Ethics Hero: Humorist Dave Barry
Humorist Dave Barry managed to find sufficient humor in 2016 to write his annual satirical year-end review and not fail to reach the high standards he has set for himself in this endeavor for about four decades. That would be justification enough for making the 69-year-old writer 2017’s first ethics hero, but there is more.
Most striking, perhaps, is that the column is both funny and fair. Unlike virtual all topical satire today, it does not take sides, nor show partisan bias. Some of this may be related to the fact that Barry is a self-proclaimed libertarian (perhaps explaining why his long piece did not exploit the humor potential in the campaign of the ridiculous Gary Johnson, or even more, surprising, the fat naked guy running around the podium at the Libertarian convention), but most of it springs from his possession of basic integrity as well as an impressive absence of bias. This distinguishes Dave Barry from such alleged comics and satirists as Samantha Bee, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Amy Shumer, Chelsea Handler, Chris Rock, Seth Myers, Sarah Silverman, Bill Maher, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, Trevor Noah, and the Saturday Night Live writers, all of whose point of view can be fairly summarized as the belief that if a Democrat, progressive or President Obama has ever done anything foolish or ridiculous, there’s probably a good reason for it.
This remarkable trait, now almost extinct but once known as “an open mind,” allows Barry to write such passages as..
And we voters did our part, passing judgment on the candidates, thinning the herd, rejecting them one by one. Sometimes we had to reject them more than once; John Kasich didn’t get the message until his own staff felled him with tranquilizer darts. But eventually we eliminated the contenders whom we considered to be unqualified or disagreeable, whittling our choices down until only two major candidates were left. And out of all the possibilities, the two that We, the People, in our collective wisdom, deemed worthy of competing for the most important job on Earth, turned out to be …
… drum roll …
… the most flawed, sketchy and generally disliked duo of presidential candidates ever!
Yes. After all that, the American people, looking for a leader, ended up with a choice between ointment and suppository…
and Continue reading
Ethics Quote Of The Month: Philosophy Professor Peter Boghossian
“We’ve taught, “Formulate your beliefs on the basis of evidence.” But the problem with that is people already believe they’ve formulated their beliefs on evidence — that’s why they believe what they believe. Instead, what we should focus on is teaching people to seek out and identify defeaters.
What is a defeater? A defeater is: If A, then B, unless C. C is the defeater. We should teach people to identify conditions under which their beliefs could be false.”
–—Peter Boghossian, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University, who studies critical thinking and moral reasoning, in a wide-ranging interview with Malhar Mali
He continues, Continue reading
Comment Of The Day: “Dear Harvard: Fire President Drew Faust And Dean Rakesh Khurana”
Not a comment on the post so much as on the underlying conditions that spawned it, Ethics Alarms reader Chris Bentley weighed in on the lack of ideological diversity on campus and the fact that many leaders both educational and political think that’s just fine. The key question: do you listen to an argument against what you may believe with an open mind, or a closed one? The ethical answer is “Open,” but the predominant mindset on college campuses believes there isn’t any question to that effect.. Wrong is wrong, and the Left is Right, so the the only question is, “Do you allow those with wrong ideas speak at all?”
It is terrifying that universities, of all places, would ever consider that issue unsettled in the United States of America.
Here is Chris Bentley’s Comment of the Day inspired by the post, Dear Harvard: Fire President Drew Faust And Dean Rakesh Khurana:
“They know best, after all.”
Only a tertiary connection to the topic, I know, but I just got done listening to Obama’s Howard Univ. speech. While there is no doubt that he is a captivating orator, one thing kept striking me. The repeated refrain to the students, that they needed to “listen” to those that they disagree with, and not try to have speakers who think differently from you banned from campus, b/c, as his grandmother used to say “Don’t do that…Every time fool speaks they are just advertising their own ignorance. Let them talk.”
Unethical Mindsets: “You Can’t Be A Feminist If You’re Anti-Abortion”
I don’t know how I ended up on the Bea Magazine site, but I did, and I made the mistake of reading an article and a comment thread on the topic of whether feminists can be “pro-life,” or anti-abortion, if you aren’t a fan of euphemisms. As I expected, but not as I hoped, the consensus was that indeed, opposing abortion requires one’s ejection from the feminist tent, at least in the view of this particular cadre of feminists.
“Brillliant Nora Ephron,” the post by Diane notes, wrote that “You can’t call yourself a feminist if you don’t believe in the right to abortion.” Well, Nora wasn’t so brilliant that day, because this is classic backward reasoning. It is framing reality by using ideology, the crystallization of confirmation bias into its most dangerous, poisonous and historically destructive form. It embraces the statement, “my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts.” Indeed, it requires that facts be seen, filtered and interpreted through a pre-existing template that requires and then dictates a given result. Continue reading
This excellent comment requires no introduction, just reading.
Here is Ryan Harkins’ Comment Of The Day on the post, “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ken White Of Popehat”: