Comment Of The Day: “Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 3…Ethics Fireworks (and Duds)!,” Item #5

Extradimensional Cephalopod lassoed itself a Comment of the Day (I love the image of a cepalopod using a lasso!) with his musings on why races were designated “black” and “white,” since the white/black dichotomy is so frequently used to describe good/evil.

Here is his—its?—Comment of the Day on the fifth item (about Twitter banning such words as “whitelist” and “blacklist”) in the post, “Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 3…Ethics Fireworks (and Duds)!”

I’ll be back at the end with a rather lengthy discourse of my own on this subject, because it’s a favorite of mine.

I actually find it annoying that on the one hand, human races (groups of humans who share some similarities in appearance) have historically been identified by colors associated with their skin, while on the other hand, completely independently and before meeting humans from other continents on a regular basis, Europeans started to use colors to indicate whether things are good or bad.

This etymology likely came about because when things rot they often turn black, and because blackness implies darkness (the absence of light), which most humans use to evoke ignorance, fear, or bad luck because they can’t see in the dark. (I use the metaphor of darkness in a much more neutral/benevolent sense, but that’s quite rare.) Interestingly, the color white is associated with death and mourning in many Asian cultures.

With the exception of finance (black ink marking positive numbers and red ink marking negative numbers), most historical evocations of the color black indicate evil, corruption, morbidity, or otherwise something negative. “Black heart,” “blackguard,” “black magic,” “black hat,” “black market,” “blackball,” “blacklist,” “black mark,” “black day,” “black comedy/humor”… Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Hillary’s “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

Comment of the Day: “No, It’s Actually Allison Benedikt Who’s A Bad Person”


Here is David Shuster’s superb Comment of the Day, which is wise and greatly appreciated, on the post No, It’s Actually Allison Benedikt Who’s A Bad Person.

“Can we please drop/reform the “liberal” and “conservative” labels already? You state that Benedikt is a bad liberal; not quite true, she is utterly illiberal. She argues for state-compelled coercion circumventing individuals’ choice of how to raise their children. Her argument rests on illogical Marxist claptrap that prioritizes “the good of society” ie: the collective, over individual free will. I take back my previous statement, she is not illiberal, she is positively anti-liberal.

“I realize that this is quibbling over semantics, but in this case a rose by any other name really does smell differently. The Left and Democrats in general have self-identified for decades as “liberal”. While this label may have been appropriate 50 years ago, it certainly is not now. The Republicans’ social conservatism is rightly derided as illiberal in that it expects individuals’ sexual preferences to be dictated by the state. However, the Democrats’ claims of being “liberal” are becoming more laughable everyday; so much so that they have essentially become a parody of the classical liberal values they assure the population that they stand for. In fact, it appears as though the only things the Democrats envision people being free to do are the things the social conservatives oppose; in short, the Republicans want the state in your bedroom, the Democrats want the state everywhere else.

“We don’t have a “conservative” party and a “liberal” party, we have two statist parties with no alternative. Take gay marriage. I gave tentative applause for the Obama admin taking an explicit stand in support of it (truth be told, IMO the true “liberal” stand on this issue would be for the state to get out of the marriage business altogether, straight, gay, polygamous, whatever and let freedom of association dictate how people live with one another, but I guess that makes me a radical…). However, look at the illiberal consequences of this stance; wedding vendors with an admitted religious opposition to gay marriage but no prejudice against gays personally being forced by the government to render services against their will to gay weddings (see NM supreme court case). It’s beyond belief and IMO a violation of the 13th amendment; how can that be considered “liberal”? Continue reading