To concede the obvious,
Trump did not use explicitly racist words in his tweets. For example, he did
not refer to the women with standard racist slurs. As such, his defenders could
argue that the tweets are not racist in that sense. This would, of course,
require claiming ignorance of coding and how language works (such as inuendo
and euphemisms). This fools no one but does allow for implausible denial that can
be quite appealing. Because of this the use of coded language and avoiding explicitly
racist words has become a standard tactic.
The first step in this
tango is the use of such coded language or language that is racist, yet not
explicitly racist in the way that using racial slurs. For example, saying “go
back where you came from” contains no explicit racial slurs, yet is known to almost
all users of American English to be racist. It is, in fact, recognized
as the type of language that could count as harassment in the workplace. But
since it contains no explicit racial slurs, it offers its users and defenders
that implausible denial option, which leads to the next stage of the dance.
As would be expected,
people who do not like racism (or are looking to score political or virtue
points) will attack such statements. In the case of Trump’s infamous tweets,
there was extensive criticism from the Democrats. This is presumably what Trump
expected and hoped for, since this allows him and his
defenders to make the next move in the dance.
The next step is to
accuse the accusers of being racist. While this might seem odd, the tactic is
to contend that since the critics were the first to bring up race explicitly,
they are the ones who are racist. To use an analogy, this would be like a worker
using sexual euphemisms in the workplace and, after being called out for sexual
harassment, claiming that their critic is the sexual harasser since they were
the first to explicitly use the word “sex.” This is obviously absurd, as it is
absurd to say that a critic of racist remarks is thus a racist because they bring
the issue of race into the open. This tactic does have considerable psychological
force and is worth considering as a type of fallacy.
While a full analysis is
needed, a common explanation of the effectiveness of this tactic rests with the
fact that most Americans think that racism is bad and that they are not racists.
Trump and others are, however, making racist remarks seem to be non-racist by
using the coding tactics developed over the years. For example, immigration is
presented in terms of crime and a threat to jobs, so it does not “feel” racist when
one is worried about brown people committing crimes and taking one’s job. After
all, the worry is not because they are brown, but because they are criminals
and job stealers. If someone accepts that the coded racism of Trump and his ilk
is racist, they must either accept that they are racists if they go along with
the charade or reject the charade and accept it for what it is. It is easier to
simply deny that it is racist, thus allowing a person to hold to their views
that racism is bad, and they are not racists, while still giving in to the
feelings of fear and anger that Trump and others have fed so well. Thus, good
people can become ardent defenders of an evil they would reject if they saw its
This racist tango can
lock critics into the dance of racist or not racist, which distracts from the
true concern—namely the racism. This tactic is thus very effective. First, it
allows Trump and others to appeal to those who are racist. Second, it allows
him to appeal to people who are not racist, but whose fear and anger influence
them to accept the coded racism that scares and incites them as not being
racist. Third, it gets the critics and media arguing about whether the racists
or racism exploiters are really racist or not—thus wasting energy on a red
herring. While this tactic serves Trump and his ilk well, it is doing
considerable damage to the social fabric and moral fiber of the United States.
This is the third in an ongoing series aimed to provide the overworked DM with ready-to run encounters. This encounter features the Haunted Stones, a weak point between the material plane and the Ashenfey.
The encounter provides details of the Verdanfey and the Ashenfey as well as several new monsters of the Ashenfey ranging from the Asheneant to the Shuffling Husk. The companion ZIP file includes JPEG maps (gridded and gridless), a Hero Lab file of all the monsters, a PDF of all the new monster stats in character sheet format, and the text in Word format for easy use in customizing your Ashenfey encounters.
As an encounter, it is not intended to be a full adventure. Hence, just the basic details are provided along with some suggestions and possible story hooks.
When it comes to
persuasion, logic is one of the weaker tools. This is because the end of logic
is truth, not making people believe something—that is the end of persuasion. While
the land of logic is a foreign realm to Trump, he seems to have an instinct for
using fallacies and rhetoric to persuade people. This has served him well—rhetoric
makes the masses clap, logic makes them nap.
The Leave It fallacy is
a type of ad hominem because it involves rejecting a person’s claim because the
“evidence” against a person’s claim is an irrelevant attack on the person. There
are two things that distinguish the Leave It fallacy. First, the person is
attacked because they are being critical of something. This attack typically
takes the form of asserting that the critic is motivated by a secret association
or agreement with a disliked group. Second, rather than refuting the criticism,
the attacker only tells the target to “leave.” As such, the fallacy has the
following general form:
Premise 1. Person
A makes critical claim X about Y.
Premise 2. Person B attacks A (usually for an alleged association/agreement
with a disliked group G) and says that if A does not like X about Y, then they
should leave Y (usually for G).
Conclusion: Therefore, X is false.
This argument is a
fallacy because simply attacking a person and telling them to leave does not
prove that their criticism is false. The fallacy draws much of its psychological
power from the cognitive bias of groupthink (the tendency to try to minimize
conflict and form a consensus by suppressing dissent and avoiding outside
influences) and the ingroup bias (the tendency to see one’s own group as
superior and outsiders as inferior). Someone who is critical of a group can easily
be cast as a threat and hence people in that group can be motivated to reject
that criticism out of anger and dislike. These biases do not, of course, have
any logical weight.
The defense against this
fallacy is to try to reason through any negative feelings one might have and
ask if any relevant refutation of the criticism has been offered. If it has
not, then the “argument” gives no reason to reject that criticism. This does
not mean that the criticism is therefore true—it just means the fallacy does
not provide any reason to reject it.
Care should be taken to
not confuse the Leave It fallacy with the False Dilemma “love it or leave it.” The
idea in this false dilemma is that one has just two options: to love something
(typically a country) utterly and never criticize it or leave it. There are
obviously many other options. The difference between the two is that the Leave It
fallacy involves using an attack on the person to “argue” that their criticism
is false while the False Dilemma “love it or leave it” is intended to silence
criticism by wrongly asserting that one has only the two choices. It can often
be hard to distinguish the two because people often combine them and those
attempting these fallacies often do not know what they are doing themselves. Now
back to Trump.
Conclusion: The Democratic Congresswomen criticisms are not
Presented in this
manner, the fallacy is even more evident: there is no connection between the
premises and the conclusion; Trump is merely attacking the Congresswomen and
telling them to leave. While having nothing to do with the fallacy, it is worth
noting that all four of the Congresswomen Trump attacks are American citizens
and three of them were born in the United States. Some might thus say that
Trump is not wrong when he says that they come from a country with a government
that is “a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept
anywhere in the world”—that is, the Trump administration.
In closing, it must be
noted that the fact that Trump’s attack on the Congresswomen was fallacious
does not prove that their critical claims about the United States are true—that
does not follow. Their claims must stand or fall on their own merits.
royalty free map collection contains 39 free color maps including towers,
ruins, dungeons, outdoor encounters and more. Each map has a version with a
grid and one without. The PDF files allows you to easily view the maps, the ZIP
file contains the JPEG versions.
may reduce, enlarge, re-label, crop or color the maps. The creator’s name
(“Michael LaBossiere”) must be included in the final published maps if it
appears in the original maps. You may not resell these maps. If you use this
image in a publication (digital, print or otherwise) you must include this
maps copyright Michael C. LaBossiere, used with permission.”
The fallen tree and fungus symbols used in some maps were
created by Neyjour and are used with permission.
In the previous essay I drew an analogy between the
ethics of abortion and the ethics of migration. In this essay, I will develop
the analogy more and do so with a focus on the logic of the analogy. Because
everyone loves logic.
Strictly presented, an analogical argument will
have three premises and a conclusion. The first two premises (attempt to)
establish the analogy by showing that the things in question are similar in
certain respects. The third premise
establishes the additional fact known about one thing and the conclusion
asserts that because the two things are alike in other respects, they are alike
in this additional respect. Here is the form of the argument:
Premise 1: X has properties P, Q, and R.
Premise 2: Y has properties P, Q, and R.
Premise 3: X has property Z as well.
Conclusion: Y has property Z
X and Y are variables that stand for whatever is
being compared, such as rats and humans or Hitler and that politician you hate.
P, Q, R, and Z are also variables, but they stand for properties or qualities,
such as having a heart. The use of P, Q, and R is just for the sake of the
illustration-the things being compared might have many more properties in
It is easy to make a
moral argument using an argument from analogy. To argue that Y is morally
wrong, find an X that is already accepted as being wrong and show how Y is like
X. To argue that Y is morally good, find an X that is already accepted as
morally good and show how Y is like X. To be a bit more formal, here is how the
argument would look:
Premise 1: X has properties P, Q, and R.
Premise 2: Y has properties P, Q, and R.
Premise 3: X is morally good (or morally wrong).
Conclusion: Y is morally good (or morally wrong).
The strength of an analogical argument depends on
three factors. To the degree that an analogical argument meets these standards
it is a strong argument. If an it fails to meet these standards, then it is
weak. If it is weak enough, then it would be fallacious. There is no exact
point at which an analogical argument becomes fallacious, however the standards
do provide an objective basis for making this assessment.
First, the more properties X and Y have in common,
the better the argument. This standard is based on the commonsense notion that
the more two things are alike in other ways, the more likely it is that they
will be alike in some other way. It should be noted that even if the two things
are very much alike in many respects, there is still the possibility that they
are not alike regarding Z.
Second, the more relevant the shared properties
are to property Z, the stronger the argument. A specific property, for example
P, is relevant to property Z if the presence or absence of P affects the
likelihood that Z will be present.
Third, it must be determined whether X and Y have
relevant dissimilarities as well as similarities. The more dissimilarities and
the more relevant they are, the weaker the argument.
In the case of drawing a
moral analogy between the ethics of abortion and migration, the challenges are
to determine the properties that make them alike and to establish the relevant
moral status of abortion.
Since my goal is to show
that those who already think abortion is morally wrong should also think expelling
migrant children is wrong, I can assume (for the sake of the argument) that
abortion is wrong. The next step is showing that abortion and expelling migrant
children are alike enough to create a strong analogy.
Opponents of abortion
tend to argue that human life has intrinsic worth and often speak in terms of a
life being precious and a sacred gift from God. Since they tend to believe that
a child exists at or soon after conception, it follows that the wrongness of
abortion stems from the harm done to that precious life and sacred gift. While
some opponents of abortion do allow exceptions for incest and rape, some do not—so
they reject abortion even if the pregnancy occurs against the mother’s will. Obviously
enough, all opponents of abortion agree that in most cases the mother should be
compelled to bear the child, even if they do not want to and even when doing so
would cause them some harm. One way to see this is that the child has a right
to remain where it is, even when it arrived there without the consent of the
owner of the womb (the mother) and when she does not want it to remain. What, then, are the similarities between
abortion and expelling child migrants?
While this makes for a
very problematic analogy, one could note that a child who is brought into the
United States illegally would be similar to a child implanted in a woman (or
girl) by rape—that is, their presence is the result of an illegal act and is
against the will of the host. While expelling a fetus would certainly (given
current technology) result in death, expelling a migrant child generally results
in harm and can result, indirectly, in death. As such, if abortion is wrong for
the above reasons, then expelling migrant children would be wrong—even if they were
brought into the United States illegally.
There are a few obvious
ways to counter this reasoning. One is to focus on the distinction between
expelling a fetus and expelling a migrant child. As noted above, the fetus will
certainly die during an abortion, but expelling a migrant child back to a
high-violence area does not result in certain death. This requires taking the
moral position that only certain death matters. Interestingly, if artificial
wombs became available, then abortion opponents who take the only death matters
view would have to accept that a woman would have every right to expel a fetus
into a womb, if death was not certain. That is, if the odds of the fetus would
be comparable to the odds of a child being expelled back into a dangerous region.
A second difference is
that migrant children are already born, so they are not unborn children. Those
who are anti-abortion often seem unconcerned about what happens to children and
states tend to have the highest infant mortality rates), so it would be “consistent”
for them to not be concerned about the fate of migrant children. This requires accepting
the moral view that what matters is preventing abortion and that once birth occurs,
moral concern ends. While not an impossible view, it does seem rather difficult
to defend in a consistent manner. As such, those who oppose abortion in all
cases would need to accept that expelling migrant children into danger would be
morally wrong—and they should oppose this with the same vehemence with which
they oppose abortion. But what about anti-abortion folks who allow abortion in
the case of rape and incest?
Those who oppose abortion
but make exceptions for cases of rape and incest would seem to be able to
consistently advocate expelling migrant children, even when doing so would put
them in danger. This is because they hold to what seems to be a consistent principle:
if a child is present against the will of the property owner and as the result
of a crime, then the child can be expelled even if this results in death whether
this is an abortion or expelling a child who is an illegal migrant. But if the
child is present due to consensual activity, then it would be wrong to expel the
While sexual consent can
be a thorny issue, migration consent is even more problematic. After all, there
is a rather important question about what counts as consensual migration. On
the face of it, one could simply go with the legal view: those who cross the
border illegally are here without consent and can be expelled. But there is the
fact that American business and others actively invite migrants to cross the
border and want them here, thus seeming to grant some form of consent. Also,
people can legally cross the border to seek asylum, thus there is legal consent
for such people—which includes migrant children. So, the matter is less clear
cut. But Even if we stick with strict legality, then asylum seekers are still
here with consent and hence expelling such children would seem to be morally similar
to abortion: children are being harmed by being expelled. As such, those who
hold to an anti-abortion position would seem to be obligated to also oppose
expelling migrant children if they arrived seeking asylum.
It is worth noting that
if the analogy holds, it would also seem to hold in reverse. That is, a person
who is opposed to expelling migrant children because of the harm it would do to
them would seem to also need to oppose abortion. Pro-choice pro-migrant folks
do have a way to get out of this. They can argue that while migrant children
are clearly people and hence have that moral status, a developing fetus does
not have that moral status and hence the choice of the woman trumps the rights
(if any) of the fetus. This is a consistent position since the pro-choice pro-migrant
person holds that people have rights, but that the fetus is not a person. In
contrast, the anti-abortion anti-migrant person is in something of a bind; they
need to argue that unborn fetuses have a greater moral status than already born
This collection of essays focuses on metaphysics and, to a lesser extent, epistemology. While metaphysics is often seen as something that involves healing crystals and auras, the philosophical discipline is focused on determining the nature and structure of reality. Epistemology, once regarded as the most boring part of philosophy, has become a favorite of the media. Despite its new celebrity status, it is still the study of knowledge.
As J.S. Mill pointed out in his writing on liberty,
people generally do not operate based on consistent principles. Instead, they act
based on their likes and dislikes—which are often the result of misinformation.
Comparing the view of many Republicans of abortion to their view of immigration
illustrates this nicely.
To use a concrete example, Alabama recently passed
the most restrictive anti-abortion law to date, forbidding abortion even in
cases of rape and incest. Proponents of the law, such as Alabama
governor Kay Ivey, claim that the motivation behind the law is to protect
life. As the governor said, “to the bill’s many supporters, this legislation
stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every
life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
On the face of it, the principle in operation here
is that because each life is precious and a sacred gift, if a man impregnates a
woman (or girl) against her will, then she is obligated to host the zygote
until birth. The expenses and risks of doing so fall on the woman (or girl)—the
United States generally does shockingly little to assist pregnant women. Looked
at in the abstract, the principle is that if a child manages to get inside a
certain area, then there is an obligation on the part of the owner of that area
to care for that child until the child can safely exit the area. If removing
the child would kill or harm the child, then the child cannot be removed—regardless
of how the child got there.
This principle would seem to also apply to certain
migrant children who enter the United States—even if they are brought here
illegally and against the will of the United States. Once they get within the
United States, if expelling them would lead to harm, then the United States is
obligated to care for them until they can safely exit the United States. After
all, if the principle permits compelling women to bear a child from rape or incest,
then it surely permits compelling the United States to care for even migrant
children who are here illegally. At least until the children can safely leave
It could be objected that abortion always kills a
child while expelling a migrant child from the United States will probably not
kill them. Hence the analogy breaks. One possible reply is to argue that if
every life is precious and a sacred gift, then even harming a precious, sacred
gift would be wrong. That is, the principle isn’t “killing them would be wrong,
but anything else is probably okay” but that each precious life must be treated
as a sacred gift and one does not throw a sacred gift out.
But making the
strongest analogy requires considering only cases in which expulsion would result
in death. There are, of course, cases like that: there are migrant children
(and adults) who are likely to be killed if they are sent back to their home
country. It could be countered that, unlike abortion, they do have a chance of
surviving. If so, the principle would have to be “each life is precious and a
sacred gift, but this only entails that children should not be exposed to
certain death. Likely death or great harm is morally okay.” While this is
certainly a principle that one could hold, it is hardly commendable. As such,
there would seem to be two options for anti-abortion folks who also want to be
anti-migrant. The first is to consistently apply their avowed principle and
accept immigrants when their expulsion would be likely to result in their harm.
Or, of they want to be extremely strict, their deaths. The second option would
be to abandon or modify their principle so that it applies only to abortion but
not to migrants. The challenge is doing so in a manner that is not ad hoc or begs
the question. For example, just saying that the principle only applies to the
bodies of women but not to the United States would be ad hoc, as would saying
that only zygotes deserve to be protected. It is worth noting that those who
are pro-choice and pro-migrant would also need to consider the possible conflict
between their principles as well.
One obvious point of concern is that this event is
going to be very expensive—although
the exact cost is not yet known. Transporting tanks and other hardware is
not cheap, nor is operating combat aircraft. There is also the cost of the damage
that is likely to arise from rolling tanks through the streets. While Republicans
used to pretend to be fiscal hawks, they have long abandoned their avowed principles
here—hence it falls to others to make the fiscal argument: spending millions on
a single event when there are so many better ways to use the money (such as
paying for better care for veterans) is a huge waste and fiscally irresponsible.
A second area of concern is the role of the military
in the event. While armed forces were obviously critical in the American
revolution, July 4th is not a military holiday. Rather, it is a
holiday that celebrates the declaration of Independence. To be fair, the 4th
has been celebrated in Washington with military elements in the parades but
having an explicitly military event on the 4th is odd and goes against
well-established tradition. Part of this is because the symbolism of military events
on holidays that are not explicitly honoring the military or veterans is linked
strongly with dictators, most especially Communist dictators. This is not to suggest
that there is anything wrong with the military; rather the problem lies with
putting on such a display to appease the ego of a man who wishes he was
It could be countered that the military is present
to honor the military. As noted above, the revolution was an armed conflict. One
easy and obvious reply is that the 4th is not a military holiday—we have
Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Another easy and obvious reply is that a better
way to honor the military is to use the money to pay for useful things, like
care for veterans and addressing problems. Allowing these soldiers to spend the
day with their families would also be good.
A final, and perhaps the most serious, concern is
that the United States has striven to maintain a professional, non-political
military. That is, our military does not serve a specific person or party,
their oath is to the Constitution. While I am not worried that the soldiers
will spontaneously rally for Trump, I am worried that Trump will use the event
as a campaign rally and thus use the military for political purposes and
propaganda. Defenders of Trump might contend that Democrats would do the same
thing; but even if this were true, it would obviously not make it right.
Trump might stay within the law and not use the
public’s money for partisan propaganda. After all, he did manage to stick to
reading the script during the D-Day events this year. However, there are many
problems beyond this one—enough to indicate that tanks on the 4th is
the wrong thing to do. Yes, I will say the same thing if President Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez decides to roll tanks through DC to celebrate Socialism Day.
While Joe Biden is unlikely to bring this up,
the Obama deported more people than any other president. While this was criticized
by some, the anger and outrage against it cannot match that directed against
the Trump administration. As such, Trump supporters might think themselves
justified when they point out this fact about the Obama administration as a defense
of Trump. While Obama should not get a pass on his deportation record, it is
worth noting important differences between the two administrations. One
important difference is that Obama had a well-defined set of policies designed
to account for the reality of limited resources. Trump certainly does not take
this approach. Second, Obama focused on deporting those who had committed
crimes (other than crossing the border illegally) and new arrivals. In
contrast, Trump seems to be after everyone. Finally, and most importantly, the
Obama administration did not adopt a strategy of creating fear. The Trump
administration has made it clear that they regard using fear as a deterrent as
a legitimate immigration tool.
At this point, you might be thinking the obvious: deterring
people by using laws and policies that create fear is a standard practice. That
is how we, as a society, try to keep people from committing crime ranging from jaywalking
to mass murder. So, you might wonder, what could be wrong with this?
While there are moral thinkers who oppose the use
of coercion by fear across the board, the general strategy of keeping people behaving
properly by the use of fear does have the approval of Aristotle and I will not
argue against the general principle that it can be acceptable to use fear to
deter immoral or illegal behavior. This is obviously analogous to the use of
force: not all uses of force are to be condemned, just the immoral ones. So,
the key question to be addressed here is whether Trump’s approach to deterring migrants
is morally acceptable.
As a general policy, the Trump administration seems
to have adopted the strategy of trying to deter migrants by engaging in behavior
that seems evil. First, the administration aggressively followed a policy of separating
children and parents and officials made it clear that this was a policy
intended to deter migration by creating fear that America would do evil to
migrants. It is, after all, no accident that a standard shorthand in fiction for
showing that a group is evil is to depict it as taking children from their
parents. Second, the Trump administration has become even more infamous for its
treatment of detained children. Caging children and denying them necessities is
also a stock behavior of evil characters in fiction, for good reason—such behavior
is evil. Once again, this is to deter migrants from coming here by creating fear:
if you come here, we will put your children into dirty cages without soap or
Proponents of this policy argue that people choose
to come here illegally knowing what will happen—hence what is done to them is justified.
On the one hand, this does have some appeal. If you tell someone that the pot
on stove is hot and they put their hand on it anyway to grab some food, they
only have themselves to blame. On the
other hand, if people are being pushed into the situation, then the use of such
tactics simply means that people will be harmed rather than deterred. Going
back to the stove, if you keep the pot of food hot to deter starving people
from taking the food, you will just end up burning hungry people. Saying that they
knew they would be burned is not an adequate defense. In the case of migration,
many people are fleeing the nightmare we helped to create in Central America—they
are being pushed by things worse than what the Trump administration is trying
to scare them away with.
There is also the fact that, as Locke argued,
there are moral limits to how even a criminal can be treated. One of these is
proportionality—separating families and imprisoning children without the
necessities is a punishment that goes beyond the alleged crime. This is especially
important in the case of children—they cannot justly be considered guilty of a
crime and hence punishing them is utterly unwarranted. As such, using these
methods is wrong.
As a final point, even if using such wicked means
to deter people could be justified on utilitarian grounds, this would require
showing that they are effective. However, they do not work and thus we are
burning the hungry because the pain of the burn is less than the pain of the hunger,
to go back to the analogy. The Trump administration seems fine with this—while they
had hoped these evils would deter people, they seem to have no qualms about
doing wrong even when it does not achieve their stated goal. At this point it
would seem to be evil for evil’s sake, which would not be out of place as a slogan
for the Trump administration.
The Trump administration set off yet another
firestorm when it was revealed that migrant children were being detained
without access to such basic items as toothpaste and soap. Apparently this is
not just a matter of a lack of funds but of a policy decision—after all, donations
are not being accepted from the public. One could argue that such donations
cannot be accepted out of concern for the safety of the children or perhaps it
is a standing policy to not accept any donations—these are points worth
considering before immediately condemning the US Border Patrol. However, not
having such necessities seems rather more dangerous than any risk presented by
donations and polices can be changed if the will is there. As such, one would
suspect that creating such conditions is a matter of policy.
On the face of it, denying anyone these
necessities is morally wrong. Even the Taliban
and Somali pirates give their captives toothpaste and soap; for the United
States to be unwilling to rise up to the ethical level of pirates and the
Taliban is certainly problematic. The fact that the United States is treating
children in this manner makes it even worse—there can be no argument that the
children are so terrible that they can be justly denied these necessities. First,
they are obviously innocent children. Second, even terrible people are entitled
to necessities when being held prisoner. Despite the obvious wickedness of
denying children these necessities, the Trump administration not only did so,
but defended their actions.
Sarah B. Faban, a Justice Department lawyer, was
sent by the administration to defend their misdeeds. The gist of her argument
was that the government is only required to provide “safe and sanitary
conditions” and since
this does not specify such things as soap and toothpaste, the government is not
obligated to provide such things. In a now infamous
video, the judges made it clear that they did not accept this argument. They
contended that providing safe and sanitary conditions does require providing
the necessities, such as toothpaste and soap. The judges’ reasoning seems
correct. While Faban is right that the specific wording is “safe and sanitary”
and that it does not specify that soap, toothpaste and such need to be
provided, this is a rather easy entailment to draw. To use an analogy, if it
was required that people be housed someplace warm and it turned out that the place
was freezing cold, it would be unreasonable to say that this is okay because there
is no specific mention of heaters or such. As such, the judges seem to be right
about this matter: the children need the necessities, such as soap and
toothpaste, to be in safe and sanitary conditions. As such, the Trump administration
As would be expected in this age of rage, Faban
has been subject to death threats and is the target of hate. While the death threats
cross an obvious moral line, it can be contended that in defending an obviously
evil policy she made herself worthy of hate and contempt. However, it must be
noted that she was doing her job—as a lawyer for Trump’s Justice Department she
must defend the administration. It is almost certain that all of us have done
things we do not agree with because it is part of our job; we should consider
this fact when judging Faban. This does lead to the old problem of disobedience
and the now well-established moral principle that “just following orders” is
not an adequate moral excuse. That said, it can be too much to expect people to
be moral heroes and a case can be made for choosing one’s professional duties
over one’s conscience. As such, while I think that Faban had a terrible
argument and was defending an evil policy, I will not get on the hate bandwagon.
As far as why the Trump administration has been
denying children these necessities, the official line is that
it is Congress’ fault. The Trump administration has been thwarted in its effort
to shift funds to build the wall and they are asserting that they therefore
lack the funds to provide the necessities. This is certainly a clever way to
shift blame; but the responsibility for the decisions on how to use the available
funds still falls on the Trump administration—they are choosing to deny
children these necessities. As such, the strategy seems to be to use the
children as a bargaining chip with Congress; essentially saying that if he does
not get his wall, then children will go without toothpaste and soap. Using children
as hostages in this manner is morally wrong; this is evident to anyone with
It is also suspected that this approach is part of
a broader strategy of trying to deter migrants from entering the country. Separating
families was supposed to frighten people into not crossing the border and now
terrible conditions are being used to try to scare people away. This leads to another
moral question which needs to be addressed: is it morally acceptable to deter
migration by doing wicked things to create fear? This will be the subject of an