Sunday Evening Ethics Cool-Down, 2/16/2020: Silent Sam, Creepy Michael, Sinking Joe

Chill.

1. The Silent Sam saga continues. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  reached an agreement to give its toppled statue of an anonymous Confederate soldier (there’s a similar statue in down town Alexandria, Virginia, about a ten minutes drive from where I type this) to the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with a $2.5 million trust to display it somewhere other than on a  campus.

But professors, alumni and students accused the university’s board of governors of entering into a corrupt deal with a “white nationalist” group, so the  judge who originally approved the agreement voided it, finding that Sons of Confederate Veterans lacked the legal standing to enter into the pact.

For the record, I don’t understand what kind of “standing” any group needs to come to a contractual arrangement. I don’t understand why the school can’t give the thing to a museum  without having to pay 2.5 million bucks for the privilege. I don’t understand how the University allowed a bunch of vandals—the statue was illegally pushed over by student protesters who were never punished—to trigger this problem in the first place.

I don’t understand why a work of art showing a realistic representation of actual historical figures, for there really was a Confederacy, there really were soldiers who fought and died for it in the belief that it was a patriotic duty, and there really is a value to the culture, and especially education, in remembering controversial events and times, is viewed as so dangerous that it must be hidden from view.

James L. Leloudis, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is supposed to be explaining things to people like me when he said, “The people who erected the monuments went out of their way to make it clear that they honored the living as well as the dead, and most particularly, those ex-Confederates who returned from war and committed themselves to the long, bloody and ultimately successful effort to re-establish white supremacy.”  For example, when “Silent Sam” was  dedicated, a former Confederate soldier named Julian Carr delivered a speech praising the Confederate Army for saving “the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South” and recalled that he had “horsewhipped” a black woman “until her skirts hung in shreds” because she had publicly insulted a white woman.

Isn’t that fascinating! How times have changed! That certainly explains how Jim Crow took over, especially once President Woodrow Wilson encouraged the effort after his election in 1912. But now “Sam” looks at a very different South! You, see, students, the reason….Sam? Sam? Continue reading

Unethical Quote (And Tweet) Of The Month: Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA.)

open-borders

“It’s outrageous the administration is saying anyone who might have committed a crime qualifies for deportations.”

—-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), on Twitter, in response to the recent Trump Administration immigration order.

I know it’s Twitter,  but Senator Harris had 41 unused characters left, so we have to assume that she means this. And if she means this, she is unqualified to be an elected official representing the American public. In fact, she’s a fool.

It is not and cannot be “outrageous” to say that any illegal immigrant, criminal or not, qualifies for deportation. To maintain otherwise is to say that the United States cannot enforce its immigration laws, and not only that, it is “outrageous” to enforce the laws. Is that the position of the Democratic Party? Clarification is essential here. Is it? If so, by what set of values and principles do Democrats make this argument? Does the “it’s outrageous to enforce the law” principle apply to other laws? Presumably it does, or the party has no integrity or legitimate governing philosophy at all.

Why is enforcing the immigration laws against—The Horror!–only the portion of the law-breakers who have no right to be here who have additionally become involved with the violation of other criminal laws so “outrageous”? Does the Senator have some rationale for that contention, or is she just grandstanding? That is, lying.

Or does she accept the reasoning of Jorge Ramos, the openly partisan, pro-illegal immigration Univision anchor, who said at a the network’s annual entertainment awards show (Aside: Why would anyone watch an awards show today, as they have devolved into political rant sessions from one narrow perspective, largely by smugly ignorant hyperpartisans who deserve a nationwide platform no than the average ranting activist holding a placard?), as he erased any distinction between legal and illegal immigration, Continue reading

Ethics Dunce And Unethical Column Of The Month: Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos

Who is the traitor, Jorge?

Who is the traitor, Jorge?

There are some positions in some controversies that I really cannot manage to respect, because no matter how much I try to understand the points of view, they seem so obviously wrong and ethically indefensible. On “The View” yesterday, for example, alleged comedian Joy Behar, in discussing the character of Bill and Hillary Clinton, stated without joking that she would vote for a proven rapist for President, as long as he or she was a Democrat. This is the kind of position I’m talking about.

Yesterday, the Hall of Fame voting results were announced. Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. were elected to the Hall by the baseball writers, and equally welcome to this ethicist-baseball fan was the fact that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both unrepentant steroid cheats, were not elected, and their still paltry vote totals suggest that they may never be. Yet several baseball pundits, reporting on the voting results, preceded this aspect of the news with “Unfortunately.”

I don’t understand that attitude toward cheating at all. I have written about as much about Barry Bonds as any ethics topic on Ethics, and  the case against him is air-tight, with the only defenses ever put forth being invalid rationalizations, easily rebutted. Nevertheless, otherwise intelligent people keep repeating them, hoping to outlast reason and reality by perseverance and repetition. (Sadly, this often works, as “77 cents on the dollar,” “Bush lied” and “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” tragically prove.) In the last 24 hours, I have heard Clemens and Bonds called “great players” so many times that my teeth have been ground down perceptibly. Cheaters are never great, as I explained in one of my favorite posts of 2015.

I was preparing to once again swat down the cultural poison being peddled by the Bonds and Clemens defenders when another of the issues that I believe has no respectable “other side” again raised its uglier than ugly head, so I changed course. That issue is illegal immigration, as in “immigration that occurs in direct violation of U.S. law, making it illegal.” Those who engage in illegal immigration are immigrants, and because their manner of immigration is illegal, they are illegal immigrants. Those who insist on calling them merely immigrants are lying; those who favor euphemisms like “undocumented workers” are engaging in intentional deceit. No, I have no respect for their rhetorical dishonesty–their smug and falsely sanctimonious rhetorical dishonesty—and it should not be tolerated by any U.S. citizen who wants transparent debate on a crucial national policy issue.

The ethics violator in the immediate case is serial offender Jorge Ramos, who uses his position as a broadcast journalist—unethically, since his duty is to report the news accurately, not to spout propaganda—to advocate  unrestricted immigration by Hispanics and Latinos into the United States. It is a logically, historically, demographically, economically, politically and legally irresponsible, outrageous position, but he managed to exceed previously established depths in promoting it by writing, in a column for Fusion, that GOP candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are engaging in betrayal by “turning their backs on immigrants,” who, he says, just got here a little later than they did. Continue reading

All Right, News Media, Now You’ve Made Me Defend Donald Trump Twice In Less Than 24 Hours…CUT IT OUT!

(If I believed in karma, which I don’t, I’d swear this has happened because I mocked my old school chum Dr. Peter Canaday for his comment proving that he was the exception to the rule—and it IS a rule—that supporting Donald Trump for President proves that a parasite has eaten your brain and defecated out your sense and values.)

During his Iowa press conference yesterday, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos insisted on asking questions (a.k.a. “making a speech”) of the current GOP front-runner for the nomination without waiting to be called on—-this is consistent for Ramos, who also feels that Mexicans should be able to jump ahead of legitimate immigration applicants and just enter the country at will…same principle, really—and when he refused to sit down, Trump had him removed.

OK, I’m settling my gorge, swallowing twice, wiping my brow, but…

Good for Donald Trump.

Continue reading