Joe Biden, The Human Lawn Chair

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States…”

I’ve been thinking about what would be the fair and expository Ethics Alarms nickname for Joe Biden, and I’ve settled on “The Lawn Chair,” or TLC for short.

In 2016, I wrote repeatedly in posts and comments that I would vote for a lawn chair over Donald Trump, using the same standard that I had applied in the past to first term Presidents who I had found unacceptably incompetent or untrustworthy (Nixon, Carter, Bush I, and Bill Clinton). Joe Biden, in his drastically diminished 2020 model, is the closest thing a U.S. Presidential contest has had to an actual lawn chair, and it is clear that those preparing to vote for him to lead the nation at this critical time would literally vote for a lawn chair over President Trump. In this there is epic hypocrisy.

Feminists who once proclaimed that sexual harassment and sexual assault, determined on the basis of unsubstantiated accusations, were sufficient to disqualify a man for high public office are supporting Biden, who has been photographed numerous times engaging in sexual harassment as Vice-President, and has been accused “credibly” (as they said about Brett Kavanaugh’s less than credible accuser) of sexual assault. Heck, one such feminist is his running mate. Soft coup proponents who have argued that President Trump is sufficiently cognitively handicapped that the 25th Amendment should be employed to remove him are supporting Biden, who is obviously more mentally impaired now than Trump has ever been even in the fever dreams of progressives.

Then there is the lying. Continue reading

Shocked—-Shocked!—That There Would Be Violent Protests Over An Unambiguously Justified Police Shooting

Okay, I confess. I’m not shocked.

I’m not even surprised.

It has been obvious for years that a critical mass of protesters/demonstrators/rioters who have repeatedly  inflicted their outrage on communities across the country are not doing so because of any reasonable and responsible desire to obtain police reform or address legitimate racial injustice issues. Responsible protests are based on facts, and the majority of the Black Lives Matter-triggered protests, inevitably endorsed by the Democratic Party, have neither waited for the facts to be determined nor cared what they were once they were determined. The objective is to create division, intensify racial hate, intimidate the community to promote concessions and capitulation, to gain power for extreme left and other activist groups, and to do harm.

Last month,rumors that Chicago police had killed an unarmed 15-year-old boy was all that was necessary to cause the mobs to hit the streets, although, according to ABC News, police had justifiably shot an armed adult male who allegedly opened fire on them. But Facts Don’t Matter: 13 police officers injured and neighborhood were trashed.  Also in August, false reports that law enforcement had killed an unarmed man resulted more rioting and looting. Just 90 minutes after the incident, they released a video and statement showing that an armed murder suspect committed suicide when police approached him. Never mind! Any death of a “person of color” with police in the midst of trying to do their dangerous and difficult jobs is provocation enough for violence, slogans, and chaos.

It was considerate of the unusual suspects—Look! Another Casablanca reference! —to eliminate all doubt by rioting over the shooting of madman who rushed a polite officer with a huge knife:

Would you have shot that guy? Oh, why didn’t the brutal police officer wing him? Hey, he didn’t even have a gun! That’s not fair!

That incident was sufficient provocation to sent 100 “peaceful protesters” into the streets of Lancaster, Pennsylvania last night. They vandalized the police station, broke windows, threw bricks, damaged private businesses and looted. They damaged a post office, because post offices are always shooting people of color. “Death to cops” was spray-painted on one building, See? The victim was only attempting to carry out the will of the woke. He was a martyr!

The objective of these protests/demonstrations/riots is to make it impossible for police to function, to intimidate them so that they allow dangerous people to break laws and evade arrest with impunity, and to surrender society to chaos.

The man who charged the officer with a knife was alreday facing trial for stabbing four people in 2019; he wasn’t kidding. Naturally, his family, including his sister who called the police, told the news media that he was a pussycat. This was all the fault of “the system.” “He had an episode. He was just incoherent and acting out,”  she said. “I called to find out what the procedure was to get him some help.”

You know, acting out!

By trying to stab people! Continue reading

True in 2018, Truer Now: “Admit It, Liberals, Progressives, Democrats, “The Resistance,” The Left, Or Whatever You Call Yourselves: You’re The Bad Guys”

The title in quotes above was attached to this post, nearly two years ago. It began,

In “Falling Down.” a movie I like better every time I see it (or think about it), Michael Douglas plays a man who snaps, Sweeney Todd-like, and begins shooting people after the collective injustice, meanness, cruelty, stress and stupidity of daily life becomes unbearable. Finally cornered, he hears a law enforcement officer demand his surrender. “I’m the bad guy?” he says, in a stunning moment of self-awareness. “How did that happen?”

We’re still waiting for that moment of self-awareness from the Left. How it happened in their case is a matter of historical record: accumulated arrogance, cynicism and the rejection of their own ideology’s core principles–you know, liberalism?—did the trick. What was left was pure power-seeking, anger, hate, and “the ends justifies the means,” the “ethic” of fascism and totalitarianism.

That post was triggered by the disgusting assault on the character of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing. I thought that was as low as they could go. I was wrong.

Today I learned from Prof. Turley about an example of the Left’s shameless corruption that I would not have dreamed of even when I wrote those words (Before I go further, let me also repeat a footnote from that post, which read,” I am not playing the game I have had commenters play, protesting that there is no monolithic “Left” and that progressives are not necessarily Democrats, who are not socialists, and that “the resistance” and antifa are distinct, while the news media isn’t political.  Baloney. When these groups and their leadership show any independence and stop supporting the monolithic unethical conduct all of these components of the left have engaged in since November, 2016, I’ll begin taking that complaint more seriously.)

The GW law professor saw this Facebook exchange:

Crankshaw is a staffer with the ACLU. Tompkins is an Assistant Professor and Diversity Scholar at Transylvania University, where Sandmann will be attending. Turley wrote in part… Continue reading

Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/5/2020: Welcome To The No Nervous Breakdown Zone!

Apropos to this morning’s post: I just read a thread on Facebook entirely populated by people I knew, some of whom have befriended me. They are mostly lawyers, and after reading what was written, I could only comment that their conversation was deranged. I didn’t feel like arguing with people who could really write that if the Democrats didn’t win in November, Americans would lose their civil rights (when it is the ideological compatriots of these individuals who are stripping away the rights of free speech and association, championing race-based policies, and condemning the President for insisting that universities observe due process when a student is accused of sexual misconduct. How can they write that? What happened to them? Then there was the section of the thread in which they discussed that the President was certain to refuse to leave office if he is defeated, and my personal favorite, the assertion that those defending Kyle Rittenhouse are racists.

These are lawyers. They were taught about the requirement that every individual has a right to a fair trial, which means that he or she must not be pronounced guilty in the court of public opinion before all the facts are known, and proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They should know, as I do, D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 (b), which says, “A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social, or moral views or activities.” Moreover, it is very likely that Rittenhouse, if he is ever tried, will be found not guilty. Did these deranged lawyer watch the video? I hope not, or they have really lost it. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, and appears to be in the process of being railroaded by a racially biased justice system in Wisconsin, driven by the media and uninformed public opinion. I’ve seen the video. I’ve also been a prosecutor. I would not charge him, just as would not charge the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. I’ve also been a defense attorney, and  I would take on Rittenhouse’s defense confident that I had a winning case.

I also was struck by the snide comment about those who object to “Black Lives Matter” signs being obvious racists. I flagged that group as being a racist hate group when it first raised its ugly, divisive head, and damn right I object to seeing signs extolling a group responsible for riots, arson, and terrorizing diners in D.C. by demanding that they raise their fists.

Finally, these formerly rational professionals—who were once even as you or I! —-had the gall to talk about how Republicans and conservatives were promoting violence and a civil war. Yes, the end of the spectrum that includes the antifa, the rioters, and a party that has worked for four years to undermine our democratic processes, is really accusing others of seeking division and violence. This warrants FOUR standard Ethics alarms clips: This one,

…this one, of course,

…I have to use this one, though these people one were not morons…

And finally,

Get well quick, friends. Please. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

“There are way too many people who should know better who are stirring up the forces of chaos. The idea that these people are going to help if there’s new chaos as the vote is tabulated and fought over seems overly optimistic. We are already having a national nervous breakdown and if there are “sober people” who “see reality unblinkered by the lens of partisanship,” where the hell are they? Partisanship clouded the perception of reality quite a while ago, and it’s going to continue and get worse in the next 2 months. Who has the credibility to “preserve the order of our civic structure” so we can get through some creditable tabulation of the vote? Nobody. Nobody even wants it. The fact that the discussion is focused on the idea of big bad Trump refusing to leave makes it all too obvious.”

Blogger/ retired law prof. Ann Althouse, expressing dismay at David Brooks’ most recent outbreak of Stockholm Syndrome, as the pompous former conservative pundit continues his forced evolution into a pompous “resistance” columnist for the New York Times with “What Will You Do if Trump Doesn’t Leave?/Playing out the nightmare scenario” 

I don’t think Ann’s is an ethical quote, but it is an ethics quote, with ethical revelations contained in it. Some points:

1. The “Trump won’t leave office if he’s defeated” refrain is a Big Lie, and pure fearmongering and slander by the AUC. There is no hint of evidence that he is so inclined, except through  accepting the Big Lie that spawns this one, Big Lie #3, “Trump Is A Fascist/Hitler/Dictator/Monster.”

Biden has repeated this despicable claim, as have many of Brooks’ colleagues. I will say again: the only political party that has ever challenged the legitimacy of an election result in 150 years is the Democratic Party, and the only losing candidates who refused to honorably accept defeat were Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Now THIS Is Racism…But It’s Joe Biden, So Never Mind.”

[Talented social justice warrior cartoonist Barry Deutch, aka. Ampersand, once would have been lurking to make the point of his cartoon above on Ethics Alarms, in the days before he self-exiled. I miss his reliable and articulate contributions, so I thought his cartoon would give him a free comment for nostalgia purposes. If he objects to it being used here, and he well might, I’ll take it down. (And, of course, the fact that one group benefited from racism in some respect is not a valid argument for others to benefit from racism against that group in response.)]

I was thrilled to see Comment of the Day auteur—we have several here—Humble Talent train his sites on  a long-time annoyance of mine in the culture wars, the intellectually indefensible claim that racism only can exist in one direction, with whites being prejudiced against blacks. This is one of the great fallacies of the race-relations debates, and until it’s banished forever to the Land of Self-Serving Lies,  I don’t see much progress being made. ‘It’s bad when YOU do it, but OK when I do it’ is, or should be, self-evidently hypocritical. When a group or individual tries to slip that one by, they lose all credibility, and worse, they endorse racism while condemning it. This has become epidemic in the dark days of the George Floyd Freakout, and just because a stunning number of whites, in the grip of  fear, apathy or cognitive disability, are temporarily submitting to it doesn’t make the concept any more valid.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Now THIS Is Racism…But It’s Joe Biden, So Never Mind.”

“Racism = Prejudice + Power” isn’t, and was never, actually functional. I think they used “prejudice” because of the alliteration. “Racism = Discrimination + Power” just doesn’t roll off the tongue the same way. Their point was, I believe, and if anyone holding that view wants to correct me, I’ll be willing to listen, that Racism without power isn’t damaging the same way racism with power is, and so it shouldn’t be treated the same way.

There’s perhaps some truth to that; While I don’t particularly like it when people say hurtful things to me based on my race, I don’t think mean words have the same teeth as a two-tiered justice system. I’m not saying that’s what America has. It isn’t (at least not racially, laws are for little people, as the political elite love to showcase, and that’s not a racial divide). But hypothetically, a law that reinforced slavery, as an example, would be a whole lot more damaging to a person than mean words. Continue reading

Jennifer Williams’ Three Questions

Harpers’ “anti-cancel culture” letter, discussed here was instructive, but not in the manner that its sponsors intended. It excluded most conservatives (except Stockholm Syndrome types like David Brooks) and all of those who had been damaged by progressive cancel-mobs, making the exercise suspect as Left-wing grandstanding. Worse, an alarming number of progressives who didn’t sign the letter expressed disappointment that others did, because they fervently believe that expressing opinions that vary from woke cant should be punished, and that (though they won’t come right out and say it) free expression is undesirable. Hate speech, you know—makes people feel “unsafe” to have to associate with the unenlightened.

For some reason the criticism centered on Vox, the website begun by Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein when pretending to be anything but a partisan shill became  too much for him. Vox is as biased leftward as Breitbart is biased in the other direction, which is why I seldom use, and never trust, either. Several Vox employees publicly objected to the fact that their colleague Matt Yglesias signed the letter, apparently forgetting that Yglesias, “by any means necessary” fan that he is, once admitted.

In response to the uproar, senior foreign editor Jennifer Williams tweeted,

What a fascinating set of ethics questions!

Let’s examine them, shall we?

Question #2, the one Williams answers, is apparently not as obvious as she seems to think it is. Tufts University history lecturer Kerri Greenidge demanded  to have her name  removed from the list of signers, claiming that her name  was used without her knowledge or consent. “I do not endorse this @ Harpers letter,” Prof. Greenidge tweeted. “I am in contact with Harper’s about a retraction.” The Tufts historian’s sisters, novelist and New York Times opinion writer Kaitlyn Greenidge and playwright Kirsten Greenidge also asserted  that Kerri was included among the signatories without her consent or knowledge.

Prof. Greenidge was lying—to the public, and to her family. Harper’s quickly produced an email exchange from late June in which Greenidge agreed to sign. “Yes, I will add my signature. It reads well,” Greenidge wrote from her Tufts email address. “Let me know what more you need from me.”

“Oh, just a promise that you won’t cave like a wet cardboard box and start blaming us if some of your progressive pals and family members complain, I guess,” is what Harper’s should have responded. Continue reading

Oh, So NOW You Support Free Expression! [CORRECTED]

In Harpers, a grab-bag of pundits, artists, has-beens and assorted progressives/liberals were persuaded to sign an open letter protesting the “cancel culture” and bemoaning its suffocating effect on free expression and debate.

Tangent: Lots of people wrote that they didn’t recognize most of the names. I know 28 of them, and several, like Ron Sullivan, Emily Yoffe, and Dahlia Lithwick, have been subjects of posts here. Not only that, one signer is a college classmate (Nadine Strossen) and another, Diedre McCloskey, was a next door neighbor when I lived with my parents in Arlington, Mass.)

“Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement,” the epistle says in part.

Apparently allowing prominent conservatives to sign the letter was considered “divisive,” or the organizers could only get the leftists to join in if the righties were excluded. This restriction of expression in a letter about censorship undercuts the message, don’t you think? To make sure no dedicated conservatives agitated to sign, the letter cleverly included this poison pill:

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.

Ann Althouse yesterday properly and vigorously flagged this as the disingenuous BS it is, writing, Continue reading

On Progressives, Prof. Tribe, Race-Based Leadership,The Decline Of Integrity, And, Oh, Everything: A Critical Review

This drama,  reported by Campus Reform, exemplifies so much about what’s so wrong about so much and so many, that it boggles the mind. My mind, anyway. You may have a higher boggle threshold.

Act I: Once distinguished Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, recently crippled by Trump Derangement,  was among the signers of a letter addressed to Biden, urging the ex-Vice President to choose Sen. Elizabeth Warren as his most qualified running mate.

Observations: The letter, signed mostly by aging old-school liberals like Tribe, but also socialist Robert Reich and flat-learning curve activist Jane Fonda among others,  is a depressing commentary 1) on the qualifications of Biden’s likely VP pool and  2) the reasoning ability and absence of integrity among  its signatories, “100+ progressive former public officials, authors, actors, activists,advocates and scholars.” Their theory is that Warren is ready to become President  by virtue of her experience and accomplishments. Nothing in the letter explains why a former academic with literally no leadership experience at all should be  considered for President or Vice President. Nor does the letter acknowledge that at 71, Warren would be the oldest Vice President in history, backing the oldest man to be elected President (and showing it). This is not surprising, I suppose, since the list of signers appears to have an average age of at least 71.

The gang lauds her policy skills, then cites among her brilliant policy nostrums reparations for slavery, and as evidence of her judgment, urging Trump’s impeachment after the release of the Mueller Report, which contained no valid justification for impeachment whatsoever, which Warren, as a legal scholar, undoubtedly knew.

Risibly, the letter says, “As you saw, she ran among the best-organized and well-funded presidential campaigns in history.” If it was so well-funded and well-organized, and Warren is so terrific, why was the canpaign a failure, failing even to win the primary in Warren’s own state, Massachusetts?

“Imagine her on stage debunking Mike Pence or needling ‘President Tweety’,” the letter says. There it is: the tell. It’s one more expression of mass anti-Trump fury. That’s Warren’s big plus for these angry Lefties: she would call the Bad Orange Man a poopy head with brio.

One would think many of the  one-time luminaries would be bothered by Warren’s habitual dishonesty and demagoguery, especially Stephen Gillers, the renowned (77 year-old) legal ethics guru. Nah! What’s most important is to have a quick-witted speaker who can  needle President Tweety’.” Warren’s  years of faking being a “person of color” to advance via affirmative action at Harvard and elsewhere? Her documented venal hypocrisy?

Warren asked a crowd, during the campaign this year, “How could the American people want someone who lies to them?,” thus using rhetoric to try to erase

  • Her decades-long Cherokee charade, her DNA test fiasco,
  • Her false claim that her children only attended public schools,
  • Her lie about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant,
  • Her false claim of  to being first woman to take the New Jersey Bar while breastfeeding,
  • Her cruel slander of a dead past employer, saying he “chased her around a desk” who, it turned out when her story was checked, not only had polio, and couldn’t chase anyone, he was also a friend and mentor whom Warren eulogized at his funeral.
  •   Warren’s  endorsment, knowing well it is a lie, of the “Mike Brown was murdered by a racist cop” fantasy,
  • Her claim to have represented women harmed by defective breast transplants when she represented the defendant, Dow Corning, in those cases,
  • …and more.

Thus does bias make you stupid. All these are accomplished and supposedly trustworthy people, and none of them apparently believe that cynical obfuscating at every turn is a disqualification for the Presidency unless the obfuscater is Donald Trump. The letter is one giant, embarrassing, epistolary Jumbo.

Act 2, Scene I:  Asked by the Washington Post if African-Americans would accept a non-black running mate for Biden, Tribe said it would be  “symbolic” to choose an African American running mate, but that “African Americans above all would be the first to say they are more interested in results than cosmetics.”

Observations: This  launches the popular game show so often played here: “Dumb or Lying?” Tribe’s answer is an amazing assertion now, of all times.  The George Floyd Freakout is fueled by demands that there be mandatory quotas for African-Americans among faculties, corporate boards, committees, sports team owners. scientific advisory committees, artistic award nominees and winners—pretty much everything, with skin color the primary criteria and not ability, with the only “result” mattering being…more blacks in positions of power and influence.

Act 2, Scene 2: Tribe’s statement to the Post and the pro-Warren letter made Tribe the target of the progressive Twitter mob. Some critics claimed that Tribe was overlooking the accomplishments of other black female candidates like Kamala Harris. Bakari Sellers, former South Carolina state representative, tweeted that Tribe made “snide remarks about the preparedness of the black women being vetted for VP.”  Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Vermont governorHoward Dean said the letter and Tribe’s comments typify white peoples’ “clueless racism.”

Observation: By any rational standard, Kamala Harris is even less qualified to be President than Warren. Her only asset is that she’s black. She’s an affront to #MeToo and feminists, having literally slept her way to the top; she has boasted of being a tough prosecutor, which spits in the face of the BLM “mass incarceration” grievance. She ran an even worse campaign for the nomination than Warren, having to drop out early despite heavy hype from the media.

And Tribe’s arguments for Warren weren’t “snide” or racist, except in the new race-bullying USA where  anything not  explicitly pro-African American objectives and individuals is evidence of bigotry.

Act 3. Tribe resorted to weasel words and gibberish to avoid being “cancelled”; as a lawyer, he has plenty of facility with both. He tweeted,

“I apologize for my choice of words…I’ve never doubted that racial identity is a significant variable in American governance. It should count heavily in favor of previously excluded groups as part of a person’s full record of background, skills, and values. I’m FOR Warren, not ANTI-excellent others.”

Observations:

Well, Larry used to be better at weasel words and gibberish in his prime.

  • He’s a lawyer: words are his stock in trade. Lawyers don’t get to use the “poor choice of words” excuse.
  • I literally don’t know what “racial identity is a significant variable in American governance” means.
  • The argument is over qualifications, not “variables.”
  • The proposition that race constitutes “skills and values” is  bigotry and an argument for black supremacy in this context.
  • “I’m FOR Warren, not ANTI-excellent others” should condemn Tribe to wearing a paper bag over his head. This is a binary choice, Professor; be definition being for one candidate is being against the others.

Finally, all of the media and blog reports on this fiasco say that Tribe “apologized.” He backtracked, tap-danced, and humina humina-ed, but he did NOT apologize, despite his use of the word “apologize.” He did not apologize for the letter, and he did not retract his opinion.

Prelude To “The Pandemic Creates A Classic And Difficult Ethics Conflict, But The Resolution Is Clear, Part II”

No, I am not satisfied with the current draft of Part II, but I trust it’s obvious what the resolution referred to is. The lock-down has to end, and before vaccines, cures, or adequate medicine are available. One of the components of my research has been reading as many of the pro and con articles as I can stand. It is quite striking: the arguments for continuing the lockdown indefinitely are almost entirely authored by progressives, and are without exception characterized by bad logic, emotionalism, manipulated facts, biased analysis, fearmongering, and suspect motives. The majority of the arguments for opening up the economy soon are markedly more logical, unemotional, and based on sound statistics and analysis. Certainly one cannot choose between two options based on the quality of the advocates for each. Nonetheless, the divide is striking.

Ann Althouse chose such an essay today to critique, “Whose Freedom Counts?/Anti-lockdown protesters are twisting the idea of liberty” by Dahlia Lithwick, who has periodically been discussed here, the first time in 2010. It is e fair to say that her mind and mine run in different metaphorical riverbeds, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Lithwick’s article endorses yet another one of the  same ilk, Ibram X. Kendi’s  current piece in The Atlantic called “We’re Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholders’ Republic/The pandemic has brought the latest battle in the long American war over communal well-being.”

Ann makes short work of both, writing,

Aha! We see what you’re doing! What a distraction! But I suppose that because slavery was invoked, I’m expected to listen without protest while Kendi’s solemn, censorious lecture is promoted by an over-excited Lithwick. I resist. Sorry. I do hear what you’re saying, and I see how well it works to justify depriving us of all freedom. There’s never enough freedom from all the things in the world that might hurt us if we’re not kept in eternal lockdown.

Excellent. Althouse is a liberal, much as she tries to hide it, but she is not an aspiring totalitarian, like such a large swath of the current mutated progressives and Democrats. Her last sentence echoes two of my favorite quotes, “In order to have enough liberty, it is necessary to have too much,”  (Clarence Darrow), and “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” (Benjamin Franklin).

I have another screed to deconstruct: a New York Times editorial  by Charlie Warzel titled “Open States, Lots of Guns. America Is Paying a Heavy Price for Freedom,” or in my print edition, “Will We Get Used To The Dying?” I’ll let you read it first without my comments, here. That’s only fair.

***

Done? Maybe you don’t even need this: eviscerating Warzel ‘s analysis shouldn’t be too hard. Rebutting most of these essays isn’t hard.

Away we go…

The coronavirus scenario I can’t stop thinking about is the one where we simply get used to all the dying. I first saw it on Twitter. “Someone poke holes in this scenario,” a tweet from Eric Nelson, the editorial director of Broadside Books, read. “We keep losing 1,000 to 2,000 a day to coronavirus. People get used to it. We get less vigilant as it very slowly spreads. By December we’re close to normal, but still losing 1,500 a day, and as we tick past 300,000 dead, most people aren’t concerned.”

How old is Warzel, 15? We accept the mortality of modern life, just as our ancestors accepted the mortality of their own periods. That tweet is simply making sinister the adjustments that human beings have to make to get on with civilization. To that, it adds scaremongering, and Warzel joins in the virtue-signalling. Anyone who isn’t willing to keep the lockdown in force indefinitely isn’t concerned.

That’s crap. I’m concerned: both my wife and I are in the high-risk category; so is my sister; so are most of our extended family. I do not advocate the destruction of American society for my own self interest, that’s all. That’s how members of a community and democracy are supposed to feel.

This hit me like a ton of bricks because of just how plausible it seemed. The day I read Mr. Nelson’s tweet, 1,723 Americans were reported to have died from the virus. And yet their collective passing was hardly mourned. After all, how to distinguish those souls from the 2,097 who perished the day before or the 1,558 who died the day after?

People die every day, and from predictable causes, many of them a direct result of our way of life and societal choices. The Times has been running a feature showing selected photographs of recently succumbed victims of the Wuhan virus with a biographical sketch. I have wondered each time I see it: why are these people more worthy of ostentatious memorials in the Times than anyone who has died in the same period? The answer is, they aren’t. This is part of the news media’s effort to build anxiety and hysteria, which will be weaponized for political purposes. Hardly mourned? Every American is supposed to mourn everyone who dies every day? We mourn our loved ones. I am still mourning Dennis Nollette, a former law school roommate who was among the best human beings I have ever had the honor of knowing.  He was carried off by the epidemic within a few days. That’s plenty for me right now. I’m not becoming callous because the deaths of strangers don’t hit me as hard as the death of a cherished friend.

Furthermore, it is not “plausible” that the pandemic will continue forever; pandemics don’t. And indeed, if they did, it would be an irrefutable reason to open up now.

Such loss of life is hard to comprehend when it’s not happening in front of your own two eyes. Add to it that humans are adaptable creatures, no matter how nightmarish the scenario, and it seems understandable that our outrage would dull over time. Unsure how — or perhaps unable — to process tragedy at scale, we get used to it.

Talk about complaining about an unchangeable feature of human life, sanity,  and reality! But that kind of lament is irresponsible progressiveness in a nutshell.

There’s also a national precedent for Mr. Nelson’s hypothetical: America’s response to gun violence and school shootings.

Here we go, down the rabbit hole.

We often talk here about incompetent analogies. This is a lulu. It is embarrassing that the New York Times would consider such a contrived and illogical argument to be published as an editorial—embarrassing, and signature significance.

You should skim the next part; I know my eyes glazed over. It’s standard CNN/Don Lemon/ David Hogg propaganda and emotionalism.

As a country, we seem resigned to preventable firearm deaths. Each year, 36,000 Americans are killed by guns — roughly 100 per day, most from suicide, according to data from the Giffords Law Center. Similarly, the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund calculates that there have been 583 “incidents of gunfire” on school grounds since 2013. In the first eight months of 2019, there were at least 38 mass shootings, The Times reported. Last August, 53 Americans died in mass shootings — at work, at bars, while shopping with their children. Some of these tragedies make national headlines; many don’t. The bigger school shootings and hate-crime massacres can ignite genuine moral outrage and revive familiar debates: over safe storage practices, gun show loopholes, red flag laws, bump stocks, comprehensive background checks, stringent licensing systems and, of course, the accessibility of endlessly customizable semiautomatic weapons like AR-15s. In every case, the death tolls climb but we fail to act. There are occasional marches and protests but mostly we continue on with our lives.

Yes, we are monsters for understanding the importance of the rights of self-defense and bearing arms to a functioning democracy. In reality, while there are usually, in hindsight, ways that any single abuse of firearms could have been prevented, gun deaths are not preventable as long as there are guns, law abiding citizens have access to them, and a police state doesn’t abuse its power to make us “safe.”

Notice that Warzel’s gun-virus analogy breaks down immediately. There is no societal value to pandemics. There is no right to get fatally ill. There are no Constitutional amendments preventing the government from eliminating a disease. Continue reading