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Source: (consider it) Thread: The social-progressive mindset
Carex
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The premise of that thread was that the dominant ethos of the Ship these days is a mindset that is hostile to Traditional Christianity.

I'm interested in exploring and understanding that mindset - the point of view that forms that ethos - in a little more detail.

It doesn't need more detail. In fact I can describe it in three words - don't hurt people.

The link to Christianity should be obvious.


And I suspect you'll find that the "Hostility to Traditional Christianity" is not (as is often suggested) about the "Traditional Christian" beliefs in general, but in the propensity for "Traditional Christians" to use those beliefs as a weapon to hurt others. Which, personally, I don't find to be a particularly Christian idea, however traditional it may be in some groups.

For example, if someone's spouse divorces them and remarries, but they don't believe that they are free to remarry, and they are struggling with how to lead their life in accordance with their beliefs, I think that person would get a lot of support and understand on the Ship, even among those who don't hold that particular belief.

On the other hand, if that person were to decide that the solution was to make divorce illegal, and to actively campaign to forbid others to get a divorce, I expect they would encounter a lot more hostility.

So the hostility is not against the religious views themselves, but against that idea that any one group has the right to force their religious views on others who don't share them. Especially where it causes harm to others. Now we're back to the use and misuse of power, which I think is really the key here: for some, "Traditional Christianity" includes the right to impose their beliefs on others, and it is that, rather than any actual religious beliefs, that causes problems.


But to understand that you have to be willing to allow for shades of thought, rather than a black and white "us versus the bad guys" perspective. Rather than presenting straw-man caricatures of the opposing mindset, perhaps it would be more helpful to define "Traditional Christianity" and see what parts are actually Traditional and Christian.

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orfeo

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I don't think we're even talking about Traditional Christianity. I think we're talking about Tradition, of which adherence to Christianity is one of the tenets.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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mousethief

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Carex knocks it out of the park.

[Overused] [Overused] [Overused]

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I can describe it in three words - don't hurt people.

An ethic of "don't hurt people" sounds as if one shouldn't act in any situation unless one can make things better for everyone.

Whereas progressives, so the argument goes, want to make things better for those classes of people perceived to be underprivileged or powerless. At the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power.

The link to Christianity should be obvious.

As for your "doctrines":

quote:
- internationalism (migrants good, Brexit bad)
The argument is that preventing someone from moving to a country hurts them by forcing them to stay in a dangerous situation. Brexit is seen as bad because the economic impact will lead to increased poverty.[/qb][/quote]

It goes further than that. Seems to me the progressive position goes beyond "taking in refugees is a good thing to do". Immigrants as a class are seen as Victims. And therefore, to the progressive mindset, all responsibility for harmony between migrants and indigenes tests with the latter.

Is it fair to suggest that in general the Victom/Oppressor/Rescuer roles of classic drama form a template for how the progressive mindset works ? That it's all about identifying Oppressors (the class with the power or wealth), Victims (the under-privileged) and Rescuers (progressive organisations) ? "Victim-blaming" is the big sin - a failure to recognise the dynamics of power ?

quote:
Political Correctness basically means "don't hurt people with words".
No. Progressives can and do say hurtful things about those they perceive to have power or authority. Political correctness means going along with the progressive meta-narrative about who are the Oppressors and Victims and not saying anything remotely negative about the Victims.

quote:

ISTM that opposition to this position comes from two main sources - those who think everybody else should believe, think and act exactly the same way as they do and those who want to be able to do whatever they want regardless of the impact on others.

I'd agree that both authoritarian and libertarian viewpoints can stand in opposition to the progressive worldview. Which doesn't mean that any opposition is automatically from the extremes of that spectrum.

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

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... No. Progressives can and do say hurtful things about those they perceive to have power or authority. ...

And if someone wields power and authority over other people, they fucking better well be ready for criticism when they use that power and authority to treat people badly. Or allow and encourage others to treat people badly. Or when they pretend that wielding power and authority has no impact on others. Or when they admit the impact but demand that their widdle feewings take priority. With great power ... well, you know the rest.

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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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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
Whereas progressives, so the argument goes, want to make things better for those classes of people perceived to be underprivileged or powerless. At the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power.

The link to Christianity should be obvious. ...


You're right, the link is obvious.

quote:
... He hath shewed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.



--------------------
"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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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I can describe it in three words - don't hurt people.

An ethic of "don't hurt people" sounds as if one shouldn't act in any situation unless one can make things better for everyone.
I think that if someone has two yachts and they're forced to sell one it is stretching the meaning of the term 'hurt' to say they've been hurt. 'Hurt' generally suggests some harm more fundamental on the hierarchy of needs.

quote:
Whereas progressives, so the argument goes, want to make things better for those classes of people perceived to be underprivileged or powerless. At the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power.
Interesting choices of phrase there: 'perceived to be' and 'at the expense of'. So abolishing slavery could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'. Allowing married women to own property could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'.
If a thief steals something and the police retrieve the property and return it to the former owner then that could be described as 'making things better for someone perceived to be powerless at the expense of someone perceived to have more wealth and power'. The use of the phrases 'perceived to be' and 'at the expense of' might be considered tendentious though.

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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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Martin60
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@Dafyd. For nearly a week now I've wanted to ... praise you. Which looks sycophantic as I veered toward in acknowledging, deferring to the clarity of your thinking on the non-moral nature of God (on which I have more questions). We've both been here for years but I am ... changing. There's no but coming, but in all that you say, which I agree with without caveat, you embrace the expression of original sin. I suspect that we mean the same thing by that, as I can embrace it in every way except woodenly literally - which I used to for decades and even had a side bet on until a decade ago - that it is symbolic of the human condition, of the weakness of our strength: the will to power. Do we?

[ 12. August 2017, 12:36: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:

quote:

The link to Christianity should be obvious. ...

You're right, the link is obvious.


Sorry, Soror Magna. I messed up.

Thar line is Marvin's, to which I was going to respond, but ran out of time, and hit the send button not realising that I'd left it in unattributed and unanswered.

My mistake; apologies to you and to Marvin.

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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 Dafyd:
I think that if someone has two yachts and they're forced to sell one it is stretching the meaning of the term 'hurt' to say they've been hurt. 'Hurt' generally suggests some harm more fundamental on the hierarchy of needs.

No, "hurt" is literally to cause someone to feel physical pain, and by analogy to act against someone's interests or cause them some form of mental anguish.

The suggestion that anyone doesn't mind being "forced to" do anything seems to run contrary to your notion that power is a bad thing.

I think you're asserting here a belief that those with above-average levels of wealth or power shouldn't mind if that wealth or power is taken away from them. And therefore wanting to use language in a way that acknowledges as real hurts only those hurts that you think people oughtto feel.

We don't mind and they don't matter..

quote:

Interesting choices of phrase there: 'perceived to be' and 'at the expense of'.



Trying to be precise about what progressivism is and is not. It isn't benevolence to all. It isn't the equivalent of Gandhi's non-violent resistance to a violent regime.

quote:
So abolishing slavery could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'. Allowing married women to own property could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'.
Assuming you mean abolishing slavery without compensation...

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

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
I think you're asserting here a belief that those with above-average levels of wealth or power shouldn't mind if that wealth or power is taken away from them. ....



So if God does all those things Mary says God will do to the powerful, will they mind? Should we mind? Or can we just say, hey, it's God's will for you, get over it?

I know the topic of the threat is the "social-progressive mindset", but since this is a Christian Website™ I'm really curious to know how you think that mindset intersects with Christianity. It is apparently in conflict with "submit to authority" Christianity and in agreement with "last shall be first" Christianity.

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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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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


quote:
So abolishing slavery could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'. Allowing married women to own property could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'.
Assuming you mean abolishing slavery without compensation...
I don't think it's necessarily incumbent on society to compensate people who have benefited from structural injustices when those injustices disappear.

Whats the reductio ad absurdum of your position ? That it would have been better to leave those slaves in slavery - the better to avoid the an 'injustice' to their former owners ?

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Carex
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
No, "hurt" is literally to cause someone to feel physical pain, and by analogy to act against someone's interests or cause them some form of mental anguish.

The suggestion that anyone doesn't mind being "forced to" do anything seems to run contrary to your notion that power is a bad thing.

I think you're asserting here a belief that those with above-average levels of wealth or power shouldn't mind if that wealth or power is taken away from them. And therefore wanting to use language in a way that acknowledges as real hurts only those hurts that you think people oughtto feel.


There are many kinds of hurt - physical pain is one of them, but it can also be economic, emotional, or physical in other ways. Not having enough to eat, being refused access to adequate medical care, having reduced retirement benefits, or not being able to have your loved ones visit you when you are dying in the hospital are all examples of hurt, even if some don't involve physical pain.

But again, there is no absolute line. A court, for example, has to consider the relative harm done to each party, and in many cases of the types we are considering here, courts have found that harm exists only on one side, with no benefit to society as a whole for forcing that harm on them. That's often the case when the underlying issue is really about power rather than beliefs.

In a recent example, a local government had a grant to establish a medical clinic at a school in a poor area where many children had very little access to health care. (Here the kids tended to be more white and conservative than is often the case.) The government simply had to agree to accept the grant - there was no initial or ongoing expense.

But a coalition of "Traditional Christian" churches opposed it, and brought enough pressure on the government that they rejected the grant. (This group, IIRC, included at least the RC and several Baptist churches, and possibly AoG, Nazarene, and ELCA Lutherans.)

Why the opposition? Because, under State law, the nurse would have to give older teenagers information about birth control options if they asked for it. Not prescribe or provide anything, just tell them about the options.


So who is hurt in that case? Clearly there are tens of students, perhaps over a hundred, who would not get checked for medical problems such as infections, diabetes, immunizations, etc. Denying them the access to medical care hurts them, to at least some degree.

What is the hurt on the other side? There is none, it is simply about using (or abusing) their power in the community to cause harm to others for their own satisfaction. Unfortunately, such cases are not uncommon.


Is that an important part of what you mean by "Traditional Christianity"?

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I think that if someone has two yachts and they're forced to sell one it is stretching the meaning of the term 'hurt' to say they've been hurt. 'Hurt' generally suggests some harm more fundamental on the hierarchy of needs.

No, "hurt" is literally to cause someone to feel physical pain, and by analogy to act against someone's interests or cause them some form of mental anguish.

The suggestion that anyone doesn't mind being "forced to" do anything seems to run contrary to your notion that power is a bad thing.

Anguish is 'Excruciating or oppressive bodily pain or suffering, such as the sufferer writhes under'. (OED).
Saying someone doesn't suffer anguish is not the same as saying they don't mind something. To mind something is what you do if someone asks you an inconvenient favour. To feel anguish is when you can't pay medical bills for your child.
If a billionaire loses money on the stock market and is forced to sell his second yacht as a result it is certainly in his interests to present that as being harm as serious as being unable to pay for medical treatment. Most people would consider it a dishonest flattening of language.

quote:
And therefore wanting to use language in a way that acknowledges as real hurts only those hurts that you think people oughtto feel.
I think that only things that are actually hurts should be described as hurts. I think that anyone who seriously thinks that the billionaire who loses a second yacht is hurt in a way comparable that someone struggling to make ends meet who loses their job and income is hurt is sociopathic.

quote:
quote:

Interesting choices of phrase there: 'perceived to be' and 'at the expense of'.


Trying to be precise about what progressivism is and is not.

There's not any evidence for this statement.
Those phrases are highly imprecise and tendentious. As are your uses of 'hurt' and 'anguish'.

quote:
It isn't benevolence to all. It isn't the equivalent of Gandhi's non-violent resistance to a violent regime.
Gandhi certainly acted against the interests of the British Empire.
Some people's interests clash. Benevolence to all is going to require making judgements about which interests are more important.

quote:
quote:
So abolishing slavery could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'.
Assuming you mean abolishing slavery without compensation...
This is self-parody.

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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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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Trying to be precise about what progressivism is and is not. It isn't benevolence to all. It isn't the equivalent of Gandhi's non-violent resistance to a violent regime.

I suggest you read a little bit about the protests against the Salt Law.
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orfeo

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Abolishing slavery WITH compensation is certainly what happened in some places. And all it did was make wealthy people even wealthier. It's eerily reminiscent of the thinking that certain financial institutions are too BIG to fail, so we must continue to keep them in the position that was only earned through wrongdoing in the first place.

I'm not against wealth. The problem is that not many wealthy people have much of a conscience about what can be done with that money.

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Carex
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Were the owners ever required to compensate the former slaves for their loss of liberty and the work that they did that they were not paid for? I'd think that would be a more appropriate form of compensation.
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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Carex:
Clearly there are tens of students, perhaps over a hundred, who would not get checked for medical problems such as infections, diabetes, immunizations, etc. Denying them the access to medical care hurts them, to at least some degree.

Here I think you're using "hurt" in the sense of "disbenefit". That seems to me an entirely normal usage,
and with that meaning your sentence is true - these students have lost out.

The fact that there may be millions of children in the Third World with much poorer access to medical care doesn't change that. Your sentence says nothing about how relatively-well-off these students are.

You're not claiming that there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, or other expressions of great mental distress. Just that they're worse off as a result of this decision.

And I don't see anything wrong with the point you're making or how you're
making it. Although Dafyd may disagree...

quote:
What is the hurt on the other side?
The argument on the other side is about religious belief. Some people have a religious conviction that contraception is morally wrong. Others would say that encouraging sex outside marriage is morally wrong, and that telling people how to avoid the unwanted consequences of an act constitutes encouragement.

You may find these beliefs ridiculous, but they are held in good faith by significant numbers of people.

So I suggest to you that a parent may experience mental distress and count it as damaging to their interests for anyone to encourage their children in immoral behaviour.

quote:
Is that an important part of what you mean by "Traditional Christianity"?
This thread isn't about Traditional Christianity. Feel free to start another.

I've responded to the above on the assumption that you're putting forward an ethic based on hurt/harm as characteristic of progressivism.

If it is, then how that ethic operates in practice is relevant.

I'm trying to clarify what this "dominant ethos on the Ship" is before we get too far into praising it or condemning it.

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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, this thread's about the opposite, so no reference to that can be made.

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Love wins

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Yeah, this thread's about the opposite, so no reference to that can be made.

The relationship between the two is clearly in scope.

You're saying that one is the opposite of the other. Erroneous Monk was suggesting earlier that the Pope might agree with a number of progressive positions, implying that they're not complete opposites...

Seems to me that the Magnificat is a reaction against the idea in Judaism that if some people are rich and powerful then the all-powerful all-just God has put them there. This "prosperity gospel" type thinking is not confined to Judaism, and seems a natural consequence of monotheism. Rejecting this idea requires a particular "hands-off" type of God. Which Jesus gives us in the parable of the wheat and the darnel...

The opposite might be the idea that crime is the only way to get rich. (cf "all property is theft"). That wealth or power is necessarily the fruits of wickedness, so revolution is justice.

Then, as a different impulse in human nature, you have conservatism, which says that if some people have traditionally been rich or powerful then we should be cautious about changing that. That the burden of proof is on those who want to change things.

Does progressivism take for granted that no class of people deserves relative power and therefore considers that any traditional imbalance of power should be reversed, counting this as progress ?

(Rather than, for example, setting out a system of rights to limit anyone's power over anyone else ?)

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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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Aye, no CLASS of person deserves relative power. I.e. class.

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Love wins

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Some people have a religious conviction that contraception is morally wrong.

That's not the interesting part. The interesting part is when people who have this religious conviction feel it is important to make other people without that religious conviction behave in accordance with the religious conviction.

This kind of issue is very much on my mind at the moment because of the marriage equality currently occupying the entire political sphere in Australia. Apparently the "conservative" Christian thing to do is to not just believe that marriage is between a man and woman, preferably for procreation, but to insist the law of the land applies that belief.

The law of the land that applies not just to Christians who believe in that rule for marriage, but to Christians who don't. And Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and atheists.

A large part of the reaction to conservative Christian beliefs is not about whether or not the beliefs are perceived as ridiculous. A large part of the reaction is to the repeated attempts at ensuring that the rest of the population must abide by the same beliefs.

Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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mr cheesy
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It seems to me that where there is a contradiction in the social-progressive mindset (which is a bit of a stupid idea given the way it has been defined above, but never mind), it absolutely isn't in the idea that people that are running from war and death deserve protection. For one thing, our nations are not "pure" and we're all products of waves of immigration. For another, it is fairly clear that immigrants overall benefit the economy and the societies they move to.

But there is a more subtle form of contradiction which is hard to resolve. As I have said before, I'm not sure one can have a supply chain that is entirely free of exploitation.

So it isn't too hard to draw a straight line between the increase of worker rights at home and the increase of grinding poverty and exploitation in factories abroad.

I think those who are socially minded too often feather their own beds at the expense of others - but then it is hard to see any way around the imperfect systems attempting to change the systems of inequality.

And ultimately it is better that people are bothered that people are working in horrible conditions in China than being the sort of person that doesn't actually give a shit. Not much better, I'd agree, but still better than being a Tory.

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arse

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

Remember in Russworld the mental distress is hurt. And all hurt is morally equivalent.(*)
So if gay people getting married causes a Conservative Christian mental distress then the gay people are hurting the Conservative Christian. that the hurt caused to a Conservative Christian by gay people getting married is morally equivalent to any hurt caused to gay people by not being allowed to marry.(*)

(*) Actually some forms of mental distress are not hurt. Any distress that might be felt by progressives over the suffering of other people is only perceived hurt over perceived suffering. And if your hurt is caused by something you've perceived it doesn't count.
In fact any hurt caused to gay people by not being allowed to marry is probably perceived so it might not count. But distress to religious conservatives by lurid imagining of orgies and anal sex is not caused by anything perceived so it definitely does count.

I'm not condemning or criticising Russ' views here. I'm just trying to state them precisely.

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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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I don't understand how these people that Russ claims exist get through the day. Wouldn't the existence of, say, gay marriage be causing them constant equivalent-to-physical-pain pain?

I think this is bullshit. People get angry about other people's personal choices sometimes, but I don't think they're really feeling any pain at all.

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arse

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Callan
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# 525

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Originally posted by Russ:

quote:
Seems to me that the Magnificat is a reaction against the idea in Judaism that if some people are rich and powerful then the all-powerful all-just God has put them there. This "prosperity gospel" type thinking is not confined to Judaism, and seems a natural consequence of monotheism. Rejecting this idea requires a particular "hands-off" type of God. Which Jesus gives us in the parable of the wheat and the darnel...

The Magniificat bears some relation to the canticle of Hannah in 1 Samuel, which is subsequently echoed in the Prophetic writings. I struggle to see how it is an "idea in Judaism" that the rich and powerful are the beneficiaries of God's largesse. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, whose views on the subject seem reasonably salient, would very vehemently disagree with you on that point.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Carex:
Clearly there are tens of students, perhaps over a hundred, who would not get checked for medical problems such as infections, diabetes, immunizations, etc. Denying them the access to medical care hurts them, to at least some degree.

Here I think you're using "hurt" in the sense of "disbenefit". That seems to me an entirely normal usage, and with that meaning your sentence is true - these students have lost out.
Medical care is something that humans need (not all the time but every human needs medical care in their lifetime).
It is more than a mere disbenefit or losing out. That is the case whether the person is an orphan in a slum in the developing world or whether it's Bill Gates. If you deny them access to medical care you harm them.

quote:
And I don't see anything wrong with the point you're making or how you're making it. Although Dafyd may disagree...
You mean you realise progressives aren't clones of each other and aren't all obliged to sign on to the same list of dogmas? You surprise me.

However, there isn't anything in Carex's statement as opposed to your eisegesis of it that I disagree with.

quote:
So I suggest to you that a parent may experience mental distress and count it as damaging to their interests for anyone to encourage their children in immoral behaviour.
If someone believes that they have an interest in living in a well-run and more egalitarian society (people in more egalitarian societies generally have higher life expectancies) and they may experience distress from seeing people struggling to make ends meet on low wages then they are harmed by living in a less egalitarian society than they would like?
Or is it only traditionalists and libertarians who are harmed by distress? Distress felt by progressives is only perceived and doesn't count?
Presumably if someone is struggling to feed and clothe their family on a zero-hour contract and they feel distress as a result that also is only perceived distress that doesn't count?

quote:
I'm trying to clarify what this "dominant ethos on the Ship" is before we get too far into praising it or condemning it.
You seem to be doing quite a lot of condemning already.

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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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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Does progressivism take for granted that no class of people deserves relative power and therefore considers that any traditional imbalance of power should be reversed, counting this as progress ?

(Rather than, for example, setting out a system of rights to limit anyone's power over anyone else ?)

Setting out rights that limit anyone's power over anyone else is correcting imbalances of power. Or maybe you mean something else? You mean setting out a system of rights that enshrines traditional power wielded over other people.

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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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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

Remember in Russworld the mental distress is hurt. And all hurt is morally equivalent.(*)
So if gay people getting married causes a Conservative Christian mental distress then the gay people are hurting the Conservative Christian. that the hurt caused to a Conservative Christian by gay people getting married is morally equivalent to any hurt caused to gay people by not being allowed to marry.(*)

(*) Actually some forms of mental distress are not hurt. Any distress that might be felt by progressives over the suffering of other people is only perceived hurt over perceived suffering. And if your hurt is caused by something you've perceived it doesn't count.
In fact any hurt caused to gay people by not being allowed to marry is probably perceived so it might not count. But distress to religious conservatives by lurid imagining of orgies and anal sex is not caused by anything perceived so it definitely does count.

I'm not condemning or criticising Russ' views here. I'm just trying to state them precisely.

Yes. I nearly went on to articulate this, but you've captured it perfectly. The hurt of watching people not live the same way that you do.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So it isn't too hard to draw a straight line between the increase of worker rights at home and the increase of grinding poverty and exploitation in factories abroad.

I think you've got a good point here, but it's not quite a direct line. What's needed in the middle is a consumer desire to continue paying as little as possible for goods, and a burying of information about how those cheap prices are achieved.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So it isn't too hard to draw a straight line between the increase of worker rights at home and the increase of grinding poverty and exploitation in factories abroad.

I think you've got a good point here, but it's not quite a direct line. What's needed in the middle is a consumer desire to continue paying as little as possible for goods, and a burying of information about how those cheap prices are achieved.
The other factor is producers of those goods wanting to maximise their profit. It isn't strictly the consumer's fault.
What is our fault is not caring enough about the atrocities that allow us cheap goods. It goes well beyond poor factory worker conditions and pay.
Literal slavery, maiming, death, etc. And, no, that is not histrionics, but the consequences of cheap consumer goods and foods.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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orfeo

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Yes, agreed.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I think you've got a good point here, but it's not quite a direct line. What's needed in the middle is a consumer desire to continue paying as little as possible for goods, and a burying of information about how those cheap prices are achieved.

Well, yes - it is part of a system in which capitalist owners of enterprises have been forcing down labour costs throughout supply chains in order to maximise profits.

lilBuddha is clearly also correct that the market is driven by consumers to get desirable items at prices they can afford.

But I think my point is deeper than that. Where I live here in Wales 100 years ago miners had low life expectancies and regularly died in mine accidents.

Wales has been dealing with the legacy of domestic exploitation - in the most negative sense - of the working population for a long time including environmental, health, social and other problems.

And yet today it can be argued that the vast majority of the workers in the weakest position have more than they had 100 years ago. Almost everyone has access to clean water, sanitation and food. Almost everyone can access good healthcare. The life expectancy is going up. The working conditions and employment rights even for those in jobs which pay the minimum are still much better than it was 100 years ago.

Yes, it is in no sense perfect. Yes, domestic poverty exists.

But it seems inarguable that strong unions have been able to force concessions over the years and have been able to improve worker rights and general social conditions. The problem is that working in a capitalist consumerist society means that there is really only one place where it is possible to extract the taxes and other investment necessary to pay for it - and that is from direct or indirect exploitation (often of a kind that closely resembles the conditions in this valley 100 years ago) further down the supply chain.

It would be nice to believe that it would be possible to organise a society which is essentially co-operative where consumers properly compensate producers for their work without the profit-seeking capitalists involved.

But if the end objective is to have everyone in the supply chain have the things and lifestyle that we have (and assume that we should always have them by right like sanitation, healthcare and good food never mind iphones and Spanish holidays), then that doesn't work, cannot work.

That's the unspoken problem here. If we want to improve the lot of ourselves and those close to us, then pretty much the only way to do that is to exploit someone else.

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arse

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Martin60
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Brilliant. Your penultimate para, to confirm: that objective is a delusion? Because, as you point out, someone has to be poor for us to be rich? As Basil of Caesarea, was it, said? Therefore even Gordon Brown's 'third way'; the poor are our biggest market, is doomed? The poor we will always have with us?

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Brilliant. Your penultimate para, to confirm: that objective is a delusion? Because, as you point out, someone has to be poor for us to be rich? As Basil of Caesarea, was it, said? Therefore even Gordon Brown's 'third way'; the poor are our biggest market, is doomed? The poor we will always have with us?

It seems to me that the alternative is basically Cuba.

To me, that's the sting: we might be able to force a system where everyone involved has proper access to sanitation, healthcare etc (at least at the level we'd all expect for our own grandparents rather than some pathetic crumb of a service that we wouldn't wish on our worst criminals) but the downside of that is we probably wouldn't have lots of shiny new things, we probably wouldn't have supermarkets filled with exotic products, we probably wouldn't be able to have multiple holidays a year and we probably would be living in a state-run monopoly economy.

If we want all the extras beyond the minimum, it is absolutely my belief that we're taking them from someone else.

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arse

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lilBuddha
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The alternate isn't Cuba. It is a state where the rich exist, but not with the staggering inequities in our current system.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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roybart
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# 17357

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This.

U.S. conservatives have a tendency to talk as though our present system, as actually practiced, with all its gross inequities, has only one alternative, the dreaded specter of state socialism.

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"The consolations of the imaginary are not imaginary consolations."
-- Roger Scruton

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The alternate isn't Cuba. It is a state where the rich exist, but not with the staggering inequities in our current system.

I don't think there is any truth in that. If we want equality in our supply chains, then we'd need to have radically different lives. Not just the 1%.

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arse

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mousethief

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Multiple holidays per year? Whut?! Oh yeah, you're not from the United States.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The alternate isn't Cuba. It is a state where the rich exist, but not with the staggering inequities in our current system.

I don't think there is any truth in that. If we want equality in our supply chains, then we'd need to have radically different lives. Not just the 1%.
I don't think your realise just how much wealth the top 1% have. But I was not merely speaking of them. I forget the exact figures, but it is something like the top 10 or 20 % have 80% of the wealth. much could be changed just by lowering that. Those in the middle would need change, but not radically.
People act as if the system were closed, as if there was only so much money to go round. And that is why the monetary system works, so change to something significantly different would be difficult.
But I'm not suggesting this. Just that the rich pay more.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

If we want all the extras beyond the minimum, it is absolutely my belief that we're taking them from someone else.

Where does wealth come from? Most of the history of wealth is taking from the many to benefit the few. The whole purpose of divine, and divinely appointed, rulers is to justify this.
I am merely advocating that the few be allowed to take less than they do.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
I don't think your realise just how much wealth the top 1% have. But I was not merely speaking of them. I forget the exact figures, but it is something like the top 10 or 20 % have 80% of the wealth. much could be changed just by lowering that. Those in the middle would need change, but not radically.

Actually I do know how much the 1% have and I do know how much the rest of the top 20% (which, by the way, includes almost everyone in Western Europe and North America) would have to change in order to redistribute the funds in order that the poorest could have access to the basics of healthcare, schooling, sanitation etc. And it would require a radical change.

Or one could look at it another way - in terms of the environmental impact of our lifestyles. Forget the 1%, how many planets would it require to have everyone living at my level? Answer for me is about 3.5

quote:
People act as if the system were closed, as if there was only so much money to go round. And that is why the monetary system works, so change to something significantly different would be difficult.
But I'm not suggesting this. Just that the rich pay more.

Economics is magic and capital is wishful thinking. As terms, they mean almost nothing, hence the idea of continuous growth is a misnomer anyway. The reality is that in order for the richer to be able to afford to buy things, poorer people have to make them in conditions where they'd never achieve the lifestyle and never be able to afford the thing they're making.

Simply talking about the top 1% completely misunderstands the global system and completely misses the damage done even if the 1% didn't exist.

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arse

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orfeo

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The thing about the number of Earths required to sustain a lifestyle is something I've seen again recently.

Which makes it feel like the whole thing is some kind of Ponzi scheme.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Remember in Russworld the mental distress is hurt. And all hurt is morally equivalent.(*)

Obviously there are more-severe and less-severe physical pains, and it seems reasonable to say the same about the wider forms of "hurt" - mental distress and damage to interests.

I'm not saying that slapping someone's arm and breaking someone's arm are necessarily equally morally wrong.

I'm saying that Marvin's version of the progressive ethic "hurt no one" would prohibit both the slight and severe hurt. And is therefore not an accurate summary of progressivism.

You seem to be arguing that:
- progressives believe that there is some well-defined level of severity of harm that counts as a hurt
- that it's morally OK to act in a way that causes small harms to people, so long as this doesn't add up to a hurt
- people in those classes deemed under-privileged or powerless are more fragile, so harm to them is more likely to count as a hurt than comparable harm to someone who is wealthy or powerful.

Have I understood your ethical position correctly ? [/QB][/QUOTE]

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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 orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Some people have a religious conviction that contraception is morally wrong.

That's not the interesting part. The interesting part is when people who have this religious conviction feel it is important to make other people without that religious conviction behave in accordance with the religious conviction...

Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

The point is that it's a moral conviction. We humans can all be live-and-let-live about each other's different customs. But when we perceive those customs to be morally wrong (e.g. so-called "honour-killings") we feel that something should be done to prevent this wrong.

The suggestion is that progressives hold a moral philosophy in which wrong is equated with hurt/harm. And therefore any objection to a harmless activity, while it may be a religious objection, is not acknowledged as a moral objection.

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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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Because it isn't.

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Love wins

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Some people have a religious conviction that contraception is morally wrong.

That's not the interesting part. The interesting part is when people who have this religious conviction feel it is important to make other people without that religious conviction behave in accordance with the religious conviction...

Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

The point is that it's a moral conviction. We humans can all be live-and-let-live about each other's different customs. But when we perceive those customs to be morally wrong (e.g. so-called "honour-killings") we feel that something should be done to prevent this wrong.

The suggestion is that progressives hold a moral philosophy in which wrong is equated with hurt/harm. And therefore any objection to a harmless activity, while it may be a religious objection, is not acknowledged as a moral objection.

To which the counterpoint is it's somewhat problematic to use secular law as a tool to enforce one's own moral convictions. The thing about harm is that it involves objective demonstration of harm. The thing about morals without harm is that it boils down to a form of "because I said so".

If you don't want people to do something you think is morally wrong, by all means persuade them. But if you don't persuade them, or can't, I'm not sure the law of the land should be invoked to do your moral persuading for you.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The point is that it's a moral[/b] conviction. We humans can all be live-and-let-live about each other's different customs. But when we perceive those customs to be morally wrong (e.g. so-called "honour-killings") we feel that something should be done to prevent this wrong.

On the Dead Horse's Thread you were using 'moral' to mean 'in accordance with a set of public procedural rules that everyone agrees upon'. Which is precisely not what you're using it to mean here.
Now it's possible that you've changed your mind after reflecting upon that thread. Or it's possible that on that thread you were using a purely tactical definition.

quote:
The suggestion is that progressives hold a moral philosophy in which wrong is equated with hurt/harm. And therefore any objection to a harmless activity, while it may be a religious objection, is not acknowledged as a moral objection.
Progressives also regard justice and fairness as moral values, and liberty. Some (the more socialist) would regard community/solidarity as a value; some (the more libertarian) would not.

On the other hand, if libertarians argue that any redistribution is wrong because it causes harm to the more well-off party then it would follow that libertarians think avoidance of harm is the single overriding moral value.

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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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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
it's somewhat problematic to use secular law as a tool to enforce one's own moral convictions. The thing about harm is that it involves objective demonstration of harm. The thing about morals without harm is that it boils down to a form of "because I said so".

If you don't want people to do something you think is morally wrong, by all means persuade them. But if you don't persuade them, or can't, I'm not sure the law of the land should be invoked to do your moral persuading for you.

I agree that there's something problematic here.

Who, for example, are the "them" you think have to be persuaded ?

Everybody ? Every individual has to be persuaded that something is morally wrong before it's OK to enforce a legal prohibition on them ? Don't think you mean that.

A majority ? You can believe in vox populi , that anything the majority choose to enforce is OK. But until relatively recently in historical terms the majority believed in the criminalisation of homosexuality. I don't think the progressive position is that gay sex became OK at the point where 50% of the population agreed...

What's the alternative ? The consensus of people who think like you do (and everybody else doesn't matter) ? I'm not convinced that's what you mean either...

--------------------
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:
You seem to be arguing that:
- progressives believe that there is some well-defined level of severity of harm that counts as a hurt
- that it's morally OK to act in a way that causes small harms to people, so long as this doesn't add up to a hurt
- people in those classes deemed under-privileged or powerless are more fragile, so harm to them is more likely to count as a hurt than comparable harm to someone who is wealthy or powerful.

Have I understood your ethical position correctly ?

No.
- I doubt I seem to be arguing that there is a well-defined level of harm that counts as a hurt. Few concepts are well-defined around the edges. I think the same considerations about hurt also apply to harm.
- You seem to be implying that there's no difference between disbenefits except quantity. So that if seeing your team lose at sport causes mental distress then it is a harm. If it happens often it adds up and if it happens often enough it would add up to an equivalent hurt to losing a hand.
That would be opposed to thinking that some costs or drawbacks are qualitatively more important than others.
Economists frequently talk as if all benefits and costs can be weighed against each other. They have to; that's their model. Money is a tool that can be used to try to make incommensurable goods tradeable against each other. But some economists and other people following them then start talking as if it's not a model or a tool, but as if money is an ontological truth.
Hurt or harm occur when there's damage to things we need. Economists can't really handle need in the model beyond saying that beyond a certain level demand becomes inelastic. But it's a morally serious category and you're ignoring it.
- People who have less power to protect their interests are more vulnerable not more fragile. If a billionaire loses a leg that is the same harm as if someone on the minimum wage loses a leg. Although the billionaire can afford a better artificial leg or wheelchair; and the billionaire can afford to sue whoever is responsible for the loss of his leg.

Billionaires are on the whole less likely to take jobs that risk them losing limbs. Presumably you think that means the loss of a limb must be more of a hurt for billionaires? Because if it were the same hurt they'd risk losing limbs just as often?

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

Posts: 10428 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged



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