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Atheistic Morality
#26

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 06:43 PM)Alan V Wrote: Okay, let's assume for a moment that I'm a reasonably intelligent and well-meaning individual, but that I'm dead wrong about a certain issue. (That shouldn't be too hard for you to imagine, given your perspective.) 

So you're Lenin? He was at least reasonably intelligent and well-meaning and certainly dead wrong about some issues.

It does not matter that individual isn't fool or that is well-meaning. It's not like racists or other scum aren't well-meaning. They just want to protect healthy society from darkies. 

Quote:What is the best way to convince me I'm wrong?  Is it to call me names and insult my intelligence, even though I've been right on any number of other occasions?  Is it to consider me ill-willed, even though I have been sympathetic to a variety of other perspectives?  Is it to imply that the leaders I respect are all morally corrupt and the lesser of two evils?  No, that will only put me on the defensive.  It will appeal directly to the combative part of my mind who wants to win at all costs, even if it means misconstruing what you tell me.

Here is the thing - I mostly don't care about convincing people. It's not like information is denied to them, libraries closed and their internet connection filtered only to shows silly cats. It's people own job to educate themselves.

To answer your question - showing data should be good approach I suppose.

Quote:Instead, by assuming I do indeed have a functioning moral compass, you might try to point out how my mistaken position is some kind of hypocrisy on my part.  It's inconsistent with other things I have said I stood for and supported.  You leverage whatever is good in me, not try to bring out the worst in me.

You might not have functioning moral compass, though. And even if you have you could still feel attacked and refuse to concede especially if issue you're wrong about is important to you.

Quote:This is what I mean when I say that people's rhetoric is out-of-line with their principles, of equality or whatever.  How can you take a consistently superior position to others and still really be calling for equality?  It looks like hypocrisy because what you say and how you behave seem out-of-whack with each other.

I think that people should be equal in the face of the law (sadly they clearly aren't) but otherwise why I shouldn't be feeling superior to some dumb yokel spouting hateful slogans? One can easily call for equality and feel better than others.

Quote:This is where I think out current leaders in the Democratic party are out in front of many of their supporters.  They know that Trump may still win if he can provoke us to behave badly.  At this point, he must be depending on that as his only remaining strategy to win.  If we are not careful how we behave, if we are always seen as superior and patronizing, hypocritical and insincere, then he will divide us even further.  Put away the divisiveness, at least until after the election.

No. Divisions (or rather differences) are what make healthy society, not enforced consensus. If Democrats can't win without urging everyone to be good little soldier following leader then in my view they can go fuck themselves. Just like Poland main opposition party which calls for unity against PiS and loses time and time again to it.

There is also issue about difference between being seen as patronizing, etc. and actually being so. Loyal soldiers of opposing side could see this imagined "us" as so regardless of anything "we" do.

Quote:This is why some people are their own worst enemies when it comes to advancing their objectives.  One can barely help them to be their better selves, because they assume you must oppose their objectives if you criticize them.  That's not what this is about.  It's about strategy.

So it all comes to being good, little supporter. I don't give a fuck about so called strategy when it only results in alleged liberals flirting with fascists, or alleged liberals attacking LGBT so they could score points with bigots. I prefer to keep my conscience clear and leave strategizing (and subsequent failure coming from said strategizing) to those with far too flexible spines.
There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

Socrates.
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#27

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 05:13 PM)Alan V Wrote: My point was that being an atheist does restrict one's choices of ethical first principles, contrary to @SYZ 's statement.  An atheist typically doesn't argue for teleological idealism or any variety of absolutism, for instance.  How then do some atheists embrace nearly authoritarian interpretations of morality when they discuss politics?

It does, but not to the extent you seem to be assuming. I, for one, am agnostic about moral foundations. Assuming an absolute, objective moral foundation isn't inconsistent for me.
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#28

Atheistic Morality
I still don't think you mean to talk about morality, I see the OP as talking about dogma. Atheism and how it is not truly compatible with any type dogma.
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#29

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 07:08 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 06:57 PM)Minimalist Wrote: There are people on this forum who think it is highly 'moral' to shoot someone 7 times in the back.... if the shooter is a cop and the shootee is black.

"Morality" might be the most useless word in English.
Your tortured version, yes.

Tell it to the people in the white hoods.... and blue uniforms.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#30

Atheistic Morality
[Image: icon_quote.jpg]Alan 5
How do we justify the authoritarian tone of so many of our political discussions?

It's quite simple really, I am right, and everyone else is wrong. The sooner that they realize this, the sooner I can stop berating them for being so criminally stupid!
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#31

Atheistic Morality
Note to @Szuchow: I tried, but you are now on ignore. We're obviously talking past each other.

See my point now? I won't listen to your berating tone, no matter what you have to say.
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#32

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 08:21 PM)Alan V Wrote: Note to @Szuchow:  I tried, but you are now on ignore.  We're obviously talking past each other.

It's not like you have much of worth to say.

Quote:See my point now? I won't listen to your berating tone, no matter what you have to say.

You have no point. Also if you will not listen to me it is your loss, not mine. Continue to be a good, little follower.
There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

Socrates.
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#33

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 07:25 PM)Dom Wrote: I still don't think you mean to talk about morality, I see the OP as talking about dogma. Atheism and how it is not truly compatible with any type dogma.

Since you are most likely correct, that seems a good reason to abandon these attempted discussions.   Sun
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#34

Atheistic Morality
I'm not sure if this is the thread for it, but I have noticed that it's hard to have a discussion about anything on here as people immediately go for put downs when another person doesn't agree.  I've also noticed that some people on here (and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, this is just a general statement) don't really give the other person a chance to respond to whatever criticism they are throwing at them.  They've made up their minds that the person they are responding to thinks X--even despite the other person agreeing that while they did say X, that's not quite what they meant by X, so allow them to explain further as to clarify any error in delivery of said point.  The response is usually Nope you said X originally, followed by a slew of put downs.  Other times, maybe the person posting did mean X and is faced with childish insults for their point of view.  Still, other times, people are unnecessarily rude for absolutely no reason.  Is your ego really bruised that easily? Wow. Anyway, deep conversations about various topics that could be so interesting to discuss quickly go to a playground level of discussion.  Imo, it reminds me a lot of my time as a former theist, just in terms of people coming off as very authoritarian with their viewpoints and talking at each other with the attitude it's my way or the highway, instead of allowing for open discussion of a multitude of viewpoints.
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#35

Atheistic Morality
If you had have named anyone, you would suddenly have all or none of the exact same views as that person. :-)
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#36

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 07:16 PM)Dānu Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 05:13 PM)Alan V Wrote: My point was that being an atheist does restrict one's choices of ethical first principles, contrary to @SYZ 's statement.  An atheist typically doesn't argue for teleological idealism or any variety of absolutism, for instance.  How then do some atheists embrace nearly authoritarian interpretations of morality when they discuss politics?

It does, but not to the extent you seem to be assuming.  I, for one, am agnostic about moral foundations.  Assuming an absolute, objective moral foundation isn't inconsistent for me.

I'm going to have to agree.  I just don't think morality works like that.  Morality isn't the execution of a decision tree stemming from first principles.  Morality is intuited more than it is reasoned to.  Intellectual constructs have to pass the 'feel' test, not the other way around.

Even if everyone would feel a whole lot safer if we could bully everyone into restricting their moral response to what can be defended rationally.  That isn't how people are and it isn't how they operate.

I don't think atheism contributes anything at all to my sense of what is right or reprehensible.  But neither do I look to any holy book for an 'objective basis' for morality.  Morality which reduces to obedience to something unquestioned is no longer morality.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
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#37

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 08:49 PM)Bcat Wrote: I'm not sure if this is the thread for it, but I have noticed that it's hard to have a discussion about anything on here as people immediately go for put downs when another person doesn't agree.  I've also noticed that some people on here (and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, this is just a general statement) don't really give the other person a chance to respond to whatever criticism they are throwing at them.  They've made up their minds that the person they are responding to thinks X--even despite the other person agreeing that while they did say X, that's not quite what they meant by X, so allow them to explain further as to clarify any error in delivery of said point.  The response is usually Nope you said X originally, followed by a slew of put downs.  Other times, maybe the person posting did mean X and is faced with childish insults for their point of view.  Still, other times, people are unnecessarily rude for absolutely no reason.  Is your ego really bruised that easily? Wow. Anyway, deep conversations about various topics that could be so interesting to discuss quickly go to a playground level of discussion.  Imo, it reminds me a lot of my time as a former theist, just in terms of people coming off as very authoritarian with their viewpoints and talking at each other with the attitude it's my way or the highway, instead of allowing for open discussion of a multitude of viewpoints.

That kind of fits in with the theme. But, I don't think morality is the right word.

Once people figure out what category they think another person fits into, anything that person says is futile. 

It kind of reflects the divisions we currently have in society.

It's kind of sad, one would think we are more tolerant and allow others to talk through things and grow. Any impression we get of someone here on the interwebs is more likely to be wrong than right.
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#38

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 02:58 PM)Alan V Wrote: There have been quite a few heated political discussions in this forum, which is to be expected in a year with a big U.S. election.  However, one issue which has puzzled me again and again is how certain atheists "lay down the law" with moral arguments without explaining, exactly, what is the basis of their strong moral position on certain issues.

I would assume most of us atheists understand the world is naturalistic rather than idealistic, that morality is derived from human interests and not some higher power, and that human interests vary between communities rather than being absolute in themselves.  How, then, can atheists take such strong moral stands?  Do they think that politics is somehow independent of political philosophy and ethics?  Are they merely conditioned to certain slogans, like the people they so often oppose?

How do we justify the authoritarian tone of so many of our political discussions?

I think we are trained to think in absolutes. It's the best way to control people or keep people in line? It worked for religion, and it works for the quasi-religions we see in politics. You want your followers certain and unbending.  What good would it do Trump to have people considering Joe Biden's plans? Or Biden supporters doubting if he should be president?

I'd say the same goes for morality. You don't want people questioning why they shouldn't murder people. Because human life is a treasure! And I care about all people! The good of the many! 

And we've got a bunch of built in reward systems for doing what we're told. It's a little Pavlovian.  You think the right thing, you're a 'good person.' You think the wrong thing 'you're bad.'  Of course people are going to think what they're supposed to.  And there isn't a reward for individual thought.  Nobody gets rewarded for nuance.  Look what happens in these forums for example when someone deviates from the group. They are attacked pretty hard.  

I also don't think it has to make sense. It's just about right answers. If two ideas conflict, that doesn't matter. Just attack the other person for not thinking the two ideas.

What I think is impressive, is how some folks really seized control and manipulate the 'right' and 'wrong'.  2008, Obama openly supports institution of marriage as man and woman and everyone voted for him.  2016, anyone who says that is basically Hitler. The way they shift the populaces absolutes like that is kinda neat.
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#39

Atheistic Morality
I generally separate morality from politics To my mind, morality is upstream of politics in the human mind, most of the time. I know that I take into account a politician's perceived morality when I'm considering giving them my vote. That doesn't mean my morality is right or theirs is wrong, because in most instances morality is pretty subjective and situational.

Of course there are folks who can and do make political decisions divorced from their moral compass.

I can justify much of my morality on subjective grounds, just as anyone else can. And I can and do apply my personal morality to various politicians or political movements. But the fact that morality is inherently subjective means that any political decision based upon morality is also subjective.
Freedom isn't free.
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#40

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 10:19 PM)Dom Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 08:49 PM)Bcat Wrote: I'm not sure if this is the thread for it, but I have noticed that it's hard to have a discussion about anything on here as people immediately go for put downs when another person doesn't agree.  I've also noticed that some people on here (and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, this is just a general statement) don't really give the other person a chance to respond to whatever criticism they are throwing at them.  They've made up their minds that the person they are responding to thinks X--even despite the other person agreeing that while they did say X, that's not quite what they meant by X, so allow them to explain further as to clarify any error in delivery of said point.  The response is usually Nope you said X originally, followed by a slew of put downs.  Other times, maybe the person posting did mean X and is faced with childish insults for their point of view.  Still, other times, people are unnecessarily rude for absolutely no reason.  Is your ego really bruised that easily? Wow. Anyway, deep conversations about various topics that could be so interesting to discuss quickly go to a playground level of discussion.  Imo, it reminds me a lot of my time as a former theist, just in terms of people coming off as very authoritarian with their viewpoints and talking at each other with the attitude it's my way or the highway, instead of allowing for open discussion of a multitude of viewpoints.

That kind of fits in with the theme. But, I don't think morality is the right word.

Once people figure out what category they think another person fits into, anything that person says is futile. 

It kind of reflects the divisions we currently have in society.

It's kind of sad, one would think we are more tolerant and allow others to talk through things and grow. Any impression we get of someone here on the interwebs is more likely to be wrong than right.

I don't think morality is the right word either.  My post was more a statement of observation of interactions on the forum.  I agree with you though, I think name calling, put downs, and talking down to others does little to sway one to the other side of the pendulum if that's one's goal.  Additionally, it makes others who may find the topic interesting not want to respond in the discussion if the go-to for disagreeing is put downs.  It turns what could be interesting discussions of varying viewpoints into a soap box for slinging insults.  And, as you mention, the possibility for others to see the merit of one's words and viewpoints is thrown out the window due to childish bullying.
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#41

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 10:56 PM)Bcat Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 10:19 PM)Dom Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 08:49 PM)Bcat Wrote: I'm not sure if this is the thread for it, but I have noticed that it's hard to have a discussion about anything on here as people immediately go for put downs when another person doesn't agree.  I've also noticed that some people on here (and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, this is just a general statement) don't really give the other person a chance to respond to whatever criticism they are throwing at them.  They've made up their minds that the person they are responding to thinks X--even despite the other person agreeing that while they did say X, that's not quite what they meant by X, so allow them to explain further as to clarify any error in delivery of said point.  The response is usually Nope you said X originally, followed by a slew of put downs.  Other times, maybe the person posting did mean X and is faced with childish insults for their point of view.  Still, other times, people are unnecessarily rude for absolutely no reason.  Is your ego really bruised that easily? Wow. Anyway, deep conversations about various topics that could be so interesting to discuss quickly go to a playground level of discussion.  Imo, it reminds me a lot of my time as a former theist, just in terms of people coming off as very authoritarian with their viewpoints and talking at each other with the attitude it's my way or the highway, instead of allowing for open discussion of a multitude of viewpoints.

That kind of fits in with the theme. But, I don't think morality is the right word.

Once people figure out what category they think another person fits into, anything that person says is futile. 

It kind of reflects the divisions we currently have in society.

It's kind of sad, one would think we are more tolerant and allow others to talk through things and grow. Any impression we get of someone here on the interwebs is more likely to be wrong than right.

I don't think morality is the right word either.  My post was more a statement of observation of interactions on the forum.  I agree with you though, I think name calling, put downs, and talking down to others does little to sway one to the other side of the pendulum if that's one's goal.  Additionally, it makes others who may find the topic interesting not want to respond in the discussion if the go-to for disagreeing is put downs.  It turns what could be interesting discussions of varying viewpoints into a soap box for slinging insults.  And, as you mention, the possibility for others to see the merit of one's words and viewpoints is thrown out the window due to childish bullying.

Guilty as charged. I prefer to be nice, but fail too often to be a good example.
Freedom isn't free.
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#42

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 11:04 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Guilty as charged. I prefer to be nice, but fail too often to be a good example.

Not sure what to make of your "like", @Bcat. Confused
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#43

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 11:04 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 10:56 PM)Bcat Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 10:19 PM)Dom Wrote: That kind of fits in with the theme. But, I don't think morality is the right word.

Once people figure out what category they think another person fits into, anything that person says is futile. 

It kind of reflects the divisions we currently have in society.

It's kind of sad, one would think we are more tolerant and allow others to talk through things and grow. Any impression we get of someone here on the interwebs is more likely to be wrong than right.

I don't think morality is the right word either.  My post was more a statement of observation of interactions on the forum.  I agree with you though, I think name calling, put downs, and talking down to others does little to sway one to the other side of the pendulum if that's one's goal.  Additionally, it makes others who may find the topic interesting not want to respond in the discussion if the go-to for disagreeing is put downs.  It turns what could be interesting discussions of varying viewpoints into a soap box for slinging insults.  And, as you mention, the possibility for others to see the merit of one's words and viewpoints is thrown out the window due to childish bullying.

Guilty as charged. I prefer to be nice, but fail too often to be a good example.

You are far from the only one  Tongue And you are nice and often, a good example.  Hug Just not in this case  Tongue
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#44

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 02:58 PM)Alan V Wrote: There have been quite a few heated political discussions in this forum, which is to be expected in a year with a big U.S. election.  However, one issue which has puzzled me again and again is how certain atheists "lay down the law" with moral arguments without explaining, exactly, what is the basis of their strong moral position on certain issues.

I would assume most of us atheists understand the world is naturalistic rather than idealistic, that morality is derived from human interests and not some higher power, and that human interests vary between communities rather than being absolute in themselves.  How, then, can atheists take such strong moral stands?  Do they think that politics is somehow independent of political philosophy and ethics?  Are they merely conditioned to certain slogans, like the people they so often oppose?

How do we justify the authoritarian tone of so many of our political discussions?
My stance on morality has been pretty thoroughly stated here before. I regard it as a work product of society -- essentially, a rough consensus of what sustainably facilitates the sort of (presumably civil) society most of us want to live in, grounded in and guided by empathy, whose empirical basis is mirror neurons. It's enforced by a mixture of legal systems, social approval or withholding of same, and discourse (rational and otherwise). Each of us has our own take or emphasis on that. We cannot stray very far in practice from the current societal consensus without suffering certain consequences. But we can argue for various changes in response to need or personal conviction. If enough of us successfully push for the same changes, then they become the new societal norm.

This morality has nothing to do with religion or atheism. It is as inherent to our humanity as is our hyper-social nature, but it is not some eldritch mystical Force either; that is a conceit of the religious but that doesn't make it anything but a stolen concept for them; it doesn't emanate from religion. It is simply emergent from human interaction. Morality came into existence the first time two humans had to coexist or cooperate.

Taking a position, whatever its moral component, is not the same as judging people who don't share that position. We have the fundagelicals to thank for that false equivalence. If I point out for example that violent, unaccountable, militarized, unequally applied policing is unjust (a moral stance), or that policing biased to escalation rather than de-escalation of conflict is dangerous (a policy stance), I do not inherently accuse people who vehemently disagree with me of willful immorality, cruelty or ignorance. But I am taking a stand and am willing to articulate arguments in its favor, including but not limited to pointing out injustices committed. Those arguments might prick an opponent's conscience or make them defensive or angry, but this does not make me "authoritarian" or show that I'm setting myself up as judge or arbiter over them.

I don't think politics can be completely separated from morality, although clearly some issues have a much stronger moral valence than others. For example, we long ago rejected chattel slavery as morally repugnant, to the point that we fought a very bloody civil war over it. Where the rub comes in, is that overt systems of oppression like slavery can be replaced by covert systems like Jim Crow or mass incarceration (or not-so-covert systems like militarized policing, although since large and mostly dominant swaths of society can safely ignore it, it has a sort of covert aspect to it; it's simply been made obvious by recent events). We 'Muricans seem to like our oppression and injustice and inequality to be indirect and deniable rather than actually banished. We prefer to sweep it under the carpet rather than, ahem, take a moral stance.

Literally all I'm doing is arguing for certain changes to how we govern ourselves. Some of my argument in favor of that is an appeal to human need and compassion, and in some cases (like the climate crisis) a warning of existential threat and the attendant urgency. If I really believe those things, then I have to argue that opposition to or lack of urgency on those topics as a Bad Thing for society. It in no way, however, follows that I think my opponents advocate for what I see as Bad Things because they're bad people. I'm not that stupid. Generally I assume sincerity on their part, but inherently I also believe they're misguided or outright wrong, as inevitably they believe me to be. It's not personal. It is mere disagreement. It's a conversation -- an uncomfortable one in many ways, but that's no reason to run from it.

To dismiss a critique of the status quo as arrogance or "dogma" is, I'd submit, itself arrogance and dogma, and therefore projection. It is just a way to diminish your opponent through ad hominem. We disagree. So what? You have no more right to demand agreement or silence from me than I do from you.

The irony is that Democrats to my right happily pronounce overt moral judgment on Republicans, something they apparently can dish out, yet can't take themselves. It's one thing to style them as "Republitards", grifters, and traitors. It's another thing for someone to suggest that maybe moderates have a role to own, too, even if a far less shameful one. They seem to need to demonize those to their left AND right as mindless slaves to "dogma". Where's the epistemological humility in that?

Much of the angst here seems to come from my belief that incrementalism and the alleged noble middle ground of moderation is relative and illusory and not some sort of virtue. To an anarchist, am I not a centrist, and Alan some kind of fascist? To someone magically transported here from the 18th century, Trumpists would be flaming liberals and blasphemers; after all, their women wear indecent clothing and work outside the home and vote, they tolerate divorce, and so forth.

So I'm not moved by entreaties to take up some debatable center unless it includes everyone in the conversation, such that neither progressives NOR moderates get every last thing they want. The basic weirdness of centrism to me is that it tends in my experience and observation to be exclusive rather than inclusive. The centrist attitude in this cycle to progressives has in the main been, you lost, so piss off.

I am not a sore loser if I think progressives have nonzero influence and that influence is growing, and therefore should be meaningfully integrated into both the Party platform and into how it actually governs (or in other words, that Democrats should practice true coalition politics in exchange for progressive support). There is nothing in a fair system that would in any way prevent that. Progressivism is, after all, the future of the party. But the system we have is beholden to monied interests. The system, not the party. The GOP = bad cop (admits it's the party of big business), the Democratic Party = good cop (portrays itself as the party of the working class, but long since abandoned it), but they are both hobbled by the same donor obligations. As long as that's the case, on balance all efforts to truly invite progressives into some conceptual "big tent" will amount to performative bullshit.

I'm sorry but if the DNC finds conservative support more to be desired than progressive support, they pursue that strategy at their peril. In this weird configuration we're in, they might pull off a win in this particular election anyway, just barely, but at the expense of not obligating themselves to provide even movement toward substantive climate, healthcare, or any other meaningful reform and in fact obligating themselves NOT to.

For me to be styled as hateful or judgmental for stating such things or being skeptical of assurances that any significant shift of governance to the left will somehow be forthcoming THIS time from a party that has yet to deliver ... well go ahead if it makes you feel better. You can't make people like me go away by vote shaming them or appealing to tribal instincts or claiming that we're hateful or "authoritarian" or "dogmatic".

Of course you can dismiss and marginalize us; that's a decision, if not a wise or humble one. Whoops, there's another one of my authoritarian moral judgements I suppose. Forgive me if I stand for things I believe in and care about or have convictions of what's right and what's not. I guess that is your privilege and not mine, judging from all the vitriol of late. But you might as well get used to the left, we aren't going anywhere.
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#45

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 07:15 PM)Szuchow Wrote: Divisions (or rather differences) are what make healthy society, not enforced consensus. If Democrats can't win without urging everyone to be good little soldier following leader then in my view they can go fuck themselves. Just like Poland main opposition party which calls for unity against PiS and loses time and time again to it.
Indeed.

I understand that some personalities find group cohesiveness to be very important, and Democrats in particular tend to overcompensate in this regard in an effort (misguided in my view) to hold together a more diverse coalition.

If we could simply practice what we preach and embrace our diversity as a strength rather than attempting to quash it, we might be surprised at how much more progress we'd make.

But the elites run the show, and that's way too inclusive to suit them.

(08-30-2020, 07:15 PM)Szuchow Wrote: There is also issue about difference between being seen as patronizing, etc. and actually being so. Loyal soldiers of opposing side could see this imagined "us" as so regardless of anything "we" do.

Sadly I have learned in life that reality isn't what matters, but people's perceptions. It's a depressing realization. One hopes to be assumed a good actor, but to far too many, goodness and disagreement are mutually exclusive.

Because most people see mere disagreement as an existential threat, I tend (believe it or not!) to recast my rhetoric in less rather than more provocative terms. But beyond a certain point, it suffers from the law of diminishing returns. I am of midwestern American origins, and midwestern reserve is renowned for being conflict averse. I have managed to overcome that, and age has done the rest. Combine that with the existential urgencies of more than one of our present crises, and there's just not a lot of room for catering to tender sensibilities. The United States is well into failed state territory. Climate collapse is exceeding our worst fears. People need to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Sorry.


(08-30-2020, 07:15 PM)Szuchow Wrote: This is why some people are their own worst enemies when it comes to advancing their objectives.  One can barely help them to be their better selves, because they assume you must oppose their objectives if you criticize them.  That's not what this is about.  It's about strategy.

Here again I agree with you. Most political disagreements are strategic. People have similar objectives: safety and prosperity and security for themselves and their loved ones, basically. Even most rank and file Republicans have those goals; it's just that their brains are filled with manufactured bogeymen, so their solutions are basically superstitious, disordered thinking. (The irony here is I can say this about Republicans and be commended for it; but dare to say something even way milder than this about a liberal, and oh, boy, the sparks WILL fly).

To assume that an opponent is out to get you because they have a different strategy -- or that they are slaves to ideology and therefore by implication stupid -- or that they are arrogant and judgmental and hateful -- is to completely miss the point.

(08-30-2020, 07:15 PM)Szuchow Wrote: So it all comes to being good, little supporter. I don't give a fuck about so called strategy when it only results in alleged liberals flirting with fascists, or alleged liberals attacking LGBT so they could score points with bigots. I prefer to keep my conscience clear and leave strategizing (and subsequent failure coming from said strategizing) to those with far too flexible spines.
In my view, it is a mistake to think corporatists are spineless.

Is it spineless that Biden for example admits that he would veto M4A even if it arrived on his desk? Or is it just that his spine is provided by the health insurance industry and big pharma?

Yes, it would take courage to either betray those donors, or better, reject their support up front. But I tend to see it less as cowardice than as laziness. It's easy money. It has, at least until recently, been a comfortable path of least resistance for politicians, and well rewarded. Biden's whole career has been lubricated with corporate largesse. He likes to portray himself the scrappy kid from Scranton, when in fact the majority of his political life was in New Jersey, the home of corporate tax havens. Corporate America has been his constituency. I do not claim that he has given no credence at all to voters, but they are maybe second or third priority at best. It's the way the political world has worked. It's what we're trying to reform.

I know some have said Biden is old and approaching the end of his political career, and has a sort of lame duck mojo where he has nothing to lose, and now, in the same way that Trump was supposed to become more Presidential once in office, he will somehow become a man of the people. But I tend to think his political reflexes, formed by decades of habit, will not allow us to see this "woke Joe Biden" manifest. I could be wrong, and I'd love to be wrong, believe you me. But nah, I don't think so.
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#46

Atheistic Morality
Morality is upstream of politics. We humans generally choose our politics based on our personal outlooks. In that mix is included things like "am I willing to pay X in taxes in order to support the Y I think is right?"

We tend to select the politics which promises best to deliver what we think is right; that i, until we get into a position of power, in which case all bets are off ... we're tricky like that.
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#47

Atheistic Morality
(08-31-2020, 05:22 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Morality is upstream of politics. We humans generally choose our politics based on our personal outlooks. In that mix is included things like "am I willing to pay X in taxes in order to support the Y I think is right?"

We tend to select the politics which promises best to deliver what we think is right; that i, until we get into a position of power, in which case all bets are off ... we're tricky like that.

Political decisions have a moral dimension, so I think we are both right. It is an optional input to political decisions.

You are correct that the question "am I willing to pay x to support y" is in play, but one possible calculus is:

"This does not personally benefit me but I am willing to be taxed so that society is inclusive of and humane toward [poor / disabled / sick / minority / disadvantaged / old / whatever] people". (Over against "I got mine, let them eat cake"). That is primarily a moral stance, or at least a compassionate stance. Of course another calculus that leads to the same result is, "some day I might be poor / disabled / sick / disadvantaged in some way, and I'm most certainly going to be old; and what goes around tends to come around. So I will support it in case I DO need it in the future." In other words because I want a civil society that will not forsake me when I have "nothing" to "contribute" anymore. This last is still fine, as it's how empathy works: our mirror neurons allow us to imagine our future selves and have compassion for our future self, which then transfers to others in the present who are already in that situation. Because we can imagine how we would feel, we can imagine how others DO feel. And we therefore have a rational basis for self sacrifices that don't have any immediate percentage for us personally. It's an advanced form of meta-thinking that we can and should cultivate. And there's those words again, "can" and "should", which means some kind of moral (if abstract) or ethical (if concrete) thinking is going on.

I don't think any decision, political or otherwise, is completely a moral decision nor completely devoid of moral considerations. Morality may have to be in place before it can be in the mix, and in that sense is "upstream" of politics. But I think it's a mistake to psychologically divorce the two to the degree you seem to be arguing.
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#48

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 10:01 PM)Mark Wrote: ...Morality is intuited more than it is reasoned to.

...I don't think atheism contributes anything at all to my sense of what is right or reprehensible.

Agreed.  In both cases.      Thumbs Up
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#49

Atheistic Morality
(08-31-2020, 02:03 PM)mordant Wrote:
(08-31-2020, 05:22 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Morality is upstream of politics. We humans generally choose our politics based on our personal outlooks. In that mix is included things like "am I willing to pay X in taxes in order to support the Y I think is right?"

We tend to select the politics which promises best to deliver what we think is right; that i, until we get into a position of power, in which case all bets are off ... we're tricky like that.

Political decisions have a moral dimension, so I think we are both right. It is an optional input to political decisions.

You are correct that the question "am I willing to pay x to support y" is in play, but one possible calculus is:

"This does not personally benefit me but I am willing to be taxed so that society is inclusive of and humane toward [poor / disabled / sick / minority / disadvantaged / old / whatever] people". (Over against "I got mine, let them eat cake"). That is primarily a moral stance, or at least a compassionate stance. Of course another calculus that leads to the same result is, "some day I might be poor / disabled / sick / disadvantaged in some way, and I'm most certainly going to be old; and what goes around tends to come around. So I will support it in case I DO need it in the future." In other words because I want a civil society that will not forsake me when I have "nothing" to "contribute" anymore. This last is still fine, as it's how empathy works: our mirror neurons allow us to imagine our future selves and have compassion for our future self, which then transfers to others in the present who are already in that situation. Because we can imagine how we would feel, we can imagine how others DO feel. And we therefore have a rational basis for self sacrifices that don't have any immediate percentage for us personally. It's an advanced form of meta-thinking that we can and should cultivate. And there's those words again, "can" and "should", which means some kind of moral (if abstract) or ethical (if concrete) thinking is going on.

I don't think any decision, political or otherwise, is completely a moral decision nor completely devoid of moral considerations. Morality may have to be in place before it can be in the mix, and in that sense is "upstream" of politics. But I think it's a mistake to psychologically divorce the two to the degree you seem to be arguing.


I don't really see social services as a moral thing, albeit it does let you feel good about your morals. Paying for social services is the exact same as paying for insurance - social security tax is paying for your retirement and shielding against unemployment and other hickups along the way. Paying a tax for health insurance is obviously the same. That goes for all social services. Paying taxes for social services is the same as an insurance payment. And it can be done cheaper than if it's everyone for themselves. It's just the rational solution.

Even paying into funds you will never benefit from personally, is to your advantage as it stabilizes society and insures that you don't have to live through "interesting times". 

I don't see morals involved in such considerations, albeit there is the benefit of good morals also.
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#50

Atheistic Morality
(08-31-2020, 04:00 AM)mordant Wrote: Indeed.

I understand that some personalities find group cohesiveness to be very important, and Democrats in particular tend to overcompensate in this regard in an effort (misguided in my view) to hold together a more diverse coalition.

If we could simply practice what we preach and embrace our diversity as a strength rather than attempting to quash it, we might be surprised at how much more progress we'd make.

But the elites run the show, and that's way too inclusive to suit them.

Can't comment much on this except for the fact that enforced unity was more in SU style.

Quote:Sadly I have learned in life that reality isn't what matters, but people's perceptions. It's a depressing realization. One hopes to be assumed a good actor, but to far too many, goodness and disagreement are mutually exclusive.

Because most people see mere disagreement as an existential threat, I tend (believe it or not!) to recast my rhetoric in less rather than more provocative terms. But beyond a certain point, it suffers from the law of diminishing returns. I am of midwestern American origins, and midwestern reserve is renowned for being conflict averse. I have managed to overcome that, and age has done the rest. Combine that with the existential urgencies of more than one of our present crises, and there's just not a lot of room for catering to tender sensibilities. The United States is well into failed state territory. Climate collapse is exceeding our worst fears. People need to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Sorry.

I agree that time for being delicate passed. People need to hear that they support fascists, criminals and bigots and left need to remind itself that it is party of protest and fighting for the right thing.


Quote:Here again I agree with you. Most political disagreements are strategic. People have similar objectives: safety and prosperity and security for themselves and their loved ones, basically. Even most rank and file Republicans have those goals; it's just that their brains are filled with manufactured bogeymen, so their solutions are basically superstitious, disordered thinking. (The irony here is I can say this about Republicans and be commended for it; but dare to say something even way milder than this about a liberal, and oh, boy, the sparks WILL fly).

You quoted Alan words not mine.

Quote:To assume that an opponent is out to get you because they have a different strategy -- or that they are slaves to ideology and therefore by implication stupid -- or that they are arrogant and judgmental and hateful -- is to completely miss the point.

It isn't like I need to assume that fascists (in fucking Poland) are stupid. Most basic knowledge of history tells me so. Similarly I don't need to assume that right wingers are hateful - comparing LGBT to bolsheviks shows that they are. Nor I need to assume that they're slaves to ideology as they freely admit that they want religion to have more influence in the country.



Quote:In my view, it is a mistake to think corporatists are spineless.

Is it spineless that Biden for example admits that he would veto M4A even if it arrived on his desk? Or is it just that his spine is provided by the health insurance industry and big pharma?

I wasn't referring to corporatists. I merely say that "strategizing" is best left for spineless clowns, who prefer to bow and scrape before bigots that despise them rather than making stand. I illustrate why I think so with example: during the last presidential elections in Poland allegedly liberal candidate was flirting with fascists. He was praised (not everywhere it has to be noted) for choosing good strategy, reaching across the aisle or whatever bullshit phrase is used when non fascist politician is fellating fascists. Despite making bitch of himself he lost. So where exactly are upsides of "strategizing"?
There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

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