Ethical Quote Of The Day: Tyler Perry

“Stand in the middle, because that’s where healing happens.That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens. It happens in the middle So anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and to help lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one is for you, too.”

—Tyler Perry, African-American playwright, screenwriter, producer, director and actor, in his acceptance speech for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at last night’s Academy Awards

Perry was one of the few attendees at last night’s Oscars who could make such a contrarian speech without looking like a hypocrite. He has always been defiantly politically incorrect in his plays and screenplays, which critics frequently attack on the grounds that he employs negative black stereotypes. (What Perry has proved is that African -Americans can laugh at themselves, at least as long as the satirist is the right skin-shade.) He is also extraordinarily wealthy and powerful within the industry, and doesn’t have to signal his virtue to anyone. At another point in his speech, Perry said,

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On Comments Of The Day Day, Comment Of The Day #1: “Ethics Observations On ‘Prayers Of A Weary Black Woman'”

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This is a Ryan Harkins Super Comment Of The Day, combining a series of his reflections on this prayer for racial hate. Here it is, inspired by “Ethics Observations On “Prayers Of A Weary Black Woman’” and a comment by Glenn Logan:

I wonder, if we had a poll, which of the following people would find more appealing? “Dear God, please help me to hate White people…” or: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, help me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” [Side note: though this prayers if often associated with St. Francis of Assisi, it is entirely absent from his writings. Its use can only be traced back to just before World War I.]

After spending a little more time reflecting on this incredible diatribe, I decided to take a step back and ask what it is about me that would lead to this. Now, I’m not necessarily claiming any direct personal responsibility for this terrible prayer, but my reflections do stem from Matthew 25:31-46. Have I seen you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and I did not minister to you?

Have I been indifferent to your struggles, since they are not mine? Have I been dismissive of your burdens, and perhaps even cast blame upon you? Did I sneer at your poverty, your drug addiction, your broken relationships, and say they were the just desserts of your poor choices? Have I stood at a distance and shrugged, because someone else would help, or if no one else did, the government would lavish plenitude upon you? Did I think that you were greedy for free money, and not feel the sting to your pride? Did I never feel the self-doubt and the hurt? Did I never extend a hand in genuine friendship, giving in to my own fears, rejecting you for your skin color before you could reject me for mine? If I showed you a smile, was it forced and hollow, because I cared more about not being called a racist than in offering you genuine happiness? Did I always demand you come to me asking, and never came without being asked? Was I the one who demanded you get a job before I’d respect you? Was I the one who belittled you for taking the opportunities offered you, without ever taking a moment to see if you were actually qualified? Did I ever stop to listen to you, to really listen to you, instead of lecturing at you?

This is not white guilt, but perhaps a bit of personal guilt at failing to walk side by side with someone who is hurting. Perhaps trying to walk alongside that person is not what they want, but am I so pusillanimous that I would not bear my heart to be wounded, that I would rather not risk pain in an effort to help another person?

I think this applies broadly. I think it is true that conservative economic theory is better than liberal theory, that it helps more people by increasing capital and opportunities all around. But the temptation for the conservatives is the same for the liberals. Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m just spouting out my personal failings and shouldn’t indict others in my sins, but it seems that both the right and the left want to skip personally helping someone, and just let the monolithic, impersonal systems do the heavy lifting. If it isn’t letting the government distribute welfare to all those in need, then it is letting the economy generate the jobs that will then give people the opportunity to rise out of poverty.

Yes, I know there will be people who will unjustly hate with the fiercest hate imaginable, and there’s nothing I can do to change that. And there’s too much hate for anyone one person (save for the one person who proved his love for us by dying for us) to handle. But maybe there’s a great deal more hate than there needs to be because I didn’t do my small part to diffuse it.

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Celebrities, Teachers And Pacs, Oh My! Partisan Hatemongers And What To Do About Them

Wow. Joe Biden eking out a White House win with the outrageous help of a biased news media and the intervention of a pandemic has certainly inspired progressives who wish isolation, violence and punishment on those who dare to disagree with them to out themselves with wild abandon! Three particularly ugly examples, and what to do about them:

I. The Teacher

At Drake University, Associate English Professor Beth Younger has continued that stream of hateful tweets that included one on October 26, 2020 that said, “I was just pondering how much hatred I feel towards all the republican assholes. They need to suffer.” This month, she has added tweets saying “men are trash,” insulting Senator Josh Hawley with “fuck of you piece of shit,” calling Mike Pompeo a “fucking moron and a traitor,” and one referring to Melania Trump as a “terrible human.”

Marty Martin, the President of Drake, sent an email to faculty, staff and students last week, reading,

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If Progressives Agree With Hate Speech, It Isn’t Hate Speech Any More…Do I Have That Straight?

Clarence Darrow said, in his famous closing argument that saved Dr. Ossian Sweet and his family from a murder conviction,

“I am the last one to come here to stir up race hatred, or any other hatred. I do not believe in the law of hate. I may not be true to my ideals always, but I believe in the law of love, and I believe you can do nothing with hatred.”

Darrow was a progressive, you know, and sometimes a radical one. He was, after all, a great admirer of John Brown. A constant theme in his work, however, both in court and in his many debates and essays, was avoiding hatred, and seeking love. In another of his famous trial, in which he saved thrill-killer Nathan Leopold and Dickie Loeb from the gallows, he concluded his closing argument for mercy this way:

If I should succeed in saving these boys’ lives and do nothing for the progress of the law, I should feel sad, indeed. If I can succeed, my greatest reward and my greatest hope will be that I have done something for the tens of thousands of other boys, or the countless unfortunates who must tread the same road in blind childhood that these poor boys have trod, that I have done something to help human understanding, to temper justice with mercy, to overcome hate with love.

I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar Khayyam. It appealed to me as the highest that can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all:

“So I be written in the Book of Love,
Do not care about that Book above.
Erase my name or write it as you will,
So I be written in the Book of Love.

But at some point, and relatively recently, wielding hate as a weapon has become a fetish of the Left that once styled itself in Darrow’s tradition. Even though today’s progressives and Democrats loudly deplore what they call “hate speech,” even to the point of insisting that speech they disapprove of is unprotected by the First Amendment, they are willing and eager to not only deploy the rhetoric of hate but to encourage hate in furtherance of their own agenda.

This is undeniable; mine is an objective observation. Donald Trump was defeated by four years of carefully cultivated (but still reckless and destructive) hate. (Not surprisingly, his supporters—and Trump himself—hated right back. Hate is like that.) As the year closed and a new one dawned, Lefist allies like Twitter, Facebook and the Big Tech companies escalated their campaign to silence opinions that their highly selective and biased definitions of “hate” required, while allowing other, equally inflammatory opinions from those with whom the metaphorically traveled ideologically (or who were the enemies of their enemies, as the saying goes.) As the New York Post said of Twitter, “All the evidence suggests Twitter doesn’t police according to any neutral standards, but with an eye on what bothers its woke workforce.”

On January 19, the latest entry in the category of approved woke bigotry and hate arrived. HarperCollins released “I Hate Men,” a recent French sensation by Pauline Harmange and translated by Natasha Lehrer. Gushes the Amazon blurb,

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Pelosi’s Unconscionable “Snap Impeachment,” Part II: If This Happens, It Will Be Time To Release A Real “Kraken,” And I Hope I Can Help Feed Pelosi To It…[Corrected]

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Plan T, the apparent plan to impeach President Trump for a crime he clearly did not commit, is arguably the worse of the various AUC-contrived removal plots, because it will do the most damage by far. Even the actual impeachment, the ridiculous Plan S, had little long-term effect, and the Democrats abandoned it even as a campaign issue. Even they didn’t take it seriously: like so much of the rest, it was just one more way to denigrate, obstruct and weaken the leader of their own nation. It was part of strategy, that’s all. As I wrote in Part I, this is different in kind:

Plan T must be recognized for what it is: an act of pure hate and vengeance, and a deliberate, calculated insult to Trump’s supporters as well as those citizens who believe that that their government should not behave like third-world failed state.

I admit it: I am angry about this, and if it occurs, I will not forget it or forgive it—and I do not consider myself one of the Trump supporters being ostentatiously slapped in the face. I am angry because this is not how the United States of America behaves towards its leaders. I know readers here are sick of me saying this, but I will say it again because it is true: the nation owes respect and debt of gratitude to every President of the United States, without exception, when they leave office, and that respect should continue to the end of their days, and throughout our history. That’s right, every single one of them, the skilled and less-than-skilled, the competent and incompetent, the best and the worst of them, Andrew Johnson as well as Lincoln, Nixon as well as Eisenhower, the Bushes as well as Reagan, Hoover as well as FDR, Carter, Clinton, Obama, and yes, Donald Trump.

The job was always a killing one and a near impossible, one, and it has only become more difficult and unpleasant. Taking the job is an act of patriotism, and enduring it is an act of courage and character. No President has been treated as atrociously by so much of the public, the opposing party, his own party and the news media as Donald Trump, and it is remarkable that he accomplished as mach as he did under continuous attack. Nearly every other President has been accorded a “honeymoon,” the occasional benefit of the doubt, the opportunity to just play the head of state and accept the pomp, ceremony and traditional acclaim that comes with it. Not President Trump. He was not permitted a peaceful inauguration, nor respectful audiences in Congress to his State of the Union messages, nor the pleasure of throwing out the first ball in the baseball season, nor the host role in the Kennedy Center Honors, nor even an invitation to attend state funerals. Yet President Trump buggered on, as Winston Churchill said, doing his best to try to fulfill his promises and do what in his view was in the best interests of America.

He has been kicked virtually every day of his four years in office, and now his repulsive, vindictive, thuggish foes want to kick him as he goes out the door.

The effort to lay lat weeks riot at the Capitol at Trump’s feet is too cynical and false to be tolerated. Professor Turley had a succinct summary of how disingenuous that is in his recent column in the Hill:

We have had four years of violent protests, including the attacks on federal buildings, members of Congress, and symbols of our democracy. Former Attorney General William Barr was heavily criticized for clearing Lafayette Square last year after protesters injured numerous law enforcement officers, were injured themselves, burned a historic building, caused property damage, and threatened to breach the White House grounds. There were violent riots during the inauguration of Donald Trump and a lethal assault on some Republican lawmakers playing softball. Indeed, this year started as last year ended, with attacks on federal buildings in Portland and other cities.

It is beyond hypocritical for the same people and party that largely encouraged, enables and rationalized these and more to now pretend to be shocked, call a single, particularly stupid and pointless riot at the Capitol a “threat to Democracy,” and to attempt to impeach the President for his role in it, which consisted of endorsing a Constitutionally protected protest. The true threat to Democracy has been ongoing for four years, and it was called “the resistance.” I find it hard to believe that the American people will accept such a transparent and Orwellian distortion of reality, but I know that I won’t.

If the Congress wants to censure President Trump or some other symbolic gesture, fine. As I have written here, it was inappropriate for the President to be challenging the validity of his defeat, even more so than it was for Hillary Clinton to challenge the validity of her defeat, by Trump. Doing so was, in sequence, predictable, irresponsible, dangerous, in many ways justified, and completely in character. I would not object to an official precedent being established holding that no matter how close or dubious an election is, challenges to the results must not be pronounced in public, by POTUS.

Impeachment on this basis, however, is pure lawlessness. Here’s Turley again in another column (this is his specialty, after all). The emphasis is mine:

“..Democrats are seeking to remove Trump on the basis of his remarks to supporters before the rioting at the Capitol. Like others, I condemned those remarks as he gave them, calling them reckless and wrong. I also opposed the challenges to electoral votes in Congress. But his address does not meet the definition for incitement under the criminal code. It would be viewed as protected speech by the Supreme Court.

When I testified in the impeachment hearings of Trump and Bill Clinton, I noted that an article of impeachment does not have to be based on any clear crime but that Congress has looked to the criminal code to weigh impeachment offenses. For this controversy now, any such comparison would dispel claims of criminal incitement. Despite broad and justified condemnation of his words, Trump never actually called for violence or riots. But he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol to raise their opposition to the certification of electoral votes and to back the recent challenges made by a few members of Congress. Trump told the crowd “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices be heard.”….

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Pelosi’s Unconscionable “Snap Impeachment,” Part I: Welcome to Plan T

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In Ethics Alarms’ compilation of the previous 19 attempts at removing President Trump since his election had been stalled at Plan S, the unconstitutional, cynical and non-substantive impeachment of President Trump on spurious grounds in 2019. It’s lack of validity was demonstrated by the fact that neither the news media nor Democrats mentioned the sham during the 2020 Presidential campaign. In the introduction to the list, I wrote,

When Plan S, which late novelist Robert Ludlum might have called “The Ukrainian Perversion” if it had been one of his novels, fails like the rest, or if President Trump is re-elected, the list will keep growing. As scholar Victor Hanson Davis has pointed out, the sheer number of these successive plans belies the claim that this is not an ongoing attempt at a soft coup.

As it turned, out I was more right than I intended to be. Never did I suspect that Democrats would continue to try to remove the President before the end of his term even if they won the 2020 Presidential election, but they are doing so because the other 19 attempts failed. Since this cannot reasonably be called a soft coup, since the Democrats have already won the White House, Plan T must be recognized for what it is: an act of pure hate and vengeance, and a deliberate, calculated insult to Trump’s supporters as well as those citizens who believe that that their government should not behave like third-world failed state.

The rest of this post will be added to “Presidential Impeachment/Removal Plans, 2016 to 2020”:

Plan T (added 1/9/21): Trump should be impeached for “inciting a riot” with his speech to supporters on January 6, as Congress gathered to officially approve the states’ electoral college vote making Joe Biden the 46th President. The transcript is here.

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Comment Of The Day: “Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?”

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Mrs. Q—I’m still beginning 2021 hoping that she will re-activate her personal column on Ethics Alarms!—delivered a characteristically sharp and thoughtful commentary on the meme/poster above, thus earning the Comment of the Day.

In related news, Andrew Sullivan had this exchange with a trans activist who accused him of being a bigot. (Andrew, as he tells us at every opportunity, is gay):

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A brief on-topic digression: I find it amazing how really terrible reasoning and stunningly lame arguments find their way onto public forums to make the public even more ignorant and incompetent than it already is, meaning dangerously ignorant and incompetent. Consider that last tweet: Molly begins by saying that her assertion that Sullivan is bigot is bolstered by her own self-proclaimed status, or in other words, “It’s true because I saw so.” Next, she cites a personal anecdote as if what she thought and she chose to do proves anything about anything other than what she thought and she did. Finally, we get the non-sequitur that “Foucoult had sex with transwomen,” a twist on #32. The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing.” There was nothing wrong with Foucoult having sex with transwomen if indeed that is true, but that still doesn’t mean that not having sex with transwomen is proof of bigotry, and who made Michael Foucoult the arbiter of sexual preferences?

Ann Althouse, who found that Twitter exchange, was sufficiently perplexed by Molly’s argument that he hypothesized that it has to be a joke. She also found this, for which I am grateful:

Schrödinger’s Douchebag: A guy who says offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction of people around him.

That’s funny, but in real life the process is that someone makes a statement that offensive or stupid, means it, but retreats to Rationalization #55, The Joke Excuse, when they are criticized.

Here is Mrs. Q’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?”:

Welcome to the world lesbians have been subjected to for at least 6-10 years.

Please take a gander at TERF is a Slur. A “TERF” is likely defined as Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. However this term has been used specifically against lesbians who object to sleeping with or dating men who identify as lesbians. Ask any lesbian what being a part of the LGBTQ+ “community” is like if you object to a born-male partner personally.

The sad thing is there are plenty of queer and bisexual identified women (and men) who are more than happy to date men who identify as women and/or lesbians. For a long time in history, men have viewed “bedding real lesbians” as a badge of honor or conquest or something. For some lesbians the energy from these born men feels the same. Now straight men are finally getting the same treatment.

Gay men are also being pressured to be an ally by sex act. The whole LGBTQ+ solidarity idea is a myth pushed by lobbies hungry for money and power. This queercraft – as I call it – pushes a message that gay is whatever you decide but also that gay is old-fashioned and to be transcended by being an all encompassing “queer.”

And queer, mind you, increasingly means heterosexuals (often white, progressive, and middle class or above) who want to facilitate both “gender variance” in fashion/personal expression, and playing with “sexual edges and norms.” Basically some kinky straight folks want to get points for donning more than rainbow socks but also rainbow identities.

Gays who don’t have an interest in transgender partners are at times vilified for having a “genital fetish” and I suppose the TRA’s, aka trans radical activists (or trans rights activists – but I like to separate those who want equal rights from those who perpetuate false equity through eradicating sex-based rights), are finally coming for the straights.

But I want to say something else regarding why this issue became something I came to pay attention to for a while.

It began when my wife, a “gender non-conforming” lesbian, was harassed multiple times by FtM’s. Each time she was literally just minding her own business when one shoulder-checked her and called her a “fucking dyke.” This happened a couple more times in different ways by two others assailants. Worse, at her former workplace, a bizarre campaign to remove sex-segregated bathrooms went out of control.

When a six foot two person in heavy boots and too short of skirts claims online to “love blood” and “body horror” while identifying as a “leather dyke” who is into children’s books and anime, it’s understandable some women may be uncomfortable around such a person, especially one who clearly shows, by the fit of clothing, to be an intact male. The bathroom felt like a war zone when this person and others began publishing various workplace bathroom photos online.

And the lesbian bars in cities across the country closed, many after being targeted for being “transphobic” for simply calling themselves “lesbian bars.” Some were cancelled because enough women at such venues rejected born-male advances.

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Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?

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Here’s my preliminary list:

1. It deliberately or ignorantly confounds bias with hate. Bias is a preference that may or may not be rational. There is no evidence that those men who would not choose to date trans women hate them. Do short men choose not to date tall women because they hate them? Do educated men prefer not to date high school drop-outs because they hate them?

2. Thus the poster denies the human right to choose who we want to have romantic relationships with. If it’s hateful not to want to date women who used to be men, then it’s hateful to choose only to date attractive women, thin women, strong women, Jewish women, women of one’s own religion, nationality or race. Personal preference is itself unacceptable if it does not advance the current definition of social justice.

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Saturday Ethics Bits and Pieces, 10/24/2020: Sushi And Coyotes

1. Another day, another police shooting where the black victim entirely brought his fate upon himself, resulting in, of course, another protest. This time the episode was in San Bernardino, California. An officer was dispatched at 11:16 p.m. in response a 911 call about a man jumping on cars in a parking lot. He’s “really drunk and he’s waving around a gun…and he’s just going crazy,” the caller told the police dispatcher. She described him as a black man with a white shirt and black shorts.

As soon as police learned he was black, they might as well have replied, “Sorry. He’s your problem.”

Body camera video shows the officer approaching Matthew Bender, who fits the description by the 911 caller. The police officer pulls out his gun and tells Bender, “Let me see your hands.” Bender  raises his hands briefly and then puts them back on his side, walking away from the officer and telling the cop, “Man, I’m going to the store.” The officer holsters his gun away and attempts to apprehend Bender, who tells him, “Don’t touch me!” The police officer wrestles Bender to the ground and tells him, “Stop fighting, dude.” Bender is seen on video reaching for an item in his waistband that appears to be a handgun.  As both men get up from the ground, and the officer draws his weapon and fires four shots at Bender, which proved fatal. A loaded, unregistered pistol was found on the suspect, who had a criminal record going back 17 years, , with arrests attempted murder, false imprisonment, domestic violence, theft and possession of narcotics. Shortly after the incident was reported, demonstrators shouting, “Abolish the police!” “Defund the police!” and “Fuck the police!” took to the streets, blocking  an intersection and attacking vehicles.

The policy the demonstrators in these episodes want is one where the police are defenseless, arrests are impossible, and black skin ensures immunity from law enforcement. This is neither just, fair, nor rational.

2. Give hate a chance. Hate is in, as you know: the Democrats are depending on it, and little else, to bring them victory next month. A website called BestLife developed a formula for determining the “most hated states,”  ranked from least hated to most hated. Who hates a state? I’ve been in 48 of them plus the District, and I like some more than others, but hating a state seems pathological to me. I assume the calculations preceded the George Floyd Freakout, because Washington, Oregon and Minnesota come out far too positively in light of their behavior since June. And why is Oklahoma the fourth most hated state?

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The American Bar Association Has Lost Faith In Professionalism, It Seems.

For as long as I can remember, lawyers took pride in that fact that they could pound away at each other in the court room, shout, sneer, mock and beat an adversary into a metaphorical pulp, and put it all aside the second the case was finished. The idea that being friends, even close friends, with an opposing advocate compromised a lawyer’s determination and willingness to fight for his or her client was an anathema to the whole concept of professionalism. During the Civil War, West Point classmates on opposite sides sometimes met before a battle, shared a whisky, old memories and a few tears, and the next day did their best to kill each other. That mindset was analogous to how I was taught lawyers were supposed to behave, and, indeed, did.

Now the American Bar Association has apparently decided that it was all a myth. In  Formal Opinion 494, “Conflicts Arising Out of a Lawyer’s Personal Relationship with Opposing Counsel,” the ABA expresses doubts that many lawyers are up to the task.

“A personal interest conflict may arise out of a lawyer’s relationship with opposing counsel, the ABA now says. “Lawyers must examine the nature of the relationship to determine if it creates a …conflict and, if so, whether the lawyer reasonably believes the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client who must then give informed consent, confirmed in writing.”

The opinion breaks possible personal relationships into three categories:

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