9-11 Conspiracy Claims: The Hate Crime We Cannot Stop, But Must Not Tolerate

The stated belief that the United States government murdered its own citizens and military personnel on September 11, 2001 is, if sincere, proof that an individual possesses intractable misconceptions, hatred and disrespect for America’s history, culture, and ideals. If the belief is not sincere, then the claim that the Bush administration orchestrated (or allowed) the Twin Towers and Pentagon attacks is an effort to harm our nation by destroying its reputation and honor, dragging it into the swamp of other nations to which murder and dictatorship are traditional. The First Amendment requires that we allow these individuals, be they deranged, sinister, irresponsible or merely stupid, to deny what makes the United States unique and slander its elected leaders, but it does not require that we accord them respect or tolerance. Continue reading

Summer Rerun: “Ending the Bi-Partisan Effort to Destroy Trust in America”

[TV is full of reruns these days, and sometimes I am grateful for them, for it gives me a chance to see episodes of favorite shows I had missed for some reason or another. Back in early March, I posted the following essay about the origins of America’s current crisis of trust in our government, and how it might be cured by our elected leaders. Since then, the crisis has deepened, and as I was doing some routine site maintenance, I reread the post. It is still very timely (unfortunately), and since far fewer people were visiting Ethics Alarms in March, I decided to re-post it today, with just a few minor edits. I promise not to make this a habit. Still, trust is the reason why ethics is so important in America: if there is a single post of the more than 700 I have written here since October 2009  that I would like people to read, this is it.] Continue reading

Essay: Ending the Bi-Partisan Effort to Destroy Trust in America

Both the Pentagon shooter and the Texas I.R.S. attacker were motivated by a virulent distrust of the U.S. government, the distrust mutating into desperation and violence with the assistance of personal problems and emotional instability. We would be foolish, however, to dismiss the two as mere “wingnuts,” the current term of choice to describe political extremists who have gone around the bend. They are a vivid warning of America’s future, for the media, partisan commentators, the two political parties and our elected officials are doing their worst to convert all of us into wingnuts, and the results could be even more disastrous than the fanciful horrors the Left and the Right tell us that the other has planned for us. Continue reading