Scott Esk, The Tea Party, And Leon Festinger’s Warning

Ignore Leon at your peril, Republicans!

Ignore Leon at your peril, Republicans!

A Texas Republican, using my least favorite rationalization (#22. Comparative Virtue, or “It’s not the worst thing”)  to excuse the party’s intentionally insulting anti-gay platform, could argue, “Hey! At least we don’t want gays to be stoned to death!”

True. That would be the position of Tea Party candidate for the Oklahoma state Senate, Scott Esk.

In a Facebook exchange last year, Esk indeed endorsed, without espousing, killing gays:

“That [stoning gay people to death] goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss…I never said I would author legislation to put homosexuals to death, but I didn’t have a problem with it.”

Contacted by Oklahoma magazine to clarify his remarks, Esk did indeed, saying:

 “That was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God and in that time there it was totally just. It came directly from God. I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins…I know what was done in the Old Testament and what was done back then was what’s just. … And I do stand for Biblical morality.”

Before going further, I have to give Esk integrity points for not claiming that he was taken out of context or misunderstood. He was honest, he accepted responsibility for his words, and he didn’t try to “walk back” his statement, as is the current fashion among all the Washington politicians we should not trust. His courage and candor are admirable.

If only he weren’t a hateful, ignorant fool. Continue reading

Another Inherently Misleading Statistic

“Ok, I’ve put on some weight, but that hippo must weigh a ton!”

Ethics Alarms readers know that  certain statistics reporters and pundits like to cite are guaranteed to set my head spinning around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. One of them, that 50% of marriages end in divorce, is unethical because it’s imaginary. Another, the “women earn 75 cents for every dollar earned by men” line, is intentionally misleading as well as out of date. Lately, my head has been doing a 180 because of the popularity of citing Congress’s unpopularity, as measured by polls. In this case, the number is probably accurate and the implication of it is clear: the public doesn’t have much admiration for Congress. What is unethical is the misleading way it is typically used by journalists, to contrast with the President’s increasingly miserable poll numbers. Continue reading