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June 11, 2005


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Blue noses and blue chips, Tutor. Sanctimony boosts the bottom line.

"He doesn't drink, smoke, or go with girls," what else could we possibily want to know about the CEO's business ethics?

Does he support the homosexual agenda?

Interesting perspective on what makes up character ... and what can be ignored as not material to character ... about visible behaviour, but not purpose


Silly to be critical of one article for what it does NOT say, when a simple site search pulls up more on business ethics that addresses other topics perhaps even of interest to you, but with which, it seems, you and your readers will be pre-disposed to quibble in any case.

Welcome, Lenore. Thanks for dropping by. Reconciling the profit imperative in corporate life with social responsibility is a big struggle. Maybe it is the central issue. Trying to do so is what some of us experience as "wealth bondage." Serving two masters, as the Bible says, is effectively impossible. Profit and ethics do not stay in synch very well, unless ethics are pretty flexible. To make ethics a matter of personal sexual hygiene simply trivializes the inherent conflict between Jesus and the money changers, or Jesus on the Mount and Satan who tempted him with the Market and Political Power. (So it seems to me.)

Preaching to the confirmed is much less interesting than trading viewpoints with those who see it differently. I hope you get into blogging again in a big way and that we can trade ideas.

What is telling is that many of these companies had one other factor in common: Their auditor was Arthur Andersen, the now disgraced accounting firm that is fighting for its survival. Andersen signed off on many of the accounting practices used by these companies and was recently convicted for obstruction of justice for destroying Enron documents.

Multicultural moral relativism triumphed once again, I'm afraid. The disgraced accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, is off the hook on appeal to the Supreme Court.

The most insulting part of the second article is this:

First, business schools must place a greater emphasis on ethics in their curricula and in the type of people they hold up as models to the students. I, for one, am not optimistic about the secular university setting. It is unlikely that these strongholds for multiculturally driven moral relativism will produce students who have strong, principled moral convictions. Christian colleges are better positioned to do this important task, since they approach ethics with standards that do not change with the culture.

Is there no room for other religions? There has never been any evidence to support the belief that religious values and business ethics go hand in hand anyway, but surely non-Christians are as capable as Chrsitians of behaving in moral and upright fashion.

A good Christian would use or not use sweatshop labor overseas to gain a competitive advantage? A good Christain PR person would or would not embroider the truth for the company? A good Christain would or would not fix the facts to fit a preconcerted plan to attack Iraq? A good Christian would or would not condone torture? A good Christian would or would not endorse Strauss on the "noble lie"?

The Ten Commandments contain two against the sin of "coveting." How then do we reconcile Christianity and the market?

The greatest sin of many a public Christian is spiritual pride and hypocrisy. "God thank you," as the Pharisee said, "for not making me like other men." That santimony is a sin - the sin of pride through which Satan fell as a warning to all of us. I am no better. "Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof, but say but the word and my soul shall be healed." How else but in humbleness of heart, and in the conviction of our own sinfullness, can we speak of the Lord?

None of us live up to Christ's standards, and the market is den of iniquity, constant source of wordly temptation, through whose trials few escape unblemished.

There's a difference between shopping for justifications and basing a life on religious teachings. The Creation Care people, for example, take stewardship seriously. They would be moral people regardless of their religion. Then there are the televangelists, whose moral values consist of self-promotion and power-seeking. They would immoral people no matter how many Bible verses they had memorized.

Thanks for dropping by, Lenore, but again I don't think you are really dealing with the issues raised. Tutor follows up to clarify and Harry's post is telling (I searched on the site too and that was the top article in my search). Why don't any of your conservative friends get into the issues Tutor brings up in the 6/11 6:59PM comment?

Did Lenore point to this article or to the site generally? I hope our rude behavior while carrying on around the dumpster doesn't keep her away. Maybe we should break out a bottle or three of the good stuff and save the Thunderbird for after everyone is too potted to care.

Oh, yeah, and the article critical of Mark Felt was quite a hoot as well. Summary: he should have taken it up the chain of command (and kissed his career goodbye, of course).

Culture it seems is what divides us, more and more. Once you start criticizing someone else's religion or ethics, it gets pretty tense. We have a lot of that going on as the right tries to enforce its ethic on the rest of us, but they don't like it any better when it comes back to them as a critique of hypocrisy, zealotry, parochialism, and spiritual pride. Humor worked for Dickens in the same context. Wish I could rise to it more consistently.

Culture doesn't divide us. People from all sorts of religions and ethnic different backgrounds get along tolerably well. People with different levels of wealth, educational acheivement and musical tastes also manage. It's not perfect, but it works. What does divide us is perception managment from people who not only know how we should live, but are willing to force us to do it, kill us when we can't or won't comply. They want an end to all evil except their own.

The people ruling the country are not right wing, nor is their nominal, official, opposition left wing. They are control freaks. So of course they're hypocritical, zealous, parochial and prideful. They embody those qualities and proselytize them as good. If they hadn't sunk their claws into Christianity, they'd have adopted some other official religion. All sorts of people who should know better fall for their crap, Democrats and Republicans alike.

What I'm getting at was perfectly illustrated at the end of Animal Farm. The revolutionary "left wing" pigs looked exactly the same as the reactionary "right wing" farmers. Their ideological differences, such as they were, had become irrelevant. What they had in common was far more important: they know how the people they owned should live.

"you and your readers" [sic]

quibble and chips
quibble and chips

"you and your readers" [sic]

Hey! It's an easy enough evaluation to make. There are leaders and followers in every social structure. It's natural. Someone has to define the philosophy and popularize it. How else do people know what to think?! The Happy Tutor is the alpha blogger, the capo del tutti bloggeri -- at least in these parts -- and that was simple acknowledgement of his status. The betas and omegas who come by to consume at his fountain (Thunderbird? puhleeze!) are kind of like a flock, or herd. Outside their pre-dispositions, they're very well-meaning and highly salvageable, But not, heh, if he eats them! Har, har, har!

Thanks, Tigg. Somewhat different educational philosophery here. "Here is my way, where is yours?" - Nietzsche's Zarathrustra, echoing an aphorism by Seneca. Some teachers want followers, clones, a school of thought of which they are the founders. Others want to match wits with students until the student prevails. A boxing coach is like that. Such a teacher is victorious when decked.

Others want to match wits with students until the student prevails. A boxing coach is like that. Such a teacher is victorious when decked.

Smart! Like a responsible shepherd culling his herd. If you have property, you don't want simps and weaklings to get it. I'd torch my house before letting my brother get it. If I could toughen him up a little, I might be able to justify leaving him something. You've got your boxing method. I prefer to outsource. Different strokes for different folks, right?

Tigg, you seem a bit conflicted. Socratic conversation reveals what is there: sometimes nothing at all, sometimes a mass of evasions and contradictions. Better to learn what you are told to learn and not think to much about it.

Conflict is cash in my line of work, so I guess you could say I'm conflicted. But this Socratic dialogue, all that does is suss out what someone can be forced to acknowledge. What if I'm arguing entirely in bad faith, and change the meaning behind my words shamelessly? What if my goal is not to get meaning or convey meaning, but to convey fear and force obedience?

Any old hoo! There are some things I want to keep off the table, but I can be flexible when it suits my purposes. Or other people can, I forget which.

But this Socratic dialogue, all that does is suss out what someone can be forced to acknowledge

The difference between conversation and torture (in all its forms .. branding, manipulative commercial advertising, false stories) ?

If I get JJ's point, I would second it. It does suss out the differences. It would be dreadfully obvious here if you were arguing in bad faith, as opposed to tounge in cheak satiric voices. The real Smokey Joes and Tiggs are too busy manipulating the world to bother with Socratic anything, and it is too painful anyway, or else they run the risk of breaking out in laughter and needing to find a new job on Monday.

Nice link to the page on propaganda, Tigg. Socractic discourse, or that of Diogenes, or Christ, is not a parlor game, or academic exercise. It is a rhetorical trap for the unwary. Notice how often in the stories of these "gamesters" the straight man or victim was a sophist, a member of the ruling class, or a scribe or pharisee of the governing elite. The Courtier accosts the Fool at his or her own risk. We have broken the decorum in which the Courtier may move blithely around among "talking points" faxed daily from headquarters without having her bona fides impugned. Cognitive dissonance - may it lead to laughter or inarticulate fury!

or a loud snort and razz-berry of cheeky unintimidated derision

Right, Diogenes naked, feeding face down from the pavement with his dog, the philosopher's behind raised high to the passing citizens. How else than with derision is one to greet cascades of propaganda from those paid to provide it as a public service of WB?

I was feeding naked at the dumpster next to my pet jackal Ferocity, asses raised high & proud, when Lenore walked by.

"Typical," she said.

Whipped my head around out of the feed, slinging a bit on her blazer.

"Silly to criticize me for what I do NOT say!" I barked.

(By the time Lenore returned with the MPs Ferocity and I had both fled, but we left behind an envelope with a donation to the American Enterprise Institute.)

"Typical" would be a good retort to our pranks, but is not the one she made. Yes, we were criticized for alluding to the one page to which she linked, rather than to all others with the same subject on the site. I took that as a concession of defeat insofar as an exasperated opponent looks silly in a debate. Interesting that in Greece a naked philosopher was allowed to roam the streets. Freedom is not what it used to be, I guess. Ordered liberty is, surely, a classical trope, the image of reason mastering emotion as the rider masters a charger, or an Emperor his people. http://giving.typepad.com/photos/scenes_of_wealth_bondage/marcus_aurelius.html

In fact, ordered liberty is very much my theme. What I am suggesting is that advertising and propaganda, as they have replaced poetry and philosophy, have disordered the human soul, from childhood up. That, of course, is a charge that I am afraid the right can only lay, helplessly, at the feet of those they call "liberals," though, clearly, it is a corporate phenomenon, and one driven by political operatives as well, in fact by think tank thinkers, whose patrons are corporations. http://www.propaganda.co.uk/pr/ On "ordered liberty" Lenore and Chuck Colson loses, I am afraid. For what has disordered our psyche and our polity is corporate dominance, or wealth bondage, if you prefer.

Yes, we were criticized for alluding to the one page to which she linked, rather than to all others with the same subject on the site.

Well, sure, but what you guys don't understand is that every page was on message. Every single page was designed to show sincere concern. A hell of a lot of work went into that! Is that so despicable? They say they're against evil over and over. The entire site breathes opposition to evil, and there are a LOT of people breathing on it! What more do you want? Even if some of them are lying, or opportunists, or weak sinners -- and aren't we all? -- that much sincerity simply can't be fake!

So that's why you are quibblers. There's never any mode of expression that's good enough for you. You'll punch holes in good things at their infancy and ramble at tedious length about the sanctimony of people doing their best.

Aw heck, I'm sorry.

Look, I didn't mean to get angry at you. It's just that we've been trying for a gosh darned long time to get people into place where they're not even going to think about evil, except insofar as they need to understand it in order to be good. And here you are objectively making yourselves into enablers, you won't listen and you can't stop with the cheap shots. Do you have any idea how much it feels like pandering just to talk to you? Do you?

Whew, I'm sorry again :-)

A jackal named Ferocity, eh? But I bet you take good care of her. I picture you as the kind of person who volunteers at shelters. Ashley and Carol-Anne do too, you know. Maybe we could tone it down it a little and discuss a small project along those lines. None of us like to see God's creatures suffer.

I think Tigg's facade is starting to crack a bit. I thought only Minim got that agitated by a little open hostility?

Saying you are against evil isn't the same thing as actually working against real evil in the world. Hatred is evil and that's what Rev. Ted is selling.

Rev Ted is definitely an entrepreneur. God is one heck of a product if you can market Him correctly, based on what today's consumers want.

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