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#ResistTrump today by standing up for trans students and immigrants

Jeff Sessions: Kind of a dick

Just a quick #ResistTrump post today. There’s a lot going on. Here are two important developments that we need to respond to.

First: Jeff Sessions has started off his new job as Attorney General with an attempt to undermine legal protections of trans students. 

What he did is a bit complicated to explain; see here and here for details. But Sessions’ intention is clear, and the effects of his move will be felt immediately. Here’s the Human Rights Campaign statement on the issue:

Tonight, HRC responded to the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw a request to halt an order against the Obama administration’s protections for transgender students. This action will effectively continue to halt the protections nationwide.

“After being on the job for less than 48 hours, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled his intent to undermine the equal dignity of transgender students,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Transgender students are entitled to the full protection of the United States Constitution and our federal nondiscrimination laws. It is heartbreaking and wrong that the agency tasked with enforcing civil rights laws would instead work to subvert them for political interests. President Trump must immediately reverse course and direct the DOJ to uphold guidance protecting transgender students. “

If you want to help, consider supporting HRC or The Trevor Project, which offers crisis intervention/suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth and twentysomethings.

And if you know of other good organizations to support, please email me or post them in the comments below.

Second: The Trump regime has launched a wave of deportations — and has triggered protests across the country against these deportations.

See here and here for more details and a rundown of some of the protests that have happened so far.

And here are some protests taking place tomorrow, courtesy of the RESISTABLE newsletter:

Sunday, February 12
11AM ETJewish Community Action for Refugees, Manhattan, NY
10AM PTWorker and Immigrant Solidarity March, Burlington, WA
3:30 CTChicago Moons Trump Tower, Chicago, IL
4PM MTNO WALLS PROTEST: Holding hands in unity, International Border U.S. El Paso, Tx / Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico

If you know of other protests or good groups to check out, please email me or post them in the comments below.

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Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

@Dan
K

Dan
Dan
3 years ago

@ Danger

I am a Black man. I more of a mascunist than a racist. I do not judge anyone based on their ethnicity or race.

Gussie Jives
Gussie Jives
3 years ago

@Scildfreja Unnýðnes

I think that’s one of the biggest myths we need to put to bed, that somehow “feelings” are diametrically opposed to reason. Our emotions give us our sense of urgency, our motivation to action, our capacity to empathize with others. As much as certain elements of our society seem to want to excise their empathy chips, it is necessary for the preservation of society that we see our fellow human beings as deserving of the same treatment we ourselves expect.

And it’s not like the edgelord Trump worshippers are somehow not giving in to outrage with every angry, invective-laden tweet they send out. It’s very “feels”-related behaviour.

The issue is when our sense of outrage or desire for comfort overwhelms demonstrable fact, or at least blinds others to the bigger picture. From my vantage point, there’s very little comforting in the political landscape and broader cultural issues we discuss (kitties and doggies excepted). We don’t discuss rape culture to make ourselves feel better, it’s to point out a pattern of behaviour and brainstorm solutions. It’s not like the “1-in-5” stat was bandied about for a sense of smug superiority or to persecute men, it’s meant to spur a demand for preventative action and maybe even a little self-reflection on the part of us guys.

And just speaking for myself, I’ll sooner get outraged over criminal activity left unresolved by either the court system or society at large than I will the derriere of a video game character.

Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack

Feminist tears. I drink them. President Trump has feminists catching feels. LMFAO.

So you’re the “feminist are unfeeling cows” troll instead of the “feminist are over-emotional harpies” troll.

That’s cool. You assholes have no consistency but that’s cool.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I don’t think he’s even using the word “feels” correctly. I’ve never seen it used to describe serious emotional distress. It seems to be typically used to describe an impactful moment in pop culture. “Jon and Sansa’s reunion gave me all the feels” something along those lines.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

The thing about logic is that it is not meant to overrule emotion. Logic exists to help us reason better, because we tend to reason poorly unless we learn how to do it correctly. This has nothing to do with emotion – you can be stone cold emotionless and still reason poorly if you don’t know how to do it. Logic doesn’t address the realm of emotion at all and doesn’t posit itself as being superior.

Emotion is the root of all morality. There is no logical reason to be moral, despite many centuries of attempts to create a morality that is purely driven by reason. It’s emotion that makes us aid one another and do right by one another. It’s emotion that says murder is wrong and stealing is wrong. All moral systems eventually break down, and you have to break their rules in order to remain moral; it’s emotion that helps us navigate this failure.

Something to keep in mind the next time someone denigrates emotion. Even leaving aside the fact that emotion is a basic part of the human condition, they’re saying that they don’t care about morality.

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

@eli

But what’s going on here? Where is everyone?

I’m trying to polish a process for locating fear in the text of an aggressive commentator. The difficulty is in parsing out where all of my fear is placing bias, my life is pretty shitty at the moment. Smaller things like the mental model of bigotry and it’s various kinds that I been using when arguing is easier. I do that one routine. I’ve got some longer replies on that topic I’m going to try to do before bed.

I think I have it pinned down to first presenting two places where a spectrum of distance exists between the commentator and the material. I based this off of a couple of dozen passes over Yor’s first three exchanges.
The first place is addressing of material. Precisely who is the comment targeted at? One can reply to an individual or a whole community in what they post. I think of this as a Directness/Indirectness spectrum. One can speak at or about communities and individuals.
The second is Implicitness/Explicitness of claims about people and things. Bigots like to give characterizations that feel about communities and their behavior including posting/commenting on blog. Things that are cited and quoted are explicit. I don’t care if a bigoted feels strongly, I care if they can show me what they feel strongly about.

The current stage is settling on a symbol system for isolating parts of text and highlighting patterns. I’m down to three kinds of brackets that isolate objective, feeling, and action content related to how the commentator is interacting with the objects they are interacting with in text.

I’m doing this while looking for a therapist and health insurance, learning to care for long-term institutionalized children, and finding constructive ways of dealing with my own relationship crises. I think I’m better off than most people but it still takes some effort to separate that from communicating about communication in an aggressive context. I often know why I feel what I do. Managing it is complicated.

Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
3 years ago

@PoM

There is no logical reason to be moral,

By the same token, sans emotions there’s no reason not to be, either.

That said, I disagree that there’s no logical reason to be moral, for given values of morality; cooperation works better than everyone for themselves and devil take the hindmost. Thus, logic says to act in a way that makes people want to cooperate with you. This isn’t actually the source of human morality*, but it is a valid logical reason to act in a fashion that would widely be considered moral.

*Except perhaps indirectly, in that proto-hominids who behaved in a cooperative fashion were more likely to have descendants, and that shows in our brain structures.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

@Dalillama

All moral systems break down. Kant gave it a game try to create one that was based purely in reason, but it’s pretty easy to break the categorical imperative system. He came closer than anyone else, though; others break even more easily yet.

By the same token, sans emotions there’s no reason not to be, either.

There are plenty of reasons to act in an amoral fashion sans emotion, unless once views self-interest as an emotion for some reason. Acting in a social manner doesn’t necessarily lead to morality. Many animals do it. Just off the top of my head, baboons are social, but operate entirely on a hierarchical structure that has no morality in it. Low-ranked baboons are routinely brutalized, and a given animal’s rank is based on its mother’s rank and literally no other factor. No morality in that, yet they are a highly successful and highly social species.

Especially given our huge numbers, there is really no logical reason not to elevate oneself by screwing over others in a serial fashion, and we all know people who became very successful by doing that. There will always be another sucker down the road, given the billions of people on this planet. That is the Dark Side way – the easy, fast way – to win success, if one doesn’t feel anything particular about the victims.

Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
3 years ago

@PoM

The categorical imperative is pretty crap excuse for a moral system, IMO, and not much better as an ethical one. Game theory is a much better starting point.

.

There are plenty of reasons to act in an amoral fashion sans emotion, unless once views self-interest as an emotion for some reason.

What else would you call it?

easy, fast way – to win success, if one doesn’t feel anything particular about the victims.

But that only works if most people don’t act that way; otherwise you end up in a race to the bottom that everyone loses. Conversely, lifespans and health outcomes are better across the board in more economically equal societies, as are various indicators for happiness. Moreso for people farther down the economic scale, but everyone benefits.

yet they are a highly successful and highly social species.

How are you measuring success? They never had a terribly large population, and that’s nearly gone. They only ever occupied a relatively small part of a single continent. Compare wolves, who are on 5 continents, and thriving on most of them, or humans, who mow number in the billions, and occupy every continent. How did we do this? By cooperation.

eli
eli
3 years ago

@everyone

I felt a little silly when I woke up that I wrote that and I’m really happy that people are ok.

@Brony

I really love the way that you break things down and I learn so much from you and the way you put your thinking out there.

@me (trigger warning for abuse)
On a different thread, Scildfreja told me I could vent any time, but I dunno. I feel so broken right now. I asked my mom if maybe she could not make the bed because of a squeaky floor board. She makes it sometime between 5 and 5:30 and she may as well be jumping up and down on that board. I asked her a year ago and she said ok.

We have construction going on behind where we live and so I sleep with earplugs every night and I turn on a box fan. That really helped me get a good night sleep, even if the earplugs really itch and irritate me. But recently I’ve been waking up every morning between 5 and 5:30. I usually just roll back over and go back to sleep. But the other morning. I don’t know if the earplugs fell out or if I ripped them out in my sleep. I was awake and I was thirsty so I went upstairs to pour myself a big glass of iced tea and my mom’s bed was made (she uses a bedspread, like they use in hotels).

I googled squeaky floor boards and found out there was a way to fix them (she and my dad told me when I used to just come to visit from out of town that there was no way to fix it). I bought a kit and found the struts and drove all of my 50 screws into the area while she was out of the house and it didn’t work.

I begged her. Can I make your bed when I wake up? I promise I’ll do it before I made my coffee.

She told me she never made the bed. She told me I was crazy and needed to be locked up. She told me that I hate her and I want her to die when she has surgery next month BECAUSE SHE COULD DIE (raeg face) AND THEN I WOULD BE HAPPY.

After she had me trapped in my room on New Years Day raging at me, I thought I would save up until I could afford my own place. Now I realize I can’t wait that long. I’m so scared and I don’t earn enough and I’m so scared of people, but I need to find a roommate-type situation to get out of here as fast as I can.

How do you do that? Does anyone know? Craig’s list? that sounds so ominous. I’m so scared. I always associate group housing with young folk and I’m an old.

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

And I ran out of time.
TL;DR on part till I can, feelings.

Feelings are the sense of emotion as an emotion unfolds. It’s a readout of sensation while you are doing. The feeling of emotion is related to what one is doing. You feel while you do reason and logic. It’s just not the same feeling as the sense of anger at a bigot, or fear for what one will do.

Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
3 years ago

@eli

*hugs* offered.

How do you do that? Does anyone know? Craig’s list?

That’s a good place to start. Your local paper probably has online classifieds too (and maybe paper ones, but there’s not much there anymore)

that sounds so ominous. I’m so scared. I always associate group housing with young folk and I’m an old.

I’ve shared housing with people from 20-some to 50-some, and I know folks older as well. For a fictional example, look at the Golden Girls. Certainly a sucky roommate is possible, and there’s usually going to be at least some points of friction, but it’s not likely you’ll get someone as bad as it sounds like your mom is.

eli
eli
3 years ago

but it’s not likely you’ll get someone as bad as it sounds like your mom is.

Thank you. I wish there was some way to tattoo this to my eyeballs.

And you know what I just realized. I would normally say “no hugs, no thanks.” But I only hate hugs because of my mother and creepy old dudes. Most hugs are super. Thank you. Mom always demands hugs after she rages at me because she loves me so much!

guest
guest
3 years ago

Hi eli–I just wrote to the local branch of this group yesterday, and got a nice (form, but personalised) letter back from them–will call them soon.

http://homeshare.org/

I’m 51, and have probably similar reservations about sharing living accommodations that you have.

Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

@eli
*hugs* if you want them. You deserve so much better than that.

eli
eli
3 years ago

@guest

I sent an e-mail to the local contact for me on that site and it bounced back undeliverable, but thank you. I will try to call. There was a number as well.

@Oogly

Thank you.

lith
lith
3 years ago

@Brony + @eli:

Sounds like you’re both having a crappy time, I’m sorry and hope it works out soon.

EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)

@eli:

Mom always demands hugs after she rages at me because she loves me so much!

I didn’t have an easy childhood, and when I read this, I had a flood of empathy. I know what that sort of environment feels like and I hope you’re able to escape it.

All my support. Please feel free to vent whenever you need to. You’re amongst friends.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

Game theory is a much better starting point.

Whaaaa? Game theory is what makes business think that settling personal injury lawsuits is an acceptable cost of doing business. Game theory is the reason why male peacocks are loaded down with costly feathers, and why water beetles have evolved a reproductive strategy that is 100% rape. Game theory is terrible as an ethical system.

Those deficiencies aside, game theory is not workable as a moral system because it’s too complicated. On a practical level, people won’t use it if they don’t understand it and can implement it intuitively. “What would Jesus do” practically works, because it’s simple. The categorical imperative system is simple. Game theory doesn’t work because it is too complex for people to implement on a day-to-day basis.

There are plenty of reasons to act in an amoral fashion sans emotion, unless once views self-interest as an emotion for some reason.

What else would you call it?

Would you call it an emotion when a plant acts in its self-interest? An amoeba? Self-interest is the basic drive of life itself, and human beings are set apart by our ability to act altruistically instead of always in self-interest.

But that only works if most people don’t act that way; otherwise you end up in a race to the bottom that everyone loses.

Why are you invoking the categorical imperative here if you think it’s crap?

Compare wolves, who are on 5 continents, and thriving on most of them, or humans, who mow number in the billions, and occupy every continent. How did we do this? By cooperation.

If your point is that cooperation leads to ethics as a natural law, wolves are not a good example, unless you think its ethical when a wolf pack kills its neighbors and leaves its neighbors’ pups to starve in the den. If that’s not your point, then I don’t understand what your point here actually is, because that’s what I see you arguing.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

@eli

I’m so sorry your mother is gaslighting the hell out of you, and I fully support a decision to leave asap. Living with a roommate isn’t usually terrible. Most people are nice and cooperative (although I caution you against becoming friends with a roommate). If you wind up with a bad one, you can always leave again and find another. Good luck you! You deserve so much better.

EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)

@Policy of Madness:
For the non-philosophers following along at home (like myself), are ethical systems and moral systems synonyms, or is there a distinction?

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

@Dan

I am a Black man

Good to know? I mean, it’s not good for my demo to have you in it, but such people are unavoidable in any group, I suppose…

I more of a mascunist than a racist

Porque no los dos? And being more misogynist than racist, doesn’t mean you’re not racist

I do not judge anyone based on their ethnicity or race

Nah, you’re just happy to revel in the fuckery of someone who very much does if it helps you hate wank to the fantasy of crying feminists. But that’s not at all racist, cos reasons

Rhuu
Rhuu
3 years ago

eli: I have found room for rent places on craigslist. There might be other options as well, but I think I’ve found most of the places I’ve lived through craigslist.

A few things to do before you go looking, though.

Check what your rights are, in your country/state/city. It seems like you’ll be looking for cheaper places, and these often seem to skate around the law a little. I’m not saying don’t move in, if they’re doing things that aren’t legal, but it is good to know what is and isn’t legal and enforceable.

This goes double if you’re going to be renting places that usually go to students/international people/immigrants, unfortunately. In my experience, landlords will try to take advantage of people who might not realise what their rights are, or that they even have rights.

I’m not sure your age/strength/gender, but if you’re feeling wary about anything, maybe go with a friend to see the place.

It sounds like you just want to get out of your current living situation. I’ve lived in a few basement apartments over the years, and while they aren’t ideal, they definitely aren’t bad. Low ceilings mean that I could put my hands on the roof and just kind of lean, which was nice when I was feeling sad or tired haha.

I’d also recommend getting a room with window. I think you need to have a window you can get out of for fire regulations, but that doesn’t mean that all places you look at will have them. I just feel really sad when I don’t have a window in my room.

There is nothing stopping you from even just looking and contacting posters, and seeing what sort of thing is around.

You can make any place work, though. Good luck finding something good, with room mates who are alright.

Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

@Dan
And I’m an Asian male, that doesn’t give me a free pass to be a misogynistic shithead just because I’m in a minority group. Wait, thinking that as a minority you’re granted rights to treat women is also a pretty racist thing too.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

On a different thread, Scildfreja told me I could vent any time, but I dunno. I feel so broken right now. I asked my mom if maybe she could not make the bed because of a squeaky floor board. She makes it sometime between 5 and 5:30 and she may as well be jumping up and down on that board. I asked her a year ago and she said ok.

<3 eli. You're still allowed to vent whenever you want. You aren't disrupting anything. You're certainly more important than Dan's comment :p

If you'll let me make some guesses: you've been hyper-sensitized to your mother's actions. It's a fear response. Every sound, every squeak, every shadow is some sign of her disapproval or anger. Even in the dead of night, that sound is enough to wake you and make your heart rate spike.

(I am really familiar with this feeling, I get it all the time. I grew up in a squeaky house, and my mother walks on her heels, stomp stomp stomp. It’s enough to make me want to hide under the bed sometimes. Sounds like a very similar situation.)

I hope you are able to get out of there soon. Roommates can be wonderful or terrible, but as long as you’re all clear about expectations and responsibilities up front then you should be okay. But until then (and after then, too) you have a long-term project ahead of you. Anxiety reduction is tough, because you’re re-training your brains’ production of stress hormones. This process relies on specific forebrain structures that are very sensitive to sleep quality, poor nutrition, blood flow, etc. So the “good sleep”, “good food” and “exercise” advice is really important for this!

Beyond that, it’s mostly a case of recognizing when anxiety is starting to pile on and taking conscious steps to release it – not fight it. If you’re gonna have an anxiety attack, that’s okay. It happens. Don’t beat yourself up over that. If you can’t stop thinking about your anger and fear, that’s okay too. Just keep in your head the thought that, once you’re able to break out of the anxiety attack, once the wheels spinning in your head start to slow, that you’re allowed to let it all dissipate. The anxiety is a part of you, but you aren’t beholden to it.

All of this is just my personal, subjective experience with fighting deep-rooted anxiety, so may not work for you. I hope it does, though. Just keep in mind that your fight isn’t with your mother – it’s with your brain, as you retrain it towards a healthier balance of hormones. You’re gonna do just fine, eli! It will take time. Be patient with yourself. And please continue to vent here when you have to <3

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

Shorter @Dan: I hate 50% of humanity, but that’s okay ’cause I don’t hate some other division of humanity.

I guess my prayer of “May my enemies be stupid” was answered. Praise Asgard!

Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack

I am a Black man. I more of a mascunist than a racist. I do not judge anyone based on their ethnicity or race.

Wow. Look at that. A possible black Black Trump supporter. That’s, like, 10% of the voting population of black men right here.

How does it feel to throw yourself under the bus just to hurt other people?

eli
eli
3 years ago

@Scildfreja

my mother walks on her heels, stomp stomp stomp.

The house growing up wasn’t squeaky, but there was that hardwood floor in the living room. I always described it as clomp clomp clomp.

Your intuition is correct and I think part of me knew this. When I moved in about a year and a half ago to help with dad, I thought things could be different than when I was growing up. But they’re exactly the same and I feel really bad that she is so profoundly unhappy, but it is deeply unfair to blame this on my father and on me.

And I’ve regressed. David posted on mindfulness and I’ve been exploring that and dabbling a bit, but since the first of the year I’ve been taking it more seriously. It’s difficult and trendy and I feel silly sometimes. But then there’s another breakdown and I start mulling and replaying and rehearsing in my head for the next time. That’s why I fear venting. But I have received such excellent advice and support from all of you, so I’m very grateful and I’m glad I reached out.

@Rhuu

that is a very good point about what is legal and I need to check up on this. The local paper lists absolutely no housing shares. There are lots of listings on craigslist and it looks like a lot of the people who are shady really just put it all out there. I just need to start sending some e-mails.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

David posted on mindfulness and I’ve been exploring that and dabbling a bit, but since the first of the year I’ve been taking it more seriously. It’s difficult and trendy and I feel silly sometimes.

Most of the “feeling silly” is from right-wing social trends that consider anything feminine, compassionate, or thoughtful to be “silly.” It’s not silly. Be proud of your mindfulness. You push against the current of dispassion and self-loathing when you do this.

(This said, you’re allowed to feel silly. That’s okay. That’s just the feeling of society pushing against you. To be expected. Be happy that they think you’re being silly! It means that you’re being sincere, and not hiding from your problems or your self.)

But then there’s another breakdown and I start mulling and replaying and rehearsing in my head for the next time. That’s why I fear venting. But I have received such excellent advice and support from all of you, so I’m very grateful and I’m glad I reached out.

That’s the hardest part, and that’s what I was talking about when I referred to your brain “spinning its wheels.” You have a spike in stress hormones for whatever reason (time of day, time of month, lack of sleep, hunger, etc), and this starts an acute stress response – your fight or flight reaction. Your brain starts searching for threats, which makes you start rehearsing and projecting.

You can’t stop: there’s too much adrenaline and serotonin in there, making that reaction flare up constantly, suppressing anything that isn’t threat analysis and making you perceive every interaction negatively. The only way out is to let the anxiety subside. You have to wait for those neurochemicals to be consumed, break down and dissipate.

Let the flywheels spin while they’re spinning – it’s okay. Remind yourself that your anxiety is the product of a stupid little bit of your brain squirting out too much serotonin. Eat something with some calories if you haven’t eaten in awhile. Drink some water. Remind yourself that it will pass after awhile. It’s exactly the same as a dizzy spell from standing up too quickly. It’s purely biological, and isn’t a sign of weakness or a flaw. It’s just a brain doing what it does in an environment it wasn’t really evolved for.

You can do it! Don’t get mad at your brain for being brainy, that’ll just make the anxiety go on longer. Let it do its thing and before long the reaction will subside.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

@the other EJ

Ehhhhh, technically they are different? But I am lazy when I don’t have to be strictly correct about terminology and the vernacular definitions are functionally identical. But if you are interested in the actual difference, morality is right/wrong, while an ethic is the system that tells you how to choose the moral choice. People typically use ethics to make the moral choice in marginal situations, or in situations where you are SUPER TEMPTED to do the selfish thing but WWJD tells you something different and pushes you into a different option.

In theory, a good ethical system could make a stone cold sociopath behave morally, if said sociopath followed the rules, even though sociopaths don’t really have moral compasses.

lith
lith
3 years ago

@eli:

Most of the “feeling silly” is from right-wing social trends that consider anything feminine, compassionate, or thoughtful to be “silly.” It’s not silly.

I’ll add that ‘silly’ is often equated with ‘childish’ which as Scildfreja says is frowned on by some but noone worth mentioning. I prefer to think of it as ‘childlike’ or ‘fun’. Especially when the same people frowning on it throw toddler style hissy fits when someone else wins instead of them. Naming no Trump supporters/Trump.
Personally I really need to be silly more – I seem to be becoming a grumpy old man which is no good for anyone.

EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)

I’ll add that ‘silly’ is often equated with ‘childish’ which as Scildfreja says is frowned on by some but noone worth mentioning.

I think there’s also an extent to which ‘silly’ is frowned upon because it’s equated with ‘fun’; and if we look at manospherians then ‘fun’ seems like something missing from their mindset. When they play video games they take them so seriously; when they make jokes they makes them so angrily; when they play sports they either do it to win or else don’t do it and ridicule the concept of doing it; and when they interact with other humans they’re always trying to get something out of it. The concept of simply joy seems to elude them.

EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)

(Double posting because I forgot to add this bit.)

@PoM:
It might be me being stupid, but I still can’t see a distinction between the two.

Is it possible to behave in a way which is moral but not ethical, or ethical but not moral? How does it look if we apply set theory?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

@ EJ

We got taught that, although they’re superficially similar, ethics is more of an external code (a societal thing) whereas morals are your personal internal sense of right and wrong.

The classic law school example is, we might find murder morally reprehensible but we’re ethically obliged to act for a murderer.

(Or a society could believe eugenics is ethical on utilitarian grounds but an individual member of that society might have a moral objection)

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

@the other EJ

Maybe an example would help. I’ll use the categorical imperative model because I already brought it up once.

Kant invented this model to try to make an ethical system that did not depend at all upon emotion. He wanted a system that is entirely logic-based. So you think to yourself, “What if everyone did this thing?” and if your answer breaks down society or is otherwise absurd, that thing is not OK to do.

Lying, for instance, is not OK. If everyone lied, nobody would believe anything anyone else said, and society would not be able to function. This is an absurd result, so we conclude that lying is wrong.

Defaulting on a loan is wrong. If everyone defaulted, the nobody would loan anything to anyone ever again, and “loan” would become a meaningless term. Absurd, so defaulting is wrong.

I don’t agree that this is crap. It’s a pretty good system. But it’s easy to break, because all ethics are easy to break. The classic example is this: You live in Nazi Germany, and you’re hiding Jews in your basement. The Nazis come by and ask if you know where any Jews are.

All of your options here are wrong according to Kant’s system. You can’t stay silent, because the Nazis will take that as yes, you do know, and search your house, and allowing harm to befall another person when you can prevent it is wrong. You can’t tell the truth for the same reason. You can’t lie, because lying is wrong. Literally every option available to you is wrong.

Obviously, the correct answer is to lie, but we use our emotions to navigate this break, not logic. Logic tells us that everything that is wrong is equally wrong. Emotion tells us that some wrongs are worse than others. Our emotions tell us what is moral, when our ethic can’t give us an answer, or gives us an answer that is immoral. Morality is what is actually right and wrong, whereas ethical systems attempt to explain how to arrive at the moral answer, and direct you as to how to do it. All ethical systems are broken. I will state that without exception. If you follow any one of them exactly, it will lead you astray, or fail to lead you, in some circumstance.

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

That thing about really knowing something when you teach it has some basis in fact, I’ve realized that another source of social tension is coming from refining many of my habits related to acting aggressively towards people. That’s a lot of tweaking of basic reactions to shitty people, and the learning how to be properly aggressive around children. Of course my expression has become more complicated in general.

@Gussie Jives

… stories are powerful things that can slowly influence culture.

That sums up so much of how I find myself acting in today’s social conflicts with the experiences that I have had. It’s fundamental shit, but criticizing how other people are using language is something I have to be careful about because of the white-male-aggressive thing (not complaining, this is strategy). I can even see places in this thread where the use of the word emotion is making me sigh, but it’s not politically helpful for me to directly jump on it.

So I get indirect with my criticism of how people use the word emotion and I often don’t do that criticism in the discussion/thead/interaction in question but in some other part of the local commenting community (and always relevantly and usefully, derails are rude when tension is high). “Poisoning the well” suggests communities can be affected by social interactions and biased in an irrational direction, there are rational directions and the underlying social behavior is a species neutral.

As far as liberals are concerned It’s challenging to police one’s in-group so I try to be instrumental in that role by role-modeling. It’s challenging and necessary and can be looked at like a skill or area of study (and has the benefit of making you work on irrational bias). It’s not easy but a nice thing about society is that we can parallel process the problem between individual interactions (I love meat-computer metaphors).

“Tolerance” was the SocJus branding against the intolerance of racists, sexists, homophobes etc. It was a handy shorthand that was broadly understood what the tolerance in question meant. What the right is very good at is branding their opponents and playing these rhetorical word games to paint themselves favourably.

The evolution of culture and language is a frustrating thing. I call this kind “symbol stealing”. You try to take someone’s language use from them so they can’t hurt you with it. So MRA’s get “financially raped”, the very word feminism is pecked at across a lot of society, I’ve even seen someone try to claim that “freeze peach” was sexist “because early to mid 1950’s word use”.

We do it too but since it’s a neutral there is no problem with taking abusive language from abusers and we also get to try to shape the evolution of culture. I try to have fun that space despite its intensity. One of my versions is refusing to acknowledge the validity of SJW as more than a non-literalism. I demand to see the irrational and illegitimate social justice related interaction for myself since I always find it to mean “social justice I don’t like”.

It’s all part of the effort to shift the Overton window further right.

I’ve heard of this overton window but don’t know much. If I get the gist correctly I would say we get to shift it too and many language difficulties involve efforts to make general behavior look bad in specific situaions without being willing or able to show why it’s bad/wrong/disgusting/offensive… (and they also are offended at people being offended, circular fights require looking at the specifics so we win in the end).

If we’re always fighting with styles the opponents have chosen for us, progress will slow to a stop.

Fortunately studying the styles of one’s opponents lets one pull out the neutral bits and drive the culture as well. They (we in my case) have the benefit of being from the dominant group, that should be a field of social psychology if it is not already*. We don’t feel social interaction the same. We don’t measure against other people the same socially. We don’t feel the world the same way. The solution to the problem of bigotry is going to require knowing how this works and making choices for people we consider friends and family.

*And it will help in other levels like the bigotry in the LBGT community, the bigotry of TERFs and other different social contexts from the one this thread is about (but similar in a broader categorical way).

EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)

@PoM:
Thank you for the examples. I’m afraid I still don’t get it. If you’re willing to educate me further, I have a few questions which I think will drill down to the points I’m unsure on.

I believe axiomatically that all rape is wrong, and that all violence is wrong. I believe these not because of chains of logic based on utilitarianism or any other formal system, but for emotional reasons.

Alan Robertshaw also believes that all rape is wrong, but he believes that violence is acceptable under some circumstances. I have no evidence as to why he holds these positions, but for the sake of argument let’s say that he also does so for emotional reasons rather than logical ones.

We’re both intelligent people who hold these positions sincerely and in good faith; and (as far as I know) don’t suffer from mental illness inasmuch as it affects these feelings.

Are these ethics, or morals?

If they’re morals, then is it possible for a system of ethics to be right for Alan and wrong for me?

If so, what does that mean for people who suffer from pathological emotional responses?

If not, how do we know which of us is wrong?

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

@EJ

I can only answer some of those questions, because they are good ones that philosophers have been wrangling with for millennia and not successfully.

In theory, morality is absolute. Some things are absolutely wrong and some things are absolutely right. An ethic is supposed to describe how you arrive at the absolutely moral answer every time. That’s the purpose of having an ethic: to know what is moral, always.

But how can we test our ethics if we don’t already know the moral answer? If we do know the moral answer, we don’t need an ethic in the first place. If morality is absolute, it should be findable by some means, and all reasonable people will agree about it. That … hasn’t happened. Why not? You might be tempted to answer that morality is culturally-dependent, but that doesn’t solve the problem because all reasonable people in any given culture still won’t agree totally on what is and is not moral. There will always be places where reasonable people disagree.

So you are asking great questions here, and I don’t have answers for you.

EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)

Thank you for your time, PoM. I learn something every time I talk to you.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
3 years ago

Thank you PoM et al! As so often, come for the misogyny-mocking, stay for the many outstanding qualities of the btl exchanges (I have been trying to keep morals and ethics straight in my head for ages; this time round I think I might just manage to at least remember a rough rule of thumb (that morality = right/wrong; ethics = a logical system for working out (or of course rationalising!) which is which. Does that look close enough?). Alan’s ethical obligation to represent a murderer at trial is a good illustration too).

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

Alan’s example is fantastic. Lawyer ethics are internally consistent, and serve important lawyerly purposes. The ethical obligation to represent a murderer and get them acquitted advances the ethical postulate that all people are entitled to competent representation, and the postulate that people should feel safe in telling the truth to their lawyers.

The rest of us recoil, because it is immoral to act to acquit someone you know to be a murderer. We believe, on a moral level, that people should get what they deserve, and that murder should come with negative consequences for the murderer.

This is why if you ever take an exam for a professional credential, and that profession has a code of ethics, there will be questions that will pit the ethic against basic morality to see if you can tell the difference.