Politics, Teaching, Ethics, Logic, Godnose…

Warning. Politics.

Yesterday I read in the news that IQ 45 (who is no longer the president of the USA) had written — two days ago! — a letter to Georgia Secretary of State:

“…Which brings us to Friday. Trump sent a letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), insisting that the results of the 2020 election in Georgia be decertified, something Trump has been pestering Raffensperger about since that January call in which he begged the secretary to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” Raffensperger didn’t find Trump an extra 12,000 votes, because there were no votes to find. Trump’s insistences that you could cobble together that number from various places were all fruitless, since he was wrong…” (Source)

It’s as if this idiot is punching at one of those inflated clown punching bag toys like my brother had as a kid. His adversary is a plastic sack filled with wind. Anyway, I hope that’s all it is.

I would find this laughable if the congressional representative from my district didn’t believe that IQ 45 is still president.

My friend Elizabeth taught elementary school for many, many years — the upper grades. The other day we were talking about the little anti-vax “Freedom Rally” in our town (both of us angered by the participation of the mayor). Elizabeth said she didn’t understand it. She said she’d spent a lot of time in her classes teaching critical thinking and reasoning and it seems the students just forgot it. I told her I had the same feeling, and it made me really sad. I taught straight-up critical thinking (logic) for 25 years in two different classes — one Advanced Composition and Critical thinking and then in my Business Communication classes. We agreed it made us sad to see people NOT using their reasoning skills. OK, they’re probably not our students, but we weren’t the only two teachers.

I thought about it some more. Maybe Critical Thinking wasn’t enough. Maybe ethics. Ethics was part of business communication classes, an ancillary topic called “Business Ethics,” and everything was pretty obvious, like, “Don’t embezzle from the company.” Even then, the self-sorting of students into a business major results in classes filled with out-going, competitive students who are motivated by money and all that money can buy. The ONLY episode of The Apprentice I’ve ever seen was that done as a skit by my students as a commercial for a product. They thought IQ 45 was funny and typical of successful businessmen.

Ethics is difficult and more than a little abstruse. Yeah, it’s the evaluation of “right and wrong,” but right there, in our world, (or any world?) you get into the forest of “Who said? Whose standard?” It’s a place where people get their hackles up pretty quickly.

I taught ethics in a subversive kind of way, through messages to customers, co-workers, etc. “Think about the person you’re writing to,” I’d say, “Imagine their world and how they feel having bought a DSLR camera from you that quit working after one day. Is your ‘No Refund Policy’ the best you can do for this customer? Is it more important to keep that $ or to create goodwill, get his repeat business and good word-of-mouth advertising? Which is better for you in the long term? Is there any middle way here? Remember. You’re not a big chain. You’re a small, independent shop.”

Sometimes a student would say, “Well, maybe the camera really WAS defective. Isn’t that the manufacturer’s problem? Couldn’t we take the camera back, trade for a good camera, and make the manufacturer pay?” Or a student would say, “Maybe we can repair it or have it repaired. Should we charge for that?” Most students would just say, “He knew the policy. He can find a repair shop.” Then someone might say, “Maybe we could pick up the tab for the repairs?”

Ethics. For that time and that place it centered on maintaining the goodwill of customers which is really the Golden Rule.

I thought of all this reading about the “Freedom Rally,” that happened in my town last week, people objecting to health care workers being compelled by the State of Colorado to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. I thought that was a failure of ethics. How would a nurse in an old folks home feel if he/she ran around doing his/her job while infected with Covid 19 — but asymptomatic — and later ALL of his/her patients ended up in the hospital (taking up the few beds in our valley and/or being flown out to bigger hospitals with more facilities at great expense). How could ANYONE not think of it this way? It’s not a critical thinking problem; it’s not logic. It’s ethics.

14 thoughts on “Politics, Teaching, Ethics, Logic, Godnose…

  1. The staff at the hospital I go to for my cancer treatments have been told to get the vaccine by a certain date (November, I think). So many of them were on the local news demonstrating…the usual ‘my body, my right.’ I had to go there this week and got into a discussion with the nurse taking my vitals. I could not get a feel for which side she was on…and isn’t that sad that we have sides, but I kind of let the conversation die because it was gonna go nowhere. Do they just feel that they’re doing their job and if someone gets infected, it wasn’t from them? Why do I think healthcare works, of all people, know about this stuff and want to protect everyone by getting the vaccine. But then we have DeSantis spouting his nonsense…

    • It’s beyond my understanding. DeSantis is a piece of work. At the quilt show it was posted, “You must wear a mask. If you don’t have one, we’ll give you one.” They were incredibly vigilant about everything, all because so many people are not looking out for others. That healthcare workers are not 100% behind vaccinations is scary and bewildering. BUT my bro’s second wife was a nurse. She told me it wasn’t because she loved nursing or cared about people, but because she needed a career that would lead to a good income because she had a little girl. She is the most passionate anti-vaxxer, YouTube watcher I “know” (I don’t actually know her any more — but she’s friends with some other ex-friends [not vaccinated]). I guess we all have these ideas about people in the medical field that they are somehow idealistic. Maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re just human body mechanics.

      • Definitely. It has been a decade at least sine I have seen a medical professional that wasn’t really a mechanic. A mechanic may love their work, may even like cars, but they are still not on a mission to help cars stay well. Without the paycheck they’d be probably enjoy repairing air conditioners just as much.

        I suppose it has to be that way. If you limit the healing arts to those who have a passion for healing, you end up with very few healers. The ones who are passionate end up in places like St. Jude’s or similar charity hospitals. Most people do not have that driving urge to be of service.

        If you really let yourself become invested in patient health, you’ll self destruct. Much of medicine is really depressing stuff. Patients in denial, patients who exhibit bad behavior towards their caregiver, patients who are naturally lovable but who got screwed by fate. patients who are terminal. it is tough to deal with. Treating a patient as an object to be repaired rather then a person to be cared for is a survival mechanism.

        I don’t expect anything else. It does irritate me when a doctor blows off my concerns without any investigation. At least take the time to explain why something isn’t a concern. I’m not a person who makes things up or exaggerates or is unrealistic about my health and I’ve known people who had obvious symptoms ignored until it became a crisis because the doctor took the easy way out rather than digging. “It is *probably* nothing.” is only an excuse not to run diagnostic bloodwork in a situation of medical scarcity.

        Doctor’s encounter many patients with imaginary or exaggerated symptoms or freaking out about something they just read on Dr. Quack’s medical hysteria blog, it is easier to assume everyone is that way.

  2. I am also in the stunned by the stupidity group. It makes me afraid for the nurses in the family. They’ve all been vaccinated and with staff shortages (because we are an “at will” employment state and no vax = no job in nursing) are being asked to work OT and double shifts… they care but they are incredibly tired. My sister in FL hasn’t been vaccinated (first she claimed that she was waiting for FDA approval, then she thought she might have already had COVID and didn’t want a terrible and possibly “life threatening” reaction. She was waiting to get an antibody titer but has never done so. Now she has a theory that the virus will mutate until it is nothing more than one of the common cold viruses). I didn’t want to argue with her but I kept thinking, what about that influenza virus? It keeps mutating and killing people and its been hundreds of years now – shouldn’t it be no more than a cold virus??? (I’m making a sad face while gritting my teeth in frustration.)

    • It sounds to me like your sister might be afraid and maybe fear is behind some of this. But, like you, I’m sad and frustrated at the same time — but I’m also angry. If IQ 45 hadn’t behaved as he did last year around the virus, I don’t think we’d be here now.

  3. Spot on, Martha. We need more ethical thinkers/people. Not specific, situational ethics – for business settings, religious settings – but for the world as a whole and all its creatures.

    I realized ethics was in a sad state when, in 1983, something like 60% of my cohort of bar exam takers failed the ethics portion of the exam, and thus failed the bar exam. I found the ethics portion the easiest (as opposed to, say, questions on the Uniform Commercial Code), because really, it was just, “Do the right thing. The kind thing. The moral thing.” How hard can that be?

    So many people have lost their way. And here we are, beholden to those who quickly and easily believe in nonsensical and outrageous conspiracies.

    • Thanks Rebecca. Every sect of every faith in this world — and human survival! — is based on “do unto others as you’d have done unto your” or as the Talmud says “Don’t do what you don’t want someone doing to you.”

  4. I know I’m far from the first to say this, but it appears that “business ethics” is an oxymoron. Not that there aren’t ethical people in business, but that our culture’s fixation on quarterly profits, and their driving of stock prices, makes ethics take a back seat – actually, ethics isn’t even in the car for most companies. I used to equate “critical thinking” with “common sense”, then I realized that common sense (which Merriam-Webster calls “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts”) is quite uncommon.

  5. During the height of the second wave, black marketeers were passing off empty oxygen cylinders as filled, and at inflated prices. A few were arrested, but charged under commercial acts, not for pre-meditated murder.

    • Wow. That’s even beyond unethical. That is truly criminal and cruel.

      Someone sent a letter to my little town’s newspaper trying to explain why an elected official should NOT come out publicly against the law of the land. The vaccine mandate for health care workers is a law and “our” mayor came out in opposition to it. He’s incredibly stupid, fake, political and I don’t think 100% on the up-and-up. Not so evil as to sell empty oxygen tanks, but going in that direction.

      This whole thing has been an eye-opener is a hundred different ways. Some good, some horrifying. 😦

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