Four Years of Weed?


Four Years of Weed?

Ben Stein is opposed to making college free because “college is just a chance to get high.” (A small part of the reporting article is quoted with a link below the essay. jp) This is a kind of journalism, but only a kind. It was on  a news program and it’s designed not to inform, not to enlighten but to shock and, in this case, denigrate millions of American who go, have gone or will go to college. I assume this will be good for ratings but it doesn’t add much to the discussion of what should be done about rising tuition and student loan burdens.

I teach college classes. Most of my students work and many have families. Regular attendance in both my classes and at their jobs tend to suggest that they are not spending an inordinate amount of time using drugs. Among certain circles there is an amazing delight in denigrating young people today calling them entitled, talking about helicopter parenting, talking about how lazy they are, etc. etc. and on. There are differences between today’s students and those in the previous generations. I did some teaching in the distance past and those students (1993) were more questing and intellectually curious about the world than my current students but that’s pretty easy to chalk up to the current addiction to standardized testing. This generation is quite good at sucking up facts and giving them back to you. Their high school education pushed them in that direction. I can’t blame them for that kind of radical re-programming.

I have some familiarity with Ben Stein and I think he sincerely believes what he is saying. And what’s more, I think he enjoys saying it. He sees himself as a provocateur telling difficult truths to a “politically correct” society. But while what he says is shocking, that doesn’t mean that it has any validity and since taking verbal potshots at the current generation seems to be massive public sport in this country, I don’t see political correctness acting as a defense in any way.

It would have been nice and ethical business for there to have been an intelligent discussion of the serious issue of free college or even an intelligent discussion of college drug use. Be we didn’t get either one here.

In a society professing democratic values, the presentation of ideas in conflict is important. But here we have a news program catering to a particular demographic by denigrating and slandering an entire generation of Americans. This is not ethical.

James Pilant

i_224Addicting Info – Ben Stein Against Making College Free: Poor Kids Only Care About Getting High (VIDEO)

Stein ended his rant by saying that although discipline and education seem to be the only things (according to him) that stand in the way of poor people securing middle-class status, he doesn’t like the idea of education being free because college is mostly just “four years of smoking the neon-green chronic.”

Noting that the interview was taking a turn for the worst, Cavuto jumped in and said, “Look at the time here. Look at the time!” Stein completely missed the verbal cue, and added that for many kids, “college is just a chance to get high! Why are we going to subsidize it?”

via Addicting Info – Ben Stein Against Making College Free: Poor Kids Only Care About Getting High (VIDEO).

Psychological Hostage by Kelsey Palmer


(Writing a guest column today is Kelsey Palmer.)

Psychological Hostage

Abuse, malefaction, molestation, violation, physical, mental, trauma, Rape. This is not an unknown word among us. Often we would hear it being yelled by teenage boys in the crowded halls of high school, but what was fun for them to yell is not fun at all. Sadly, it is not an unknown action to too many of us. Usually women. Many many women that really mean “yes” when they say “no”.  Really mean “continue” when they “stop”. No! Some say they deserved it. Others say they led the guy on. Call them Femi-Nazis for trying to bring to justice a criminal act against them! How dare you. How dare you all for thinking in the slightest that this is a small matter. No! Rape is a criminal act or is it? It leaves scars, physical and emotional. Then there are women who think they can cry wolf when there are so many who actually see it.

!!@@#dddddd444193mIn light of rape, it is a criminal act. When someone (usually male) chooses to molest another (usually female) it is not out of the kindness in their hearts. It is not them looking out for the other. It is someone deciding to take away the freedom and rights the other has. That is why it is a crime! It is in violation of the rights we hold as humans, but you would never guess that from the way the law enforcers handle it. Thousands of unsolved cases and why? Because they are too expensive and time consuming. What about what this person had to go through? What about the turmoil this person has to face, the fear that their rapist is still out there lurking in the shadows. I would like to say I am proud of congress for finally doing something about this, but this should have been worked through years ago. Before the rape kits began piling up to extreme heights. Of course, like many other things America was slow to realize that this was an important matter and because of this many have suffered.

In continuation of my sentence before, many have suffered. No one can truly understand the psychological difficulties that come with a scene such as this until they have lived through it themselves. The trauma that comes with it at times can be more than one can bear.  It makes a person want lock themselves into a dark room, curl into a ball, and never allow anyone to come near them again. One could never understand the power of the mind until years after an event something as simple as a scent could bring it all hurtling back. Stuck in your mind till you forcibly distract yourself. It can cause a perfectly normal person to feel like a monster because of the horrible thoughts and ideas that come to their mind. To do to others what was done to them. Some are lucky enough to bypass these mind games and others have to shove them out until they are gone. Suffering in every step of the process because they have been broken just because some man decided it would be fun. And because of that man one could think that they will never be worthy of another because they have been used and abused like some dog’s toy with no soul, life, or future. Definitely no ability to make decisions for themselves. There are scars that exist far beyond the eye can see and the victims of a crime like this have them. So they go to the police in the hopes to find some peace of mind, but instead they are greeted by the high prices of rape kits. You might as well stamp a sign on the door saying “Have you been raped? Sorry, we won’t help you.” Even if a girl has the ability to do a rape kit all that will happen is it will be thrown into the back of a lab to collect dust until years later a bored detective decides to give it a shot. It still might not be that girl’s kit though, since there is a pile of these kits from over the years. To conclude, I feel that if America would get a grip and find a heart this would have been solved already because they would understand the pain that came with these crimes.

My last thought for this paper is that women should not cry wolf unless they see one. What I mean by this is that if a woman has sex and then regrets it they should not file rape. If a teen has sex, but does not want to get in trouble they should not file rape. If a woman is not raped, they should not say they are. I am not saying this is always the case because it rarely is, but it should not happen. When this happens, people are less likely to believe those who are actually raped. When women who are raped go unnoticed all of the psychological issues I spoke of before only progress because they need help! If there are so many cases of true rape that we already “do not have time for” we definitely do not have time for those that are not rape at all.

To conclude my paper, rape is a horrible thing that must be stopped in some way or another or at least diminished. Women going unnoticed and criminals continuing to be free is not the American dream I had in mind and I know that many people feel the same. These women need peace, help, and the ability to recover from the pain that has been forced upon them. This is not an easy task to undergo due to the fact that there are so many victims, but I know that if we just try to help them and solve their cases not only will they have more peace, but we will show the men that there WILL be consequences for these actions. In this way they will hopefully think twice before making such a damaging and idiotic decision.

Kelsey Palmer

Slate is Tedious


Slate is Tedious
Slate is Tedious
Slate is Tedious

Today, I just gave up. I looked at the endless columns and Jackson Pollack arrangement of files, and said “Screw it, I’ll just read something else.”

That was my morning visit to the web site for Slate. I refer to it as a web site but that is overt praise for it. A proper nomenclature for the Internet would have some term for blindingly inaccessible sites, some short hand phrase that means “We hate you. Go away.”

Slate has some of the best writing on the Internet. Rebecca Schuman is magnificent. Few writers have ever had such a grasp of the contradictions and weirdness of the academic world. Dahlia Lithwick knows the law and can write about it with power and intelligence. Amanda Marcotte and her take on women’s issues is provocative and fun. And so on. But they are in different spots all over the web site, often multiple times.

Slate is a checkerboard designed by a madman, a psychopath with a hatred for good writing and humanity in general. The squares are colorful and, I’m sure, eminently satisfying for a four year old. As you go down the page, the squares change in order and size and importance and your eye tires of looking from side to side, up and down, and diagonally trying to make sense of this rubric’s cube’s disorder.

Before I read Slate each morning, I read the Guardian and Salon. Salon is my favorite. The writing isn’t better but going down the single column of offerings I see everything I want and pick out what I find important. But the Guardian is gold. It features a very high level of complexity and a wide variety of topics. Yet, they are presented in an intelligent, compelling format which is a joy to navigate. If I were one of the exalted royalty publishing at Slate, I would choose something like that.

But I have faith that they will continue on their present course and that it will only change with the people running the magazine are changed. That site cost a lot of money to set up and they’re not going to “waste it,” although they already have.

Will I read Slate tomorrow?

Yes. Rebecca, Dahlia and Amanda’s writing is calling for me and I will not resist the pull. And I have discovered that if I drink an extra cup of coffee, something iced and sweet, it improves my mood enough to get through the site. So, tomorrow, I go with full knowledge, once more, to the abyss.

James Pilant

 

Bruce Weinstein’s New Book


Bruce Weinstein’s New Book

Bruce Weinstein is also known as “The Ethics Guy.” I consider him a friend and enjoy and approve of his work. He has a blog which I recommend you visit, favorite, and return to often.

And now he has a new book called, The Good Ones: Ten Crucial Qualities of High-Character Employees. You can get it on Amazon, here.

His theme is that character is critical to success but it is not given priority in the hiring process. So, he gives guidance on what to look for in an employee that indicates high character.

He’s, of course, right, and since he has been dealing with these issues for some years, he has insights worth sharing.

Buy the book.

James Pilant

Business Ethics in the News 5/12/2015


Business Ethics in the News 5/12/2015

Reading the business news every morning as is my habit is a depressing experience. Every single day some business person is doing something illegal, immoral or stupid. And often it is not one or two stories but a half dozen.

Is there is a war between the ethical and unethical in the world of business, the news media tend to give the impression of a strongly successful offensive on the part of the vile and the cruel. The pursuit of the profit motive in the not so distant past often involved providing a service or selling a product. Today, you get a real sense of predatory practice.

For example:

House Republicans are again attacking measures aimed at protecting U.S. troops from predatory lending practices, two weeks after a similar GOP effort failed.

The military has been grappling with the financial impact of predatory lending on service members for years. In 2006, Congress passed legislation cracking down on some forms of high-interest credit, particularly payday lending. Lenders responded by exploiting loopholes in the law, and late last year, the Department of Defense proposed a new set of regulations designed to curb these creative workarounds that target troops.

Republicans have been working to kill those regulations before they can take effect. …

Feel nauseated yet? Certain companies (I wouldn’t want to tar all banks and lenders.) are lobbying Congress to make sure their ability to charge incredible interest rates to the troops goes unchanged. And the House of Representatives has already tried once and is trying again to nullify these regulations. I assume they’ll trot out the usual arguments about free markets and individual responsibility.

And how about this –

Blue Bell Creameries, the ice cream and frozen desserts maker that’s been tainted by a listeria crisis, had “strong evidence” that the bacteria was in its Oklahoma plant as of early 2013, the Houston Chronicle is reporting. According to reports the Chronicleobtained from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Blue Bell’s tests had turned up a “presumptive positive” for listeria on the floors, storage pallets, and other nonfood surfaces of its Oklahoma plant. In 2014, Blue Bell tests also found that the level of coliform bacteria in products exceeded the maximum allowed by the state of Oklahoma. On top of all that, the FDA said water condensation in the plant had been trickling into the company’s frozen sherbet containers and possibly its ice cream during production. So yeah. Gross.

So, when did they decide to do something? – When three deaths linked to their ice cream occurred. And now there are ten dead whose demise may be related to eating ice cream.

So, I ask you two questions.

First, how does our form of capitalism reconcile itself with patriotism? Perhaps, you could argue that business is value free, it’s only morality the dictates of the marketplace. And if that is true than selling pay day loans at very high interest rates is the correct thing to do. The ideas of duty and loyalty to a nation are obsolete relics of a time before the great revelation of free market fundamentalism.

Secondly, how does our form of capitalism reconcile itself with public safety? It is obvious that you can make a lot more money making food in unsanitary conditions. Keeping the premises clean and protecting the food from contamination is expensive, time consuming and often subject to failure through human, animal or insect action. What is more important, keeping costs low or protecting the public?

Here is an actual working example. The company knew that they had a problem for more than a year. That’s a lot of ice cream. So, how important was human safety to the decision makers? It appears to have been low on their list of priorities.

So, let me ask a third question. What human value, be it patriotism, be it the preservation of human life, honor, religion, or even love that cannot tossed casually aside in the pursuit of profit? Under free market fundamentalism, isn’t greed the only quality worth cultivating, the great motivator, the basic rule of objectivism?

i_236The proliferation of pay day loan stores around military bases is not an accident; it is the result of a philosophy that says making money is more important than the welfare of American serviceman. Selling contaminated ice cream for more than a year with the direct knowledge that you are doing it, is not an accident, it is not a miscalculation. It is again a result of a philosophy that put profits ahead of one of the most basic rules of humanity, thou shalt no kill.

So, tomorrow morning, I will get up and there will be new articles, new affronts to morality, new descriptions of stupidity and greed, and sometimes, I look at those headlines, those stories, those crimes and I wonder why I believe so firmly in the right in the face of so much evidence that doing wrong is profitable.

The Teacher and Student Gap


The Teacher and Student Gap in Film Understanding

One day, I was teaching about a film, “It Happened One Night.” I was trying to explain the apparently ridiculous custom of showing people driving against a background screen. It looks tacky and breaks your acceptance of the film. It’s the problem with sound. I’ve seen silent films where they took film of people driving in cars and interacting in cars. But sound equipment is bulky. What’s more, the background noise of the automobile and the surroundings play havoc with the recording. So, we have to have a controlled environment. Modern film has access to much more capable equipment and that’s one of the reasons my students prefer to avoid the classic black and whites.

026I suppose one of the hardest things about teaching with film is the enormous disparity in understanding between teacher and student. They don’t get jokes, miss symbolism, never seem to look at the background and, worse of all, have trouble staying interested for more than twenty minutes. Their hands drift inexorably toward their electronic devices to check text and e-mail, an electronic reality more important to them than the Joseph Campbell style myths conveyed by film.

The way they talk, touch, perceive love and honor, choose their life goals and what they choose to believe in their version of reality are all shaped and shaped dramatically by these brief hours of concentrated talent. Sometimes they seem to get it and often not. I shouldn’t blame them too much. It has only been in the last few years that I began looking at film in terms of ethics, business ethics in particular. And worse, the films that have been important influences in my own life didn’t become apparent to me until I reflected long and hard while watching films I’d seen in my youth.

I wonder what they think about themselves from what they saw growing up. There were scant few special effects in my time and now they’re present in most films sometimes dominating them to the exclusion of all other factors. Could it be that lives seem humdrum and banal compared to an episode of Transformers? And because special effects take up so much time, do they live lives where conversation and relationships are de-emphasized just as in the films?
I know that for a good number I am planting the seeds of what someday will be a strong knowledge and appreciation of film culture and its significance in our lives. Future success is the rough equivalent of dry bread for dinner. You know it’s probably good for you but you’d rather not eat it.

James Pilant

Women Play Computer Games


Women Play Computer Games

In the article below, it is revealed that Minecraft will soon have a female protagonist. Instead of always having to play a male, a player can choose either sex.

Apparently the video game world just realized that there are women who play video games. So, let’s see if I have the chain of male cluelessness down – males were surprised to learn that women could talk, write, speak in public, choose their own husbands, control their own property, vote, drive cars, work, operate machinery, play sports, etc. What’s next?

Women Play Video Games
Women Play Video Games

Don’t worry. I’m sure there is a great number of things people in various industries are confident that women don’t, can’t or won’t do. I remember reading a magazine from back in the fifties. They were interviewing this guy who was a chef and they asked him if it bothered him to do what was traditionally women’s work. He explained that he wasn’t a cook, he was a chef and his job was tough and no woman could do what he did.

For many males, maybe all males, being identified however distantly with the female other is frightening and demeaning. Zones of apparent all male participation are comforting if wickedly unfair and ridiculous.

If we are going to practice business ethics, women are not the other – women are part of we, we the decisionmakers, the players, the consumers, etc. etc.

It’s obvious from reading about this mini-revolution in gaming of having female video game characters, that the designers were men who felt that the players in the games they made were also men.

How many times do we in the business of educating people have to see this pattern before realize that it might be better and easier to work on how our students construct a comfortable narrative based on yesterday’s gender identities? If we teach them that males and females are opposites but different perspectives on humanity, we might make better professionals – and better human beings as well.

James Pilant

Minecraft, Temple Run: Video game characters don’t have to default to male.

Fans of Minecraft—especially girls—have long felt frustrated that the only default character available in the popular building game is a man. Now, the game’s programmers have announced that players will get a lady option. The Washington Post describes this new character, Alex, as “a seemingly female character with thinner arms, pinker lips, and a swoop of hair around her neck,” in contrast to default character Steve, “a bulky man with short, dark hair and a 5 o’clock shadow.” Owen Hill of Mojang, the game studio that created Minecraft, explains that this move will better “represent the diversity of our playerbase.”

via Minecraft, Temple Run: Video game characters don’t have to default to male..

James, the Jihadist


James, the Jihadist
James, the Jihadist

James, the Jihadist

I have argued that allowing gays and lesbians to be discriminated against in business transactions is wrong and poor business ethics. I have advocated that this legislation be changed before enactment and if enacted to be repealed. In this, I have acted inside the bounds of political activity traditional in this nation. At no point have I advocated violence against any religious establishment.

Nevertheless, people who agree with me and have made similar public comments have been described as “Jihadists” by Presidential candidate, Ted Cruz. A Jihadist? I don’t think I qualify. I am not currently involved in a Jihad, have not advocated violence against anyone over this legislation, and look ridiculous in a burnoose. I personally am a Christian and I am not part of a conspiracy to wage a Jihad against my own religion. I would find that personally divisive.

Being accused of being a Jihadist is not the only insult that people who share my beliefs have received on this issue. According to former Presidential candidate, Newt Gringrich, we are part of a lynch mob. And he backs up his claim, by explaining that people like me have to be deluded because the bill is “exactly the same as in Connecticut.” I believe he is implying that the bill is like the one in many states and the one passed by the federal legislation during the Clinton Administration. That’s a lie.

It’s not a little lie. It’s a giant hulking monstrous lie. As an attorney, I am well aware that adding a single comma can change the intent or the effect of legislation. The Indiana bill contain two entire clauses not in other bills save for the one in Texas. But the Texas bill has a civil rights exception that protects gay and lesbians. The Indiana bill doesn’t. The Indiana bill was designed like a laser beam to hit a single target, gays and lesbians in the market place. The foundation of the bill was in the fact that neither Indiana nor the federal government has legislation protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. All the other groups, women, minorities, etc., were protected by previous laws. Gays were the only people without cover The new clauses and the absence of a civil rights protection made the legislation dramatically different from what had been passed before. The bill does look similar to the bills passed before but if it walks like duck, quacks like a duck and has dripping fangs as well as razor sharp teeth, it’s not a duck anymore.

That the bill was identical with other state legislation and therefore did nothing new was a great talking point but that doesn’t make it true. No matter how loud or how often a lie is said does not make it reality.

But there was still more, I am not only described as a Jihadist and a leader of a lynch mob, I also lack perspective. According to Tom Cotton, the new Senator from Arkansas and famous letter writer, I lack perspective because, “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”

No, that’s not how it works. If I point out that a man is starving, and you point out that another man up the street is also starving but that I wasn’t paying attention to his problem – a point has been made. But Cotton’s argument is too distant in nature and form from the situation in Indiana. As an American citizen I can have little effect on the law in Iran. But as an American citizen, in this country, I have both the right and the responsibility to participate in the affairs of the nation. I cannot and will not close my eyes to injustice that I can do something about. And that is where Cotton’s argument fails. However much I may lament the actions of people in other nations, I live here and what happens affects me directly.

Why are the first two criticisms so bizarre? It seems pretty obvious that group of citizens, newspaper writers, politicians and leaders in business are neither Jihadists nor part of a lynch mob. These two criticisms have no connection with any objective reality but they are designed for use. There will be radio shows, television pleas and letters, literally millions of letters, saying this –

HOMOSEXUAL JIHADISTS ARE PLANNING THE DESTRUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY, YOUR CHURCHES WILL BE DESTROYED, YOUR BIBLES BURNED AND RELIGION AS WE KNOW IT WILL CEASE TO EXIST!!

CAN YOU SEND $100, $50 OR EVEN AS LITTLE AS FIVE DOLLARS TO SAVE THE WORD OF JESUS CHRIST FROM BEING WIPED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH BY THE GAY LYNCH MOB?

And then they’ll talk about this being a critical point in American history and the need to act now, right now, and how sending them money will allow brave men (insert current anti-jihadist fund raiser) to act on their behalf to defend American values.

I’ve seen fund raising letters like these dozens of times; the writing is usually in all caps, although usually the lead statements are in giant blood red letters that virtually scream crisis off the page.  How many of you remember the letters sent out charging that if John Kerry won the Presidency, bibles would be banned? That was in the 2004 campaign but these kinds of fund raising appeals are made constantly preying on those who would believe the worst of their fellow Americans.

To me, it seems obvious that the Jihad and lynch mob lines are set-ups for fund raising letters and Senator Cotton was just commenting. After all, you can’t really do much with a “lack of perspective” charge in a fund raising letter.

In conclusion, there is no Jihad, period. There is no lynch mob. And there is plenty of perspective.

What happened was democracy in action. I wasn’t pleased with all of it, but businesses, individuals, and elected officials stepped up publicly and opposed the legislation and it was changed. That is how things are supposed to work.

I participated in that as an American citizen as is my right under the law. And that is just what I am, an American.

James Pilant

(Below are my sources and the quotes I drew from for the above article. jp)

Senator Says Critics Of Indiana Should Get ‘Perspective,’ Be Thankful State Doesn’t Execute Gays

Appearing yesterday on CNN, Senator Tom Cotton (R) urged critics of Indiana’s “religious freedom” law to get “perspective,” suggesting the treatment of LGBT people in Indiana compared favorably to countries where gay people are executed.

“I think it’s important we have a sense of perspective,” Cotton said. “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/04/02/3642060/senator-says-critics-indiana-get-perspective-thankful-state-doesnt-execute-gays/

Newt Gingrich Slams ‘Lynch Mob’ For Opposing Indiana Religious Freedom Law

The fact is, for example, the governor of Connecticut announced he wouldn’t send people to Indiana. Well, Connecticut has exactly the same law. They adopted it 20 years ago. The head of Apple announces that he’s deeply disappointed. Apple sells cell phones in Saudi Arabia, where being homosexual is a death penalty. The level of selective outrage, the opportunity to pick a fight — the news media couldn’t help themselves.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/01/newt-gingrich-lynch-mob-indiana-religious-freedom_n_6986808.html

Ted Cruz: ‘Jihad’ Was Waged Against Religious Freedom Bills

“We look at the jihad that is being waged right now in Indiana and Arkansas going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Cruz said during a panel moderated by conservative radio host Steve Deace on Thursday. “We need to bring people together to the religious liberty values that built this country.”

via Ted Cruz: ‘Jihad’ Was Waged Against Religious Freedom Bills.

Religion Is A Weapon


Religion Is A Weapon
Religion is a weapon
Religion is a weapon

Below my comments is a brief piece of an article in which a minister explains from the pulpit (to be succinct)”This is a man’s world.” The current political reality is that it is still very much in many ways a man’s world, but this minister isn’t arguing political reality, he’s saying that to be “right with God,” a church must enshrine male leadership.

The basic conflict here is simple. If women are human beings with intelligence and judgment and in Christianity, a soul, doesn’t it follow that they should have equal rights and full participation in society? If not, what are they? – something not quite finished or whole? The struggle here is between these two kinds of thought. In my experience, there is only one answer, women are equal to men.

Our minister here is using Christianity as a cover for his beliefs about women and this is historically common, the last defense against civil rights for blacks was religion. It was a line of defense against freeing the slaves. It was used to defend denying women the right to vote, and now this “spokesman” for the Almighty finds justification once again to put someone in their place, in this case half the world’s population.

It is written –

King James Bible
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

I can’t help but think that this sword is too often picked up not in the name of Christianity but to justify personal inclination. When used in this way, religion is a weapon. But I do not understand how a believer in a all-wise, all knowing Deity can believe that women are a lesser vessel. Yes, I’m sure you can find some pertinent verses but we as a society have long ago given up witch burning, selling our daughters as bond slaves, killing disobedient children and executing rape victims for not making enough noise during the assault. (We also charge interest on things – strictly forbidden!) Take a look:

New International Version
He lends at interest and takes a profit. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.

I’m sure the banking industry would have a difficult time following that command.

So, we as a society have from time to time rewritten our laws and customs to be out of accordance with a literal interpretation of the bible but perhaps very much in line with biblical intent. So, the bible’s use as shield for misogyny is another belief that we will very likely modify as a society as attitudes change.

I have written and still believe that women’s changing status is the most important business ethics issue of this decade. It is an ongoing struggle and I read virtually every single day of women suffering firing, insult and abuse in the work place. While this minister is something of an obvious buffoon, many of his ilk are far more skilled communicators and they have considerable influence. Generally, they don’t speak of women as being inferior so much as needing protection. Thus, discrimination is justified because women need help in a dangerous world and often they need this help in making good judgments about abortion, contraception, etc.

Business is a part of our culture and like other elements is influenced by religion. And that is why I call attention to the use of relion as a weapon against women. But however much I find this use distressing I still find comfort, wisdom and moral direction in the book. I may be accused of hypocrisy in quoting the book in service to my own beliefs while others using quotes face my scorn but this comes from reading the bible as an evolving document not as a word for word set of commands. In this belief I am very much in line with what my denomination believes.

I believe the day will come when society finds it ridiculous that middle aged men (like the minister described below) believed they could make better decisions for women than the women themselves.

James Pilant

Pastor Fails Hard In His Demonstration Of Why Male Leadership Is So Superior

“Don’t you be ashamed you go to a church with male leadership,” Lytells says in the clip of his sermon, uploaded to YouTube by ‘Bad Preachers’. “Every church that’s right with God oughta have a sign: ‘Male Leadership.’ Because that’s the only kind of leadership, both from Adam all the way to the last part of the Bible. It’s all been male. This is a man’s world!”

via Pastor Fails Hard In His Demonstration Of Why Male Leadership Is So Superior.

The Ethics Sage Discusses the Moral Issues in the Film, Insurgent.


The Ethics Sage Discusses the Moral Issues in the Film, Insurgent.

(Steven Mintz, the Ethics Sage give his usual intelligent analysis to a film. Please go to his web site and read the whole entry. jp)

Below is a brief excerpt from this work followed by my own comments.

The Ethics of Insurgent of the Divergent Series – Ethics Sage

What makes “Insurgent” a modern play on morality is that Tris encounters a wide variety of moral issues that can best be viewed through the lens of the film itself. Here are some quotes:  

“That might be your truth; it’s not necessarily mine” – a textbook summary of moral relativism.

“I’m just one person; I’m not worth it” – spoken when Tris considers submitting to death rather than seeing others suffer, reflecting a utilitarian understanding that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, something I recently blogged about.

 “Dark times call for dark measures, but I am serving the greater good” – or, in other words, “the ends justify the means.” We can relate this to the current conflict (war?) with ISIS and ISIL. That is, fighting a war may be wrong but its ends of “degrading” and “destroying” an evil enemy make it justified from a moral point of view.

“May the truth set you free.” Honesty is the best policy and leads to a clear conscience.

via The Ethics of Insurgent of the Divergent Series – Ethics Sage. (End of excerpt)

Films are a vital tool in teaching business ethics.

frontWhile I don’t use any of the Divergent Series in my classes, I’m confident they are useful. Why? Because most motion pictures save for those displaying our modern penchant for special effects over character development almost always deal with moral issues. Some films are more useful than others. For instance, The Wolf of Wall Street glorifies the antics of a criminal. On the other hand, there are films like Desk Set, The Apartment, and Sabrina that illustrate business and class issues, and, not incidentally are some of the greatest films of all time.

Today in class, we used My Life in Ruins to teach Business Ethics. Nia Vardalos may very well have made “The Gone With the Wind” of business ethics films. The film is so crowded with business ethics problems that my students sometimes have trouble writing them down as the film proceeds. That the film is also well-done and funny are added benefits. (Education does not always have to be painful.)

One of the interesting things about using films in class is that those who use documentaries tend to use the same ones (based on my observations and reading other people’s syllabi), while those who use movies vary widely. One of my colleagues sent me her syllabus in which all of her films are very recent whereas my films can go back to the silents (Metropolis). Now, my students give me the impression that making them watch a silent film is roughly equivalent to slowly boiling them in oil. So, that particular one is an optional extra-credit assignment.

James Pilant