“The Vaccine Is Too Risky To Take!” “No! The Vaccine Is Risk Free!” STOP! You’re Both WRONG! It’s TWO, TWO, Two Vaccines in ONE! [Corrected]

Ethics Alarms has to comment on the truly irresponsible and destructive ideological posturing by the two ends of the political spectrum regarding the Wuhan virus vaccine. The intellectually dishonest sniping from the Left and the Right would be humorous if it wasn’t so potentially destructive. Here is a brief summary of the situation, which nobody seems capable of stating clearly.

Because of many factors. the United States allowed a virulent virus to devastate its economy, education, politics and culture in ways that, like those old Chinese finger traps, make it difficult to back out of. This should not have happened, but it did, and that’s all that matters. The situation as it is cannot be sustained, so it is crucial to minimize the threat of the pandemic as quickly as possible. This means that either a cure or an effective preventive measure must be available, and since no cure seems on the horizon, a vaccine is the nation’s best shot (no pun intended.) The damage to the country and culture worsens every day, so the vaccine has been rushed into production and use far more quickly than usual health protocols would normally require. It is a utilitarian trade-off, and the appropriate one.

The more people vaccinated, the better. It’s as simple as that. And since all vaccines kill a small percentage of people, the more Americans who are vaccinated, the more people are going to die. It’s also as simple as that. AND because this vaccine (actually vaccines, plural) have not been as thoroughly tested as vaccines normally are, a higher percentage of those vaccinated for the Wuhan virus will probably die than with other vaccines. That’s simple too. Unfortunate, but simple.

So the responsible, patriotic, rational act is to get vaccinated.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have been unreasonably suspicious of all vaccines, and many more have become quite reasonably suspicious of the CDC and government health edicts, not to mention the hysterical news media, during the pandemic, because, to be blunt, their advice, statements and demands have been too frequently dishonest, hypocritical, mistaken or wrong. The Left—Democrats, progressives and the news media—being increasingly inclined to totalitarian methods these days and reliant on telling the peasants to trust them when they appear to be more untrustworthy than ever, are deliberately refusing to be transparent about the Wuhan vaccine risks in order to maximize the number of American willing to take it. The Right—including conservatives, libertarians, flat earthers and a lot of Republicans—are reacting to their ingrained distrust of the Left—not that it isn’t deserved— by resisting the vaccine and sliding into conspiracy theories. Conservative media, playing to their market, are encouraging this, because that’s how they get eyeballs and clicks….and money. All of this threatens to cause the damage wreaked by the pandemic to persist, or even get worse.

Yes, it’s an Ethics Train Wreck, a sub-train wreck of the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck, which I hereby dub the Pandemic Vaccine Ethics Train Wreck.

With that, here are eight ethics observations on Fox News provocateur Tucker Carlson’s’ recent phillipic about the vaccine. The full text of Carlson’s statement follows them.

Observations:

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Stop Making Me Defend Stacey Abrams!

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Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson thought it would be cute last night to have his senior producer “perform a dramatic reading of the most titillating moments” from one of the pulpy romance novels Georgia politician Stacey Abrams wrote before she started running for office. The excerpt was objectively awful, but that’s irrelevant: Carlson’s stunt was an unethical cheap shot, and the equivalent of an ad hominem attack. Abrams’ bad prose tell us nothing about the validity of her political positions, and bringing them into the discussion is designed to mislead.

I hate this tactic, and I have condemned it before regardless of who was the target and who was the slime artist. Minnesota Republicans tried to discredit Al Franken when he was first running for U.S. Senate by digging up a sexually-provocative humorous piece he had written for “Playboy”—you know, the epitome of evil—eight years before when he was a full-time comedy writer. “When Republicans do things like this,” I wrote on the old Ethics Scoreboard, “they insult voters by assuming that they are narrow-minded and illiterate, celebrate humorlessness, and willfully blur the difference between entertainment and public policy.”

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Ethics Dunce: Tucker Carlson

Fox News host Tucker Carlson reacted to the week’s news about the pause on the Johnson & Johnson Wuhan virus vaccine to suggest to his viewers that the  government may know that they don’t work but are purposely “not telling you that.” During a general rant about vaccines, Fauci and related matters, Carlson concluded,

“Experts say it is not entirely clear when it will be considered okay for people who are fully vaccinated to stop wearing masks.At some point, no one is asking this but everyone should be, what is this about? If vaccines work, why are vaccinated people still banned from living normal lives? Honestly, what’s the answer to that, it doesn’t make any sense at all! If the vaccine is effective, there’s no reason for people who’ve received a vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact. So maybe it doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that. Well, you’d hate to think that especially if you’ve gotten two shots but what’s the other potential explanation? We can’t think of one.”

Tucker’s not thinking very hard. 1) The vaccines are not 100% effective. 2) New strains may not be prevented by the current vaccines. 3) If doctors could have their way, everyone would wear masks all the time anyway, because doctors don’t care about smiles, faces, and social health. The masks have essentially prevented the seasonal flu this year, so doctors think they are wonderful. “What’s the downside?,” they think. Doctors don’t think masks making life suck is a downside, you see. This is why the government should never put public policy in the hands of doctors.

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The U.S. Military Defends The Nation Against…TUCKER CARLSON???

Carlson Military

Last week, Fox News rock star Tucker Carlson launched into criticism of the U.S. military for, in his terms, prioritizing “diversity” over its mission. He said in part,

“So we’ve got new hairstyles and new maternity flight suits, pregnant women are going to fight our wars.It’s a mockery of the U.S. military. While China’s military becomes more masculine as it assembles the world’s largest Navy, our military needs to become more feminine, whatever feminine means anymore because men and women no longer exist. The bottom line is it’s out of control. And the Pentagon’s going along with this. This is a mockery of the U.S. Military and its core mission which is winning wars.”

The ethical issue here does not require debating Carlson’s point, but for the record, the mission is what matters, not who performs it or what group they “identify” with. If the nation would be best defended by an all-female armed forces, then all-female armed forces is what we should have. If all-trans would do the trick, great; I’m on board. If clinical schizophrenics were found to be the best soldiers, draft them all, I say, and make sanity a disqualifying feature for volunteers. Prioritizing demographics over efficiency and effectiveness is incompetent and irresponsible, and while the U.S. can survive incompetence in all other aspects of our government, and does, we cannot tolerate it in the military.

But I digress. The ethical issue here is that someone at the Pentagon (or <cough> elsewhere) told the military to attack Carlson, a civilian commentator giving his opinion, for his criticism.

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Ethics Dessert, 3/12/2021: Goodbye “Jimmies”

IceCreamJimmies

1. Have you been following the Taylor Lorenz affair? Let me see if I can bring you up to date without spending more time than is justified, since she is, all things considered, trivial. She is a New York Times culture and tech reporter who has botched things up enough to be fired under previous standards of journalism (which now has no standards.) She has been repeatedly caught fabricating claims about public figure: in the last six weeks she twice publicly lied about Netscape founder Marc Andreessen: once claiming she overheard him he used the word “retarded” in a Clubhouse room (he hadn’t, but so what if he had?) and later accusing him of plotting with a white nationalist to attack her, which also didn’t happen. She also often uses her platform with the Times to attack private citizens by accusing them of harboring non-acceptable beliefs. Last week, she took to Twitter on National Women’s Day to claim victim status, writing on Twitter,

“For international women’s day please consider supporting women enduring online harassment….it is not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I have had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life…No one should have to go through this.”

This, in turn, triggered Tucker Carlson, in his Fox News show, to refer to Lorenz in a segment on how powerful people like Meghan Markle got away with playing victim. He mocked Lorenz’s tweets in light of her position as a star reporter for the Times when much of the nation is out of work. “Lots of people are suffering right now,” Carlson said. “But no one is suffering more than Taylor Lorenz.”

The Times, incredibly, accused Carlson in a public statement of unleashing “a wave of harassment and vitriol” at “a talented New York Times journalist,” and concluded with, “Journalists should be able to do their jobs without facing harassment.”

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Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 7/25/2020: The Congressional Playpen And Other Embarrassments

Good Morning!

Bulgaria has a holiday called “July Morning” that celebrates freedom, friendship, and love of life.

Maybe I’ll move to Bulgaria…

1. I cannot believe this doesn’t alienate more people than it pleases. I watched the Red Sox-Orioles game last night to open the Strangest Baseball Season Ever in Boston, and would have enjoyed it completely ( the Sox won 13-2) had I not had to constantly avert my eyes from the Red Sox management’s ostentatious virtue signaling, if you can call it that, since pandering to Black Lives Matter is far from virtuous.

Not only was the special BLM MLB logo at the back of the pitcher’s mound (BLM MLB is a palindrome!), but the full Black Lives Matter name was emblazoned on a banner, about 250 feet long, across the empty bleachers.

I’d love to know how many Red Sox executives, or if any of them, actually know what the “movement” the team is pimping for intends. My guess is that the decision to promote BLM was a cynical go along to get along decision that had nothing to do with substance, but rather was made in fear and expediency.

2. On the Fox News harassment accuser. The sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Tucker Carlson by Cathy Areu now appears to have fatal flaws. Continue reading

Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/13/2020: “Hail To The Thingamajiggies!” Edition [Corrected]

How.

1. When late is worse than never. Reports say that the Washington Redskins will officially announce that they are changing their name, to what nobody knows, not even them. The team’s obnoxious owner, Dan Snyder, who has run the once cultishly popular and successful NFL franchise into the ground during his incompetent stewardship, had memorably said that he would never change the controversial team name, unquestionably the most politically incorrect in all of sports. That pledge did not anticipate his league going nuts and supine before the George Floyd Freakout, to the point that there may be mandatory kneeling by the time the 2020 season opens.

The attack on the Redskins name was always about power, as has been the decades-long assault on all team nicknames with ethnic references. Survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of Native Americans don’t care; the idea is to bring corporate interests to heel, and then aim at the next, more substantive objective. The competent way for a team to handle this problem is to quietly retire a problematic name like “Redskins” (or a anachronistically provocative logo like the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo) when the heat is off, making it clear that the change is volitional and not compelled. Then the social justice mob members can’t puff out their little pigeon chests with pride and think “I did this! What’s the next target?”

I don’t care what the D.C. team’s name is. I do care about dishonest and illogical arguments, which is what have been mounted against this name for as long as I can remember. That’s why the Redskins and related matters have so often been a topic here.

I did laugh yesterday when I read a comment predicting that Snyder would announce that the new name would be “the Washington Murderous Savages”… Continue reading

Everybody SING! “How Do You Treat A Problem Like Joe Biden?”

This would be an early song from the obscure, unfinished and strangely prescient Rodgers and Stephen King  musical, “The Sound of Panic,” the draft manuscript of which was recently discovered in a Maine landfill.  The Democratic nomination process is slipping into ethics train wreck territory, if it isn’t there already. But it’s an astounding story. It would make a great musical, but one more like “Sweeney Todd” than “The Sound of Music.”

When I first set eyes on Joe Biden after a couple of years, when he emerged in 2015 to run for the Democratic nomination, I was shocked at how old and enervated he appeared. When I heard him speak, I realized that he was slipping from his barely tolerable career-long muddle-headedness into senility or dementia. Reaching this conclusion required no special perception on my part; it merely required an absence of denial. I could not believe, and wrote as much here, that Biden could ever be the Democratic nominee. No matter how unpromising the field of candidates was—and it was historically awful—voters couldn’t possibly vote for “Slow Joe,” as our perpetually juvenile POTUS cruelly dubbed him.

Yet here we are. Biden, having been the beneficiary of the besieged “moderates” of the now thoroughly radicalized Democratic Party coalescing behind a single representative as its best chance to defeat President Trump (essentially the Democrats have become the “Hate Trump Party,” quickly pivoting its position on anything to the opposite of whatever he advocates or does) is now broadcasting from a bunker somewhere during the Wuhan virus emergency, reminding everyone sentient of the carnage to come in November after Biden quadruples the number of doomsday gaffes in all of US Presidential debate history.

Think about it: a single moment of brain lock sunk Gerald Ford in 1976, when he inexplicably said that Poland wasn’t an Iron Curtain country. Then, in 1980, Jimmy Carter caused America to doubt his seriousness and honesty when he cited his daughter Amy, then 9, as an expert on nuclear armaments while debating Ronald Reagan. How do Democrats think the public will respond when Biden suddenly starts reciting a recipe for Rice Krispie Squares in response to a question about immigration? Even Trump Hate has its limits for those not in the late stages of the disease. Admittedly, the number of those is staggering, with total U.S. cases exceeding cases of the Wuhan Virus in China even if China wasn’t faking its numbers.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/21/2020: Our Cheating Hearts

I can’t sleep.

While I’m thinking about Hank, I recommend Ken Burns’ latest documentary, “Country Music,” and I’m not exactly a country music buff (though my father’s favorite song was “The Wabash Cannonball” . Burns has always had a fondness for ethics stories, and his latest work is full of them.

How did I not know that Williams died before he turned 30? Based on his amazing output of classic songs, I assumed he must have lived to be 90. He’s the Buddy Holly of Country, or perhaps the Mozart.

1. Before we get to the real cheating, stop making me defend Mike Bloomberg! From Yahoo, in a post headlined, Bloomberg Shares Doctored Debate Video To Hide Dismal Performance” by David Moye, who needs a head transplant:

  “On Thursday morning, the billionaire businessman released a deceptively edited video that falsely suggested he rendered the other candidates speechless at one point….The video begins at the moment when the former New York City mayor declared: “I’m the only one here I think that’s ever started a business.” During the actual exchange, his comment was greeted with about four seconds of silence, but the video below falsely implied it was more like 20….whoever edited Bloomberg’s video tweet took moments from other parts of the debate to make it look as if his declaration was so powerful candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Joe Biden had no response.”

Garbage! The critics are doing the exact same thing they did to President Trump’s video that kept showing video of Nancy Pelosi ripping up his State of the Union speech interspersed with the President’s admirable guests, like the 100-year-old Tuskeegee Airman. Anyone who couldn’t tell that the video was edited to make a point rather than to deceive is too dumb to vote. Similarly, anyone who believes that a Democratic candidates debate stage would ever stay silent for 20 seconds doesn’t know what a debate is, and has been watching cartoons all his life. A satirically edited video isn’t deceptive just because some viewers are dumber than boxes of kitty litter. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Dinner Ethics Appetizers, 11/28/2019: Boing Boing, Boeing, And Bears In The Woods

Have a gentle, loving Thanksgiving, everyone.

And thanks so much for visiting and participating.

Tangential question: Does anyone watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade any more, with the lip synced musical numbers in the street, the inflatable balloons of anciet cartoon characters, the floats that are virtually identical every year, and the phony blather from the B-level celebrities in the booth? Isn’t this spectacle now something that people watch out habit, like the Miss America pageant, “Peanuts” holiday specials and the Oscars, even though it has the entertainment value of styrofoam?

1. Tucker Carlson endorses the Julie Principle! Last night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson made the shocking statement that President Trump has been less than truthful with the American people.

“We’re not gonna lie to you, that was untrue,” Carlson said. “The crowd at the 2017 inauguration was not the largest ever measured at the National Mall. Sorry, it wasn’t. Why did the president claim that it was? Well, because that’s who he is. Donald Trump is a salesman, he’s a talker, a boaster, a booster, a compulsive self-promoter. At times he’s a full-blown BS artist.”

Observations:

  • NOW Carlson is enlightening us about this? Every sentient being knew this about Donald Trump ten years ago, before the Presidency was a twinkle in his eye.
  • Has there ever been an irrelevant fabrication by any U.S. President as harped upon incessantly by critics and the media as Trump’s silly claims about his inauguration crowd?
  •  The Washington Post, aping the New York Times, manufactured another one of those compilations of Trump “lies.” As of last month, the Post says, Trump had told over 13,000 false or misleading statements since taking office, including, of course, including the Inauguration boast. If I didn’t have a sock drawer crisis to deal with, I’m sure I would find that at least a third of those “lies” are in fact nothing of the sort, but mistakes, off-the-cuff exaggerations, and obvious puffery, as in, “Trump said X was ‘the —-est,’ but Y is actually  —-er.”
  • Here is what I wrote almost exactly three years ago, before that Inauguration, in a post called, “Trump, His Critics, and The Julie Principle”:

Yesterday, many, not several but many, of my Angry Left Facebook friends posted links to stories attacking Trump’s silly tweet about him really winning the popular vote and there being millions of fraudulent votes for Hillary Clinton. “Is he going to do this sort of thing his entire administration?” one friend asked.

YES! YES HE IS! OF COURSE HE IS! DON’T YOU KNOW THIS ALREADY? ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO FLIP OUT AT EVERY SINGLE  INSTANCE WHEN TRUMP SAYS OR TWEETS SOMETHING STUPID LIKE THIS?

If so, then you are going to go nuts, and you will just become irrelevant and annoying.

Which, of course, they have. Including the Post and Tucker Carlson. Continue reading