Morning Ethics Round-Up: 7/7/17

Good Morning!

Well this has been the deadest week of traffic Ethics Alarms has seen for a long time. Thankfully those who have visited have kept the quality and quanity of comments high. Thanks, everybody.

1. I am pretty sure that if Donald Trump delivered the oratorical equivalent of the Gettysburg Address, most of the media would find some way to find it offensive and worthy of mockery. On Vox there is an essay titled “Trump’s speech in Poland sounded like an alt-right manifesto.” Sarah Wildman found President Trump’s  call for “family, for freedom, for country, and for God’” ominous, and was especially bothered by his rhetorical question of  “whether the West has the will to survive.”

This is where the Left is heading, apparently. Appealing to Western values and endorsing “family, for freedom, for country, and for God’ makes you a crypto-fascist. Add this to the list of  reasons Donald Trump is President of the United States. Again I ask, how do people like Wildman grow up here and end up like this, and more amazing still, have a widely read forum?

By the way, the odds of President Trump delivering an oratorical equivalent of the Gettysburg Address are about the same as the odds of Flipper singing The Major General’s Song. Continue reading

Make Voting Compulsory, Because We Can’t Let THAT Happen Again

It's simple, guys, really: we just drive you to the polling place, and we vote the way we tell you to. Otherwise, you'll be breaking the law."

“It’s simple, guys, really. We just drive you to the polling place, and we vote the way we tell you to. Otherwise, you’ll be breaking the law.”

Well that didn’t take long at all. Engaged Americans who have been paying attention to the mess in Washington decided to defy the news media’s will and ringingly reject the governing philosophies of the last six years, so not-so-secretly-true-blue pundits of the mainstream media came out with their plan to make sure that future elections will be dominated by unengaged, low-information voters who will go to the polls and vote as they are told, or, as it often is in Presidential elections, vote for whoever guarantees them the most benefits or who scares them the worst.

Washington Post editor Ruth Marcus delivered a call for compulsory voting in her column this morning. It is one of the most ethically indefensible columns I have ever read in a respected publication, and remember, I read all the New York Times columns. How anyone can take Marcus seriously after such a revolting demonstration of multi-level ethics blindness is a mystery, assuming anyone does.

To begin with, her partisan motives couldn’t be more obvious, though she denies them. After last night’s carnage was recorded, TV panels across the liberal media spectrum confidently opined that Democrats shouldn’t worry: once those dependable Democratic voters from the “base” show up to vote, as they can only motivate themselves to do in sufficient numbers every four years, all of this unpleasantness will go away in 2016. “Ah HA!” thinks Marcus. If we force those easily manipulated, self-interested, group-identifying, naive, uneducated, ignorant and easily frightened voters ( Republicans will take away your Social Security! Your food stamps! Your contraceptives! Your children will be shot in school! “They’ll put y’all back in chains!”) to come out every two years, we won’t have to endure elections like this at all! ( Over at the New York Times, a leftist scholar who saw the writing on the wall right before the election proposed another solution to the same problem: eliminate mid-terms altogether.) Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Republicans

election-fraudIn government, the appearance of impropriety can be as damaging as the reality, and what a terrific, tone-deaf, stupid example Republicans are giving the nation by trying to change the Electoral College system, already highly unpopular (I like it, by the way), by making it worse. The GOP is pursuing a strategy of trying to get the states where it has control of the legislature to change the way those states’ electoral votes are allocated in a Presidential election from winner-take-all (the current system in place in all but two states) to allocation by Congressional district. Such a system would have, just coincidentally I’m sure, given a narrow victory to Mitt Romney if it were in place in all the states that Mitt Romney lost (but none that he won.)

Screams from Democrats that the Republicans are trying to “fix” the election system are a bit disingenuous: an essentially identical system was installed in Maine by a Democratic legislature (as well as in Nebraska by Republicans), and no alarms were sounded then. There is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about it, for state legislatures are charged by Mr. Madison’s masterpiece with deciding how allocating electoral votes should be done. Democrats also did something similar in the wake of the baroque 2000 election result, concocting a scheme, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, to undermine the Electoral College by persuading several states to agree to direct electors to vote not for whoever wins the popular vote in the state itself, but for whoever wins the popular vote nationally. Well, waddya know! THAT method would have given Al Gore the Presidency—and what a fun ride it would have been!—from 2000-2004. This is as much an example of trying to rig the results of the previous election as what the Republicans are trying, though it is much, much fairer and ethically defensible on it merits. (Still a bad idea, though.) Continue reading