So You’re A Bigot, Then, And Discard Fairness And Reciprocity As Guiding Values! Thanks, Malcolm Gladwell! Good To Know…

I was once a big Malcolm Gladwell (“The Tipping Point”) fan before I figured out the pop psychology and “airplane book” author’s shtick. This latest revelation completes my disenchantment. On his website, Gladwell, discussing interview questions, wrote that he never hired any job applicants who answered in the negative when asked whether they could drive a manual transmission automobile. Those who have mastered a shift and clutch, Gladwell says,realize that the most fun cars in the world to drive are sports cars with manual transmission, and they like the idea of being able to turn a rote activity (driving) into an enjoyable activity. That, and his belief that people who drive a shift like “knowing how to do things that most people do not,” causes him to conclude that these are the only people he wants to work with

Got it. He’s a bigot and an asshole. If I were asked that question and I wasn’t interviewing for a chauffeur, I would ask, “What does that have to do with anything?” The question is really no different from asking one’s religion or party affiliation, ethnic background or position on abortion. It’s a justification for bigotry. The question would be enough for me to terminate the interview, and walk out. I don’t want to work with unfair people.

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I Finally Get It: If The Axis Of Unethical Conduct Can’t Hide Wrongdoing By One Of Their Members, Then It Will Deny It Was Wrong [Repaired!]

No, really, I’m not gullible! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 7,482 times, I eventually figure it out. First (not really first, but I have to start somewhere) progressives, Democrats and the news media (the Axis, or AUC) proclaim that even a rumor of sexually inappropriate behavior by a GOP President’s Supreme Court nominee when he was in high school should disqualify him, then I watch all of them line up behind the most photographically documented serial sexual harasser in U.S. history as their choice for President. Then a failed candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination blames her horrible performance in the Democratic primaries on people discriminating against her because she is a woman and “of color,” and is subsequently nominated as President-in- waiting only because she is female-of-color (otherwise being a pandering, hypocrical boob) as the AUC rejoices. Next evidence of his son’s foreign influence-peddling with her running mate’s involvement not just buried, but buried with the assistance of an outright fabrication (“It’s the Russians!”). Then such examples start popping up all over: Dan Rather, who disgraced journalism, has a journalism medal named after him. Governor Cuomo is accused of sexual harassment by a staffer, and the story is barely reported.

And yet, and yet, when I first wrote about the Jeffrey Toobin scandal, I felt sorry for CNN’s reliably biased legal analysis (it’s unethical for lawyers to let bias affect their independent judgment—I’ve even been hired to teach that), because I feel sorry for anyone who destroys their career and public trust by doing something so mind-meltingly stupid. I even wrote that I wouldn’t write about it any more, because I didn’t want to pile on. The Golden Rule, you know.

Because, you see, I am a moron. I continue to be unable to grasp the complete attempted inside-out-ization of all American logic, principles and values by the people who currently control the White House, half of Congress, the schools, the universities, the news media, social media, Big Tech and entertainment. So now I reluctantly have to write about Jeffrey Toobin again.

Here are some quotes from prominent progressives and media types that end the New York Times’ “The Undoing of Jeffrey Toobin”:

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Jennifer Williams’ Three Questions

Harpers’ “anti-cancel culture” letter, discussed here was instructive, but not in the manner that its sponsors intended. It excluded most conservatives (except Stockholm Syndrome types like David Brooks) and all of those who had been damaged by progressive cancel-mobs, making the exercise suspect as Left-wing grandstanding. Worse, an alarming number of progressives who didn’t sign the letter expressed disappointment that others did, because they fervently believe that expressing opinions that vary from woke cant should be punished, and that (though they won’t come right out and say it) free expression is undesirable. Hate speech, you know—makes people feel “unsafe” to have to associate with the unenlightened.

For some reason the criticism centered on Vox, the website begun by Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein when pretending to be anything but a partisan shill became  too much for him. Vox is as biased leftward as Breitbart is biased in the other direction, which is why I seldom use, and never trust, either. Several Vox employees publicly objected to the fact that their colleague Matt Yglesias signed the letter, apparently forgetting that Yglesias, “by any means necessary” fan that he is, once admitted.

In response to the uproar, senior foreign editor Jennifer Williams tweeted,

What a fascinating set of ethics questions!

Let’s examine them, shall we?

Question #2, the one Williams answers, is apparently not as obvious as she seems to think it is. Tufts University history lecturer Kerri Greenidge demanded  to have her name  removed from the list of signers, claiming that her name  was used without her knowledge or consent. “I do not endorse this @ Harpers letter,” Prof. Greenidge tweeted. “I am in contact with Harper’s about a retraction.” The Tufts historian’s sisters, novelist and New York Times opinion writer Kaitlyn Greenidge and playwright Kirsten Greenidge also asserted  that Kerri was included among the signatories without her consent or knowledge.

Prof. Greenidge was lying—to the public, and to her family. Harper’s quickly produced an email exchange from late June in which Greenidge agreed to sign. “Yes, I will add my signature. It reads well,” Greenidge wrote from her Tufts email address. “Let me know what more you need from me.”

“Oh, just a promise that you won’t cave like a wet cardboard box and start blaming us if some of your progressive pals and family members complain, I guess,” is what Harper’s should have responded. Continue reading

More On The Ethics Of Watching Football From Malcolm Gladwell

And NO,Malcolm is NOT Art Garfunkle's son!

I don’t generally post “See? Someone famous and respectable agrees with me!” links, because 1) somebody agreeing with me doesn’t validate my argument, 2) I’m trying to promote ethical awareness and analysis skills, not to be “right,” and most of all, 3) if I did, I’d feel I had to hide when the famous someone is Glenn Beck, Joy Behar, Ozzie Ozbourne or Dinky, the Pet Rock.

However, I found the comments of Malcolm Gladwell on the topic of football interesting, and I link to them here. Gladwell is the author of “The Tipping Point,” and like Jacque Barzun, Bill James, George Will, Judge Richard Posner, blogger Rick Jones and some other perceptive thinkers I admire, always worth paying attention to, even when he’s wrong. I had suggested that the increasing evidence that football-related head injuries were routinely crippling players implicated the ethics of being a football fan here, and have periodically revisited the issue on this blog  and as a guest on Michel Martin’s NPR show, “Tell Me More.” As a result, I have received a good amount of hate mail from football fans, telling me that I’m a baseball-biased idiot. I may be that, but I don’t think Gladwell is. I think that he ( and I) may be right: ethics and insurance premiums may eventually  send football the way of pro boxing.

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Spark: WTVR.com, on Ray Easterling’s recent suicide.

Source: Slate

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

The Troubling Ethics of Human Psychological Experimentation

Thanks to the popularity of Malcolm Gladwell’s airport book store best-sellers and many of those who cashed in on his formula, like behavioral economist Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational), psychological experiments are increasingly referenced in the media and the blogosphere, not to mention at the dinner table, more than ever before. Call me an alarmist if you like, but this makes me worry about the reckless, harmful and even diabolical experiments being dreamed up by the next wave of aspiring authors and the researchers who give them their best material. Continue reading

Dubious Ethics Studies, Part I.

Thanks to Malcolm Gladwell (Blink) and the one-word titled books he has inspired, we are being exposed to more social science research than ever before, much of it with relevance to ethics. I’ll admit to using some of these when they support my point of view, and that is the problem: what such studies supposedly signify often tell us more about the biases of the analysts than the behavior of the subjects. Two recent studies illustrate the point. Continue reading

Of Presidents Day, Atticus, a Congressman’s Dilemma and Serial Moms

Short Alarms:

  • With increasing numbers of young Americans knowing embarrassingly little about our nation’s past, the wrong-headedness of President’s Day rankles worse than ever. Rather then designate the February birthdays of our two greatest presidents—Washington, the “indispensable man” who made the United States a reality, and Lincoln, the brilliant leader/philosopher who kept it from tearing apart—as yearly commemorations of their remarkable lives and our debt to them, Congress lumped them into a generic “Presidents Day,” thereby demonstrating that it deemed a three-day weekend and consumer merchandise sales more important than our heritage. Worst of all for ethics fans, George, who “wouldn’t tell a lie,” and Honest Abe are the only U.S. Presidents remembered for their truthfulness. Yet here they are, forced to share their “day” with the likes of Woodrow Wilson, Harding, J.F.K, L.B.J., Tricky Dick and Bill Clinton. The right thing to do would be to go back to celebrating February 12 and 22. Washington and Lincoln deserve it, and so do the values they stood for.
  • Speaking of ethics icons, one of my wife’s favorites,”To Kill A Mockingbird’s” Atticus Finch, has been under attack in some quarters for being passively acquiescent in the Jim Crow morality that convicts his black client despite overwhelming evidence that he is innocent. Continue reading