In Defense Of Hillary, A Perfect #22

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Not running….

Rationalization #22, Comparative Virtue or “It’s not the worst thing,” is my personal candidate for the worst rationalization of them all. It is so objectively so devoid of common sense, and so desperate in its relativism, that I am amazed at how often allegedly intelligent people employ it. Ethics Alarms is always on the lookout for a perfect #22, and this summer has brought a bumper crop. Donald Trump, master of rationalizations, had one in June, just four days after Madeleine Albright scored one, saying about Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal,

“…nobody is going to die as a result of anything that happened on emails”

Albright also could well have been wrong about that, as we now know, and only moral luck prevented one of Hillary’s carelessly handled e-mails from falling into hands that might have engineered harm for a U.S. agent abroad. Clearly, however, partisans trying to minimize Clinton’s absolute incompetence, recklessness and dishonesty regarding her private server and its illicit use are drawn to Rationalization #22, because today’s example is also an unethical attempt to excuse Hillary’s conduct by putting it in “perspective”—and what a perspective!

First let’s again review the rationalization…

22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”

If “Everybody does it” is the Golden Rationalization, this is the bottom of the barrel. Yet amazingly, this excuse is popular in high places: witness the “Abu Ghraib was bad, but our soldiers would never cut off Nick Berg’s head” argument that was common during the height of the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal. It is true that for most ethical misconduct, there are indeed “worse things.” Lying to your boss in order to goof off at the golf course isn’t as bad as stealing a ham, and stealing a ham is nothing compared selling military secrets to North Korea. So what? We judge human conduct against ideals of good behavior that we aspire to, not by the bad behavior of others. One’s objective is to be the best human being that we can be, not to just avoid being the worst rotter anyone has ever met.

Behavior has to be assessed on its own terms, not according to some imaginary comparative scale. The fact that someone’s act is more or less ethical than yours has no effect on the ethical nature of your conduct. “There are worse things” is not an argument; it’s the desperate cry of someone who has run out of rationalizations.

(It is also the mark of someone corrupted by the Clintons. #22 got a workout, you may recall, when Bill Clinton’s lies, cover-up and obstruction of justice  regarding the intern he transformed into a Presidential sex toy got him impeached.)

Now here is the perfect #22, a headline on an editorial at MassLive, a Massachusetts news and politics website, Can it get better than this?

Clinton’s email shenanigans weren’t crime of the century

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From The Man Who Would Be President, And Who Thinks That Rationalizations Are Cogent Arguments, A Perfect #22

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Just two weeks ago, I breathlessly announced that Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, against all odds. had pulled into a lead over Donald Trump for the 2016 Unethical Rationalizations Championship by giving us a perfect #22, the worst rationalization of them all. That’s this one:

22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”

If “Everybody does it” is the Golden Rationalization, this is the bottom of the barrel. … It is true that for most ethical misconduct, there are indeed “worse things.” Lying to your boss in order to goof off at the golf course isn’t as bad as stealing a ham, and stealing a ham is nothing compared selling military secrets to North Korea. So what? We judge human conduct against ideals of good behavior that we aspire to, not by the bad behavior of others. One’s objective is to be the best human being that we can be, not to just avoid being the worst rotter anyone has ever met.

Behavior has to be assessed on its own terms, not according to some imaginary comparative scale. The fact that someone’s act is more or less ethical than yours has no effect on the ethical nature of your conduct. “There are worse things” is not an argument; it’s the desperate cry of someone who has run out of rationalizations.

Now, Donald Trump never runs out of rationalizations; as I wrote in the Albright post, “Trump is capable of hitting the entire list of rationalizations, all 68 of them (including the sub-rationalizations) given the opportunity.” He also rose to the challenge posed by Albright quickly, for he not only gave America a Full 22, he did so in the context of arguing for an unconstitutional government breach of First, Second, and Fifth Amendment rights on a massive scale! Bravo!

On Face the Nation  yesterday, talking about the Orlando shooting,  this idiot—sorry, sorry!—Mr. Trump said..

“Well I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country.Other countries do it, you look at Israel and you look at others, they do it and they do it successfully. [DINDINGDINGDINGDING! There are two more rationalizations right there:#1, Everybody Does It, and  #3, Consequentialism, or  “It Worked Out for the Best”! I mean,this guy is a rationalization machine! ] And I hate the concept of profiling but we have to start using common sense and we have to use our heads. It’s not the worst thing to do.” Continue reading

Madeleine Albright Scores A Perfect #22!

perfect-10-score

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is in some respect the perfect surrogate for Hillary Clinton, another former female Secretary of State. She has not been the deftest of supporters, however. The last time she made the news and Ethics Alarms with the statement that women who didn’t support Hillary Clinton would burn. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” she said, making a pure and shameless group identification argument for Clinton’s candidacy.

Now, however, she has outdone herself, warming the cockles of Ethics Alarms’ heart by giving us a perfect Number 22 on the Ethics Alarms rationalization list [ The last perfect #22 honored here was this, in 2014]. I had conceded the Rationalization Championship in this campaign to Donald Trump and his supporters, as they avoid ethics entirely most of the time and default to rationalizations as a matter of reflex . Do they know rationalizations are neon markers of unethical reasoning? No, they don’t. The Donald’s favorites appear to be… Continue reading

So Modern Feminists Are Apparently Bigoted Bullies And Gender Supremacists…Now What?

The first step is to call them out on it.

Item:

“While introducing Mrs. Clinton at a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, Ms. Albright, 78, the first female secretary of state, talked about the importance of electing a woman to the country’s highest office. In a dig at the “revolution” that Mr. Sanders, 74, often speaks of, she said the first female commander in chief would be a true revolution. And she scolded any woman who felt otherwise.

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Ms. Albright said of the broader fight for women’s equality. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

This is pure bullying, misandry and tribalism, anti-male bigotry and a double standard—not that there’s anything wrong with that.

No male politician, pundit or celebrity would dare argue that a man not only should but must vote for the candidate with testicles, because it would be immediately attacked—correctly—as sexist, bigoted, irresponsible, divisive and as an aside, stupid. How can intelligent people make a physiological feature that is unrelated to ability and competence the defining one in choosing a President?

Unfortunately, there’s an answer to that: this was how Democrats elected and re-elected the first black President, with over 95% of voting blacks using color as the prime reason to chance handing over immense power to an inexperienced, untested amateur at leadership and management. Yet even African-Americans were not so blatant and shameless as to openly state that any black American who didn’t vote based on pigment was deserving of eternal damnation. A former Secretary of State did that to bully women into voting for Hillary Clinton, however, as Clinton beamed.

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Chris Matthews and Politically Correct Racism On the Left

“Chris Christie is moon over New Jersey, he should not wear white shirts, I tell you that. I saw him the other day and I was amazed by it, he must be 300 plus, and that’s something he’s just gotta deal with because you’re not going to say, ‘I’m going to cut the budget,’ well, how about starting with supper?”

That was Chris Matthews during an appearance in Washington, D.C., mocking New Jersey Governor Chris Cristie, not for his positions, not for his performance in his job, but because of his looks, specifically his weight. Later in the same session, Matthews criticized Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour for his waist size. It isn’t only Matthews; media liberals have been using Rush Limbaugh’s weight as a punchline for years. Ted Kennedy, Gerald Nadler, Madeleine Albright and Charlie Rangel, however, were immune: being fat is only a justification for insults if one is conservative and fat. Continue reading