Tag: ethics

Gratitude Is the Basis for Ethics

 

Androcles, a young Roman slave, sought escape in the wilderness from his unhappy life. Finding respite in a cave, he found himself face to face with a lion. The beast was anxious only for the removal of a thorn from his paw. Upon its extraction by Androcles, the lion submitted to the man, caring for him. After being captured as a runaway some time later, Androcles was sentenced to death-by-mauling within the coliseum. However, the lion let loose upon Androcles was one and the same who had benefited from the slave’s earlier kindness.  Instead of attacking the defenseless man, the lion lay at his feet, whereupon both were released by an astounded Roman governor.

The story of Androcles and the lion prompts this question, “How does gratitude change us?” I believe that gratitude is one of the chief pillars of life. Gratitude says that we give acclaim to Someone outside ourselves. Our response to this outside gift-giver is the basis for ethics: doing right by how we live. Doing right is proper response to gratitude. Doing right is based on remembering we live because of the gift given by Another. Doing right is a small response to a large endowment. Gratitude caused the apostle Paul to exclaim about Jesus, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” To acknowledge life as a gift of God, one’s whole focus and concentration is moved from ourselves to One outside ourselves.

Disciples of Jesus as Lord bow the knee to their Sovereign Savior both in response to Who He is as well as what He has done. Following His instructions is the least we can do to show our gratitude. “Androcles and The Lion” teaches the lesson that doing what is right is first motivated by someone doing right by us. Gratitude is the basis for ethics.

Business Ethics Motivated by Biblical Teaching

 

“THIS is how you treat people!” I proclaimed, a quiver in my voice.

Just before Christmas, 1995 a textile mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts was destroyed by fire. About 1,400 people worked at Malden Mills. The owner of the mill, Aaron Feuerstein, spoke before the employees’ days after the fire. “I am not throwing people out of work two weeks before Christmas,” was his famous line. Feuerstein then and there declared that he would pay his workers their wages, even though the mill was closed, and they could not work.

It was early in 1996 that an NBC News feature covered the incident. Feuerstein’s reputation as a beneficent corporate citizen soared. Feuerstein continued to pay his workers for months – without a product being produced – while the mill was being rebuilt. I showed that news story to my high school students for years, always ending with my line above, “THIS is how you treat people.”

Byron York is in for Jim Geraghty today.  Byron and Greg cheer Mississippi’s attorney general for telling the Supreme Court there is no constitutional right to an abortion. They also react to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejecting certain Republicans from the January 6th commission by pointing out the radical lefties she has named to the panel. And they have some choice words for the Biden administration after learning that Hunter Biden will be meeting prospective buyers of his ridiculously overpriced art when the transactions are supposed to be anonymous.

Selecting Customers

 

One reason American culture is in such a sorry state today is because the customer is always right.

I have explained on Ricochet before why this aphorism is actually a bad business model. It encourages misbehavior among customers and thereby increases expenses (in turn, increasing prices) while making both customers and employees miserable.

Member Post

 

Happiness or emotional peace signals a harmony between the external and the internal. When what we witness or experience in circumstance conforms with who and how we are, then we are content.  The catch is that every one of us is imperfect. We are not exactly who we hope to be or who we think […]

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Member Post

 

@daviddeeble, our Ricochet resident Comedian, posted a not-so-funny observation. In his recent post, his title sounds like a parody, but something happened on the way to total government control: https://ricochet.com/894863/americans-forced-to-work-job-just-to-put-food-on-table/, From his post: “Our studies suggest that there’s a cultural component,” said Theodore M. Stanley, a research fellow at the Center For The Emerging Majority, […]

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Love Thy Neighbor

 

It is when we have the most cause to hate and reject our neighbors that we most need to remember the command to love them. Yes, my fellow Christians, it is a command and not merely an invitation. Though no challenge could be so difficult to fulfill, it is the foundation rather than the pinnacle of Christian love. It is a challenge not reserved only for the holiest saints but rather put to every one of us. Our Lord and Creator doesn’t even stop there. “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

A philosophy professor and friend once caught me off guard by claiming that the Golden Rule is nothing special. Any person raised in a good home knows not to mistreat others as oneself doesn’t want to be abused.

Member Post

 

The early afternoons of September 2019 found me racing off from my online work to arrive breathless at a small outbuilding where I was being trained in my new job working with kids who had autism. The bell affixed to the front door jangled as I entered, glanced at the large digital clock high up […]

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Revoke the Pulitzer Prize for the 1619 Project: Too Little, Too Late?

 

I felt vindicated for my early attacks on the 1619 Project when I learned that the National Association of Scholars signed a letter that directed the Pulitzer Prize Board to revoke its award of the Prize to The 1619 Project. But my appreciation of the news was short-lived.

The NAS acted nobly in criticizing the 1619 Project. As they said in their letter to the Board:

We call on the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind the 2020 Prize for Commentary awarded to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her lead essay in ‘The 1619 Project.’ That essay was entitled, ‘Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written.’ But it turns out the article itself was false when written, making a large claim that protecting the institution of slavery was a primary motive for the American Revolution, a claim for which there is simply no evidence.

On Empathy

 

If I were a drinking man, I’d play a drinking game: Open a dating app, the comments section of a Washington Post article, a feminist blog, or any other place where people of a left-wing persuasion congregate, and take a shot every time someone writes a paean to empathy.

Whatever your neighbor’s teenage daughter may say, empathy is not a virtue. Empathy is a useful and morally neutral psychological phenomenon, one which might underlie certain virtues, but one which is not itself sufficient as the basis for any coherent ethical system.* The world would not ipso facto become a better place if “everyone had more empathy.” On the contrary, it might degenerate into some version of what we see now: quivering masses of emotional gelatin demanding therapeutic self-affirmation in the form of safe spaces and coloring books; a people paralyzed in unending anguish merely because somewhere, someone is suffering. As a moral principle, empathy is self-defeating. Too often, appealing to the “capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference” is akin to saying, “Every action or belief is legitimate from the point of view of the person who experiences it, and therefore every action or belief is legitimate.” Empathy easily descends into excuse-making. (Take the canonical example of an abused girlfriend: Is she really better off for “showing empathy” to her abuser?) Once empathy is removed from the psychological realm and introduced to the ethical one, it negates the very purpose of ethics, which is to establish a series of principles by which actions can be judged.

Fredo Says Stop

 

We tend to think that when people oppose evil, they oppose it for noble or altruistic purposes.  We think they oppose evil because the first principle of ethics is to do good and avoid evil.  As rational beings who have a Jeffersonian view of men, we believe that people are basically good and that those who oppose evil are basically good.  Usually, that’s true.  Sometimes, however, it isn’t.

All it takes to dispossess one of the view that people who oppose political violence are good is about 20 minutes of CNN, apparently.  On Tuesday, Fredo, Lemon, and company decided, much to the horror of ardent leftists, that all that violence in Portland, Chicago, Seattle, and of all places, Kenosha, Wisconsin, might need to be called out.  CNN needed to go on record opposing the violence.

Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy watching former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper blame his ethics problems on “dark money” Republicans after an independent commission found him guilty of improperly accepting gifts while in office. But will it really damage his bid for U.S. Senate? They also shake their heads as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee pretends not to know a group of radicals is claiming several square blocks in Seattle as ” an “autonomous state” that is separate from the United States. And as the cancel culture claims the TV shows “COPS” and “Live: PD,” they fire back at the unhinged push against the Nickelodeon cartoon “Paw Patrol.”

Quote of the Day: Youth and Politics

 

“All people are good at making distinctions about the things they are acquainted with, and each is a good judge of those things. Therefore, good judgment goes along with the way each one is educated, and the one who has been educated about everything has it in an unqualified way. For this reason, it is not appropriate for a young person to be a student of politics, since the young are inexperienced in the actions of life, while these are the things about which politics speaks and from which it reasons. Also, since the young are apt to follow their impulses, they would hear such discourses without purpose or benefit, since their end is not knowing but action. And it makes no difference whether one is young in age or immature in character, for the deficiency doesn’t come from the time, but from living in accord with feeling and following every impulse. For knowledge comes to such people without profit, as it does to those who lack self-restraint; but to those who keep their desires in proportion and act in that way, knowing about these things would be of great benefit.”

This quote comes from one of the first three chapters in Book One of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, with which Aristotle intends to set as a prelude to his discourse regarding how it ought to be received as well as what the task is that “we have set before ourselves.”

Member Post

 

Our friends at the Freedom from Religion Foundation, that paragon of easygoing menschitude, have filed a complaint against Judge Tammy Kemp, who presided over the recent trial of Amber Guyger. At the trial’s close, Kemp started a conversation with Guyger, then handed her a copy of the bible. Courtroom cameras captured Kemp reading aloud from […]

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Why Andrew Weissmann Is So Despised

 

The list is long for all the people who have been criticized and condemned by the Right for their participation in the Trump-Russia fiasco. Many on the list pretend to be public servants but, unfortunately, they are political hacks who have shown they are willing to do just about anything to get rid of Donald Trump. But from my perspective, one man has been mentioned only in passing, and he deserves to be in the glaring spotlight of justice. His many years of unethical behavior and manipulation need to be not just called out; there must be a way to hold him to account.

His name is Andrew Weissmann.

On paper, his credentials are impressive. But his actions over the years have manipulated the legal system, misled jurists, intimidated innocent people, and led the Special Counsel team in an unprecedented effort to remove a president. I’d like to give you some background on Weissmann, and also learn from all of you if there is any way to hold him to account after all this time.

Member Post

 

This isn’t part of the wonderful Ricochet ‘Quote of the Day Series’. I already took my turn this month – but I found the following and it’s worth repeating: “That one won’t crack, though. Mendel decided with approval; one of your flabby oak trees, Smiley was. Think you could blow him over with one puff; […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see the Libertarian candidate drop out of the Montana U.S. Senate race and endorse GOP nominee Matt Rosendale against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.  They also roll their eyes as “former Republican” Max Boot urges Americans to vote for Democrats in every single race as the the only way to send a message to President Trump and rescue the Republican Party.  And they greatly enjoy Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren asserting she had no idea she was the subject of an ethics complaint for how she conducted fundraising off the Kavanaugh hearings.