Ethics Observations On The San Bernardino Massacre

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1. Curse you, Moral Luck. Unless this attack turns out to have been coordinated with ISIS or other international terrorists, its timing and the fact that at least two of the suspects are Muslims and American citizens could easily be the result of random chance. Ethical analysts, pundits, advocates and politicians should resist any temptation to make this incident part of any larger narrative or use it to support any political agenda.

2.  Unfortunately, if the ethical analysts, advocates and politicians shut up until they know something, all we will hear from is the unethical ones, who are far more numerous. Anti-gun zealots will immediately say, “See? Now we’re having a mass shooting every day! Ban guns!” Donald Trump will say, “See? Muslims are dangerous and out to kill us! Ban Muslims!”

3. We have yet to hear from Trump, but President Obama, as is his habit, already proclaimed the root cause of the shooting that has cost 14 lives so far. It’s all the guns. This is certainly the canny argument to make in order to mobilize the anti-gun forces while emotions run high; it signals the Post Sandy Hook Propaganda Push, Part II. That doesn’t make it right or responsible. Continue reading

Just To Wash The Nasty Residue Of Those Absurd Pilgrim-Syrian Refugee Analogies Out Of Your Brain, Here are Some Useful And Informative Silly Refugee Discourses

Go ahead, tell us how you'd keep THESE refugees out, Donald...

Go ahead, tell us how you’d keep THESE refugees out, Donald…

By the time Thanksgiving arrived, the social media memes pronouncing that for anyone who believes accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S. is less than wise policy it was rank hypocrisy to celebrate the holiday had become too much to bear. Granted, this stupid analogy was marginally less stupid than the “Jesus was a refugee so what kind of Christian are you?” stuff put out by OccupyDemocrats, but it was still pure debate pollution. Did the Native Americans know that the Europeans were refugees? Uh, no. Did they have a refugee policy? Nooooo. Was the territory that became the United States being targeting by terrorists? No. Had there been any previous terrorist attacks on Native Americans in North America? No. If the Indians had known about what the Spanish had already been doing to indigenous people, would they have been so welcoming? I think not. If Native Americans today could go back in time and decide all over again whether to allow the “refugees” to settle here, what would they decide?

You betcha.

Are the beneficiaries of a terrible decision ethically obligated to risk their own destruction by making the same mistake?I guess that’s the theory. Pardon me if I’m not persuaded, but you wouldn’t believe the “likes” this argument got on Facebook in its various forms.

Well, President Obama used this same illicit analogy before Thanksgiving, and the progressives and pundits nodded their heads furiously, like turkeys. Oh, snap, Mr. President! You really stuck it to those xenophobes!

President Obama obviously doesn’t care about his rhetoric any more, or think about it, either. He’s not as flagrant as Donald Trump in spewing irresponsible nonsense, but no ethical President should even spark the comparison.

Well, over at Law and the Multiverse, which is another neat website in the Ethics Alarms links, there is a very informative discussion of the refugee status of Superman, an environmental refugee (a planet exploding qualifies its residents) and Supergirl, another Krypton refugee whose status is a bit more complex. Law and the Multiverse features serious legal discussions of the legal issues that would be raised by the conduct and existence of superheroes in the real world. Here’s a sample, from author Kean Zimmerman’s discussion of Supergirl’s status: Continue reading

When A President’s Words Are So Unethical There Is An Obligation To Condemn Them…And Him

obama-angryI have previously referenced President Obama’s outrageous—and I know I may use outrageous hyperbolically at times, but this really was outrageous—twice in recent posts without focusing on it specifically. However, since I believe it might be the single most petulant, unfair, dishonest, un-Presidential public statement ever uttered by any U.S. Chief Executive—certainly abroad—attention must be paid. Obama’s statement reflects directly on his character and leadership.

It is signature significance regarding Obama’s arrogance and narcissism, and more important for those analyzing what went so horribly wrong in his quest for “Hope and Change,” it is decisive evidence rebutting the default excuse offered by Obama’s unshakable supporters that he has been the innocent victim of a Republican Congress that would not work with him. It is the President’s duty to work with Congress, which means that while individual members may say impolitic things about him, it is counter-productive and incompetent for the President to issue blanket insults to the opposition party that he must negotiate with. Every effective President has understood this. Obama has never understood it, and the nation has suffered as a result.

It must have felt good for Obama to say, in a press conference in France…

“These are the same folks who suggested they’re so tough that just talk to Putin or staring down ISIL [will work] … but they’re scared of widows and orphans… First they were worried the press was too tough on them in the debates, now they’re worried about 3-year old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.”

A competent President knows when his personal, inner asshole must be switched to silent, however. Such a statement would set off an ethics screening alarm in the brain of any non-totalitarian leader—you know, the kind who doesn’t have to care what anyone else thinks—while it was still being composed  and before it vomited out of the mouth….anyone but Obama, apparently. This really is going rogue, and nothing Sarah Palin ever said in public was as inappropriate, in part because she wasn’t the President at the time and could afford to mouth off.

Let’s identify  the internal ethical breaches here as well as the macro one, which is that Obama was in a foreign country, and it is always wrong to use a foreign stage to attack other elected officials from the U.S. (He has done this before.) Moreover, Obama’s political opposition was not the topic at hand nor what he was supposed to be focusing on. Paris and France had just suffered a devastating tragedy at the hands of ISIS terrorists, but what Obama was really upset about was that his refugee resettlement plan was being attacked at home. This wasn’t about him, in other words, but with pathological narcissists, everything is about them.

As for the statement itself.. Continue reading