Ethical Quote Of The Month: Ellen DeGeneres

“We’re all different and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different… but just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them.”

—-Ellen DeGeneres, countering social media criticism of her hanging out with former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game.

She prefaced that comment with this:

“When we were invited, I was aware that I was going to be surrounded with people from very different views and beliefs. And I’m not talking about politics… I was rooting for the Packers. So I had to hide my cheese hat in [her spouse] Portia’s purse. People were upset. “They thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?… A lot of people were mad. And they did what people do when they’re mad… they tweet.”

If they are morons, that is. These are the people who harass those wearing MAGA hats, who won’t speak to family members who voted differently than they did, who seek to boycott companies and individual who contribute to causes they oppose. They are unethical citizens and corrupted human beings. Continue reading

The Attacks On Free Speech From The Left Are More Dangerous Than Any Speech Progressives Want Banned

Another day, another progressive effort to erode pubic support and understanding for the First Amendment. This is at the root of America’s current ethics conflict: a perverse and puckish God has made one of the most unethical and least reflective of public figures  the crucial bulwark against a massed and relentless assault against core national values.

The New York Times, taking a hand-off from its ideological twin the New Yorker, has published an attack on free speech from New Yorker writer Andrew Marantz. Even though he is a professional writer, he has managed to complete an elite education (Brown, NYU School of Journalism) without managing to grasp the essence of freedom of speech, and why it is the structural load-bearing beam that allows our democracy to exist.

Marantz simply doesn’t get it, or he does get it, but would love to see less liberty and more enforced line-toeing by those lesser intellects and deplorables who cannot accept the inherent rightness of the progressive view of the universe. He writes, for example,

Using “free speech” as a cop-out is just as intellectually dishonest and just as morally bankrupt. For one thing, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies. Even the most creative reader of the Constitution will not find a provision guaranteeing Richard Spencer a Twitter account. But even if you see social media platforms as something more akin to a public utility, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment anyway. Libel, incitement of violence and child pornography are all forms of speech. Yet we censor all of them, and no one calls it the death knell of the Enlightenment.

I guess Brown has no mandatory course in government theory.  The Constitution is the enabling document of the U.S. mission statement—you know, the one that begins by announcing that there are inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That such a governing document that could only limit government restrictions on free speech also stood for a cultural, societal and ethical norm that freedom of speech was central to the Declaration’s summary of human rights would normally be clear to anyone who bothered to study the two documents as well as research the relationship between law, morality and ethics. It’s true that Richard Spencer can’t be assured of a Twitter account, but a society that denies him one is chopping at that load-bearing beam. Continue reading

The Sequel To The “It’s OK To Be White” Stickers: “Islam Is Right About Women” Flyers

In Winchester, Massachusetts (right next to my old home town of Arlington!)  flyers reading “Islam is RIGHT About Women” suddenly appeared around the town, fastened to trees, utility polls and street signs in the familiar manner of those “lost cat” notices.

An “alarmed” woman brought two flyers to the Winchester Police Department, and officers subsequently found eight more, including one that was posted outside of an elementary school. The flyer presented multiple dilemmas. Police said the signs were not threatening and considered free speech. But because they were placed on town property, the flyers technically violated town ordinances. Yet those lost cat flyers were always allowed to remain.

Some residents were adamant that the signs should come down: one who spoke to a local TV station, Jim Leary, said, “Putting signs up that make people feel uncomfortable is unfortunate, particularly in this time and age.”

Really? Sounds like you’re not too fond of free speech, Jim!

The police took the flyers down. Constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh wrote, citing Members of the City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent (1984), that the content of the flyers’ message  is constitutionally protected, but that the city could take down the ones that violated town law  so long as it wasn’t discriminating based on the viewpoint of the signs.  But of course it was, since the lost cat flyers were never taken down.

What’s going on here? The Professor played dumb, writing, Continue reading

The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: A Directory. Big Lie #5: “Everything Is Terrible”

The Ethics Alarms compilation of the Big Lies being used by the resistance and others to undermine the Trump Presidency continues with Big Lie #5.

This Big Lie, and the fact that it is one, will be a theme of the 2020 Presidential campaign. “Everything is terrible” has been a veritable mantra from the “resistance,” Democrats, progressives and the mainstream news media literally from the second Donald Trump had been declared the winner of the 2016 election, when New York Times columnist Paul Krugman announced that the stock market had declined and would  never recover. The fact that he was spectacularly wrong didn’t dissuade Krugman or his ideological allies at all. They set out to make President Trump a failure by simply saying that he was, over and over, regardless of facts and reality and often without linking their pronouncements to anything substantive.

The fanciful narrative, in turn, was advanced in casual conversation by fear-triggered citizens, in interviews by celebrities, actors and performers, in website comments and letters to the editor, in television dramas and sitcoms, novels and blogs, as they alleged dark “threats to democracy,” “increasing hate,” “dangerous times” and various “crises.” The fact that none of this hysteria was rooted in truth hasn’t slowed Big Lie #5 down a bit: it is immune from rebuttal because it was never based on substance to begin with, but rather extreme bias, emotion, and vicious political warfare.

Everything is not terrible. Indeed, by all past standards of what constitutes national misery or crisis, very little qualifies as terrible. The economy remains strong, unemployment is minimal, and wages are up. Under President Trump, the Washington Post announced yesterday that “For the first time, most new hires of prime working age (25 to 54) are people of color…Minority hires overtook white hires last year.”

Worst white supremacist President ever!

Police shootings are down, and crime is down. There has been exactly one Islamic terrorist attack in Trump’s three years. As he promised, the President hax reduced the suffocating number of government regulations, and has fought the sinister “open borders” movement on the left, by refusing to allow illegal immigration to be romanticized and enabled. Continue reading

An Ethics Mystery: How Can Progressives And The Resistance Continue To Accuse The President, Conservatives, And Republicans Of “Spreading Hate” And “Seeding Violence” When So Much Hate Is Coming From Them?

This phenomenon touches on many themes we have explored on Ethics Alarms: double standards, hypocrisy, Big Lies, mainstream media complicity in disinformation, the increasingly unavoidable conclusion that a large mass of progressive activists, pundits and public figures are just plain terrible people—our culture’s “bad guys.”

Item One: Bill Maher on David Koch

In his monologue  on this week’s Real Time on HBO, the former comedian-turned-permanent-Leftist-asshole commented on the death of billionaire Republican donor and philanthropist David Koch  from  cancer at age 79 by saying (to the usual hoots of approval from his usual seal-clapping audience),

“Fuck him… I’m glad he’s dead…I guess I’m going to have to re-evaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer…As for his remains, he has asked to be cremated and have his ashes be blown into a child’s lungs. He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers for decades. So fuck him, the Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope the end was painful.”

Of course, this was on a comedy show as part of a stand-up routine, so it’s all OK; it was just a joke, right?

I am reading similar sentiments from the Deranged Facebook Borg, but Maher is on television, and a major entertainment company employs him. I don’t understand how an ethical, responsible American and human being can continue to pay premium prices to a company that allows itself to be associated with pure hate like that, no matter how much they like “Westworld.”  Have some responsibility for the culture. Write HBO and tell them that you are cancelling your subscription until it publicly rejects that kind of rhetoric in the public square. I wish I had a subscription so I could cancel it.  I wish I didn’t oppose organized boycotts so I could  launch a Facebook page and organize one.

Rick Moran wrote, quite correctly,

Forget ideology. Forget politics. How does a civilized human being get to the point where voicing such sentiments is believed to be acceptable by anyone in society — even political allies? Thinking such thoughts is bad enough. Most of us would be ashamed of ourselves for celebrating anyone’s demise and hoping “the end was painful.” It’s barbaric. The words are disconnected from conscience in a way that makes Maher less human.

Celebrating the death of a political adversary suggests that the deaths of adversaries are to be desired, and thus sought and facilitated. I am not aware of any similarly ugly  sentiments coming from the other side of the political spectrum, while the projection of violent ends and painful beatings has been a continuing theme from the “resistance” for years.

In contrast, President Trump and those who support enforcing our laws were accused of inspiring the El Paso killer because the shooter adopted the term “invaders” for all immigrants. This dishonest effort to blame the shooting on Trump’s language required all sorts of deceit, as well as withholding the shooter’s manifesto so the public couldn’t connect the dots that proved what a grand lie the accusation was. The shooter regarded all immigrants, including legal ones, as “invaders.” Neither the President nor anyone else outside of the lunatic Right has ever used the term for anyone but illegal immigrants, who are, in fact, invaders by definition. The shooter did not advocate killing immigrants, but frightening them into self-deporting with mad acts such as his: he explicitly rejected genocide in his largely unseen manifesto. Never mind; those are just facts, and what matters to Democrats, as their Presidential front-runner so sagely reminded us,  isn’t facts, but truth.

The real truth is that in Left-Land, double-standards reign.Thus the news media and Democrats howled that a single word—invaders—neither implying nor suggesting violence, prompted mass murder in El Paso. When one of their own acolytes directly extols death and painful death as a desirable means of eliminating adversaries and prevailing in policy debates, it is shrugged off as amusing.

Item Two: Marcie Blanco on men. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/8/2019: Hating Hate By Hating The Hateful Haters

Good morning.

Are you nuts? I’m not. Yet.

1. You want deranged? This is deranged. MSNBC put analyst Frank Figliuzzi on the air to explain the Nazi symbolism at the White House.  Figliuzzi is a former FBI assistant—think about that as you read this—and he has been given media credibility of late because he had  predicted that white supremacist violence was potentially imminent due to President Trump’s rhetoric. Of course, I predicted months ago that the relentless divisive rhetoric from “the resistance” would get someone killed soon, and nobody’s calling me to blather on TV…and I’m not insane, like this guy.

Figliuzzi alerted MSNBC World about the sinister numerical connection between neo-Naziism and the Trump administration’s decision to fly flags at half-mast until August 8 in honor of the victims of the Dayton and El Paso shootings.

“If we don’t understand how they think, we’ll never understand how to counter them,” he said. “The President said that we will fly our flags at half mast, until August 8. That’s 8/8. Now, I’m not going to imply that he did this deliberately, but I am using it as an example of the ignorance of the adversary that’s being demonstrated by the White House. The numbers 88 are very significant in neo-Nazi and white supremacy movement. Why? Because the letter ‘H’ is the eighth letter of the alphabet, and to them the numbers 8-8 together stand for ‘Heil Hitler.’ So we’re going to be raising the flag back up at dusk on 8/8. No one is thinking about this.”

Once again, this calls for Sidney Wang...

The reason that nobody is thinking about this, you idiot, is that it is deranged. How crazy can “the resistance” get and not start a stampede to the President, in reflex revulsion to the lies, the disrespect, the paranoia, the smears and the hysteria? The Times this week was musing about why Trump’s approval ratings are rising even as the mainstream media has been proclaiming that he’s a Nazi racist and responsible for every shooting in America.

To ask the question is to answer it.

(I just realized my piano is a Nazi…) Continue reading

Policing Ethics, Part One: Firing The Faint Of Heart

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department this week fired Officer Cordell Hendrex for “freezing” (it’s all on video) as a deranged sniper  fired hundreds of rounds into a crowd of county music fans below the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas in 2017. “I’m inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor,” Hendrex said into his radio as he hid behind a wall. “I can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.”

As Hendrex stayed there in terror (by his own testimony), the gunman continued to fire, eventually killing 58 people and wounding more than 800 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.  His lawyers are  appealing the decision. His defense? He was scared, that’s all. It’s unreasonable for the public to expect  police officers to rise to heroic standards and place their lives in jeopardy in a public safety crisis. The Las Vegas department’s training didn’t prepare Hendrex for storming the hotel room. He’s been a terrific cop, as long as he didn’t have to put his life on the line.

Oh. Continue reading