Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck Classic Quote: “A Foolish Consistency Is The Hobgoblin of Little Minds…”

ralph_waldo_emerson

I hear Ralph was good with a knife.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, who uttered the title above, would have loved the Federal government, for which consistency in logic or policy is often alien indeed. In the midst of a mass effort to disarm the American people of guns with the dubious logic and arrogant presumption that they don’t need powerful weaponry since, after all, the government will save us, the TSA, it has been revealed  to me by my observant son, has secretly adopted exactly the opposite position, using polar reasoning.

My son, who likes knives almost as much as he likes guns, showed me several potential weapons in his collection that would legally pass through the new air travel regulations. He notes that officials defending the lifting of the ban on blades that could do as much damage as the box cutters of 9/11 have pointed to the self-reliance of air passengers, who have subdued several mid-air threats. “Don’t you get it?” my son says. “They’re arming passengers! They won’t say that directly, but it’s pretty obvious. The passengers on Flight 93 had to boil water and use food carts. Now hijackers might be facing a hundred angry people with knives.”

I get it! An armed and ready populace is a good thing! When the government says so, that is. So…. it makes sense to arm untrained air passengers when they face a deadly threat without police nearby, but schools should be “gun free zones” and it’s nuts to arm untrained teachers…indeed, trained and law-abiding gun owners should be disarmed lest they shoot Harvey Milk. I hearby predict that the little knife policy will last until a child gets killed by a mad airplane coach passenger wielding one, whereupon President Obama will invoke his “save just one child” rule, Rep. Rangel will declare that millions of children are being killed by little knives, and Jim Carrey will tweet that nobody who cares about children would oppose a little knife ban. The knives will then be not only prohibited again on airplanes, but will be confiscated by edict, since there’s no Bill of Rights provision protecting little knife ownership.

The behavior of our elected officials is consistent after all.

Emerson’s quote applies perfectly.

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Dunce: Rep. Michele Bachman”

Oh, how I LOVE LOVE LOVE this comment, from “ruralcounsel,” regarding my post about Michele Bachmann embarrassing herself, and not for the first time. Seldom does a commenter employ such shameless rationalizations and staples of intellectual dishonesty, and for his grand finale, he breaches one of the explicit Comment Policies by employing that all-purpose fallacy, “you’re just using ethics to go after political enemies.” I’m especially happy about the latter, because no one has accused me of being biased against the Right since “Ronbo.” I can’t hope for as much entertainment from ruralcounsel, but I am certainly grateful for this (Forgive me. I have to give interlinear commentary. I can’t resist): Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Rep. Michele Bachmann

Ah! Historical New Hampshire...

Rep. Michele Bachmann (D-Minn), Tea Party leader and potential presidential candidate, recently told a Manchester, New Hampshire crowd that she was in the state of “the shot heard ’round the world.” Ethics Foul. Minnesota disgrace. Congressional Disgrace. Tea Party disgrace. National disgrace.

U.S. educational system disgrace!

As most grade school children know (Some grade school children? Grade school children in New England, maybe? Please?), the source of that loud shot, the Battle of Concord (the Battle of Lexington was fought on the same day) was fought in Concord, Massachusetts, which, like Lexington, is a next door neighbor of my home town, Arlington, Massachusetts, known as Menotomy on April 18, 1775 —which, as Rep. Bachmann can tell you, was also the date of Phil Sheridan’s ride. Oops! I mean Paul Revere’s ride! Continue reading

Dubious Ethics Studies, Part II

There are good reasons to be skeptical of all studies purporting to analyze what people think according to how they fit into common ideological categories. In 2003, a study purported to portray conservatism as a kind of mental disorder. In 2008, another series of studies was packaged to make the case that liberals were compassionate in words only, that when it came to putting one’s money where one’s conscience was, it was those mean old conservatives who opened their wallets. Now comes a study called “Do Green Products Make Us Better People?”published in the latest edition of the “Journal of Psychological Science.” Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, did a series of experiments comparing the behavior of patrons of “green” products and the conduct of the less environmentally correct. Continue reading