Ethics Dunces: PayPal, And Those Applauding Its Unethical Grandstanding

PayPal-logo-1

The online payments company PayPal announced that it is cancelling plans to open an office in Charlotte, North Carolina because the state’s so-called “bathroom law” “violates PayPal values.” Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and chief executive, wrote in a statement this week:

“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”

My many knee-jerk progressive Facebook friends immediately slapped their seal-flippers together and barked their approval in unison. “I (heart) PayPal!” more than one wrote. “PayPal is my hero!” wrote others.

Never mind that a corporation has no business using financial muscle to exercise extra-legal vetoes over legislation in states where it is not a citizen and where the actual citizens, in their legal exercise of their rights, have elected representatives who duly passed it. This cheering on excessive and abusive influence on governance by big corporations is especially hypocritical coming from supporters of Bernie and Hillary, who regularly claim that allowing companies the right to engage in political speech magically robs voters of their ability to reason and causes all to vote, zombie-like, according to corporate America’s will.

This is why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are leading…wait, that doesn’t make sense, does it? Actually none of the popular and media attacks on Citizens United are grounded in reality, law, or comprehension of the Constitution, and virtually none of the indignant opponents of the decision have read it or listened to the revealing oral argument. But I digress. The point is that the progressives endorse the practice of corporations using their power to warp the system in directions progressives like, but believe that this—this meaning bullying, threats and coercion— is the only form of influence that should be allowed—certainly not speech and advocacy.

That is just half of what makes the cheering for PayPal foolish and cynical. For PayPal is playing these people like a harpsichord, and indulging in outrageous, hypocritical grandstanding. Moving an office into North Carolina where the bathroom privileges of trans citizens are being restricted “violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” but somehow… Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “The Barefoot Contessa and the Compassion Bullies…”

Commenter Marlene Cohn has some well-reasoned insight on the issue of a celebrity’s obligation to comply with a sick child’s wishes. Here is her comment on The Barefoot Contessa and the Compassion Bullies: an Ethics Drama:

“I enjoy a bit of celebrity gossip just as much as anyone, and always find internet reactions to perceived celebrity slights to be fascinating. Having been on the internet far longer than the hoards willing to throw around the dreaded “c” word, I’ve been able to see a true shift in what people generally expect of others. Continue reading

The Ethics Of Refusing To Help Wikileaks

Do private corporations have an ethical obligation to allow Wikileaks to use their services? MasterCard, Visa and PayPal stopped processing Wikileaks donations. Amazon kicked the site off its server. Twitter stopped its tweets; Facebook stopped its interfacing.

Columbia University Professor Tim Wu rhetorically asked them:

“Since when are you in the business of deciding who is and who isn’t a good civil disobedience movement?”

Before I address the Professor’s question, let’s make some distinctions. Continue reading