There’s Jokes And Then There’s Theories

For the past few days, I’ve been mulling over the theory posited that Trump is in love with Putin. This morning, I had a conversation with a brilliant family member about these things. My family member and I disagree on some things, I think.

There’s political jokes and satire aimed at people within a group–say, the leftists. I think these things can fortify a base and keep morale up. Some of these jokes/images are of Putin and Trump kissing and so forth. As useful as some of those things are in keeping up morale and generating a laugh, that’s not what I’m after.

Instead, I’m after a plausible theory as to why the president treads so closely to treason.

Initially, I thought that Putin had something on Trump–something damaging, which lead to Trump’s submission to Putin. But that doesn’t seem to explain Trump’s behavior–including his public fawning over Putin and, then, his backtracking. These behaviors point to a man who has a kind of commitment to Putin, but who is later advised by the GOP that he needs to back off a bit. In short, it’s the actions of a man in love who is told by potential “friends” that the person they love is treacherous. But Trump loves, anyway.

Political comics may indeed help us understand Trump. They may–perhaps, must–say something true that leads to a laugh. And they distill these things into an bite-sized image. But I’m not looking for a laugh. I’m looking to understand the man that, for all intents and purposes, leads our country.

I may be grossly wrong. But at least I’m trying to understand.

Trump: The Masochistic Figurehead

Yesterday, I read an interesting article over at Foreign Policy. The article posits that Trump is in love with a father-figure: Vladmir Putin. I encourage you to check out the article. It makes a good case.

Putin is known for his harsh brutality. Anyone who’d love him the way Trump appears to is, probably, a masochist. This love explains a lot of things about Trump’s behavior.

While Trump gesticulates more and more toward treasonous activity, the broader GOP has been doing the dirty work, including drafting policy for him and developing a budget proposal.

It’s my assertion that Trump is, indeed, a masochist in love with Putin. Who can say anything about this type of love? While he plays S&M on a global scale with Putin, the GOP is trying to unravel everything that does, in fact, make America great, such as Social Security and the EPA.

I think the GOP decided a while back that they would let Trump “play” at being president. They try to keep him in line, making sure he doesn’t veer too much toward being a traitor.

In the end, Trump is just a figurehead at this point, whose own party is playing him, while he tries to get his rocks off with brutal dictators.

My only hope is that Trump, whose savvy-ness I doubt, has created some limits with Putin and has developed a safe word. Because Putin is the real deal. He will not stop brutality on his own. I doubt, however, that any such contracts, even verbal, have taken place.

Trump is Putin’s Bitch.

Announcing: Hire A Philosopher

If you know me–I mean, really know me–you’ll know there’s nothing more I like to do than philosophy. Thus, I’m in the process of creating a brand new business. It’s a philosophy research and consulting firm.

You can check it out by looking at our new website.

You can learn more about me and my passions at the interview Helen De Cruz did with me here.

You Can’t Touch Girls, But You Can Rough Up On Guys

Today, I was at lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. I happened to overhear a young fellow across the way talking about the state of things today. In short, he said if you are a guy, you aren’t allowed to touch girls, but you can sure as heck rough up on a guy.

For real????

I mean, it’s true, you cannot even touch a girl without her permission. That’s basically the law. Otherwise it could be considered assault, which is a crime. This is true, however, whether you are male, female or something else.

However, the same is true of guys: You aren’t allowed to even touch them.

The culture of toxic masculinity says that guys can touch whoever they want–and even beat up on other guys. And that’s just a same.

Well, I’m sticking up for everyone: If you haven’t asked and gotten permission, don’t touch people. More to the point, don’t rough them up–whether you and they are male or not.

How Stoicism Can Help Your Business

I recieved a comment from someone about having an Ethics Officer at your company. The person said, “Great idea. Like count to ten before screaming at people?”

It’s sad to say, but there are indeed some bosses who need advice on this. For them, I recommend looking into the ancient philosophy of Stoicism.

Contrary to how we typically use the word ‘stoic’ in modern America, the ancient Greek Stoic wasn’t like Spock. Yet, there is a sense in which emotions can be a hindrance to the Stoic. This is especially true of of the emotion anger.

Anger is detrimental not only to those around you, but to you yourself. If you are a boss screaming at employees, you have a disturbed soul or psyche (in the ancient Greek use of the term). You cannot be at peace with anger in yourself.

The goal of the Stoic is to become like a Sage, who is the ultimately free person; who, indeed, nothing can disturb.

Unfortunately, anger is on the rise in our country. Some people have more problems with it than others. But learning from the ancient Stoics can help us here–and help your business.

Does It Make Sense To Talk About The Character Of A Company?

There’s a theory that corporations are–or, are like–people.

Set aside whether you agree with this position. I want to assume for a moment it’s true. If it is true, does it make sense to talk about the character of a corporation?

I don’t presume to know everything about business. Yet, I know for sure that it’s complex enough to think that if corporations are people, they have the same theoretical and empirical problems individual humans do when it comes to character. For example, take a look at the evidence for situationism.   

Situationism, generally, the idea that individuals are shaped more by their environment rather than something called character, presents a challenge for virtue ethics, one of the major ethical theories.

If situationism is true for the individual, I presume it is probably also true for the corporation. So, does it make sense to think of corporations as having a character? Many corporations try to make it seem as if they have a clearly defined character by consistently branding themselves. Yet, whether they actually have a character and whether this character matches the brand is something altogether different.

It remains to be seen whether corporations have a character. If they do, and if virtue ethics is correct, it may be possible to have more or less virtuous corporations.

Implicit Bias Training Is About Ethics

I’ve written about how organizations need Chief Ethics Officers. And they do. 

Recently, Starbucks came under fire when an incident occurred with Black customers who had the police called on them for simply being there. Starbucks responded to this incident by closing for a day for implicit bias training.

Whether implicit bias training works is yet to be seen. However, the point is the company responded–and it did so from an ethical standpoint. 

No one has yet outlawed implicit bias. You are completely allowed, under law, to be as biased as you want. That’s likely the way it should be. So this is not a matter of compliance. It’s not a matter for, specifically, a JD. It’s a matter of ethics. It’s a matter for philosophers.

This case is but one of many cases across to world which demonstrates the need for ethics in our public life. Ethics can, we hope, contrary to research by Eric Schwitzgebel, make us better people. It can make us act better. It can reduce bias in our own thinking and in the thinking of our customers.

So, next time someone asks you whether we need ethics in our public life, our policy-making and our organizations, you can confidently say, “Yes! Absolutely.”