year

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s medical expert, endangered the public by defying a voluntary quarantine for possible Ebola exposure,  because she just couldn’t bear to be without her favorite soup.

Scam of the Year

Jonathan-Gruber-1

The Affordable Care Act.

 Unethical Federal Agency Of The Year

The Secret Service. Lots of competition in this category: the Veterans Administration, the I.R.S., the CDC, the Justice Department, NSA…but when you essentially have one job to do and do it badly, sloppily carelessly and dangerously, there’s really not much more to say Continue reading

An Unethical and Presumptuous Protest: Sorry, Illegals, But You Have No Right To “Demand” Anything

illegal immigrant protest

This week, several hundred illegal immigrants staged a protest rally across from the White House demanding  that President Obama “keep his promise” and use his executive authority to extend “deferred deportation” to millions of  illegally immigrants.

I am adamantly convinced that our government has to do something decisive about the 11 million illegal immigrants in this country, and also that it must do whatever it does in such a way that neither makes the United States look like Nazi Germany expatriating the Jews, nor provides incentives for every aspiring border jumper to take a shot at American largesse. It doesn’t matter how I think this should be done: solving policy problems is what we elect officials and pay government employees to do, and do wisely. However, I have every right to make my opinion known to those policy-makers, and to insist that they act as part of their duties to the American public.

Illegal immigrants and their families, however, have no such rights, not any standing to demand any policies whatsoever. Their conduct has created the problem, which challenges our laws and law enforcement, burdens our budgets, and divides our society. Continue reading

Is There An Ethical Interpretation of Hillary’s Response To The Illegal Immigration Activist In Iowa?

Psst! The "thumbs up" really means, "I like your shoes"...

Psst! The “thumbs up” really means, “I like your shoes”…

In case you missed it while waiting for the next NFL player to beat up someone, Hillary Clinton, who is in Iowa theoretically testing the waters for a Presidential bid, answered this way when pressed by an activist on the rope line to give her views on President Obama’s delay of his promised executive order granting some privileges to illegals…

“I think we have to elect more Democrats.”

What did she intend to convey by this, and can such an intent possibly be defended? Some possibilities:

A. Translation: “I am running for President, and to be successful, I can’t possibly tell you my real views on this topic, since whatever position I take will lose votes. So I’m going to answer with a non-sequitur, as if I didn’t hear the question.”

Is this ethical? No. It’s an important issue, and if she is running for President, she has an obligation to communicate her views. If she has a position but doesn’t have the integrity and courage to communicate it, that’s cowardly and a breach or responsibility.

B. Translation: “We risk losing at the polls in November if voters know what the President really intends to do, and those who stand to benefit from his unilateral act circumventing the democratic process will vote Democratic anyway, even if the delay infuriates them. So it’s the smart move.”

Is this ethical? Surely not. It’s an admission that the President is trying to gull low-information voters, and that she approves of the strategy. It’s an expression of support for allowing the deportation of human beings for speculative political gain. It’s an endorsement of “the ends justify the means.” Continue reading

Five Ethics Observations On House Majority Leader Eric Canter’s Upset Primary Loss

CantorYesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost the GOP primary in Virginia’s 7th District to virtually unknown economics professor Dave Brat, conservative hard-liner who was backed by the Tea Party wing of the Virginia Republican Party, and the some influential voices on local conservative talk radio. You can get political analysis, though precious little of it objective, almost anywhere you look. Here are some ethics observations:

1. The turnout for the primary was less than 15%. Here is what that means: citizens who give a damn get their way. That is as it should be. An eligible voter who can watch the mess in our national government and sit out any opportunity to make his or her voice heard and vote count is a lazy and irresponsible citizen. This means that in the Virgina 7th District, more than 8 out of 10 voters are lazy and irresponsible. To them I say: I don’t care what you think. You have shirked the sacred responsibility of self-government. Go find a king somewhere. You don’t understand or appreciate democracy, and you don’t deserve one. Continue reading