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Source: (consider it) Thread: The social-progressive mindset
Dafyd
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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.

Wrong. There is no legal obligation (in common law) upon a shopkeeper to sell at the advertised price. They're legally entitled to auction off the last item in stock if they so choose. It's not a promise but an invitation. (You could say an announcement of intention rather than a promise.)
You may not be able to find room in your system for a moral obligation to deal fairly with the public; if so that's a fault in your system.

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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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Kwesi
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quote:
mr cheesy: I'm sorry, there is a clear link between segregation and abuse of black people.
mr cheesy, you might have quoted in your support the US Supreme Court judgement of 1954 in Brown v Topeka Board of Education, which ruled that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
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.
I have no idea where this has come from, whether you're mistaking me for someone else, or misremembering previous conversations.

My beef with grammar schools (as they are currently instituted) is that they unfairly favour the children of affluent parents, that the 11+ does not test the ability of the child in a meaningful way, and that having set up a two-tier system, that's exactly what you get.

Perhaps there's some measure of agreement between you and Russ that separate education (of middle-class and working-class children) is equal?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

Perhaps there's some measure of agreement between you and Russ that separate education (of middle-class and working-class children) is equal?

Maybe you should stop writing shite and pretending it is coming from me. I've never said that and there is nothing inevitable about Grammar schools and segregation by class.

[ 18. January 2018, 11:19: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

Perhaps there's some measure of agreement between you and Russ that separate education (of middle-class and working-class children) is equal?

Maybe you should stop writing shite and pretending it is coming from me. I've never said that and there is nothing inevitable about Grammar schools and segregation by class.
Knock yourself out. If you support grammar schools and the 11+, you encourage the segregation of the children of the middle classes from the children of working classes.

You might see this is as a good thing. You're entitled to your opinion. What you can't have are your own facts.

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Forward the New Republic

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
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.

Shall we call it the Russ approach to ethics?
That is, you believe the end-state 'protection of property' justifies the use of taxation. And you call taxation wrong when social-progressives use it in pursuit of equality of opportunity.

The social-progressive movement covers a fairly wide range of possible normative ethical theories. There are utilitarians and other consequentialists, there are deontologists, there are virtue theorists, there are mixed-theorists, there are people who aren't really interested in normative ethical theory and haven't given it much thought.
But at least the following seems plausible. Some actions - intentional killing, torture, detention without trial - are always wrong. Other actions may or may not be morally acceptable depending on what the aim of the action is morally acceptable.
(For example, cutting someone's chest open is morally permissible if you're a heart surgeon trying to save their life and morally impermissible if you're using them as a drugs mule.) In such cases, it's often possible to redescribe the action at a broader level - as one of the posters on an earlier page observed, I can't remember who, the distinction between ends and means breaks down at many levels of analysis.

You want to talk as if anyone other than yourself who rejects your professed extremist version of deontology is thereby committed to saying that any means is justified by the ends.

I'll note in passing that there are options in between, all taxation is bad (with exceptions for end-states Russ approves of) on the one hand, and the straw man, any confiscation of property in the service of egalitarian principles is justified, on the other.

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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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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
If you support grammar schools and the 11+, you encourage the segregation of the children of the middle classes from the children of working classes.

Bullshit. If you live in a suburb in the catchment of a good comprehensive, then you support class segregation.

quote:
You might see this is as a good thing. You're entitled to your opinion. What you can't have are your own facts.
I think segregation by attainment is far, far more justifiable than segregation by the catchment you happen to live in. But that's just me, I guess.

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arse

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
If you support grammar schools and the 11+, you encourage the segregation of the children of the middle classes from the children of working classes.

Bullshit. If you live in a suburb in the catchment of a good comprehensive, then you support class segregation.

quote:
You might see this is as a good thing. You're entitled to your opinion. What you can't have are your own facts.
I think segregation by attainment is far, far more justifiable than segregation by the catchment you happen to live in. But that's just me, I guess.

Separation by class is at best a problem but the worst aspect of the 11+ was that it was based on faked evidence (mostly using twins that had been brought up separately - yes you Professor Cyril Burt [Mad] ). The crowning evil however was that the "grammar schools" received far better resources, resulting in smaller classes, and that has been perpetuated to those comprehensives based predominantly on grammars rather than new schools or and those based on secondary moderns.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
The crowning evil however was that the "grammar schools" received far better resources, resulting in smaller classes, and that has been perpetuated to those comprehensives based predominantly on grammars rather than new schools or and those based on secondary moderns.

This isn't true and hasn't been for many years. Grammar schools simple do not have far more resources and in the list of school spending per pupil are a long way down the list. As they should be.

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arse

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
The crowning evil however was that the "grammar schools" received far better resources, resulting in smaller classes, and that has been perpetuated to those comprehensives based predominantly on grammars rather than new schools or and those based on secondary moderns.

This isn't true and hasn't been for many years. Grammar schools simple do not have far more resources and in the list of school spending per pupil are a long way down the list. As they should be.
Well when I was in a Grammar school, a long time it has to be admitted, our class sizes were typically about 30. Secondary modern classes on the other hand were in the upper 30's and my wife attended a school with typically 40 per class and three per desk for two.

I suppose my rock solid anecdata doesn't count but where are your sources?

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I think segregation by attainment is far, far more justifiable than segregation by the catchment you happen to live in. But that's just me, I guess.

Yes, it is just you.

We had a choice as to which secondary the Torlets went to - and many rural people don't - so we chose carefully.

School A was a 'Christian ethos' academy which was selective by interview, very strict, excellent exam results. It has 8% (and falling) of the roll on the Pupil Premium.

School B was a bog-standard comp still (at the time) under LEA control. It has 50%+ (and rising) of the roll on Pupil Premium.

After much discussion with the kids, and the head of the comp, that's where the Torlets both went. Both are now at Russell Group universities studying STEM subjects. Master Tor managed to get 3 As at A level.

So, yes. I put my money where my mouth is. And I reiterate: anyone who supports the grammar school system is supporting segregation by class. The idea that the 11+ is 'segregation by attainment' is deluding themselves.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Yes, it is just you. [/I]

No, it really isn't.

we had a choice as to which secondary the Torlets went to - and many rural people don't - so we chose carefully.

I didn't. I lived in a poor area in a run-down rented house in a run-down neglected town and my kid went to the Grammar. It was entirely possible for people from poorer areas to go to the school and do well.

[Quote]
School A was a 'Christian ethos' academy which was selective by interview, very strict, excellent exam results. It has 8% (and falling) of the roll on the Pupil Premium.

School B was a bog-standard comp still (at the time) under LEA control. It has 50%+ (and rising) of the roll on Pupil Premium.

After much discussion with the kids, and the head of the comp, that's where the Torlets both went. Both are now at Russell Group universities studying STEM subjects. Master Tor managed to get 3 As at A level.

My child has only ever got As in every exam they've taken and is at university. Not that this kind of boasting aids either side of the argument.

See, unlike you, I'm perfectly willing to accept that Grammars are not appropriate for everyone and that many people can do very well at other types of school.

However there is a direct relationship between parential education and performance whatever school you go to.

quote:

So, yes. I put my money where my mouth is. And I reiterate: anyone who supports the grammar school system is supporting segregation by class. The idea that the 11+ is 'segregation by attainment' is deluding themselves.

Yeah, yeah whatever. Obviously.

Even though throughout your life you have been offered things based on your attainment, obviously everyone else who thinks it is reasonable to do it in schools is deluded.

As it happens, I'm not defending the way the 11-plus is organised. But your too ideologically blinded to see beyond your prejudice.

Meanwhile in your suburb, I'm sure it is lovely and sunny.

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arse

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

So, yes. I put my money where my mouth is. And I reiterate: anyone who supports the grammar school system is supporting segregation by class. The idea that the 11+ is 'segregation by attainment' is deluding themselves.

Yes, grammar schools preferentially select children from "nice middle class homes". So do local schools with catchment areas - take a school which mostly serves a relatively wealthy part of town, and compare it to the neighbouring school that serves mostly council housing, including a couple of "sink" estates.

Now ask how the parents of children in the first school react when you suggest that it would be fairer to combine the catchment areas of the two schools and allocate pupils to one or the other at random.

The US public school system tends to have more tightly-defined catchment areas than UK state schools, so the effect tends to be more pronounced over here. (In these parts, you don't really have a choice of public school - you are in the catchment area of a particular school, and that's where you go.)

School boards have to periodically move the boundaries around to follow the demographic trends, and you can bet that the parents living in the expensive houses have all kinds of reasons for why the boundaries shouldn't shift to include some poor (and probably darker-skinned) children in their school. Yes, that highway is a "natural dividing line". Sure it is. It's probably red...

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:

I suppose my rock solid anecdata doesn't count but where are your sources?

I went to a Grammar school 30 years ago and it wasn't like that, my child went to grammar school in the last 10 years and it wasn't like that.

I have also looked at the spending per pupil in districts where there are a lot of grammars, and they don't come anywhere near the top.

In fact the most recent rebuilding projects tended to focus on the pre-Gove academies and many Grammars are still in very old buildings.

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arse

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
The crowning evil however was that the "grammar schools" received far better resources, resulting in smaller classes, and that has been perpetuated to those comprehensives based predominantly on grammars rather than new schools or and those based on secondary moderns.

This isn't true and hasn't been for many years. Grammar schools simple do not have far more resources and in the list of school spending per pupil are a long way down the list. As they should be.
Well when I was in a Grammar school, a long time it has to be admitted, our class sizes were typically about 30. Secondary modern classes on the other hand were in the upper 30's and my wife attended a school with typically 40 per class and three per desk for two.

I suppose my rock solid anecdata doesn't count but where are your sources?

I taught in both types of school 30 years ago and that was my experience - my largest class was 39.

There were some who passed the 11+ but turned down a grammar school place because their parents couldn't afford the uniform.

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Marvin the Martian

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Can we not do the grammar school thing on this thread please?

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Even though throughout your life you have been offered things based on your parents' attainment

Fixed that for you.

Sorry, Marvin, but this is where the rubber hits the road. Taking on Russ on his own terms is fairly easy when it comes to discrimination and segregation based on race or sexuality. As soon as class and wealth come on the scene, apparently it's okay to pull up the drawbridge.

So much for social progress.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Fixed that for you.

Really. You were accepted for a doctoral programme based on your parent's attainment?

I don't believe it.

[ 18. January 2018, 16:19: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Fixed that for you.

Really. You were accepted for a doctoral programme based on your parent's attainment?

I don't believe it.

Yeah, that sort of thing never happens.

Seriously, one of the most common things to buy with the [wealth / power / status] of high attainment is a leg up for yourself or for your kids. One of the problems with simple-minded distinctions between "inequality of opportunity" and "inequality of outcome" is they usually fail to account for how the latter leads to the former.

On another topic I find it interesting that despite Russ' usual opposition to "the social-progressive mindset" he seems to insist that the state adopt such a mindset, at least in regards to being "anti-racist", one of the earmarks of the social-progressive mindset from the OP.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Yeah, that sort of thing never happens.

I'm sure it does happen, but I'm equally sure it didn't happen to Doc Tor. He got into uni both times on merit, as did his kids.

[ 18. January 2018, 16:39: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I think segregation by attainment is far, far more justifiable than segregation by the catchment you happen to live in.

It is a fair point.

On the other hand, I believe it is recognised that just as IQ tests test for the ability to pass IQ tests, so grammar school entrance exams these days chiefly test for training in passing grammar school entrance exams. That training is far more easily available to wealthier people. So the selection by attainment effect of grammar schools is rather lower than you suggest.

Furthermore, once upon a time, before Maggie sold off the country's supply of council housing, urban planners made a conscious effort to distribute council housing widely so that the effect of segregation by catchment was lessened. That's largely not the fault of advocates of the comprehensive system.

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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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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
It is a fair point.

On the other hand, I believe it is recognised that just as IQ tests test for the ability to pass IQ tests, so grammar school entrance exams these days chiefly test for training in passing grammar school entrance exams. That training is far more easily available to wealthier people. So the selection by attainment effect of grammar schools is rather lower than you suggest.

There are plenty of people, particularly poor, who would benefit from attending the local grammar school in counties like Kent but who never get the chance.

But there are plenty more poor people who live in the wrong place and who therefore don't get a chance at decent schooling.

Grammar entry can be reformed, good comprehensive school entry based on geographical catchments based largely on the extent of local expensive housing cannot.

There are a lot of myths about Grammars including that they're little more than state-funded independent schools. This is bullshit.

In the main, they're little more than places where people who have ability are forced to learn. It doesn't work for some kids and other models are available.

But if grammars actually took more poor children, they'd be far more justifiable than middle class comprehensives.

It does happen, just not as often as it should.

quote:

Furthermore, once upon a time, before Maggie sold off the country's supply of council housing, urban planners made a conscious effort to distribute council housing widely so that the effect of segregation by catchment was lessened. That's largely not the fault of advocates of the comprehensive system.

Then by that measure, it isn't the fault of Grammars that the testing system is messed up.

As it happens, I know several people who did well at Grammar school without even taking the test - showing that part of this whole mess is about some parents knowing how to navigate the system to the benefit of their own children.

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arse

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Kwesi
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For some time I’ve been trying to get my head around the central issue of this thread, but I’m having great difficulty identifying it.

The first issue is what do we understand by ‘social progressive’ and what is the alternative? As Dafyd pointed out, social progressives can stand for a variety of approaches to public policy which are not always complementary. The obvious alternative is ‘social regressive’ which we can see in the attitudes expressed and encouraged by Donald Trump, political parties such as UKIP, the FN in France, and neo-fascist alliances of various kinds elsewhere. The problem is that such attitudes are not shared by parties and individuals that would see themselves on the centre-right, Christian Democrats and many British Conservative and American Republicans, for example. In other words social progressivism includes most people, it doesn't discriminate very well. Perhaps the critics of ‘social progressives’ might be regarded as “social sceptics,’ individuals not hostile to change but wanting to emphasise such things as the law of unexpected consequences and that human beings are less virtuous than social progressives often seem to suppose. Where Russ places himself on the issue, I have no coherent idea.

The second issue is the connection between morality and social progressivism. ISTM that Russ is suggesting that public policy should be driven by moral absolutes. He admits, however, that these moral absolutes are not always compatible, which to my mind indicates how difficult it is, even for him in his own system, to identify what they are or a means of reconciling them. How much more difficult to construct a commonly accepted code. A more important point is that society contains individuals and groups that have a whole variety of moral codes and interests, it is morally heterogenous. The social problem is not the need to establish a comprehensive code of morality to which all can assent, but to construct an approach which muddles along taking into account social and moral heterogeneity based on principles that seem appropriate at the time. The question is how can society respond to change. It is a matter for political or social philosophy rather than moral philosophy. For example, whether individuals are or should not be racist is a matter of personal virtue, whether the institutions of society should entrench racism is another, though that is not to deny the one can influence the other. I can, for example, be against abortion, but I can also be of the opinion that it’s not mine or society’s job to decide for another.

What I think we should be concentrating our focus on is how we are to respond to social change not on morality.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:

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...

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

Actually that seems pretty reasonable to me.

There clearly are jobs - perhaps those with a problem-solving element, which would include many managerial roles - where adding a different perspective to the team is a plus point.

I suspect there are also jobs - pethaps in sales - where making a good impression on potential clients in the first five seconds is a critical success factor, but that may well not be the case in whatever industry you're thinking of.

Presumably your principled approach would mean that if your team were currently all black females, then you'd be arguing that team performance would be improved by the recruitment of a white male ? And that you'd therefore - amongst those fully qualified for the job - give preference to white male applicants ? Are you comfortable with that ?

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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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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
The first issue is what do we understand by ‘social progressive’ and what is the alternative? As Dafyd pointed out, social progressives can stand for a variety of approaches to public policy

Asserting the second sentence rather implies that you have an answer to the question in the first.

In this medium, words are all we have to communicate with. If we use the same words to mean different things, the prospects for accurate communication aren't good.

If you want to say that I shouldn't use the words "social progressive" to describe a mindset I've observed because there's an existing literature which uses that term to mean something that is bigger than the particular set of attitudes I'm talking about, then that's OK. I'll go along with any good alternative term you want to suggest. But it seems like there is at least some linkage.

Seems to me that "progress" is used in two related senses. One is to do with movement towards a subjective goal. If you want our ship to sail to the north and I want it to sail to the south, then a wind that blows us northward is progress to you and a backward step to me.

And the other usage refers to an objective increase in abilities that assists us towards whatever goal we may have. Like getting the engine working.

With this understanding of "progress", what is "social progress" ?

Whatever sort of society you want to see, you can count change towards that as progress on your subjective scale. Progress in the first sense. But the assertion that it is objectively progress is an essentially-religious assertion that your goals are God-given ones that everyone should share. We've seen a bit of that on this thread.

The alternative - progress in the second sense - would be an increase in a society's ability to achieve whatever it wants. There are issues around the notion of collective wants. To the extent that the internet does or may in future offer tools for social consensus-building then one could perhaps say that a society with such tools has objectively progressed beyond one without them. But that seems like technological progress rather than "social progress" as such.

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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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# 10274

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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
The first issue is what do we understand by ‘social progressive’ and what is the alternative? As Dafyd pointed out, social progressives can stand for a variety of approaches to public policy

Russ: Asserting the second sentence rather implies that you have an answer to the question in the first.

Russ, I don’t have an implied answer to my question, nor, with respect, is it my task to provide one since you raised the issue. ISTM that you are critical of the social-progressive mindset but don’t seem to be offering an alternative. What other mind-sets do you identify? And which of them do you prefer? I think an answer to those question would be a great help in clarifying the current debate.
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Erroneous Monk
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# 10858

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Presumably your principled approach would mean that if your team were currently all black females, then you'd be arguing that team performance would be improved by the recruitment of a white male ? And that you'd therefore - amongst those fully qualified for the job - give preference to white male applicants ? Are you comfortable with that ?

Yes. Real inclusion means giving everyone the opportunity to fulfil their potential, increasing productivity and improving group decision-making. The challenge always is determining what is involved in giving everyone opportunity - but if the current outcome is *not* inclusive, and therefore, as a consequence, productivity and performance are unlikely to be optimal, it follows that we need to do something differently.

I expect us to differ on this. I would look at a non-inclusive outcome (eg a team that doesn't represent the local social mix) and say that that is prima facie evidence that everyone is not yet being given equal opportunity ro realise their potential.

I wouldn't start from a defensive perspective of saying "We know our recruitment process is fair, and therefore if it gives us a non-inclusive population, that must mean those are the most suitable candidates." However in my profession there is a legacy of (predominantly white, male) leadership who *do* take that view, unfortunately.

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

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Erroneous Monk
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# 10858

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

I suspect there are also jobs - pethaps in sales - where making a good impression on potential clients in the first five seconds is a critical success factor, but that may well not be the case in whatever industry you're thinking of.


Actually, in tenders, we're seeing competitors being ruled out for presenting non-inclusive teams. Our clients are ahead of us, so there is a lot of hope for the future, even if things are moving slowly.

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

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Seems to me that "progress" is used in two related senses. One is to do with movement towards a subjective goal. If you want our ship to sail to the north and I want it to sail to the south, then a wind that blows us northward is progress to you and a backward step to me.

And the other usage refers to an objective increase in abilities that assists us towards whatever goal we may have. Like getting the engine working.

I think that's a potentially illuminating analogy.

Part of the disagreement here is that an objective like "Ensure that people of all social/economic classes and races are included in contributing to and benefitting from society" is, for some, analogous to navigating to a way-point on the way to an egalitarian utopia, whereas for others it's the exact equivalent of trying to make sure that your engine is firing on all cylinders.

And conversely, that second group of people regard racism not merely as a social outcome that they find sub-optimal, but an obvious (and potentially hazardous) engine fault that no rational engineer would allowing to persist unchecked. It's obvious to them that a racist society is broken.

I'm guessing that most anti-racists are of the second sort. They might disagree about what society is for (and those disagreements may feed into differences about how and why we tackle inequalities) but fixing racism itself isn't that sort of question because it's obvious that racism, whatever else it is, is an efficiency flaw.

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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
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

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.

I'd agree that that isn't a breach of anyone's rights.

Do you accept that it is, technically racial discrimination ?

And therefore go on to draw the obvious conclusion - that racial discrimination is not something that is inherently & axiomatically morally wrong ?

So that when faced with examples of someone treating someone else unjustly because of their race, it's not wrong because it's racial discrimination, it's wrong for another reason ?

It may, for example, be wrong because someone is acting in circumstances where they have a duty not to judge using irrelevant criteria ?

Or does your thinking not get that far ?

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

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

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.

I'd agree that that isn't a breach of anyone's rights.

Do you accept that it is, technically racial discrimination ?

And therefore go on to draw the obvious conclusion - that racial discrimination is not something that is inherently & axiomatically morally wrong ?

So that when faced with examples of someone treating someone else unjustly because of their race, it's not wrong because it's racial discrimination, it's wrong for another reason ?

It may, for example, be wrong because someone is acting in circumstances where they have a duty not to judge using irrelevant criteria ?

Or does your thinking not get that far ?

That's an utterly ridiculous statement.

You're comparing helping someone because they are more likely to have a life-limiting disease with harming them because of the colour of their skin.

If you treat someone unjustly because their race, that's pretty much the textbook definition of racist.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

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.

Do you accept that it is, technically racial discrimination ?
No. The word 'discrimination' has several senses, one of which is specifically unjust treatment. In the phrase 'racial discrimination' it is used in that sense.
Trying to use the phrase 'racial discrimination' to mean 'discrimination between races where race is relevant and fair' is not current English usage.

quote:
So that when faced with examples of someone treating someone else unjustly because of their race, it's not wrong because it's racial discrimination, it's wrong for another reason ?
As noted, 'racial discrimination' refers only to unjust treatment because of race. The above sentence is therefore equivalent to saying that when faced with examples of someone killing someone else unjustly, it's not wrong because it's murder, it's wrong for another reason.

There is a level at which, well, duh. That is, in order for an action to qualify as murder or racial discrimination it has to do so for some reason, which reason is simultaneously what makes it unjust.

Of course, if you have an example of killing someone one can assume on the basis of probabilities that it's done for unjust reasons, since there are a lot more unjust reasons for killing someone than just. So the presumption is that killing is unjust until shown to be just. Likewise, there are a lot more decisions made on the basis of race that are unjust than decisions in circumstances in which it is just.

You agree that creating or enforcing a monopoly is an injustice. Now, under certain circumstances - one race has an effective monopoly on power - racial discrimination can be said to enforce a monopoly on just treatment in favour of the favoured race or races. There is therefore an additional injustice compounding unjust treatment on the basis of race (or any other irrelevant characteristic) under circumstances where that results in a monopoly on just treatment. (But there is no additional injustice if there is no prospect of such a monopoly.)

quote:
It may, for example, be wrong because someone is acting in circumstances where they have a duty not to judge using irrelevant criteria ?
Would you agree that someone always has a duty not to cause someone else material disadvantage based on irrelevant criteria?

quote:
Or does your thinking not get that far ?
You think that's far?
[Killing me]
That's cute.

You haven't specifically questioned the principle that if someone has been unfairly treated in the past, it is not unfair to try to rectify that. May I take it that's agreed?

[ 22. January 2018, 23:22: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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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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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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I'm probably going over well-ploughed ground but there is fair discrimination and unfair discrimination. I couldn't have joined the armed forces, driven a HGV or flown a commercial aircraft (except under very tight conditions which wouldn't have applied to me) and working at heights or with unguarded machinery would probably be a no-no too. That's not because the law specifically all these things but it's because there are sound practical reasons that apply to me as an individual.

That's got to be the clincher: employers can't discriminate on the basis of a label that may have been applied decades ago. They have to consider the person and situation now. At least my potentially discriminating factor is (mostly) invisible and nothing to do with gender or race.

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(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

'racial discrimination' refers only to unjust treatment because of race.

No. You're trying to write your value judgement "unjust" into the definition of the act, thereby preventing any serious consideration of the rights and wrongs of the act.

quote:
Would you agree that someone always has a duty not to cause someone else material disadvantage based on irrelevant criteria?
No I wouldn't. I suggest to you that private individuals are rightly free to make choices in their own lives - which pub to go to of an evening, whom to invite to go with them - on the basis of whatever criteria seem good to the individual concerned.

Whether or not that means that the black guy who tries running a pub doesn't make a profit. Whether or not that means that the pub becomes a male-dominated environment where women feel less than totally comfortable.

Not saying those outcomes are good. But that they arise from multiple people making decisions that they are within their rights to make. You might call it the price of freedom.

The duty to act only on relevant considerations kicks in when you act on behalf of others, or when you bind yourself by promises.

quote:

You haven't specifically questioned the principle that if someone has been unfairly treated in the past, it is not unfair to try to rectify that. May I take it that's agreed?

No. If someone has been robbed, "rectifying" that by giving them some of your own money is acting within your rights. "Rectifying" it by stealing money from a random stranger to give to them isn't. The fact that you are trying to right a past wrong does not increase your rights to act in any way. It may take away from the rights of the particular individual who committed the original wrong.

Seems like you're trying to confuse people's sense of right and wrong by abstracting. Saying "this person has been wronged" instead of saying whodunnit.

Germany treated Belgium badly in the mid 20th century. That doesn't give you any licence to try to rectify that by any anti-German or pro-Belgian act that wouldn't otherwise be within your rights.

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

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

'racial discrimination' refers only to unjust treatment because of race.

No. You're trying to write your value judgement "unjust" into the definition of the act, thereby preventing any serious consideration of the rights and wrongs of the act.
It's a recognised definition of the word:
quote:
5. Unjust or prejudicial treatment of a person or group, esp. on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
OED.
It's no more objectionable than the use of the word 'steal' to refer to unjust taking of another's property, or 'murder' to refer to unjust killing. If you believe a given action is not unjust you can argue that the phrase for that reason does not apply.

quote:
quote:
Would you agree that someone always has a duty not to cause someone else material disadvantage based on irrelevant criteria?
No I wouldn't. I suggest to you that private individuals are rightly free to make choices in their own lives - which pub to go to of an evening, whom to invite to go with them - on the basis of whatever criteria seem good to the individual concerned.
I suggest to you that this is not to the point.

Do you believe that one ought only be free to do that which is morally permissible?
A private individual ought to be free to commit adultery or break promises. That doesn't mean that it's morally permissible to commit adultery or break promises.
Therefore, from a private individual is rightly free to make choices in their own lives it does not follow that the private individual has no duty to take into account in making those choices.

Furthermore, if an individual in their own life in their own life makes a choice according to criteria that seem good to them to inflict injury on someone else, you do not therefore consider it permissible. Because the phrase 'in their own lives' is fallacious: it is actually an attempt to, as you said of 'racial discrimination', write your value judgements into the definition of the acts, therefore preventing any serious consideration of the rights and wrongs of the act.

quote:
Whether or not that means that the black guy who tries running a pub doesn't make a profit. Whether or not that means that the pub becomes a male-dominated environment where women feel less than totally comfortable.
If this is the outcome of choices based on relevant criteria: the beer in the pub run by the black man isn't as good or the chairs are uncomfortable, then that's ok. If that is the outcome of choices based on criteria that they don't want black people running pubs round here then it is not morally ok. Though they may still be legally free to do that.

quote:
The duty to act only on relevant considerations kicks in when you act on behalf of others, or when you bind yourself by promises.
Obviously not. If you take somebody else's property without permission you do not get let off because you were acting on your own behalf and hadn't promised not to.

quote:
quote:
You haven't specifically questioned the principle that if someone has been unfairly treated in the past, it is not unfair to try to rectify that. May I take it that's agreed?
No. If someone has been robbed, "rectifying" that by giving them some of your own money is acting within your rights. "Rectifying" it by stealing money from a random stranger to give to them isn't.
I ask you a question about fairness and unfairness and you respond with an answer about rights. What do you accuse me of? Trying to confuse other people's sense of right and wrong by resorting to abstraction? It doesn't get much more abstract than talk of rights and duties, does it?

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

Posts: 10567 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Furthermore, if an individual in their own life makes a choice according to criteria that seem good to them to inflict injury on someone else, you do not therefore consider it permissible.

If you mean "inflict injury" literally, then you're right, that's not a morally permissible choice (apart from exceptional cases such as preventing a wrongdoer from committing a serious crime).

However, if you mean it in the sense of "injuring someone's interests", then that's not sufficient to constitute a moral wrong. Deciding not to patronise someone's drinking establishment may indeed prove injurious to their bottom line. But if passing a pub were a moral crime, the good life would be one long pub crawl...

I'm arguing for wrongs being trespasses against the moral rights of others, and people being morally free within those boundaries. You've said you believe in imperfect moral duties, which shrink the space for free action to nothing at all. If every penny you have and every minute of your life is something that you have an unsatisfiable moral duty to devote to others in need, then the notion of a morally free choice may seem strange. Are you a Calvinist, by any chance ?

quote:
If this is the outcome of choices based on relevant criteria: the beer in the pub run by the black man isn't as good or the chairs are uncomfortable, then that's ok. If that is the outcome of choices based on criteria that they don't want black people running pubs round here then it is not morally ok.
And if people feel more comfortable with those from their own culture, is that comfort a relevant consideration for where to spend leisure time ?

You're saying that the act is morally OK or not based on the reason that underlies the preference.

Where exactly do you think the boundary lies between OK reasons and non-OK reasons ? Given that people generally have mixed motives, subconscious drives, etc.

quote:
If you take somebody else's property without permission you do not get let off because you were acting on your own behalf and hadn't promised not to.
Of course not. The right to property is a different right from the right that is infringed by genuine cases of "unfair discrimination".

If you hold an egg-and-spoon race and then give the prize to someone other than the winner, because you like the runner-up best, then that's unfair. If after holding the event, you choose to spend your time with the contestant you like best, and she consents to that, then that's fine and you're not being unfair to anyone. You don't have a moral duty to give everyone in the world an equal chance at enjoying the pleasure of your company.

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

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Kwesi
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# 10274

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quote:
Russ: You don't have a moral duty to give everyone in the world an equal chance at enjoying the pleasure of your company.
"Amen to that," cry the ignored!
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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Furthermore, if an individual in their own life makes a choice according to criteria that seem good to them to inflict injury on someone else, you do not therefore consider it permissible.

If you mean "inflict injury" literally, then you're right, that's not a morally permissible choice (apart from exceptional cases such as preventing a wrongdoer from committing a serious crime).

However, if you mean it in the sense of "injuring someone's interests", then that's not sufficient to constitute a moral wrong.

The point here being that your suggestion:
quote:
I suggest to you that private individuals are rightly free to make choices in their own lives
does nothing to establish which interests may be injured. Nor have you established a clear dividing line here with your reference to physical injury, since theft and promise breaking are not physical injury.
Saying that the dividing line comes with other people's moral rights is merely tautologous until you come up with some independent way of establishing what someone's rights are.

quote:
I'm arguing for wrongs being trespasses against the moral rights of others, and people being morally free within those boundaries.
As it stands this sentence means that moral wrongs are things that are morally wrong.
If we flesh it out by saying that you reject imperfect duties or the moral relevance of virtue terms (such as kindness, generosity, courage), then:
1) This is not a position with any widespread acceptance in the moral tradition.
2) Human society and therefore human life could not function on such a basis.
3) It is internally incoherent. An agent who is morally free within the boundaries can have no reason or motivation to respect the boundaries beyond the fear of being caught and punished. Morality to such an agent is merely an alien and heteronomous constraint upon their freedom.

quote:
You've said you believe in imperfect moral duties, which shrink the space for free action to nothing at all. If every penny you have and every minute of your life is something that you have an unsatisfiable moral duty to devote to others in need, then the notion of a morally free choice may seem strange. Are you a Calvinist, by any chance ?
No, I'm a Catholic Aristotelian.
You've misunderstood the concept of imperfect duty. An imperfect duty has an undefined requirement upon you (dependent on your personal talents and circumstances) rather than a defined requirement of 'everything'.
Your concept of moral freedom as mere absence of restraint on your personal whim or appetite is telling.

quote:
And if people feel more comfortable with those from their own culture, is that comfort a relevant consideration for where to spend leisure time?

You're saying that the act is morally OK or not based on the reason that underlies the preference.

Where exactly do you think the boundary lies between OK reasons and non-OK reasons ? Given that people generally have mixed motives, subconscious drives, etc.

Why do you think there must be exact boundaries? Common sense morality takes it that that there are gradations.
Race is not culture. Being uncomfortable because the person running the pub now comes from Greece is not the same as being uncomfortable because the person running the pub now serves only ouzo and retsina instead of beer. Which is not to say that one might not be a better person if one was open-minded about other cultures.

Saying that some acts are morally OK or not depending on the reason that underlies it is standard Roman Catholic teaching. Or Aristotelianism, the formula being that to act virtuously is to do what a virtuous person would do for the reason a virtuous person would do it in the way a virtuous person would do it. (This looks tautologous until filled out empirically.) Precisely because people have complicated and subconscious motives those motives are the subject of morality within Aristotelian or virtue ethics. Hence the existence of terms describing moral character traits, such as cowardice or cruelty or kindness.

But even within the terms of your question or framework, one could suggest that motives that may tempt one to actions that breach other people's rights or that incline one to be happy at the consequences of breaching other people's rights are not morally acceptable.

quote:
quote:
If you take somebody else's property without permission you do not get let off because you were acting on your own behalf and hadn't promised not to.
Of course not. The right to property is a different right from the right that is infringed by genuine cases of "unfair discrimination".

If you hold an egg-and-spoon race and then give the prize to someone other than the winner, because you like the runner-up best, then that's unfair.

Assuming that you are not acting on anyone else's behalf and you haven't made the contestants any personal promises, what on your account is wrong with that?

What rational basis do you have for asserting the existence of rights, to stop you from arbitrarily announcing the existence and non-existence of rights to get the result that suits you?

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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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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'm arguing for wrongs being trespasses against the moral rights of others, and people being morally free within those boundaries.

It may help this conversation along if you explained your understanding of "the moral rights of others". A list will suffice.

I'll assume from your posts on this thread that the list will include the right not to be physically harmed, the right not to have your property taken from you against your will, and the right to force others to keep their promises to you. Are there any others?

I'm also going to assume from your posts here that the right not to be discriminated against based on your race, sex, gender, age, etc. will not feature on the list.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
As it stands this sentence means that moral wrongs are things that are morally wrong.

I think Russ' argument here boils down to:

  1. Only things that violate the moral rights of others are wrong
  2. People do not have the moral right to be treated equally regardless of their race
  3. Therefore there's nothing wrong with racism


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Hail Gallaxhar

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I think Russ' argument here boils down to:

  1. Only things that violate the moral rights of others are wrong
  2. People do not have the moral right to be treated equally regardless of their race
  3. Therefore there's nothing wrong with racism

I think Russ's objection to "People have the moral right to be treated equally regardless of their race" is twofold. Firstly, he disagrees that there is an obligation to treat others "equally" at all - which is where the state/individual distinction comes from, the state having equal obligations to all citizens, but private individuals not having any equivalent duty.

Secondly, he appears to think that motivation is essentially irrelevant to ethics. On his view, if my doing X is inconvenient to you, but does not violate any of your rights, then my motive for doing it doesn't matter. It's morally permissible.

This if it's not a violation of your rights for me not to drink in your pub [because I'm teetotal] then it's not a violation of your rights for me not to drink in your pub [because you're black]. If it's not a violation of my rights for you to tell me that you suspect that my wife is having an affair [out of concern] it's morally permissible for you to tell me that you suspect that my wife is having an affair [out of spite]. If it's not a violation of my rights for a doctor to tell me I'm overweight [to encourage me to eat less and exercise more] then I can have no grounds to object to a bully telling me I'm overweight [in the hope of making me despair and die].

Hence Russ thinks anti-discrimination laws are either redundant (if they forbid acts that would be a violation of rights anyway, absent discrimination) or amoral social engineering (if they seek to restrict acts done with a particular motivation which, for Russ, are considerations outside the scope of morality).


I'm not sure whether he started with this idea, and reasoned from it to the view that racial discrimination isn't a moral issue, or started from his opposition to the effects of anti-discrimination laws on people he sympathises with and constructed this system in an attempt to be consistent. Either way, the criticisms of it are obvious. I'll content myself by pointing out that it is far more opposed to "Traditional Christianity" than the social-progressive mindset that he is attacking.

Social-progressivism, even in its most extreme formulations, at least has concern for the excluded, justice between groups, and encouragement of self-awareness going for it - all of which are consistent with Traditional Christianity. Russ's scheme jettisons all virtue ethics (a fairly significant part of the Christian moral tradition) in favour of a system of strict rights and duties regardless of intention. I don't see that as an improvement.

--------------------
"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 Eliab:
Firstly, he disagrees that there is an obligation to treat others "equally" at all - which is where the state/individual distinction comes from, the state having equal obligations to all citizens, but private individuals not having any equivalent duty.

Yes.

In this life, you may well find that there are people you like and people you don't like. I don't see a duty to treat the two the same. And I find it hard to imagine that you are equally friendly to everyone and dutifully distribute your custom precisely equally between all the retailers in your area.

Not wanting to suggest that you shouldn't have a level of decency and politeness that you apply to everyone as a minimum. Just that it's not wrong in your private life to respond to your natural likes and dislikes by treating some people with greater warmth than that and therefore not treating everyone the same.


quote:
Secondly, he appears to think that motivation is essentially irrelevant to ethics.
I don't think that can be true.

If one person prepares for you a dish of mushrooms in the sincere (but possibly mistaken) belief that they will provide a delicious meal, and another prepares a similar dish in the sincere (but possibly mistaken) belief that they will poison you, the acts may differ only in the intent of the actor, but that is clearly a morally significant difference. Intent has to matter.

quote:

Thus if it's not a violation of your rights for me not to drink in your pub [because I'm teetotal] then it's not a violation of your rights for me not to drink in your pub [because you're black].

"Because you're black" isn't an intent. I'd tend to agree that boycotting a particular pub in the hope that the landlord will thereby go bankrupt and starve to death is uncharitable.

Preferring another pub because of its traditional local ambience is a different intention.

Thirdly, I don't believe that race has any particular moral significance. If an act that you commit against a black person because you have an irrational dislike for black people is wrong then it would be wrong when committed against a Scotsman because of an irrational dislike of Scotsmen. The blackness or Scottishness is neither the act nor the intent.

There may be for some other purpose a point in taking a whole bundle of different acts and different intentions and labelling them all "racism" according to whether or not you choose to recognise the people involved as belonging to different races. But suggesting that the bundle necessarily has a common level of moral rightness/wrongness just because race is involved seems to me a philosophical error.

quote:
Russ's scheme jettisons all virtue ethics (a fairly significant part of the Christian moral tradition) in favour of a system of strict rights and duties regardless of intention. I don't see that as an improvement.
I didn't set out to develop a scheme of ethics. I find myself trying to put forward an alternative to the s-p mindset, because those who identify with that mindset seem to think that their way of looking at things is obvious and natural and free of assumptions.

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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
Crœsos
Shipmate
# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I think Russ's objection to "People have the moral right to be treated equally regardless of their race" is twofold. Firstly, he disagrees that there is an obligation to treat others "equally" at all - which is where the state/individual distinction comes from, the state having equal obligations to all citizens, but private individuals not having any equivalent duty.

Sort of, but his position is something of a contradictory mish-mash. For example, he claims that there is an individual right to not associate with others due to their race, and that the state should not interfere with that individual right, yet he's also on record as being in favor of (or at least not opposed to) the state violating the rights of white students who don't want to attend classes with non-white students.

There's a dividing line doesn't seem particularly well marked. He sees no moral problem with a conspiracy of private individuals collectively working to exclude certain races from living within the town limits. He's even on record as being in favor of using the power of the state to enforce such a conspiracy. (e.g. police enforcement of a Whites Only restaurant or courts upholding racially restrictive covenants attached to property titles) But for some reason this conspiracy, which he considers moral in all other circumstances, can't take the form of the state.

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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 Dafyd:
the formula being that to act virtuously is to do what a virtuous person would do for the reason a virtuous person would do it in the way a virtuous person would do it. (This looks tautologous until filled out empirically.) Precisely because people have complicated and subconscious motives those motives are the subject of morality within Aristotelian or virtue ethics. Hence the existence of terms describing moral character traits, such as cowardice or cruelty or kindness

I don't see anything controversial in saying that it is good to be brave and kind.

Does Aristotle have anything to say about the distinction between moral duty and supererogatory morally good acts ?

If we do visit this pub, it would be kind of you to buy me a drink. But - in the absence of any circumstantial explicit or implied promise to do so - I'd say that you don't have a duty to buy me a drink. And I don't have a right to drink at your expense.

quote:
quote:

If you hold an egg-and-spoon race and then give the prize to someone other than the winner, because you like the runner-up best, then that's unfair.

Assuming that you are not acting on anyone else's behalf and you haven't made the contestants any personal promises, what on your account is wrong with that?
The concept of a race includes an implied promise that first across the line (having complied with any other rules) wins the prize.

In much the same way that holding job interviews implies a promise that whoever can best convince the interviewer that they'd be really good at the job will be offered the job.

In both cases, if the prize goes to someone else then that's unfair, because it's a breach of the implied promise.

You may think it's cosmically unfair that some people are born with the talents that the job requires and some aren't. But that's a separate question, that you should take up with God rather than with the interviewer.

(ability to do the job & ability to convince at interview may be poorly correlated, but that's a different issue again.)

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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
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
You may think it's cosmically unfair that some people are born with the talents that the job requires and some aren't. But that's a separate question, that you should take up with God rather than with the interviewer.

Literally none of us are saying this. This is a strawman we've burnt to the ground time and time again, but you don't seem to be able to take that on board.

What we actually think is cosmically unfair is that some people, when it comes to deciding what the talents for the job are, think that white and straight and male are over-riding factors.

Obviously, since God made me a white, straight, Englishman, I have clearly won life's lottery, but I can still choose to spread the love around.

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Forward the New Republic

Posts: 9131 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Hence the existence of terms describing moral character traits, such as cowardice or cruelty or kindness

I don't see anything controversial in saying that it is good to be brave and kind.
Good in what way? The only moral considerations you recognise are rights and duties. So if kindness and bravery aren't morally good then what kind of good are they? I don't think your professed concepts have a place for them.

Supererogatory acts don't really fit with your account either. Your morality consists of perfect duties to respect rights. But one can't go over and above what is required for a perfect duty: you either respect the corresponding right or you don't.

quote:
Does Aristotle have anything to say about the distinction between moral duty and supererogatory morally good acts ?
Aristotle has a different framework and the concept of a supererogatory act doesn't really fit. (One of his famous positions is that virtue is a mean between two extremes, so giving away too much is just as much a departure from generosity as giving too little.)
The closest he comes to your system is that he recognises a category of acts that it would never be virtuous to do, which category might correspond roughly to the kind of duty that you recognise.

quote:
If we do visit this pub, it would be kind of you to buy me a drink. But - in the absence of any circumstantial explicit or implied promise to do so - I'd say that you don't have a duty to buy me a drink. And I don't have a right to drink at your expense.
The category of 'implied promise' seems to me to be rather vague.
One could argue that if one person hasn't got cash for a drink then the other person has made an implicit promise to buy them one should they need one. Or you could just take the situation off the Procrustean bed of promises and say that it would be the decent thing to do, or that the one person could appropriately resent not being bought a drink, and so on.

quote:
In much the same way that holding job interviews implies a promise that whoever can best convince the interviewer that they'd be really good at the job will be offered the job.
As I've said, I that promises are a Procrustean bed on which to put the particular moral obligations here.
Previously, the only moral obligation you've said you recognise in the situation is the interviewer's obligation to their employer. However, you appear to be here recognising that there are moral obligations towards the job applicants themselves.

From a different post:
quote:
Thirdly, I don't believe that race has any particular moral significance. If an act that you commit against a black person because you have an irrational dislike for black people is wrong then it would be wrong when committed against a Scotsman because of an irrational dislike of Scotsmen. The blackness or Scottishness is neither the act nor the intent.
In the abstract this is true. However, as you note, if you consider matters in the abstract you confuse your sense of right and wrong.
In the real world, someone who is subject to racism (or sexism or homophobia or religious prejudice) from one person is going to be subject to racism from many people. This as I have said is wrong in a way analogous to creation of a monopoly cartel on freedom from harassment for favoured groups. Or it can be seen as a conspiracy to harass. Someone who acts negatively out of racism participates in a sustained campaign.

In the abstract, refusing to hire people from Dublin in the US now is morally equivalent to refusing to hire people from Dublin in the UK fifty years ago. In practice, the consequences are different. The person in the US now loses their best candidate to a competitor, and so suffers the consequences themselves. The person in the UK participated in a tacit monopoly and conspiracy placing a serious burden upon the person they've turned away. Therefore the person in the UK committed an aggravated wrong.

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

Posts: 10567 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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# 1468

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Re egg and spoon race:

Does human life ***have*** to be a race?

I know it often is, but does it have to be? Why not set things up so everyone wins, by at least having the basics of life and some luxuries?

That would probably ease many societal problems.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18601 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

What we actually think is cosmically unfair is that some people, when it comes to deciding what the talents for the job are, think that white and straight and male are over-riding factors.

And I'd agree that for the majority of jobs these are irrelevant factors. And have said that awarding jobs on the basis of irrelevant factors is wrong, being a breach of universal moral duties - the manager's contractual duty to the employer, and the duty to keep the implied promise to the job applicants.

What I'm saying is that the irrelevant factor being race (rather than height, left-handedness or anything else) does not create any new moral duty.

And that in order to make the case that any hirer is guilty of this wrong, it is necessary to show that the factor is in fact irrelevant for this particular job. And not merely "would be irrelevant in an ideal world".

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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
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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The sooner we nationalize work the better.

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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
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

What we actually think is cosmically unfair is that some people, when it comes to deciding what the talents for the job are, think that white and straight and male are over-riding factors.

And I'd agree that for the majority of jobs these are irrelevant factors. And have said that awarding jobs on the basis of irrelevant factors is wrong, being a breach of universal moral duties - the manager's contractual duty to the employer, and the duty to keep the implied promise to the job applicants.

What I'm saying is that the irrelevant factor being race (rather than height, left-handedness or anything else) does not create any new moral duty.

And that in order to make the case that any hirer is guilty of this wrong, it is necessary to show that the factor is in fact irrelevant for this particular job. And not merely "would be irrelevant in an ideal world".

Exactly the argument an 'intellectual racist' would use, manufacturing reasons why being white is such an important part of the job description.

I'm sorry. We see straight through this alleged reasoning. It's racist.

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Forward the New Republic

Posts: 9131 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged



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