Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 1… Ethics Quote Of The Month: President Donald Trump

“It is time for our politicians to summon the bravery and determination of our American ancestors. It is time. It is time to plant our flag and to protect the greatest of this nation for citizens of every race in every city in every part of this glorious land. For the sake of our honor, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our union, we must protect and preserve our history, our heritage, and our great heroes. Here tonight before the eyes of our forefathers, Americans declare again, as we did 244 years ago, that we will not be tyrannized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people. It will not happen.”

President Donald J Trump, speaking at Mt. Rushmore last night, and aggressively defending the United States of America, its Founders, its history and culture.

Bravo.

Last night’s speech, a ringing assertion of American greatness and a defiant condemnation of those who would topple it, despite the inevitable Trump flourishes of exaggeration, hyperbole, and deliberate provocation, was exactly what was needed, called for, and had to be said. It was inspiring, or should have been: I wonder about anyone who could read the transcript and not be stirred. I would ask, “What happened to you?” We also now know why it was appropriate to give that speech by Mt. Rushmore. The President extolled and defended our heroes, and devoted a section of the speech to each of the Presidents on the mountain, including, as CNN said last night to its damnation, “two slaveholders.”

There are about ten passages in the speech that I could have highlighted. I picked that one because it reminded me of this speech by a fictional President in a movie I detest, “Independence Day.” I would not be surprised to learn the speechwriter had that model in mind:

“President Whitmore” is talking about space aliens trying to destroys us. The mobs of America-haters who are attacking our core values and culture remind me of the aliens in “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers,” taking over the minds and bodies of one rational citizens, and terrorizing those who won’t submit to their “conversion.” Continue reading

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The New York Times…And A Close Runner-Up, Both Libeling America

This isn’t news, it isn’t history, it isn’t fair, and it is anti-American. Does anyone objective need more evidence that the New York Times has abandoned any sense of its role in informing the public? This is pure, indefensible race-baiting and Black Lives Matter propaganda.

1. Native American Tribes “owned” almost all of the territory everything in the U.S. was built on, including the New York Times building. They don’t any more.

2. The Mount Rushmore sculpture is art, and the political and social views of the artist, Gutzon Borglum, is a matter of record. The George Floyd mobs want to justify erasing as much American art and culture as possible by any means necessary. If the artwork itself won’t justify the destruction (as with the Emancipation Memorial, the second version of which was just marked for removal in Boston), then the subject will ( Columbus); if the subjects are defensible, than the artist must have something in his history to support the erasure of his work. It’s a disingenuous bootstrapping exercise, for the objective is really to destroy the symbols of our republic and re-write the history of the United States. An artist’s work and the artist are separate and distinct. In the case of Mount Rushmore, the work has taken on far more importance and symbolism, all positive, inspiring and uplifting. An American who cannot find pride in Mount Rushmore is an ignorant American, one whose understanding of his or her own nation has been poisoned, or one with a sinister agenda. 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

Accumulated Ethics Notes On The Charlottesville Riots, The Statue-Toppling Orgy and The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck, Part One

As an introduction, I have to say that this episode, which has quickly turned into an ethics train wreck of sweeping and perhaps catastrophic proportions, frightens me as few issues do. It has become a danger to free speech, to cultural diversity, to liberty, education, historical fairness, cultural cohesion and  common sense. It appears to be the metastasis of all the demonizing rhetoric, self-righteous pandering and virtue-signaling, and totalitarian-minded efforts to remold the past in order to control the future. The level of contempt, hate and intimidation being focused on those who—like me—are attempting to keep the issues in perspective by analyzing complex and emotional ethical components in context is causing the fervor involved to approach  that of unthinking mobs. The damage done by the worst mobs of the past, however, were mostly confined to a restricted region, or, like The Terror in France or the Red Scare here, were immediately repudiated one the fever broke. I’m not sure that this fever will break, at least not before it breaks us. It is the perfect storm of self-righteous fanaticism, as the anti-Trump hysteria collides with Obama era race-baiting and victim-mongering, both of which have run head on into the mania for air-brushing history to remove any mention of events, movements, attitudes or human beings that “trigger” the perpetually outraged of today.

Social media has magnified the intensity of this already deadly storm, by allowing once intelligent people to throttle their brains and judgment into mush by confining their consideration of the issues to partisan echo chambers. Daily, I am embarrassed and horrified by what I read on Facebook by people who I know—I KNOW—are capable of competent critical thought but who have completely abandoned it to be on the “right” side, where facile, half-truths and lazy conclusions are greeted by a myriad “thumbs up” and “hearts.”

And I am angry–contrary to popular opinion, I’m not usually emotionally involved in the issues I write about; like Jessica Rabbit, who isn’t really bad (she’s just drawn that way), I’m not usually as intense as I seem. I just write that way—that I am so tangential and impotent that what see so clearly has little persuasive power at all, because I’ve frittered away my opportunities to be influential in a thousand ways.

I have never allowed futility to stop me, though, because I have spent a lifetime banging my head against walls.

Here are the ethics observations I’ve been accumulating since the first torches were lit in Charlotte:

  • Please watch this video, from Ken Burn’s “The Civil War”:

I was moved when I first saw this, which was in the documentary’s final chapter, and I am moved still. The old Union soldiers moaned when they saw the men who had tried to kill them, and who had killed their friends and comrades, re-enacting their desperate open field march into deadly artillery. Then they dropped their arms and met their former foes, and embraced them.

These men didn’t think of the former Confederates as traitors, or racists, or slavery advocates. They, like the Union veterans, were just men of their times, caught up in a great political and human rights conflict that came too fast and too furiously for any of them to manage. They were caught in the same, violent maelstrom, and knew it even 50 years earlier. Soldiers on both side wrote how they admired the courage of the enemy combatants they were killing, because they knew they were, in all the ways that mattered, just like them. It was the Golden Rule.  After the war, these soldiers who had faced death at the hands of these same generals, officers and troops, did not begrudge them the honor of their statues and memorials, nor their families pride in the bravery of their loved ones.

Yet now,  self-righteous social justice censors who never took up arms for any cause and in many cases never would, employ their pitifully inadequate knowledge of history to proclaim all the Civil War’s combatants on the losing side as racists and traitors, and decree that they should be hidden from future generations in shame. We have honored men and women for the good that they represent, not the mistakes, sins and misconduct that are usually the product of the times and values in which they lived. In doing so, we leave clues, memories, controversies, differing vews, and stories for new generations to consider and better understand their own culture and society, and how it came to be what it is.

Those who want to tear down monuments to the imperfect, whether they know it or not, are impeding knowledge, perspective, wisdom, and understanding. They want only one view of history, because they will only tolerate one that advances their ideology and values—just as the Americans of the past believed in their values. Foolishly, I suppose, they trusted future generations to act on their own ethical enlightenment without corrupting the historical record. Continue reading

Dallas Forgotten and the Duty to Remember

Yesterday was November 22. According to the vast majority of the news and entertainment media, it was no different from any other day, apparently. In all likelihood, the same was true of most Americans. “Oh, yeah…November 22! Better buy that turkey!”

November 22 is not like any other day in America, however. It is the date in 1963 that John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 46 years old and the 35th President of the United States of America, was assassinated on the streets of Dallas. Continue reading