Lazy Saturday Afternoon Ethics Meander: 6/27/2020: Blank Slate, Mis-Handler, Pandering Chicken (Corrected)

Lately I’ve been having an especially tough time finding some genuine ethics outrages on the Right, since the Left has been going, you know, nuts.

Now that gonzo Ethics Alarms commenter Alizia has pronounced me “a radical progressive,” however, I guess I needn’t worry about balance so much.

1. Fake news, headline division. Yesterday and today I saw several headlines with some version of “D.C. Statehood Takes A Step Forward.”  That’s flagrant clickbait, and false. The House used its Democratic majority to pass a D.C. statehood bill, which is guaranteed the same fate as dozens of other grandstanding bills Pelosi’s minions have sent to the GOP controlled Senate.  It’s not a step forward, because there is no actual progress toward statehood at all. (I was surprised to learn that the House hasn’t passed such a bill in 25 years. Democrats hadn’t because it was futile.) The GOP Senate will reject the bill, and if some kind of brain disease struck and they passed it, the President would veto. To have D.C. make it to statehood would require the Democrats to  control the House, the Senate, the White House and have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

2. Sheep see, sheep do! Actress Jenny Slate was so impressed with Kristen Bell’s ridiculous stunt of quitting her gig as a voice actress for a mixed race animated character (see, Kristen is white, see, so she can’t really express the essence of a mixed race character even though the show’s producers said her performance was “brilliant,” but a black actress told that she couldn’t voice a white animated character would be screaming “Systemmic racism!” so fast it would make your head spin. This is what they’re toppling statues for, folks! ) that she decided to duplicate the virtue-signal, quitting her role on the animated show “Big Mouth”  because she’s white and her character is b-iracial. (Well, really the character is not even a human being and just colored sort of brownish, and  her lines are written by a man, but..oh, never mind. Why would I try to make sense out of this?)

Slate said,

“I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed and that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy … Ending my portrayal of “Missy” is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions…”

If this reminds you of the scripted confessions of brainwashed American pilots held as North Korean prisoners of war, it should. Writes Andrew Sullivan, dissecting Slate’s mindless cant,

“It’s a classic confession of counterrevolutionary error… The word “racist,” which was widely understood quite recently to be prejudicial treatment of an individual based on the color of their skin, now requires no intent to be racist in the former sense, just acquiescence in something called “structural racism,’ which can mean any difference in outcomes among racial groupings. Being color-blind is therefore now being racist. And there is no escaping this. The woke shift their language all the time, so that words that were one day fine are now utterly reprehensible. You can’t keep up — which is the point…. So, yes, this is an Orwellian moment. It’s not a moment of reform but of a revolutionary break, sustained in part by much of the liberal Establishment.”

3. What do you say, most ridiculous corporate white guy pandering yet, or what? Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy took part in a televised discussion at Atlanta’s Passion City Church last week with Pastor Louie Giglio and rapper Lecrae  in what the church called “an open and honest conversation around how racism has plagued our city for generations, and the steps we can all take to confront it head-on in our church, our neighborhoods, and our hearts.” This was sparked, of course, by the police shooting of Rayshard Johnson, about which there is no evidence indicating that it was based on racism at all.

But the company’s CEO, who is trying to get past being labeled as a homophobe for opposing same sex marriage, seized the opportunity to be “woke.” He  shared a story told to him (meaning that it may be made up) about a small town revival meeting  in Texas. A young man at the service  was “gripped with conviction about the racism that was happening” and responded by kneeling down before an elderly African American man and shining the his shoes. “So I invite folks to just put some words to action here,” Cathy said, standing up and carrying a shoe brush over to the black rapper.

Then he knelt down in shoe-shining position, and said, “If we need to find somebody [ that is, somebody black) that needs to have their shoes shined, we just need to go right on over and shine their shoes and whether they got tennis shoes on or not, maybe they got sandals on, it really doesn’t matter. But there’s a time at which we need to have, you know, some personal action here. Maybe we need to give them a hug, too.”

4. And this is why performers should shut up about politics and stay off Twitter. Chelsea Handler, the female, B-version of Bill Maher, posted a video of racist, homophobic,  anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan to her 3.9 million followers on Instagram, writing that she “learned a lot” from watching Farrakhan debate audience members on whether racial prejudice would ever be eradicated. Handler, who is Jewish, was apparently unaware that Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam is generally regarded as a hate group–against whites, gays and Jews. (Apparently fellow celebrities Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Aniston and Michelle Pfieffer, who liked Handler’s choice of a messenger, were similarly ignorant.)Initially Handler doubled-down, saying on her podcast that she…

“…wasn’t thinking about the anti-Semitic thing, but I don’t want to take down the post because I felt the message was powerful and a lot of people did. It was powerful for me the way he spelled it out,” That black people don’t have a history of killing white power. White people have a history of killing black people, for hundreds of years. Over and over again, we kill black people in this country. So everyone needs to remember where the violence came from. It’s not from the black people, it’s from the white people. So I thought it was powerful. So whatever, you know, everybody can fuck themselves.”

Yes, Chelsea Handler thought Farrakhan’s  standard  racist “white devils” riff was “powerful.” It’s not just that Farrakhan is such a repulsive messenger that nobody should trust anything he says, it’s also that his message is a hate screed and based on a biased and deliberately distorted reading of history.

Then social media told Handler to shape up, so, lacking any integrity and courage herself, she took down the post and grovelled to  the Daily Beast:

“I want to sincerely apologize for posting the video of Louis Farrakhan. I didn’t consider the context of his anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric,\ that is of course contrary to my own beliefs and values. Part of the process of educating ourselves during this pivotal time is recognizing and working through our mistakes.This was definitely one of mine. I was wrong. It was offensive, and I apologize.

No, you didn’t know who Louis Farrakhan was before you endorsed him. [Pointer: Other Bill]

 

Statue-Toppling, The Ethics Incompleteness Principle, And Calvin Griffith, Part Two

Where Cal Griffith’s statue once stood…

Here is what Calvin Griffith said in the 1978 remarks that led the Minnesota Twins to remove his statue in from of the team’s stadium, Target Field.

Griffith was invited to speak to the Lions Club in Waseca, a small city in southern Minnesota. Taking questions from the audience after his planned speech, someone asked Griffith  why he brought the Twins to Minnesota from Washington, D.C., in 1961. Griffith lowered his voice, asked if there were any blacks around, and  looked around the room. Apparently confirming that his audience was all white,  Griffith said,

“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don’t go to ball games, but they’ll fill up a ‘rassling ring and put up such a chant it’ll scare you to death. It’s unbelievable. We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking, white people here.”

It’s hard to get more racist than that, at least short of a Klan rally. I’ll poll this at the end of the post, but I believe that this is a case where the Ethics Incompleteness Principle applies, and the usually valid ethical objections to pulling down the statues of problematic, controversial or subsequently disgraced historical figures have to yield to other considerations, which are these: Continue reading

Statue-Toppling, The Ethics Incompleteness Principle, And Calvin Griffith, Part One.

The Ethics Incompleteness Principle, a core concept on Ethics Alarms, holds that even the most convincing ethics rules, moral codes, laws and principles have exceptions. The inspiration for this observation was the work of Czech-born mathematician Kurt Gödel, whose two Incompleteness Theorems, which relate to mathematical proofs, are his most famous contribution to civilization and science. A linguist as well as a scientist,  Gödel unintentionally delivered an essential blow against the ethics absolutism of Kant and rigid morality when he proved that human language is not sufficiently precise to define rules that will work as designed in every instance. The logical extension of Gödel’s theorems, which he applied only to mathematics and, by extension, physics, tells us that there will always be anomalies on the periphery of every normative system, no matter how sound or well articulated it is. If one responds to an anomaly by trying to amend the rule or system to accommodate it, the integrity of the rule or system is disturbed, and perhaps ruined. Yet if one stubbornly applies the rule or system without amendment to the anomaly anyway, one may reach an absurd conclusion or an unjust result. [ Here is an online discussion of the application of Gödel to ethics, which appeared years after the Ethics Incompleteness Theorem was posited on Ethics Alarms.]

The Ethics Incompleteness Principle suggests that when a system or rule doesn’t seem to work well when applied to an unexpected or unusual situation, the wise response is to abandon the system or rule—in that one anomalous case only— and use  basic ethics principles and analysis to find the best solution. Then return to the system and rules as they were, without altering them to make the treatment of the anomalous situation “consistent.”

Much as we would like it to be otherwise, for life would be so much simpler if it were so, no system or rule is going to work equally well with every possible scenario. This is why is why committing to a single ethical system is folly, and why it is important to keep basic ethical values in mind in case a pre-determined formula for determining what is right breaks down.

When a reader and frequent commenter sent me this announcement from the Minnesota Twins a few days ago, my reflex reaction was as you would expect: Continue reading

From The Signature Significance Files: And Now We Know, If We Didn’t Already, That Spike Lee Is A Weenie

I had a long day yesterday, and then had trouble sleeping because I was so annoyed about last night’s Atlanta Wendy’s shooting—which should not have happened for many reasons, and the mass stupidity necessary for it to happen is staggering—so I’m not sufficiently alert and awake for too substantive a post. This I can handle though…

In an interview on two days ago, director Spike Lee said,

“I’d just like to say Woody Allen is a great, great filmmaker and this cancel thing is not just Woody. And I think when we look back on it… we are going to see that — short of killing somebody — I don’t know that you can just erase somebody like they never existed.”

Then, after the predictable reaction by the social media mob, Cancel Culture division, Spike did a sudden reverse-backflip with a twist, added a grovel, and tweeted,

I Deeply Apologize. My Words Were WRONG. I Do Not And Will Not Tolerate Sexual Harassment, Assault Or Violence. Such Treatment Causes Real Damage That Can’t Be Minimized.-Truly, Spike Lee.

Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

“We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”

—Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, engaging in a mandatory grovel and making no sense whatsoever.

If I had any respect for the National Football League whatsoever, this fatuous, cowardly statement would really bother me. As it is, it’s just more evidence of what I knew already: this is the most cynical, ethics-free sports organization north of the International Cock Fighting Association.

Observations: Continue reading

Pandemic Ethics Potpourri: Spring Cleaning, Chapter 1

My files of potential and ongoing ethics stories and issues involving the Wuhan virus outbreak are stuffed to overflowing. I’m not going to have time to do the full posts many of these deserve, and the rest risk dropping into oblivion. Here is the first of several collections that will at least flag issues while allowing me to keep current…

1. Golf and the virus…

  • Three Massachusetts golfing enthusiasts, blocked from the links in their own state , were charged with misdemeanors in Rhode Island after going to extraordinary lengths to sneak into that state to hit the little white balls around. Rhode Island has issued a directive requiring all travelers to quarantine themselves for 14 days after entering the state. Gregory Corbett, 51, Tyler Pietrzyk, 22, and Nye Cameron, 22, determined to make it to the Meadow Brook Golf Course drove from Massachusetts to the smallest state, changed cars in a McDonald’s parking lot, and proceeded to the golf course with Rhode Island-issued plates to the club.
  • Right: right, we’re all in this together. Here’s Michigan Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel in two tweets:

2. When the going gets tough, the tough get race-baiting. Black Americans are experiencing a significantly higher percentage of infections and deaths than other demographic groups, especially in big cities. There are many likely reasons for this, but this one is infuriating: Continue reading

Ethics Notes On The CNN/Univision Bernie-Biden Debate

The showdown  was supposed to be Sanders’ last stand, with his sole hope of stopping the Biden surge being to dazzle viewers and show Slow Joe to be too far gone to be a viable candidate. Sanders didn’t do that; he didn’t even come close.  The major ethics takeaway is that this time, at least, Joe Biden did not appear especially more addled than Vice President Joe did, in marked contrast to his quickly aborted cyber-town meeting, in which he often seemed confused and at one point wandered out of camera range.  I know that it seems pathetic to make “not looking senile” an accomplishment in a debate to determine who should be President, but that’s the corner the Democratic Party painted itself into.

Other Observations:

  • Sanders says the same thing over and over again, indeed the same things he said in his debates with Hillary Clinton. To some extent clearing the stage of the flotsam and jetsam candidates just exposes the formulaic and rote nature of his candidacy.

I don’t understand how anyone sentient could seriously support this man for any elected office. With the kids I could understand it, but I know lawyers in their forties without closed head injuries who are Bernie Bros.  It’s inconceivable.

  • Conservative pundits were slamming CNN for not confronting Biden about his fantasy meeting with Nelson Mandela, which was exposed since the last debate. It isn’t the news media’s job to come up with gotchas!…where was Sanders? As with his debates with Hillary in which he adamantly refused to raise her email deceptions, Sanders seems to be less interested in winning than in making his various Marxist talking points. It’s peculiar. It’s also a betrayal of those passionate, if deluded, young supporters who have worked so hard for him.

Why doesn’t Bernie mention Biden’s groping and sniffing problem? Same thing. Continue reading

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: A TIE!

No, not THEIR tweets! Tweets ABOUT them…

Yes, the Democratic Presidential hopeful field’s #1 pandering jerk and it’s leading  shameless demagogue both exploited the birthday of  the late Trayvon Martin to engage is race-baiting, false narrative peddling, and near-defamation. Buttigieg and Warren also recently referred to the “murder” of Mike Brown, whom a grand jury and an Obama Justice Department investigation itching to find evidence of a crime both determined had charged the police officer who shot him, and thus was legally killed in self defense. I fault Warren a bit more here, since she is a law professor and knows damn well that both the evidence and the law say that Martin was not the victim of racism and that but for his possession of a legal firearm, it might have been Zimmerman who was killed.  Yet Buttigieg’s “white supremacy” buzz-wording is  unforgivable, as it literally had nothing to do with the deadly confrontation between a black teen and a Hispanic-American. Continue reading

A Poll: Which Is The Most Mock-Worthy Example Of Corporate Virtue Signaling Diversity Pandering (VSDP)

The mad diversity obsession being flung at American culture from the depths of the progressive insanity is a brainwashing exercise to make society forget what it has already learned: What matters is whether a group is constructed based on merits such as talent, experience, relevant skills, achievement, potential for significantly contributing to the success of an enterprise, and character. To the extent that the presence of diversity in a group suggests that opportunity has been equally available to all, contingent on these qualities, of course, it is a welcome condition. If the diversity can only be achieved by warping, rigging or ignoring the relevant qualifications, however, the process is destructive, and indeed unethical. Diversity for diversity’s own sake is a rationalization for unfair treatments and incompetence.

Corporations, sucking up to current fad as they are programmed to do,  will eagerly enable this destructive cultural brainwashing, if the more level-headed and ethically grounded among them don’t do our duty and mercilessly mock such examples as these:

Sports Illustrated Continue reading

OK, I Have No Idea What This Is. Help Me Out. Please.

Alyssa Nakken played first base on the Sacramento State women’s softball team from 2009 to 2012, being named all-conference three times  and Academic All American all four years. She  earned a master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco in 2015, and interned with the San Francisco Giants’ baseball operations department for a year during that period.

Now she has become the first female major league coach.  New San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler added her to his staff. Whether it was his idea or not is unknown.

What is her job? The Associated Press is a bit vague:

“Nakken will be in uniform and helping the Giants with everything from cage work to infield practice,” its feature says. The AP adds:

Kapler and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have all the confidence in Nakken’s ability to help build clubhouse continuity through stronger bonds between young players and veterans…A polished speaker who has become adept at hiding any nerves, Nakken is taking initiative early. She put on a two-day coaches retreat this week that included a “culinary experience” — much more than “a food tour,” she said — through San Francisco’s historic and diverse Mission District..

Nakken doesn’t claim to be an expert on hitting or pitching. She plans to assist coaches on both sides, and will also work a lot on outfield defense and baserunning. Nakken will be in uniform but not in the dugout during games, rather working with players in the cage to keep them ready..

Do you see my problem? Continue reading