Ethics & Morality Archives

The difference

You’re probably well aware by now of the murderous attack that left 15 people dead in Pakistan.

What? You thought it was 16 people in Afghanistan who were killed? Well, certainly that news is making the headlines on newswires across the world. But I’m referring to a suicide attack on mourners at a funeral in Pakistan. From Bill Roggio, at The Long War Journal,

A suicide bomber killed 15 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a funeral in the Pakistani city of Peshawar today. The attack appears to have targeted a senior provincial government official who has raised an anti-Taliban militia in the area.

Pakistani officials confirmed that a suicide bomber carried out today’s attack as mourners were offering prayers for a woman during a funeral in the Badaber area of Peshawar.

Had you heard about this? If you had, was it a news headline or merely another one-of-many filler stories?

In a way, perhaps the fact that such stories get so little airplay, and stories of U.S. military personnel committing crimes get so much airplay is an indication of the very difference between our moral high ground and the terrorist enemy’s.

Consider the following account of Muslim on Muslim killings, per The Long War Journal.

Over the past five years, the Taliban and allied Pakistani terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Punjabi Taliban have shown no reservations about striking inside mosques and other religious sites, as well as during religious processions and events. There have been 36 major attacks on mosques and other Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007, according to information compiled by The Long War Journal.

One of the most brazen attacks took place on Dec. 4, 2009, when a suicide assault team stormed a mosque frequented by military officers in Rawalpindi. Two senior generals were among the 40 people killed.

Another major attack took place on July 1, 2010, when suicide bombers struck the Data Ganj Bakhsh shrine in Lahore, killing 41 people and wounding more than 170. Three suicide bombers detonated their vests at the shrine at a time when it was most frequented, in an effort to maximize casualties.

The last major attack against religious targets took place on Sept. 15, 2011, when a suicide bomber killed 31 people in an attack at a funeral in Lower Dir.

All told, The Long War Journal lists 36 major attacks since December 2007 (in Pakistan alone), resulting in 805 people killed. That’s an average of 22 people killed per attack – attacks at mosques and other Islamic institutions.

Try to find that on CNN.

The Ethics of "After-birth Abortions", Part 2

[Please click here for part 1, as this just picks up where that left off. Also, another blogger found the article again at a new URL on the same site. I’d searched using their advance search form with no success, but glad that it’s back so people can read the whole thing.]

The newborn and the fetus are morally equivalent

The authors, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva,  start this section with their definition of personhood.

Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.

Thus, to be a person, you have to know you’re a person and be able to value it. The state of not knowing, however, lasts quite a bit beyond newborn status. The authors, again, fail to address this. More than fail to, actually, they refuse to address it, as we shall see.

Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.

The equivalence here is somewhat flawed, not the least because they start to blur the moral right to life with the legal right to life. Further, they equate giving up your legal right to life (by, for example, murdering someone else) with a fetus or embryo being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Depending on your morals, all three examples have a moral right to life, it’s just in the last case it was actively forfeited.

Read the rest of this entry

The Ethics of "After-birth Abortions", Part 1

Last Friday, I noted in my Friday Link Wrap-up "Medical "ethicists" are seriously arguing that post-birth newborns are ‘not persons’ and can ethically be "aborted". I also posted this article on Facebook, and one of my friends took me to task on it. He said that "sloppy agenda laden journalism" has misinterpreted their intent, and that "the researchers are attempting to provoke debate on the ethics of abortion, not the desirability to kill newborns."

I’ve read the whole piece by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, and I come to the conclusion that, while their stated intent may not be to suggest that it is desirable to kill newborns, the result will be the same. The main problem I see is that, while they have their personal moral stances regarding how often and in what circumstances what they call "after-birth abortions" would take place, their stances would not be what others use to make their determination. Would they accept a gun manufacturer’s statement that "I don’t intend my product to kill innocent people"? Perhaps not, but it can be used that way, and abortion kills millions upon millions because they are merely inconvenient. The authors’ morals will not be used to put into practice their suggestions. Keep that in mind.

(Note: While putting this blog post together, the article was removed from the Journal of Medical Ethics website. The link takes you to a "Not Found" page, and no amount of searching for title, text, or authors could find it. I’m not sure if it was taken down for some reason, or if, perhaps, only the most recent articles appear on the website. In any event, the article is no longer there. I’ll continue to look to see if it gets posted elsewhere.)

(Second note: This is why I haven’t posted anything this week so far. I’ve been spending my time working on this.)

Read the rest of this entry

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 46)

The Firearm as a Tool
In Washington state, a National Park Ranger was shot dead by an Iraq War vet with post traumatic stress syndrome. In Oklahoma, an 18 year-old widowed mother shot and killed an intruder in her home.

From Massad Ayoob,

In each case, the death weapon was a 12-gauge shotgun. Some in the anti-gun camp have already blamed the law that allows ordinary, law-abiding citizens to be armed in parks like the one where the ranger was killed, for the depredations of a madman who had already violated every law from the Sixth Commandment on down before he reached the park. I try not to use words like “idiocy” when speaking of the other side, but in this case it fits. The firearm is a tool, which carries out the will of the owner. Evil in the first case, good in the second. Yes, it IS that simple.


On that anti-gun hysteria
From the news report on the Park Ranger who was shot and killed,

It has been legal for people to take loaded firearms into Mount Rainier since 2010, when a controversial federal law went into effect that made possession of firearms in national parks subject to state gun laws.

That controversial federal law actually applies to the concealed carry laws which, to the best of my knowledge, do not apply to the carrying of 12-gauge shotguns.


The True 1%
From Consumer Reports,

Only 1 percent of all mobile subscribers are guilty of gobbling up 50 percent of the world’s bandwidth, according to a new report by the British company Arieso, which advises mobile operators in Africa, Europe and the U.S.




Coddling replacing spanking?
From The Atlantic,

But crotchety as I am, I find it sort of creepy–and anecdotally, as the first generation of what David Brooks calls “Organization Kids” enters the workforce, employers are apparently complaining that they have an outsized sense of entitlement combined with a difficulty coping with unstructured tasks.


Apathy about religion and spiritual matters in America?
And this is surprising? From the article,

Most So Whats are like Gerst, says David Kinnaman, author of You Lost Me on young adults drifting away from church.

They’re uninterested in trying to talk a diverse set of friends into a shared viewpoint in a culture that celebrates an idea that all truths are equally valid, he says. Personal experience, personal authority matter most. Hence Scripture and tradition are quaint, irrelevant, artifacts. Instead of followers of Jesus, they’re followers of 5,000 unseen “friends” on Facebook or Twitter.

This is not surprising given our culture of peace, prosperity, and self-infatuation… the sorry thing is, we perpetuate this mentality in the church and in how we think we are evangelizing.

Finding God in Twilight

My Take: 5 reasons Christians should love ‘Twilight’ is a confusing piece, from CNN Opinion, attempting to argue for the merits of the Twilight series due to some intersections (so the author claims) it has with Christianity. The mistake here is that she appears to fall into the Moral Therapeutic Deism camp. Rather than do a stretch search for Biblical principles in something like Twilight, how about looking at what the Bible has to say? Or at least peruse the works of authors who intended to write fiction with a Biblical grounding (e.g., C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, PD James, Stephen Lawhead, etc.).

The five reasons Jesus would love Twilight?

  1. The supernatural surrounds us whether we’re aware of it or not.
  2. Love results in, and even requires, sacrifice.
  3. Humans crave divine perfection.
  4. A drastic change of direction may be exactly what you need.
  5. You’ll only really fit in after you accept what it is God has designed you for.

Oh, and I really like the Jeremiah 29:11 reference as an argument for reason # 5 [sarcasm].

Only in California (v. 1)

Only in California is a new link spotlight to some of the weirdness found on the Left Coast.


Stop the Killing! (of coyotes)

After a coyote (or coyotes) began to make dinner out of small dogs and cats in one Anaheim neighborhood, local residents decided to have the animal caught and euthanized. Sounds like a common sense approach, right? Not to animal-rights activists and certain American Indians (aka Native Americans). From the OC Register,

“We want Anaheim and all of Orange County to know that we have lived in harmony with coyotes and other wildlife for generations, and killing coyotes with poison, traps or GPS devices is unfair and upsets the balance of nature,” said Randal Massaro of Victorville, a representative for Union Members for Preservation of Wildlife Worldwide. Massaro describes his organization as an “underground movement of union members” trying to protect nature.

“I am here for nature itself,” said Apache Daklugie Running-Hawk, who said he is a spiritual leader for the Tarasco Nation band of Indians and is based in Lucerne Valley.

“These are our four-legged friends, and this is their land,” he said. “Now they are trying to drive them out, like they drove us (Native Americans) out generations ago. We need to live among them and learn from them.”

Running-Hawk played a song on a Native-American wood flute in a show of “respect and peace” during his comments before the council.

There is some sense in all this nonsense, though. By effectively separating humans from the rest of the animal kingdom (e.g., “this is their land”), there is a blanket admission to the distinctiveness of the human species and, I would argue, the imago Dei.


Gun Control Marches On

Governor Brown, reportedly a gun owner himself, had 4 anti-gun bills on his desk recently.

AB 809 expands gun registration to include long guns, SB 427 effectively initiates ammunition registration, SB 819 redistributes current gun registration fees, and AB 144 would ban the open carrying of an unloaded handgun.

Unfortunately, he signed three of them into law: AB 809, SB 819, and AB 144. He vetoed SB 427, but only because of a lawsuit against the bill’s predecessor, which was deemed unconstitutional.


Government doesn’t belong in your home… unless you’re having a Bible Study

A southern California couple is faced with a legal battle after being fined for hosting a Bible Study in their home.

So much for the “separation of church and state.”


Achoo! – God Bless You

A California student was penalized for uttering the words “God bless you” after someone sneezed.

“The blessing really doesn’t make sense anymore,” Cuckovich explained. “When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body. So they were saying, ‘God bless you,’ for getting rid of evil spirits. But today, what you’re doing really doesn’t make sense.”

I wonder if Mr. Cuckovich has ever told anyone good-bye?

Secular vs Religion and the Public Square

On and off again I refer to the little book published that consists of the debate between Jurgen Habermas (eminent German philosopher) and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict). The title of this book is Dialectics of Secularization. Mr Habermas opens, sets the stage and gives a brief argument (streching 30 pages of a small format book) … and Cardinal Ratzinger replies in like length. This book is published by Ignatius Press (2006) and is quite inexpensive (and available on Amazon). It was, of course, originally published in German.

The Question:

Does the free, secularized state exist on the basis of normative presuppositions that it itself cannot guarantee? This question expresses a doubt about whetherthe democratic constitutional state can renew from its own resources the normative presuppositions of its existence; it also expresses the assumption that such a state is depenedent on the ethical traditions of a local nature.

Mr Habermas takes the affirmative, and of course Mr Ratzinger the negative. Read the rest of this entry

Friday Link Wrap-up

When the International Monetary Fund needs bailing out, from bailing out so many others, it’s time to seriously question the socialist policies of those it’s having to bail out.

The Pope reminds Europe that moral failure usually precludes many other kinds of failure, eve economic.

A page to bookmark when someone brings up the faulty idea that billionaires are running the Tea Party.

Congress will investigate Planned Parenthood. About time.

Meryl Yourish has a keen eye for news media bias against Israel and, coincidentally, a bias for Palestinians. The latest? A Palestinian man kills an American tourist (because he thought the American was Jewish, which he wasn’t). The AP headline only say the Palestinian man was convicted of "stabbing" the tourist. (Oh, and the tourist was a Christian who happened to be wearing a Star of David.)

"Despite increases in gun sales, gun crimes continued to decrease in the United States for the fourth straight year in 2010, according to the FBI." This goes completely against the liberal narrative. The reality is likely closer to crime is down because of the increase in gun sales.

"President Obama’s jobs bill is better than doing nothing in the face of a national crisis, but it won’t have much impact on unemployment." This incredibly foolish line begins a column trying to suggest Obama’s Stimulus Jr. should be bigger. First of all, how is wasting money on something that won’t do what it purports to do better than doing nothing? That’s how politicians have gotten us into this fiscal mess. Second, the answer is always more, more, more. And yet here we are anyway. How can more pounding our heads against the wall feel any better?

And finally, a political cartoon (of sorts) of my own. Someone took a picture of tax protesters, and attempted a little irony by pointing out things around them paid for by taxes. But they missed the point entirely. Then point is… (Click for a larger version).

Infanticide By Any Other Name

I didn’t want to bury this post in a "Friday Link Wrap-up", so I’m forgoing that feature to focus on what Mark Steyn calls a "fourth trimester" abortion.

Albert Mohler brings up a recent court decision in Canada where a mother was convicted of strangling her newborn baby and tossing him over the fence into a neighbor’s yard. To compound this horror, the Canadian justice system (and I use the term "justice" very loosely) decided she would not spend any time in jail. None. Here’s how the judge justified this.

Justice Joanne Veit, whose name should now go down in legal and moral infamy, tied this woman’s act of infanticide to Canada’s lack of legal restrictions on abortion. The judge’s decision stated that “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.”

She continued: “Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother.” She also stated that the Canadian approach is a “fair compromise of all the interests involved.”

Two juries had found Effert guilty of second-degree murder, but an appeals court had reduced her conviction to infanticide.

This is what comes from acceptance of a million abortions per year, and what comes from a judiciary far more concerned about feelings than laws. Mohler’s column notes that this slippery slope has been known to be coming for years now, but the Left has been deaf to the warnings.

The ultimate insult is that Effert may actually spend time in jail, not for killing her baby, but for throwing the lifeless body into her neighbor’s yard. Kill your child and we’ll grieve with you, but litter? That’s over the line.

I’ve heard those on the Left, including Christians, suggest that if you’re against abortion, just don’t have one. But life, even (especially) of the "least of these" is worth defending. Mohler closes by explaining why.

Mark this well — the horrific logic of this judge’s decision will not remain in Canada. Indeed, it did not even start in Canada. Those arguments are already in place in the United States. If we will not defend life in the womb, eventually the dignity of every single human life is thrown over the fence.

One Less Reason to Use Embryonic Stem Cells

A new study says that adult cells induced to become like embryonic stem cells ("induced pluripotent stem cells") are very nearly identical to the embryonic ones.

A study released Sunday shows embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells are almost identical.

Since human IPS cells were first produced from mouse cells in 2006 and from human cells in 2007, it has been thought they were equivalent to embryonic stem cells, which are controversial because they are derived from human embryos.

But new research, directed by Josh Coon, a UW-Madison associate professor of chemistry and biomolecular chemistry, shows the proteins in the two types of cells are almost identical.

Stem cells have the ability to develop into any of the different types of cells in the body. In many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing to replenish other cells.

There is really no longer any ethical or scientific reason to use embryonic stem cells. But scientists will continue to try, and to justify it ethically. Some do this by, ironically, casting moral aspersions on those of us who bring up the ethics issue. Writing at the First Things blog, Wesley Smith responds to a faculty level scientist at UC Davis who got upset at one of Smith’s articles on the ethics issue. It is amazing how tone-deaf some of these fellows can be. One imagines that if, someday, we were able to extract perfect stem cells from pine needles, they’d still insist on using embryos.

We Consume Too Much!

I’ve heard this charge leveled at the US many times before, but recently I heard it leveled from a Christian from the left side of the political aisle. He adds, to the usual concern about wasted natural resources, that consuming so much in disproportion to our numbers is immoral and unjust.

But this is only one side of the equation. I came up with a parallel situation to demonstrate the problem.

I spend most of my money on a very few things. My biggest expense is no doubt my house. I pay so much money to one person; my mortgage banker. He and my grocer, between them, probably get the biggest chunks of change out of my annual income. I have a family doctor who, too, gets a significant portion of my resources. And, as my kids have started going to college, two colleges have been getting a bigger slice of the pie.

(At this point, I quote a paragraph from his post and apply it to my parallel situation.) As a matter of justice, it would not be reasonable to think that it’s morally acceptable for those few people to consume more than half of my resources. Even though the laws were written in such a way that they are allowed to acquire those resources legally, it makes for an immoral and unjust situation, does it not?

If all you’re looking at is the percentage of resources consumed (and that’s all his bullet points cover) and using only that criteria to determine whether it’s just or not, then my mortgage banker, my grocer, my doctor and two colleges are acting unjustly with my resources.

Except that, for those resources, I’m getting shelter, food, health care and education. I’m getting a disproportionate percentage of what I need to live from this small number of people. Perhaps they could charge less for some things and not take as many of my resources for their lifestyle, but on balance I’m getting some essentials from these few folks.

In the same way, while it is true that the US consumes a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources, and while it is also true that many of us could do with less, the world gets quite a bit out of the bargain. Medical advances for longer and better lives. Educational opportunities that people come from all over to take advantage of. Technological advances in energy production to bring a higher standard of living around the world (and higher standards of living almost always result in better health). Agricultural advancements that let vegetables grow in the desert and other inhospitable conditions. And on top of all this, when the world needs protection from enemies or help during calamities, who’s the first place they turn for a shield or a helping hand? And who has the armaments and money to help out?

We do. The world’s getting quite a lot for the money.

Ask the illegal immigrant risking what he has to come to America for work. Ask the African who now has a garden courtesy of a charitable organization. Ask the Libyan who may soon be out from under a dictator. Ask the Dani tribesman in Papua, Indonesia who won’t die from an infection that is now easily curable. Ask the survivors of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

So unless he’s ready to start laying into his grocer for the "unjust" use of his resources, it might be best to reconsider this pronouncement of immorality and unjustness.

Do you agree or disagree? My main point is that you can’t just look at the consumption side; there’s so much more to the question than that. While we consume more than our share, we produce so much from that consumption, and the benefits absolutely do not stay within our own borders. I believe the religious (question of how moral this consumption is) is being colored by the political. Not "going green" as much as you may wish me to is not, by itself (and this post isolates consumption by itself) a moral failing, or certainly can’t be used to solely just the overall morality.

I believe the Christian Left falls into this trap more often than they care to admit; conflating the political with the moral. Being against Cap & Trade or the Kyoto Protocol, or not following the Green Othodoxy is somehow immoral. We should be good stewards of our resources; I’m not denying that. But to look at the "bad" side of the equation without looking at the "good" side results in fatally flawed policies. We need to deal with the bad without damaging the good.

Christians Need To Stop Making Converts: Part 5 of 5

Part 5: Becoming Truly Relevant And Truly Counter-Cultural

We Must Never Stop Evangelizing

If you’ve read the first 4 parts of this series, and have made it to this final post, I thank you. Hopefully, whether or not you fully agree with my argument, you have at least taken a hard look at the issues I’ve been discussing. However, if past experiences I’ve had in attempting to discuss this topic are any indication, then I fear that those fully entrenched in the pragmatic approach of evangelical capitalism – those truly in need of hearing my arguments – will have already left the conversation. If that has occurred, then it is unfortunate, because I believe that this issue is critical to how we, as evangelicals, conduct our lives in the 21st century.

Read the rest of this entry

Christians Need To Stop Making Converts: Part 4 of 5

Part 4: When “Personally Feeling Good And Being Happy” Is Our Goal

A Cultural Laziness Which Has Evolved From An Attitude That Life’s Main Goal Is To Have Fun

20100911-_MG_0833 It seems that our culture has come to expect to be catered to – to have their needs (felt needs) met. It also seems that we have moved from living as pragmatic narcissists to that of entitlement-expecting narcissists with a hedonistic bent. In the secular realm, catering to those felt needs is simply a business transaction; but in matters related to the spiritual, such catering can have eternal consequences.

In discussing the general attitudes of the younger generation with a friend from work, she told me of an e-mail she received from one of the coaches from her son’s baseball team. It had to do with what this coach has seen with the kids he’s coached and how it is also reflected in the college grads he’s hired. He titled his e-mail The Coddled Generation. Here are some excerpts,

Last night I was watching a 60 Minutes program about motivation in the work place and the uniqueness of the generation entering careers in 2011.

The show was really interesting, both from the perspective of an employer as well as a baseball coach. On this particular show, the coaching professionals interviewed were motivators and trainers used by businesses – experts on the emerging generation of workers and how best to speak to and communicate with them. The show highlighted fun and wacky office cultures like Google and Zappos where strange outfits are commonplace, happy hours are frequent and workers can take turns in the “nap room.” This was designed to show how corporate structure has evolved to help make workers comfortable, keep them happy and engaged, and ultimately increase productivity.

At one point, one of the consultants interviewed described this generation as “The Coddled Generation,” and then went on to describe how their upbringing has led to a completely different worker. This expert referenced school environments where Mom calls to complain about a grade, where simply showing up is reason for celebration, and where trophies are awarded to each and every athlete.

I honestly believe that the culture has changed, and there are two main differences:

A lack of desire to be outstanding…

A need for coddling and hand-holding

Read the rest of this entry

Christians Need To Stop Making Converts: Part 3 of 5

Part 3: When Christianity Is About The Experience, Feelings Become Paramount

An Emotion-Based View Of Christianity, Giving Too Much Importance To The Feelings Of An Individual And To That Of Making Converts

At the heart of the twenty-first century Western model of Christian evangelism is the scripture found in Matthew 28 – what is commonly referred to as The Great Commission.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

– Matthew 28:19 ESV

With this verse Christians have, in sincere and fervent zeal, taken the Gospel message of Christ to all the nations of the earth. Unfortunately, and in spite of their zeal, some may have missed the true intent of the verse. Note that the reference I show above ends not with a period, but with a comma. The folks at Stand to Reason promote the principle of Never Read a Bible Verse[23], which is a pithy way of saying that one should never read a snippet of scripture (or any text, for that matter) without understanding the context of the passage the snippet is contained in. Using this principle, a better reference for The Great Commission would be Matthew 28:16-20, the paragraph which contains Matthew 28:19.

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

– Matthew 28:16-19 ESV Read the rest of this entry

Christians Need To Stop Making Converts: Part 2 of 5

Part 2: When A Church Is Run As A Business, It Can’t Help But Be About The Bottom-line

A Pragmatic Mindset Derived More From Capitalism Than From Scripture

It is my opinion that the United States became a rich and powerful nation due, in part, to the aspects of capitalism which cater to the ability of humans to self direct their will towards goals, achieving them through determination, discipline and hard work. It is not difficult to find story after story of entrepreneurs who took little to nothing and built empires through their perseverance. Yet, hard work alone was not the recipe for success these people used. There were, and are, plans – business plans, marketing methodologies, sales approaches, growth models, etc.

20101119-_MG_1095 (2) Just about every salesman is schooled on how to entice a potential customer with the product he is selling, convincing the customer that he needs the product – regardless of whether or not the customer does, in fact, need the product. You may have heard the idiom, “He could sell ice to Eskimos!”[7], describing the abilities of a top salesman to sell a product to an unlikely buyer. Or consider the various marketing strategies employed by establishments wishing to get customers inside their stores – all for the purpose of pitching products to them. The “loss leader”[8] strategy stresses the point of selling one product at or below production costs for the sole purpose of being able to put other “for profit” products in front of the customer. It’s a gamble – a bet – that the customer will not leave the store with only the “for loss” product. And who among us has not had product B pitched to us via means of first having product A presented? For example, at a Bass Pro shop I recently had a timeshare presentation pitched to me after being enticed to win a new truck by just “entering a drawing.” Then there is the “bait and switch”[9] approach in which the customer is led to believe they are getting product A when, in fact, they are sold a cheaper product B. It should be noted that one common feature of any sales approach is that the product is dressed up – enticed – to appear as indispensible to the buyer. Is it any wonder, then, that the phrase “Caveat Emptor”[10] – “Let the buyer beware” – came about?

Read the rest of this entry

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