San Francisco’s Hard Lesson In Unethical Ethics

It shouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp, but history tells us it is: idealism unmoored to human nature and reality lead to disaster with depressing consistency. Thus “ethical” plans and motives that rely on fantastic and contrived versions of how the world might works under ideal circumstances are in truth not ethical at all. They are incompetent. They are irresponsible.

And thus we have the current fiasco in San Francisco, where the progressive voters left their hearts while their brains AWOL. The Martian leader of the invasion in “Plan Nine From Outer Space” has it right. Meet Chesa Boudin, the City on the Bay’s visionary District Attorney, elected in 2019.

Boudin had, it is far to say, no qualifications for the job of the head prosecutor of a major U.S. city with a growing crime problem. He had never prosecuted a case. But then he didn’t think most cases should be prosecuted. He dreamed of something kinder, gentler, that didn’t require anything so crass and mean as “punishment.” His experience with America’s judicial system showed him that there had to be a better way, as Robert Redford’s clueless idealist in “The Candidate” kept saying. He is “the son of jailed Sixties radicals,” and his kind and caring parents are the inspiration for his campaign against what civilizations have known for eons, but America’s progressives have chosen to forget: bad people abound, and if society doesn’t stop them, they will stop society.

In my value system, and one I am proud to say has been consistent on this issue all my life, Chesa Boudin’s parents, his role models, were bad people. They were members of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist organization that bombed banks and government buildings, including the US Capitol. They wanted to bring “The Man” down, man. The Weathermen were too mild for Mom and Dad, so they formed the May 19th Communist Organization, more violent and anti-American still. In 1981, the Boudins took part in the armed robbery of a bank truck. A security guard and two policemen were killed, and Chesa’s parents were convicted of felony murder. At the trial, they explained that the stolen $1.5 million was needed to fund the creation of a black nation-state in the American south. Good plan!

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Comment Of The Day: “Dispatch From ‘The Great Stupid'”

nixon-tweet

I had a long list of topics I wanted to write about today, but I have been rendered mostly unproductive due to some malady or another. Luckily, and not for the first time, readers have come through with content at least as valuable as anything I could have generated. I already have backlog from the last two Open Forums, and some delayed Comment of the Day as well. I am very grateful.

This Comment of the Day is another from the frequently history-minded (and often pessimistic) Steve-O-in-NJ, and his subject is the bad ideas, an evergreen topic, focusing on the tweet above, which is more representative of the current drift of progressive thought (it one is generous enough to call it that). Only one previous post had the “bad ideas” tag: this one, on “fertility equality.” I bet there are a hundred more that should have it, like anything about making Kamala Harris Vice-President.

Here’s Steve:

The U.S. and the world have hosted some pretty bad ideas over time.

The tulip bulb bubble, the ancient astronauts theory (remember “Chariots of the Gods?”), phrenology, New Coke, the XFL, and Boston selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees were some of the more benign ones. John Maxwell’s execution of the leaders of the Easter Rising, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and the National Guard opening fire at Kent State were some of the ones that were not so harmless. The Reign of Terror, where the Committee on Public Safety sent who knows how many to the guillotine for any reason or no reason, Pol Pot’s Year Zero, in which towns, money, religion, and private property were abolished and execution by clubbing to death by a pick or a hoe, also for any reason or no reason,, Petrograd Order No. 1 (mostly now forgotten) which de facto stripped military officers of disciplinary authority, causing the Russian military to collapse like a deflated balloon in the face of renewed German offensives, and Hitler’s crackpot racial theories were examples of instant disasters.

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Dispatch From “The Great Stupid”

Few revolting developments on the political scene justify the last words in “Bridge Over The River Kwai” more than this:

Nixon tweet

However, if such crack-brained reasoning ever progressed to widespread public policy, the iconic end of another film classic would be a better diagnosis. Take it, Marlon:

Criticism of Nixon’s insane tweet will be brushed off by progressives and Democrats (who, if honest, would own it) on the grounds that Nixon, who ran for mayor of New York not too long ago (though it seems like eons) is an uber-woke socialist, and therefore not representative of “real” progressives. There are two problems with that dodge, however. Several Democrat-run cities are barely enforcing laws against shoplifting as it is, notably Great Stupid Central, San Francisco (or is GSC Portland? Or Seattle?), where, reports the New York Times, shoplifting is out of control because law enforcement isn’t controlling it:

“The mundane crime of shoplifting has spun out of control in San Francisco, forcing some chain stores to close. Walgreens said that thefts at its stores in San Francisco were four times the chain’s national average, and that it had closed 17 stores, largely because the scale of thefts had made business untenable.”

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: New York Times Columnist Ross Douthat

seusscancelled-header

“It was mildly creepy to hear that the custodians of Theodor Geisel’s estate, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, consulted with a ‘panel of experts’ and decided to cease publishing six Seuss titles because they ‘portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.’ But it was much creepier that so few people notionally in the free-expression business, so few liberal journalists and critics, seemed troubled by the move.”

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, one of the paper’s three token conservatives (or perhaps “non-knee-jerk Democrats” is more accurate), in his column, “Do Liberals Care if Books Disappear?”

The question is a rhetorical one. Douthat knows the answer, and so do regular Ethics Alarms readers: “Only if the books that disappear are those they agree with.” Though the column focuses on the Dr. Seuss metaphorical book-burning, Douthat properly interprets what it signifies. Of course, he is appropriately late to the party, for it was obvious well before “If I Ran the Zoo” was under attack that the totalitarian-tending Democrats and their progressive supporters and allies were in favor of “good” censorship. Never mind—Americans rushed to their mailboxes to vote an anti-free speech regime into power anyway.

Better late than never for Ross, I guess. Here are some highlights (but read his whole piece):

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George Washington’s Birthday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/22/21: Happy Birthday, George! We’re Sorry Your Country Has Become Populated With So Many Ignorant, Ungrateful Fools…

portrait_of_george_washington

If there is any American whose birthday should be a national holiday, it is George Washington, born this day in 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. If I have to tell you the reasons he was “the essential man” in American history, well, I guess you’re the product of our current public school system, a recent college graduate, a Democrat, a Black Lives Matter enthusiast, or something. There is no rational excuse for every American, yes, even African-Americans, to not be grateful for this day. Martin Luther King is now the only individual to have a national holiday dedicated to his honor, while Washington’s memory was dumped into a hodge-podge of lesser figures including Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and now, Donald Trump. King is worthy of his day, but to honor King over Washington is as good an example of “putting the cart before the horse” as one could find. Shame on us. True, George is not lacking honors, with the capital city named for him, a towering monument, cities and towns in many states, Mt. Rushmore, and his image on both the most-used bill and coin. Nonetheless he earned all of it, and this date should be a holiday.

On The Ethics Alarms home page, you will see to your right a link to the list of ethical habits some historians believe made Washington the remarkably trustworthy and ethical man he was, ultimately leading his fellow Founders to choose him, and not one the many more brilliant, learned and accomplished among them, to take on the crucial challenge of creating the American Presidency. Directed to do so by his father, young Washington copied out by hand and committed to memory a list called “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”  It was  based on a document compiled by French Jesuits in 1595; neither the authors nor the English translator and adapter are known today. The elder Washington was following the teachings of Aristotle—another Dead White Man whom most Americans alive today couldn’t tell you Jack S-word about— who held that principles and values began as being externally imposed by authority (morals) and eventually became internalized as character. As I wrote when I first posted them here,

The theory certainly worked with George Washington. Those ethics alarms installed by his father stayed in working order throughout his life. It was said that Washington was known to quote the rules when appropriate, and never forgot them. They did not teach him to be a gifted leader he became, but they helped to make him a trustworthy one.

Would that readers would access that list more often. And politicians. And lawyers. And educators…

1. How ignorant and ungrateful? THIS ignorant and ungrateful

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If Progressives Agree With Hate Speech, It Isn’t Hate Speech Any More…Do I Have That Straight?

Clarence Darrow said, in his famous closing argument that saved Dr. Ossian Sweet and his family from a murder conviction,

“I am the last one to come here to stir up race hatred, or any other hatred. I do not believe in the law of hate. I may not be true to my ideals always, but I believe in the law of love, and I believe you can do nothing with hatred.”

Darrow was a progressive, you know, and sometimes a radical one. He was, after all, a great admirer of John Brown. A constant theme in his work, however, both in court and in his many debates and essays, was avoiding hatred, and seeking love. In another of his famous trial, in which he saved thrill-killer Nathan Leopold and Dickie Loeb from the gallows, he concluded his closing argument for mercy this way:

If I should succeed in saving these boys’ lives and do nothing for the progress of the law, I should feel sad, indeed. If I can succeed, my greatest reward and my greatest hope will be that I have done something for the tens of thousands of other boys, or the countless unfortunates who must tread the same road in blind childhood that these poor boys have trod, that I have done something to help human understanding, to temper justice with mercy, to overcome hate with love.

I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar Khayyam. It appealed to me as the highest that can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all:

“So I be written in the Book of Love,
Do not care about that Book above.
Erase my name or write it as you will,
So I be written in the Book of Love.

But at some point, and relatively recently, wielding hate as a weapon has become a fetish of the Left that once styled itself in Darrow’s tradition. Even though today’s progressives and Democrats loudly deplore what they call “hate speech,” even to the point of insisting that speech they disapprove of is unprotected by the First Amendment, they are willing and eager to not only deploy the rhetoric of hate but to encourage hate in furtherance of their own agenda.

This is undeniable; mine is an objective observation. Donald Trump was defeated by four years of carefully cultivated (but still reckless and destructive) hate. (Not surprisingly, his supporters—and Trump himself—hated right back. Hate is like that.) As the year closed and a new one dawned, Lefist allies like Twitter, Facebook and the Big Tech companies escalated their campaign to silence opinions that their highly selective and biased definitions of “hate” required, while allowing other, equally inflammatory opinions from those with whom the metaphorically traveled ideologically (or who were the enemies of their enemies, as the saying goes.) As the New York Post said of Twitter, “All the evidence suggests Twitter doesn’t police according to any neutral standards, but with an eye on what bothers its woke workforce.”

On January 19, the latest entry in the category of approved woke bigotry and hate arrived. HarperCollins released “I Hate Men,” a recent French sensation by Pauline Harmange and translated by Natasha Lehrer. Gushes the Amazon blurb,

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Comment Of The Day: “Crowbar, ProBar, Whatever…”

poke the bear

Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Ethics Alarms or ProEthics, Ltd.

I probably should post that before every Comment of the Day. I don’t choose a COTD because I necessarily agree with it. In the case of Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day below, there are some conclusions I don’t agree with and some assertions I am dubious about, but the over-all thrust of the comment is spot-on.

There is also an Ethics Quote of the Week in there:

“I read this quote on some Lefty site tonight: “’Pretty funny, no? …On Fox & Friends, the nitwit anchors can’t even agree on what is wrong or right!'”

Journalists aren’t supposed to decide what’s “wrong or right,” but it is clear that progressives, and that obviously includes most journalists and their editors, do, and that’s exactly why they are tending toward totalitarianism and away from democracy.

Here is Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Crowbar, ProBar, Whatever…

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Comment Of The Day, A Question And An Answer, From The “Election Day Open Forum”

Body-Snatchers-2

Sarah B. provided the Comment of the Day and it’s featured question.

Mrs. Q applied her now familiar wisdom and perspective, and offered an answer, and at the end, I’ll take a shot at my own.

First, here’s Sarah’s Comment of the Day on today’s Forum:

Here is my question of the day. Sorry, but you need some exposition. I have a family member who has stage four TDS (frankly, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being willing to discuss positions that disagree with your own though you include a great many invectives and 10 being incapacitated by hatred to the degree that you won’t play bridge because of trump cards, her stance requires exponents) who had a post on Facebook today urging everyone to vote. Her claim was “Vote for Life” with pictures of a black guy with someone on is neck, a hospitalized person with COVID, a drowning polar bear, and a person standing with a rainbow flag. She has stated that anyone who disagrees that Floyd was killed by cops is a racist and she will act decisively to remove their racism. She has also said that voting for Trump is the same as committing genocide. She is willing to cut her sister out of her life, just for asking the question of, if a man overdoses in the custody of police, is it really racism that killed him. She then accuses anyone who might think that voting anything other than Democrat for any government position at all as guilty of crimes. Nothing, in her view, is acceptable other than a 100% Democrat government and if even a single Republican keeps a statewide position, much less a federal one, it is a sign that we live in a nation that is too racist to exist and must be eradicated (with totalitarian methods that she claims are the only way to protect our rights). She is already claiming that Trump is harassing voters, and that if he gets more than 20% of the vote, it will be through intense fraud, worthy of throwing him and any who voted for him in prison for life.

I won’t say that the Right doesn’t have some bad folks too, but every one of my former friends on the Left of the political spectrum is acting like she is the most reasonable person available. Aside from her hundreds of Facebook likes, she has received a great many accolades on how she is the perfect example of professionalism and reasonable behavior, and how she is treating those who disagree with her as better than they deserve and how she is almost too kind in her pronouncements.

As a note, she is the wife of a prominent Democrat in her state and he and his cohorts make her seem sane and Trump seem like the most polite, restrained, and gentlemanly man I’ve ever met.

This woman is now claiming that anyone who says MAGA, or wears red, or claims Trump is not a (fill in big lie here) with any amount of data to back it up, or even mentions the Biden laptop issue, is engaging in voter suppression. She has said that we need re-education of the deplorables who would consider Trump. That is, she says, the only way we can avoid being overcome with fascism, totalitarianism, and racism.

How do we deal with people like this moving forward? How do we keep the American experiment alive when people like this, at least in my life, seem very common?

Now here is Mrs. Q’s response…

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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.

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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