Tag Archives: Morality

Minimum Wage: Part II

It hasn’t been many years since my family income hovered around the poverty line.  We were frustrated by this because we were not uneducated, unskilled workers. My husband finished his BA the year after we were married and had been the primary anchor and news producer for AFKN for two years. It was a surprise to us that in the civilian market for news reporters and anchors military experience meant starting at the bottom and the bottom meant working for minimum wage. At first, more than half of our income was taken up by rent. We did not get food stamps or other aid preferring to operate within an older ethic that did not burden others for choices we had made. We pawned everything of value and did without.

I know the pain of being underemployed.  I empathize with those who are in a similar situation and on a personal level do whatever I can to soften the pain of going through this stage.  And Americans do go through this stage in the sense that “individuals do in fact move up and down the earnings hierarchy all the time (Schiller and Mukhopadhyay, pg. 16). Although young people start in the lowest income quintile they do not need to expect to stay there.  This mobility between income quintiles is well documented and not disputed between economists of different schools (Schiller and Mukhopadhyay).

Whatever facts and experience tell us, the pain of being a low wage earner is difficult for those in the midst of it and for those who believe that any inequality that exists should be remedied by the government. According to Balanced Politics.org, this is one of the common arguments for raising the minimum wage: “Workers need a minimum amount of income from their work to survive and pay the bills.” After all, if inflation makes all the prices go up, it seems reasonable that the minimum wage should rise to meet it so that our poorest people are not the ones to suffer.  It makes a sort of sense to “force businesses to share some of the vast wealth with the people that help to produce it” (BalancedPolitics.org).

While this reasoning shows a lack of fundamental economic understanding, the intentions of politicians and voters who want to increase the minimum wage law seem to be good. They don’t like to see people suffer and they feel that it is such an easy way to minimize the suffering of some of our poorest people. They want to be compassionate and fair. These are seen to be the best virtues by which to evaluate the ethical nature of the law. If it is unfair that people earn different amounts of money, then to guarantee the lowest earners enough to live on is a way to approach fairness or to compensate them for the income inequality they are suffering.

Unfortunately, closer analysis reveals a number of problems with the use of virtue ethics to judge laws.  First, there are differing ideas about which virtue should be at the top of our national agenda. At one time the virtue of personal industry was paramount and laws which tended to diminish personal industry lost their support. At another time, liberty was the highest virtue in American ideals so that laws that impinged on liberty did not go very far. Virtue ethical systems have this problem; it is inherent in the structure (Ethics Applied Edtion 6.0,Goree, Manias & Till, pg.164).

Furthermore, even if we were to agree that the goal of the minimum wage law was fairness and that fairness was the most important virtue to consider, further analysis would be necessary. Fairness to the employee must be balanced with fairness to the employer and also to the customer.  Is it fair to penalize the person who takes the risks of owning a company in order to prop up earners who are just at the beginning of their earning trajectory? Since we cannot even define fairness in this situation, is it fair to impose a minimum wage law?

Note: We pick up next time with investigating the consequences of minimum wage as a method to assess its fairness.

Minimum Wage: Part I

We are about to embark on a minimum wage kick. These posts are the work of Debbie Thompson (the author of the book study guides available under that amazingly clear tab ‘Book Study Guides’). I have done some editing because the content is based on a long essay she wrote for an ethics class. And seeing as around 3k words is a very very very long blog post, I decided that I would do some light editing to turn the essay into a series of posts, of an undefined length, based on the major points of the paper. I will also have the works referenced in each post cited in the post they are mentioned in so that you can go look at them. I hope you enjoy it, I hope you think about minimum wage differently afterwords. Remember, the opinions expressed in this series are the opinions of the author, which I am very likely to share…

Here is the abstract of the essay to get you started. expect Part II within a few days.

“Ethical thinking about minimum wage laws has been built by the emotive desire for equal outcomes in pay regardless of skill, age, education, or demand for a particular skill or education. It has become standard to think of this in terms of whether or not it is fair for some people to earn more than other people, or for some people to earn more than they need while others do not. This paper urges use of consequentialist ethics which analyzes results rather than relying on emotions or intent to determine the merit of the law. Because those who promote minimum wage tend to think they represent the moral high ground, the essay examines the intent of its first advocates. In the light of that examination the discussion concludes by challenging readers to a renewed skepticism and appreciation of the role of reason. Examining verifiable data will ultimately lead to an acknowledgement of the abject failure of minimum wage law and its adverse effects upon the very people it is supposed to help.

Special Treatment

A strange thought occurred  to me while I was reading this article at PJ Media on gendercide: the abominable practice of killing unborn children because they are girls.

Some estimates say the world is missing over 200 million girls thanks to the practice of gendercide. Most of those come from China and India where they eliminate more girls every year than America has births.

What occurred to me is this: it seems that every single victim group category that we are lectured must receive special treatment is also a category that we are told is acceptable as a reason for abortion. The same set of people who relentlessly force ADA type rules and laws upon everyone, proclaiming that the federal government MUST force people to build buildings etc. to accommodate those who have disabilities, tell us that we should abort babies because they will probably be disabled.

Today’s medical technology has given parents the ability to test and see if there is a strong likelihood that their baby may have some form of disability or special needs. The result of such technology has led to a startling number of abortions. We don’t have all the statistics, but where we do the numbers are startling. There is an 80-95% abortion rate of children who are predicted to have Down Syndrome.

The same feminists who march for special treatment rather than equality are shockingly silent or even supportive of the abortion of babies that happen to be female. Couple this with the oddly targeted nature of Planned Parenthood clinics in minority and poor neighborhoods, and a strange picture seems to appear. Why, it almost seems as if the proponents of abortion use it to facilitate the elimination of classes and categories of people that they publicly proclaim to support, but privately loathe. They say, and derive public support from saying, that they are champions of minorities, women, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the poor; but with abortion (and upcoming, euthanasia) they at the same time work to eliminate these people.

I would certainly start thinking about worrying if I heard this set of people start including a group to which I belonged to their list of people needing government ‘help’. Like, should we include ugly people in the ADA??? Will they start defending abortion if the genetic tests suggest the baby might be ugly? How about permitting euthanasia for people who find themselves irretrievably ugly? It brings to mind the real question: what are these government sanctioned murders for? In every case it is for population control of some subset of the human race. (Except for environmentalist greenies who want to eliminate all but a few of us; they include all of humanity other than themselves.)

What will this type of person, this group, this death-cult do if abortion on demand doesn’t control the population the way they want? Forced abortions and sterilizations? What about concentration camps? Which, true to Goodwin’s law, brings up in conclusion the very real connection between modern liberals and the early 20th century eugenicists. They gave up the name, but kept the ideology that if only we could eliminate the undesirable parts of the population, then we could achieve utopia. So yeah, Hitler….

Readers may say that I wildly exaggerate.  Considering, however that the world is missing 200 million women due to sex-selective abortion as well as untold minorities, poor, and potentially disabled,  the correlation between the Nazi philosophy, the modern liberal philosophy and the Nazi methods and the method of abortion are not overblown. Recall that Margret Sanger (planned parenthood founder) wanted abortion to be cheap and available to poor minorities so that the ‘human weeds’ would control their own population.

So, beware special treatment; also beware ‘free’ healthcare because once the government cannot afford to pass out free healthcare to all, the ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unproductive’ will be the ones to be denied treatment (first) on top of already being aborted at the highest rate. That is, the most inconvenient will be allowed, or forced, to die.

Garbage Police

Imagine Garbage Police… actually you don’t have to since the DNC has them. All I can say is this, if this type of interfering busybody continues to be elected, they will not rest until they run every part of everyone’s lives like this.

At many garbage stations there are “environmental consultants” to help people choose the right bin, or, if need be, reach in and move the garbage to the right one. For example, one of the consultants repeatedly stopped kitchen help at the trash cans to advise which cans to use: cardboard in “Recycle,” food in “Compost,” styrofoam cups in “Landfill.”

On a high note, those stuff like those ‘environmental consultants’ hopefully contribute to the fast burn rate of the Obama/DNC money supply.


Grimm: Season 2

Well, Grimm season two has started that that means that I get to write about the show again. Besides being a fun 45 minutes  per episode of adventure and fighting, there are at least three major good reasons Grimm is a good show.

The show manages the almost impossible distinction between morally complicated good guy/ bad guy dichotomy and the morally ambiguous version of the same thing. Basically, any story can have one of three categories of characters; sometimes it can have some of each too. The first category is the morally straightforward characters, whether good or evil. Iago is morally unambiguous and evil, and also very realistic, Captain America from the recent Avengers is unambiguously good. The second category is the morally ambiguous character. This character is ambiguous not because you do not understand his motivations but the character is ambiguous because the writer/director has swallowed the whole fishing apparatus of moral relativism and does not even realize it. I am a little rust on characters like this, since moral relativistic movies tend to be almost unbearable to watch, but whenever the film or book wants you to ‘understand’ the evil rather than condemn it, it falls into this category. However, Grimm falls into neither of these categories. It rather falls into what I would call the ‘real world’ category. Since the reader can be kept unknowledgeable about enough of what is really going on to make it difficult to tell if a character is trying to do something good or bad, that makes it messy, complicated, and realistic.

About the main character, Detective Burkhardt, we know his motivations and his methods, and he is clearly trying to do good. About the mysterious rulers of the Wesen world we know that they are trying to rule everything to their own evil pleasures. However, about the police captain, we simply do not know. We know he is working against the ‘bad guys’ but we also know his methods seem to indicate him as another bad guy. This messiness also extends to the Grimms who can see and fight the Wesen. Some of them (apparently, we only meet a few) hunt Wesen almost for sport, whether or not they are evil. So, full marks to Grimm for making a complicated messy, but not morally relativistic world.

Another impressive quality of Grimm that it avoids much of the repetitiveness that many TV shows have. For instance, Monk’s murder investigations become wrote and tedious. But for Grimm, which frequently introduces yet another Wesen every episode, it does not get tedious. I credit this to its adherence to the feeling of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and to the fact that the seasons have more than incidental season long plots. I don’t think I can really emphasize enough that in Grimm, we find the real psychological message of fairy tales. As Chesterton says: “Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

Also strong in Grimm is the soul of this other quote from Chesterton: (The Dragon’s Grandmother, in Tremendous Trifles h/t Jotter Notes)

“Can you not see,” I said, “that fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and straightforward; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is in its nature essentially incredible? Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming. The problem of the fairy tale is — what will a healthy man do with a fantastic world? The problem of the modern novel is — what will a madman do with a dull world? In the fairy tales the cosmos goes mad; but the hero does not go mad. In the modern novels the hero is mad before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel sanity of the cosmos.

With that I leave you with a recommendation to watch Grimm: good times, good plots, and a sane man in a world gone mad.

More on Moral Decay

To return briefly to a previous topic, (Moral Decay) only in order to direct you to the section pasted below 9and for those who wish, the link to the long and excellent post at The Other McCain. Here is one section, go and read the whole thing.

The Arithmetic of Death

I don’t mean merely that methods like The Pill and so called ”emergency contraception” can act as abortifacients, although that is certainly true. What I mean is that all contraceptive methods, except abstinence or surgical sterilization, have a failure rate. And when contraception fails, abortion is a likely consequence of the unexpected pregnancy that results.

Let us stipulate, arguendo, that The Pill is 98% effective. Sounds “safe,” huh? But what that means is that The Pill fails in 1 out of 50 uses. Now apply The Law of Large Numbers to that statistic: With hundreds of thousands of American women relying on The Pill to keep them “safe,” there are then many thousands of women each year who are surprised to find themselves pregnant anyway.

Given that they wouldn’t have been taking The Pill if they felt they were ready for motherhood, and quite justified in feeling that their pregnancy is unfair – they were doing what they had been told was the “responsible” thing, and this unintended outcome was not due to their failure — these women easily convince themselves that abortion is now necessary.

Therefore, it was hardly surprising that the decade after The Pill was introduced, there was an alarming rise in abortion. It is true that illegal back-alley abortionists — as well as more “respectable” doctors who sometimes performed abortions privately and illegally — had existed for decades. But after the advent of The Pill in 1960 (just as the first Baby Boomers were becoming teenagers), hospitals experienced a horrifying influx of bleeding and infected victims of botched abortions. If you go back and read contemporary accounts of the abortion debate in the late ’60s, you discover that the pressure for legalization came not so much from radical feminists or sexual revolutionaries as from doctors and nurses who were simply exhausted by this dreadful problem.

The Pill — and the accompanying media hype about how this scientific miracle would free women of sexual worries  – was therefore a major paving stone on the road to Roe v. Wade.

Also, I almost feel like stealing his tagline: “One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up.” — Arthur Koestler

Problems with Libertarians

I was going to always avoid politics here, but its too late. I have been thinking about libertarians in general and Ron Paul in specific and organizing my thoughts against him. However, I do not intend to write much about politics, as fiction and philosophy are so interesting to me. However, philosophy frequently overlaps politics, and this is an election year….

The major issues I have with Ron Paul libertarianism (as I heard it in the presidential debates, and experienced it talking to his supporters) are three. First, the apparent abandonment of the principal by which laws are justified, secondly, the curious insistence that Ron Paul is the ultimate expression of constitutionalism and the embodiment of the American founding, and lastly, his followers seem to frequently think and behave like cult followers.

First Point: I believe that the law is always founded upon someone’s idea of what is moral. If you remove all moral thinking you actually remove all basis for law. The result is generally anarchy which in turn usually breeds tyranny. Without founding laws upon someone’s morals, (if it is one person’s morals, then it is a monarchy, if several persons, an oligarchy, if it is based on the majority opinion of a people who rule themselves, it is a democracy) how can the law say that murder is wrong, or that selling national secrets is wrong, or that rape is wrong? Every argument against these things starts with a form of morality whether the person making the argument uses that word or not. For instance, rape is wrong because it forces one persons will upon another person. The morality here is fairly obvious, just not stated explicitly. It is: “Anything that takes something without consent from someone else is wrong. Anything that does not affect someone else is acceptable.” This seems to me to be the basic morality of the libertarian position. I tend to think it is not comprehensive enough, but that is not my point. It seems to me that a Ron Paul libertarian would, if given their way, make it so that communities who have a different, more extensive, set of morals (like believing that drugs should be illegal) cannot enforce them, while at the same time denying that their laws are based on morality.  I believe that this is an untenable position. It is better to admit that laws are based on what society thinks is moral and then to constantly debate what is moral and immoral and should therefore be legal or illegal.

Second point: This point actually meshes with the last point. It seems to me that somehow, through machinations unknown, a man who has sat in congress for years, who has had no applicable effect on the thinking of his colleagues or the execution of laws, who indulged in the egregious habit of earmarks just like everyone else in congress somehow claims to be ideologically pure, for small government, and a good choice for a leader. He is supposedly a pure conservative, when in fact his actions, regardless of excuses, have been almost identical to the behavior of his colleagues.

Third Point: At some point when a man’s supporters behave like followers of cult leader, speak like followers of a cult lead, and insult anyone who criticizes their leader, it seems to me to be fairly safe to think many of them are cult members. To prove me wrong, any Ron Paul supporters who reads this, I challenge you: in the comments below, describe one moderate to major flaw in your candidate: one thing that makes him less than 95% perfect for the presidency whether from personal life or legislative career. (Of course you can also make the case why he is good for the presidency.) No excuses unless the excuse leaves you at least moderately uncomfortable.

I will start. (I only support Mitt Romney because he is the republican, and I think on the presidential scale that’s the best you can do. I think America needs reforming on the local scale by people like Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal, and on the federal scale we pick the least bad of two for now.) However, I do now support Mitt Romney. I will probably volunteer for his campaign and at some point I may even send him some of my hard earned money.  However, it deeply disturbs me that although I agree with most things he has said since 2008, he has no political record that matches with these beliefs. I understand the excuse that people change their positions and that he had to deal with a very, very, leftist state, but these excuses make me still feel uncomfortable, and I deal with it while wishing that he was better. I also realize that every politician is going to have done things I don’t like, and I support the ones who do things the most like what I believe. Someone who follows a politician without knowing and dealing with their human shortcomings is remarkably similar to a cult member.

I just found this article, another longer discussion of the problems of Libertarianism (as opposed to my rant).