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Source: (consider it) Thread: The social-progressive mindset
RdrEmCofE
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# 17511

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quote:
Russ Posted: But if you're having a private party, you can invite who you want.
There are surely moral rules surrounding even this apparent 'freedom to invite who ever you wish', situation?

Supposing you invited everyone else but the black, asian or muslim person who works with you? Is that immoral discrimination?

Supposing you decided to invite to your party all your white neighbours but not the single black one, (reverse this situation if you happen to be black)?

Supposing you held a private party and one of your couples guests had a sex change recently without your knowledge. Would it be kind or inconsiderate to tell the couple they are no longer welcome, there had been a mistake.?

By and large there is no absolute obligation on any individual to invite all and sundry to a 'private party', agreed, but there are still possible circumstances in which it would be uncharitable to refuse entry to one or another person who might otherwise be acceptable were it not for the fact that some superficial aspect of their appearance, religion, gender preference, taste in clothes etc. might offend your sensibilities, or fall outside your personally preferred type of person.

[ 09. January 2018, 21:40: Message edited by: RdrEmCofE ]

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Love covers many sins. 1 Pet.4:8. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not holding their sins against them; 2 Cor.5:19

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Catalonia, however, is a rich region seeking independence in order to relieve itself of its duty towards the common good of Spain.

Isn't that begging the question ? If Catalonia meets whatever reasonable criteria you apply for being an independent state, then what duty does it have to Spain ? Beyond the normal moral duties of keeping promises etc that apply to relationships with any other state.

Seems like you're arguing in a circle - that because it's a region of Spain it has duties to other regions and therefore cannot be an independent country and should therefore be treated as a region of Spain...

quote:

Similarly, your argument regarding discrimination by ethnic minorities in favour of their own race is less than straightforward where there is discrimination by the dominant ethnic group controlling most of the job opportunities in the economy. It seems to me perfectly justifiable for an ethnic group unfavourably treated in terms of employment opportunities by the dominant race, i.e. operating a system of job protectionism based on ethnicity, to respond in a similar manner.

That's an argument from self-defence. A punches B first and so B feels justified in punching A back. Is it a valid argument ? Is "punching back" in a different moral category from just punching ?

I'd tend to say yes, where A and B are people. That whilst "punching back" is something a saint wouldn't do, and Christians are explicitly called not to do, B isn't transgressing against A's moral rights by so doing. You might put it that by punching B, A has in effect waived or forfeited his moral right not to be punched.

But that doesn't read across to races, classes, nations - groups of people. If a group of Germans punch a French tourist, does that make it OK for Frenchmen to punch German tourists in an act of national self-defence ?

No of course not. Because the German tourists who get punched are innocent of the original assault. Guilt is individual, not racial or national.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
if a thief steals something you're happy to coerce them into giving it back.

Yes, in the simple case where the owner has a moral right to it and the thief doesn't.

quote:
I'm pretty sure you're happy to coerce anyone who buys the item off the thief no questions asked.
.

Yes if they bought it knowing fully that it was stolen; they're then an accessory to the crime. No if they bought it in innocence. "No questions asked" seems to denote a grey area in between ?

Does the previous owner still have a moral right in the case that the shopkeeper bought it in innocence? That doesn't seem like the sort of thing that ought to abolish a right. And yet, if it's wrong to coerce the shopkeeper into returning the item then in what sense on your theory can the original owner can be said to still have a right?

Even in the first clearest instance, the existence of a moral right is not a property of the situation as it exists at present. It's a property of the history of the situation. You can't tell who an object belongs to by inspecting it or by moral intuition if you don't know it's history.

quote:
quote:

In other words, you're happy to coerce people if you see them as being the beneficiaries of an injustice where you sympathise with the victim.

No; sympathy has nothing to do with it.
You're quick to attribute disagreements with your moral opinions to partial sympathy. I don't see why you should expect us to believe your protestations that you don't do that.

quote:
It's a recognition of a moral law outside oneself rather than sympathy from within oneself that justifies coercion in the exceptional circumstance of that moral law being broken.
The problem for you here is that if coercion is justified in the case of enforcing a moral injunction, you can't then go on to argue that it's wrong to use coercion until you've demonstrated that there is no moral injunction being enforced.
Social-progressives believe that there is a moral injunction that the community should relieve poverty. You want to argue that this cannot count as a moral injunction: your attempt to do so by distinguishing between ends and means is at best idiosyncratic and at worst incoherent for reasons set forth earlier in the thread.

quote:
I suggest to you that no healthy person wants to be coerced. It's always a doing unto others that which one would not have done to oneself.
You permit a lot of things that are doing unto others that which one would not have done to oneself. For example, you permit an employer to take advantage of one's need for a job to beat one's wages down, or to refuse one a job on the grounds of race where there's a business justification. You can't draw your dividing line solely on the basis of the Golden Rule.

You lump together a lot of things under the description of 'coercion'. It seems to me that having a gun put to your head, or being physically manhandled are objectionable in a way that having to pay a mortgage on a property is not. (As I glanced at in the previous post, contracts raise interesting questions as to how far past consent can mitigate present coercion under unforeseen circumstances. And under what circumstances consent can be presumed: if you allow that a democratic government rules and legislates by consent your arguments that redistributive taxation by such a government is coercive fails. Assume for the sake of argument that the mortgage is on an inherited property.)

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Where we disagree is where you go on to say that everybody should be able to act on a preference for their own race and I go on to say that nobody should.

I'd say that it depends. That if you're acting on behalf of the state, you have to serve everyone, act for the common good, and not let your preferences interfere with that.

If you're acting on behalf of your employer, you have to do what's best for the firm.

But if you're having a private party, you can invite who you want.

You really disagree with that ?

Hang on a second, weren't you the one who is "arguing for the notion of a framework of moral rights and duties that applies equally to everyone"? Surely "everyone" includes the government, those acting on behalf of an employer, and those acting in a private capacity?

So if racial discrimination is wrong, then it's wrong regardless of whether you're doing it in the name of your country, your employer or yourself. And if it's OK then it's OK regardless of whether you're doing it in the name of your country, your employer or yourself.

As you keep telling us, you can't have the same thing being right or wrong depending on who does it.

Bravo, Marvin.

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by RdrEmCofE:
quote:
Russ Posted: But if you're having a private party, you can invite who you want.
There are surely moral rules surrounding even this apparent 'freedom to invite who ever you wish', situation?

Supposing you invited everyone else but the black, asian or muslim person who works with you? Is that immoral discrimination?

Yes there's a moral question, but it revolves around the "everyone else but" rather than the characteristics of the person.

If you work in an office of 70 people and you invite to dinner the 6 you get on with best, seems to me that's not a problem. If you work in an office of 7 people, that same act can be seen as excluding the one. Which isn't kind.

The saintly thing to do is to swallow any dislike you might feel and have a slightly less satisfactory dinner, for the sake of not hurting anyone's feelings by excluding them.

Or perhaps inviting your work friends in two groups of three, to ensure that it remains a private event in each case and not a workgroup event with someone excluded.

I'm inclined to think that's the sort of good deed that is an act of grace for which one could admire someone, rather than a duty fulfilled.

Does it make a difference if the one person is the only woman in an otherwise-all-male office, or the only representative of an ethnic minority ?

As a matter of degree, it's worse to exclude someone who is in a situation where they are more prone to feeling not part of the group. But I don't think that such a matter of degree creates a duty when one would not otherwise exist.

If you're a utilitarian, of course, then any matter of degree can be decisive between one action and another being the right thing to do.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Kwesi
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Give me strength! Does this extended thread boil down to dinner etiquette? Whoever you invite, make sure, in the interests of propriety, that the table legs are suitably covered! That really is a moral absolute.
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RdrEmCofE
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quote:
As a matter of degree, it's worse to exclude someone who is in a situation where they are more prone to feeling not part of the group. But I don't think that such a matter of degree creates a duty when one would not otherwise exist.
Quite so! Manners are not to be regarded as a 'duty' punctiliously performed but as an act of grace in line with the teachings of Christ.

"When you put on a dinner, "he said, "don't invite friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors! For they will return the invitation. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the godly, God will reward you for inviting those who can't repay you." Luke 14:12-14.

Kingdom of God behavior should supposedly not be merely punctiliously dutiful. The above advice is obviously delivered with typical Jewish deliberate exaggeration to make a particular point about non-transactional generosity, but it seems to indicate that disciples of Christ are not to consider 'private party' attendance lists to be entirely a matter of freedom of individual choice based superficially upon personal likes and dislikes of race, color, gender, social position etc.

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Love covers many sins. 1 Pet.4:8. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not holding their sins against them; 2 Cor.5:19

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L'organist
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# 17338

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posted by RdrEmCofE
quote:
Supposing you invited everyone else but the black, asian or muslim person who works with you? Is that immoral discrimination?
It depends why you've invited a whole tranche of people from work to a party in your home.

If they people you have invited are friends then fine. And if you aren'y particularly friendly with one person on the team then don't invite them. And so long as the invitations have been issued on the basis of friendship, rather than faith or colour, then the lack of an invite to that person is not relevant.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

Posts: 4950 | From: somewhere in England... | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged
L'organist
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# 17338

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posted by RdrEmCofE
quote:
Quite so! Manners are not to be regarded as a 'duty' punctiliously performed but as an act of grace in line with the teachings of Christ.
WOW!!!

So the fact that I complete my Christmas thank-you letters by the end of Boxing Day puts me right up there: who knew?

quote:
The above advice is obviously delivered with typical Jewish deliberate exaggeration ...
"I'm not bigoted/ racist/ anti-semitic/ homophobic but ..." What the HELL is anything that is "typically Jewish"???

Dear God [Mad]

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Doc Tor
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# 9748

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RdrEmCofE is merely referring to the common rhetorical device of exaggerating for effect, or hyperbole, often found in rabbinical teaching.

But perhaps you didn't know that. I certainly did.

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Forward the New Republic

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
if racial discrimination is wrong, then it's wrong regardless of whether you're doing it in the name of your country, your employer or yourself. And if it's OK then it's OK regardless of whether you're doing it in the name of your country, your employer or yourself.

As you keep telling us, you can't have the same thing being right or wrong depending on who does it.

If an act is wrong because it is a breach of another person's inherent right, then yes it's wrong whoever does it.

And if your employer asks you to do such a wrong then you should get a new employer. And if your government does such a wrong then you should work towards a new government.

But some things are wrong for you to do because you've promised not to do them - keeping promises being a universal moral duty - and such a thing may not be wrong for someone who has not made such a promise.

If you take a vow to protect and to serve the community, then you're not free to indulge your prejudices as to who's deserving of your protection and service. If you accept a salary in return for acting in the interests of your employer, then you're not free to act on your notions of social progress to the detriment of your employer.

You're bound by the moral duties that bind everyone and by the extra duties to which you've bound yourself by your promise.

And in that way an act can be right or wrong depending on who does it.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Doc Tor
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Russ, have you never heard of the law?

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Forward the New Republic

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Kwesi
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quote:
Russ:........... keeping promises being a universal moral duty -
I disagree. In elections politicians frequently make promises to the electorate that on further reflection are seen to be foolish and ill-advised. Whether they had deliberately lied to the electorate or not in giving such undertakings they would be remiss to pursue them further if judged to be inimical to the public good.
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RdrEmCofE
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quote:
But perhaps you didn't know that. I certainly did.
Thank you Doc Tor. Spot on.

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Love covers many sins. 1 Pet.4:8. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not holding their sins against them; 2 Cor.5:19

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
if racial discrimination is wrong, then it's wrong regardless of whether you're doing it in the name of your country, your employer or yourself. And if it's OK then it's OK regardless of whether you're doing it in the name of your country, your employer or yourself.

As you keep telling us, you can't have the same thing being right or wrong depending on who does it.

If an act is wrong because it is a breach of another person's inherent right, then yes it's wrong whoever does it.
Do you regard racial discrimination as such an act?

quote:
But some things are wrong for you to do because you've promised not to do them - keeping promises being a universal moral duty

...

If you accept a salary in return for acting in the interests of your employer, then you're not free to act on your notions of social progress to the detriment of your employer.

OK, so if your employer instructs you to break a promise to a contractor because it would be in their interests to do so, are you free to act on your notions of honesty to the detriment of your employer? I'm guessing you'll say "yes", because you view keeping promises as a universal moral duty.

In which case your statement about not being free to act on your notions of social progress if they are to the detriment of your employer can only mean that you don't class eschewing racial discrimination as a universal moral duty.

Or to put it another way, you don't see anything wrong with racism (see also sexism/homophobia/etc.) and you don't think people have the inherent right to be treated the same way regardless of their race.

No wonder you have such a problem understanding social progressives.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Soror Magna
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# 9881

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If an act is wrong because it is a breach of another person's inherent right, then yes it's wrong whoever does it.
...
If you take a vow to protect and to serve the community, then you're not free to indulge your prejudices as to who's deserving of your protection and service. ...
You're bound by the moral duties that bind everyone and by the extra duties to which you've bound yourself by your promise.
...

That's still begging the question: why should it matter whether or not the government serves everyone equally if individuals don't have to? If government treating people unfairly is wrong, why is it ok for individuals to do it? Why is treating people fairly an "extra" duty for government but not a "moral" duty for all citizens?

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Does the previous owner still have a moral right in the case that the shopkeeper bought it in innocence? That doesn't seem like the sort of thing that ought to abolish a right.

I agree - it doesn't abolish any right. I'd venture to suggest that a right can only be extinguished by consent (you agree to waive it), by wrongdoing (you forfeit it as punishment) or by death.

But you have to consider the rights of all the parties involved, not just the victim of the theft.

If the thief sold the stolen goods, the current possessor may also think he has a right to it, having paid for it in good faith - done what in normal circumstances is sufficient to acquire the right of ownership.

Seems clear that the thief is to blame, and if it can be arranged that both property and money are swiftly restored to their original owners at the thief's expense, then that is a just solution.

The difficulty arises when this is not possible - e.g. if the thief has spent the cash and died penniless. Or when the stolen goods have been identified but the thief has not yet been caught and may never be caught. What then ?

We can ask the question - what is a fair level of compensation for the original owner to pay to the purchaser of the stolen goods in exchange for their return ?

You might say zero - that the purchaser should take all the loss. Or at the other extreme the value paid, so that the robbed person takes all the loss. Or you might say half way between.

A few years ago our pet dog was stolen. If tomorrow the police called to say that they'd caught the perpetrator and from his records they'd identified which family in the next county had bought it and have had it as their pet for the last few years, would we have the right to take the dog back ?

If that had happened shortly after the theft, we'd say yes, absolutely, it's our dog.

But now, years later, seems to me it would be wrong to take the dog from its current possessor.

I'm driven to the conclusion that possession over time confers a right of ownership. That our right, while not extinguished, is nonetheless now less than someone else's.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
so if your employer instructs you to break a promise to a contractor because it would be in their interests to do so, are you free to act on your notions of honesty to the detriment of your employer? I'm guessing you'll say "yes", because you view keeping promises as a universal moral duty.

Yes.

quote:
you don't think people have the inherent right to be treated the same way regardless of their race.

No wonder you have such a problem understanding social progressives.

Turning that around, so it's a statement about the social progressive mindset rather than about my (possibly idiosyncratic) view of the world, you seem to be saying that s-p people believe in a moral duty to be colourblind.

I think that is incorrect.

My experience on these boards is that this mindset scorns colourblindness in favour of pro-ethnic-minority action such as "reverse discrimination".

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Martin60
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Yeah, that's to obtain equality of outcome. You know, justice, righteousness.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Soror Magna
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# 9881

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... I'm driven to the conclusion that possession over time confers a right of ownership. That our right, while not extinguished, is nonetheless now less than someone else's.

Oddly enough, that's what most thieves believe as well. Even continents have been stolen with that rationale.

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

Posts: 5430 | From: Caprica City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
you don't think people have the inherent right to be treated the same way regardless of their race.

No wonder you have such a problem understanding social progressives.

Turning that around, so it's a statement about the social progressive mindset rather than about my (possibly idiosyncratic) view of the world
That's one way of admitting it, I suppose. Though I think accepting racism counts as a bit more than "idiosyncratic".

quote:
you seem to be saying that s-p people believe in a moral duty to be colourblind.
No, I'm saying they believe in a moral duty not to discriminate against people based on their race. Whether that includes a duty to correct the ongoing effects of historical discrimination or merely means treating everyone the same in the modern day is a moot point, especially given the fact that whichever of those options is chosen you will reject it as an unfair abrogation of people's innate right to be racists.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
<snippety-snip>

My experience on these boards is that this mindset scorns colourblindness in favour of pro-ethnic-minority action such as "reverse discrimination".

If you mean "Levelling the playing field" then you're bang on. The playing field didn't get its shape and slope by accident.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
No, I'm saying they believe in a moral duty not to discriminate against people based on their race. Whether that includes a duty to correct the ongoing effects of historical discrimination or merely means treating everyone the same in the modern day is a moot point [...]

I think that's right, but would also want to say that though largely moot for the purpose of this discussion, questions about what can, in practical terms, be done to correct past injustices, and whether doing whatever can be done with that objective might violate some other principle of fairness, are real, and often difficult, ones.

I think there are conceptual positions on those questions that could, broadly, be categorised as "social-progressive". Soror Magna's post above:

quote:
in the course of conversation with colleagues, I described some of the current political spectacles as "the last stand of the straight white man." [...] Obviously, those who have been playing with no opponents on a sloping field will be disturbed by any attempt to level the field or let other teams on to the field. They will consider it "unfair". They will think they are being made to "atone" for having won all those games so easily in the past. Now the referees are taking away their "rights" with those pesky rules about fouling other players.
would be a clear example - it sets out the problem as being one of collectivist justice between different groups characterising all straight white men as playing for the same "team", and having a common interest against other groups.

Such a view could certainly be criticised. It seems to lead Soror Magna to the conclusion that rich white men with power want to restrict immigration out of a comradely desire to protect the jobs of their poorer, less educated brethren, which I suspect is a hypothesis for which she would struggle to provide evidential support. I think a better view would be to locate justice in the fair treatment of individuals more than justice between notional groups, but to recognise that there is a social context in which some individuals are disadvantaged. My choice of language and concepts would be very different to Soror Magna's, and there probably is a real underlying disagreement there that goes beyond a mere difference of terminology.

However I am aware that there are people who use the sort of language and concepts I prefer about individual freedom and justice as a pretext for utterly ignoring the social context and doing damn-all to promote fairness. I would prefer not to be lumped together with them as part of the same individualist, or reactionary, "mindset". Therefore I ought to extend the same courtesy to those who use "group" concepts and language and not assume that they are doing this only to advance the cause of their own interest group. I would prefer to assume, until convinced of the contrary, that the discussion between the "progressive" and the more "classically liberal" sides of the issue represent an in-group tactical conference within an alliance of non-racist/non-sexist/non-homophobic people who share the common objective of being fair to everyone, than as a clash between two (or more) different mindsets.

I'm quite encouraged by the fact that a large number of people on this thread who I'm pretty sure aren't "social-progressive" in the narrow sense in which Soror Magna probably is, have unhesitatingly identified themselves as more closely associated with that position than an alternative which is (at the very least) more equivocal in condemning discrimination.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Yeah, that's to obtain equality of outcome. You know, justice, righteousness.

If you believe that the end-state "equality of outcome" justifies the use of means that you call wrong when other people use them in pursuit of their ends, then that's a particular approach to ethics.

An approach which at least some moral philosophers down the ages have argued against.

If that really is the s-p approach, then maybe we can go on to talk about why that is or isn't the right thing to do.

But there's no point unless those who self-identify with the mindset I'm talking about come clean and admit that they do actually have an approach to right and wrong that other people of goodwill could conceivably disagree with.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Martin60
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# 368

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It's more right when the state does it, not other people.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Erroneous Monk
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# 10858

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Yeah, that's to obtain equality of outcome. You know, justice, righteousness.

If you believe that the end-state "equality of outcome" justifies the use of means that you call wrong when other people use them in pursuit of their ends, then that's a particular approach to ethics.


Actually it's more about how you define the means and the end in any scenario.

Let's say I have to recruit a team member. My team is currently all white, male, middle class.

The end I have in mind is to recruit the candidate who both:
(1) meets the criteria for the post in the best way; and
(2) improves the team's performance by bringing a very different perspective, life experience and fit to potential clients.

This means I will take race, sex, ability/disability and social demographic into consideration as well as meeting the criteria for the job.

The means is "recruiting the best person for the job". The end is a better team with fairness and inclusivity as desirable side effects.

You see the means as being "racist/sexist/ableist recruitment" and the outcome as being "recruiting a token minority to right historical wrongs".

I doubt we'll ever agree on this, but so be it.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

Posts: 2950 | From: I cannot tell you, for you are not a friar | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Soror Magna
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# 9881

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I Think All People Should Be Treated Equally, Regardless of Whether Their Skin is White or Purple or Green or Black or Black or Black or Black or Black

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Martin60
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# 368

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You're a bad person.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
I Think All People Should Be Treated Equally, Regardless of Whether Their Skin is White or Purple or Green or Black or Black or Black or Black or Black

That is funny. And sadly accurate.

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
if racial discrimination is wrong, then it's wrong regardless of whether you're doing it in the name of your country, your employer or yourself. And if it's OK then it's OK regardless of whether you're doing it in the name of your country, your employer or yourself.

As you keep telling us, you can't have the same thing being right or wrong depending on who does it.

If an act is wrong because it is a breach of another person's inherent right, then yes it's wrong whoever does it.
Do you regard racial discrimination as such an act?
Russ gets a bit pretzeled-up about racial discrimination. To take an historical example, a school system that's racially segregated by law, such as existed in the American south in the first half of the twentieth century, would seem to meet all of Russ' criteria for moral action. The members of the New Orleans School Board personally believed in racial segregation, their employer had a policy that black and white students should not attend the same schools, and their employer was also the government, which held the same policies. And yet Russ somewhat inexplicably claims Ruby Bridges has the same right to attend William Frantz Elementary School as her white age peers. It's almost as if he's spinning out post hoc justifications for what he personally feels are the "right" answers, regardless of whether they contradict his previously stated beliefs. This is called "universal morality". [Roll Eyes]

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
No, I'm saying they believe in a moral duty not to discriminate against people based on their race. Whether that includes a duty to correct the ongoing effects of historical discrimination...

If I say "I believe murder is a horrible crime. And I'll kill anyone who thinks differently..." you won't take me seriously. Because the second half undermines the first.

You're talking nonsense. Because if you think it's OK to treat people of different races differently in pursuit of the aim of righting historic wrongs then you evidently don't believe in a moral duty not to discriminate, i.e. to treat people of different races differently.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I would prefer to assume, until convinced of the contrary, that the discussion between the "progressive" and the more "classically liberal" sides of the issue represent an in-group tactical conference within an alliance of non-racist/non-sexist/non-homophobic people who share the common objective of being fair to everyone, than as a clash between two (or more) different mindsets.

You want to draw a line between those who share your views on race, gender and homosexuality and those who don't. And say to everyone your side of the line "we're all good guys here, let's not over-state our differences."

In reply I say to you that being your side of that line doesn't make you one of the good guys.

What makes you one of the good guys is how fair and tolerant and respecting of their rights you're prepared to be to those who don't share your views. On any issue.

It's the people who are convinced they're the good guys who are prepared to do bad things to their opponents. It's the people who know that good-guy status has to be earned, who play by the rules, who don't demonise others, who become the good guys.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
I Think All People Should Be Treated Equally, Regardless of Whether Their Skin is White or Purple or Green or Black or Black or Black or Black or Black

[Killing me] [Overused]

Note to recent lurkers - reading this link will save you from having to read Russ' dribblings on the other 800000000 pages.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
To take an historical example, a school system that's racially segregated by law, such as existed in the American south in the first half of the twentieth century, would seem to meet all of Russ' criteria for moral action. The members of the New Orleans School Board personally believed in racial segregation, their employer had a policy that black and white students should not attend the same schools, and their employer was also the government, which held the same policies. And yet Russ somewhat inexplicably claims Ruby Bridges has the same right to attend William Frantz Elementary School as her white age peers.

Some people argue that a legitimate government can do whatever it wants. I've said I don't agree with that, and that a government has a duty to respect the moral rights of individuals, and a duty to serve all the people.

I don't see that a child has an inherent pre-existing right to attend any particular school.

But sending black kids to worse schools seems to me a breach of the duty to serve all the people.

(A duty which private individuals don't have).

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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So you'd be cool with separate white and black schools as long as the black ones weren't worse than the white ones?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
You're talking nonsense. Because if you think it's OK to treat people of different races differently in pursuit of the aim of righting historic wrongs then you evidently don't believe in a moral duty not to discriminate, i.e. to treat people of different races differently.

It's only possible to treat everybody the same way if everybody is the same to start with.

An oft-used analogy is that of a race in which some people have been held back from running as fast as they can. Inevitably those who were not held back are now quite a way ahead of the ones who were.

Your approach to that situation is to say "nobody should be held back any more". Which isn't inherently wrong, but ignores the fact that the ones who were never held back to start with have still got a massive lead on the others, and are therefore far more likely to win.

The "social progressive" approach is to make those in the lead wait until the others have caught up (or to give those who are behind a boost so that they catch up - it comes to the same thing in the end), and then continue the race with everyone on an even footing.

To those who have been ahead for their whole lives, and who may never have been aware of how the others were being held back, that looks like being discriminated against. And I have a lot of sympathy for them, because as far as they were concerned they weren't cheating or being given any unfair help - they were just running the race as best they could and now the advantage they thought they'd built up by themselves is being wiped out. But I think that if they could understand what had happened to those who were held back - and if they were fundamentally honest people who believed the race should be run as fairly as possible - then they'd agree to restart the race from an equal starting point.

To use another analogy, picture two people who each own 100 acres of farmland. The first person steals ten acres a year from the second for five years, before the second person's protests are finally heard. Should the first person (a) apologise and promise not to take any more of the second person's land in future, or (b) return the land he stole as well? Your position is equal to (a), whereby both people are treated equally in the future but the first person still has three times as much land as the second due to the wrongs of the past.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Eliab
Host
# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
You want to draw a line between those who share your views on race, gender and homosexuality and those who don't.

No - I'm addressing your question of whether s-p is a distinct mindset that it's worth discussing. Once you'd made it clear that although you see anti-racism as a mark of social progressiveness, being anti-racist doesn't necessarily make someone s-p, it's reasonable to ask whether dividing up the non-racists into s-p/non-s-p sides is a useful thing to do.

quote:
And say to everyone your side of the line "we're all good guys here, let's not over-state our differences."
I'm not saying that all the anti-racists are "good" - and have acknowledged that there can be real differences of principle in terms of what justice requires amongst anti-racists (ones that I've been quite willing to argue vociferously elsewhere, as I'll call lilBuddha to witness).

But I do think it is extremely significant that Marvin the Martian, who probably represents the non-s-p ("classical liberal" rather "identity politics") wing of the anti-racist coalition as much as anyone, regards that difference as "moot" in the context of establishing that he is an anti-racist. And he's not alone. Almost no one (if not actually no one) responded to your OP by saying "I disagree with the social progressive mind-set and there are much better reasons to be anti-racist". Everyone reacted to your characterisation of s-p as anti-racist either by assuming that by "social progressive", you meant them, or at the very least, by responding as if you were attacking their allies. The fault-line between racist and not-racist seems to be the one that really matters for almost everyone on this thread.

And, yes, to repeat myself, there are both principled and pragmatic disagreements between non-racists, but if we are talking about a mindset or an identity, rather than discussing tactics, those disagreements are manifestly secondary considerations for everyone here, wherever they stand on the social progressive spectrum. We would ALL rather identify as social progressive than as not being anti-racist.

quote:
In reply I say to you that being your side of that line doesn't make you one of the good guys.

What makes you one of the good guys is how fair and tolerant and respecting of their rights you're prepared to be to those who don't share your views. On any issue.

Good thing that my side is both liberal and progressive, then. I don't think we'll be needing to send our white hats and haloes back to store just yet.

quote:
It's the people who are convinced they're the good guys who are prepared to do bad things to their opponents.
You could probably persuade me on "people who do bad things often justify it by thinking of themselves as good", but no, it's not generally true that it works the other way around, and people who think themselves good automatically use that to justify doing bad things.

But - specifics? In what way has my opinion that being anti-racist is good caused me to do bad things to my opponents?

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
But - specifics? In what way has my opinion that being anti-racist is good caused me to do bad things to my opponents?

Well, clearly: you've called racists racist, and racists don't like to be called racist because they know that most people these days don't like racists and they'd rather not be known as racists, in case people don't like them.

And that's bad.

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Forward the New Republic

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
But - specifics? In what way has my opinion that being anti-racist is good caused me to do bad things to my opponents?

Well, clearly: you've called racists racist, and racists don't like to be called racist because they know that most people these days don't like racists and they'd rather not be known as racists, in case people don't like them.

And that's bad.

Not sure it matters: they aren't often well-liked in the first place.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Erroneous Monk
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# 10858

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
But - specifics? In what way has my opinion that being anti-racist is good caused me to do bad things to my opponents?

Well, clearly: you've called racists racist, and racists don't like to be called racist because they know that most people these days don't like racists and they'd rather not be known as racists, in case people don't like them.

And that's bad.

Not sure it matters: they aren't often well-liked in the first place.
We'd all like to like ourselves however and it's hard to square that with being told one is racist. Cognitive dissonance, innit?

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

Posts: 2950 | From: I cannot tell you, for you are not a friar | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Jay-Emm
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# 11411

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And as an example of the current unlevel playing field. Company goes bust,

Workers are in potential trouble (having lost £1billion from the pension scheme) plus negligible notice.
Shareholders without inside knowledge are in trouble.
Entrepreneurs are in trouble as their bills won't get paid (And they've paid for their bit).
National services are in trouble as they have to function (and presumably have already paid once)*

The executive meanwhile get paid till October, despite having stopped working the year before.

*It might, in theory, be possible to match the Entrepreneurs and the National services, so it's only the lost money that's lost somewhere.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If I say "I believe murder is a horrible crime. And I'll kill anyone who thinks differently..." you won't take me seriously. Because the second half undermines the first.

You've implied that you think people who commit murder thereby lose their right to life. So I don't think you're entirely committed to this principle.

quote:
You're talking nonsense. Because if you think it's OK to treat people of different races differently in pursuit of the aim of righting historic wrongs then you evidently don't believe in a moral duty not to discriminate, i.e. to treat people of different races differently.
Don't treat people of different races differently is your gloss of the principle. It's evidently oversimplified.
For example, testing people with West African ancestors for sickle-cell anaemia is treating people of different races differently but isn't discrimination in any objectionable sense.

The point of non-discrimination is to avoid treating people unfairly on the grounds of race. If it's reasonable to believe that someone has suffered from unfair treatment in the past then it's compatible with not treating people unfairly to try to rectify that.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Soror Magna
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# 9881

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... But sending black kids to worse schools seems to me a breach of the duty to serve all the people.

(A duty which private individuals don't have).

There are many things that government can/cannot do which citizens cannot/can. It does seem weird that citizens that doesn't believe all citizens are equal would end up with a government that treats them as equals.

But it is more than weird to have a society where e.g. women - or black people, or gay people, or Jewish people - are entitled to government services but can denied service by private individuals. They cannot be denied a driver's licence, but other citizens can refuse to sell them a car, refuse them insurance, refuse to sell them gas, refuse to let them park their car in the mall parking lot, refuse to repair their car ....

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Crœsos
Shipmate
# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Some people argue that a legitimate government can do whatever it wants. I've said I don't agree with that, and that a government has a duty to respect the moral rights of individuals, and a duty to serve all the people.

I don't see that a child has an inherent pre-existing right to attend any particular school.

But sending black kids to worse schools seems to me a breach of the duty to serve all the people.

(A duty which private individuals don't have).

I notice that you're deliberately avoiding using the word "equally" here. It would seem an obvious modifier since a student attending an inferior school is still being "served" by the government, just not as well as one attending the better school down the street.

quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
So you'd be cool with separate white and black schools as long as the black ones weren't worse than the white ones?

Russ is actually on record agreeing with that. He doesn't seem to consider that being singled out by the state in and of itself creates an inherently unequal situation.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

Posts: 10706 | From: Sardis, Lydia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:

But it is more than weird to have a society where e.g. women - or black people, or gay people, or Jewish people - are entitled to government services but can denied service by private individuals. They cannot be denied a driver's licence, but other citizens can refuse to sell them a car, refuse them insurance, refuse to sell them gas, refuse to let them park their car in the mall parking lot, refuse to repair their car ....

Seems weird to you. You come from a society (as do I) with the notion of "public". Where motor dealers, insurance brokers etc advertise their wares to the public, And therefore have an obligation, arising from the moral duty of promise-keeping, to sell what they've offered to any member of the public.

As soon as you step away from that notion of public, to consider private individuals making private deals, it's not weird. If an enthusiast is forced by circumstance to sell his beloved vintage car, of course he'll want to sell it to someone who'll look after it and treasure it as he would. There's no moral wrong in quietly offering to sell it to friends, but declining a bid from a stranger.

And if his enthusiast friends all happen to he white protestant males, that doesn't change anybody's moral rights.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Soror Magna
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# 9881

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

... Where motor dealers, insurance brokers etc advertise their wares to the public, And therefore have an obligation, arising from the moral duty of promise-keeping, to sell what they've offered to any member of the public...

Unless, of course, a member of the public wants to buy The Joy of Gay Sex and a cake with two grooms. Then all of a sudden, the baker doesn't do custom cakes and the bookseller doesn't do special orders. We've been through this.

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

Posts: 5430 | From: Caprica City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
So you'd be cool with separate white and black schools as long as the black ones weren't worse than the white ones?

Here in Ireland it is relatively common for secondary schools to be single-sex. There are mixed schools also, but there are probably rural towns which have only an all-boys school and an all-girls school.

Whilst that wouldn't be my preference, it doesn't seem to me to breach anyone's moral rights.

I'm guessing that you have an aversion to racially-segregated schools because of their associations in your mind. Associations with various last-century regimes in majority-white countries which did commit the wrongs of denying black people equal legal rights and equally-good state education.

Rather than a moral philosophy which views segregation as inherently wrong.

But I'm guessing.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
ere in Ireland it is relatively common for secondary schools to be single-sex. There are mixed schools also, but there are probably rural towns which have only an all-boys school and an all-girls school.

Whilst that wouldn't be my preference, it doesn't seem to me to breach anyone's moral rights.

Wait. You are seriously comparing separate education of boys/girls - which in the UK (presumably also in Ireland) has no clear educational impoverishment of either - with segregation by skin colour. Which almost always leads to black and brown people getting a shit education whilst white kids get all the good schools, teachers and outcomes.

quote:
I'm guessing that you have an aversion to racially-segregated schools because of their associations in your mind. Associations with various last-century regimes in majority-white countries which did commit the wrongs of denying black people equal legal rights and equally-good state education.

Rather than a moral philosophy which views segregation as inherently wrong.

But I'm guessing.

I'm sorry, there is a clear link between segregation and abuse of black people. You might say that this is not inevitable, but the history books say otherwise.

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arse

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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My mum (late 1940s) went to an all-girls' grammar. They taught her useful things like typing, sewing, cooking, and household management, fully expecting that the nice middle-class girls (my mum wasn't) were to take up an office job, find a husband, get married and look after their children.

Meanwhile, in the boys' grammar, they got woodwork and metalwork, science and engineering.

I'm not going to argue that these educations were remotely 'equal'.

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Forward the New Republic

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mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:


I'm not going to argue that these educations were remotely 'equal'.

I'm not going to argue with you about Grammar schools and single sex education, other than to say you've been shown to be wrong over and over again.

There were poor standards in various schools 50 or more years ago. In this part of Wakes, the schools were shockingly shit.

But today, and for a long time, single sex schools have not offered poorer education for either, and there is plenty of evidence that overall girls get better outcomes at single sex schools.

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arse

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