Ethics Warm-Up, 4/16/2019: The Wide, Wide World Of Ethics

1. Notre Dame fire ethics:  Michael West, whose rare (of late) comments are valued as pearls, offered a proposed poll regarding the proper response to the destruction of the ancient cathedral’s spire. Here it is, with a few tweaks from me:

At the risk of tainting the voting, I have a pretty strong opinion about this. The structure  should be left as it is. Did they repair the Great Sphinx’s nose? Did they cover up the crack in the Liberty Bell? Once a part of an ancient structure or monument us gone, it’s gone. Replacements and restorations are ersatz and deceptive. The fire is part of the cathedral’s history, and what remains should reflect it. There are far better—and more ethical– uses for the many millions it will take to restore the spire.

2. Thanks for all the kind comments in light of Ethics Alarms hitting two major milestones on the same day. In commemoration, the blog will launch a new series, Ethics Alarms Retrospective (EAR), focusing on one or more of the  10,000+ posts I have immodestly placed here, most of which even I have forgotten.

For the first installment of EAR,  I offer “The Unethical Humiliation of Sister Rita X”from August 10, 2010. The topic was Sean Hannity’s practice of allowing clearly deranged progressives to have extended exposure on his radio call-in show, so he could engage in cheap mockery with the implication that they are representative of the Left generally. The comments are especially fascinating, almost all of which were Hannity fans who concocted all manner of distortions and rationalizations to justify what was the equivalent of exploiting the mentally ill for laughs. Comment highlight? This:

Again- I don’t expect you to respond- because you already said you would cut this conversation off.
Again- typical lib.
And I have facts.
What have you got besides a hollow ideology and kool aid?

That’s me, all right: a typical lib! By the way, that (minor) post was shared 4 times on Facebook, where as the last several hundred or so have received none. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Senator’s Mockery

Arguing with apologists for the ridiculous Rep. Ocasio-Cortez makes me feel like I’m going crazy. They claim that the Green New Deal isn’t the same as the bizarre, silly, rapidly removed “FAQ” posted by the Democrat’s “It Girl, with its talk about rebuilding all of our buildings, eliminating air travel, and a living wage for those who “choose not to work.” Thy say that what almost all the Democratic Presidential hopefuls say they support is just an “aspirational” goal  of conquering  creeping climate change within the imaginary 12 year deadline (and I do mean dead.) “What is it they are supporting?” I ask. “The Green New Deal!” they answer. “What is the Green New Deal they say they are supporting” I ask, “if it isn’t the only printed description of the goals as defined by the Democrat who coined the phrase?” “That wasn’t what they are supporting,” these climate change alarmists “explain.” “There’s nothing in the Green New Deal about eliminating cows and airplanes.” “Then what is in the Green New Deal?” I ask. “It’s aspirational,” they answer. Round and around.

I wonder how Democrats and progressives feel about the fact that their party and ideological clan has abandoned all responsibility, professionalism, principle and common sense as it sinks into some kind of collective nervous breakdown triggered by Donald Trump, Obama’s failures, Clinton’s loss, its increasingly obvious hypocrisies, and the fact that it has embraced one irrational “do something!”position after another. Surely not all of them are sharing the delusions. Surely there are alert and uncorrupted Democrats who can see what is happening to a once honorable and trustworthy American institution. Following close on the fumes of the three year failed effort to remove the President between election while poisoning the public’s trust in him, the Democratic Senators revealed the  phoniness of party endorsements of Ocasio-Cortez’s juvenile delusions when none of them would go on the record and support a motion to advance the  Democratic Green New Deal resolution.

There wasn’t  a single “yea” vote from Democrats, not even from the 2020 wannabes whose names already appear as co-sponsors on the Senate version of the thing.  (Nancy Pelosi won’t permit such a vote in the House.) The final tally was 0-57, with forty-three Democrats voting “present,” and three Blue Senators from “red states” doing the expedient thing and voting with the Republicans. There’s no way to spin this, though in their infinite belief in the stupidity of the American people, Democrats tried, with the help of its captive media, of course. The vote was a GOP gimmick, you see. Ocasio-Cortez:

“The GOP’s whole game of wasting votes in Congress to target others “on the record”, for leg they have no intent to pass, is a disgrace. Stop wasting the American peoples’ time + learn to govern. Our jobs aren’t for campaigning, & that’s exactly what these bluff-votes are for.”

The woman has been saying and tweeting that there is no time to waste, and that the nation needs to take radical, society-shaking measures to prevent doom NOW, yet somehow voting on a resolution of her own making to weigh Congress’s position on her policy demands is a waste of time. Meanwhile, her colleagues in the House have announced that their top priority isn’t substantive legislation, but continuing to pursue endless investigations in the hope of justifying impeachment.

Is the public really so stupid that such obvious corruption and dishonesty…and disrespect  for those who they are supposed to represent…escape their notice? The Democrats appear to be betting on it.

Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee delivered a speech on the Senate floor using pure mockery to illustrate  the Green New Deal lack of seriousness—which the subsequent vote confirmed.  No, Lee shouldn’t quit his day job, but his routine had its moments. He began, Continue reading

The Hitler Joke, Our Rights, And Our Nation

Prologue

When I was a junior in high school, I played Ko-Ko in  the Gilbert and Sullivan Club’s production of “The Mikado.” The head of the music department directed, a Jewish teacher named Mr. Einsig. He had the staging notes for all of the Gilbert and Sullivan works from the director who had gained great acclaim from his work with the Boston Light Opera Company, and I must admit, I cribbed many of that director’s ideas myself, through Mr. Einsig.One effective  staging concept was for the encores to “The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring.” Each one was performed as a different ethnic parody, with Ko-Ko singing translated lyrics. It began with Japanese, of course, then French, a Brooklyn dialect, and the biggest hoot of them all, German. I performed it, in my kimono, with an over-the-top Hitler imitation, complete with mustache, ending with an emphatic “Heil” gesture.

It brought down the house. Ten years later, at Georgetown University Law Center, I played Ko-Ko again, did the same Hitler parody again, and brought down the house again. Nobody complained. My late father, crippled for life in the fight against Hitler, detected nothing wrong with the routine. He also loved “Hogan’s Heroes,” with the show’s reluctant, inept, heiling Nazis, and the other Heil-filled spoofs of Hitler by Chaplin, Mel Brooks, and even the Three Stooges.

Now here is what happened to a private school teacher: read the whole, awful thing here. The short version: he was gesturing while explaining something in class, and noticed that his arm was raised Nazi-style, and said, “Heil Hitler,” jokingly. There was no question whether he was serious or not: everyone knew he was joking, and why he was joking. He even stopped and explained to the class that Once Upon A Time, in less enlightened eras, it was considered amusing to mock Hitler and the Nazis.

Ben Frisch, the teacher, a practicing Quaker  whose father was Jewish and who had two great-grandmothers  killed at Auschwitz, was fired by the private school anyway. The school principal who fired him explained his reason to the New York Times magazine  by saying, “One of our pledges is to make all of our students feel safe. And that is something that I take very, very seriously.”

Says the Times reporter in part in reaction to this: Continue reading

U.S. Journalism’s Continued Unraveling, And CNN’s Unprofessional, Unethical, Destructive Disrespect For The President Of The United States

And the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck’s carnage continues…

The degree to which the Post 2016 Election Ethics Train Wreck has engulfed the news media has shocked even me, and readers know that Ethics Alarms had  swamp-level regard for U.S. journalists long before the 2016 campaign. It has obliterated any legitimate trust a citizen could have in the mainstream media’s news judgment, objectivity and competence, and with the exception of tiny pockets of professionalism here and there (Jake Tapper comes to mind), has declared itself a partisan foe of the electoral system, and the Presidency. The double standards applied regarding Democrats and Republicans as well as the smug shamelessness with which the media has applied them cannot be condemned too harshly. Naturally, the equally corrupted members of the so-called “resistance” see none of the harm and betrayal in this, since it suits their own ends.

Ethics Alarms  can’t catalogue all of the worst examples of this; there isn’t time. Last month, for example, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who once had a conscience and a mind even as you or I, authored one of the ugliest and most disgusting pieces I have read in any reputable publication. In the disgrace titled “There’s a Whiff of Treason In The Air” Kristof issued a conspiracy theory that would be at home in the archives of Alex Jones,  Mike Cernovich, or Donald Trump in his birther days, except that so many hopeful Democrats endorse it. The column is one long, vicious smear, claiming that President Trump engaged in treason, while citing absolutely no evidence whatsoever that supports such an inflammatory accusation. I considered flagging all of the slimy, dishonest, hypocritical rhetorical techniques Kristof brings to his efforts to undermine his nation’s President, but I decided to do so would insult my readers’ intelligence: it is so obvious, particularly when one considers the Russian “ties” the Clinton campaign had to Russia. Why do the business dealings of Trump campaign personnel with Russian figures spell TREASON to the Times columnist, and the more ominous ties between Russia and the Clintons get a pass? Simple: he wants Donald Trump to be proven a traitor; his readers want it; and he, the Times and the Democratic Party that has sold its integrity and soul intends to push the accusations as long as they can cripple and delegitimize the government they oppose. Continue reading

The President Elect’s Happy New Year Tweet, With Musical Reflections From Ethics Alarms

trump-tweet-happy-new-year

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

The reactions to Donald Trump’s tweet above were so predictable.  Trump-haters are continuing their meltdown, because he used that scary word “enemies,” and imagining political foes being hung by piano wire and shot against a wall…maybe even THE wall. Trump’s fans are cheering, “That’s our guy!” Predictable or not, here is the official Ethics Alarms reaction to what may be Trump’s first tweet destined for the Yale Book of Quotations:

1. Get used to this. He’s not going to stop. I recommend re-reading this post from last year, on the Julie Principle. In fact, heeeeere’s Julie!

2. Oh, let’s get this out of the way: it’s a juvenile, undignified, un-Presidential message, and a deliberately provocative thing to do. It also  made me laugh out loud, I have to admit. Really, if you’re going to let this sort of thing drive you crazy, you’re not going to make it through four years. You’re not even going to make it through one. Reserve a padded room. I’m serious. Think about this song, because this is where you’re headed…

Continue reading

First Fick Of The New Year: Stephen Roseman

hamface

Web hoaxer Stephen Roseman posted a picture of a dog with a piece of ham on its face on Facebook, and counting on the power of suggestion, managed to horrify a lot of dog lovers while garnishing internet “prayers.” Here’s what he wrote along with the photo above…

This poor dog was badly burned and disfigured trying to save his family from a house fire
One like = one prayer One share = ten prayers

Lots of people liked and shared; I was previously unaware of the growing practice of equating “likes” on Facebook with prayers. Others, not so susceptible, and not so tender-hearted, perhaps, realized that the dog was a ham, and mocked everyone who fell for the scam. The hoax also set up religious Facebook users to be mocked by the likes of the Huffington Post and Ann Althouse, because equating Facebook likes and sharing with praying is so much more ridiculous than, say, Buddhist prayer wheels (one spin = thousands of prayers ), or, for that matter, folding your hands, closing your eyes, and moving your lips.

Once his hoax was discovered, Roseman posted the following admission on his Facebook page: Continue reading

#BlackZombiesMatter: When The Most Ethical Response To Race Activists Is Mockery

Wait, what color is that hand? I'm keeping track here...

Wait, what color is that hand? I’m keeping track here…

I have no idea what it would like to be black. I accept the truth of  Clarence Darrow’s empathetic words in his defense of Ossian Sweet: I assume being black must be overwhelming at times, all consuming, distorting how everything is seen and experienced. Nevertheless, it does not justify everything, It does not excuse anything. There are some reactions to the black experience that can be fairly labelled destructive, or foolish, or paranoid, or racist. Or ludicrous. When we see these reactions, we ought not to indulge them, nor hesitate for a second to call them exactly what they are. The fact that black Americans are reacting to being black does not mean that the reaction is always worthy of respect, and if there is a mass delusion born of emotion or demagoguery or fanaticism or despair, the best response may well be a bucket of cold water, or to point and laugh. Hard.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and it’s prequel “Fear the Walking Dead” are among the most diverse TV shows on network or cable, filled with villains, victims, heroes and martyrs of all races and combination of races, most of whom are doomed. Yet these shows have become yet another target of the Black Lives Matter movement, an even wackier one than Bernie Sanders. Apparently the shows discriminate against black characters. Well, it does if you are so besotted with racial grievances and suspicion of American culture that you can’t think straight.  Just as the group sees hands upraised when there were none, it sees, along with lunatic race-baiter/author Tananarive Due,  racial bias against black men in two shows that are thoroughly post-racial—you know, when the dead are eating the living, color really, really doesn’t matter. Black men was an essential qualification of this latest grievance, because arguably the most admirable and interesting character oin either show so far is a black woman, Michonne, played by Danai Gurira. Never mind, it’s black men that the show, like America, hates.

I know these shows rather well, in part because they  contain great ethics hypothetical. I’ve been trying to think of any white character that these race obsessed guilt-mongers wouldn’t find offensively-treated if they were black. The putative star of “The Walking Dead,” Rick, is a weak leader, not too bright, and unstable. Make him black, and he’s an insult to black men; right now, he’s just an insult to police, Southerners, fathers, leaders, and American characters played by British actors. If Due and the rest can be insulted by the  fates of the wide variety of black characters that have appeared on both shows so far, they can find a way to be insulted by any characters, plot developments, costuming make-up, or manner of death. Continue reading