Labor Day Ethics Break, 9/7/2020: Ironically, Somebody Needs To be Fired In All Of These Stories….

1. “Boy, he’s strict!”* Novak Djokovic, the top seeded player, defaulted from the United States Open after the ball he hit toward the back of the court in frustration hit a line judge in the neck. This violated the Grand Slam rule book’s  “physical abuse” provision, which states that players “shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site.” The  fine for this is to $20,000 for each violation of this rule, with the possibility of even more if it is deemed a “major offense.” In a statement, the United States Tennis Association said: “In accordance with the Grand Slam rule book, following his actions of intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences, the U.S. Open tournament referee defaulted Novak Djokovic from the 2020 U.S. Open. Because he was defaulted, Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the U.S. Open and will be fined the prize money won at the tournament in addition to any or all fines levied with respect to the offending incident.”

As I read it, if the ball bounced back and missed the line judge, the rule wouldn’t apply. If it did hit the judge, even though the result was unintentional, then the player gets the full penalty. What a moronic rule! I guess they’ve never heard of moral luck in the tennis world. Either it should be a serious offense to slam the ball anywhere on the court in anger whether someone is hurt or not, or it should be a violation to intentionally harm and official. The rules is incompetent and unethical.

Naturally, none of the stories about the episode point this out.

2. Oh no! Not this again! Seventh grader Isaiah Elliott of the Grand Mountain School in t just south of Colorado Springs. Colorado, was attending on online art class when a teacher saw Isaiah’s  toy gun a neon green and black plastic “weapon” with an orange tip with the words “Zombie Hunter” printed on the side. The teacher, an idiot, hysteric and bully,  notified the school principal, and Isaiah was suspended for five days. The school also called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a welfare check on the boy without calling his parents first. Here’s the toy:

This is even more idiotic than this story, which was discussed here in June, about the kid whose teacher called the cops on him because she saw his BB gun.

The teacher should be fired and the principal should be fired. Isiah’s parents appear to be raising  hell. Good.  They would be terrible and irresponsible parents if they didn’t. There is an ethical  duty to confront this creeping state child abuse and indoctrination. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “My Name Is Jack, I Am Not A Racist, And All Of You Are A Disgrace To The Nation.”

Well, you knew this, by Steve-O-in NJ, would be a Comment of the Day. I virtually begged for someone to  issue a manifesto in response to my post. There were at least six likely candidates among the regulars here, but if I had to bet, my money would have been on Steve. Here is his COTD on “My Name Is Jack, I Am Not A Racist, And All Of You Are A Disgrace To The Nation.”

Oh–in a blog with a more diverse commentariat, I could count on at least one rebuttal. I hereby pledge that any reasonably articulate one will have Comment of the Day status.

My name is Steven, and I am a conservative and a Republican. I’ve been a Republican since I was 18 and never once considered walking away.

I believe Europe and the Europeans got to where they are because they learned to be better at navigation, exploration, and warfare than others, no other reasons.

I believe Christopher Columbus was a brave navigator who sailed where no one else dared to go, and that without his opening the way between old world and new, the United States would not have come to be, and the world would be the poorer for it.

I believe that George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, and FDR were the right men at the right time to deal with the biggest crises this country found itself in, and lesser men might well have failed, and we’d be worse off for it.

I believe that the Founding Fathers got it right, and that their work doesn’t deserve to be discarded because men two centuries ago did not measure up to the values of less than two decades ago.

I believe that the conquest of the frontier was inevitable, as is always the case when a more developed society meets a less developed one. Continue reading

“My Name Is Jack, I Am Not A Racist, And All Of You Are A Disgrace To The Nation.”

Columnist Rod Dreher reports that Northwestern University Law School held a town hall meeting online, and participants were “require  to begin with  a ritual denunciation of themselves as racist. The screen shot above is from the discussion.

You know, I am increasingly seeing ethics stories that require little or no elaboration or commentary, like this morning’s post about the Washington D.C. government favoring eliminating the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument. If you have to have these things explained to you, the probability is that you are already beyond helping, or, perhaps, six.

What we see above is reminiscent of the forced behavior in Communist re-education camps. I do not what kind of Americans would submit to such a directive, but I do know what must be involved: weak character, weak self-esteem, destructive education, flaccid parenting, basic estrangement from American culture, and dangerous vulnerability to peer pressure.

And cowardice. Let’s not forget that. These people are cowards. The United States is too good for them. They weaken the nation’s values, strength and spirit by submitting to coerced “confessions” of this kind.

Oh, how I would have loved to be in the meeting, and announce myself to these sad shells of human beings, so willing to abandon their liberty and self-respect to signal imaginary virtue.

I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…[Corrected]

When The Great Stupid starts affecting my enjoyment of baseball, it’s personal.

I’m not watching another baseball game this “season,” and whether I ever do again is up for grabs. Someone in Major League Baseball’s marketing department should take notice, because when the game loses people like me—that is, lifetime, sophisticated, passionate fans, it’s in trouble.  For almost 15 years, I never missed a single Boston Red Sox game.  I’ve watched games in 13 different parks and stadiums; I shared a season ticket to the Baltimore Orioles for several years. I managed hundreds of Strat-O-Matic table top baseball games; along with two friends, I created and marketed a Red Sox trivia game in 1986. In 1978, I risked my job at Georgetown by walking out of a mandated staff meeting because the Red Sox-Yankee single game play-off was about to start, and  I wasn’t about to miss it.

I just gave a Smithsonian Associates program on baseball. Most of all, much of my personal philosophy was built on baseball observations and experiences. Fenway Park is the single place on earth where I am entirely happy, and I choke up every time Robert Redford gives his “God, I love baseball” speech in “The Natural.”

This week, however, baseball players refused to play their games in solidarity with an obnoxious NBA protest. I take it as a personal insult, and the fact that MLB took no action against the players as signature significance. These people are not merely unethical fools, but unethical fools who are smug and arrogant about it.

I will not waste my valuable time and fragile emotions rooting for such people. I have more self-respect than that.

This week’s madness..CUE!!!!

…began with the NBA’s players spontaneously deciding to boycott their games. Again, the supine league decided to let them do it, making vague virtue-signalling noises about how they support the players’ activism in pursuit of “social justice.” Well, let me refine that: it really began when the evil NFL, which happily makes billions encouraging players to destroy their brains, decided at the outset of the George Floyd Freakout to not only allow widespread Kaepernicking, but to encourage it. Next we had pro baseball and basketball  trying to top each other in betraying their obligations to fans of their teams and sport by endorsing not just political messages embraced by players and exhibited in the stadiums, but offensive or infuriatingly meaningless ones. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Lazy Saturday Ethics Diversions, 8/22/2020: Hypocrisy Again,” Item #3 (Goodyear Saga Cont.)

[I originally had a video clip here that perfectly illustrated, satirically, the craven instincts of corporate America as it grovels to Black Lives Matter. It is a from a classic “Simpsons” episode, “Deep Space Homer,” in which Kent Brockman, the idiot Springfield news anchor whose intellect  makes Ted Baxter seem like Tim Russert, mistakenly comes to believe that the Earth is about to be conquered by giant ants. He immediately pivots to sucking up to the ants in his broadcasts. Then, just before posting the clip, I thought, wait, is someone going to accuse me of comparing African Americans to insects, when I’m accurately comparing our jelly-spined corporate leaders to a cowardly fool? And I chickened out. Now I’m disgusted with myself. Thus is life in cancel-culture America]

***

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far away, I remember I offered a competition here for the most obnoxious, cloying, blatantly pandering corporate statement in reaction to the George Floyd Freakout. This followed so closely on the heels of a corporate rush to exploit the pandemic with obnoxious, cloying, blatantly pandering messages ( “In these specail/difficult/ stressful times…”) that I realized, too late, that I was risking my sanity. Many, many readers sent  entries my way (thank you), and I slogged through them all, even though all but a handful read like they were written by the same cheap bot that had created the pandemic-licking garbage

I used to work for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and got to know a lot of CEO ans their top lieutenants. I left that career chapter convinced that the negative public image of corporations and the people who ran them was shallow and mistaken. The rush of many of the same companies I worked to embrace racist, violent, Marxist Black Lives Matter has erased all of the. These companies and their management are themselves shallow and mistaken, and worse. They are virtually traitors to American ideals—those stories about American industrialists sucking up to Hitler no longer seem incredible as they once did—; they are cowardly; they are venal, and they are stupid, stupid, stupid.

Unfortunately, so many of them have adopted this despicable strategy that we can’t even punish them by switching loyalties to their competitors. And the reverse is true: these corporations are deliberately throwing in with the forces of indoctrination, censorship and suppression.  Where I live, in Northern Virginia, I have seen dozens of Black Lives Matter signs, and many more Biden 2020 signs. I have not seen a single Trump sign, and it is because people are afraid of having their homes vandalized and their kids being called racists at school. This un-American, anti-American environment of fear is what the powerful, influential corporate sector has decided that it is in their scrimey, greedy,  stock option-protecting, collaborationist interests to support. I will not forgive them for that. I always knew corporations were untrustworthy, of course, but I never thought they were this untrustworthy.

Good to know.

Thus I am not ready to let the Goodyear episode go quite yet.  Fortunately, Glenn Logan is on one of his periodic rolls. Here is his Comment of the Day, the second in a row, on  Item #3  in the post,  “Lazy Saturday Ethics Diversions, 8/22/2020: Hypocrisy Again.

[Oh: the “best” corporate pander to Black Lives Matter was easily the short-lived,  but immortally bone-headed, Popeyes is nothing without Black lives,”]

Jack wrote:

3. Does Goodyear win the “Trying to Be On All Sides At Once Without Consequences” prize in the corporate division?

They have a lot of company who just did it smarter, in my opinion. But having said that, here’s an observation:

I understand corporate impulses to place themselves on the (please forgive me for this) “right side of history.” During my whole life, we have seen corporate virtue signaling, mostly on television but occasionally in print.

With the advent of social media, a lot of things have changed for the worse when it comes to corporations and social issues. In the instant case, it seems corporations have acknowledged, and to some extent embraced, the unethical Black Lives Matter trope, “Silence is violence.” Certainly, activists on all sides of the debate spend a lot of time raising social issues at corporate leadership, and engaging in various levels of complaints or even boycotts at their expense — in common vernacular, “calling them out.”

I think most Americans with functional cerebra not terminally infected with the passions of the moment would prefer to see corporations stay out of divisive social issues and do what they are best at — produce products or services for our consumption and engage in social issues, especially and mostly at their local level, quietly and competently. The problem is, because so much of our private conversation has become nationalized through social media, a comparatively small number of voices can have a disproportionate impact on corporate behavior, especially when amplified by a media invested in one side of the argument. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce ( And Irresponsible, Grandstanding Jackass): San Francisco Giants Manager Gabe Kapler

Yecch, yuck, ugh, gag, pittooie!

Yeah, I knew it was probably coming, and I even should have been able to guess the team and the manager, but nonetheless, this is nauseating. I assume the craven response from Major League Baseball in the coming days and weeks will be even more nauseating. Great. Welcome back, baseball!

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler led several coaches and team members as they did a Kaepernick during the National Anthem before their first exhibition game in the Bay Area Monday. And I had just finished my Smithsonian presentation that night explaining why baseball has been a vital unifying influence in communities and the nation throughout its nearly 200 year history. How ironic.

Rookie manager Kapler, coaches Antoan Richardson and Justin Viele  joined players Mike Yastrzemski (Yes, Yaz’s grandson), Austin Slater, and Jaylin Davis in taking a knee, according to NBC Bay Area. Shortstop Brandon Crawford stood between Richardson and Davis, who are both black, and placed his hands on their shoulders in an apparent sign of support.

Although the Giants did not announce before the game against the Oakland A’s at Oakland Coliseum that some members would kneel,  Kapler said he had informed the team of his plans. Then he blathered out his explanation, which while considerably more coherent than what Colin Kaepenick said after the first time he imposed his political views on his team, the game, and spectators were offensive nonetheless.

None of those cardboard cut-out people in the stands would go on the record later, but reportedly they were not pleased.

Here’s Gabe:

“I wanted to share what my plans were and I did that because I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality. I told them that I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well. I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we’ve handled racism in our country. I wanted to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with our clear systemic racism in our country. And I wanted them to know that they got to make their own decisions and we would respect and support those decisions. I wanted them to feel safe in speaking up, and so we had these kinds of discussions for the last several days and will continue to have them.”

Asked if he and other Giants would continue kneeling, Kapler said, “We’re going to have 60 chances during the regular season to make the same decision that we made today, to either stand or kneel or do something different.”

I can’t wait. Continue reading

Lazy Saturday Afternoon Ethics Meander: 6/27/2020: Blank Slate, Mis-Handler, Pandering Chicken (Corrected)

Lately I’ve been having an especially tough time finding some genuine ethics outrages on the Right, since the Left has been going, you know, nuts.

Now that gonzo Ethics Alarms commenter Alizia has pronounced me “a radical progressive,” however, I guess I needn’t worry about balance so much.

1. Fake news, headline division. Yesterday and today I saw several headlines with some version of “D.C. Statehood Takes A Step Forward.”  That’s flagrant clickbait, and false. The House used its Democratic majority to pass a D.C. statehood bill, which is guaranteed the same fate as dozens of other grandstanding bills Pelosi’s minions have sent to the GOP controlled Senate.  It’s not a step forward, because there is no actual progress toward statehood at all. (I was surprised to learn that the House hasn’t passed such a bill in 25 years. Democrats hadn’t because it was futile.) The GOP Senate will reject the bill, and if some kind of brain disease struck and they passed it, the President would veto. To have D.C. make it to statehood would require the Democrats to  control the House, the Senate, the White House and have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

2. Sheep see, sheep do! Actress Jenny Slate was so impressed with Kristen Bell’s ridiculous stunt of quitting her gig as a voice actress for a mixed race animated character (see, Kristen is white, see, so she can’t really express the essence of a mixed race character even though the show’s producers said her performance was “brilliant,” but a black actress told that she couldn’t voice a white animated character would be screaming “Systemmic racism!” so fast it would make your head spin. This is what they’re toppling statues for, folks! ) that she decided to duplicate the virtue-signal, quitting her role on the animated show “Big Mouth”  because she’s white and her character is b-iracial. (Well, really the character is not even a human being and just colored sort of brownish, and  her lines are written by a man, but..oh, never mind. Why would I try to make sense out of this?)

Slate said,

“I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed and that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy … Ending my portrayal of “Missy” is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions…”

If this reminds you of the scripted confessions of brainwashed American pilots held as North Korean prisoners of war, it should. Writes Andrew Sullivan, dissecting Slate’s mindless cant,

“It’s a classic confession of counterrevolutionary error… The word “racist,” which was widely understood quite recently to be prejudicial treatment of an individual based on the color of their skin, now requires no intent to be racist in the former sense, just acquiescence in something called “structural racism,’ which can mean any difference in outcomes among racial groupings. Being color-blind is therefore now being racist. And there is no escaping this. The woke shift their language all the time, so that words that were one day fine are now utterly reprehensible. You can’t keep up — which is the point…. So, yes, this is an Orwellian moment. It’s not a moment of reform but of a revolutionary break, sustained in part by much of the liberal Establishment.”

3. What do you say, most ridiculous corporate white guy pandering yet, or what? Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy took part in a televised discussion at Atlanta’s Passion City Church last week with Pastor Louie Giglio and rapper Lecrae  in what the church called “an open and honest conversation around how racism has plagued our city for generations, and the steps we can all take to confront it head-on in our church, our neighborhoods, and our hearts.” This was sparked, of course, by the police shooting of Rayshard Johnson, about which there is no evidence indicating that it was based on racism at all.

But the company’s CEO, who is trying to get past being labeled as a homophobe for opposing same sex marriage, seized the opportunity to be “woke.” He  shared a story told to him (meaning that it may be made up) about a small town revival meeting  in Texas. A young man at the service  was “gripped with conviction about the racism that was happening” and responded by kneeling down before an elderly African American man and shining the his shoes. “So I invite folks to just put some words to action here,” Cathy said, standing up and carrying a shoe brush over to the black rapper.

Then he knelt down in shoe-shining position, and said, “If we need to find somebody [ that is, somebody black) that needs to have their shoes shined, we just need to go right on over and shine their shoes and whether they got tennis shoes on or not, maybe they got sandals on, it really doesn’t matter. But there’s a time at which we need to have, you know, some personal action here. Maybe we need to give them a hug, too.”

4. And this is why performers should shut up about politics and stay off Twitter. Chelsea Handler, the female, B-version of Bill Maher, posted a video of racist, homophobic,  anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan to her 3.9 million followers on Instagram, writing that she “learned a lot” from watching Farrakhan debate audience members on whether racial prejudice would ever be eradicated. Handler, who is Jewish, was apparently unaware that Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam is generally regarded as a hate group–against whites, gays and Jews. (Apparently fellow celebrities Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Aniston and Michelle Pfieffer, who liked Handler’s choice of a messenger, were similarly ignorant.)Initially Handler doubled-down, saying on her podcast that she…

“…wasn’t thinking about the anti-Semitic thing, but I don’t want to take down the post because I felt the message was powerful and a lot of people did. It was powerful for me the way he spelled it out,” That black people don’t have a history of killing white power. White people have a history of killing black people, for hundreds of years. Over and over again, we kill black people in this country. So everyone needs to remember where the violence came from. It’s not from the black people, it’s from the white people. So I thought it was powerful. So whatever, you know, everybody can fuck themselves.”

Yes, Chelsea Handler thought Farrakhan’s  standard  racist “white devils” riff was “powerful.” It’s not just that Farrakhan is such a repulsive messenger that nobody should trust anything he says, it’s also that his message is a hate screed and based on a biased and deliberately distorted reading of history.

Then social media told Handler to shape up, so, lacking any integrity and courage herself, she took down the post and grovelled to  the Daily Beast:

“I want to sincerely apologize for posting the video of Louis Farrakhan. I didn’t consider the context of his anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric,\ that is of course contrary to my own beliefs and values. Part of the process of educating ourselves during this pivotal time is recognizing and working through our mistakes.This was definitely one of mine. I was wrong. It was offensive, and I apologize.

No, you didn’t know who Louis Farrakhan was before you endorsed him. [Pointer: Other Bill]

 

Actress Kristen Bell Confesses To Engaging In Animated Mixed-Raceface

This is how cultures become insane, make terrible decisions, and destroy themselves: prominent people say stupefyingly stupid things that would have been mocked mercilessly in rational times, and everyone nods and says, “Wow. Cool.”

Actress Kristen Bell announced that she would be stepping down from doing the voice  of a mixed race character, she says, it was wrong for her, as a white woman, to take the role. As an established star for whom such a gig is minor supplementary income, this is cheap, if idiotic, virtue-signaling by Bell, but she has made the statement that a struggling white actor—but not a black one, I’m sure—is a selfish racism enabler to take such a role.

Bell was voicing the character of “Molly” on the animated show “Central Park” on Apple TV+. Here is her statement. Grab the Dramamine. Continue reading

Rating Jimmy Kimmel’s Terrible Blackface Apology

It should surprise no one that ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel’s apology, issued in a statement released today, is wretched, because Kimmel himself lacks character or an ethical compass. Ethics Alarms has pointed this out before.

I will not hold you in unnecessary suspense: his apology is an unequivocal Level 10 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale. If I ever get around to adding real apology examples to each of the ten levels, his would be a perfect one to place under this description:

10. An insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply, and to deceive his or her victims into forgiveness and trust, so they are vulnerable to future wrongdoing.

Considerately, Kimmel places his apology in the bottom of the barrel in his very first paragraph:

I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake. There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.

Somebody explain to Jimmy, if he or she can stand being in the same space with such a creep, that you can’t be defiant in an apology. It’s one or the other. He makes it clear, by putting an admission of the error of not apologizing sooner before what he is allegedly apologizing for, that this statement is strategic, as #10 apologies always are. He’s “apologizing,” not because he is genuinely remorseful, but because he wants to be respected. Hilariously, but characteristically, Kimmel doesn’t even know what human beings respect.

Finally, if there was any doubt what this is, he adds the watermark of a fake apology: “I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.” That takes him to  at least Level #9 right off the bat: Continue reading

Statue-Toppling, The Ethics Incompleteness Principle, And Calvin Griffith, Part One.

The Ethics Incompleteness Principle, a core concept on Ethics Alarms, holds that even the most convincing ethics rules, moral codes, laws and principles have exceptions. The inspiration for this observation was the work of Czech-born mathematician Kurt Gödel, whose two Incompleteness Theorems, which relate to mathematical proofs, are his most famous contribution to civilization and science. A linguist as well as a scientist,  Gödel unintentionally delivered an essential blow against the ethics absolutism of Kant and rigid morality when he proved that human language is not sufficiently precise to define rules that will work as designed in every instance. The logical extension of Gödel’s theorems, which he applied only to mathematics and, by extension, physics, tells us that there will always be anomalies on the periphery of every normative system, no matter how sound or well articulated it is. If one responds to an anomaly by trying to amend the rule or system to accommodate it, the integrity of the rule or system is disturbed, and perhaps ruined. Yet if one stubbornly applies the rule or system without amendment to the anomaly anyway, one may reach an absurd conclusion or an unjust result. [ Here is an online discussion of the application of Gödel to ethics, which appeared years after the Ethics Incompleteness Theorem was posited on Ethics Alarms.]

The Ethics Incompleteness Principle suggests that when a system or rule doesn’t seem to work well when applied to an unexpected or unusual situation, the wise response is to abandon the system or rule—in that one anomalous case only— and use  basic ethics principles and analysis to find the best solution. Then return to the system and rules as they were, without altering them to make the treatment of the anomalous situation “consistent.”

Much as we would like it to be otherwise, for life would be so much simpler if it were so, no system or rule is going to work equally well with every possible scenario. This is why is why committing to a single ethical system is folly, and why it is important to keep basic ethical values in mind in case a pre-determined formula for determining what is right breaks down.

When a reader and frequent commenter sent me this announcement from the Minnesota Twins a few days ago, my reflex reaction was as you would expect: Continue reading