Ethics Quote Of The Month: Hillary’s “Basket Of Deplorables”

basket-of-deplorables

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

—-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during a fundraiser—just as Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%”  comment in 2012 was made at a fundraiser!—the LGBT for Hillary Gala in New York City on Sept. 9, 2016.

One of the consistent features of both Clintons is that they engage in so much problematic conduct that often one incident worthy of serious criticism will be knocked out of the headlines by another.

Hillary’s 9/11 “over-heating, well, dehydration, well, ok, since it’s on video, she has pneumonia” fiasco,  demonstrating that suspicions that she and her campaign aren’t being truthful about the state of her health are not “conspiracy theories,” effectively muted discussion about her “basket of deplorables” classic, complete with an imaginary word, “generalistic,” that if it had been uttered by George W. Bush would have been mocked far and wide.

I categorize this as an ethics quote rather than an unethical quote, because it is both ethical and unethical simultaneously. (The Clinton’\s seldom say things that aren’t adaptable to multiple interpretations; this allows them to leap from one to the other, like they are ice floes, when one meaning is justly condemned or found to be false.)

On the ethical side, it is completely fair and accurate to diagnose Trump supporters as deplorable, defined as “lamentable, or deserving censure or contempt.” This doesn’t apply to those conflicted potential voters who have reluctantly decided that in the terrible binary choice Americans have had shoved down their civic gullets by the two incompetent political parties, Donald Trump is preferable to Hillary Clinton. That is not the most responsible choice—it can’t ever be responsible to give such power to an unstable and ignorant boor—but it is an excusable mistake, given the horrible dilemma.

Supporting Trump, however, as in actively wanting him to become President, is as good a definition of “deplorable” as I can imagine. In this respect, Hillary was too generous. 100%, not merely 50%, of Trump’s supporters are deplorable. They lack the values, civic responsibility, understanding of their own nation and its history, or sufficient intelligence to be competent voters.

You know: deplorable. Continue reading

“Zootopia” Is Unethical—But Funny!

I think you should see “Zootopia,” and maybe even let your children see it, provided that you are prepared to spend about two hours deprogramming them afterwards. Thus you may not want to read further unless you want to encounter numerous spoilers.

Children’s stories, TV shows and movies have long been the vehicle for moral and ethical messages, as well as allegories that may or may not worm themselves into unsuspecting juvenile psyches. Because there are young minds involved, engaging in what can be value-warping and indoctrination if not handled with proper humility and care is a high calling, and for the most part, Disney has always been up to the task.

I like Disney animated movies, and always have. I even like some of the flops, like “Treasure Planet.” Pixar, which is now part of the Disney creative empire, has been even more daring and aggressive in ethics story-telling, and has not seriously abused the privilege. Other studios, like DreamWorks, have been more heavy-handed in their moralizing. No animated film in memory, however, has set out to pound specific political and social points of view into the brains of kids as blatantly, relentlessly and ambitiously as “Zootopia.”

I should add “incompetently.” Like all fantasies with delusions of social significance, “Zootopia” relies on metaphors, and in this film, they become a tangle of confused and sometimes contradictory and hypocritical messages. Wrapped as they are in an often charming, funny, well-acted and well-plotted piece of technically expert art, these muddled messages approach being sinister. That the film has been almost universally praised—it has an amazing 98% positive rating on the review site “Rotten Tomatoes”—speaks either to a culture-wide conspiracy to turn the next generation into political correctness zombies, or to the mass incompetence of the film reviewing profession. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Fick Calls Loretta Lynch’s Bluff

bluffing

When I read that our Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, made this provocative statement—

“The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence. Now obviously this is a country that is based on free speech, but when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric—or, as we saw after 9/11, violence directed at individuals who may not even be Muslims but perceived to be Muslims, and they will suffer just as much—when we see that we will take action…I think it’s important that as we again talk about the importance of free speech we make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”

…my first thought was “oh-oh” and my second thought was, “Boy, Obama’s appointees are as careless with their rhetoric as he is, or Hillary.

For what really was she saying? It sounds like a threat, but is it?  What does “edges towards violence” mean? Violence? Calling for violence? Or rhetoric anti-gun progressives will blame if there is violence? What does…let me rephrase that…What the HELL does “the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric” mean? For that matter, what are “actions predicated on violent talk”? Does an action that would not be a crime without violent talk become one based on the rhetoric that inspired it? You’re a lawyer, Ms Lynch, how about speaking precise English? What exactly are you trying to say?

So my third thought was, “Well, we better find out, since is this our top law enforcement official talking and if she is really saying, as one might reasonably interpret her vague and convoluted statement to mean, that she’ll be arresting anyone who dares to venture a harsh judgment of Muslims, it would be good to know.

Donald Trump, I’m sure, would like to know.

And  lo and behold, here comes former GOP tea party congressman turned radio talk show host Joe Walsh to settle the issue! He provides a rant on his Facebook page: Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: University Of Minnesota Student Government

Let's agree to forget the whole thing. Might hurt someone's feelings.

Let’s agree to forget the whole thing. Might hurt someone’s feelings.

As the Political Correctness Amuck/Microaggression/ Racial Trust Breakdown/Free Speech Rejection Higher Education Breakdown continues to spread (I’ve GOT to come up with a snappier name), we are beginning to see the full, ugly results of paying exorbitant fees to have our children indoctrinated by arrogant, leftist, un-American pedants.

The latest symptom: the Minnesota Student Association, which is  the undergraduate student government at the University of Minnesota, rejected a resolution for a moment of recognition on future anniversaries of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The reason, according to the principle student advocate against the resolution, was that remembering the date 9/11  “is often used as reasoning for Islamophobia that takes both physical and verbal forms. The passing of this resolution might make a space that is unsafe for students on campus even more unsafe. Islamophobia and racism … are alive and well.”

Great. First it was punishing speech and thought. Now we need to censor history to make students feel “safe.” Continue reading

Another Day, Another Demonstration That Donald Trump Lacks The Character To Be A Crossing Guard, Much Less A World Leader. When Do His Supporters Become Sufficiently Embarrassed?

The exchange  (from CNN, with my comments):

Questioner (in Trump T-shirt): We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.

 Trump (chuckling): We need this question. This is the first question.

Questioner (Who appears to be the human incarnation of “The Family Guy”): Anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”

Trump: We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We’re going to be looking at that and many other things.

This is a character test that John McCain passed in 2008, when he sharply interrupted and corrected a woman who stated in a question that Obama was a Muslim, and that Bill Clinton aced by reprimanding a Truther during a post-9-11 appearance. Not Trump. He let a scurrilous accusation stand as well as the bigoted assertion that we should “get rid” of all Muslims. He displayed, as he often does, cowardice, common cause with bigots, and later, dishonesty, as he allowed his campaign to explain he “hadn’t heard the question.”

How pusillanimous, how low, how measly and pathetic. Yeccch, pooey, ick ick ick retch.

Of course, this is just throwing chum in the water for Democrats. How many Republicans will prove that they have the integrity and decency that this slime of a man so proudly lacks?  Let’s keep score.

Comment of the Day: “Pop Quiz: The Bottom Of The Slippery Slope”

islamic-symbol

Going far afield from the post it followed, the Comment of the Day from texaggo4 examines the tricky question of whether militant, radical or extremist Muslims can be fairly regarded as representative of the faith. Taking off from a comment by Penn (in the blocks), tex examines various ways of analyzing the problem, in a long and fascinating exposition. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post “Pop Quiz: The Bottom of the Slippery Slope.”

 

Fundamentalism v Militancy

“Which brings me an item I almost ran yesterday re the specious anti-free-speech posts some people were making and/or agreeing with. I thought Beth had pretty much covered the subject but … no. As (self-confessed) Christian writer and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck – Lt. Col. who served as the U.S. Army’s Assistant Chief Psychiatry and Neurology Consultant to the Surgeon General of the Army – explained, “(T)there are different stages of spiritual maturity. Fundamentalism – whether it be Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Hindu fundamentalism – is an immature stage of development.

‘Indeed, a Christian fundamentalist who kills others in the name of religion is much more similar to a Muslim – or Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist – fundamentalist who kills others in the name of his religion than to a Christian who peacefully fights for justice and truth, helps the poor, or serves to bring hope to the downtrodden.’

If we can’t agree to differentiating fundamentalists (extremists by definition) from (comparatively) rational folks, we will continue to have straw man arguments that lump every one together under a label that is useless for discussion.”

I’ve read some of Peck’s works. Pretty good. But I think he’s inaccurate on the characterization of “Fundamentalism”. He’s fallen for the same trap in mislabeling that the main stream media uses. Certainly spiritual immaturity involves a great deal of emotionalism, which typically manifests in anger, when a person’s beliefs are challenged. Anger, which can lead to violence, is best described as “Militancy”, not “Fundamentalism”.

If religion A says “at the bare bones you must believe”: Continue reading

Hypocrisy of the Year: The Islamophobic New York Times Company, Washington Post, Et Al.

The New York Times, as well as the Washington Post and other major newspapers, have piously condemned those who raised objections to the proposed Islamic center in Manhattan, near the site where nearly 3,000 Americans met their death at the hands of Islamic extremists. The Times, the Post, their fellow papers and many of their columnists and bloggers proclaimed that a peaceful religion was being smeared by bigoted Americans and political leaders smitten with “Islamophobia.”

Then, on October 3, a Sunday installment of the prize-winning comic strip “Non Sequitur” was censored from the pages of the Post, the Times-owed Boston Globe (the Times itself has no cartoons) and almost 20 others. The strip, you see, jokingly suggested that an image of Muhammad the Prophet, which strict Islamic principles decree must never be shown or ridiculed under threat of a fatwah, might be hidden among the depicted happy characters in the manner of the “Where’s Waldo?” children’s books. Continue reading

Ethics Alarms Presents “The Mosquies”…the Best and Worst of the “Ground Zero Mosque” Ethics Train Wreck

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