Tag Archives: The Niggardly Principles

Observations On The La Jolla High Cartoon Controversy

I was going to make this an Ethics Quiz, but category that  can’t quite encompass the issues involved, and the more I considered it, the more certain I became of what should have happened. Here is the story:

A student-drawn cartoon was  published last month in the La Jolla High School’s “Hi-Tide” newspaper. It depicted eight ethnic groups in a blatantly stereotypical manner ( which is to say, it was a cartoon), with each figure pictured wearing T-shirts with messages  reinforcing the stereotypes. The cartoonist’s purpose was to lampoon the controversial H&M ad that caused the company to pull the ad and apologize:

Here was the student’s cartoon…

The requisite number of sensitive students and /or their sensitive parents complained about the cartoon to compel the school principal to grovel an apology, saying that the decision to publish the cartoon was an “error in judgment and a breach of all the values we hold dear at La Jolla High School,” since the cartoon depicted multiple ethnic groups as “ugly racial stereotypes.”

Observations: Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising

From The “Illiteracy And Incompetence Are Unethical” Files: Moby Dick Restaurant Loses Its Lease

moby

I love this story! Just when I was despairing over the widespead ignorance in the U.S., Canada steps up.

In Vancouver, Mengfa International owns  a commercial building, and in May 2015,  agreed to lease it to Moby Dick Restaurant, a fish-and-chip franchise. The building council won’t allow it, though. They feel that the restaurant’s name is offensive, and its offensive sign would lower property values.

Asks Drew Curtis’s Fark: “What’s so offensive about “Moby”?

This is a Niggardly Principle classic.

Mengfa is suing.

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Filed under Around the World, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Literature

Why Does Colby College Think That It’s Ethical To Keep A “Bias Incident Log”?

Might be time for a new motto, Colby. On the other hand...

Might be time for a new motto, Colby. On the other hand…

Wait…you say that more than a hundred campuses have this or the equivalent?

Oh-oh.

I am scheduled to teach a legal ethics class in the avoidance of bias in the practice of law next year, and I’m already worried. Past engagements of mine on this topic have been popular with attendees, but not always appreciated by my clients. The bar associations that make such training mandatory usually want to get someone to drone on about how lawyers should love Big Politically Correct Brother and search their souls for any germ of an attitude that would make Chris Matthews say they are racist, or the President of NARAL say they are sexist, or a Black Lives Matter activist call them privileged.  In other words, these are often devised as political indoctrination courses, using “bias” as code for “non-conforming thoughts according to progressive orthodoxy.”

I can’t and won’t teach that, because it’s as wrong as it is boring. Bias includes all ideas wedged in our minds that overcome reason and prevent just, even-handed, logical and fair decision-making. Bias makes us stupid, and for lawyers, the kind of bias I’m talking about undermines justice. Ironically, what most proponents of anti-bias courses want to do is instill biases that they and their partisan allies approve of. Once that is done, the Orwellian process is complete. “Bias” then means “not accepting our biases, which aren’t biases because we believe them, and we are good.”  The rationalization involved is 14. Self-validating Virtue.

The news and ethics issues are reaching one of those crisis points for me where everything seems to be connected to everything else, and I am torn whether to write one huge, conceptual post (the ones most readers skip) or a series of single episode posts. Facebook, a topic on its own, is revealing most of my friends whom I would identify as Democrats or progressives as in the grip of a crippling cognitive bias-based malady. Why did they think it was just wonderful for so many elected officials to deliberately ignore the core Constitutional principle of due process? Why did they reflexively attack the British vote to leave the European Union as “racist” or “xenophobic” rather than recognize it as a principled reassertion of their nation’s autonomy and democratic principles? How did freedom of speech, freedom of thought, true civil rights, and democracy itself become so alien to so many supposedly intelligent and self-proclaimed liberal adults?

Don’t worry, I’m coming back to Colby. It really does come down to bad and anti-American education poisoning the culture. In an excellent though disturbing essay on the Ethics And Public Policy website, Stanley Kurtz persuasively argues that U.S. education itself has turned against liberty, resulting in an increasing majority of citizens who do not believe or accept the virtues of core American ideals.

The incident that brought my attention to the Colby Bias Incident Log, which, at Colby and elsewhere, sends a Bias Response Team into investigation mode, was one in which a student was reported for allegedly using the idiom “on the other hand.”

No, this is not a hoax. It is not a joke. And what the fact that I am writing this suggests is far from funny. It is tragic. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Facebook, Government & Politics, History, Rights, U.S. Society

The Social Justice Talking Points Placemat: Harvard Finally Snaps

placemat

You will note that I have effectively resisted the temptation to excessively mock Yale for its embarrassing anti-free speech assaults, racial spoils games and political correctness bullying outbreak. Princeton, Dartmouth and Brown have also been disgraced by their students, faculty and administrators of late, but among the Ivies, my family’s favorite university (my parents even met and fell in love in The Yaahd) has pretty much avoided major humiliation, though the Law School had a silly dust-up over its seal and there is an ongoing controversy over black tape. I knew that if their other elite institutional colleagues were going nuts, it was only a matter of time before Harvard joined the loony parade, and sure enough, Harvard has a float.

In some ways, it’s worse than anything its rivals have come up with yet.

This sounds like an Onion parody, or maybe a stunt by the Harvard Lampoon. I’m still hoping it is: the Lampoon of old would do things like this. Harvard’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Wait:  Harvard really has such an office? ARRRRRGHH!) distributed what it calls “Holiday Placemats for Social Justice” (How can anyone say that with a straight face? PLEASE let this be a Lampoon hoax!) to the freshman dining hall and a few upper class dining rooms to guide students through political and social policy conversations when they return home for Christmas break. (Does this remind you of the Obama administration’s directives to good little progressives about pushing Obamacare over the holidays? This is now the progressive way.)

The placemat presents talking points ( I still can’t believe I’m writing this) for students having discussions about controversial topics such as “Black Murders in the Street,” “House Master Title,” and “Islamophobia/Refugees.”

You know, when I was student, I guarantee such an insulting attempt at indoctrination would lead to a bonfire. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Race

Harvard Picks The Wrong “Niggardly Principle”

Ah, Lowell House! I lived right under that damn bell tower. Never dreamed that the House Master was a slaveholder....

Ah, Lowell House! I lived right under that damn bell tower. Never dreamed that the House Master was a slaveholder….

I had been waiting with trepidation to see how Harvard would embarrass itself in the current college campus political correctness/ black student extortion/ free speech rejection meltdown. The result is an anti-climax, but, yes, still embarrassing.

Apparently some students have been making a classic “niggardly” complaint, like the infamous D.C. government employees who believed that good old Anglo-Saxon word for cheap was the racial slur it resembles. In the case of Harvard students, the beef was that the term “House Master,” used to describe the Harvard faculty member who oversees, manages and hosts one of the many residential “houses” that serve as mini-campuses for Harvard sophomores, juniors and seniors, was racially insensitive and offensive to black students. Never mind that the word “master” has dozens of applications, almost all of which have nothing to do with slavery. The theory appears to be that if a word has ever been used in a context offensive to blacks, all uses of the word in the future, whatever the context, must be assumed to have racially oppressive intent.

Huh. It’s funny: I attended Harvard with black students, and it was during a period when civil rights protests and upheaval were everywhere, including on campus. Yet somehow, this blatantly racist use of “master” never came up. Why? Well… Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Leadership, Race

Comment of the Day: Sabrina Corgatelli, Fick

sabrina_corgatelli2

Just as the Cecil the Lion kerfluffle began to disperse (as Republicans try to recruit a dentist to shoot Donald Trump), frequent Ethics Alarms commenter Ing scored a Comment of the Day on my follow-up post about in-your-face giraffe-killer Sabrina Sabatelli, who intentionally mocked the Cecil mourners.

I designated her a fick, someone who publicly revels in their unethical conduct. Ing demurs, and employs the three Niggardly Principles to make his argument. I’ll be back briefly at the end; in the meantime, I’ll add the Niggardly Principle definitions to his commentary so you don’t have to follow the link back and forth.

Here is Ing’s Comment of the Day on the post, Sabrina Corgatelli, Fick: Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Character, Environment, Etiquette and manners, Facebook

Wait, Should I Change The Name Of “The Niggardly Principles” To “The Pachycephalosaurus Principles”?

Pachycephalosaurus

Are P.C. crazies attacking “Jurassic World” for using for the supposedly racist term “packies” in the film? Don’t these fools realize that their argument is even dumber than that of the illiterate clods who briefly got a D.C. government worker disciplined for using the word “niggardly” in a meeting?

Well, no, despite what you may have heard, nobody in the U.S. is that far gone. That hasn’t stopped conservative anti-P,C. warriors from falsely claiming otherwise, though.

“Packie” is a nickname used in the fictional dinosaur park for the Pachycephalosaurus, a dome-skulled creature that was also featured in “The Lost World,” the second “Jurassic Park” sequel. Exactly what else would you call them? Even by the standard of dinosaur names, this is a tough one, and a short, easily pronounceable monicker is both necessary and potentially life-saving. By the time someone has spit out, “Look out! There’s a charging Pachycephalosaurus coming right for you!,” you are mashed, believe me. What’s the alternative, “Phaloses”?  That has its own problems “Pachies” is the obvious and reasonable choice.

Yet because an escape of  these prehistoric things from their enclosures in the theme park causes  one character to shout, “The Packies are out of containment!,” Twitter users, commentators, political correctness fascists and insane people are seriously accusing the film of being “racist” in Great Britain, where “packie” is a racial slur for something or other: I really don’t care. It has nothing to do with the Pachycephalosaurus, dinosaurs, or “Jurassic World.”  Thus the Independent, echoing many Brits on social media, called the line “very racist.” That’s moronic, of course. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Race, Social Media, The Internet, Unethical Blog Post