Several years ago I used to ridicule the New York Times’ “ethicist,” who has a regular column in the NYT Magazine. I hadn’t read the column for some time, until today when I followed a link off InstaPundit to this ethical puzzle: is it proper to engage in employment discrimination against “unlikables”? Or, to be more specific, against conservative law students who apply for jobs in law firms? The bottom line, as posed by the reader who asked the question: “May I recommend not hiring someone solely because of his or her politics?”
To his credit, I guess, “ethicist” Randy Cohen says No. But not without insulting conservatives along the way, giving voice to the same mindless hate that can indeed lead to employment discrimination:
Is it your position that only people who share your politics should be allowed to make a living? It was odious when membership in the Federalist Society was all but required for some jobs in the Justice Department; it is no more appealing to make that affiliation a bar to employment at your firm.
When “membership in the Federalist Society was all but required for some jobs in the Justice Department”? When was that? There has never been a time when more than a small minority of DoJ lawyers have been members of the Federalist Society.
As to judgment: politics is famously a subject about which honorable people differ. As to personality — whatever that means — even in an era when radio blowhards fulminate and Tea Party crackpots threaten violence against their political foes, it is possible to disagree with civility.
In the world of the New Yorl Times, the only “blowhards” in sight are radio talk show hosts. Never mind that it is the Majority Leader of the Senate who accuses his political opponents of being like pro-slavery politicians of the 19th century. And “tea party crackpots” who “threaten violence”? When did that happen? So far, in 100 percent of violent incidents associated with Tea Parties, the anti-government waste protesters have been the victims.
The New York Times is a bad joke, as most Americans have figured out. But employment discrimination against conservatives isn’t. It is sad but true that in the business world (not just the legal world), it is never dangerous to be a liberal, but a conservative expresses his views at his own risk.