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Source: (consider it) Thread: And there's another gay bakery case
Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
.. There seems in some people's minds to be a circular justification for laws they approve of. Discrimination is against the law because it's wrong. And discrimination is wrong because it's against the law....

No, dear, certain forms of discrimination are against the law because they have a disastrous impact on citizens and society. Discrimination is ILLEGAL. That's it. There is no circle, except the one of your own making. There are millions of "wrong" and "immoral" things that aren't illegal.

You're still perfectly free to believe that there is no such thing as discrimination, or that it's no big deal, or that some forms of discrimination are ok or profitable. No one is imposing "beliefs" on you, but every society has behavioural expectations.

If you choose to break the law because you think it's "wrong" or "immoral", you can. And there will be consequences. For example, we've talked about the morality of which side of the road to drive on. Most of us agree that there isn't any real reason to choose left or right, but once that choice is made, it's important for everyone's safety that we all abide by that choice.

Now, imagine that you are one of those people who believes that "left" is "sinister" and of the Devil and utterly immoral. If the law forces you to drive on the left side of the road, you have to act against your conscience and endanger your mortal soul. <o noes!> Well, I don't really give a rat's ass about your immortal soul. I care about the lives you are endangering by insisting that your "morality" requires you to drive on the wrong side of the highway.

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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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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
But it seems to me that we can only have a debate about whether a law is moral if "moral" has some meaning beyond an expression of favourable personal opinion.

I don't want to have a debate about whether a law is moral.

If anything I want to have a debate about why it is you assume that everyone else has the same morality that you do.

You continue to seem to be deeply put out that the law would tell anyone they can't discriminate against who they want to discriminate against. You continue to fail to explain in any rational sense why I, or anyone else, should prefer YOUR version of morality where treating certain people unfavourably because of the way they were born is okay, over MY OWN version of morality that happens to align rather better with the current version of the law.

The other thing I want to debate is why you think that disagreeing with a law, "morally", somehow gets a person out of complying with the law. Because that seems to be a recurring idea, and my response to that, repeatedly, is that a law you only have to obey if you agree with it is no law at all.

Seriously, do you feel that way about the Ten Commandments? They're laws, you know.

[ 09. April 2017, 01:49: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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orfeo

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Just to be clear Russ, the reason I don't want to have a debate whether a law is moral is because of the assumption you seem to constantly make that a law can only be moral if you, personally, agree with it. That it matches YOUR morality.

You simply seem incapable of grasping that there is not a universally shared opinion about what is and isn't moral. If there was, Dead Horses wouldn't exist in the first place.

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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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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
I care about the lives you are endangering by insisting that your "morality" requires you to drive on the wrong side of the highway.

What you're talking about isn't morality, it's a religious conviction.

Your care seems to me entirely proper. I agree with your principle that it would be wrong to endanger the lives of other road-users.

The interesting question is what happens when the law and the principle pull in opposite directions.

Would you swerve onto the wrong side of the road in order to avoid a pedestrian (i.e. break the letter of the law in order to not endanger someone's life ?) I venture to suggest you would - you're a good person.

So you'd put doing the right thing above obeying the law ? And at the same time think other people should put obeying the law above their batty religious convictions ?

Do I sense an irregular verb:
I have principles
You have "morality"
They have private convictions
?

(Don't go to France - they go round the roundabouts widdershins...)

PS: the above accepts your premise that it's against the law to drive on the wrong side of the road. I suspect that this isn't actually quite true. My understanding would be that there is an offence of dangerous driving and an advisory document (Highway Code) which sets out standards of safe driving. In the rare circumstances where it's safer not to follow that guidance, I suspect that you'd get away with it legally. As well as morally.

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

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If he tells me that an apartment in which someone has frequently cooked curry comes to stink in a similar way, and that this imposes significant costs on his property-letting business, I believe him.

The question this raises for me is why you are so eager to believe the reported justifications of people who want to treat minority groups badly.

My default assumption would be that someone who doesn't want to deal with a racial group "because they smell" is a racist. I'm not saying that's an irrebuttable assumption necessarily, because, absent further evidence, I would also likely assume that the person saying that had yet to leave primary school, and in this particular case I'd obviously be wrong about that. However my starting point is not that maybe the ostensible bigot has a good point - it's that maybe the ostensible bigot is actually a bigot.

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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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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... What you're talking about isn't morality, it's a religious conviction. ... Do I sense an irregular verb:
I have principles
You have "morality"
They have private convictions ...

Well, then, tell us, Russ: is homophobia or racism a religious conviction or a moral judgment? Is it a principle or a private conviction? A business strategy? Any or all of the above, when it's convenient?

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

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
You're continuing to try to paint me as inconsistent.

Only because of the inconsistencies. For example:

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Presumably because you see "discrimination" as a primary category, as a type of act that is inherently morally wrong? Which wrongness I appear to recognise one minute and deny the next?

Whereas I perceive no specific mention of discrimination within morality - that framework of rights and duties that describes how individuals should treat each other.

I think Dafyd correctly characterised my position as being that moral duties are general.

I'm suggesting that all people have a moral right to be treated as people, which includes being considered members of the public. So if you're selling books or wedding cakes or overpriced apartments or anything else to the public then turning round to anyone and saying "we don't serve your sort" breaches their right of being treated as a person.

Most people would consider equal treatment of all members of the public to be a type of not discriminating, but your weaselly attempt to create a distinction where none exists implies that you're looking for a way you can discriminate against certain types of people and still have it count as not "breach[ing] their right of being treated as a person".

And lo and behold:

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
But conversely, no-one has a right to any particular job because they want it and are good at particular parts of it. There is no general moral right that is infringed by a business choosing to employ the candidate who will have the most positive impact on their bottom line.

Suddenly "we don't take your kind here" is the moral option! If someone is the wrong [race / religion / sexual orientation / whatever] then that suddenly over-rides their "moral right to be treated as people".

But only in certain cases. When confronted with an example of discrimination based on "the most positive impact on their bottom line" suddenly you find it immoral and no longer feel the need to "respect [Mr. Wilson's] right to disagree".

Plus there's the inconsistency where you argue that it's immoral for a school district to consider the "impact on their bottom line", despite "the bottom line" being the greatest moral arbiter when it suits you.

In other words, you seem to be engaged in motivated reasoning rather than a willingness to apply your stated principles/morals/whatever consistently.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Well, then, tell us, Russ: is homophobia or racism a religious conviction or a moral judgment? Is it a principle or a private conviction? A business strategy? Any or all of the above, when it's convenient?

This is part of what I'm telling you. That "homophobia" and "racism" are not well-defined concepts. They're labels that you stick on any kind of thing - a belief, a motive, an act, a system - that seems to you to disadvantage gay people and black people respectively. They are labels of disapproval - expressions of your sympathy with these minorities.

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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 Crœsos:
your weaselly attempt to create a distinction where none exists

Maybe that's the key point. I see a distinction that you don't.

If you're right, it's all in my imagination and doesn't correspond with anything in reality. If I'm right, you're failing to appreciate the true nature and limits of the genuine wrong that underlies what you call discrimination.

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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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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
That "homophobia" and "racism" are not well-defined concepts. They're labels that you stick on any kind of thing - a belief, a motive, an act, a system - that seems to you to disadvantage gay people and black people respectively. They are labels of disapproval - expressions of your sympathy with these minorities.

Your last sentence does not follow from the previous sentences.

In any case, in what way is 'any kind of thing that disadvantages gay people' not a well-defined concept?

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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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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'm suggesting that all people have a moral right to be treated as people, which includes being considered members of the public. So if you're selling books or wedding cakes or overpriced apartments or anything else to the public then turning round to anyone and saying "we don't serve your sort" breaches their right of being treated as a person.

Shall we find a name for an action that breaches that right? How about 'discrimination'?

quote:
But conversely, no-one has a right to any particular job because they want it and are good at particular parts of it. There is no general moral right that is infringed by a business choosing to employ the candidate who will have the most positive impact on their bottom line.
But you are not talking about a general right to a job. You are talking about a general right to be treated as a person. Refusing someone service in a shop is wrong according to you not because of a general right to service in a shop but in those cases where the grounds of refusal amount to refusal to treat the person as a person. If being refused service on the grounds of race or sexuality is not treating the person as a person then refusing them a job on those grounds is likewise not treating them as a person. And on those grounds wrong.

But you say the person refusing is not themselves refusing to treat the applicant as a person. They're merely consulting the bottom line of the business. Other potential customers are breaching the other person's rights, but not the potential employer.
Shall we compare a situation with the same logical structure. A thief comes to a jeweller with stolen goods and offers to sell them. The jeweller knowingly buys them. The jeweller has not themselves breached the owner's rights by taking the jewellery. They're merely taking the business decision that will have the most positive impact on their bottom line.

Now I would say that by consulting their bottom line the jeweller is colluding with the original crime and committing a moral wrong. But you think there is no moral wrong committed in colluding with a denial of the right to be recognised as a person. So either you think the fence commits no moral wrong. Or you treat the situations differently. You keep speculating about other people's sympathies.

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

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Well, then, tell us, Russ: is homophobia or racism a religious conviction or a moral judgment? Is it a principle or a private conviction? A business strategy? Any or all of the above, when it's convenient?

This is part of what I'm telling you. That "homophobia" and "racism" are not well-defined concepts. ...
Fine. Let's put the concepts aside and look at some actions. Do you need specific examples? Fine.
  • refusing to hire a female job applicant because "women get PMS"
  • refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because "gays are icky, the Bible tells me so"
  • refusing to rent a an apartment to a South Asian family because "curry smells bad"

Explain to us specifically why you think each of these is "morally right" or whatever fucking ill-defined concept of personal approval you're using today.

---
*included here because a) human rights aren't just for minorities and b) women are a majority anyway.

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

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
The question this raises for me is why you are so eager to believe the reported justifications of people who want to treat minority groups badly.

My default assumption would be that someone who doesn't want to deal with a racial group "because they smell" is a racist.

I'd believe you about the difficulties of running a law practice...

Your default assumption seems to be that anyone reaching a conclusion which is unfavourable to a minority is operating from a concealed hatred of that minority so anything they say isn't to be taken seriously.

Your prejudice is showing...

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

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
The question this raises for me is why you are so eager to believe the reported justifications of people who want to treat minority groups badly.

My default assumption would be that someone who doesn't want to deal with a racial group "because they smell" is a racist.

I'd believe you about the difficulties of running a law practice...

Your default assumption seems to be that anyone reaching a conclusion which is unfavourable to a minority is operating from a concealed hatred of that minority so anything they say isn't to be taken seriously.

Your prejudice is showing...

Actually it's their prejudice that is showing, and that's the point. Assigning a characteristic to an entire group that is either untrue or irrelevant is a prejudice. Claiming that all members of a racial group smell is a prejudice, unless there's some genuine evidence that members of that group do in fact consistently smell.

The law is perfectly fine with unfavourable conclusions that are based on EVIDENCE. You don't have to hire the person that is demonstrably not suited to the job. The reason anti-discrimination laws exist is to prevent people from reaching prejudicial conclusions, ones that aren't based on evidence or facts.

And those anti-discrimination laws recognise the historical reality that certain minorities / certain characteristics of people have been regularly picked out as the basis for prejudicial, non-factual conclusions.

TL;DR: Working assumptions are fine so long as they are based on evidence.

[ 11. April 2017, 12:07: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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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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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Your default assumption seems to be that anyone reaching a conclusion which is unfavourable to a minority is operating from a concealed hatred of that minority so anything they say isn't to be taken seriously.

Your prejudice is showing...

When the conclusion which is unfavourable to a minority is basically a playground insult, I don't think we should begin by assuming that it's made in good faith.

But that isn't "prejudice". A prejudice, as orfeo says, is not based on evidence. Assuming that someone is a racist because he is rich and white would be a prejudice. Concluding that he is likely to be a racist because he has said something stupidly and childishly insulting about a racial group isn't prejudice, because "saying something racist" actually is evidence for "being a racist".

You haven't explained why you are so quick to conclude that he isn't racist. It may be right that saying "I don't let to coloureds because they smell" isn't absolutely conclusive proof of racism - maybe he's been misreported, maybe it's a very very poorly-judged joke, maybe he's in a 'Brewer's Millions' scenario and is desperate to get himself sued - all of those are possible alternative explanations. But the possibility that this is an actual example of racial discrimination should be on the agenda, too, no?

--------------------
"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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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
That "homophobia" and "racism" are not well-defined concepts. They're labels that you stick on any kind of thing - a belief, a motive, an act, a system - that seems to you to disadvantage gay people and black people respectively. They are labels of disapproval - expressions of your sympathy with these minorities.

Your last sentence does not follow from the previous sentences.

In any case, in what way is 'any kind of thing that disadvantages gay people' not a well-defined concept?

You're missing the point. Russ' contention that there's no such thing as racism or homophobia is a literally Orwellian attempt to shut down a line of inquiry.

quote:
The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought -- that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc -- should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods.
In short, the pretense that racism or homophobia or sexism don't exist is not an aspiration for a world without such things. It's an attempt to maintain the status quo by telling everyone else to STFU about that stuff.

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'd believe you about the difficulties of running a law practice...

Your default assumption seems to be that anyone reaching a conclusion which is unfavourable to a minority is operating from a concealed hatred of that minority so anything they say isn't to be taken seriously.

Your prejudice is showing...

Actually it's their prejudice that is showing, and that's the point. Assigning a characteristic to an entire group that is either untrue or irrelevant is a prejudice. Claiming that all members of a racial group smell is a prejudice, unless there's some genuine evidence that members of that group do in fact consistently smell.

The law is perfectly fine with unfavourable conclusions that are based on EVIDENCE.

I've heard this referred to as "Ockham's paisley"; the idea that you have to exhaustively disprove every single other possible explanation before assuming that some kind of prejudice is at work in any given situation. Every swoop, swirl, and curve has to be followed up, no matter how ridiculously improbable, before a relatively straightforward explanation will be accepted. It's always seemed to me to be another form of trying to get everyone to just STFU about discrimination in lieu of actually dealing with it.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Russ' contention that there's no such thing as racism or homophobia is a literally Orwellian attempt to shut down a line of inquiry.

This is patently what he is doing.

quote:

I've heard this referred to as "Ockham's paisley";

Thank you! This has been around ages* and I cannot believe I haven't heard it.

*Internet time

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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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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:

Explain to us specifically why you think each of these is "morally right":
a) refusing to hire a female job applicant because "women get PMS"
b) refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because "gays are icky, the Bible tells me so"
c)refusing to rent a an apartment to a South Asian family because "curry smells bad"

Example a) seems to me a case of prejudice. It's a wrong, a breach of natural justice. It finds all women guilty in advance and doesn't give them a chance to prove their innocence. And is perhaps particularly unfair to the woman who does get PMT and by virtue of real effort successfully resists the temptation to act like the employee from hell for three days every month.

Example c) is similar.

Example b) doesn't fit that model. No-one is being pre-judged as guilty of something that they may not be guilty of.

Either the wedding-cake-maker is selling to the public a specific service or product (? multi-tier iced cakes with a figurine of a woman in white and a man in evening dress on top ?). In which case she is committing the wrong of "unpersoning" gays by not counting them as valid members of the public if she won't sell exactly the same thing to them.

Or she's an artist who sometimes - as an essentially private sideline to the day job - accepts commissions to design and make wedding cakes for people, in which case it's her free choice what commissions she accepts or doesn't. No wrong involved.

Can you say specifically why you think differently ?

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

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Gee D
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# 13815

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Russ, you clearly do not understand natural justice.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Example b) doesn't fit that model.

Er, yes it does. I completely fail to see how being pre-judged as liable to be icky or do icky things is any different to being pre-judged as liable to get PMS or liable to smell bad.

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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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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I completely fail to see how being pre-judged as liable to be icky or do icky things is any different to being pre-judged as liable to get PMS or liable to smell bad.

It's the difference between

- attributing to all members of a set the undesirable attributes of some members of that set (e.g. "all Muslims are potential ISIS supporters and therefore not trustworthy")

- finding undesirable in some way the attribute that defines the set (e.g. "Muslims are not Christian and will therefore go to hell").

The former is prejudice, the latter is not.

Treating a gay person as if by being gay they were automatically guilty of behaviours that some gay people commit (I think you mentioned promiscuity earlier) is prejudice. They are pre-judged, judged to be guilty of something that individually they may be innocent of.

Treating a gay person as guilty of having a desire to "do icky things" is not prejudice if that's what it means to be a gay person.

Believing that all Cretans are liars is a prejudice. Assuming that a Cretan person you meet is a liar is an unjust prejudicial act Assuming a Cretan is from Crete is simply appreciating the meaning of the word.

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

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


Treating a gay person as guilty of having a desire to "do icky things" is not prejudice if that's what it means to be a gay person.


Well there we are. Some gay/lesbian folk do "icky" stuff but then some straight people do the very same "icky" things too. Go on, let your imagination run riot, what can gay/lesbian people do that straight people cannot do?

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

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Er, yes it does. I completely fail to see how being pre-judged as liable to be icky or do icky things is any different to being pre-judged as liable to get PMS or liable to smell bad.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
It's the difference between

- attributing to all members of a set the undesirable attributes of some members of that set (e.g. "all Muslims are potential ISIS supporters and therefore not trustworthy")

- finding undesirable in some way the attribute that defines the set (e.g. "Muslims are not Christian and will therefore go to hell").

The former is prejudice, the latter is not.

See orfeo? "Ickiness" is "the attribute that defines the set" of gay people. (Most people mistakenly think the attribute that defines the set of gay people is being sexually attracted primarily to members of their own gender, but luckily Russ is here to remind us that it's actually ickiness.) It's a scientifical fact, probably established by that "objective observer" Russ was talking about earlier. If someone is gay they are therefore "icky". Q.E.Duh!

The reasoning here seems to be similar to the way racists now prefer to be called "racial realists". It's not prejudice that's driving their racial beliefs, they just have a "realistic" view of which races are superior and which are inferior.

[ 13. April 2017, 14:20: Message edited by: Crœsos ]

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
The reasoning here seems to be similar to the way racists now prefer to be called "racial realists". It's not prejudice that's driving their racial beliefs, they just have a "realistic" view of which races are superior and which are inferior.

Indeed. On Russ's definition it seems that if you merely assume that black and gay people are inferior, then you're prejudiced, but if you define them to be inferior, then you aren't.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
Example b) doesn't fit that model. No-one is being pre-judged as guilty of something that they may not be guilty of.

Either the wedding-cake-maker is selling to the public a specific service or product (? multi-tier iced cakes with a figurine of a woman in white and a man in evening dress on top ?). In which case she is committing the wrong of "unpersoning" gays by not counting them as valid members of the public if she won't sell exactly the same thing to them.

...
Can you say specifically why you think differently ?

Well, for starters, there's lots of other kinds of wedding cake toppers. Like rings and hearts and one that I found on Pinterest (sorry, can't link, but you can find it in Google images) that says "shit just got real". [Killing me]

So pretend our same-sex couple requested a non-gendered cake topper and try again.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I completely fail to see how being pre-judged as liable to be icky or do icky things is any different to being pre-judged as liable to get PMS or liable to smell bad.

It's the difference between

- attributing to all members of a set the undesirable attributes of some members of that set (e.g. "all Muslims are potential ISIS supporters and therefore not trustworthy")

- finding undesirable in some way the attribute that defines the set (e.g. "Muslims are not Christian and will therefore go to hell").

The former is prejudice, the latter is not.

Treating a gay person as if by being gay they were automatically guilty of behaviours that some gay people commit (I think you mentioned promiscuity earlier) is prejudice. They are pre-judged, judged to be guilty of something that individually they may be innocent of.

Treating a gay person as guilty of having a desire to "do icky things" is not prejudice if that's what it means to be a gay person.

Believing that all Cretans are liars is a prejudice. Assuming that a Cretan person you meet is a liar is an unjust prejudicial act Assuming a Cretan is from Crete is simply appreciating the meaning of the word.

Oh wow. WOW.

You actually believe that argument? You actually BELIEVE that you used the "defining attribute" of the group?

No. Not even close. You just extolled the virtues of a generic prejudice instead of a specific one.

Okay, Mister, let's break this down very carefully so that you just maybe get a clue.

The definition of a Muslim is NOT "a person who is going to hell". Okay? Got that? The definition of a Muslim is a follower of Islam. In exactly the same way that that the definition of a Christian is a follower of Christians.

That Christians are going to heaven and a Muslims are going to hell is a matter of opinion. It might actually even be a matter of doctrine for you, but it's still not WHAT DEFINES THE GROUP. Whether or not someone thinks Muslims are going to hell is entirely separate from defining what a Muslim is.

Similarly, the definition of a homosexual is NOT "a person whose sexual practices are icky". Nope. The definition of a homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted to members of the same sex. And who is therefore, I happily accept, relatively likely to engage in homosexual sex.

That those practices are icky is again, a matter of opinion. It's NOT what defines the group. It's perfectly possible for a person who thinks homosexual sex is icky and a person who thinks homosexual sex is a really hot turn-on to agree on what homosexuality is.

Wow. I mean, if THIS is the frame of reference you've been working with, no wonder your statements make no sense whatsoever.

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Gee D
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Exactly, you beat me to it. And it goes further than that to Russ's idea of what is moral and what is immoral; moral means he agrees with it, immoral that he does not. He has not given any standard to define the question in sensible objectivity. He's purely subjective.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

The definition of a Muslim is NOT "a person who is going to hell". Okay? Got that? The definition of a Muslim is a follower of Islam. In exactly the same way that that the definition of a Christian is a follower of Christians.

That Christians are going to heaven and a Muslims are going to hell is a matter of opinion. It might actually even be a matter of doctrine for you, but it's still not WHAT DEFINES THE GROUP. Whether or not someone thinks Muslims are going to hell is entirely separate from defining what a Muslim is.

That seems entirely correct.

That non-Christians are going to hell is an opinion/doctrine (to which, for avoidance of doubt, I do not subscribe). To someone who holds that belief, it is a cast-iron logical conclusion that a person who is a Muslim is hell-bound. Because "non-Christian" is implicit in the definition of "Muslim".

That judgment is therefore not a prejudice. There is no prematurity in the conclusion. There is no reasonable doubt that the Muslim in front of you is a non-Christian. And you therefore do him no injustice in thinking that things that are true of non-Christians are true of this person.

quote:

Similarly... the definition of a homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted to members of the same sex. And who is therefore, I happily accept, relatively likely to engage in homosexual sex.

That those practices are icky is again, a matter of opinion.

Again, I agree completely with these words.

The point I'm making is that not every unfavourable opinion is a prejudice. The essence of prejudice is that generalisations about a group are applied to an individual in advance.

Someone who holds a general belief that gays are effeminate/promiscuous/dishonest/whatever and on meeting a good person such as yourself assumes these things are true of you because you're gay does you an injustice. They judge prematurely.

It is not prejudice if having met you they think you're a bit of a twit. Nothing premature there - that would be an opinion formed from experience of you as an individual. [Smile]

And it's not prejudice if, opining that homosexual desires are disgusting or immoral, they conclude from the fact that you tell them you're gay that you have such desires. That's a response to the definition. That those opinions apply to the person in front of them follows logically. No prematurity of judgment involved.

Don't think I can make it any clearer than that.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... No prematurity of judgment involved.

Don't think I can make it any clearer than that.

Yeah, and clearly irrelevant. From the point of view of the customers (remember them?), it's irrelevant whether they were refused service because they were judged to be icky gays by the shopkeeper in advance or in the moment.

And while it is notable, it is also irrelevant that the shopkeeper is only judging the sexuality of some of her/his customers. And that the shopkeeper only judges customers on sexuality and not e.g. greed or sloth or gluttony or vanity. The only relevant question, which you haven't satisfactorily answered, is why should the shopkeeper be judging any customer's sexuality at all?

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
The only relevant question, which you haven't satisfactorily answered, is why should the shopkeeper be judging any customer's sexuality at all?

I thought I'd made it totally clear.

In case you missed it, the business of a shopkeeper is selling things to the public. Shopkeepers can choose what they sell to the public. But having chosen, I'm suggesting that they have to sell to whatever public they get.

Whatever judgments they make in their own head, if the shopkeeper has advertised widgets for $1, they have to sell widgets for $1, whether the customer is icky or nasally challenged or blue-skinned or anything else.

I've suggested that refusing to serve a particular type of customer is wrong because it treats them as less than a person - "you don't count as a member of the public".

I'd agree with you if you're saying that this is a different wrong from the wrong of prejudice.

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Gee D
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Well then, if a cake shop will sell a wedding cake to a straight couple, why not to a gay one?

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Well then, if a cake shop will sell a wedding cake to a straight couple, why not to a gay one?

Whatever cakes they choose to sell to the public, I'm arguing they have a moral obligation to sell to anyone - gay, straight, 15-year-old, 105-year-old. Anyone who'll pay the advertised price.

What they're not obliged to do, IMHO, is to choose products with any particular market in mind. For example, they're not obliged to sell a figurine of two bridegrooms hand in hand...

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Gee D
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Your second paragraph is a complete contradiction of your first.

[ 15. April 2017, 21:31: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Your second paragraph is a complete contradiction of your first.

I'm waiting for an explanation of how 'racism' and 'homophobia' aren't well-defined enough to clear the high bar set by 'treats them as a less of a person'.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... What they're not obliged to do, IMHO, is to choose products with any particular market in mind. For example, they're not obliged to sell a figurine of two bridegrooms hand in hand...

Once more with feeling:

quote:
Well, for starters, there's lots of other kinds of wedding cake toppers. Like rings and hearts and one that I found on Pinterest (sorry, can't link, but you can find it in Google images) that says "shit just got real". [Killing me]

So pretend our same-sex couple requested a non-gendered cake topper and try again.



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orfeo

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Hands up who genuinely believes there is a bakery somewhere who sells only cakes with toppers on them?

Other than Russ. Who thinks there is a cake-with-toppers business somewhere that is incapable of selling a cake-without-any-topper.

And that has somehow not gone out of business despite selling just one extremely precise kind of cake.

[ 16. April 2017, 07:06: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
That judgment is therefore not a prejudice. There is no prematurity in the conclusion. There is no reasonable doubt that the Muslim in front of you is a non-Christian. And you therefore do him no injustice in thinking that things that are true of non-Christians are true of this person.

But what is the relevance of that opinion?

That's what you're not getting to. When a customer comes into your cake store or bookshop or whatever the fuck it is, what's the relevance of the state of the customer's soul, or of their sex life?

You can believe all you like that non-Christians are going to hell or that gays are icky. The prejudice lies in acting on that belief to deny someone the purchase they wish to make.

And you're still, in claiming that this is not "prejudice", extolling the virtues of a generalised bias and saying it's fine so long as it's not individualised. You're saying there's nothing wrong so long as your opinion is about an entire class of people, if you "correctly" apply it to members of that class.

Well sorry, mister, but that's rubbish. Half the point here is that there's absolutely no need to "apply" that opinion at all. Whether you believe a non-Christian is going to hell has precisely no relevance to the vast majority of transactions here on Earth. Sell them the book. Sell them the damn wedding cake. Because no-one made you the arbiter of whether the wedding is a good idea or not.

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orfeo

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Maybe it's possible gays are going to hell for immoral actions, it's not the job of a baker to decide that, and it's certainly not the job of a baker to impose their own belief about the morality of gay sex upon customers who don't share that same belief.

The idea that a person can set up a business where they only supply customers they morally approve of has been done to death already. This whole thread has been done to death already. We already know that a business that sets it up as a general business, open to the public in that way, doesn't get to pick and choose afterwards.

You yourself seem to have acknowledged that just now, but can you not see that this means the bakeries who won't serve gay customers are in the wrong?

So instead you argue the gays were asking for the wrong product. You set up ludicrously unrealistic businesses that supply exactly one kind of wedding cake topper, are incapable of removing that topper or of sourcing a different topper from their supplier, all so you can avoid the real world and create artificial situations where no-one has done anything wrong.

I don't GIVE a damn, Russ. I don't GIVE a damn that you can construct 500 different theoretical situations to assuage your conscience, I just give a damn about the pathetic transparent excuses real life people give to justify their homophobic and racist actions.

At least the people who decide to shut down their business if they can't discriminate are consistent. They're idiots, but they're consistent.

[ 16. April 2017, 07:26: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:

So pretend our same-sex couple requested a non-gendered cake topper and try again.

Doesn't change the principle at all. If you sell it to the public, you ought to sell it to everyone. Whatever your private convictions.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:

So pretend our same-sex couple requested a non-gendered cake topper and try again.

Doesn't change the principle at all. If you sell it to the public, you ought to sell it to everyone. Whatever your private convictions.
If you had articulated a clear principle, this thread would be considerably shorter.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
If you had articulated a clear principle, this thread would be considerably shorter.

Which of the many clear principles that you've contributed do you think I should take as a model ? [Smile]

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lilBuddha
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Harm. Pretty simple, really.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I'm waiting for an explanation of how 'racism' and 'homophobia' aren't well-defined enough to clear the high bar set by 'treats them as a less of a person'.

Seems to me that "racism" is used with a variety of different meanings, along the lines of:
- a belief that other races are inferior
- feelings of hatred towards people of other races
- the tendency for people to feel more comfortable with those of their own culture
- acts which disbenefit ethnic minorities
- racial prejudice.

These different phenomena - tied together by the concept of a different "race" as being something negative - are not morally equal.

I see a dishonesty in the use of language, whereby neutral or rightful acts are portrayed as wrongful by applying the same label "racist" to those acts as to hate-fuelled crimes.

The sort of argument you hear sometimes that "punishing criminals is racist because more black men are criminals".

So do your bit for honest discourse - either pick a meaning and stick to it, or avoid the word.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Russ, when I use the term 'racism' I mean a phenomenon that may express itself in any or all of the ways you describe. Your question is like asking me to be clear whether by "elephant" I mean an animal with tusks, an animal with a trunk, the largest land mammal or an animal with big flappy ears.

And if you think you've ever heard someone express the view that punishing criminals is inherently racist, then you've either heard a fringe crank or need to polish your comprehension skills.

[ 23. April 2017, 10:49: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Curiosity killed ...

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Russ, racism is far more complicated than individual acts. We, in the UK, and no doubt Ireland, have a world set up for white, middle-class, heterosexual males - if we are white, middle-class and heterosexual we do not realise how much we are disadvantaging others who are not in that group because it does not affect us. As a woman I experience the inherent sexism, which is changing, but not the racism and homophobia as that does not affect me - and those aspects are not changing so much. Our individual acts are just a continuation of the way the world is now, and these arguments are about people trying to change these attitudes and stop our disadvantaging significant proportions of the populations.

From some training I attended on Friday, when half the group was trying to explain to the other half how this works: if all of us walked or drove home from that meeting in the dark, many of us would get home with no problem. The other half were likely to be stopped by the police and questioned. Now the police justify targeting black young men in the street on profiling information. And those black members of the group were much more interested in fairness and justice because their lives are so inherently unfair.

Now this inherent unfairness is institutional racism, or to bring this back to the original topic, institutional homophobia.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I'm waiting for an explanation of how 'racism' and 'homophobia' aren't well-defined enough to clear the high bar set by 'treats them as a less of a person'.

Seems to me that "racism" is used with a variety of different meanings, along the lines of:
- a belief that other races are inferior
- feelings of hatred towards people of other races
- the tendency for people to feel more comfortable with those of their own culture
- acts which disbenefit ethnic minorities
- racial prejudice.

These different phenomena - tied together by the concept of a different "race" as being something negative - are not morally equal.

So you acknowledge that they're tied together by a concept. But you think that they oughtn't to be covered by a single word because of your moral opinions. You think that you're entitled to tell other people to use language in a way that reflects your individual moral opinions.
The mere fact that phenomena are not morally equal does not mean a word that covers them all is ill-defined.

The phenomena are related, as you acknowledge. They tend to accompany each other, and blur together. There is no reason to object to covering them all under a word referring to the concept that ties them together. Except if you allow your moral opinions to interfere with other people's use of language.

quote:
I see a dishonesty in the use of language, whereby neutral or rightful acts are portrayed as wrongful by applying the same label "racist" to those acts as to hate-fuelled crimes.
You think you see a dishonesty. What you're saying is that because your moral judgements of these acts differs you let that fact alter how you see other people whose moral judgements differ from yours.
I'm struggling to see how acts that fall under the concept of a different 'race' being something negative can be neutral or rightful.

quote:
The sort of argument you hear sometimes that "punishing criminals is racist because more black men are criminals".
You might hear that. I don't.
(There is a bit more subtle argument that if black men disproportionately end up in prison there must be racism occurring somewhere along the line. But it appears you want to go with the straw man version. Or that certain language from politicians about 'punishing criminals' is a coded form of racism, which may or may not be true, but is certainly possible.)

quote:
So do your bit for honest discourse - either pick a meaning and stick to it, or avoid the word.
'Honest discourse' does not mean discourse that endorses your individual moral judgements. To claim that discourse is not honest solely because it does not reflect your individual moral judgements is not honest in the more generally accepted sense of the word 'honest'.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Seems to me that "racism" is used with a variety of different meanings, along the lines of:
- a belief that other races are inferior
- feelings of hatred towards people of other races
- the tendency for people to feel more comfortable with those of their own culture
- acts which disbenefit ethnic minorities
- racial prejudice.

These different phenomena - tied together by the concept of a different "race" as being something negative - are not morally equal. ...

Well, then, let's consider another word: precipitation. Also known as rain, showers, sleet, freezing rain, snow, hail, flurries, etc. Sometimes you need an umbrella; sometimes you need the Canadian Forces. It's all still precipitation. Sometimes it's inconvenient, sometimes it's a disaster. Kind of like prejudice - sometimes it's an uncomfortable feeling, sometimes it's a brick through the living room window.

We all have conscious and unconscious prejudices. A responsible, self-aware human is aware that those prejudices affect others in real life. Russ, you seem to be only interested in figuring out what degree of prejudice is still "moral".

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
'Honest discourse' does not mean discourse that endorses your individual moral judgements.

Of course not. You have ample experience of disagreeing with me and doing so honestly.

If I think some choice is morally wrong, you can and do argue why it's morally OK (or vice versa) in the particular circumstances you have in mind.

What's less than fully honest is to use language in a way which condemns that choice out of hand by labelling it with this word that you refuse to define.

I've seen race-related threads that go on and on and get quite unnecessarily heated because people are using the r-word to mean different things and are all convinced of the rightness of their usage.

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Gee D
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Russ, there is no necessary co-incidence between what you believe to be moral and what many others would believe. Nor any absolutes either.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

Posts: 6777 | From: Warrawee NSW Australia | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
Crœsos
Shipmate
# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I see a dishonesty in the use of language, whereby neutral or rightful acts are portrayed as wrongful by applying the same label "racist" to those acts as to hate-fuelled crimes.

<snip>

So do your bit for honest discourse - either pick a meaning and stick to it, or avoid the word.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I've seen race-related threads that go on and on and get quite unnecessarily heated because people are using the r-word to mean different things and are all convinced of the rightness of their usage.

Yeah, I'm sure the problem is other people insisting on their own understanding of racism, instead of just doing the morally correct thing and accepting your perfectly reasonable explanation about why "the concept of a different "race" as being something negative" is actually morally "neutral or rightful" in many circumstances. [Roll Eyes]

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

Posts: 10506 | From: Sardis, Lydia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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