Comment Of The Day (8): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies…”

All good things must come to an end. This is the 8th and final COTD that arrived in response to my post about Noah Berlatsky’s disturbing call to gut the First Amendment because Nazis BAD. That idiot gets national publicity on an NBC sub-page called “THINK.” All eight of the authors of the Comments of the Day could squish Noah in Jeopardy, Scrabble, or a moderated debate, and all they got was a post on Ethics Alarms. Not even a lousy T-shirt. There is no justice.

Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…

The upside and the downside of the internet is that almost nothing disappears once it’s posted, a lesson I myself should probably grasp before I post in anger. That said, I’m not angry right now, just disgusted with this article and the two I linked to above. (Here and here.) I’m not going to say that all of the left is like this, but it’s clear that a healthy core of the elite at the top of the left and their supporters are interesting in two things before all else: power and control. Some of these may actually believe that they are doing the right thing and helping people, but many, and I think both our last president and his chosen successor belong to this category, simply believe that they know best, and anyone who disagrees is simply wrong and not worthy of a hearing.

The fact is that this country was founded, indeed settled, with the idea in mind that everyone was entitled to be heard and no one’s opinion, no matter how wrong it might be, would be silenced by the heavy hand of government. We threw off the British yoke in part because they had resorted to trying to silence dissenting opinions and trying to arrest those who dared express them. In essence the British had failed to “co-opt” the colonies back into their way of doing things and tried to turn to the mailed fist when the velvet glove had failed.

Since then the U.S. has usually been strong on freedom of speech, even when it’s been odious. We’ve typically only slipped in time of war or national security emergency, with things like the Smith Act in WWI and HUAC during the early Cold War. With the publishing of the Pentagon Papers and the conversion of the journalism industry from a valuable service to unofficial watchdogs of government honesty, even clamping down a bit on freedom of speech in time of war or protecting certain important truths with Churchill’s proverbial “bodyguard of lies” has gone by the boards. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day (6): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay…”

The  Comment Of The Day Weekend concludes with a short but trenchant installment by Still Spartan. It does the metaphorical heart of old Ethics Alarms good to see such spirited and unequivocal defenses of free speech here in response to a shocking flirtation by a major news network with the idea of banning “hate speech,”  publishing  Noah Berlatsky’s juvenile opinion piece.

(Believe it or not, there are two more Comments of the Day waiting from the same post.)

Does this confirm the frequent accusation that the blog is over-subscribed by conservatives? Perhaps. Nobody here seems to be defending Berlatsky, and of late, I can’t recall any conservatives or Republicans claiming that “hate speech” isn’t protected by the Bill of Rights. Just people like Berlatsky, his two confused law professors, CNN star Chris Cuomo, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (guess what party?) former DNC Chair and Vermont Governor Howard Dean, Black Lives Matter, the Democratic mayor of Portland, Vox, indoctrinated college students, professors like Berkeley leftist George Lakoff, and college presidents.

Are there any votes for Donald Trump in that group? Never mind Trump: Mitt Romney? Any Bush? John McCain? James Madison? Voltaire?

Here is Still Spartan channels Voltaire in her  Comment of the Day on the post, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…

I have liberal friends who think counter-protesting or banning certain speakers on college campuses truly is the way to a more peaceful and enlightened society. I have conservative friends who are outraged/disgusted at gay pride parades, and quite frankly would be more comfortable going back to the days where gay men hid in heterosexual marriages or became that special uncle who remained a life-long bachelor. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day (5!): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay…”

The  Comment Of The Day Weekend continues into the long weekend with yet another one on the Holiday Challenge, wherein readers were asked to metaphorically defenestrate Noah Berlatsky’s essay calling for a hsarp edit to the First amendment.

This sharp comment is by long-time Ethics Alarms regular Glenn Logan. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…

I read this a few days ago, at least as much as I could stomach. It’s pretty irrational. I thought this was funny:

Delgado and Stefanic, though, argue the price for freedom in this case may be higher than we think. For example, a John Hopkins study published in 2013 concluded that being exposed to racism can lead to high blood pressure and stress among African Americans.

Being exposed to racism isn’t funny, but the idea that the stress of racism is different from other stresses is medically and logically bankrupt. Being called a racist can just as easily be shown to produce the same negative physiological effects, but the author is so incredibly purblind that this would never occur to him.

So are we to place progressives who allege racism at the drop of a hat into the “You can’t say that, it’s hate speech!” column along with the n-word? I’m betting no.

More hilarity:

Currently the federal government is prosecuting 200 people for being present at the protests during Donald Trump’s inauguration, including journalists and street medics.

Heh. I guess he’s unaware that those so-called protesters were rioting, a felony in every state in the union. Protests are peaceful demonstrations, but destroying property and participating in a riot is not free speech. Also, just because a person is a “street medic” or “journalist” does not make them automatically exempt from consequences if they participate in a riot.

Police officer to journalist: “Did you just break that window?”
Journalist: “Yes, but I’m a journalist.”
Officer: “Oh, I guess it’s okay, then.”

In what universe? Berlatsky’s, I suppose. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day (2): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods…”

Well, still more Comments of the Day on this post turned up today, so I better get cracking. The first one is here. Next up is adimagejim‘s excellent comment that focuses on the concept of hate speech. But first, I want to give a special honorable mention to Aleksei, who was the only reader to follow the terms of the challenge as issued, which was to identify the rationalizations used by  Noah Berlatsky in his Essay That Will Live in Infamy. 

Aleksei perused the Ethics Alarms Rationalizations List and properly identified these:

1. “Everybody does it”
1A. “We can’t stop it”
13. “It’s for a good cause”
13A. The Road To Hell
23. “I’m just giving the people what they want”
27. The Victim’s Distortion
28. “These are not ordinary times”
29A. The Gruber Variation
30. “It’s a bad law/stupid rule”
31. “Ethics is a luxury we can’t afford right now”
35. “Better late than never”
48. “Haters gonna hate”
51. “That’s in the past”
57A. “If it save just one life”
58. “I’m all right with it
59. “It’s the right thing to do”

I’m still waiting for the logical fallacies. Obviously Noah employed “appeal to authority” (I am pretty sure that a law professor or two can be found to stand for just about any proposition, no matter how bizarre), “the ends justifies the means” (speaking of Nazis!), the “straw man,” and “post hoc ergo propter hoc.” I have to confess: I don’t want to linger enough on this piece of offal long enough to do a definitive analysis myself. Reading it makes me angry—oh not the article itself: stupidity doesn’t make me angry. What I find infuriating is that NBC would give it the legitimacy publication as a “thought experiment,” leading others as weak-minded as its author to give his arguments the same level of  credibility he gave to the addled professors.

Here is adimagejim‘s Comment of the Day on the post, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…:

To be just and transparent, self-proclaimed conservatives such as George Will in his doctoral thesis defends the notion of excluding others, like Nazis, from the formal political process due to their explicit seeking to undermine or eliminate the constitutional rights of others. This is not classically liberal thought nor does it appropriately defend the rights of political minorities, as abhorrent as they may be.

The problematic issue is the notion of hate speech itself. Who is to determine what is and is not hateful speech? Who is to codify it? Who will enforce it? Who will adjudicate it? Who will pronounce the types of sentences for it? It is apparent those advocating for hate speech regulations wish to be all of the above. And, again, by the annals of their thoughts, move the goal posts of right and wrong, illegal and legal as they see fit.

Proponents of this kind of thought advocate for the notion of those they view as currently empowered as the only people capable of doing harm and therefore are one crucial step closer to conviction in the kangaroo court of their minds.

Has anyone seen what are proposed to be microaggressions by the hate speech law proponents? It is both amazing and unintelligible. Your job as the allegedly empowered is to unceasingly bow to the offended for offenses committed by you by your existence.

The result of all this would likely be an intellectual, if not actual, concentration camp. A camp to be run by erstwhile comic book editors.

Comment Of The Day (1): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods…”

While I was away talking about legal ethics with some extremely lively and ethically astute D.C. lawyers, I challenged the Ethics Alarms regulars to identify the rationalizations, logical fallacies, falsehoods and outright errors in this risible essay by Noah Berlatsky, who presented a terrible case for suspending the First Amendment in the case of “Nazis” (not that there is a good case available) that was somehow deemed worthy of publication on the NBC website, in a section called “Think,” of all places. To be fair, NBC does not have a section called “Brain Dead,” so that wasn’t an option.

A brief sample of Noah’s reasoning:

“This doesn’t mean that the First Amendment is useless, clearly. Hopefully it will play a part in helping the protesters, known widely as the J20 defendants, go free. But it also isn’t a cure for all social ills. Hate speech hurts marginalized people, and the First Amendment doesn’t always and invariably protect them. Free speech advocates say that hate speech “is a price ‘we’ pay for living in a free society,” Delgado told me, but they never stop “to add up the two accounts” or look “to see on whom the price is imposed.”

“I’m expecting some Comments of the Day when I get back from my seminar,” I wrote.

I got them. First up is this masterful effort by Mrs. Q. As of this moment, Mrs. Q holds the Ethics Alarms record for the best Comment of the Day- per-comments-made-ratio (min. 25 comments or more). This COTD is also notable for its rare format, the satirical parody.

Here is Mrs. Q’s Comment of the Day on the post, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…:

Hi. My name is Noah. I’m Jewish so I can tell you all about what black people go through. Also I just fuckin’ hate Nazi’s for the obvious reasons. So anyway I’m mostly going to refer to one book by two authors as my jumping off point. I know that’s rather limited in making a coherent case but hey, free speech right?

First off I want you to know I’m woke. You know this because even though my fellow liberals are becoming more anti-Semitic thanks to Black Lives Matter collaborating with BDS, I’m still being published on NBC news which you know, is super down, which means I’m super down too. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/29/2017: Daring The Alt-Right

GOOD Morning, Everyone!

1 Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! report: You did not disappoint  me. I have not read all the comments in detail yet, but the various evisceration of NBC’s jaw-droppingly stupid call for an end to freedom of speech produced at least five strong Comment of the Day candidates. I won’t re-post all of them, because Noah’s inept screed doesn’t warrant that much space, frankly. Good job!

On a related administrative note, I’m really going to try to get all the Ethics Alarms Best and Worst completed this year (having fallen short the last two), and would appreciate nominations in all categories. (Some examples are here and here, but don’t feel constrained. New categories are welcome.)

Use this post, please, or e-mail me at jamproethics@verizon.net.

2. Doesn’t help…President Trump couldn’t resist tweeting this:

‘In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record,’ he tweeted from Mar-a-Lago Thursday night, where it is currently a balmy 78 degrees Fahrenheit Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!’ 

Ugh.

  • These are the tweets that try men’s souls. It’s just never a good thing for the leader of the country to broadcast his ignorance and deficits of critical thought.
  • It would be a bit less annoying—but still unpresidential and self-destructive,  if the President were satirizing the climate change chorus, which despite the fact that the science they claim to revere so much says its nonsense to do so, still cite individual weather events as “proof” of global warming, most recently the 2017 hurricane season. Or if he were trolling his foes, which he is often masterful at doing, trying to lure them into hypocrisy. Predictably, journalists took the bait anyway, with many suddenly becoming sticklers for the key distinction between  climate change, and weather after years and years of intentionally blurring in in their interviews and reporting. Sadly, there is no reason to believe the President was doing anything but trumpeting his own scientific illiteracy.
  • I wonder what the President’s approval ratings would be if he had never sent a tweet after taking the oath of office?

Continue reading

An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…

…then please explain to me…

…why NBC would put such crap on its website, especially in a section called “Think”…

…how a freelance writer for a comic book website is deemed qualified to discuss Constitutional law..

…how people can graduate from college and not understand the principle of free speech better than this guy…

…why a “case” so easily refuted (“If you can proclaim what Nazis say as illegal speech, what will stop some other group with temporary power from declare your speech illegal?”) continues to be argued by so many?

Read the thing here.

(Keep a bucket handy.)

I’m expecting some Comments of the Day when I get back from my seminar…