Tag Archives: indoctrination

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/20/17

Καλημέρα!

[This is pronounced “Kaliméra!,” not to be confused with “Calamari!” My father frequently got them confused when he visited Greece with my mom, the former Eleanor Coulouris, and embarrassed her by greeting the natives some mornings by cheerily saying, “Squid!]

1. The newspaper Arts section headline says, “Mayor Ties Arts Money To Diversity.”

The mayor in question is New York City’s DeBlasio, and since his own family is “diverse,” naturally every other entity has to be, or it is baaaad. This is why I oppose government funding of the arts unless it guarantees that the nation, state or city will not attempt to use its support to control the arts organizations in any way.  Of course, governments will never do that, because manipulating the arts to advance  political agendas is usually the underlying motive in arts grants. Ideologues like De Blasio—wow, he’s terrible—will constantly be grandstanding and doing everything in their power to manipulate artists and their art to ensure that they send the “right” messages—you know, like Nazi art and Communist art. It is exactly the same theory and practice: art as political indoctrination.

Quick: who thinks that De Blasio will be focusing on “diversity” in the management (or on the website) of the Dance Theater of Harlem? Even if the government doesn’t attach strings to its support, arts organizations know that there are more of them than there is tax-payer money to disperse, so there is terrible and often irrsistable pressure to distort their product to give their state funders what the artists think they want—just to be safe.

My professional theater company refused to do that, sticking to the integrity of our mission and not resorting to tokens and virtue-signalling. My now defunct professional theater company, that is.

2. Yesterday, I highlighted the head-blasting comments of New York Times film critic A.O. Scott and his alternate-universe pronouncements about the Obama presidency. To be fair to A.O., his entire profession is packed with historical and political ignoramuses who make their readers dumber with every review. I once created a theater reviewer’s code of ethics, which I mailed to a critic, who sent it back to me with a note that said, “Mind your own business.” Years ago, I published an essay that was called “Why Professional Reviewers Are Unethical,” that began,

When Variety announced that it was firing its in-house film and drama reviewers, there was much tut-tutting and garment-rending over the impending demise of professional reviewing in magazines, newspapers and TV stations. The villain, the renders cry, lies, as in the Case of the Slowly Dying Newspapers, with the web, which allows any pajama-clad viewer of bootleg videos to write film reviews, and any blogger who cares to write a review of a play. “I think it’s unfortunate that qualified reviewers are being replaced,” said one movie industry pundit, “but that’s what’s happening.”

I say, “Good. It’s about time.”

It’s not happening quickly enough, though. “Dunkirk” is opening this week, and, as I predicted, film reviewers are showing their utter historical ignorance. The Washington Examiner skewers them deftly in an essay called “Why the (True) History of Dunkirk Matters.” Highlights, or rather lowlights:

  • USA Today critic Brian Truitt complains that “the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way.” He is not the only film critic to observe this.

Morons.

  • Slate.com critic Dana Stevens claims that the British Army at Dunkirk was the “last bulwark against Nazi invasion of the British mainland.”

Not even close to true. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, Professions, Public Service, Race, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/16/2017

 Isn’t it a lovely morning?

1. This isn’t the first post of the day: I woke up around 4 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep (“As My Guitar Gently Weeps” was playing over and over in my head, don’t ask me why, and images from the Red Sox 16 inning loss to the Yankees was giving me the night terrors), so I went to the office and wrote this post. Charlie Green, critic and friend, properly pointed out that my comment in passing that incorrectly alluded to rumors about Joseph P. Kennedy being a bootlegger was exactly what my  post was criticizing David Brooks for doing in his attack on the entire Trump family, going back generations, a truly ugly op-ed.

What I was sorely tempted to say was that I’m just an ethics blogger, trying to focus attention on ethics standards in a daily blog from which I receive no income and intangible professional benefits if any. I mange to get 2000-4000 words published every 24 hours, working in short bursts while I try to earn a living, run a business, do research and be as good a father and husband as I can be. I have no editors, no researchers (except generous volunteers) and my blog is not a “paper of record” for journalists, seen by millions and paid for by subscribers. Is it really fair to hold Ethics Alarms to the same standards as David Brooks and the New York Times?

Make no mistake: my own standards are that no typo, no misstated fact, no misleading argument, are acceptable on an ethics blog, or any blog, or anything published on the web. Charles was right: using an unproven accusation of long-standing (Until Charles flagged it, I thought the bootlegging charge was a matter of public record) undermines my case against Brooks. Nonetheless, Brooks has absolutely no excuse. This is all he does, he has all week to produce a column or two, and he has a staff.

I’ve also corrected my error within hours of making it. What are the chances that Brooks and the Times will ever admit that they intentionally impugned the character of Fred Trump using rumors and innuendo as part of their ongoing effort to demonize the President of the United States?

My guess: Zero.

2. The big story this morning appears to be O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing. Will he be paroled and released after serving just nine years of the three-decade sentence he received for his participation in a burglary? Assuming that it is true that O.J., now 70 and unlikely to stab any more ex-wives and innocent bystanders to death, has been a model prisoner, yes, that would be the ethical result. O.J. got away with a double murder—he will not be asked at the hearing, “Once you’re out, can we assume that you’ll renew your relentless hunt for the real killer?”—but he wasn’t put in prison for that crime. Officially, he’s innocent. His fellow burglars were all put on probation, while the judge threw the book at the former football star, presumably to exact a measure of societal revenge for Nicole and Ron. The sentence was unethical. I don’t feel sorry for O.J. at all; I’m glad he had to serve hard time, just as I would have been happy if he had been squashed by a meteor. Justice, however, demands that he go free.

The bastard. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture

“What’s Going On Here?”: The 8th Grade’s Speaker Of The House Snub

It is fair to say that no primary school class of any grade level would have snubbed a Speaker of the House by boycotting a scheduled meeting with him or her ten years ago, twenty years ago or ever. That this happened last week is worth paying heed to, and worthy of careful consideration. It is another symptom of a seriously ill culture, society and democracy.

Half of the D.C. field-tripping 8th grade from South Orange Middle School, about a hundred students, rejected their photo op with Speaker Paul Ryan, and were allowed to wait in the parking lot while Ryan greeted the other half.

What’s going on here?

What’s going on here should be easy to diagnose. The vicious, anti-democratic partyism, partisan incivility and hatred that has poisoned public and private discourse that has moved the United States toward governmental paralysis and the worst societal division since the Civil War is being passed on to the next generation. Anyone who cheers this as a positive development is a lousy, unethical citizen. It’s that simple.

The snub is 100% the product of irresponsible and ignorant parents, aided and abetted by incompetent teachers, seeded by the open warfare and excessive rhetoric of political leaders, though not, ironically enough, by Paul Ryan. Ryan has always comported himself, in this office and his previous one as an ordinary House member, by traditional statesman standards. He is polite and respectful, indeed was too much so  when Joe Biden snorted, rolled his eyes, sneered and interrupted him repeatedly during the 2012 Vice-Presidential debate. Ryan is a gentleman and a professional. He has also dedicated himself to public service and the best interests of his country as he sees it, like all honest elected officials, at great personal sacrifice. As Speaker of the House, a job he did not seek but accepted because he was needed by the institution, Ryan has immense responsibility and daunting challenges. Nobody has to agree with his political views, support his initiatives, or hesitate to criticize, lobby, advocate or vote against what he does or tries to do. Every responsible and civil American, however, should respect him for serving the nation as best he can. As for children, and that is what 8th graders are, they have only one duty: be respectful to the elected leaders of their towns, states and nation. Yes, every single one of those leaders.  Children have neither the standing nor the knowledge nor the wisdom to be otherwise.

Matthew Malespina, one of the grand-standing 8th graders who waited in the bus, was interviewed by ABC about why he snubbed the Speaker of the House. “It’s not just a picture,” the indoctrinated, arrogant kid told the reporter. “It’s being associated with a person who puts his party before his country.”

Gee, I wonder where he learned that empty phrase? What do you mean by this, Michael? Members of both parties belong to them because they believe their party’s governing philosophy is in the interests of the United States. Give me an example of Ryan “putting his party before his country” that doesn’t mean “if Republicans cared about the country, they’d be Democrats.”

Explain the complexities of fixing the evident flaws of Obamacare while not creating unacceptable risks to the health care system. Tell us how you would have negotiated the ethical dilemma of either supporting your party’s Presidential candidate whom you believe to be unqualified, or risking splitting your party and giving control of the government to an opposition party that you believe is pushing the nation in dangerous and untenable directions.

Go ahead, you’re 13, you know everything. What’s your plan? Tell us how you would begin fixing the crumbling infrastructure, a multi-trillion dollar task, without raising taxes to crushing levels or pushing the national debt over the brink. Tell us how the U.S. should help its poorest citizens without making them permanent government sycophants. Tell us how society can take away money earned by corporations and wealthier citizens without destroying the incentive to innovate, take risks, create jobs.

You know nothing. It’s very likely that the parents who have been programming you know nothing as well other than party-fed talking points, but at least they are adults in a democracy, and empowered to be part of government even though our broken news media and education establishment has left them below the minimal level of civic literacy for the process to work as designed.

“The point was, ‘I don’t want to be associated with him, and his policies and what he stands for,'” said Elissa Malespina, Matthew’s mother, a smug hyper-partisan fool who undoubtedly agrees with the attitude of the Georgetown professor who refused to work out in a gym that had a member whose views she found offensive. No, Elissa: a photo is a photo, not an endorsement, just like using the gym didn’t make the professor an honorary white supremacist. But I’m sure you’ve carefully discussed the competing issues of shunning, pluralism, democracy, the political advocacy system, governmental theories, Locke, Rousseau, Jefferson, Hamilton, Burke with your impressionable son, right?

Just kidding. We know what you have been doing since November is telling your child along with anyone else who would listen that Donald Trump is an illegitimate President and anyone who supports him in any way has enlisted in Evil’s Legions, which of course includes the Republican Party and Paul Ryan. Nice work.

It is not damaging enough that progressives are trying to turn the U.S into an ideologically segregated society where citizens of varying opinions can’t work and play civilly together, and where every citizen respects the leaders chosen by our elections, as they must if democracy is to function. They are determined to spread this cultural poison to the next generation before they have the ability to think for themselves.

This is what the conduct of the South Orange Middle School’s 8th grade means, and that’s what’s going on here. It is one more ugly, harmful and perhaps permanent side effect of the “resistance”—including much of the media and Democratic Party—rejecting democratic principles and institutions because they didn’t create the results the Left wanted this time.

Now that’s putting party before country.

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Childhood and children, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Family, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

Indoctrination And Intimidation At The University Of Arizona: Who Will Say, “So What’s The Matter With That?”

I feel the same way, Lucy…

There is a dumb joke in an old “I Love Lucy” episode that this story brings to mind.

Lucy is outraged when she reads that there is am all- filly race at the local race track and misunderstands. Horrified, she erupts, “How long  has this been going on? They’re racing little girls at Churchill Downs!” Ricky promptly explains why she was being an alarmist.

I hope that somehow the news item’s reporter got the facts wrong or I am missing something, because this story is far worse than racing little girls, and nowhere near as funny.

The University of Arizona is accepting student applications for what administrators call “social justice advocates.” The job requires the students to “report any bias incidents or claims to appropriate Residence Life staff,” and pays the student workers $10 an hour. They’re expected to work 15 hours a week, earning $600 a month in taxpayer funds—this is a public university—to police their fellow students speech and conduct.

Part of the job description reads:

“The position also aims to increase understanding of one’s own self through critical reflection of power and privilege, identity and intersectionality, systems of socialization, cultural competency and allyship as they pertain to the acknowledgement, understanding and acceptance of differences. Finally, this position intends to increase a student staff member’s ability to openly lead conversations, discuss differences and confront diversely insensitive behavior.”

Their #1 job, however, is to report “bias claims” so the student miscreant involved can face a Star Chamber, or the university equivalent. Such a claim can be what someone regards as  an outright act of “racism,’ which presumably could include anything from using a racial epithet to saying Maxine Waters is an idiot,  to  “microaggressions” like “cultural misappropriation,” or calling a transgender student by the wrong pronoun. The social justice advocate’s job will also include “fostering dialogue” related to “diversity, multiculturalism and social justice”—in other words, to be a full time left-wing scold— and  to “increase  awareness of diverse identities” while “promoting inclusive communities.”

I wonder if being stuffed in a closet or hung on a hook will be considered a “biased incident” by these paid political correctness snitches? That is, after all, what would happen to them on a healthy campus. Will they have little badges and whistles? I think they should get badges and whistles. Or get a uniform like Rolf at the climax of “The Sound of Music.”

They’re racing little girls at Churchill Downs! Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Race, Rights, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

Bulletin To The Government And Its Indoctrination Centers: Children Have a Right To Like Whatever They Choose

In California, that land of the not-so-free and home of the submissive, four high school students were suspended for  “liking” Instagram posts that the school administrators deemed racist. Now they have sued the school.

Good.

This has to stop.

The students, three of them Asian, were suspended after school officials were informed that they had “liked” or briefly commented on Instagram posts that included an image of a black doll juxtaposed with a KKK member, a torch and a noose, and photographs of other students at the school with jokes about their weight and appearance. Let us settle this right now: it doesn’t matter if the images and posts “liked’ advocated incest, cannibalism or Republicans. It is not the school’s role to punish students for thought crimes. This was not a school website, and the posts did not take place on school grounds. This is Big Brotherism, and the fact that the students involved need to be guided and taught does not mean crushing them under the iron boot of the state was appropriate or responsible.

Albany High School explained it was merely trying to provide “an inclusive and respectful learning environment for all of our students.” Translation: We want all our students to absorb our politically correct,  mandated beliefs, and there is no escaping our power.

Students have a right to express their own views, however misguided, in their private lives. Students have a right to hold views San Francisco progressives find offensive. If the school can punish students for “liking” a racist image, it can, and I assume will, eventually punish students who like President Trump. Or Ethics Alarms. Or Ayn Rand. Or veal. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Facebook, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, Social Media

Higher Education Indoctrination Easter Sunday Continues: “The Least Diverse Place On Earth”

“College is a place where everyone is supposed to look different, but think the same.”

Can anyone honestly rebut this video?

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Filed under Education, U.S. Society

Case Study: How Institutions Like Wellesley Get That Way

In the previous post about Wellesley programming its students to oppose free speech, we learned to our horror (I presume you were horrified) what the liberal college culture is doing to the minds and values of your young.

Now comes this: an anonymous account on the website Quillette on how “standards” are created and maintained at some universities. All? We better hope not.

I was appointed by the dean of General Studies to serve as the chair for a writing hiring committee, a committee charged with hiring one full-time writing professor, who not only could teach first-year writing classes but also offerings in journalism. The committee of three met late in the fall semester to discuss the first group of candidates, before undertaking the second set of Skype interviews. I mentioned that I had received an email from one of the candidates and shared it with the committee members. After reading the email aloud, I argued that the missive effectively disqualified the candidate. The writing was riddled with awkward expression, malapropisms, misplaced punctuation, and other conceptual and formal problems. Rarely had a first-year student issued an email to me that evidenced more infelicitous prose. I asked my fellow committee members how we could possibly hire someone to teach writing who had written such an email, despite the fact that it represented only a piece of occasional writing. The candidate could not write. I also pointed back to her application letter, which was similarly awkward and error-laden. My committee colleagues argued that “we do not teach grammar” in our writing classes. Sure, I thought. And a surgeon doesn’t take vital signs or draw blood. That doesn’t mean that the surgeon wouldn’t be able to do so when required.

In the Skype interview following this discussion, a fellow committee member proceeded to attack the next job candidate, a candidate whom I respected. In fact, before the interview, this colleague, obviously enraged by my criticisms of her favorite, announced that she would ruthlessly attack the next candidate. She did exactly that, asking increasingly obtuse questions, while adopting a belligerent tone and aggressive posture from the start. That candidate, incidentally, had done fascinating scholarship on the history of U.S. journalism from the late 19th through the first half of the 20th Century. He had earned his Ph.D. from a top-ten English department, had since accrued considerable teaching experience in relevant subjects, and presented a record of noteworthy publications, including academic scholarship and journalism. He interviewed extremely well, except when he was harangued and badgered by the hostile interviewer. He should have been a finalist for the job. But he had a fatal flaw: he was a white, straight male.

Continue reading

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