Tag Archives: #MeToo

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, October 10, 2018: Incompetence Special

Good morning, and I mean it this time…!

1. My only Red Sox-related note: One reason I know that the news media can’t be trusted is that when I have first hand knowledge of a topic or event reported in the paper, I often find the reporting lazily, inexplicably, factually wrong. Here’s a trivial but illustrative example: this amazing play (It’s at 1:04 on the video) ended last night’s decisive Boston 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series:

Here’s how the Times described it:

“Kimbrel then got Gleyber Torres to hit a dribbler to third. Eduardo Nunez, a former Yankee, gathered it and threw slightly wide of first base, but another former Yankee, Steve Pearce, stretched to glove it an instant before Torres touched the bag.”

What? “Slightly wide”? A millimeter wider and the ball would have been in the dugout! If journalists can’t get little things right, why should be trust them to convey the important stuff?

2. Institutional incompetence  The historical airbrushing continues. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Washington and Lee University has decided to make changes to the names of some campus buildings after concerns from students and faculty.

On Tuesday, the Board of Trustees announced that it will rename Robinson Hall as Chavis Hall, in honor of John Chavis, the first African-American to receive a college education in the United States. He graduated from Washington Academy, the predecessor of W&L, in 1799. Also, Lee-Jackson House will be renamed Simpson Hall in honor of Pamela Hemenway Simpson, who served as an associate dean of the college and helped move to a co-ed environment in the 1980s.

The board also announced that effective immediately, it will replace portraits of Robert E. Lee and George Washington in military uniforms inside Lee Chapel with portraits of the two men in civilian clothing.

An educational institution that thinks it is appropriate to airbrush its own history can’t be trusted to teach anyone. Robinson Hall is named after the man who established the college, John Robinson. Yup, he was a slaveholder, but he established the school, and deserves prominent recognition for that. The decision to strip Washington and Lee of their uniforms is particularly ominous, hinting of several obnoxious biases. Soldiers are taboo now? Or is this a strike against “toxic masculinity”?  If the idea is to pretend that Robert E. Lee  is only notable for his post-military career as president of the university, that’s absurd and dishonest: if Lee had never worn the Confederate uniform, he would never have led the school, and nobody would know who he was today. Washington’s military brilliance  supersedes  his civilian achievements in significance and historical impact, for without General Washington there would be no United States of America.

My position is that it is negligent for parents to entrust their children’s minds to stupid people and incompetent schools. Washington and Lee and its administrators now qualify for that category.

Continue reading

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Scenes From The Ethics Apocalypse

In this morning’s warm-up, I refereed to the anti-Kavanaugh tantrum.  I’m watching the extended tantrum on TV right now.Look! Here are furious CNN Democratic operatives (that is, CNN’s reporters) proclaiming the collapse of civilization because a completely standard issue judicial conservative with strong credentials was nominated by the elected President and confirmed as the Constitution directs is intolerable because the Democratic Party’s unconscionable tactics of personal destruction didn’t work, and because the new cultural standard that a man is guilty if accused of sexual assault by a woman though she has no supporting evidence whatsoever, and that high school misconduct is more important than adult rectitude. (That’s not how they describe it, of course, but the reality of what was “going on here”) And there are angry protesters who haven’t read a single Kavanaugh opinion, but who are equally convinced that he is unqualified to be Supreme Court Justice and a “sexual predator.”

Boy, am I sick of writing about this stuff, and boy, am I depressed that so many people have had their minds and ethics reduced to a vile, smelly, infectious goo. I can’t compose any more essays right now without snapping and running amuck in the streets wielding a deadly frozen pork roll  and clubbing people to death. (I can’t find my Hank Aaron baseball bat.) So with your leave, I’m going to note some more recent points in this nightmare Seurat painting, occasionally commenting, sometimes leaving it to my readers’ abundant intelligence to figure out what’s wrong on their own. Here we go…I’ll stop either when my head explodes, or the Red Sox start playing the Yankees: Continue reading

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Ethics Quote Of The Week: Emily Yoffe

“Even as we must treat accusers with seriousness and dignity, we must hear out the accused fairly and respectfully, and recognize the potential lifetime consequences that such an allegation can bring. If believing the woman is the beginning and the end of a search for the truth, then we have left the realm of justice for religion.”

—-Emily Yoffe in her essay titled, “The Problem With #BelieveSurvivors”

More…

…in a Senate floor speech the day before the hearing, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced that it was unnecessary for her to hear Kavanaugh’s testimony. Gillibrand declared, “I believe Dr. Blasey Ford.” Many Democrats, in keeping with #BelieveSurvivors, are taking their certainty about Ford’s account and extrapolating it to all accounts of all accusers. This tendency has campus echoes, too: The Obama administration’s well-intended activism on campus sexual assault resulted in reforms that went too far and failed to protect the rights of the accused.

The impulse to arrive at a predetermined conclusion is familiar to Samantha Harris, a vice president at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Harris says that under Title IX, students who report that they are victims of sexual misconduct must be provided with staffers who advocate on their behalf. These staffers should “hear them out, believe them, and help them navigate the process,” she said, but added, “When the instruction to ‘believe them’ extends to the people who are actually adjudicating guilt or innocence, fundamental fairness is compromised.” Harris says that many Title IX proceedings have this serious flaw. As a result, in recent years, many accused students have filed lawsuits claiming that they were subjected to grossly unjust proceedings; these suits have met with increasingly favorable results in the courts…

…The legitimacy and credibility of our institutions are rapidly eroding. It is a difficult and brave thing for victims of sexual violence to step forward and exercise their rights to seek justice. When they do, we should make sure our system honors justice’s most basic principles.

All true, but here is my question: How did we arrive at a place where any of what Joffe writes needed to be said at all?

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Noonish Ethics Warm-Up. 9/27/18: “You’re The Bad Guys,” Cont.

Hi!

1. Unethical in its simplicity. An esteemed commenter insists, “Any witnesses who allege that Kavanaugh assaulted them should be allowed to testify.” This is either naive (incompetent) or intellectually dishonest. The Democratic Party’s stated objective is to delay a confirmation vote until after the Fall election, in the Hail Mary hope that the Senate will flip to them. There should be no question that the party, now thoroughly corrupted by a mindset holding that anything—lies, character assassination, perjury, misrepresentation, defiling of due process—is justified if it will protect abortion rights and its own power, would manipulate such a rule for political benefit, would recruit an endless series of politically motivated accusers if it could accomplish the objective of running out the clock.

The “any witnesses” flaw was amply demonstrated by yesterday’s fiasco. “New Kavanaugh allegations!” my late TV news screamed. By this morning, the entire story had fallen apart, and yet that ridiculous account (an anonymous woman claimed she was assaulted on a boat in Newport by a drunken “Brett” and friend, so an anonymous man beat them up) added to the designed false impression that multiple, verified, credible witnesses were confirming that Brett Kavanaugh is, as that same esteemed commenter has suggested, a serial sexual predator.

A witness whose claims are raised in a timely manner (that is before hearings begin allowing time for investigation and a response from the accused), whose account meets minimum standards of plausibility, whose accusation involves conduct relevant to a nominee’s fitness to serve, and whose story did not occur so long ago that verification or rebuttal is impossible, should be allowed to testify.

Those qualifications eliminate all of Kavanaugh’s accusers, as well as Anita Hill. Continue reading

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Nah, There’s No Reason To Doubt Kavanaugh’s Accusers…

…Because they’re women, of course!

Leaving bigotry and politically-nurtured fantasy aside, however, we know, and even a lot of the people mouthing the “victims/survivors should be believed” lie know, that there are many, many reasons to doubt the motives and reliability of many accusers.

In the Federalist, an employment lawyer who defends people who have been accused lists his top ten reasons to doubt an accuser, like, just to take a wild, random example, Christine Blasey Ford.The lawyer, Adam Mill, begins,

I stand athwart the streamroller of sexual misconduct complaints that crush the innocent, end marriages, and destroy careers. In the Me Too era, I am an employment attorney in the politically incorrect vocation of defending who must pay if misconduct is found.

(For some reason, you have to use words like “athwwrt” to be in The Federalist.)

Here are the ten; his commentary on them in his article are worth reading.

1. The accuser uses the press instead of the process.

2. The accuser times releasing the accusation for an advantage.

3. The accuser attacks the process instead of participating.

4. When the accused’s opportunity to mount a defense is delegitimized.

5. The accuser seeks to force the accused to defend himself or herself before committing to a final version.

6. The accused makes a strong and unequivocal denial.

7. The accuser makes unusual demands to modify or control the process.

8. When the accuser’s ability to identify the accused has not been properly explained..

9. When witnesses don’t corroborate.

10. When corroborating witnesses simply repeat the accusation of the accuser but don’t have fresh information. Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/20/2018: Trying To Get All Of The Brett Kavanaugh Nomination Ethics Train Wreck—Or Is It The Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck?— Debris Cleared So I Can Write About Something Else [UPDATED]

Good Morning!

[Actually, it’s late at night. Somehow today’s original warm-up vanished; not sure how. It’s back now. Sorry for whatever it was...and my apologies for the confusion. Luckily, the comments were preserved.]

1. #MeToo, ethics corrupter. The Kavanaugh hearing fiasco shows that #MeToo, like Black Lives Matter, has become an ethics corrupter. It has handed women the power to destroy men without fairness, proportion or due process, and because power does, in fact, corrupt, the results have been predictable. Since it involves tribal divisions and victim-mongering, Democrats have benefited from the movement, while acceding to making misandry fashionable and acceptable, just as the party embraced Black Lives Matter with its promotion of anti-white racism and the vilification of police.

Once #MeToo started being about partisan political gain rather than recognizing the serious problem of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and elsewhere, it compromised its objectives and eroded its credibility. If Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser refuses to appear before the Judiciary Committee, her motives and those of her supporters will be in plain sight.

They should be anyway. Were it not for the news media’s near complete abdication of its duty to inform the public without regard for how facts will affect elections, Democrats would already be thoroughly exposed as hypocrites. How in the world can leaders of the Democratic Party demand a futile FBI investigation of a 30-year-old incident at a high school party while the party’s own co-chair, Keith Ellison, has been credibly accused of domestic abuse, a current, provable crime that #MeToo cares about, and he has not been suspended, investigated, or even widely criticized?

#MeToo power is also being used to censor dissent. Ian Buruma, the editor of the New York Times Review of Books has been forced to resign because he approved an essay by a #MeToo-targeted journalist who was eventually acquitted in court. His essay described how public accusations alone, without verification or confirmation, are enough to destroy a mans’s life and livelihood. “There has indeed been enough humiliation for a lifetime,” the author, Jian Ghomeshi wrote. “I cannot just move to another town and reboot with a pseudonym. I’m constantly competing with a villainous version of myself online. This is the power of a contemporary mass shaming.” The #MeToo social media mob was so outraged that it drove Burama to resign.

And he was so good at making sure almost every book review included some Trump-bashing, too! Continue reading

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The Attack Of The Unethical Women

I had pretty much concluded that Christine Blasey Ford was contemptible based on her willingness to impugn a public servant’s integrity, derail what should be an orderly and fair political process, and manipulate the U.S. Supreme Court’s membership using a three decades old allegation that involved, at worst, teenage misconduct. She did this with full knowledge of how #MeToo has unjustly harmed other men simply by raising unprovable rumors and characterizations. In fact, it seems clear that she chose her course of action knowing that she could harm Brett Kavanaugh the same way. If the allegation was politically motivated, as I strongly suspect it was, she is unethical and despicable. If the motive was late vengeance for a teenager’s indiscretion, she is unethical and despicable.

Imagine someone you may have harmed when you were an immature teen. That individual never calls you to account, privately or officially. She never urges you to apologize, accept responsibility, or make amends, or gives you an opportunity to do so. No, she maintains the grievance in escrow, to bring it out years or decades later when the accusation will not only do the most damage, but will also be impossible to defend against. What a cruel, horrible, inhuman way to treat anyone.

First Ford attempted to harm Kavanaugh anonymously. Then, when that wasn’t going to work, she announced her accusation in the news media.

What is being ignored by all those rationalizing Ford’s actions is that that the harm to alleged wrongdoers is magnified and multiplied the longer a victim delays calling for accountability. If Kavanaugh did what he is alleged to have done, he should still have the right to deal with the consequences, accept punishment if any, and be able to get on with his life, set a straight course, and prove his character and values as an adult. Wouldn’t anyone want that opportunity? Shouldn’t any 17-year-old miscreant have that opportunity? As I have already noted, Ford’s conduct is an anti-Golden Rule monstrosity.

It also creates the equivalent of ethics toxic waste. In a just society, nobody is pronounced guilty until guilt is proven, and nobody is publicly accused unless the offense is provable.  A prosecutor who knows that there isn’t evidence to convict someone of an offense is violating prosecutoral ethics to bring charges. Ethically, the principles follow. If you cannot prove an accusation, if all you have is your word and nothing else, if there is no chance that any evidence will arise that supports your version of events, you must be, at very least, absolutely certain that you are correct. Ford cannot be 100% certain. Not after more than 30 years, and especially after a long period in which she says she had forgotten about the alleged episode. There are many, many memorable episodes in my life, and I have always had a remarkable memory for events I witnessed or took part in. Such memories, however, shift and blur over time. No 30 year-old memory is 100% reliable, and because we, well, those of us who are fair and honest, know that is true, no 30-year memory should be employed as a weapon or personal destruction. Ford’s memory is both destructive and impossible to defend against exactly because it is so old. Continue reading

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