Mask Madness Update!

[Any discussion of the sad and destructive mask mania inflicted on American society—and its children—by the dishonest and incompetent public health establishment and the fear-mongering media must be introduce by Major Clipton’s versatile coda to “Bridge on the River Kwai.”]

Masking has been madness from the very beginning, though it is particularly mad (and maddening) now. Yesterday I saw a couple escorting their tiny children—three-years-old at most— to a CVS. Their faces were tightly bound in cloth (as in useless) masks, like their parents. I so wanted to stop them and ask 1) “Why are you doing this?” and 2) “What, if any, in your political affiliation?” The odds of parents inflicting this on their children not being loyal, lifetime Democrats must be 1000 to one….which is nuts. How wearing a dubious piece of medical equipment (or costuming) became a partisan badge is great topic for sociological research—or a stage farce. I would not have believed, if you told me two years ago that we would have created a large group of virtue-signaling phobics who would still insist on masking even when the pandemic had been down-graded to the level of a seasonal flu, and the benefits of masks have been seriously challenged.

At this point, mask advocates are pushing this anti-social and destructive measure at least a much to create the habit of kow-towing to authority and living in perpetual anxiety and fear so that government incursions on liberty and the enjoyment of life seem benign. It is the embodiment of what Adam Ellwanger calls “Current Thingism:

Continue reading

Lapsed Sunday Sundown Ethics, 6/12-13/2022: Something!

[I hate when this happens: I had yesterday’s ethics short (well, shorter) notes almost ready to post,  things got complicated, and now it’s the next day. Well, I like that sundown photo, so to hell with it.]

***

There are not too many speeches that have had a tangible impact on world events, but June 12 is the anniversary of one of them:  President Reagan challenging Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” in 1987.  Two years later, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. Liberals and left-leaning historians disliked Reagan so much that to this day they deny him his well-earned credit for undermining Soviet communism. On the anniversary of his death last week, Twitter was full of ugly, vicious attacks on his achievements and character. Nothing inspires hate more than someone who proves that your fondest beliefs are garbage. Here is what Reagan said to the crowd of West Berliners:

“There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.” He then called upon his Soviet counterpart: “Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace—if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe—if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

All delivered, as usual, with the skills of a professional and experienced actor.

1. Ugh. Why is the principle of moral luck so elusive? A baseball controversy erupted in Chicago last week because ancient and “old school” White Sox manager Tony LaRussa intentionally walked Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner with a runner on second base  and a count of one ball and two strikesin order to have relief pitcher Bennett Sousa face Max Muncy instead. Muncy promptly hit a three-run home run to give the Dodgers a 10-5 lead in a game they would eventually win 11-9. A live microphone  caught one fan yelling “He’s got two strikes, Tony!” and “Tony, what are you doing?” before Muncy homered. The intentional walk is a baseball strategy that has largely gone into disuse because statistics don’t support it except in very specific situations. The White Sox have been a disappointing team so far this season, and that tactic by LaRussa seemed to catalyze a fan consensus that he is too old, behind the times, and the reason for the team’s performance. (He was booed in Chicago the last two games, and also faced “Fire Tony!” chants.)

So here comes ESPN’s esteemed David Schoenfield to write, “Now, to be fair here, the pounding on La Russa is also a little unfair. If Muncy strikes out, it looks like a good move.”

No, no, NO, you idiot! Whether or not the tactic is a wise one must be determined when it is executed, not after its results are known. La Russa had no control over whether Muncy homered or struck out once he had ordered the intentional base on balls. What a third party, or subsequent events, do cannot change whether a decision was competent or incompetent. That’s just luck. Continue reading

Broadway Ethics: Unethical Audiences, Unethical Actress

1. From Actor’s Equity:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the creation and distribution of photographs and videos of our members during a nude scene. As actors, we regularly agree to be vulnerable onstage in order to tell difficult and challenging stories. This does not mean that we agree to have those vulnerable moments widely shared by anyone who feels like sneaking a recording device into the theater. Whoever did this knew not only that they were filming actors without their consent, but also that they were explicitly violating the theater’s prohibition on recording and distribution.

“At every performance, there is a mutual understanding between the audience and the performers that we are sharing an experience limited to this time and place; that trust makes it possible for us to be exposed both emotionally and physically.  Trampling on this agreement by capturing and distributing these photographs and videos is both sexual harassment and an appalling breach of consent. It is a violation that impedes our collective ability to tell stories with boldness and bravery.”

This completely accurate statement was prompted by an audience member taking forbidden photos of former “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams during in a nude scene in the Broadway revival of “Take Me Out” and putting them online. The theater, Second Stage, also made a public statement condemning the conduct.

2. “The theater is a temple of virtue signaling! Bow, peasant!” Patti Lupone, long-time Broadway diva and the original “Evita” (in the musical, that is) confronted an audience member from the stage as she performed in the Broadway revival of “Company.” The audience member was wearing her mask below her nose.

Of course LuPone wasn’t wearing a mask at all, but never mind. Those are the rules on Broadway. “Put your mask over your nose, that’s why you’re in the theater!” she lectured, obviously breaking character. “That is the rule. If you don’t want to follow the rule, get the fuck out! Who do you think you are that you do not respect the people that are sitting around you!”

Then the audience cheered, because they are mostly Good Germans who put up with the garbage edicts of the reliably progressive virtue-signalling theaters and pay absurd amounts of money to sit in discomfort wearing useless cloth masks. I suspect that the audience member had the mask down below the nose because glasses fog up otherwise, and it’s really stupid to pay over a hundred bucks to sit in a dark theater blind. In Patti’s defense, masks are the rule, the House makes the rules, and she was technically correct that the target of her abuse was breaking them. On the other side of the ledger, it’s not her job to enforce the rules, and though audiences love seeing anything out of the ordinary like av actress berating a patron, LuPone sacrificed the performance to indulge her grandstanding. She has no respect, clearly, for the audience or her fellow cast members.

If I were the mask-felon, I would have left, and sorely tempted to shout out, “You’re the one who should be masked with that mug!”

But that would have been unethical…

Expert? EXPERT? Fauci Doesn’t Even Comprehend The Government He Works For!

Or, in the alternative, he has finally revealed himself as another aspiring totalitarian progressive. Either way, the doctor is a dangerous, arrogant, power-abusing fool, and it’s way past time to get rid of him.

Last week Dr. Fauci—may he go down in U.S. history as one of the nation’s true villains—said:

“We are concerned about … the courts getting involved in things that are unequivocally a public health decision… This is a CDC issue, should not have been a court issue… It was perfectly logical.”

Yes, he really said this. No, I wouldn’t kid you, he really did. He is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States. He has been director of the NIAID since 1984. From 1983 to 2002, Fauci was one of the world’s most frequently cited scientists across all scientific journals. In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

And yet he either doesn’t understand the Constitution of the United States, or wants to overturn it in favor of a dictatorship of experts. Ironically, he epitomizes exactly what is wrong with “experts” in so many fields. They tend to be single-minded and locked into tunnel vision. They drift toward favoring processes that favor an “ends justify the means” philosophy. They are ultimately untrustworthy and unethical. Continue reading

Ugh. Masks Again. My Breaking Point Is Getting Nearer…

Last night in Northern Virginia, I waited to be served at a SubWay behind a young, apparently well-to-do mother and her two children, no more than 5 or 6 years old. All three were tightly masked, though in the cloth variety that are—yes they are— virtually useless. The two women behind the counter were masked, of course, for business and PR reasons. I wasn’t. Also in front of me was a young African-American woman (who ordered a BMT with cucumber, mayo, mustard, oil and vinegar) who also wore a cloth mask, while two young men behind me were unmasked.

For about the tenth time in recent weeks, I had to wrestle my tongue to the floor to avoid asking the masked women in line, “Pardon me, but why are you wearing those things?” and the mother “Why are you forcing those tiny children to walk around with half their faces covered? (I also wanted to ask the woman in front of me, “Mayo, mustard, oil and vinegar all on an Italian sub? What are you, nuts?” But that’s another issue.) Once again, I resisted the urge, but I can feel myself nearing the point where I’m going to do it. In fact, I’m nearing the point where I think it is the duty of Americans who care about the culture, societal values and future as a democracy to challenge the maskers, especially those who are abusing and warping their children.

These people should be made to defend their conduct. It’s not a private matter, not when masks carry a message and send messages to others. There appear to be two varieties of masked Americans, one pathetic and the other sinister: those who wear masks as a symbolic show of solidarity with the statist, totalitarian Left that wants the government to train the “little people” to do and believe what they are told, and those who have been turned into lifetime germaphobes and agoraphobes by media scaremongering, inflated death statistics and incompetent health officials. Every day, in tiny, incremental ways, these two, sometimes overlapping groups are tearing down American individuality, liberty, and the quality of life.

Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: The Stacey Abrams Campaign [Corrected]

I was going to comment on the photo above anyway, not realizing that it had set off an online controversy. Abrams is one of the most shameless power-seeking phonies among the many phonies America is inflicted with right now; the hypocrisy in the photo is hardly unique. President Biden had such an episode over the weekend; Democratic mayors, governors and other officials have made their “rules are for the gullible peons” photos and videos an art form. Most have had the sense to say, “I’m sorry,” or “I forgot,” or “I won’t do it again.” Not the Abrams campaign (she’s running for Georgia governor again).

It responded to criticism of the photo by—guess what!—accusing critics of being racist:

“It is shameful that our opponents are using a Black History Month reading event for Georgia children as the impetus for a false political attack, and it is pitiful and predictable that our opponents continue to look for opportunities to distract from their failed records when it comes to protecting public health during the pandemic.”

Wait, is there a law that says you can’t criticize a black politician during Black History Month? I did not know that! Boy, I wish that my people—you know, bald Anglo-Greek lawyers—had a month like that! Continue reading

Fake News Watch 2: The Missing Mask

Compared to the above mass fake news about mass graves that have not, in fact, been verified, NPR’s bit of false reporting on Supreme Court intrigue seems trivial, and is. NPR’s longtime liberal-leaning Supreme Court reporter impugned Democratic Party boogie man Neil Gorsuch—He stole Merrick Garland’s seat!—by writing that Mean Neil was trying to kill Justice Sotomayor ( who “has diabetes, a condition that puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death” from the Wuhan virus) or something, because he refused to wear a mask despite Justice Roberts “asking” him to.  Sotomayor, therefore, has to participate in the Court’s work via Zoom. Gorsuch is, apparently, fully vaccinated, and doesn’t have the virus. Continue reading

The YouTube Ethics Dilemma: I Need The Platform, But It’s A Censorious, Partisan Propaganda Machine

I don’t miss Twitter much. I quit the social media platform last year, disgusted with its blatant partisan censorship, its censoring of Donald Trump, and the odd way it flagrantly maintained a double standard in which misleading or questionable progressive tweets were opinions, but misleading or questionable conservative tweets were lies, mandating the tweet-monger’s banishment.

I also had been warning lawyers in my ethics seminars to eschew Twitter at all costs, since, I said with my tongue only slightly piercing my cheek, using it lowered the average lawyer’s IQ by between 15 to 25 points. (I estimated this on the evidence of poor former Harvard Law icon Larry Tribe, whose conspiracy theory tweets and ethics rules beaches on the platform raise the rebuttable presumption that he has entered the Biden Zone…not that this obvious decline has stopped the Washington Post and New York Times from publishing his increasingly over-heated and badly-reasoned op-eds.)

I decided that I should take my own advice and leave Twitter. Besides, my involvement with Twitter in the end consisted solely of issuing links to Ethics Alarms posts, which elicited virtually no traffic or retweets at all. (Except for you, Opal!)

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Catch-Up, 10/7/2021: Idiots, Crooks, Crazies…And Judges

Ketchup

I have at least 57 posts languishing…

1 Now this is “shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowed theater!” Christopher Perez, 40, is heading to prison for falsely telling his social media followers that in 2020 he had paid someone infected with the Wuhan virus to lick food products at multiple grocery stores in Texas. His motive was to “scare people away from visiting the stores,” the Justice Department said in a news release.

The FBI launched an investigation that ultimately determined the claims were a hoax; Perez did not pay anyone, and nobody licked any groceries at his behest. A jury found him guilty of violating a federal law that criminalizes false information and hoaxes related to biological weapons. He was sentenced this week to 15 months in prison and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. His defense lawyers argue that the sentence is too harsh. Perez shook and trembled and wept in court, shouting, “I am not a terrorist!”

No, you’re an idiot, but you behaved like a terrorist, and under the law, that makes you a terrorist. The sentence is completely appropriate.

2. And while we are on the topic of criminals…We might be turning the ethical corner on looted antiquities from other lands. Nancy Weiner, the owner of a prominent Manhattan noted for its expertise in ancient Asian artifacts, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and possession of stolen property in connection with the trafficking of looted treasures from India and Southeast Asia. She sold items to major museums in Australia and Singapore, and others were auctioned off by Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The items ranged in value from $100,000 to $1.5 million, and they were stolen. But Weiner had created fake documents stating that they had all been purchased from private collections. Her rationalization: it was standard practice. “Everybody Does It.” “For decades I conducted business in a market where buying and selling antiquities with vague or even no provenance was the norm,” she said during her appearance in Manhattan Supreme Court. “Obfuscation and silence were accepted responses to questions concerning the source from which an object had been obtained. In short, it was a conspiracy of the willing.” Right. That doesn’t mean you had to join in, but we understand: $$$$$$.

The Times quotes Clinton Howell, a New York-based antiques dealer and president of the Art and Antique Dealers League of America, as stating that the tactics used by Wiener and others in past years “are not pardonable,” but that “the dealer of today is not the dealer of 40 years ago — there’s a very different attitude now.” We shall see. Most professions with unethical cultures just devise new ways to accomplish the same ends.

Continue reading

Ethics Agenda, 10/1/2021: Netflix Edition

I am finally ready to set up the first Ethics Alarms Zoom meeting. The topic will be the Netflix series “Clickbait,” which is an ethics cornucopia. I am looking at the period of October 7-21, in the evening, and need to know which days and times are preferred, as well as who and how many visitors here are interested. I’d prefer to facilitate discussion rather than have to dominate it, so I would also like to hear from you if there is a particular ethics issue raised by the story about which you would like to present your views to kick off discussion. I’m envisioning a 90 minute session, but it could be longer. You can respond on this post, or to me via email, jamproethics@verizon.net.

1. Great moments in “It isn’t what it is”…This week, a student attending an event with Vice President Harris opined that Israel was conducting “ethnic genocide” in Palestine. Harris responded, “Your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard.” For some strange reason, Israel’s press had a problem with this, and so did many American Jews and supporters of Israel. “VP Harris to student who accused Israel of ‘genocide’: Your truth must be heard,” was the headline in The Jerusalem Post. The Times of Israel said: “Kamala Harris doesn’t reject US student’s ‘ethnic genocide’ claim against Israel.” Harris’s flacks represented the episode as one big misunderstanding. Her office assured critics that the Veep’s “commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering” and that she “strongly disagrees with the George Mason student’s characterization of Israel.”

Of course she does! I know I always describe statements that I strongly disagree with as “the truth.”

Continue reading