You Have The Floor In Another Open Forum, With Some Preliminary Opening Observations

I’m going to open up the floor to comments on whatever you want to talk about, ethics-wise. This day looks chaotic for me, beginning with an interment of a dear friend at Arlington National Cemetery. I’ll visit mom and dad while I’m there…

Let me append a footnote. Althouse, who lives in Madison, directs readers to this article: “Two women arrested in beating of state Sen. Tim Carpenter during night of protests in Madison.” I remember the incident and the frightening video. From the article,

Police arrested Samantha R. Hamer, 26, and Kerida E. O’Reilly, 33, on suspicion of being parties to the crimes of substantial battery and robbery with use of force. They were both in custody Monday night, according to online records from the Dane County jail.

He fell to the ground after he was punched and about 10 people hit and kicked him, one witness told police. Stunned, Carpenter told them he was an ally and had long fought for the kinds of policies they were seeking.

Paramedics treated him but he declined to go to the hospital that night. A week later, he said he had surgery in St. Francis for injuries he suffered during the attack.

Observations:

  • I have to believe that sooner or later the cognitive dissonance scale will work its silent magic, to the advantage of Republicans and the detriment of Democrats. These are ugly, scary people who are behind the rioting and statue-toppling, and the classic types that have fueled totalitarian take-overs throughout history (Yesterday was the anniversary of the revolutionaries turning on Robespierre.).

Yet Democratic leaders are fearfully giving them their seals of approval.

  • Not for the first time, I’m wondering if it’s fair to publish mug shots. Professor Turley is addicted to them, but they  encourage people to judge others by their appearances, and publicizing an individual’s appearance at a time when they can’t possibly be at their best seems gratuitously cruel. The photos of the two arrested women…

…prompted lots of mockery among Althouse’s commentariat, most of whom resorted to stereotyping

What the President said, in response to a question about the incident, was, “The person they beat up was a Democrat who happened to be gay and he was probably out there rooting them on or something because Democrats think it’s wonderful they’re destroying our country.”

Typical “fact-check.” This kind of dishonesty has been going on for almost four years, but I’m sure that Washington Post will add it to its “lie list.”  The state senator is gay and is a Democrat. Saying what he was “probably” doing is not a “claim” but an opinion, and based on Carpenter’s own protestation, it’s probably an accurate one. By the basic rules of English, there is no way one can fairly say that the President “falsely claimed” that Carpenter was rooting the statue-topplers on.

That’s enough from me.

“Over to you, Clarence…”

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Detroit Attorney And Democratic Michigan AG Candidate Dana Nessel

“Who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn’t have a penis? I’d say so.”

—-Detroit attorney Dana Nessel, a Democrat and a misandrist running for Attorney General of Michigan by suggesting that all men should be assumed to be sexual harassers and predators.

In another ad, Nessel says…

I want to tell you what you can expect me not to do. I will not sexually harass my staff, and I won’t tolerate it in your workplace either. I won’t walk around in a half-open bathrobe, and I’ll continue to take all sex crimes seriously just like I did as a prosecutor.

I wonder how feminists would react if a male candidate said,

I want to tell you what you can expect me not to do. I won’t try to influence judges to make bad rulings by wearing tight clothes and wiggling my hips. I won’t take says off because I have a period, or break down in tears under stress. I won’t try to win cases by sleeping with lawyers and judges, or not report sexual misconduct because I’ve exploited it to my own advantage.

Nessel should meet exactly the same fate as a male candidate who made those bias-promoting, sexist remarks. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/6/17: Oh, Great, A Predictably Dishonest Post-Shooting Response, While Democrats Defend Conflicts, Corruption And Stereotyping

Good Morning!

1 I thought the weekend’s violence story was going to only be Senator Rand Paul getting attacked and beaten up by his next-door neighbor, a frustrated socialist, but no. Then we learned that a madman in Sutherland Springs, Texas had opened fire on a church congregation and killed at least 26, wounding another 30 or more.

It now appears that the shooter was not permitted to purchase or own guns, which means that no law, short of gun banning and confiscation—good luck with that in Texas—could have prevented the massacre. Nevertheless, the immediate—can I say hair-trigger?—response from predictable anti-Second Amendment demagogues came in waves. Notable was the country’s #1 demagogue—and yet she persists!—Bay State Senator Elizabeth Warren, who in successive tweets signaled her gun-fearing virtue to gentle progressives, presumably the ignorant ones:

“I’m heartsick for the victims, families & community of Sutherland Springs. But I’m more than heartsick – I’m angry…How many more people must die at churches or concerts or schools before we stop letting the @NRA control this country’s gun policies?…How many kids must die of gun violence on playgrounds & streets every day with no attention at all before we wake up to what’s happening?…Thoughts & prayers are not enough, GOP. We must end this violence. We must stop these tragedies. People are dying while you wait.”

What does this mean? All it means is “Do something! ARRGH!” That is not a mature, rational, professional and responsible reaction from an elected official. The other thing it means is “repeal the Second Amendment,” which is the anti-democratic position of most of Warren’s supporters and followers. Since this episode would not have been prevented by anything but preventing the availability of guns nationwide, except, of course, to the government the public does not trust, Warren is doing nothing more nor less than blaming Republicans and the NRA for a lunatic’s rampage no one could have foreseen or prevented. This, in turn, ramps up the partisan and ideological hatred and division that has been the strategy of Democrats for a full year now, and that leads to Republicans being shot on baseball fields, Senators being mauled by socialist neighbors, and maybe even some mass shootings.

Then we have the muddled and useless “thinking” conveyed by this kind of fatuous commentary, which, to summarize, argues that we need “new ideas” and that a single maniac’s single act from motives nobody yet knows tells us that the rest of the public is devoid of optimism and hope. The author’s candidate for a “new idea”? “Maybe we need to start thinking about guns the way one physician has started thinking about opioids.”

Or maybe we should take a gun apart, put it in a brown paper bag, spin it over our heads and scream like a chicken. Although that’s not exactly new…

On the conservative side, gun defenders are making great hay out of the apparent fact that the killer was pursued and perhaps killed by legally gun-toting church neighbors. That’s moral luck, and nothing more.

2. The Democratic Party really is doubling down on its denials of Donna Brazile’s not-quite-whistle-blowing-since-the game-she-helped-try-to-cheat-in-was-over- a-year-before -she-blew. Amazing. I heard Robbie Mook, Hillary’s incompetent and corrupt former campaign manager, argue that Bernie’s campaign could have bought into the DNC too, so Brazile’s accusation is unfair. The agreement that gave the Clinton campaign control over the DNC was cut in 2015, before the Sanders campaign was anything but a hope, a prayer, a lark and a shadow. Of course Clinton had money: she had been gathering a coronation war chest for years. This was a bright line, classic, conflict of interest by the Democrats, and one that created a terrible appearance of impropriety (because it WAS improper) , except that it was kept a secret. That the Democrats deny this indicates that they don’t know what is inappropriate, and don’t see anything wrong with conflicts of interest as long as they suit their needs.

In other words, the party is corrupt, and likes it that way. Continue reading

Yes, That Was A Microaggression

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Danielle Brooks, the African-American actress who plays Taystee in “Orange is the New Black,” felt that she had been insulted and racially stereotyped as she boarded a plane this week with a First Class ticket because she is, you know, rich. Thus she used  Twitter to complain about a “microaggression.”

I hate when gate agents look at me like I’ve never flown first class and say “You’re in first class, lucky you!”???? really tho

— Danielle Brooks (@thedanieb) June 30, 2016

The celebrity news site Heat Street mocked her complaint, and the mockery was picked up by some conservative sites, though many in the Twitterverse  supported the complaint. Sneered Ed Driscoll on Instapundit:

The nerve of that gate agent! Making $45K a year and not even having an expensive cadre of writers sculpting her dialogue and a director shaping her performance and a cameraman shooting take after take to get things just so! Incidentally, I wonder if the people who imagine all of these microagressions occurring ever wonder why they just keep happening over and over to them? But, really, as with Alec Baldwin accosting American Airlines stewardesses, what’s the sense of being a leftist one percenter who believes in tolerance and diversity if you can’t publicly attack people who actually work for a living? 

Driscoll’s comment is classic conservative jerkism. Brooks was right; the comment was condescending and based on racial stereotypes, she was right to be insulted, and right to make a public comment that might make others aware of what such a comment conveys. Continue reading

Now THIS Is Ethical Estoppel…

Daily News CruzNow and then you may read here that someone is “ethically estopped” from making an argument that otherwise would be valid. The term derives from the legal concept of estoppel, the principle that precludes a person from asserting in a legal proceeding something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement of that person or by a previous pertinent judicial determination.

If you want an example of how I apply estoppel in an ethics rather than a legal context, look no further than New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who decided to grandstand over Ted Cruz’s cheap shot about Donald Trump’s “New York values.” Cuomo puffed himself up with indignation, and after Cruz defined New York values as “socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage,  and focus around money and the media.” Cuomo demanded that Cruz apologize, saying…

“I’m always open to give him an education on what New York values are all about. And if he had any class, he would apologize to the people of New York. Not that I believe they need it or they want it. But if he had any class, he would apologize.”

Cruz was wrong to make such a statement, but Cuomo eliminated himself from the huge pool of Americans who were entitled to call for his apology, since two years ago, Cuomo himself declared the same dichotomy Cruz was asserting, and even more unethically.Then he said, of conservative Republicans,

Continue reading

Hollaback And Awareness of Street Harassment—What’s the Point?

 

If people who engage in specific unethical conduct know it is unethical and don’t care, does it serve any useful purpose to tell people who know it is unethical and would never do it or tolerate it that the unethical individuals are engaging in it?

I wonder.

From Vox:

Hollaback, an organization that wants to stamp out street harassment and intimidation (a.k.a. catcalls), produced a video in which it videotaped a young woman walking around Manhattan for 10 hours this past August. A hidden video camera was placed in the backpack of a man walking in front of her, catching every catcall, whistle, and even one persistent character who walked alongside the woman for five minutes.

The results are startling. According to Hollaback, there were over 100 instances of verbal harassment in that 10-hour walk, not including winks and whistles. In the video, the woman remains silent. She is dressed in a T-shirt and jeans.

Check the link to Hollaback, and you will see that the organization claims that “you have the power to end street harassment.” No, really you don’t. There can’t be a law against shouting out to someone ( to its credit, legislation isn’t one of the group’s recommendations), and the tradition of men harassing attractive women on the street is old and persistent. This isn’t an everybody does it excuse, this is an “assholes will be assholes, and there will always be assholes” statement of fact. I would expect that street harassment is getting worse, thanks to counter-productive muddled feminist efforts like the recent video with little girls repeatedly saying “Fuck.” Women killed chivalry by treating it as an insult—indeed, it was subordinating and condescending, but at least well-intentioned—and are surprised now that its polar opposite thrives? See, the chivalrous men, those with manners, were called pigs and made to feel guilty about being nice. The men who intentionally and openly harass women? They can’t be made to feel guilty. They do this because they like it.

Remember “the Hunger Project”? It was essentially a 1970’s scam that purported to seek an end to world hunger by saying that it could be ended without really doing anything that could possibly accomplish that goal. Gullible members gave money to the organization, and felt they were doing something to end hunger by giving, when all they were really doing was supporting a group that said world hunger could be ended. Is Hollaback any different? I know there is a long list of “actions” it recommends, but none of these  are likely to penetrate the culture that causes the problem. Basic ethics—the Golden Rule, mutual respect for others, manners, civility—already tells us that shouting at women on the street is disgusting and wrong, and civilized human beings don’t do it, ever. Nor do groups of civilized human beings engage in this conduct.

Men who harass women on the street are exactly like men who have indiscriminate and irresponsible sex, or men who drink so much they can’t hold a job, or men who cheat on their wives, or men who molest children. Nobody needs to tell them that civilized, ethical people think this is wrong. They know it’s wrong. They do it because they like it.

There is no chance, none, zero, that increasing awareness among the comparatively few people who don’t know this is a vile social behavior (I was surprised that the harassment in ten hours wasn’t worse) will do anything to end or even reduce it. So what’s the point?

This, in Vox’s last sentence…

“The video is a reminder that men asserting their dominance over women and intimidating them is simply all too common.”

That’s the message. The awareness campaign is designed to make sure everyone regards women as victims of men generally, and to group men who would never engage in this kind of boorish and threatening conduct with those who do. Then all men can be vilified and placed on the defensive. Dare you question whether a woman should have her contraception paid for, regardless of means? Why, you are just like those harassers on the street, asserting your dominance over women!

I will decline Hollaback’s invitation for the self-indicting trap it is.

Nice try, though.

 

ALL ABOARD! The Elliot Rodger Ethics Train Wreck Is Leaving Rationality Station!

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Wait…I think I’ve seen this wreck before!

Richard Hernandez’s enraged rant at the National Rifle Association for getting three people stabbed to death by Elliot Rodger signaled that this mass killing would  be exploited to the max by a succession of unscrupulous and/or irrational activists, social critics, and pundits, and, as my son used to say before he stopped respecting the French, “Voilà!

The burgeoning ethics train wreck looks like it might be even more infuriating than most, though nothing, ever, will be able to top the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Express for pure, widespread, unethical lunacy. Early indications are that the usual suspects will try to wring lessons from the crazed acts of a very unusual, spectacularly deranged, unsympathetic creep as if the fair and obvious answer isn’t there for all to see who are objective and smart enough to perceive it: this one mad act proves nothing. Not about the U.S., men, not about whites, not about guns, not about law, not about Hollywood. Nothing.

It’s a big country, and there’s lots of time before climate change destroys us all or something else does first. The attack of Elliot Roger is the opposite of signature significance, an utterly meaningless convergence of factors with fewer lessons to teach than other odd but deadly events, like the Great Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919, or the St. Pierre Snake Invasion of 1905. He means nothing, and should be shunted aside to obscurity as quietly and quickly as possible, so his undeserved notoriety doesn’t set off differently motivated but similarly unhinged sociopaths who are teetering on the brink. Unfortunately, that would require journalists, politicians and single-issue fanatics to be fair, logical and responsible. Continue reading

Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck Update: President Obama and the Rhetoric of Hate

Juror 10 (Ed Begley), apparently Obama's inspiration

Juror 10 (Ed Begley), apparently Obama’s inspiration

Reginald Rose, together with Rod Serling and Paddy Chayefsky, formed the liberal writing troika that created some of the most memorable and important dramatic works of the live television era. None were better than Rose’s “Twelve Angry Men,” a unique, brilliant, real-time portrayal of ordinary men trying to wend their ways through their own limitations and biases to achieve justice under the law. Among its memorable characters is the bigot in the room, a nasty, hate-filled man who ultimately explodes in a rant against the defendant in a murder case, a member of some minority group—Rose never tells us which, because it doesn’t make any difference which. The bigot, Juror 10, says in part…

“…If somebody gets killed, so somebody killed. They don’t care…oh, sure, there are good things about them. Look, I’d be the first one to say that. I’ve known some who were okay, but that’s the exception.”

Rose, who was a Jew, knew that kind of rhetoric well, the condescending, sneering faint praise of the hate-monger. I wonder what Mr. Rose, whom I once had the pleasure of speaking to, would have said about a U.S. President who had pledged to reject the “politics of divisiveness and hate,” and went on to say this to a partisan audience, as Barack Obama did yesterday:

And I do believe that there are well-meaning Republicans out there who care about their kids just as passionately as we do.” Continue reading