On Revenge, Tit-For-Tat And The Biden Presidency

tit for tat

I would really like to accept the Biden Presidency as I have accepted every Presidency in my life so far, and without giving away secrets, there have been a lot of them. You see, I really believe what Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton lectured Donald Trump about when they were certain Hillary would win the 2016 election. I believe that the American public, no matter who each individual voter may have favored, ought to welcome the newly elected President with hope and good will, pronounce the past irrelevant, and pledge to do whatever is necessary to make the incoming administration successful. In other words, every American should behave exactly as Democrats (including Hillary and Nancy), progressives, the resistance, numerous professional groups and the vast majority of the news media did not behave when President Trump was elected.

Why do I believe this? As I have said so many times I am sick of me, I believe this because that response is the only way republics can survive, and because that is how this republic has survived and thrived since the Civil War. If you would peruse the Ethics Alarms posts on the topic and related ones since November 2016, as I viewed the impending Presidency of Donald Trump with the approximate enthusiasm of one diagnosed with genital warts, one message was consistent: we break this tradition at great risk. If the Axis of Unethical Conduct (I didn’t call them that for a while, but that’s the alliance that was responsible–-the resistance, Democrats, and the news media) devotes itself to savaging and undermining the nation’s duly elected President by any means necessary, it-they will guarantee a cycle in which political warfare, which once was de-escalated every four years, will be a constant, making cooperation, unity, and competent government impossible.

Is Joe Biden “my” President? Sure he is. I’m an American, and our system made him President. Do I want him to succeed? Sure I do. Failed Presidencies are bad for all Americans, the nation and the world. If Joe Biden asked me to take on a project, a job or an assignment, would I say yes? Unless I found the substance of what I was asked to do objectively unconscionable, yes I would.

However, it is clear as day now that there is no way Democrats and progressives can avoid the consequences of their shattering the norm that once gave Presidents a “honeymoon” and that guaranteed every President-Elect overwhelming public support simply by his stepping into the metaphorical shoes of Washington and Lincoln. Could there have been a way? The manner in which Biden and his supporters have handled the transition so far would have killed any wisp of a chance if there were one, and I doubt there ever was. The “now that we’ve regained power by breaking the rules, we hope everyone will go back to following them again for the good of the country” routine is too insulting and cynical to generate anything but resentment.

Still, what f Joe had come out in November and said,

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Comment Of The Day: “OK, I Give Up: What IS This?”

Believe it or not, one of the main reasons I write Ethics Alarms is to learn things, and the things I learn sometimes come from researching an issue, and sometimes come from you.

Since a prime starting point for ethical analysis of an event or someone’s conduct is  answering the question, “What’s going on here?”, Joe Biden’s statement that if you believe Tara Reade, the ex-Biden staffer (who Joe says he doesn’t recall) now accusing him of sexual harassment, assault and indeed rape, you shouldn’t vote for him genuinely puzzled me, and I asked for assistance in figuring out what Joe was doing.

In a neat, concise, Comment of the Day, Rich in CT answered my question. I had never heard of the phenomenon he identified, being constitutionally resistant to economic theory from childhood. Above is a video that further elaborates on the topic, the Pareto Optimality or Pareto Efficiency, “a situation that cannot be modified so as to make any one individual or preference criterion better off without making at least one individual or preference criterion worse off.”

Got it. Now I know what that is. Thanks, Rich.

Here is Rich in Ct’s Comment of the Day on the post, “OK, I Give Up: What IS This?”: Continue reading

On Preventing Web Mobs: The Prisoner’s Dilemma And “Tit For Tat” Reconsidered


As I expected, it took all of ten minutes for my post about the web vigilante attack on Dr. Walter Palmer to bear fruit, as in tomatoes tossed at my metaphorical face. The reason, as I calculated in advance, was my decision to employ a Tit for Tat strategy in responding to what I believe is a deadly trend on the internet that requires a strong response to restrain it. A would-be commenter attempted to make my blog party to web mob efforts to do financial, personal and even physical harm to the hapless hunting dentist by publicizing various addresses and phone numbers. I published his e-mail address.

I’m not sorry.

The  issue raised by my conduct involves integrity. By giving out the e-mail address of a commenter (because the commenter unethically attempted to publicize personal contact information regarding Palmer and his family) when I state on the site that I will not do so, I both violated my own policies and engaged in conduct that this blog specifically declares unethical: Continue reading

The Widener School of Law Faculty’s Character Deficit

The Widener faculty meets to discuss its options regarding the persecution of Prof. Lawrence Connell

When we last left the ethics train wreck at the Widener University School of Law, Dean Linda Ammons had succeeded in exacting her revenge on long-time tenured professor Lawrence Connell, forcing him into a year-long suspension and demanding that he undergo psychiatric evaluation for political correctness infractions that she took as as a personal affront, despite the fact that a university inquiry cleared him. (The supposed justification for his punishment was the Catch-22 offense that he had “retaliated” against the students who had wrongfully accused him by publicly denouncing their claims.) Nothing much has changed in the interim. Connell is gone, and is in the process of suing. Widener’s reputation continues to sink, as it has abandoned academic freedom for lock-step ideological conformity; its Dean, Linda Ammons, maintains her silence about the affair despite unanimous condemnation by observers, reinforcing the conclusion that she has a vendetta against Connell, and the faculty remains mum. It is that last the commentators find most fascinating: why have none of Prof. Connell’s colleagues at the law school stood up for him? After all, the principle involved, academic freedom, is core to their profession, and the facts are straightforward. Continue reading