OK, Facebook Friends, Let’s Pretend It Isn’t Kavanaugh…Let’s Pretend It’s ME.

I’ve had this post composed in my head for some time, and have hesitated to complete it. I really don’t like upsetting people I care about, much as some might think otherwise.

However, there has been such escalating fanaticism on Facebook (and elsewhere, of course), ringing through the echo chamber, about how Dr. Ford must be “believed” and how the judge is a “serial rapist,” I have to ask: would you all treat me this way? Would you react to seeing my career and reputation derailed by the sudden appearance of a high school acquaintance who announces that she has only recently come to realize that I had sexually assaulted her at a party? After hearing my denials, would you decided to determine that her account, with no verification by any witnesses, with the large amount of time past and with absolutely nothing in my record, professional or private life, to suggest any such proclivities, should be sufficient to have me labelled as untrustworthy?

Don’t resort to the “but he’s going to sit on the Supreme Court” trick. I’m a professional ethicist: an accusation that is widely metastasized into doubts about my character, including using it to tar me a liar, would be just as ruinous to me as the late hit on Kavanaugh is disastrous to him. There is no “well, this is wrong UNLESS its a Supreme Court nominee” principle: that’s a pure rationalization. No, if the Ford accusation, with all of its flaws, its basis in fading and rediscovered memories, the fact that it involved juveniles, all of that, and the objective professional observations by Rachel Mitchell that found several reasons why Ford’s testimony was incredible, is still enough to allow you to condemn Judge Kavanaugh, then it must be enough for you to condemn me too.

But I’ll make it easier for you: let’s say its me that is the current Supreme Court nominee, and me that your favorite party has condemned as a threat to civilization. (And lets assume that you haven’t read any of my judicial decisions either.) Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: ‘NCIS’ Ethics”

[ Again I am awash in Comments of the Day. There’s no question about it: the comments here are getting better, and more commenters are participating. There are also more comments being made to posts than ever before. 2017, despite a 10% drop in traffic from 2016, set a record for comments. This blog was always designed to be an interactive online colloquy on ethics. More views, links and shares would be nice, but I’ll take more and better comments over volume any day. You all are doing a terrific job. I may  have to make “Comment of the Day” a daily rather than an occasional feature. That would be progress.]

The latest Ethics Quiz was about this week’s “NCIS” episode in which the federal agency’s director got all misty eyed and proud to learn that his daughter had accepted the blame (and the charges) for her friend’s shoplifting because her friend was 18 (and a habitual shoplifter) and the offense would end her dream of college. Ethics Alarms readers were asked whether this was a responsible ethics message for Mark Harmon’s long-running procedural to send, especially to any children watching.

The quiz attracted uniformly excellent responses (my take is here).

Here is Greg’s Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz: “NCIS” Ethics:

I would say that the daughter acted foolishly and the father acted unethically.

The father has a duty to teach and protect his children, which he utterly failed to fulfill in this case. His daughter is showing disastrously poor judgment, placing her future seriously at risk, and he needed to set her straight. He should have lectured her on the enduring truth of the adage, “Lie down with dogs, rise up with fleas.” She should not be spending any time at all with an incorrigible thief. This other girl is big trouble. She has already gotten the daughter arrested once and if the daughter continues to hang out with her, the odds are high that she will do it again. The lesson that the daughter should have learned from this incident is that she needs to shun the company of this supposed friend. Instead, the incident has bound them together even more closely. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Rueful Observations On Obama’s Speechwriters Laughing About Writing Lies To Pass Obamacare”

TRump fans

Chris Marschner tackled the difficult issue of how we should regard the supporters of Donald Trump, in light of so much abuse and blame being heaped on them by pundits, the news media, and, yes, me. He chose a post to do so that discussed the cynical attitude of former  Obama speechwriters regarding how easy it was to manipulate the public and the press. Chris has done as good a job at this as can be done,  and thus earned his Comment of the Day distinction. I believe, however, that explaining the various factors activating Trump supporters, such as the arrogance of power-brokers like the Obama speechwriters, does not in any way excuse Trump voters, justify them, or relieve them from accusations of recklessness and ignorance.

I suppose I should be grateful to Trump and his supporters, because they have clinched two long-standing arguments in my favor. The first is one that has often surfaced on Ethics Alarms: does a responsible voter vote for the character of a leader, or the positions the candidate espouses? Trump proves my point in spectacular fashion. If the candidate doesn’t have a trustworthy character, it doesn’t matter what he or she says.

The second argument the Trumpites win for me is my opposition to those who decry the low rate of voting in the U.S. and want to “fix it.” My reaction to their complaint has always been: the low rate of voting is GOOD. If you are apathetic, lazy,badly informed, ignorant, hateful, stupid, gullible and naive, your vote interferes with democracy, it doesn’t advance it. The Founders believed that civic literacy was essential to a functioning republic. They were right. The Republican primaries illustrated what can happen when a large bloc of voters who are unfit to exercise the franchise suddenly decide they care, but lack the basic cognitive skills and abilities to translate their concern into intelligent and responsible civic participation. They become sitting ducks for con artists, liars and frauds to manipulate and exploit.

Here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Rueful Observations On Obama’s Speechwriters Laughing About Writing Lies To Pass Obamacare“:

[Quoting another commenter]

“Pundits don’t understand why saying dumb things about women or minorities doesn’t skewer him. I do: His voters don’t care. His voters don’t care where people pee, they don’t care how many abortions the lady down the street gets, they don’t care about racism, sexism or whatever-phobias. They care about taking care of their families. They care about jobs. This is the demographic Bernie and Trump tapped into. People not like us. Uneducated people. People living day to day. Bills to pay and mouths to feed, when nothing in the world is free.”

First let me say that I find Trump’s rhetoric distasteful and I did not vote for him in the MD primary.

Labeling all Trump supporters as “uneducated and unlike us” may be too simplistic. Actually many do care where people pee or how many abortions take place. You might want to consider that it is just a matter of priorities when faced with the possibility that a progressive candidate like Hillary Clinton might get elected leading to further stagnation of their upward mobility while forcing them to succumb to even more government intrusion into their lives.

Perhaps there is also a group of educated voting taxpayers who are tired of being labeled as social misanthropes when engaging in reasonable debate over a variety of issues. Many well educated people who earn more than the median income but less than that which is necessary to be absolutely financially independent understand the economic repercussions of challenging some progressive ideas that are at odds with their own reasoned thinking. How exactly does a conservative faculty member debate a topic when he/she runs the risk of being labeled a racist, Uncle Tom, misogynist or other type of person in what could be called the “Hater” segment of society for not towing the employer’s or the group’s normative thinking. How many business owners publicly regurgitate the progressive ideology or opt for a low profile to avoid the onslaught of protesters that can threaten that which they may have spent a lifetime working long hours to build

Continue reading

Rueful Observations On Obama’s Speechwriters Laughing About Writing Lies To Pass Obamacare

roselaughing

In the wake of Obama foreign policy aide Ben Rhodes boasting about how he managed to hoodwink the news media and the public regarding the negotiations with Iran, this disgusting display is not so much surprising and it is clarifying.

Monday’s edition of  the Charlie Rose show on PBS featured Charlie chatting with former Obama speechwriters David Litt, Jon Favreau, and  Jon Lovett  to discuss their collaboration with the President to assist  his (over-praised) communication skills. Much of the discussion centered on Obama’s stand-up comedy chops—Ah, what might have been! I’d gladly take my chances in that alternate universe—until the discussion turned to this:

CHARLIE ROSE: My point is do you have equal impact on serious speeches? Because it’s about style, use of language, etcetera?

JON LOVETT, FORMER OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: I really like, I was very — the joke speeches is the most fun part of this. But the things I’m the most proud of were the most serious speeches, I think. Health care, economic speeches.

JON FAVREAU, FORMER OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: Lovett wrote the line about “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”

LOVETT: How dare you!

ALL: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

LOVETT: And you know what? It’s still true! No.

No.

Observations, somewhat diminished because this made MY HEAD EXPLODE: Continue reading

Campus Rape: How Opposing The Use Of Fake Stats, Lies and False Narratives Became “Conservative”

fondo abstracto de tecnologia 3d.Lenguaje binario

I just don’t see how or why insisting on using objective and verifiable facts in policy-making and public discourse became “conservative bias.” I don’t recall the media’s interest in correcting fake combat statistics during the Vietnam war being regarded as “liberal bias.” I can’t bring myself to believe that only moderates and conservatives care about making sure that the public isn’t deceived into believing things that aren’t true.

But why does this stuff keep happening, and particularly, why does it keep happening under the supervision of Democrats and their supporters during the Obama years? I know I’ve been harping on “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” and the deification of Mike Brown as contrary to all evidence, common sense, fairness and rationality, but such cultural embrace of lies is objectively outrageous and dangerous. I also resent being called a “teabagger,” a racist, or a right-wing nut for pointing this out.

One reason resent it, perhaps the main one, is that I’m a lifetime iconoclast, curmudgeon and contrarian (just like Dad!) and while I know that having  people, even friends, angry at me never changed my opinions, words or behavior very much, most people are not like me. Most people, when they are called racists on Facebook or bombarded with dishonest Daily Kos internet memes or realize that their friends aren’t inviting them out for beer because they will object to the conventional liberal wisdom of the nonce, decide its more important to get along than to fight the good fight, so they just adopt the prevalent opinion of their “crowd.” Usually, personal growth and education on the issue stops about then: if you listen hard, you will hear the sound of a slamming door. Soon they’ll be calling others racists on Facebook.

The fake campus sexual assault issue is another area where this phenomenon is occurring. CBS’s Sunday Morning gave one of its gauzy features about it yesterday, beginning with the assumption that for some reason (the reason was already pre-programmed and injected directly into the Democratic Party’s second most reliable “base” group, young single women bloodstream, with its “war on women” convention theme in 2012) campus sexual assault is epidemic. On the show’s website, proving that this was propaganda rather than journalism, was this sentence: “According to the U.S. Justice Department, one in five college women will experience some kind of sexual assault while in school.” (It had been removed by this morning.) Continue reading