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Morality and Ethics

Morality is the intent to achieve good, and to achieve it for others as well as for ourselves. Ethics is the pursuit of the best rules, those that will most likely achieve the best possible results for everyone.

To see the distinction, consider the Jewish family of Anne Frank hiding in the attic during Nazi occupation. The soldiers knock on the door and ask if there are any Jews. It would be unethical to lie, but it would be immoral not to.

We call something “good” if it meets a real need we have as an individual, a society, or a species. A “moral good” is actually good for us and benefits us in some way. A “moral harm” unnecessarily damages us or diminishes our rights in some way.

Morality seeks “the best good and least harm for everyone”. Moral judgment considers the evidence of probable benefits and harms to decide a course of action. This judgment is objective to the degree that the harms and benefits are easily observed and compared. But the ultimate consequences of a decision are not always known. Two good and honest individuals may differ as to what course of action will produce the best result. A democratic decision can be made to determine a working course of action, which can be further evaluated based on subsequent experience.

Ethics are about rule systems. Rules include customs, manners, principles, ethics, rights and law. When one speaks of “morals” or “moral codes” one is usually speaking of ethics. But morality is not the rule, but rather the reason for the rule, which is to achieve good.

Throughout history, rules have changed as our moral judgment evolved. Slavery was once permitted, but later outlawed. The equal rights of women to vote was established. The right to equal treatment without regard to races, gender, or religion was established.

Different cultures may have different rules. But all rules move slowly toward the same goal, to achieve the best possible good for everyone. And, to the degree that moral judgment is based in objective evidence, all variations are moving toward a common, ideal set of rules and rights.

In Matthew 22:35-40, Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest principle?”, and Jesus said the first principle is to love God and the second principle is to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

A Humanist translation would be to love good, and to love good for others as you love it for yourself.

But Jesus said one more thing, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” In other words, this is the reason behind every rule. It is the criteria by which all other principles, ethics, and rules are to be judged.
 

steve_bank

Contributor
The way I have heard it defined in general is morality iasa code of conduct, ethics is how you well you follow the code.

Christians derive morality from a strange bizarre thing called the bible where stoning was considered acceptable punishment for offenses. Slavery by the religious was not considered immoral until modern times.

For the old Samurai commuting ritual suicide was the ethical thing to do when the code of morality denmaded it.

Morality is a collective consensus. Christens especially Catholics assume an absolute moral authority vased on sciptural morality we today consider immoral. Slavery.

What a moral good is depends on many things.

Was the use of atomic bombs in WWII moral? I think so. It saved both Allied and Japanese lives, and probably saved the Japanese culture from destruction had an invasion occurred.

Is it a moral good to provide vaccinations and prenatal care to an isolated aborigine group so it grows beyond the capacity to sustain itself in its environment?

Morality and ethics are not so simple and black and white as 'doing good'. There can be negative consequences to an individual 'doing good'.

I learned that as an engineer confronted with real issues.
 
The way I have heard it defined in general is morality iasa code of conduct, ethics is how you well you follow the code.

Christians derive morality from a strange bizarre thing called the bible where stoning was considered acceptable punishment for offenses. Slavery by the religious was not considered immoral until modern times.

For the old Samurai commuting ritual suicide was the ethical thing to do when the code of morality denmaded it.

Morality is a collective consensus. Christens especially Catholics assume an absolute moral authority vased on sciptural morality we today consider immoral. Slavery.

What a moral good is depends on many things.

Was the use of atomic bombs in WWII moral? I think so. It saved both Allied and Japanese lives, and probably saved the Japanese culture from destruction had an invasion occurred.

Is it a moral good to provide vaccinations and prenatal care to an isolated aborigine group so it grows beyond the capacity to sustain itself in its environment?

Morality and ethics are not so simple and black and white as 'doing good'. There can be negative consequences to an individual 'doing good'.

I learned that as an engineer confronted with real issues.

I think there is a distinction between a moral person and an ethical person. The moral person cares about the welfare of all of us. The ethical person follows the rules. A moral code is indeed a set of rules, but a moral person is the source of those rules. A moral code also goes by the name, "ethics", "principles", "rules", "laws", etc. A moral person loves Good, and loves it for others as well as for themselves. This is the insight suggested by Matthew 22: 35-40. And it is the reason that our rules continue to evolve.

I don't believe the Bible was authored by God, but I do believe it was authored by men of good intentions. Like any other religious text, it is imperfect. But it offers examples of wise stories relating to real human issues and real human choices. For example, human lust, as in the Leonard Cohen song, "Hallelujah", where it led to bad acts by Samson and by King David. And in the New Testament (NT) we have Paul suggesting that the Jewish dietary rules and circumcision did not apply to the Gentiles, and a fairly radical statement in Romans 14:14. Basically, this was an example of how rules could evolve.

In the Old Testament (OT), the wandering Jewish tribe had no prison system, like we do now. So immediate retribution, such as "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" was the only workable punishment and deterrent for dangerous bad behavior. Stoning was a punishment from the OT. In the NT Jesus advised against it by his example when he said to the men about to stone the harlot, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".

Modern laws are derived, as you suggest, by collective agreement. According to Jefferson, we constitute governments to establish and protect a set of rights for each other ("to protect these rights, governments are instituted"). And even these laws evolve over time, such as the abandonment of slavery.

When you ask about dropping the Atomic Bomb, the moral problem was not whether we should kill the enemy or not. The moral problem was whether there was a greater good for everyone by dropping it or a greater good by not using it. There was no law on the books to answer this problem.

Morality offers a rule for creating rules, to achieve the best good and the least harm for everyone. Your question about whether to vaccinate the native tribes or allow them to die of disease to control population offers one solution to the growing population problem. But there are other solutions to the population problem that do less harm, and moral judgment would lead us to select an alternate course of action, like planned parenthood, rather than death by suffering disease.

I agree with you that the best solutions are seldom obvious matters of black and white. There is a lot of research, discussion, and debate about the benefits and harms of new laws, such as those in Biden's agenda.

As to engineering, I'm still pissed off that my old Visual Basic programs stopped compiling years ago.
 

BH

Super Moderator
Staff member
Morality and ethics are constructs we try to impose upon reality and reality simply refuses to play by our rules, hence the comment by the engineer.
 

BH

Super Moderator
Staff member
Everytime I donate a dollar to the salvation army or clothes to a clothing drive I am helping someone else, but all those dollars add up over years. Am I slitting my own throat slowly by helping others. What if I get cancer years later and the one or two thousand dollars I've donated to charity over 10, 20, 0r 30 years all of a sudden could have gone to an extra treatment? Then again if I and others werent charitable and helped folks down on their luck they will become desperate and are not simply going to go die in a ditch conveniently. They will still or kill to try to live, and oh for I'd the idea go follow a commie or fascist and help him gain power.
 
Everytime I donate a dollar to the salvation army or clothes to a clothing drive I am helping someone else, but all those dollars add up over years. Am I slitting my own throat slowly by helping others. What if I get cancer years later and the one or two thousand dollars I've donated to charity over 10, 20, 0r 30 years all of a sudden could have gone to an extra treatment? Then again if I and others werent charitable and helped folks down on their luck they will become desperate and are not simply going to go die in a ditch conveniently. They will still or kill to try to live, and oh for I'd the idea go follow a commie or fascist and help him gain power.

Morality seeks the best good and least harm for everyone. Everyone includes you, that's why this goal is something that everyone can agree to.

Personal liberty is valued as a good thing by everyone. So, ideally we would want as few rules as possible, and how you choose to spend your net income will be up to you.
 

Bronzeage

Super Moderator
Staff member
Everytime I donate a dollar to the salvation army or clothes to a clothing drive I am helping someone else, but all those dollars add up over years. Am I slitting my own throat slowly by helping others. What if I get cancer years later and the one or two thousand dollars I've donated to charity over 10, 20, 0r 30 years all of a sudden could have gone to an extra treatment? Then again if I and others werent charitable and helped folks down on their luck they will become desperate and are not simply going to go die in a ditch conveniently. They will still or kill to try to live, and oh for I'd the idea go follow a commie or fascist and help him gain power.

Morality seeks the best good and least harm for everyone. Everyone includes you, that's why this goal is something that everyone can agree to.

Personal liberty is valued as a good thing by everyone. So, ideally we would want as few rules as possible, and how you choose to spend your net income will be up to you.

This is one of the greatest misperceptions of modern humanity, but understandable. Any time we want someone to do something they're not really inclined to do, we try to claim it's good for them, or at least someone.

Morality and moral codes of behavior exist to promote tranquility in a group of people. This goes back to the days of when we slept in trees or caves and our technology was a pointed stick and a sharp rock. A lone naked human cannot survive in the wild. We must live in cooperative groups in order to survive as an individual and as a species. Morality evolved with us, to allow us to understand what we were expected to do, in order to live in a cooperative group, and what to expect if we failed to follow the code.

All moral codes are based on two very simple edicts. First, do not kill members of your group. Second, do not steal stuff from members of your group.

After that, it gets very complicated, because we have to determine who is in our group, and what sort of thing can be someone else's stuff. Moral codes are always co-opted by whoever is in power, or seeks power. This can be government or church. but those in power always want to be seen as the enforcers of order.

This leads to the inevitable problem with moral codes. Morality is a reaction to the environment. A group who lives in a tropical climate with plenty of food growing wild all year round is going to have a very different moral code than a group living in a desert. The base rules are the same, but definitions of group membership and property will be very different.

History shows us that environments change slowly, but moral codes change even slower. What insured the survival of a desert tribe 4000 years ago may not work so well in an industrial society. The planet gets more crowded and group boundaries become very vague. We might like the idea of attacking the town over the hill and taking all their stuff, but they'll come back and do the same to us, or worse. It's just not a practical way to live in the long run. In many societies, rape was treated as a crime against property, like stealing a sheep, instead of a violent assault. This is because a woman was the property of some man, or actually, a group of men. She held value for the group and the rapist diminished her value to the group. Times change and our definition of group expands and our definition of property is clarified.

In the end, it is still an argument over definitions of group membership and property.
 

BH

Super Moderator
Staff member
Why do you think some people are able to over come tribalism and some cannot? I can't remember their names but there were two friends on opposite sides in the Trojan war and they refused to fight and try to kill each other.
 
Everytime I donate a dollar to the salvation army or clothes to a clothing drive I am helping someone else, but all those dollars add up over years. Am I slitting my own throat slowly by helping others. What if I get cancer years later and the one or two thousand dollars I've donated to charity over 10, 20, 0r 30 years all of a sudden could have gone to an extra treatment? Then again if I and others werent charitable and helped folks down on their luck they will become desperate and are not simply going to go die in a ditch conveniently. They will still or kill to try to live, and oh for I'd the idea go follow a commie or fascist and help him gain power.

Morality seeks the best good and least harm for everyone. Everyone includes you, that's why this goal is something that everyone can agree to.

Personal liberty is valued as a good thing by everyone. So, ideally we would want as few rules as possible, and how you choose to spend your net income will be up to you.

This is one of the greatest misperceptions of modern humanity, but understandable. Any time we want someone to do something they're not really inclined to do, we try to claim it's good for them, or at least someone.

Morality and moral codes of behavior exist to promote tranquility in a group of people. This goes back to the days of when we slept in trees or caves and our technology was a pointed stick and a sharp rock. A lone naked human cannot survive in the wild. We must live in cooperative groups in order to survive as an individual and as a species. Morality evolved with us, to allow us to understand what we were expected to do, in order to live in a cooperative group, and what to expect if we failed to follow the code.

All moral codes are based on two very simple edicts. First, do not kill members of your group. Second, do not steal stuff from members of your group.

After that, it gets very complicated, because we have to determine who is in our group, and what sort of thing can be someone else's stuff. Moral codes are always co-opted by whoever is in power, or seeks power. This can be government or church. but those in power always want to be seen as the enforcers of order.

This leads to the inevitable problem with moral codes. Morality is a reaction to the environment. A group who lives in a tropical climate with plenty of food growing wild all year round is going to have a very different moral code than a group living in a desert. The base rules are the same, but definitions of group membership and property will be very different.

History shows us that environments change slowly, but moral codes change even slower. What insured the survival of a desert tribe 4000 years ago may not work so well in an industrial society. The planet gets more crowded and group boundaries become very vague. We might like the idea of attacking the town over the hill and taking all their stuff, but they'll come back and do the same to us, or worse. It's just not a practical way to live in the long run. In many societies, rape was treated as a crime against property, like stealing a sheep, instead of a violent assault. This is because a woman was the property of some man, or actually, a group of men. She held value for the group and the rapist diminished her value to the group. Times change and our definition of group expands and our definition of property is clarified.

In the end, it is still an argument over definitions of group membership and property.

It is a struggle to expand group membership but ideally the group would eventually include everyone, all nations, all races, all religions. Surface differences would be transcended by fundamental similarities in significant matters, but perhaps retained for the benefits of variety.
 

Tigers!

Veteran Member
I remember vaguely and episode on NCIS where the character Ducky (I think that was the name) stated that "A ethical person knows what they should do. A moral person does it." Always liked that phrase.

Morality is applied ethics.

To paraphrase an old dictum 'The road to hell is paved with good ethics'
 

WAB

Banned
This is one of the greatest misperceptions of modern humanity, but understandable. Any time we want someone to do something they're not really inclined to do, we try to claim it's good for them, or at least someone.

Morality and moral codes of behavior exist to promote tranquility in a group of people. This goes back to the days of when we slept in trees or caves and our technology was a pointed stick and a sharp rock. A lone naked human cannot survive in the wild. We must live in cooperative groups in order to survive as an individual and as a species. Morality evolved with us, to allow us to understand what we were expected to do, in order to live in a cooperative group, and what to expect if we failed to follow the code.

All moral codes are based on two very simple edicts. First, do not kill members of your group. Second, do not steal stuff from members of your group.

After that, it gets very complicated, because we have to determine who is in our group, and what sort of thing can be someone else's stuff. Moral codes are always co-opted by whoever is in power, or seeks power. This can be government or church. but those in power always want to be seen as the enforcers of order.

This leads to the inevitable problem with moral codes. Morality is a reaction to the environment. A group who lives in a tropical climate with plenty of food growing wild all year round is going to have a very different moral code than a group living in a desert. The base rules are the same, but definitions of group membership and property will be very different.

History shows us that environments change slowly, but moral codes change even slower. What insured the survival of a desert tribe 4000 years ago may not work so well in an industrial society. The planet gets more crowded and group boundaries become very vague. We might like the idea of attacking the town over the hill and taking all their stuff, but they'll come back and do the same to us, or worse. It's just not a practical way to live in the long run. In many societies, rape was treated as a crime against property, like stealing a sheep, instead of a violent assault. This is because a woman was the property of some man, or actually, a group of men. She held value for the group and the rapist diminished her value to the group. Times change and our definition of group expands and our definition of property is clarified.

In the end, it is still an argument over definitions of group membership and property.

It is a struggle to expand group membership but ideally the group would eventually include everyone, all nations, all races, all religions. Surface differences would be transcended by fundamental similarities in significant matters, but perhaps retained for the benefits of variety.

Marvin, you seem to have things well in hand here. So nothing I am going to type should indicate that I assume you do not know something that I know. I regard that kind of pretentious thinking as very threatening to civil order, and have been outspoken about it for my entire time at Talk Freethought, and all over the Net. I was permanently banned (with zero possibility of parole, not even monitored probation :mad:) from the ONLY two extant websites that offer discussion forums that act primarily as poet's workshops, and do so in a reasonably "objective" manner - leastways that's what they claim, and what they legitimately try to do most of the time, or so I believe. And I was banned from these sites after many years of membership, and was a veteran member in both, and in both highly regarded for my poems. However, being the numbnuts that I am, and being prone to emotionalism, as well as beset by severe depression and chronic anxiety, which can breed excessive paranoia and delusions of grandeur all at once, I began to become highly critical of the policies of both places. One of them even has this written at the top of their home page (satirically, not in earnest, or even frankly for that matter):

WARNING! We're mean. We're nasty. We're merciless. We're cruel. We're vile. We're heartless.
We'll slash your soul to ribbons. We're an evil clique conspiring to annihilate your self-esteem. Ready?

This message, added in red, appeared at the same time that I was launching severe critique of certain moderators on my blogs. I named names. I did not think anyone would notice, since my blogs are completely obscure and hardly ever seen, except by people who know me or who deliberately seek me out (they would have had to know my full name). I posted at this site as Urizen (Blake reference), and up until then did not go about uttering my name on the internet. Now I do it without invitation, effortlessly, and for no good reason save to be annoying, since I merely want my interlocutor to KNOW that I am who and what I claim to be - not a poser, not a paid shill for the Right (though I would NOT refuse a decent cash payment for anything I've written! Hello you crackers and silly Karens and Qanon morons! Quote me! But send me the fuckin' money!), or a conservolibertard-snowflake-Authoritarian-follower.

The other site, where I had a really good rep as a poet, began to heavily politicize the forum. Anyone not repeating the party line was fished out and dog-piled, for whatever dreamed-up reason. Even very well-known, widely published poets, such as John Whitworth, Tim Murphy, Allen Sullivan, Charles Southerland (actual homophobe, anti-semitic, and nasty, nasty person altogether - a fire and brimstone breathing WASP, who came to this site to learn how to write in rhyme and meter, and eventually revealed himself, and got booted), Jennifer Reeser (who authored a book that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize), and way too many other American and English-language poets to possibly name, were either interrogated McCarthy-style, made up to be objects of suspicion (while some were openly gay [Tim Murphy and Alan Sullivan were married - to each other - and both outspokenly conservative], women, POC, members of protected groups [Reeser is significantly Cherokee and has proven it onsite and off with tons of photos and documentation - because she was doubted simply because she espouses religious values and is a Christian, though she is not preachy and probably doesn't go in for the Dantean version of Hell and damnation - which, IMO, one would have to be either sick, or in some fashion debilitated or cognitively unable to critically and deeply examine the proposition of a real, conscious, eternally existing place of inconceivable torment and real physical, mental, suffering and pain] ), ...etc, etc, etc.

To sum it up, as briefly as I can because to utter things with brevity on the Internet is a sure-fire way invite the slings and arrows of outrageously triggered net-folk:

I believe - although I am not certain - that there are some at TFT, present and active, whether under the radar (in sneaky mode), or posting, guests or what have you, who understand all about what the freewill/determinism argument is, and understand every facet of it (it ain't rocket science); but who will remain stubborn and refuse to explain themselves, for whatever reason. They will either not address direct questions, or be evasive and simply gainsay arguments rather than actually argue a point, with sentences and paragraphs of explanatory...er....hopefully explanatory, lucid, clear, and direct commentary; and they will posture and ridicule instead: They will seek out flaws in one's arguments, and ignore the parts they agree with; they will pretend to be Socrates and respond to questions with questions, or play devil's advocate just for fun (while never ever coming out and writing in any kind of level-headed, responsible, socially decent manner); they will almost never be gentle, almost never apologize, and almost never type into the thread the words, "Sorry for that. I was in error and I retract what I typed in post #xxxx"; - or - "Sorry, I was being an a55hole...I regret it."

What really bothers me is the odd poster who comes in and thinks they are a prophet of old, or Clint Eastwood, or a declamatory, elocutionary icon like Charleton Heston, or just someone (almost always anonymous, but there are exceptions) who will declare things and present opinions as facts, will not use qualifiers or caveats, will not be kind and gentle, and will NOT respond to rep comments, no matter how critical, no matter how kind. One gets the feeling that some of these folks do not mind receiving sparklies, but do not wish to hand them out, or are extremely picky about it; OR, they are so assured of themselves, so certain, that they do not feel compelled to rep me at all, for any reason (Leastways, rekkin - character of mine I invented whose name is Emmet) I presume, as I have lavishly commented to just about everyone by way of the rep text feature, and have had ZERO response or interaction with several long-time members (whose names I shall discuss if any one of them should PM me, as occasionally happens. And when it does, it usually goes well, though of late (very recently), it went south fast.

I will stop here. I could write a thousand-page book at this rate in ohhh, a few days, given enough coffee and chocolate. And dopamine. With footnotes, indexes, appendi...uh...appendixes, and a forty volume bibliography.

The extra bits below are for Shakespeare and/or Monty Python fans.


Onwards, into the stinky depths of hell
My friends, for what advantage can be gain'd
Were champions and warriors such as we
To sit and gather dust upon our flanks?
Nay, lads, but we shall lift these sluggish swords
And slay to bits all enemies of Christ,
Including hippies and inebriate loons
Who trespass our benevolent domains
With silly and untutor'd speech; who lack
The trade certificate or P.H.D.;
Who shovel horse's dung and th' piddle of pigs
And stoop with brush and bucket to a loo
Besmatter'd with the teeming excrement
of their unworshipt idols! Ah, those droves
of...

[Enough. CUT!!! What is it with you actizz? :shrug: Can you read a script and say the woids as written, or must you go on and on and on? Now go home, and clean your armor. And please, somebody, catch that poor bunny...poor litt-el thing...I knew this film would be a disastih but what can I do...]

 
People are as they are WAB. I was once told by an English teacher to avoid saying "In my opinion" because it was already obvious that whatever I wrote was my opinion. I do tend to sound assertive, which does tick off some people. And I try to curb discussions where people try to make me the topic rather than addressing the issue on the table. So, if any of this ticks you off, Sorry, but I am who I am. Always open to well-intentioned advice, though, even if I don't follow it. Habits of style are difficult to change.
 

WAB

Banned
People are as they are WAB. I was once told by an English teacher to avoid saying "In my opinion" because it was already obvious that whatever I wrote was my opinion. I do tend to sound assertive, which does tick off some people. And I try to curb discussions where people try to make me the topic rather than addressing the issue on the table. So, if any of this ticks you off, Sorry, but I am who I am. Always open to well-intentioned advice, though, even if I don't follow it. Habits of style are difficult to change.

No, no. You haven't troubled me at all, Marvin.

And I do, I really do, understand that one cannot constantly write those phrases like "in my opinion". I do understand. Note I have been writing extra-blathery posts because I am trying to touch every base and not leave anything to chance - but - and as I of course fully expected, it's just impossible.

Hence all the etc, etc, etc&.

It is why we have law books that are thousands and thousands of pages long, why we have reference books and various texts that contain miles and miles of footnotes, indexes, appendixes, caveats, corrections, etc.

BUT -

The point that some posters have made over the years about free will is that the people defending free will do not "account" for the brain, for the "information processing" that is going on, for the billions of years of evolution that brought us to this time and place. Well, no, people don't have to account for that, because it is assumed they already know it. And if someone does not know it, then it is useless to try and reason with them anyway.

If a person says, "I lift my arm", everyone knows what is meant, and no one has a problem with it. But if a person says, "I made my way in the world. I made things happen.", then everyone should know what is meant by that. I don't think very many normal adults literally think the person has this notion called "libertarian free will", or is even thinking anything of the kind. What they are trying to express is something like, "Well, I made a strong effort. I did good in school, went to college, got a degree, and set up my practice and have been doing it ever since."

The latter sentence there doesn't necessarily take into account all of the environmental, genetic, economic, social, etc., causes and influences going on in the speaker's brain, nor does it take into account billions of years of evolution; because, like you say so eloquently and so directly (which is why I immediately invited you here after reading an article of yours a member here alerted me to), it doesn't have to: it should be assumed, all things being equal, and assuming normal intelligence in adult discussion, that all parties know what the brain does, that there is no such thing as some kind of fundamental principle called a "free will", that there is no such thing as some kind of material called a "soul", or a "spirit", etc, etc, etc. They are free to assume that something is amiss if the opponent has actually claimed the contrary of what I've been talking about.

So, it bugs me that those kind of insinuations are constantly made, and so much useless straw is burned while posters talk past each other, rip quotes out of context, and fail to make the tiniest effort not to use harmful generalizations, such as "I know that X are idiots who think that Y and Z.." etc., on and on. That kind of thing, or so I thought, was unacceptable in a moderated discussion forum, and I have done my best to deter a FEW posters who in my opinion, do such things intentionally, misrepresent people intentionally, and mine for out of context quotes intentionally, just to cause confusion, or to distract a reader from the continuity and integrity of the thread and its participants. I consider such people on the same moral level as a spammer, or a con-artist. And these posters are on both sides of the political fence, which should go without saying.

Whataboutism be damned. It's fine to call that out when it's justifiable, but silly and stupid to use the word against someone who is obviously trying to make a rational point.
 
All well and good, WAB. I'm a grownup, and I can, and have, dealt with all kinds of people and points of view in discussion groups. Not always successfully, of course. And sometimes, especially when tired, and when being personally attacked, I will become a bit intemperant.

But, dear friend, all this talk does not relate to the issue of how we define morality and ethics.
 

WAB

Banned
All well and good, WAB. I'm a grownup, and I can, and have, dealt with all kinds of people and points of view in discussion groups. Not always successfully, of course. And sometimes, especially when tired, and when being personally attacked, I will become a bit intemperant.

But, dear friend, all this talk does not relate to the issue of how we define morality and ethics.

But it does, and that's the only reason I go on about it! I suppose I must content myself with not being understood.

I shall not bother an attempt to explain myself any further on this issue, since no-one has been able to grasp my position. I wouldn't mind at all if people DID grasp it but disagreed with it, and gave reasons; but if I cannot even make my position clear after all I've typed out in the last week or so, then there is no use.

Thanks for coming to visit TFT!

Onwards! And to hell with the freewill/determinism conversation! And to hell with compatibilism! Hooooo-ray! :joy:
 

Bronzeage

Super Moderator
Staff member
People are as they are WAB. I was once told by an English teacher to avoid saying "In my opinion" because it was already obvious that whatever I wrote was my opinion. I do tend to sound assertive, which does tick off some people. And I try to curb discussions where people try to make me the topic rather than addressing the issue on the table. So, if any of this ticks you off, Sorry, but I am who I am. Always open to well-intentioned advice, though, even if I don't follow it. Habits of style are difficult to change.

"In my opinion" is a rhetorical device which asserts the speaker is stating their conclusion based on the facts and concedes there maybe other conclusions, by other people. The key is distinguishing between the two.

It works better in a spoken argument than in text, and text is the English Teacher's main concern.
 

Jarhyn

Contributor
The way I have heard it defined in general is morality iasa code of conduct, ethics is how you well you follow the code.

Christians derive morality from a strange bizarre thing called the bible where stoning was considered acceptable punishment for offenses. Slavery by the religious was not considered immoral until modern times.

For the old Samurai commuting ritual suicide was the ethical thing to do when the code of morality denmaded it.

Morality is a collective consensus. Christens especially Catholics assume an absolute moral authority vased on sciptural morality we today consider immoral. Slavery.

What a moral good is depends on many things.

Was the use of atomic bombs in WWII moral? I think so. It saved both Allied and Japanese lives, and probably saved the Japanese culture from destruction had an invasion occurred.

Is it a moral good to provide vaccinations and prenatal care to an isolated aborigine group so it grows beyond the capacity to sustain itself in its environment?

Morality and ethics are not so simple and black and white as 'doing good'. There can be negative consequences to an individual 'doing good'.

I learned that as an engineer confronted with real issues.

I'm with Marvin here: I do and will continue to delineate these two utterances, ethics first to the discussion of principle and reason as to what universal strategy leads to best outcomes over time, and then morality which is in all discussions where I treat it the personal systems which an individual implements or has implemented upon them which approximate activity towards "ethics".

You could then be "an ethical but immoral person", ie, a hypocrite who has strong ethical philosophical arguments but who entirely abandons those arguments in favor of, perhaps, wanton selfishness.

Or you could be a moral but entirely unethical person, whose morality demands that for the world and emotional balance of their guiding morality to be satisfied they must exterminate all "sluts", and so they go forth and do so religiously. Certainly this person is extremely moral to their own morality. It just happens to be broken morality that they follow.

Someone could be both immoral and unethical, that they give no consideration to either, or more likely that any such person lacks both entirely.

This framework of the discussion yields a useful dichotomy where we can discuss the emotional aspects of our philosophical pursuits separately from the logical aspects which underpin and drive selection of such. We can also then recognize player entity conflicts in the implementation of morality re: the conflicts between the selfish gene which causes cancer and fighting between the cells of "the body society."
 
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Change is the only constant in society's putative morality. When I was growing up, gay and transgender people were considered to be sick, disturbed, and unnatural, but in my country, at least, the population has all but done a 180 on that particular issue. Now, they are haring off after other scapegoats, yet they believe that they have fundamentally changed. They always do.

Morality will always exist. After all, we need some kind of a system for confirming that certain people are evil, so we can inform the population that those people are terrible and dangerous and not deserving of their sympathy. From there, we must go out of our way to harass them, threaten them, batter them, derail their careers, traumatize them, constantly suicide-bait them, and put them through destructive attempts to needlessly change them.

Without morality, we would not recognize that all of this is necessary. Without morality, we would go around treating each other respectfully, trying to make each other's lives better, and actually liking each other's company. It would be anarchy.

Meanwhile, I prefer to simply live ethically. I find it to be substantially more relaxing.
 
Change is the only constant in society's putative morality. When I was growing up, gay and transgender people were considered to be sick, disturbed, and unnatural, but in my country, at least, the population has all but done a 180 on that particular issue. Now, they are haring off after other scapegoats, yet they believe that they have fundamentally changed. They always do.

Morality will always exist. After all, we need some kind of a system for confirming that certain people are evil, so we can inform the population that those people are terrible and dangerous and not deserving of their sympathy. From there, we must go out of their way to harass them, derail their careers, traumatize them, constantly suicide-bait them, and put them through destructive attempts to needlessly change them.

Without morality, we would not recognize that all of this is necessary. Without morality, we would go around treating each other respectfully, trying to make each other's lives better, and actually liking each other's company. It would be anarchy.

Meanwhile, I prefer to simply live ethically. I find it to be substantially more relaxing.

You're not talking about morality, you're talking about sanctimonious moralizing. Sanctimonious moralizing is immoral. How do we know?

Because morality seeks "the best good and the least harm for everyone".

So, rather than demonizing people, morality identifies behavior that causes unnecessary harm, and seeks to correct the behavior in the least harmful way.

What does the offender justly deserve? Well, since justice is about protecting everyone from unnecessary harm, a "just penalty" would include the following: (a) repair the harm to the victim if possible, (b) correct the offender's future behavior if corrigible, (c) secure the offender to protect society until his behavior is corrected, and (d) do no more harm to the offender and his rights than is reasonably required to accomplish (a), (b), and (c).
 
Change is the only constant in society's putative morality. When I was growing up, gay and transgender people were considered to be sick, disturbed, and unnatural, but in my country, at least, the population has all but done a 180 on that particular issue. Now, they are haring off after other scapegoats, yet they believe that they have fundamentally changed. They always do.

Morality will always exist. After all, we need some kind of a system for confirming that certain people are evil, so we can inform the population that those people are terrible and dangerous and not deserving of their sympathy. From there, we must go out of their way to harass them, derail their careers, traumatize them, constantly suicide-bait them, and put them through destructive attempts to needlessly change them.

Without morality, we would not recognize that all of this is necessary. Without morality, we would go around treating each other respectfully, trying to make each other's lives better, and actually liking each other's company. It would be anarchy.

Meanwhile, I prefer to simply live ethically. I find it to be substantially more relaxing.

You're not talking about morality, you're talking about sanctimonious moralizing. Sanctimonious moralizing is immoral. How do we know?

Because morality seeks "the best good and the least harm for everyone".

So, rather than demonizing people, morality identifies behavior that causes unnecessary harm, and seeks to correct the behavior in the least harmful way.

What does the offender justly deserve? Well, since justice is about protecting everyone from unnecessary harm, a "just penalty" would include the following: (a) repair the harm to the victim if possible, (b) correct the offender's future behavior if corrigible, (c) secure the offender to protect society until his behavior is corrected, and (d) do no more harm to the offender and his rights than is reasonably required to accomplish (a), (b), and (c).
I distinguish between morality and ethics.

Morality is assumed to be absolute, and the way that people tend to pursue it tends to be destructive and authoritarian. It is less about making society better and more about punishing people for being "wrong." The morals that are widely observed in society tend to change every two decades, but they will never acknowledge it. They tend to assume that their generation's morality is universal and eternal and true in all situations, and when society inevitably does change, they say that society has become terrible and despicable; they will look back on the previous generations and talk about how people were much better, then, and they will say that people have become weak and depraved.

Ethics, on the other hand, constitutes a tentative set of statements, which we attempt to find agreement on, as a social contract that we try to use to help us live together with a relative lack of conflict. We acknowledge that these ideas are imperfect, and we remain open to modifying those ideas in order to evolve as a society and improve our interpersonal relations. If we observe ethics, then we embrace social change, and we do our best to decipher the new conflicts and dilemmas that come up as a consequence. Ethics are adaptable.

I am not sure that there is such a thing as a good system of morality (I have often argued that morality is inherently evil), but I believe that ethics can work out great!
 
I distinguish between morality and ethics.

Good. So do I.

Morality is assumed to be absolute, and the way that people tend to pursue it tends to be destructive and authoritarian. It is less about making society better and more about punishing people for being "wrong." The morals that are widely observed in society tend to change every two decades, but they will never acknowledge it. They tend to assume that their generation's morality is universal and eternal and true in all situations, and when society inevitably does change, they say that society has become terrible and despicable; they will look back on the previous generations and talk about how people were much better, then, and they will say that people have become weak and depraved.

The only thing absolute about morality is its goal, "to achieve the best good and the least harm for everyone". A simple look at current history shows Democrats and Republicans making arguments for one state of things versus another. The criteria of moral arguments remains the same. For example, will we all be better off if we expand free public education to cover early childhood and community college? What are the likely benefits? What are the likely harms?

Ethics, on the other hand, constitutes a tentative set of statements, which we attempt to find agreement on, as a social contract that we try to use to help us live together with a relative lack of conflict. We acknowledge that these ideas are imperfect, and we remain open to modifying those ideas in order to evolve as a society and improve our interpersonal relations. If we observe ethics, then we embrace social change, and we do our best to decipher the new conflicts and dilemmas that come up as a consequence. Ethics are adaptable.

Right. Except that it is in the specific rules and laws where we encounter conflict. One segment of society believes that the rules must be absolute. Another segment believes that the current rules are harmful and must be changed.

I am not sure that there is such a thing as a good system of morality (I have often argued that morality is inherently evil), but I believe that ethics can work out great!

I look at morality differently. I believe that everyone who professes an interest in the goal of morality is a potential ally of every other person who stakes a claim to the same, even when they argue over which rules are best.
 
@Marvin Edwards I believe that the human habit, of concluding that any action at all is objectively wrong, is inherently harmful. In a generation from now, our assumptions will change. The people that have decided that their own current assumptions are objectively valid will howl, "Oh, society has gone so far south! Everything is horrible, now!" and the people that championed the next round of social changes will declare, "We have lifted ourselves out of barbarism! Our primitive ancestors, in the 2020's, were not as enlightened or as noble as we modern people are!"

It is just very hard to see morality as anything whatsoever except ethics minus theory of mind.

If one adds theory of mind to morality, one gets ethics. Theory of mind is as simple as the recognition that a different person that lives in a different context will have a different perception of what is right or wrong. People have very different life experiences, and people in different times use different systems for coping with the issues of their times. A person is not a moral abomination for doing their best to cope with the context in which they live.

For example, when I was growing up, it was considered to be a moral abomination for me to live as a transgender woman, and most people believed that it was morally just that I was lampooned, caricatured, and socially excluded. It would have horrified most people to hear that I might be allowed to raise children and have a normal family life. Most people would have said that I was being unreasonable and ridiculous and unjust if I said that I preferred to be called "she" and "her" in conversation.

Oh, but nowadays, there are many people that believe that misgendering a transgender woman might as well be murder. I don't think so: I merely find it incredibly irritating. People do many things that irritate me. One of the worst ones is that they tailgate me on the highway and then honk at me, even though I am already driving five miles per hour over the speed-limit. I look in the rear-view mirror, and I tell them, "I am already breaking the law for you. Is that not sufficient, you son of two strangers that never so much as learned each others' names? I am in a hurry, too! That is why I am driving 65 miles per hour when the legal speed limit is 60 miles per hour. The police officer that we just passed has generously turned a blind eye to this fact because that person recognizes that many honest, hard-working people are in a hurry at this hour of the day. If you actually were to have sped by the same guy at 90, which you seem to want to drive, then you would have been pulled over, and that would have ruined your day and created a costly inconvenience for you."

I refuse to grow accustomed to the privilege of people consistently getting my gender right because, for all that I know, someone will get the clever idea, tomorrow, that we ought to only call people by their assigned sex at birth, and people might go around saying, "back in the 2020's, our primitive ancestors believed that you could merely be whatever gender you felt like you were, but in our enlightened, utopian, and wonderful age, we know better. In the 2020's, everybody was immoral and wrong, but in the 2040's, we have made the world just and righteous." I would again be an outsider, just like I was in the late 1990's.

Either that, or people living in the 2040's might believe that it is profoundly crude to make any reference at all to people's gender, and they might even start saying that people that refer to gender at all, around minors, may as well be child-molesters. In hardcore pornography, people would call each other by he/him and she/her, and it would be considered to be scandalous and sexy. One would never show such despicable content to minors, though, whose young minds are not ready to handle those kinds of thoughts. People would go around saying that young people are too immature to understand the concept of gender, and they would point out scientific studies showing that teaching them too early can cause them to suffer from developmental disadvantages compared with those that were carefully protected from exposure to the concept of gender. Everybody would go around saying, "We are all very enlightened and intelligent, now, and we live far better than our primitive ancestors. This is a truly privileged time that we live in." They would be just as smug and arrogant about their mores as we are, today, the self-righteous punks. Of all the narcissistic belligerence. Every generation, I am agog all over again at how narcissistic every cohort is about their mores.

If one merely adds the theory of mind to the topic, then I could greatly simplify matters. While I do not regard misgendering me to be the equivalent of murdering me, I do believe that it is highly irritating when people misgender me. I felt this way in the 1990's, too. If you asked me how I dealt with that, then I would tell you that I spent a large quantity of my time feeling profoundly irritated at society. To tell you the truth, this caused me to come across as a bit of a misanthrope. People like me had the presence of mind to actually have open discussions about their feelings, and society is currently attempting to adjust their ethics to act with greater consideration toward our feelings, and while I appreciate the sentiment, I would also caution society against believing that these new ethics are anything more than a social contract that we are using in order to try to get along with each other better. You do not call me by my preferred gender because doing otherwise is immoral, but you call me by my correct gender because, currently, the prevailing ethical sentiments of your time suggest that this is the most efficient system by which we may attempt to get along with each other.

I am also aware that if I do not continuously have open discussions with others, about how I feel, then the prevailing sentiments, in society, might shift out of my favor. If I expect people's ethics to account for how I feel, then realistically, I must be honest with others about how I feel. Generally, I think that people prefer to get along with me nicely. I do not think that people appreciate when I say things like, "The human race is a worthless bunch of insolent monkeys, and I would exterminate them all in cold blood if I had a choice," so instead of insulting them all, I find it to be more productive, toward my interests, to have open and honest conversations about why I might feel that way.

Nevertheless, human nature is not, at heart, going to change. With every generation, people are going to develop the perception that the ethics that they live their lives by are so deeply absolute that any society that does not observe them is primitive, barbaric, and undeveloped. They will always have the self-righteous belief that their generation's ethics constitutes the objectively true morality that should rule the entire universe. They will always believe that human beings, having reached the ultimate state of enlightenment, will finally lift up in colony ships, and they will evangelize their enlightened morality to the universe. With every single generation, the people that cling to the mores of the last generation will say, "What barbaric and horrible times we are living in. Everything has gotten so bad! Our civilization has truly fallen from grace! We are in a dark age, now!"

Those that recognize how tentative these sorts of conclusions are tend to handle periods of social change with substantially more grace and decorum. Ethics are acknowledged to be an abstract system of ideas that we use in order to try to improve our interpersonal relationships, and we recognize that we might use a different set of solutions in another generation from now. We do not regard ethics as as completed, finished product, but like science, we consider it to be ever a work-in-progress that must respond to new information and fresh knowledge.

I say that I reject morality, and the reason why is the same reason why I am loathe to call any scientific theory a "law of nature." Even the theory of evolution must continuously evolve and adapt as new information pours in. When science stops changing, it stops being science. When our ethics stop changing or if we attempt to stop our ethics from changing, then we end up behaving extremely unethically, and we end up having holy wars with each other. We attempt to arrest the development of our society's ethical consciousness by turning it into a static system of morality, then hateful individuals sally forth on quixotic errands to smash the hearts of anybody that will not live their lives according to such moral absolutes. Terrorist cells grow like blackjacks, and frustrated individuals commit mass homicides because they have been driven to their wit's end and lost their ability to cope. When we attempt to arrest the fluidity of our culture's ethics, then the result of that is always catastrophic. No matter how many times we experiment with the idea that we have reached a perfected system of objective morality, the result is always the same, and it always ends in bloodshed and broken lives.

One might say that one prefers to live in such a Mad Max type of atmosphere, but rest assured that it would become boring and stupid and wearisome, once the novelty had worn off. Someone that relished the idea of all of us fighting holy wars with each other and proving each other's mettle as white knights would find out, eventually, that they have been put on either one treadmill or another, and it would not really make them happy. Cervantes was right. Don Quixote was really a hopelessly lost individual that wasted his life living in the past and fighting against his changing society. His famous charge against the windmills anticipated the actions of Captain Ludd, generations later. It symbolized his failure to accept that the world had changed. It is imperative that we learn to embrace social change and learn how to live in the present, rather than the past, or we will ultimately go mad.
 

steve_bank

Contributor
In the post WWII liberal democracies we have a genral moral sense iof what is moral and what is not. A lot of it comes from the atrocities of Ja[an and Germany.

It is a general consensus I agree with. To people in areas in the world the wetern systems are immoral.

To day morality is doing good, philisophicaly the obvious question is what does it mean to do good?

Go into tribal society with a population in balance with resources that has a decent local standard of living. In the name of doing good you go in and vaccinate and provide prenatal care. Population grows beyond resources and people go hungry. Is that doing a moral good?

Who decides what good is?

Our post war western morality says genocide is immoral, yet there are regions where it is considered acceptable culturally. Turks vs Kurds. Kosovo war.

Morality is a code, ethics is how well you follow the code. To an ancient Samurai it would have been unethical to flee a command for ritual suicide.

An ethical person is one you can trust to follow his morality regardless is if it offends you.

The 10 Commandments lay down a basic moral code. Don't lie, steal, or go after your neighbor's wife. An ethical Christian follows the rules.

Which is why I consider Christians generally unethical. They pick and choose which of the moral codes in the bible to follow and when. To a Christian divorce and remarriage along with fornication is untechnical by the rules, Yet they selectively harass gays.

In some cases I can disagree with moral codes yet respect one who is ethical.

Morality is a consensus. Not too long ago slavery was moral. Gays were actively suppressed ad abused. Today the moral consensus and code has changed.

Morality is an instrument of social stability. It resist chaos. The Chinese understand it, it is why they are rurgless at enforcing a soical and politcal conformity. They are scared of a return to the anarchy of the Cultural Revolution.

Here in the USA the old moral norms are pretty much gone. All behavior is sanctioned within broad limits of the law.
 

Morality is a question of benefits and harms for everyone. Freedom is a benefit for everyone. Everyone wants to control their own lives and do what they want, rather than what someone else wants them to do. We would only want to curb freedom in order to prevent unnecessary harms. Gender transitioning is more beneficial than harmful for those who feel they need it. So, the other side of the coin would be how it might harm others. The thing that comes to my mind is not knowing whether the mate you fall in love with is able to actually mate and have children with you. I don't know what the ethics are for dealing with those situations. But that is only a possible harm to a single person. Most of the people you interact with are not looking for a mate, but just a friend, co-worker, a neighbor, a teacher, or a parent. And to them you are just who you are.

As to pronouns, I suspect this would be a bigger problem in France, where every noun is "male" or "female". I'd give an example, but I got D's in French.
 
@Marvin Edwards Ah, so you feel favorably toward some variation upon consequentialism! I tend to feel similar sympathies.

However, I tend to acknowledge that the fact that I feel such sentiments stems partly from the fact that I am really tenderhearted. I cannot bear to see an animal in misery, even one of my own species. In spite of my occasional fantasies of running them over with a truck, I really feel compassionate toward my own species, and most of the time, I actually like their company.

However, what looks like a rational perspective on morality, today, might become unpopular, tomorrow. As clever as one might feel about having figured out how rational and informed one's moral opinions are, new information is being revealed with every hour. Groups of people that have remained quiet for centuries are going to eventually grow impatient with the negative externalities of the last attempt to fix all of the problems of another group of people, and once they have organized a successful protest, the ideas that you believed, at one time, to be absolutely bullet-proof will really put you at odds with the next generation's opinions.

Nevertheless, I will probably still be a tenderhearted individual, two decades from now. That will most likely affect the way that I receive the next generation's mixture of evolution and folly. When the time comes that it behooves me to disagree with the status quo, then I will have to do what everybody else must do whenever they take exception to the status quo, which is to painstakingly organize disaffected parties together and systematically communicate our views to society in the most palatable and effective possible way, and we will have to brave the usual attempts at deplatforming and suppression by the sorts of reactionaries that would rather die than witness any further social change. This is all quite inevitable, and I can either be prepared for that eventuality or get caught with my pants down. The kind of person that I am is unlikely to change, even though it is inevitable that society is going to evolve, and I will not always be able to get my way, at least not immediately.

Like you, I am sympathetic with a variety of different consequentialist perspectives, but I attribute even that, at least partly, to my inherent nature. It is the most reasonable approach to coping with being the kind of person that I am. It is not really absolute, even though my natural disposition is really non-negotiable. I will not always get my way. There are more people in this world than just myself, and it would be both mad and complacent to assume that I can expect to always win. I never really want to lose, but I must be prepared for how I am going to deal with times when I do. It is really a lot of work to keep the product of my own natural disposition competitive in the marketplace of ideas, and I should expect to always pay a price if I take anything for granted.
 
@Marvin Edwards Ah, so you feel favorably toward some variation upon consequentialism! I tend to feel similar sympathies.

However, I tend to acknowledge that the fact that I feel such sentiments stems partly from the fact that I am really tenderhearted. I cannot bear to see an animal in misery, even one of my own species. In spite of my occasional fantasies of running them over with a truck, I really feel compassionate toward my own species, and most of the time, I actually like their company.

However, what looks like a rational perspective on morality, today, might become unpopular, tomorrow. As clever as one might feel about having figured out how rational and informed one's moral opinions are, new information is being revealed with every hour. Groups of people that have remained quiet for centuries are going to eventually grow impatient with the negative externalities of the last attempt to fix all of the problems of another group of people, and once they have organized a successful protest, the ideas that you believed, at one time, to be absolutely bullet-proof will really put you at odds with the next generation's opinions.

Nevertheless, I will probably still be a tenderhearted individual, two decades from now. That will most likely affect the way that I receive the next generation's mixture of evolution and folly. When the time comes that it behooves me to disagree with the status quo, then I will have to do what everybody else must do whenever they take exception to the status quo, which is to painstakingly organize disaffected parties together and systematically communicate our views to society in the most palatable and effective possible way, and we will have to brave the usual attempts at deplatforming and suppression by the sorts of reactionaries that would rather die than witness any further social change. This is all quite inevitable, and I can either be prepared for that eventuality or get caught with my pants down. The kind of person that I am is unlikely to change, even though it is inevitable that society is going to evolve, and I will not always be able to get my way, at least not immediately.

Like you, I am sympathetic with a variety of different consequentialist perspectives, but I attribute even that, at least partly, to my inherent nature. It is the most reasonable approach to coping with being the kind of person that I am. It is not really absolute, even though my natural disposition is really non-negotiable. I will not always get my way. There are more people in this world than just myself, and it would be both mad and complacent to assume that I can expect to always win. I never really want to lose, but I must be prepared for how I am going to deal with times when I do. It is really a lot of work to keep the product of my own natural disposition competitive in the marketplace of ideas, and I should expect to always pay a price if I take anything for granted.

Moral progress is often two steps forward and one step back. There is often backlash, like the 2017 Tiki Torch march by the white nationalists in Charlottesville, after two terms of our first black president.

Though my church is UU, I found myself in crisis over same-sex marriage. I was fine with "domestic partners", and supported full equal treatment of gay couples. But changing the definition of marriage caused me to break from the church for two years until things sorted themselves out. But I'm back now, singing in the choir.

While I was away, I participated in many on-line discussions. And that is where I ran into my first transgender person. I learned that there were some cases where a newborn had ambiguous genitals and the doctor chose their sex by operation. But those cases were rare. Mostly it was an inner sense of being a different gender than their physical presentation. That's why sex-change operations were so important.

After I rejoined the choir, I met Sara and Bob. She was an older woman, but still had great legs when wearing heels. He had long hair wrapped in a pony tail. And it was several weeks before other choir members let me in on the fact that they were the same person. They were like two different personalities, and not similar at all in presentation. And I always felt more comfortable speaking with her at church. But I did run into Bob several times at the gym. Two entirely different matters, I know, transgender and transvestite.

In any case, I was happy to contribute to Danica Roem's campaign, which she successfully won, becoming the first transgender woman in Virginia's General Assembly.
 
@Marvin Edwards I have not been a part of a church in many years. I have a community of friends that I care about in the same way, though.

I seldom ever see true gender fluidity, but it's very fun when I do. I could never pull it off, myself. My style is far too drab and boring. The closest I come to dressing up is putting on a little pair of DRAGON WINGS that I got while I was at a gift shop in Memphis. It is not even slightly serious. FYIAD! Dragons are very special to me. Some people think that dragons are monsters, but they are really just a funny-looking angel.

I do not see us as becoming progressively more moral, though. The information that is available to us changes generation-by-generation, and we adapt to that changing information either competently or incompetently. In some cases, we turn our attempts to make society into a better place into a destructive moral crusade without really meaning to.

For example, anti-gay persecution might have been an outcropping of early 20th Century attempts to improve the lives of children. The idea was that children deserved a "normal" upbringing, and modernist ethics were all about fitting people into idealized molds for what a good person ought to be. The idea that "all children are born good," in most people's minds, precluded, for almost all Americans, the idea that they could be born gay, so when some of them turned out to be gay, anyhow, this caused them to panic. During the McCarthy Era, many people believed that homosexuality was being spread in the same way as communism, which led to the Lavender Scare policies that started in 1947.

The curious thing about the Lavender Scare, though, was that it really constituted an unintentional outcropping of a movement that was started with excellent intentions. In fact, the movement to improve the lives of young people, by giving them a chance for clean and normal lives and universal free education, was overall successful. Nobody expected the persecution of scapegoats to get so out-of-hand.

If you want to know what the next iteration of the Lavender Scare is going to come from, then I suggest that you examine the current efforts that we are making to try to erase the evils of society. It is most likely something that you agree with, and I probably agree with its intentions. Nevertheless, you cannot always predict the negative externalities. Protecting stakeholders that we never really intended to hurt is going to be a whole new project, and it's going to be just as complicated and difficult as the gay rights movement.

The toughest part is that most of us will never see it coming. Most of us will think that we know who the good guys and the bad guys in society are, but we are going to be wrong. The real heroes are probably going to be people that we fought against, and we are going to owe them one truly eloquent apology. This is not really shameful.

We never really have it perfect. It cannot possibly be perfect. There is no finished product. It is a living, constantly evolving sort of thing. It is always growing and shifting. It is very like science in that way. If it ever stopped changing, it would cease to be ethics.
 

Jarhyn

Contributor
@Marvin Edwards I have not been a part of a church in many years. I have a community of friends that I care about in the same way, though.

I seldom ever see true gender fluidity, but it's very fun when I do. I could never pull it off, myself. My style is far too drab and boring. The closest I come to dressing up is putting on a little pair of DRAGON WINGS that I got while I was at a gift shop in Memphis. It is not even slightly serious. FYIAD! Dragons are very special to me. Some people think that dragons are monsters, but they are really just a funny-looking angel.

I do not see us as becoming progressively more moral, though. The information that is available to us changes generation-by-generation, and we adapt to that changing information either competently or incompetently. In some cases, we turn our attempts to make society into a better place into a destructive moral crusade without really meaning to.

For example, anti-gay persecution might have been an outcropping of early 20th Century attempts to improve the lives of children. The idea was that children deserved a "normal" upbringing, and modernist ethics were all about fitting people into idealized molds for what a good person ought to be. The idea that "all children are born good," in most people's minds, precluded, for almost all Americans, the idea that they could be born gay, so when some of them turned out to be gay, anyhow, this caused them to panic. During the McCarthy Era, many people believed that homosexuality was being spread in the same way as communism, which led to the Lavender Scare policies that started in 1947.

The curious thing about the Lavender Scare, though, was that it really constituted an unintentional outcropping of a movement that was started with excellent intentions. In fact, the movement to improve the lives of young people, by giving them a chance for clean and normal lives and universal free education, was overall successful. Nobody expected the persecution of scapegoats to get so out-of-hand.

If you want to know what the next iteration of the Lavender Scare is going to come from, then I suggest that you examine the current efforts that we are making to try to erase the evils of society. It is most likely something that you agree with, and I probably agree with its intentions. Nevertheless, you cannot always predict the negative externalities. Protecting stakeholders that we never really intended to hurt is going to be a whole new project, and it's going to be just as complicated and difficult as the gay rights movement.

The toughest part is that most of us will never see it coming. Most of us will think that we know who the good guys and the bad guys in society are, but we are going to be wrong. The real heroes are probably going to be people that we fought against, and we are going to owe them one truly eloquent apology. This is not really shameful.

We never really have it perfect. It cannot possibly be perfect. There is no finished product. It is a living, constantly evolving sort of thing. It is always growing and shifting. It is very like science in that way. If it ever stopped changing, it would cease to be ethics.
I'm worried the next big thing is going to be a push against autism and neurodivergance.

We've seen several iterations of negative aspersions directed at the neurodivergant, with the autism/vaccine discussion.

Usually the call is far and away from the same general voices I have seen originate "panic" responses (satanic/lavender/comic book/reefer/prohibition) that is largely 'the basic stay-at-home' population.

Be basic enough, and have enough time on your hands, and that's a lot of nervous active energy that has nowhere to go. It goes somewhere, and usually that's "protect the children from... Something?"

Some things can in fact be observed on the trends of what kids must be "protected" from, and featured heavily in that set is "that which autistic kids tend to gravitate towards". Well, those things and "drugs".
 
@Marvin Edwards I have not been a part of a church in many years. I have a community of friends that I care about in the same way, though.

I seldom ever see true gender fluidity, but it's very fun when I do. I could never pull it off, myself. My style is far too drab and boring. The closest I come to dressing up is putting on a little pair of DRAGON WINGS that I got while I was at a gift shop in Memphis. It is not even slightly serious. FYIAD! Dragons are very special to me. Some people think that dragons are monsters, but they are really just a funny-looking angel.

I do not see us as becoming progressively more moral, though. The information that is available to us changes generation-by-generation, and we adapt to that changing information either competently or incompetently. In some cases, we turn our attempts to make society into a better place into a destructive moral crusade without really meaning to.

For example, anti-gay persecution might have been an outcropping of early 20th Century attempts to improve the lives of children. The idea was that children deserved a "normal" upbringing, and modernist ethics were all about fitting people into idealized molds for what a good person ought to be. The idea that "all children are born good," in most people's minds, precluded, for almost all Americans, the idea that they could be born gay, so when some of them turned out to be gay, anyhow, this caused them to panic. During the McCarthy Era, many people believed that homosexuality was being spread in the same way as communism, which led to the Lavender Scare policies that started in 1947.

The curious thing about the Lavender Scare, though, was that it really constituted an unintentional outcropping of a movement that was started with excellent intentions. In fact, the movement to improve the lives of young people, by giving them a chance for clean and normal lives and universal free education, was overall successful. Nobody expected the persecution of scapegoats to get so out-of-hand.

If you want to know what the next iteration of the Lavender Scare is going to come from, then I suggest that you examine the current efforts that we are making to try to erase the evils of society. It is most likely something that you agree with, and I probably agree with its intentions. Nevertheless, you cannot always predict the negative externalities. Protecting stakeholders that we never really intended to hurt is going to be a whole new project, and it's going to be just as complicated and difficult as the gay rights movement.

The toughest part is that most of us will never see it coming. Most of us will think that we know who the good guys and the bad guys in society are, but we are going to be wrong. The real heroes are probably going to be people that we fought against, and we are going to owe them one truly eloquent apology. This is not really shameful.

We never really have it perfect. It cannot possibly be perfect. There is no finished product. It is a living, constantly evolving sort of thing. It is always growing and shifting. It is very like science in that way. If it ever stopped changing, it would cease to be ethics.
I'm worried the next big thing is going to be a push against autism and neurodivergance.

We've seen several iterations of negative aspersions directed at the neurodivergant, with the autism/vaccine discussion.

Usually the call is far and away from the same general voices I have seen originate "panic" responses (satanic/lavender/comic book/reefer/prohibition) that is largely 'the basic stay-at-home' population.

Be basic enough, and have enough time on your hands, and that's a lot of nervous active energy that has nowhere to go. It goes somewhere, and usually that's "protect the children from... Something?"

Some things can in fact be observed on the trends of what kids must be "protected" from, and featured heavily in that set is "that which autistic kids tend to gravitate towards". Well, those things and "drugs".
I am not precisely autistic, personally. I am definitely neurodivergent, but after several years of talking it over with my psychiatrist, he eventually admitted to me that these classification systems are largely artificial, imperfect, and based more on convenience than precision.

Ultimately, what I mean is this.

There are a large number of characteristics, about the human race, that are not really mutable. For example, I cannot really change the fact that I have a slight stutter. If I quaff a certain quantity of alcohol, it is slightly diminished, but it never really disappears.

Well, what if our society were to decide that it is "immoral" to stutter?

Do not ridicule this scenario. Similar things have happened before. People believed, for centuries, that gay sex was "immoral," and look how abominably gay people were treated as a consequence. The way that they were treated, for centuries, was really horrifyingly cruel.

However, the standpoint of society was that being gay was not inherent to anybody's nature. From the standpoint of society, people were either willing or unwilling to behave morally. If you were not able to restrict yourself to morally acceptable behavior, then you were clearly not interested in behaving morally at all. If you were engaging in gay sex every day, perhaps even several times a day, then how dare you expect society to trust you at all? It truly is rich, society said, that such a person would claim that society is wrong to punish people that clearly have no respect at all for society's morals. If you are going to engage in such despicable behavior, society said, then you clearly do not deserve society's sympathy.

Therefore, society could simply deny that a stutter is really inherent in anybody's nature. By doing so, they could construct an argument that, whenever I stutter, I am consciously deviating from clear speech, and if I would do so, then I clearly do not have respect for society's moral beliefs regarding clear speech. Why should I expect society to trust me at all if I am constantly stuttering in their faces? Their philosophy would be that if I did not want society to punish me for stuttering, then I am at liberty to stop stuttering at them anytime that I took it into my head to respect society's moral principles regarding clear speech.

I might object that it is hard for me to speak clearly.

Society would say, it is not hard at all. Do you hear me stuttering? I am not even sure how you make that stuttering sound in your speech. It is as easy as breathing. By these simple remarks, I am proving that you are a liar. It is a lie that you could have difficulty performing such a trivial act.

What should I do, then, under this scenario? Should I and my fellow stutterers gather in stutterer bars and drink away our sorrows?

No! F-f-f-f-fu-, uh, to heck with th-that sh-sh-sh-sh-, uh, stuff.

Instead, it is imperative that we develop a better relationship with society. The first step is recognizing that that improved relationship does not come for free. To the concept that we can just say, we stutterers cannot help being stutters, so you have to accept us, the answer is no. The King's Speech is an example of the kind of content that can demonstrate that stutterers can be just about any kind's of people, even the figurehead of a nation, and we would have to prove that that person is a well-meaning and hardworking individual. We would have to prove how much that person suffers from attempting to suppress their stutter, and we would have to prove to society that making stutterers self-conscious about their stutter truly only makes it worse and gets in the way of people that are really fully committed to pulling their weight in society.

If it had not been for the film The King's Speech, I am not sure that Joe Biden would have won the 2020 election. He has always had a natural stutter, and while it shows up substantially less often at this point in his life, it still shows up. When Trump's supporters attacked Joe Biden over his stutter, the alternative scenario would have been that the "moderates," DINOs, and wavering Republicans would have been substantially more influenced by those attacks. It would have been substantially easier for them to portray Joe Biden as somebody that is clearly slipping, mentally. Thanks to that film that showed how a historical King of England was really a highly talented statesman that successfully organized the defense of his country during the most serious and deadly war of modern history, people that otherwise would have been skeptical of a stuttering Joe Biden were able to perceive how Joe Biden might really be a talented statesman in spite of his stutter.

However, some members of society might truly care deeply about their moral beliefs about clear speech. They might go through life bemoaning how society is truly corrupted. They might go through life saying, society is so terribly wicked. They allow even their presidents to stutter at society. This society is full of sin and wickedness, they say. We are living in a dark time when the idea of clear speech is but a memory. They might spend their lives dreaming of a revival in the idea of free speech. They might go door-to-door evangelizing their clear speech beliefs. They might open the hearts of the people and get them to believe that clear speech matters.

If they got their way, though, then society would waste endless time and energy persecuting stutterers, and it would not really fix the real problems of society. It would just make a substantial number of people deeply unhappy, and nobody would really gain anything at all from their misery.

We must regard all moral ideas with skepticism. Moralizing often translates to "treating people like crap for no self-evident reason."

I do believe in the idea of ethics. Ethics involves a problem-solving approach to figuring out how we can get along peacefully with each other. No solution is deemed to be absolute. Our ethics may change fluidly in order to accommodate for newly discovered groups, and as we continuously discover new groups that need to be bargained with on how to integrate them with society, we may strategically alter our ethics in order to find peaceful solutions. No solution is deemed permanent, and every solution is deemed worthy of eventually being improved if at all possible.

Ethics works more like a science. We never declare that we have our ethics exactly right or completed. Every new solution we devise, for helping our fellow human beings get along with each other and treat each other with dignity, only reveals new issues and complexities. Every time we solve one problem, we expose another that had previously gone unnoticed. Developing new norms takes generations, and phasing out old ones that were not working, in their erstwhile forms, takes generations. Ethics are always considered to be open to improvement and discussion.

Whenever somebody declares, "Wait, we are not really allowed to discuss that. That has been settled. Everybody agrees that that is despicable. No serious person is really defending that. The subject is closed," then they are moralizing. Morality is static. Morality is a mummy. It is arrested development. It is intellectual living death. No good can ever come of moralizing.

When you see society engaged in moralizing, then that is an opportunity to stop moralizing and start thinking ethically.
 

Jarhyn

Contributor
@Marvin Edwards I have not been a part of a church in many years. I have a community of friends that I care about in the same way, though.

I seldom ever see true gender fluidity, but it's very fun when I do. I could never pull it off, myself. My style is far too drab and boring. The closest I come to dressing up is putting on a little pair of DRAGON WINGS that I got while I was at a gift shop in Memphis. It is not even slightly serious. FYIAD! Dragons are very special to me. Some people think that dragons are monsters, but they are really just a funny-looking angel.

I do not see us as becoming progressively more moral, though. The information that is available to us changes generation-by-generation, and we adapt to that changing information either competently or incompetently. In some cases, we turn our attempts to make society into a better place into a destructive moral crusade without really meaning to.

For example, anti-gay persecution might have been an outcropping of early 20th Century attempts to improve the lives of children. The idea was that children deserved a "normal" upbringing, and modernist ethics were all about fitting people into idealized molds for what a good person ought to be. The idea that "all children are born good," in most people's minds, precluded, for almost all Americans, the idea that they could be born gay, so when some of them turned out to be gay, anyhow, this caused them to panic. During the McCarthy Era, many people believed that homosexuality was being spread in the same way as communism, which led to the Lavender Scare policies that started in 1947.

The curious thing about the Lavender Scare, though, was that it really constituted an unintentional outcropping of a movement that was started with excellent intentions. In fact, the movement to improve the lives of young people, by giving them a chance for clean and normal lives and universal free education, was overall successful. Nobody expected the persecution of scapegoats to get so out-of-hand.

If you want to know what the next iteration of the Lavender Scare is going to come from, then I suggest that you examine the current efforts that we are making to try to erase the evils of society. It is most likely something that you agree with, and I probably agree with its intentions. Nevertheless, you cannot always predict the negative externalities. Protecting stakeholders that we never really intended to hurt is going to be a whole new project, and it's going to be just as complicated and difficult as the gay rights movement.

The toughest part is that most of us will never see it coming. Most of us will think that we know who the good guys and the bad guys in society are, but we are going to be wrong. The real heroes are probably going to be people that we fought against, and we are going to owe them one truly eloquent apology. This is not really shameful.

We never really have it perfect. It cannot possibly be perfect. There is no finished product. It is a living, constantly evolving sort of thing. It is always growing and shifting. It is very like science in that way. If it ever stopped changing, it would cease to be ethics.
I'm worried the next big thing is going to be a push against autism and neurodivergance.

We've seen several iterations of negative aspersions directed at the neurodivergant, with the autism/vaccine discussion.

Usually the call is far and away from the same general voices I have seen originate "panic" responses (satanic/lavender/comic book/reefer/prohibition) that is largely 'the basic stay-at-home' population.

Be basic enough, and have enough time on your hands, and that's a lot of nervous active energy that has nowhere to go. It goes somewhere, and usually that's "protect the children from... Something?"

Some things can in fact be observed on the trends of what kids must be "protected" from, and featured heavily in that set is "that which autistic kids tend to gravitate towards". Well, those things and "drugs".
I am not precisely autistic, personally. I am definitely neurodivergent, but after several years of talking it over with my psychiatrist, he eventually admitted to me that these classification systems are largely artificial, imperfect, and based more on convenience than precision.

Ultimately, what I mean is this.

There are a large number of characteristics, about the human race, that are not really mutable. For example, I cannot really change the fact that I have a slight stutter. If I quaff a certain quantity of alcohol, it is slightly diminished, but it never really disappears.

Well, what if our society were to decide that it is "immoral" to stutter?

Do not ridicule this scenario. Similar things have happened before. People believed, for centuries, that gay sex was "immoral," and look how abominably gay people were treated as a consequence. The way that they were treated, for centuries, was really horrifyingly cruel.

However, the standpoint of society was that being gay was not inherent to anybody's nature. From the standpoint of society, people were either willing or unwilling to behave morally. If you were not able to restrict yourself to morally acceptable behavior, then you were clearly not interested in behaving morally at all. If you were engaging in gay sex every day, perhaps even several times a day, then how dare you expect society to trust you at all? It truly is rich, society said, that such a person would claim that society is wrong to punish people that clearly have no respect at all for society's morals. If you are going to engage in such despicable behavior, society said, then you clearly do not deserve society's sympathy.

Therefore, society could simply deny that a stutter is really inherent in anybody's nature. By doing so, they could construct an argument that, whenever I stutter, I am consciously deviating from clear speech, and if I would do so, then I clearly do not have respect for society's moral beliefs regarding clear speech. Why should I expect society to trust me at all if I am constantly stuttering in their faces? Their philosophy would be that if I did not want society to punish me for stuttering, then I am at liberty to stop stuttering at them anytime that I took it into my head to respect society's moral principles regarding clear speech.

I might object that it is hard for me to speak clearly.

Society would say, it is not hard at all. Do you hear me stuttering? I am not even sure how you make that stuttering sound in your speech. It is as easy as breathing. By these simple remarks, I am proving that you are a liar. It is a lie that you could have difficulty performing such a trivial act.

What should I do, then, under this scenario? Should I and my fellow stutterers gather in stutterer bars and drink away our sorrows?

No! F-f-f-f-fu-, uh, to heck with th-that sh-sh-sh-sh-, uh, stuff.

Instead, it is imperative that we develop a better relationship with society. The first step is recognizing that that improved relationship does not come for free. To the concept that we can just say, we stutterers cannot help being stutters, so you have to accept us, the answer is no. The King's Speech is an example of the kind of content that can demonstrate that stutterers can be just about any kind's of people, even the figurehead of a nation, and we would have to prove that that person is a well-meaning and hardworking individual. We would have to prove how much that person suffers from attempting to suppress their stutter, and we would have to prove to society that making stutterers self-conscious about their stutter truly only makes it worse and gets in the way of people that are really fully committed to pulling their weight in society.

If it had not been for the film The King's Speech, I am not sure that Joe Biden would have won the 2020 election. He has always had a natural stutter, and while it shows up substantially less often at this point in his life, it still shows up. When Trump's supporters attacked Joe Biden over his stutter, the alternative scenario would have been that the "moderates," DINOs, and wavering Republicans would have been substantially more influenced by those attacks. It would have been substantially easier for them to portray Joe Biden as somebody that is clearly slipping, mentally. Thanks to that film that showed how a historical King of England was really a highly talented statesman that successfully organized the defense of his country during the most serious and deadly war of modern history, people that otherwise would have been skeptical of a stuttering Joe Biden were able to perceive how Joe Biden might really be a talented statesman in spite of his stutter.

However, some members of society might truly care deeply about their moral beliefs about clear speech. They might go through life bemoaning how society is truly corrupted. They might go through life saying, society is so terribly wicked. They allow even their presidents to stutter at society. This society is full of sin and wickedness, they say. We are living in a dark time when the idea of clear speech is but a memory. They might spend their lives dreaming of a revival in the idea of free speech. They might go door-to-door evangelizing their clear speech beliefs. They might open the hearts of the people and get them to believe that clear speech matters.

If they got their way, though, then society would waste endless time and energy persecuting stutterers, and it would not really fix the real problems of society. It would just make a substantial number of people deeply unhappy, and nobody would really gain anything at all from their misery.

We must regard all moral ideas with skepticism. Moralizing often translates to "treating people like crap for no self-evident reason."

I do believe in the idea of ethics. Ethics involves a problem-solving approach to figuring out how we can get along peacefully with each other. No solution is deemed to be absolute. Our ethics may change fluidly in order to accommodate for newly discovered groups, and as we continuously discover new groups that need to be bargained with on how to integrate them with society, we may strategically alter our ethics in order to find peaceful solutions. No solution is deemed permanent, and every solution is deemed worthy of eventually being improved if at all possible.

Ethics works more like a science. We never declare that we have our ethics exactly right or completed. Every new solution we devise, for helping our fellow human beings get along with each other and treat each other with dignity, only reveals new issues and complexities. Every time we solve one problem, we expose another that had previously gone unnoticed. Developing new norms takes generations, and phasing out old ones that were not working, in their erstwhile forms, takes generations. Ethics are always considered to be open to improvement and discussion.

Whenever somebody declares, "Wait, we are not really allowed to discuss that. That has been settled. Everybody agrees that that is despicable. No serious person is really defending that. The subject is closed," then they are moralizing. Morality is static. Morality is a mummy. It is arrested development. It is intellectual living death. No good can ever come of moralizing.

When you see society engaged in moralizing, then that is an opportunity to stop moralizing and start thinking ethically.
Yeah, my thought is, if someone wants to have a moral position, they need to point to the ethical underpinnings. If they cannot do that, then I will treat their morals as I treat any thing that has no verification for the trust requested: I put it where all the other stinky turds go.

I bring up what I do about neurodivergence because it seems to be exactly the neurodivergency that has been under attack for generations.

The reality is that neurodivergency represents a huge challenge to parents. Parenting a neurodivergency kid is not like parenting a socially normal one. It's just not. It's frustrating and confusing; nothing works, even stuff that does with many other such divergent children. Well, except the things that do work.

But that's the problem isn't it? The things that do work are like the things that work to make certain of us feel horny: they are largely a mystery even to us and making sense of it is a fool's errand.

Really to raise such a child well, you need to already have parents experienced in making mistakes and even then it will be very hard.

Humans don't like doing work they don't have to. Some of the humans around here are real pieces of self centered shit. So when they are confronted with autistic children, more and more even these days, "measures" are taken.

We had a housemate we recently evicted. While the reasons for that were amounting to "Jarhyn had a nervous breakdown, asked for his husband because he was having a nervous breakdown, and was unable using clear and concise language "I need my husband. I am not ok." to determine the correct course of action (to get said husband in touch with me ASAP). I can absolutely forgive her for that. I cannot, however, stand in for her parents. I cannot do all that work to raise a grown adult who is already starting to "set".

But moreover, her parents ruined her in this way. Because she was autistic and "socially abnormal" they sent her to a school specially for socializing her. Her story reminded me of The Owl House. I've only watched a few episodes and it didn't strictly grab me, but it only took an episode or two to put in perspective the way kids are being treated and abused to "normalize" them.

Now, she's barely functional, and also capable of social leverage. Rather than helping her develop herself into a good person, they gave her a sword and didn't teach her why or when to even wield it. So now, this person as a pattern of behavior goes from game to game as her preference attracting "simps" and having them shower her with flirtations whenever she is depressed. She gets depressed because she procrastinates and does nothing to improve her life. Because people thought it was valuable that she get an education in being "social" without an education in how society functions, how to actually be socially oriented.

If you want your crime, there it is. The reality is that the majority of progress and magic in this world came from the hands of the most divergent people.

I expect this war on autism is as much waged by the selfish gene as much as it is by anything else. The social gene is a threat to the selfish gene. When everything is socially oriented, the selfish gene atrophies and dies and gets, well, genocided, mostly out of pure obsolescence, and not in a big bang but a dull, basic incel whisper, kicking and choking in the occasional violent last gasp of nobody caring anymore about those who ONLY care about themselves and their own "special" genetics, or who use "social" as a sword for self rather than for the purposes we accept of the use of swords.

I look back at the autism/vaxx bullshit, and then all the patterns of the "moral panics" and it is always targeting escapism, fantasy and robust mental landscapes. Divergence itself is the enemy of the selfish gene and I expect this core conflict will precipitate clearly, and a breaking point reached between the divergent and those who would seek to erase such aberration.
 
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@Jarhyn

The phrase "throwing good money after bad" applies.

Here is a paradox that I have seen, in human nature.

Take any social outgroup. Let's call them "xyonagols," a random nonsense term.

For centuries, xyonagols were rarely heard about. The xyonagols are, for the most part, highly secretive about the fact that they are xyonagols, and most of them can live normal lives. Most people that are socially outgoing know at least one xyonagol, but that xyonagol has not come out yet and confessed themselves to be a xyonagol. The only probable way that you could find out that somebody is a xyonagol is if you A) knew that xyonagols exist, and B) happened to be looking for one.

Well, let's say that some individual, let's call him Pierre Putrid were to be treated badly by a group of xyonagols, one day, and Pierre turned out to be so utterly petty and cruel that they were to swear, "I will make sure that all xyonagols are punished for how mean those people were to me!" and they were to start a hate group aimed at stirring up hatred and fear against xyonagols.

And then let's imagine that Pierre were to be successful at peddling enough lies and distortions about xyonagols that they succeeded at getting state legislatures and the legislative assemblies of entire countries that effectively make being a xyonagol a serious crime.

In response to this new peril, the few xyonagols were publicly visible and known to be xyonagols would go deep into hiding. This is natural self-preservation instinct. Nobody wants their lives to be ruined.

Without anybody besides xyonagols that were really knowledgeable about xyonagols, Pierre would be able to continuously peddle their anti-xyonagol rhetoric without anybody to challenge them on their claims, and Pierre was so motivated to cause the xyonagols as much harm and grief as possible that they created a powerful movement that was aimed at no cause in the world except "stopping the evil xyonagols."

However, the xyonagols do not react in the same way that normal "baddies" tend to react. Instead, a large number of them, due to extreme distress, end up killing themselves. Pierre's hate group has become a victim of its own success. Rather than really having a problem of never quite succeeding in their attempts to suppress the xyonagols, they end up with a whole different problem, which is an actual body count.

And here is where the paradox comes in.

Pierre's hate group therefore has a serious problem. If their crimes against the xyonagols are ever discovered to really be crimes against innocent people, then society will turn against them. Great masses of people would speak up in outrage to condemn their behavior.

The only way they can stop justice from being done, within their lifetimes, is to cause the xyonagols so much loneliness and isolation and fear that there is little or no hope that the xyonagols will succeed at seeking redress for the harm that has been done against them. That way, Pierre Putrid and his hate group can hope that, at least within the context of their own lifetimes, they can successfully portray themselves as the "great heroes that stopped the xyonagol threat."

By the time the xyonagols have successfully mustered any substantial defense, Pierre and their followers has spread their anti-xyonagol message so broadly throughout society that most people that have heard of xyonagols at all have only ever heard the rhetoric that was being peddled by Pierre and their followers.

Even as many members of the anti-xyonagol movement come to realize that the xyonagols are not actually dangerous at all, they end up with the same problem as Pierre and their followers: they have a body count. They have caused serious pain and grief against innocent people. If they are ever found out to have been wrong to hurt the xyonagols, then they will have to face the scorn and judgment of society for some extremely serious crimes.

Replace the word "xyonagol" with "Jews." You could put any otherwise innocuous group of people in there, though. It doesn't have to be Jews. Unfortunately, this is how genocides happen, and this is how centuries of violent moral repression happen.

The Holocaust was caused, ultimately, by the same force that causes inexperienced investors to keep on doubling down on bad investments just because they are afraid to admit to failure. If they walk away from the investment, they lose a tremendous amount of money, and worse, they have to admit that they had made a mistake. Therefore, they lose even more money trying to recover the money they have already lost.

Sometimes, the xyonagols decide to push back.

When this does happen, it is going to makes the Pierre Putrid and their followers absolutely hysterical. They committed some serious crimes, and if those xyonagols are successful at pushing back, then Pierre Putrid and their immediate followers will eventually become the subject of society's undying scorn. It is one thing to be called out early as wrong because you can live it down. It is quite another if your name becomes a synonym for "evil itself."

Pierre Putrid is the spitting image of an unethical moralist.
 
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Jarhyn

Contributor
@Jarhyn

The phrase "throwing good money after bad" applies.

Here is a paradox that I have seen, in human nature.

Take any social outgroup. Let's call them "xyonagols," a random nonsense term.

For centuries, xyonagols were rarely heard about. The xyonagols are, for the most part, highly secretive about the fact that they are xyonagols, and most of them can live normal lives. Most people that are socially outgoing know at least one xyonagol, but that xyonagol has not come out yet and confessed themselves to be a xyonagol. The only probable way that you could find out that somebody is a xyonagol is if you A) knew that xyonagols exist, and B) happened to be looking for one.

Well, let's say that some individual, let's call him Pierre Putrid were to be treated badly by a group of xyonagols, one day, and Pierre turned out to be so utterly petty and cruel that they were to swear, "I will make sure that all xyonagols are punished for how mean those people were to me!" and they were to start a hate group aimed at stirring up hatred and fear against xyonagols.

And then let's imagine that Pierre were to be successful at peddling enough lies and distortions about xyonagols that they succeeded at getting state legislatures and the legislative assemblies of entire countries that effectively make being a xyonagol a serious crime.

In response to this new peril, the few xyonagols were publicly visible and known to be xyonagols would go deep into hiding. This is natural self-preservation instinct. Nobody wants their lives to be ruined.

Without anybody besides xyonagols that were really knowledgeable about xyonagols, Pierre would be able to continuously peddle their anti-xyonagol rhetoric without anybody to challenge them on their claims, and Pierre was so motivated to cause the xyonagols as much harm and grief as possible that they created a powerful movement that was aimed at no cause in the world except "stopping the evil xyonagols."

However, the xyonagols do not react in the same way that normal "baddies" tend to react. Instead, a large number of them, due to extreme distress, end up killing themselves. Pierre's hate group has become a victim of its own success. Rather than really having a problem of never quite succeeding in their attempts to suppress the xyonagols, they end up with a whole different problem, which is an actual body count.

And here is where the paradox comes in.

Pierre's hate group therefore has a serious problem. If their crimes against the xyonagols are ever discovered to really be crimes against innocent people, then society will turn against them. Great masses of people would speak up in outrage to condemn their behavior.

The only way they can stop justice from being done, within their lifetimes, is to cause the xyonagols so much loneliness and isolation and fear that there is little or no hope that the xyonagols will succeed at seeking redress for the harm that has been done against them. That way, Pierre Putrid and his hate group can hope that, at least within the context of their own lifetimes, they can successfully portray themselves as the "great heroes that stopped the xyonagol threat."

By the time the xyonagols have successfully mustered any substantial defense, Pierre and their followers has spread their anti-xyonagol message so broadly throughout society that most people that have heard of xyonagols at all have only ever heard the rhetoric that was being peddled by Pierre and their followers.

Even as many members of the anti-xyonagol movement come to realize that the xyonagols are not actually dangerous at all, they end up with the same problem as Pierre and their followers: they have a body count. They have caused serious pain and grief against innocent people. If they are ever found out to have been wrong to hurt the xyonagols, then they will have to face the scorn and judgment of society for some extremely serious crimes.

Replace the word "xyonagol" with "Jews." You could put any otherwise innocuous group of people in there, though. It doesn't have to be Jews. Unfortunately, this is how genocides happen, and this is how centuries of violent moral repression happen.

The Holocaust was caused, ultimately, by the same force that causes inexperienced investors to keep on doubling down on bad investments just because they are afraid to admit to failure. If they walk away from the investment, they lose a tremendous amount of money, and worse, they have to admit that they had made a mistake. Therefore, they lose even more money trying to recover the money they have already lost.

Sometimes, the xyonagols decide to push back.

When this does happen, it is going to makes the Pierre Putrid and their followers absolutely hysterical. They committed some serious crimes, and if those xyonagols are successful at pushing back, then Pierre Putrid and their immediate followers will eventually become the subject of society's undying scorn. It is one thing to be called out early as wrong because you can live it down. It is quite another if your name becomes a synonym for "evil itself."

Pierre Putrid is the spitting image of an unethical moralist.
I guess what I'm talking about is not exactly genocide but phenocide.

I agree that Pierre Putrid is exactly an unethical moralist. You have in fact given me a good idea for a character I've been needing to fill out a piece of urban fantasy that is meant to explore this very landscape.

I really want to feature various aspects of ethical/moral/nonethical/amoral/unethical/immoral combinations, mostly of the various combinations of unethical/* and */amoral in a number of settings, though a few examples otherwise.

Beyond this though, I can't stress how much this legitimately terrifies me, because of the campaign waged in waves against those who I share some manner of "magnitude of divergence" with.
 
@Jarhyn

The phrase "throwing good money after bad" applies.

Here is a paradox that I have seen, in human nature.

Take any social outgroup. Let's call them "xyonagols," a random nonsense term.

For centuries, xyonagols were rarely heard about. The xyonagols are, for the most part, highly secretive about the fact that they are xyonagols, and most of them can live normal lives. Most people that are socially outgoing know at least one xyonagol, but that xyonagol has not come out yet and confessed themselves to be a xyonagol. The only probable way that you could find out that somebody is a xyonagol is if you A) knew that xyonagols exist, and B) happened to be looking for one.

Well, let's say that some individual, let's call him Pierre Putrid were to be treated badly by a group of xyonagols, one day, and Pierre turned out to be so utterly petty and cruel that they were to swear, "I will make sure that all xyonagols are punished for how mean those people were to me!" and they were to start a hate group aimed at stirring up hatred and fear against xyonagols.

And then let's imagine that Pierre were to be successful at peddling enough lies and distortions about xyonagols that they succeeded at getting state legislatures and the legislative assemblies of entire countries that effectively make being a xyonagol a serious crime.

In response to this new peril, the few xyonagols were publicly visible and known to be xyonagols would go deep into hiding. This is natural self-preservation instinct. Nobody wants their lives to be ruined.

Without anybody besides xyonagols that were really knowledgeable about xyonagols, Pierre would be able to continuously peddle their anti-xyonagol rhetoric without anybody to challenge them on their claims, and Pierre was so motivated to cause the xyonagols as much harm and grief as possible that they created a powerful movement that was aimed at no cause in the world except "stopping the evil xyonagols."

However, the xyonagols do not react in the same way that normal "baddies" tend to react. Instead, a large number of them, due to extreme distress, end up killing themselves. Pierre's hate group has become a victim of its own success. Rather than really having a problem of never quite succeeding in their attempts to suppress the xyonagols, they end up with a whole different problem, which is an actual body count.

And here is where the paradox comes in.

Pierre's hate group therefore has a serious problem. If their crimes against the xyonagols are ever discovered to really be crimes against innocent people, then society will turn against them. Great masses of people would speak up in outrage to condemn their behavior.

The only way they can stop justice from being done, within their lifetimes, is to cause the xyonagols so much loneliness and isolation and fear that there is little or no hope that the xyonagols will succeed at seeking redress for the harm that has been done against them. That way, Pierre Putrid and his hate group can hope that, at least within the context of their own lifetimes, they can successfully portray themselves as the "great heroes that stopped the xyonagol threat."

By the time the xyonagols have successfully mustered any substantial defense, Pierre and their followers has spread their anti-xyonagol message so broadly throughout society that most people that have heard of xyonagols at all have only ever heard the rhetoric that was being peddled by Pierre and their followers.

Even as many members of the anti-xyonagol movement come to realize that the xyonagols are not actually dangerous at all, they end up with the same problem as Pierre and their followers: they have a body count. They have caused serious pain and grief against innocent people. If they are ever found out to have been wrong to hurt the xyonagols, then they will have to face the scorn and judgment of society for some extremely serious crimes.

Replace the word "xyonagol" with "Jews." You could put any otherwise innocuous group of people in there, though. It doesn't have to be Jews. Unfortunately, this is how genocides happen, and this is how centuries of violent moral repression happen.

The Holocaust was caused, ultimately, by the same force that causes inexperienced investors to keep on doubling down on bad investments just because they are afraid to admit to failure. If they walk away from the investment, they lose a tremendous amount of money, and worse, they have to admit that they had made a mistake. Therefore, they lose even more money trying to recover the money they have already lost.

Sometimes, the xyonagols decide to push back.

When this does happen, it is going to makes the Pierre Putrid and their followers absolutely hysterical. They committed some serious crimes, and if those xyonagols are successful at pushing back, then Pierre Putrid and their immediate followers will eventually become the subject of society's undying scorn. It is one thing to be called out early as wrong because you can live it down. It is quite another if your name becomes a synonym for "evil itself."

Pierre Putrid is the spitting image of an unethical moralist.
I guess what I'm talking about is not exactly genocide but phenocide.

I agree that Pierre Putrid is exactly an unethical moralist. You have in fact given me a good idea for a character I've been needing to fill out a piece of urban fantasy that is meant to explore this very landscape.

I really want to feature various aspects of ethical/moral/nonethical/amoral/unethical/immoral combinations, mostly of the various combinations of unethical/* and */amoral in a number of settings, though a few examples otherwise.

Beyond this though, I can't stress how much this legitimately terrifies me, because of the campaign waged in waves against those who I share some manner of "magnitude of divergence" with.
Shush. There are many ways to take part in improving matters, and the most important work is actually the housekeeping stuff. We really need more hands on organizing Gantt charts and helping break up dumb quarrels than we do at fighting with crazy people. The best thing you can do about fear is to get yourself up to your eyeballs in work. Trust me, getting to work doing something genuinely useful, especially while surrounded by your tovarishes and your allies, is the only thing that cuts off your fight-or-flight reaction in these situations.

I have a personal adage, and I use it often: war is 90% housekeeping, and most of the rest is logistics.
 
Last edited:

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
@Jarhyn

The phrase "throwing good money after bad" applies.

Here is a paradox that I have seen, in human nature.

Take any social outgroup. Let's call them "xyonagols," a random nonsense term.

For centuries, xyonagols were rarely heard about. The xyonagols are, for the most part, highly secretive about the fact that they are xyonagols, and most of them can live normal lives. Most people that are socially outgoing know at least one xyonagol, but that xyonagol has not come out yet and confessed themselves to be a xyonagol. The only probable way that you could find out that somebody is a xyonagol is if you A) knew that xyonagols exist, and B) happened to be looking for one.

Well, let's say that some individual, let's call him Pierre Putrid were to be treated badly by a group of xyonagols, one day, and Pierre turned out to be so utterly petty and cruel that they were to swear, "I will make sure that all xyonagols are punished for how mean those people were to me!" and they were to start a hate group aimed at stirring up hatred and fear against xyonagols.

And then let's imagine that Pierre were to be successful at peddling enough lies and distortions about xyonagols that they succeeded at getting state legislatures and the legislative assemblies of entire countries that effectively make being a xyonagol a serious crime.

In response to this new peril, the few xyonagols were publicly visible and known to be xyonagols would go deep into hiding. This is natural self-preservation instinct. Nobody wants their lives to be ruined.

Without anybody besides xyonagols that were really knowledgeable about xyonagols, Pierre would be able to continuously peddle their anti-xyonagol rhetoric without anybody to challenge them on their claims, and Pierre was so motivated to cause the xyonagols as much harm and grief as possible that they created a powerful movement that was aimed at no cause in the world except "stopping the evil xyonagols."

However, the xyonagols do not react in the same way that normal "baddies" tend to react. Instead, a large number of them, due to extreme distress, end up killing themselves. Pierre's hate group has become a victim of its own success. Rather than really having a problem of never quite succeeding in their attempts to suppress the xyonagols, they end up with a whole different problem, which is an actual body count.

And here is where the paradox comes in.

Pierre's hate group therefore has a serious problem. If their crimes against the xyonagols are ever discovered to really be crimes against innocent people, then society will turn against them. Great masses of people would speak up in outrage to condemn their behavior.

The only way they can stop justice from being done, within their lifetimes, is to cause the xyonagols so much loneliness and isolation and fear that there is little or no hope that the xyonagols will succeed at seeking redress for the harm that has been done against them. That way, Pierre Putrid and his hate group can hope that, at least within the context of their own lifetimes, they can successfully portray themselves as the "great heroes that stopped the xyonagol threat."

By the time the xyonagols have successfully mustered any substantial defense, Pierre and their followers has spread their anti-xyonagol message so broadly throughout society that most people that have heard of xyonagols at all have only ever heard the rhetoric that was being peddled by Pierre and their followers.

Even as many members of the anti-xyonagol movement come to realize that the xyonagols are not actually dangerous at all, they end up with the same problem as Pierre and their followers: they have a body count. They have caused serious pain and grief against innocent people. If they are ever found out to have been wrong to hurt the xyonagols, then they will have to face the scorn and judgment of society for some extremely serious crimes.

Replace the word "xyonagol" with "Jews." You could put any otherwise innocuous group of people in there, though. It doesn't have to be Jews. Unfortunately, this is how genocides happen, and this is how centuries of violent moral repression happen.

The Holocaust was caused, ultimately, by the same force that causes inexperienced investors to keep on doubling down on bad investments just because they are afraid to admit to failure. If they walk away from the investment, they lose a tremendous amount of money, and worse, they have to admit that they had made a mistake. Therefore, they lose even more money trying to recover the money they have already lost.

Sometimes, the xyonagols decide to push back.

When this does happen, it is going to makes the Pierre Putrid and their followers absolutely hysterical. They committed some serious crimes, and if those xyonagols are successful at pushing back, then Pierre Putrid and their immediate followers will eventually become the subject of society's undying scorn. It is one thing to be called out early as wrong because you can live it down. It is quite another if your name becomes a synonym for "evil itself."

Pierre Putrid is the spitting image of an unethical moralist.
I guess what I'm talking about is not exactly genocide but phenocide.

I agree that Pierre Putrid is exactly an unethical moralist. You have in fact given me a good idea for a character I've been needing to fill out a piece of urban fantasy that is meant to explore this very landscape.

I really want to feature various aspects of ethical/moral/nonethical/amoral/unethical/immoral combinations, mostly of the various combinations of unethical/* and */amoral in a number of settings, though a few examples otherwise.

Beyond this though, I can't stress how much this legitimately terrifies me, because of the campaign waged in waves against those who I share some manner of "magnitude of divergence" with.
Shush. There are many ways to take part in improving matters, and the most important work is actually the housekeeping stuff. We really need more hands on organizing Gantt charts and helping break up dumb quarrels than we do at fighting with crazy people. The best thing you can do about fear is to get yourself up to your eyeballs in work. Trust me, getting to work doing something genuinely useful, especially while surrounded by your tovarishes and your allies, is the only thing that cuts off your fight-or-flight reaction in these situations.

I have a personal adage, and I use it often: war is 90% housekeeping, and most of the rest is logistics.
Logistics is the mother load in one's belief system. I use about three tons of it every year on plants in my deer fenced area.
 
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