Unethical Quote of the Week: Rosie O’Donnell


“I’d like to take my period blood I no longer have and write, ‘you’re all assholes.’ I’d like to smear it all over some people’s faces.”

—-Former actress, occasional comic and former talk show host  Rosie O’Donnell, extemporizing on her hatred of anti-abortion advocates and conservatives on Jenny Hutt on SiriusXM’s radio program “Just Jenny.”

This kind of vituperative and hate-infected comment poisons public discourse, polarizes society  and harms the nation by not only making a functioning democracy nearly impossible but making living in one ugly. Continue reading

Ted Nugent Ethics, Part I: The Ted Nugent Rule


This is really simple. From this point on, any one who intentionally gives Ted Nugent a public forum  is to be considered irresponsible regardless of what Nugent says, and accountable for whatever offensive garbage he does say.

Nugent’s uncivilized and hateful description of the President of the United States as a “sub-human mongrel” set this rule in stone. Anyone who wants to argue   that the Ted Nugent Rule should apply retroactively to Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who foolishly allowed Nugent, with  his already wretched record of making uncivil, vicious, and obnoxious statements unfit for civilized public discourse, to represent his campaign for Governor  will get no argument from me.

The rule also applies to talk show hosts or interviewers seeking to goad Nugent into making inflammatory statements that they can use to generate controversy and discredit those who agree with any of Nugent’s political positions, based on the flawed theory that all  opinions held by an idiot must be idiotic.  Sorry: if you let Ted Nugent speak under circumstance where his words will be broadcast, reported or put into print, you are as responsible for the resulting carnage as he is, an accessory to outrageous and destructive incivility.

A good argument could be made for Nugent-like rules for some other prominent flame-throwers, like Bill Maher, Donald Trump and Ann Coulter, but that is for another day. As for Nugent, he is like the party guest who repeatedly arrives drunk, molests your teenage daughter and throws up on the couch. He’s persona non grata, and has forfeited the privilege of being invited to any more parties, because he can’t be trusted not to ruin them for everybody else.

Ethics Quote of the Week: Michael Fumento

“As a conservative, I disagree with the political opinions of liberals. But to me, a verbal assault indicates insecurity and weakness on the part of the assaulter, as in “Is that the best they can do?” This playground bullying – the name-calling, the screaming, the horrible accusations – all are intended to stifle debate, the very lifeblood of a democracy.”

—-Michael Fumento, writing powerfully in Salon about the increasingly viscous rhetoric of too many conservatives, and how it has left him estranged from his own political philosophy.

He writes,

“Civility and respect for order – nay, demand for order – have always been tenets of conservatism. The most prominent work of history’s most prominent conservative, Edmund Burke, was a reaction to the anger and hatred that swept France during the revolution. It would eventually rip the country apart and plunge all of Europe into decades of war. Such is the rotted fruit of mass-produced hate and rage. Burke, not incidentally, was a true Tea Party supporter, risking everything as a member of Parliament to support the rebellion in the United States.

“All of today’s right-wing darlings got there by mastering what Burke feared most: screaming “J’accuse! J’accuse!” Turning people against each other. Taking seeds of fear, anger and hatred and planting them to grow a new crop.”

You can read his whole essay, “My break with the extreme right” in Salon, here.


Pointer: Volokh Conspiracy

Source: Salon

Graphic: Sleepless heretic

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

Ethics Quote of the Week: Salon Columnist Joan Walsh

Apparently I'm the pigeon in the lower left box.

“No one can be given credit for speaking from genuine moral or political conviction anymore; everyone can be dismissed or derided with a nod to their personal background. This may be the logical end of identity politics, where ultimately we’re each locked inside whatever little box we check, tiny caucuses of one, and common ground is impossible.”

—-Joan Walsh in Salon, bemoaning the accelerating tendency in public debate to discredit all beliefs, assertions and opinions, no matter how sincere or well-supported, as the product of bias and narrow self-interest.

Her comment could not be better timed, from my point of view. How tired I am of having readers demonstrate the trend Walsh describes by reflexively attributing every post I write as being proof of bias and a pre-existing agenda. If I criticize an atheist, I am a religious zealot; if I find fault with Obama, I must be a racist; if I point out that a production of “The Mikado” doesn’t really call for Sarah Palin to be beheaded, I’m a Left-winger. The problem is, unfortunately, that many prominent positions in the public square and blogosphere are driven by agendas and biases. It is so common that the concepts of independent judgement, an open mind and objectivity seem quaint and unrealistic.

I don’t know how to combat the problem, which is as serious as Walsh suggests. Recognizing it is a start.