As I previously noted, the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy is an epic “ethics train wreck” that has spread its destruction far and wide, across regional, ideological and national borders, leaving confusion, misunderstanding and bad feelings in its wake. Now is as good a time as any to take stock of the situation, and to recognize those who have distinguished themselves during the carnage, for good or ill. To this end, Ethics Alarms presents its first annual (and hopefully last ever) awards for outstanding ethical and unethical conduct during the whole mess, “The Mosquies.”
The envelope, please… Continue reading
What, other than the project itself, is unethical about the Ground Zero mosque plan?
Just this: apparently, despite what we’ve all been told, there isn’t one!
Politico reported yesterday that “New York government officials and real estate insiders are privately questioning whether the project has much chance of coming to fruition.” If the facts stated in Politico’s article are true, that would seem to be an understatement. Among the revelations: Continue reading
…for manufacturing your own violation of The Second Niggardly Principle, clarifying what is wrong about the Ground Zero Mosque.
Beck has announced that he will hold a Tea Party rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, which just happens to be the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s iconic “I have a dream” speech, delivered at the same spot.
Does Beck have a right to hold his rally there?
Yes. Continue reading
Let’s see if I can make this both coherent and succinct.
President Obama was ethical, responsible, and brave to weigh in on the Ground Zero Mosque (more accurately called “The Two-Blocks From Ground Zero Mosque”), and reaffirm America’s commitment to freedom of religion for all faiths by declaring that the Islamic group has the right to build its planned Islamic center.
After being roundly (and predictably) slammed by conservative talking heads, blogging bigots, and ranting reactionaries for stating the obvious, however, the President (or his advisors; the advisors are the ones who thought this was a dandy time to send Michelle and the kids on a luxury vacation in Spain, and can be identified by the large dunce caps on their heads…) decided to come back and clarify his remarks, lest anyone think he was actually endorsing the idea of an Islamic monument so near the spot where thousands of innocent Americans perished at the hands of Islamic extremists.
“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” Obama told reporters in Panama City, Fla. “I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about.” This statement isn’t quite “I didn’t inhale” or “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is,” but it is still a solid candidate for the Presidential Weasel Words Hall of Fame. By saying he would not comment, President Obama was commenting, and implying, by saying what he would not comment about, that if he did comment, it would be that the mosque was probably not such a hot idea, since fairly or not, it was bound to be misunderstood as an insult to the victims of 9-11.
It was inappropriate and wrong for Obama to suggest this, in weasel words or otherwise. (It would be more honest and forthright to eschew the weasel word method, however.) Continue reading
Fine, reasonable, ethical commentators, not to mention Mayor Bloomberg, have argued that the moderate Muslim group seeking to build an Islamic center and mosque within a hand grenade’s throw of Ground Zero is blameless, persecuted, and as pure as the driven snow in its ethics.
They are ignoring the Second Niggardly Principle, which is understandable since I just formulated the Niggardly Principles One and Two today, after carefully reflecting upon what it could be about this matter that has led so many wise people astray.
Several years ago, a white Washington D.C. government worker, the Shirley Sherrod of his time, was fired for using the word “niggardly” in the work place, which was found to be racially insensitive to those whose vocabulary was so limited they didn’t know that the word had nothing to do with race. This incident embarrassed the D.C. government, which is used to being embarrassed, and inflamed pedants. Eventually the worker was reinstated, and the First Niggardly Principle was born, which is as follows: Continue reading
The proposed Ground Zero mosque should be a straightforward ethics issue, but it is not. Now it is bound up in a thoroughly confusing debate that confounds and blurs law, ethical values, history, rights, and human nature. Everyone is right, and everyone is wrong.
Yes, it’s an Ethics Train Wreck, all right. This one is so bad I hesitated to write about it—ethics train wrecks trap commentators too—in the vain hope that it would somehow resolve itself with minimal harm. That is obviously not in the cards, however; not when the Anti-Defamation League weighs in on the side of religious intolerance, thus forfeiting its integrity and warping its mission. The wreck is still claiming victims, and there is no end in sight. Continue reading
President Obama has shown his inexperience and unfamiliarity with executive leadership ethics in many ways since he took office, but none are likely to be more damaging than his unease with accountability. He had better learn fast.
It is not surprising that so many mayors lose their jobs as the result of blizzards. Budget limitations guarantee that a city’s snow removal capabilities are set to the most likely levels of snowfall and not the extraordinary, once-in-a-decade event, yet when that once-in-a-decade event arrives, it will not do for the mayor to blame the budget or the weather or the City Council or the lack of a magic wand. The public doesn’t want to hear any of that: they want to be able to drive to work. They want the leader to fix the problem, because that’s what leaders are supposed to do. If a leader can’t fix the problem, he had better look as if he is doing everything possible and impossible to try. And he had better make it clear that he understands and accepts that it is his job. Continue reading