Ethics Hero: Dave Cieslewicz. Sort Of…

Mayor Dave

Dave Cieslewicz is an ex-mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, one of the more super-woke college towns, though they are all super-woke these days. Avid reader and commenter Steve Witherspoon nominated him for the Ethics Hero honor because he wrote a recent post on his blog rejecting Critical Race Theory. I initially misread Steve’s email to say that the post was from the current Madison mayor. Now that would have been courageous: students with pitchforks and torches would have gathered outside her home the second such a post hit the web. No, Cieslewicz, a he not a her, was mayor a decade ago, long before the shadow of The Great Stupid fell across the land.

I have some trouble designating anyone an ethics hero for stating what should be obvious to anyone with two neurons to rub together. Dave Cieslewicz calls himself a moderate, which only shows what is regarded as a moderate in Madison: he’s a hard progressive in almost every respect. He’s just not a racist, anti-American progressive, the most visible species in 2021.

Does not being an anti-white racist and saying so out loud in a hotbed of Marxism like Madison qualify someone as an Ethics Hero now? I guess so.

That’s depressing. I thought Ethics Heroes were supposed to lift our spirits.

Cieslewicz writes in part,

Continue reading

Mid-Day Ethics Reflections, 6/24/2020: Bombshells Bursting In Air!

Always appropriate, any day, any time…and besides, they tore down the author’s statue. This is his memorial…

1. As for monuments…the Governor of South Dakota,  Kristi Noem, responding to suggestions that Mount Rushmore would soon be on the George Floyd mob’s hit list, said curtly, “Not on my watch.”

It is not so fanciful a notion, since three of the four Presidents on the mountain have had statues toppled, and the fourth, Lincoln, now has his own statue under fire.  The Freedmen’s Memorial Monument to Abraham Lincoln in Boston’s Lincoln Park is targeted by an online petition as is its original, the statue that stands in Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Park. The fact that the statue was commissioned and paid for by freed African-Americans appears to have no importance to the statue-topplers whatsoever.

After all, Facts Don’t Matter.

2. If there is a shark. she will jump it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted in an interview Tuesday that Republicans are “trying to get away with murder, actually — the murder of George Floyd.” We must remember this when it is determined that the police involved in Floyd’s death can’t get a fair trial because the second highest ranking elected official in the country declared Floyd to be a murder victim before a trial.

A Democratic-run city (for over a half-a century) with a Democratic mayor and and overwhelmingly Democratic City Council (without a single Republican), in a state with a Democratic Governor, oversaw a police department that has been criticized for its conduct long before Floyd’s death, did nothing to remedy the problem, and now faces the consequences.

By what possible distortion of facts and logic can it be argued that Republicans are “trying to get away with murder”?

Once again, another question must be raised: how could CBS News Radio correspondent Steve Futterman, hearing Pelosi’s accusation, not point this out and still presume to be called a journalist? Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 6/7/2020: Let’s Play “Name The Breached Ethics Values”!

Awash with shame for forgetting D-Day yesterday…

I don’t know about you, but for me the days merge into each other of late. I didn’t realize that I had snubbed D-Day until almost midnight. My Dad used to remind me that my existence may have been due to his unexpected inability to participate in the invasion: he had been assigned as an observer, which sounded scary to me, but “luckily” the idiot who blew himself and my dad’s foot up with a live hand grenade took him off the beaches.

1. I wonder...are the same PR hacks who wrote all of the “we’re all in this together? messages about the Wuhan lockdown the ones responsible for the smarmy “black lives matter” messages various companies are putting out?

Yesterday I was watching a movie on Vice, and the CEO kept interrupting the film to blather on about social justice. He is going to host a special, and among the guests—Trayvon Martin’s mother! That tells me all I need to know about the program. Outside of the false narrative constructed around it, the Zimmerman-Martin affair holds no enlightenment about systemic racism, police, or anything else useful, other than being a fine example of how the news media and politicians exploit race whenever they can.

The ethical values breached are honesty, responsibility, and citizenship.

2. Ann Althouse posted this sign from her neighborhood (Madison, Wisconsin).

Yeah, that attitude will really assist the battle against “systemic racism.” Nothing builds racial trust like one race telling the other that there are some opinions it can’t express because of their race.

These are the people that the NFL, Uber, BestBuy and so many other businesses and institutions are supporting.

The ethical value being ignored are trust and integrity. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Ann Althouse

Ann Althouse cited this item from the Capital Times:

“Several Madison alders are sponsoring the resolution creating the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Murals and Crossings Art Pilot Program, which would install LGBTQ+ inclusive rainbow flag markings… at pedestrian crossings on the Capital City Trail and near the Capitol Square…. ‘…It would be a reminder to residents who see it that the LGBTQ community is an important part of the fabric of Madison, especially given that we have a lesbian mayor and many other queer people in positions of power’.”

This prompted her Ethical Quote of the Month:

“Why should the street be painted to remind us of who’s in a position of power? I would not paint anything political on the street. Let the street be a street. It doesn’t need to talk to us, especially not to nudge us about what we should believe or value.”

Why indeed.

This is why the Carly Simon song came to mind, but with slightly altered lyrics:

We can never know about the days to come
But the right side of history
Is clear.. wondering if you’re on board with me
Or just going through the motions now

Indoctrination, indoctrination
Is making me woke
I’m in the right crowd now

And I tell you how easy it feels to be so good
How right to have the mob around
But I, I rehearsed these words just late last night
When I was thinking about how washed your brain could be.

Indoctrination, indoctrination
Is keeping me safe,
Safe from the antifa..

And tomorrow we might not be agreeing
That would mean that we cannot associate
So let us program your brain for good
Repeat this phrase, ‘cause we’ll tell you what to think
We’ll tell you what to think
And stay right here, ‘cause we’ll tell you what to think.

We’ll tell you what to think.
We’ll tell you what to think.
We’ll tell you what to think.
We’ll tell you what to think…

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/20/19: Ancient Icelanders And Others Behaving Badly

Good Morning!

1. Confession: I called a stranger an asshole on Facebook yesterday. I had patiently explained to a Facebook Borg-infected friend that no, the Justice Department report on Hillary’s email fiasco had not proven for all time that she hadn’t “done anything wrong,” quite the contrary. The report revealed that she was directly responsible for over 600 security breaches (after saying otherwise for more than a year). That means that she was reckless, incompetent, irresponsible and dishonest, and, since the applicable statute doesn’t require intent, could have been prosecuted. The report did find that there was no evidence that Clinton deliberately set out to endanger national security, which was never the issue.

Some clod following the thread wrote that you “could sure tell who follows Fox News talking points.” Well, I’m sick of that lazy deflection, and anyone who uses it, especially on me, is an asshole, and needs to be told.  maybe ist not too late to get treatment. It’s even more of an asshole thing to say than the reflex “But ….Trump!” retort.

2. Yes, this is unethical. Yes, it is newsworthy. No, it is receiving almost no national coverage outside of conservative news sources. Rep. Katie Hill, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has been engaged in a three-way sexual relationship involving a  staffer and her husband. This would not matter to me, and should not matter to you, except that the woman involved is Hill’s subordinate. The workplace is not a dating bar or personal harem, not in the private sector, not in Congress. In addition, close personal relationships create conflicts of interest for the supervisor in any office. I would mention the inherent imbalance of power that makes it impossible for an employee to consent to a superior’s advances in such a situation, but of course Lee knows that, being an ardent #MeToo and Time’s Up! supporter.

The hypocrisy in the Democratic Party on this issue is wide, deep, and nauseating, except, I guess, to Democrats. Last week, discussing this issue with lawyers following my ethics seminar, a usually smart, fair, male attorney actually opined that Joe Biden’s serial non-consensual groping wasn’t really a problem because “he didn’t mean it to be sexual assault.” The lawyer really said this, though “I didn’t mean anything by it” has been the reflex excuse of every sexual harasser from Bill O’Reilly to Louis C.K.

3. Stipulated: President Trump’s harsh rhetoric in the aborted White House meeting with Democrats was one more stupid self-inflicted wound. Given the barrage of ad hominem attacks by the party that she leads, and the disrespect for the office that Pelosi herself has orchestrated (that mocking clap at the State of the Union speech alone was unforgivable), Trump was certainly provoked, but the President is not supposed to slide into the gutter just because his adversaries live there. It’s swell to be a “fighter”—Trump is probably correct that Mitt Romney would have been elected President in 2012 if he had a some Trump in him—but that doesn’t mean that gratuitous incivility and nastiness is a competent or responsible political strategy.

However, this image, part of a cartoon by Andy Marlette for the Pensacola News Journal earlier this year… Continue reading

KABOOM! University Of Wisconsin Director Of Community Relations Says That Arresting Shoplifters Is Over-Policing

exploding-head3

This story made my cranium explode like Krakatoa, and it really scared my dog. If it doesn’t make your head explode, I am worried about you. I’m worried about you anyway. I’m worried about all of us.

UW Director of Community Relations Everett Mitchell, speaking at a University of Wisconsin Madison panel dealing with “Best Policing Practices,” argued that police should stop responding to shoplifting and thefts at Wal-Mart and Target in order to reduce what he refers to as “over policing” of the community. Yes, he really believes that enforcing the law regarding property crimes against retailers is “over-policing.”  Mitchell, an employee of an institution that exists to enlighten the young and impressionable, said that communities should be able to decide for themselves what laws should be enforced, and that  the ultimate goal of law enforcement is not the actual enforcement of law, but community safety as defined by the community itself. If the community thinks declaring open season on the local Walmart—looting, essentially—is just fine, then the police shouldn’t arrest anyone for it.  Theft from big box stores, he explained, is an example of a crime that police and the community may view differently.

How the owner of the stores that get robbed, the employees that will lose jobs when the store leaves to relocate someplace that doesn’t think theft is “safe,” and the families that will have no place to shop might feel about his plan was not discussed. Mitchell, you see, is an irresponsible idiot.

He was also formerly an assistant District Attorney in the Dane County District Attorney’s Office. He must have been great at that job.

Mitchell said, Continue reading

Annals Of The Ethics Incompleteness Theorem: The Snuggle House And “The Dress Code Effect”

Awww! Who could object to a little snuggle?

Awww! Who could object to a little snuggle?

Almost any rule, low or ethical principle can be deconstructed using what I call border anomalies. The first time I was aware of it was as a Harvard freshman in the late Sixties, when all assumptions, good and bad, useful and not, were considered inherently suspect. The college required all students to wear jackets and ties to meals at the student union, and up until my first year, nobody objected. But that fall, my classmates set out to crack the dress code, so they showed up for meals with ties, jackets, and no pants, or wearing belts as ties, or barefoot. (Yes, there were a lot of future lawyers in that class.) Pretty soon Harvard gave up, because litigating what constitutes ties, jackets and “proper dress” became ridiculously time-consuming and made the administration look petty and stupid. Of course, there are good reasons for dress codes—they are called respect, dignity, community and civility—-but never mind: the dress code couldn’t stand against those determined to destroy them by sending them down the slippery slope.

If any rules are to survive to assist society in maintaining important behavioral standards, we have to determine how we want to handle the  effects described by  the Ethics Incompleteness Theory, which holds that even the best rules and laws will be inevitably subjected to anomalous situations on their borders, regarding which strict enforcement will result in absurd or unjust results. The conservative approach to this dilemma is to strictly apply the law, rule or principle anyway, and accept the resulting bad result as a price for having consistent standards. The liberal approach is no better: it demands amending  rules to deal with the anomalies, leading to vague rules with no integrity—and even more anomalies. The best solution, in my view, is to regard the anomalies as exceptions, and to handle them fairly, reasonably and justly using basic principles of ethics, not strictly applying  the rule or law alone while leaving it intact. Continue reading