Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/9/17

1. News Item: “More than 130 imams and Muslim religious leaders in the United Kingdom have said they will refuse to perform funeral prayers for the Manchester and London terrorists as a rebuke to the “dastardly cowardice” of the “vile murderers.” Notes Ethics Alarms issue scout Fred, “This time it’s religious institutions refusing [to provide a service based on religious/political beliefs and conduct], and it’s based on the actions of the people they’re refusing to pray for or bury. On the other hand, anyone born in Scotland is entitled to the government’s services even if he’s No True Scotsman. By analogy, is it right for them to deny funerals to Muslims, even the most egregiously sinful?

I’d have to do more research on Islam than I have time for right now to address that question, but it’s an interesting one.

2.  As a follow-up to New Orleans’ lamentable decision to remove statues honoring Confederate figures (discussed on Ethics Alarms here), The Atlantic published an exhaustive brief against the “myth” that Robert E. Lee was worthy of his reputation as a noble human being who fought for Virginia out of loyalty to his “country,” but who deplored slavery. I have criticized the hero-worship of Lee as well, but much of what is in Adam Serwer’s article was completely unknown to me. If accurate, it is horrifying. Just one example:

“Lee’s cruelty as a slavemaster was not confined to physical punishment. In Reading the Man, the historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor’s portrait of Lee through his writings, Pryor writes that “Lee ruptured the Washington and Custis tradition of respecting slave families,” by hiring them off to other plantations, and that “by 1860 he had broken up every family but one on the estate, some of whom had been together since Mount Vernon days.” The separation of slave families was one of the most unfathomably devastating aspects of slavery, and Pryor wrote that Lee’s slaves regarded him as “the worst man I ever see.”

3. I’ll discuss the Comey testimony in detail later, but I came close to writing about the unseemly and self-indicting display of gleeful anticipation by much of the news media (and “the resistance,” of course) over what they were just certain would be the smoking gun to get President Trump impeached. CNN had a countdown, second by second, on-screen the whole previous day, like Christmas was coming. Ann Althouse nicely summed up how foolish and ugly this was: Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Marwan Barghouti, The Snacking Hunger Striker

See, this is the thing: if you are secretly snacking while leading a hunger strike, you’re doing it all wrong. Gandhi didn’t do this. At least we don’t think he did.

 Over a thousand Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are in the third week of a mass hunger strike, demanding better conditions. Now the leader of the strike, terrorist Marwan Barghouti who i being  held in solitary confinement at the Kishon prison, has been caught on camera eating cookies and a candy bar.  Israel released videos of the would-be martyr sneaking snacks in his cell, and naturally  Palestinian leaders called foul, dismissing the videos as fakes aimed at demoralizing his hungry followers. The problem is that Barghouti has cheated before.

In 2004, leading another hunger strike, he was caught on camera eating while his fellow prisoners were refraining from food like good hunger strikers. Not knowing he was being surveilled,  the Palestinian leader covered the door and window of his cell,  washed his hands and chowed down after asking wardens for food.  The Israeali Prison Services spokesman said that cameras were set up to show the fasting prisoners how their leader was behaving. “Barghouti is sitting on a pot of meat and he sends his friends to die,” the spokesman said at the time. Continue reading

Ethics Alarms Ringing: A Judge Orders Citizens to Undergo “De-Radicalization”

"You WILL feel differently about guns!"

In Minnesota, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, Abdullahi Mohamud Yusuf, and Hanad Mustafe Musse  pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. The defendants  charged last April following an investigation into a network of young Somali-Americans  involved in  ISIS recruitment  in Minnesota. ordered the four to undergo an evaluation by a visiting German scholar, Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and Deradicalization Studies in Stuttgart. His  evaluation of the men will factor into Davis’ sentencing decisions, and will  form the basis of a “de-radicalization program” to rid the men of  their radical ideology.

The Star Tribune reports that the program will be the first of its kind in the United States. (Well that’s a relief.) Apparently such deprogramming treatments are used to “cure” radical recruits  in Europe, as hundreds of young people have left to join Middle Eastern militants.

Wait, are anyone else’s ethics alarms ringing like crazy? Mine just busted an ear drum. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Observations On The San Bernardino Massacre”

suspicion

I’m traveling today with scant access to a computer, so it was gratifying to see a substantive and interesting discussion by commenters on this post. Michael Ejercito wins this round with a Comment of the Day that begins by highlighting a disturbing quote by Nick Kristof, taking the hand-off from President Obama. I don’t know how liberals can read this stuff and not get chills considering where their ideology has led them. Once the heralds of freedom and democracy, their leaders and advocates are now calling for citizens to be robbed of core rights based on suspicion rather than due process. And whose suspicion? The party with members who advocate arresting climate change skeptics and expelling college students if there is a 10% chance that a rape accusation against them is warranted used to be willing to fight for liberty. Now it seems to believe liberty is too dangerous.

Here’ s Michael: Continue reading

It’s Settled Then: Ben Carson Is An Idiot

ben-carsonNot that there was all that much doubt, after hearing about his theories that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain, and recognizing that any intelligent man would realize that giving a popular prayer breakfast speech and being a neurosurgeon no more qualifies someone to run for President of the United States than being a crossword puzzle champion or an airplane pilot. Nonetheless, his statement today ends any benefit of the doubt Carson had due to him. There is no doubt. He’s a dolt, and its obvious enough that we must assume anyone supporting him must also be a dolt.

Today, talking about the Syrian refugees in Alabama, Gentle Ben said...he really did…

“If there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you’re probably going to put your children out of the way. That doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs.”

Continue reading

Now THIS Is An Incompetent Pundit…

Said Bloomberg”s Margaret Carlson, explaining why it’s not such a bad risk even if ISIS terrorists do sneak into the country:

“ You know, those people who have snuck in, that, I don’t know if they’ve snuck in, but maybe they become Americanized, maybe the anger goes away. Maybe what they snuck in to do they’re not going to do, because we do have an acceptance of these people, as Congressman [Keith] Ellison (D-MN) said. They’re more patriotic because they’re here and they work harder.”

These are the people informing the American people about existential issues.

My greatest ethical objection to journalists is that they are overwhelmingly biased. My second greatest ethical objection is that most of them aren’t very bright, which means they are incompetent. No profession that values intelligence would allow someone who would say what Carlson said on television to rise beyond the level of  receptionist.

Does Calrlson still work for Bloomberg? Apparently, and if so, it means that her employers don’t even realize that she embarrassed them. Because THEY aren’t very bright, either

Sad, really.

 I don’t even want to think about how many of Obama’s advisors share her mindset.