Kitten Killer Josh Barro
The next mayor of New York, if he or she is to do a good job, will have to say “no” a lot. “No” to public employee unions who want a retroactive raise the city can’t afford. “No” to city councilmembers who will try to spend every tax dollar that comes in instead of rebuilding the city’s reserve funds. “No” to NIMBYs who don’t want anything new built in their neighborhoods. “No” to commuters seeking relief from fare increases, bridge tolls, parking fines, and an alleged “war on cars.”
Now, I will note that as far as I know, Josh Barro has not personally killed any kittens. He merely advocates that others do it, a candidate for major in particular, pointing out the “real New Yorkers” don’t care about this. I have had the pleasure of meeting New Yorkers and those have I met strike me as a compassionate and worthy lot. Perhaps he meets a different group.
New York does not need a mayor with the “resolve” to kill kittens. New York is not yet a business theocracy where order is preferred over the democratic rabble. Those kitten lovers, those unions, those neighborhoods are constituents in a democracy. They have a voice. They deserve that voice. They participate in society. They pay taxes and obey the laws. That they don’t meet the standards of Josh Baro is not a legitimate reason to disenfranchise or ignore them.
There is a certain implication here that killing kittens, ignoring unions and overruling local populations is a matter of courage. I often hear that acting in defiance of the wishes of those that elected you, for instance, cutting medicare and social security, is a matter of resolve and courage. No, it’s a matter of acting anti-democratically. It’s a matter of denying necessary benefits long proven successful because it disempowers millions of Americans and making them subject to the whims of our “betters.”
We can safely assume that the title of the article is meant to be provocative. I’ll buy that. But I think he means it. And I have seen a number of kitten hating blogs take up the cry and I find this depressing. There is a place for compassion and kindness and I believe that what “real New Yorkers” believe is far more varied than Josh Barro’s friends in the business community.
How can we have business ethics if we live in a country where order and profits (saving time by running over kittens with subway trains) trump moral and compassionate concerns? We might as well fold up our ethics tents and drift away in the night.
I have seen a good number of ethics professors and textbooks explain that business ethics is actually profitable. Businesses that practice ethics have greater customer trust and loyalty, and over time this and other ethics practices produce profits. I don’t doubt this for a moment but it misses the point of ethics. We do it not because it is profitable but because it is right. We do it because we want to live with some sense of purpose beyond counting our money and giggling like Bond villains.
Ruthlessness and profits above all other values are popular right now with the one percent. That you and I are not wealthy is a sign of our unworthiness. But we in the middle class, who do the work, who sacrifice for our values, and who do the jobs of fireman, teaching and policeman are the heart of the nation, the ones that make this country work. I have nothing but pride for being one of those citizens.